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Remove Rust, Prep for Painting and More with a Handheld Sander

When it’s time to DIY, the high cost of electrical tools can put off many hopeful amateur craftsmen. The option to save money by working with manual tools may seem like an excellent option for your wallet, but it can be time-consuming and physically taxing. That’s why we love using our palm sander, an affordable, easy-to-use electric sander that gives your wrists a rest and helps make quick work out of projects big and small.

Palm sanders are often used for removing rust and paint or smoothing coarse materials before staining or painting. They are used in conjunction with sandpaper, which is usually available in three grit strengths, with lower grit paper better for less coarse jobs.  Fine sandpaper is 150 to 180 grits and designed to finish or refinish a surface. Medium grit is 40 to 60 and best for removing paint or a stain. Coarse grit often falls between 20 to 36 and can smooth a rough surface and remove a finish.

Palm sanders are much faster and cleaner than manually using sandpaper (they often come with attachments designed to catch dust), but they do still require some physical labor from the user to keep the sander moving. It’s also important to be safe when using a palm sander. We always recommend wearing safety goggles and a dust mask to ensure particles don’t end up in your eyes or accidentally inhaled.

If you’re ready to sand your next project, try one of these user-friendly palm sanders.

1. BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander

Affordable, small and powerful, the BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander is a champion of palm sanders. The BLACK+DECKER uses random orbital action to quickly and efficiently remove paint and rust, and smooth out coarse surfaces. The lightweight palm sander weighs only 3 pounds and has a cord that is 6’5″, making it convenient to use the sander just about anywhere. The 120-volt BLACK+DECKER is ideal for removing paint, stain or varnish from wood, metal or plastic. It’s also great for finishing projects or shaping wood.

Pros: The BLACK+DECKER has a hook and loop system that makes it convenient to quickly change sand discs between jobs.

Cons: The BLACK+DECKER comes with a sandbag to collect dust but will still leave a fine layer over nearby surfaces.

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2. DEWALT Random Orbit Sander

Built with a 3-Amp motor that provides pads with a spinning power of up to 12,000 orbits per minute, the DEWALT Random Orbit Sander gives surfaces a smooth finish. The DeWalt has a rubber over-mold and counterweight design to help reduce vibration and hand fatigue. The palm sander features a compact design to put users closer to their workplace. It also protects against dust in two ways, first with the dust-sealed switch for a longer switch life and secondly with the vacuum locking system that can either collect dust with the attached bag or connect directly to other vacs. The DeWalt is an excellent option for sanding wood, plastic and metal.

Pros: The DeWalt comes with a durable storage bag for convenient transporting.

Cons: Because of the storage bag, the DeWalt is the most expensive option on our list.

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3. Bosch Palm Sander

Sand quickly and consistently with the Bosch Palm Sander. With a 2.5-Amp motor and variable speed options, the Bosch makes it easy to quickly sand various surfaces for a well-blended finish. The soft-grip body of the Bosch produces low vibration to reduce hand fatigue. Bosch uses its own signature hook and loop system for pads to attach as easily as Velcro and comes with one sanding pad.

Pros: The Bosch is designed with a pad-dampening system that reduces swirl marks on flat and contoured surfaces for a more even finish.

Cons: Some options may be more economical.

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4. PORTER-CABLE Palm Sander

For a palm sander that lets you work through even the biggest projects, try the PORTER-CABLE. The palm sander has a 2-Amp motor that moves at 13,500 orbits per minute to give products a quality finish. The Porter-Cable has added durability thanks to its dust-sealed switch that keeps dust out of the main switch for a longer switch life. Providing a less aggressive material removal than RO sanders, the Porter-Cable is a square design that enables users to get into tight corners.

Pros: The Porter-Cable is a dual-plane, counter-balanced, low-vibration palm sander that is designed to help reduce user hand fatigue.

Cons: The Porter-Cable works with non-adhesive paper but does not include any with the purchase of the sander.

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