Whether it’s smoothing off a tough surface, or restoring an old piece of furniture into a treasure – you need a palm sander in your life.
Compared to manual sanding, palm sanders save you an enormous amount of time, energy and money, and work quickly on a huge variety of materials and surfaces.
Palm sanders work by vibrating the attached sandpaper rapidly and in many different directions. This provides a quick, smooth, and consistent finish to your projects without any stress, swirls, or damage to your project.
Best of all, many of the best palm sanders actively collect dust and other fine particles associated with messy DIY work, helping to keep workspaces clean and well-ventilated.
You will breathe a sigh of relief at how useful an automatic sander is, regardless of the job or material you are working with. Whether it’s wood, metal, fiberglass, paint, or more, repairing or restoring– palm sanders are versatile and can easily become of the most important, most used pieces of equipment you can invest in.
We’ve taken a look at 10 of the best hand sanders on the market, and are confident you will find the tool of your DIY-dreams below.
The 10 Best Palm Sanders:
1. DEWALT Palm Sander
Promising high power and longevity, this hand sander promises an easy to use, high-quality finish every time.
The first thing you should know is that this is a brushless motor. Brushless motors are especially long-lasting and have little to no maintenance, with less overheating, less noise, and less vibration too.
This particular hand sander also comes with a dust-sealed switch, which helps to protect your tool against dust ingestion and ensures a long switch life.
Less dust also means fewer chances of you becoming irritated by any fine articles floating around when working. We love the variable speed controls to this sander, which ranges from 8,000 to 14,000 OPM. This allows you to match speed to jobs and suits a variety of sanding needs with incredible ease.
The low profile height of this tool also allows you to get closer to work surfaces for even more precise sanding. The paper clamp is also designed to hold paper securely for ease of installation.
Finally, a rubber over-mold grip provides comfort when sanding and helps reduce hand fatigue.
- Brushless motor for long-lasting, durable use
- Variety of speed controls to suit a variety of jobs/needs
- Cordless, meaning you aren’t tied to a power supply
- A removable dust-chute protects against dust-ingestion
- Low height allows sander to get close to work surfaces for precision
- Battery and charger sold separately
2. BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Sheet Sander
This hand sander from BLACK+DECKER is all about convenience and comes with a battery, charger that allows you to get to work straight away.
Firstly, with a compact and ergonomic design, this cordless hand sander is easy to maneuver and ensures you can reach tight corners with confidence. A detailed finger attachment is also included and can be interchanged easily to work on hard-to-reach spaces.
We particularly love that there is a 2-position grip to this sander, which allows for optimum control and ease during use. At 2.59 lbs, it’s incredibly light, and it’s compact design also ensures you can reach tight corners and spaces with confidence.
With a speed of 12,000 ORB, the material is removed fast and effectively. A dust-sealed switch helps protect the tool against dust ingestion, making it long-lasting and durable. A dust collection feature at the bottom of the sander collects excess dust and can easily be removed to empty.
- Battery and charger are included
- 2-position grip for improved use and easiness
- Dust-sealed switch
- Compact design allows you to reach tight spaces/corners
- Finger attachment for hard-to-reach-areas
- Only one setting for speed
3. SKIL Palm Sander with Pressure Control
Dust control is extremely important when hand-sanding – and this is an area where the SKIL palm sander truly shines.
Micro-filtration captures and contains fine dust particles, ensuring your workspace remains clean and the room well-ventilated. Not only that, but a built-in vacuum adapter further helps in maximum dust collection.
At just 3 lbs, this is a very light hand sander. To ensure long-lasting service, the sander has impressive pressure control technology, which warns users when excessive pressure is being applied.
Easy to use, lightweight, and clean – this is one of the best hand sanders on the market.
- Advanced dust control capabilities, including micro-filtration and a built-in vacuum
- A pressure control system which warns you when excessive pressure is applied
- Corded power source, which may limit where you can use it
4. DEWALT Palm Sander
This light-weight sander from DEWALT allows for closer and more effective sanding, thanks to its compact design and size.
With a 2.3 AMP motor, this hand sander can reach a speed of 14,000 OPM. We love that the rubber texture helps ensure smooth and comfortable control while sanding at this speed, ensuring fast work but never compromising on quality. The grip also helps reduce hand fatigue.
An improved paper clamp feature boasts improved paper retention, and the foam pad allows for a flatter sanding plane. A separate counterweight aims to reduce vibration, too, resulting in consistent sanding from a long-lasting, durable tool.
Lastly, this sander is protected against dust ingestion with a rubber dust boot over its switch. The kit includes both a dust bag and carry bag for convenient clean-up, storage, and travel, making it a great investment for your tool repertoire.
- Lightweight, compact design with Advanced grip reduces hand fatigue
- Paper clamp for improved paper retention
- Counterweight reduces vibration without compromising performance
- Includes a dust bag and carry bag
- Corded power source, which may limit where you can use it
5. Bosch Palm Sander with Dust Collector and Soft Carrying Bag
This high-quality hand sander from Bosch is built to give your sanding projects a smooth, professional finish every time.
This is possible because of the sander’s pad-dampening system. How does it work? It eliminates swirl marks on both flat and contoured surfaces, where sanded areas are left looking well-blended and ultra-smooth.
A signature ‘hook and loop’ disc attachment system ensures sanding pads stick to the hand sander, acting like an adhesive. It works by having 35,000 long-life hooks that will ensure a firm grip of the disc during use.
With a variable speed control of between 7,500-12,000 OPM, the hand sander can adapt to whatever job you’re working on, big or small. This hand sander features a micro-filter system for fine dust and traps incredibly small particles.
The dust canister itself shows dust levels for you during use and can be detached and emptied easily and with no mess. This hand sander features a soft-grip top and body and allows you to have multiple grip positions when using it.
Lastly, this kit has incredible value and includes a sanding pad, sanding disc, dampening ring, a dust canister, vacuum adaptor, and a carrying case – a great, all-around investment for your work.
- Pad-dampening system eliminates swirl marks on both flat and contoured surfaces
- An effective dust collection system
- A variety of speed settings
- The kit includes a variety of additional accessories
- Corded – though at 8 ft. long, it is a sizeable cord!
6. Milwaukee Random Orbit Palm Sander
This is a powerful, lightweight sander from Milwaukee who promises to complete every sanding job with a high finish and in quick time.
Firstly, we think you’ll benefit from its dust container and dust hose connector. Dust management is vitally important during sanding; less dust reduces clogging and damage to your tool, and it also reduces fine particles in the air – which can irritate you when breathed in.
Its hand sander is both long-lasting and durable, thanks in part to its slight dimensions (5 x 9.8 x 5.7 inches) and lightweight (4.48 lbs) It also comes with a host of other accessories, including a high-quality carrying bag, 2 sandpaper sheets, and the previously mentioned dust container and a dust hose connection.
- Comes with a host of accessories including a carrying bag, dust container, dust hose connection.
- Small, and lightweight
- Promises durable, long-lasting use
- Corded for power
7. 3M Pneumatic Palm Sander
This air-powered sander from 3M delivers a high-professional performance and ensures a swirl-free finish for all your sanding jobs.
How? This sander works by rotating the abrasive disc and disc pad in two simultaneous overlapping oval patterns. The result is that no single abrasive particle follows the same path twice, ensuring a high-quality finish with no mess or uneven finishes.
Speaking of the disc pad, a 3M Stikit Disc Pad is included which has a 45-degrees tapered edge and is made of medium density foam. This helps to reduce vibration, whilst still maintaining excellent adhesion.
This sander is suitable for a variety of surfaces including wood, metal prep for paint, fiberglass, composite materials, and many other substrates. It’s built for long-lasting use, with an aluminum body and durable composite cover that reduces the risk of cracked housings and downtime.
We also love that this saner has an internal muffler, which helps to reduce noise and won’t break off. It is important to note, however, that this sander does not have a connected vacuum system and as such is ideally used where dust is not a concern.
- High-quality disc pads made from medium density foam
- The advanced overlapping system ensures no swirls or uneven sanding
- An internal muffler reduces noise
- Durable materials ensure long-lasting service
- No vacuum system included meaning it will not deal with dust effectively. Ideally used in instances where dust is not a concern
- As it is air-powered, it requires an air compressor to provide an air supply
8. TACKLIFE Palm Sander with Copper Motor
Whether it’s removing paint from wood, metal, plastic, or the corners of hard-to-reach areas, this palm sander is a great investment to make.
We particularly love the ergonomic design of this hand sander. A lightweight rubber housing along with a compact body allows you to work the sander comfortably with one hand.
The handle itself is made of soft rubber which helps alleviate vibrations. A raised triangle design also increases friction and makes the grip non-slip.
This hand sander also deals with pesky dust residue very effectively. The dust-proof switch helps extend the life of the tool, and a locking switch allows you to work for longer periods without having to press the trigger continuously.
The vacuum function extracts dust efficiently and an easy-to-clean dust box is fixed rigidly to the sander and will not fall off during use.
Lastly, the ‘hook and loop’ sanding base allows you to change sanding sheets quickly and easily.
An included carry bag also allows you to carry and store the hander safely.
- Suitable for a variety of sanding needs including painting removal
- Lightweight and compact for easy use with only one hand
- Dust-proof locking switch
- Effective dust removal with the vacuum function
- Comes with a carry bag for easy storage or transport
- Larger than other hand sanders 13.3 x 6.4 x 6.1 inches
9. Ryobi Palm Sander w/ Onboard Dust Bag
This palm sander from Ryobi is the first-ever cordless quarter-sheet sander on the market.
It’s an ideal sander for a variety of finishing applications, and because it is cordless is convenient for on-the-go jobs anywhere around your home or workplace.
With a speed of 12,000 RPMs and over 40 minutes of runtime, this sander will have more than enough power to complete your jobs.
The ¼ sheet design means that it will work with a huge number of sandpapers. The lock-on switch also ensures easy operation for stress-free use.
This sander also comes with a dust collection bag that will help keep work surfaces clean and limit fine particles in the air. You can use a vacuum adaptor (sold separately) to clean up the area quickly and easily.
- High RPM and long run time (40 minutes)
- Suitable with a wide variety of sandpapers
- Can be used with other accessories including a vacuum adaptor (which are sold separately)
- Cordless, so can be used on the move
- No battery included
10. Heavy Duty Air Palm Sander
Lightweight and wear-resistant, this air palm sander is durable and provides a high-quality finish for all your sanding jobs.
We are very impressed with how suited it is to both vertical and overhead sanding applications, and is ideal for both metal surfaces and removing residues.
This sander is made with heat-treated steel components for long-service.
The composite plastic body of the sander ensures it is light-weight. A comfort platform and low center of gravity design provide vital hand and wrist support – perfect for continued, long use!
This sander has a built-in regulator for speed control and can reach a total speed of 12,000 RPM. It also comes with lubricating oil for optimum performance.
- Reduced vibrations
- Lower noise levels
- Lightweight and comfortable to use
- Lubrication oil comes included
- For 5” pad applications only
- The recommendation is to oil daily
Palm Sander Buying Guide
With so much great choice, you might be wondering how on earth can you decide on the best sander?
Whilst we’re confident each one of our recommendations will be the perfect fit for you, we have some tips to read which should help you make your decision.
Firstly, how does an orbit sander work?
Let’s explain how these sanders work, first of all.
An orbit sander is a hand-held sander which vibrates in small circles, or ‘orbits’. The sanding disk spinning while moving simultaneously in small ellipses causes the orbital action that it is known for.
Many hand sanders promise ‘swirl-free’ finishes because they sand in a multitude of different directions rapidly after one another. For this reason, orbit sanders are usually best suited for fine sanding or where little material needs to be removed.
Having said that, many of the sanders we recommended still work effectively in removing material too – many have vacuum systems in place to clean up materials and particles the sander shaves off.
Dust is the mortal enemy of every sander, and no one likes spending time cleaning up after themselves.
Not only is cleaning dust up boring, tedious, and annoying – but the fine particles in the air can irritate your breathing too.
Many sanders have different systems or technology to help reduce dust – micro-filters for example which can help dust spillback into the sander. Make sure to pick a sander which can also be easily emptied of dust – you don’t want more work to do!
It’s also important to remember that many sanders are vacuum cleaner compatible, and so they can fit in with equipment you might already own.
Speed in OPM
It’s important to pick a hand sander that has flexible speed controls because the choice is always a good friend to a customer.
Most often a sander’s speed is measured in OPM. OPM stands for orbits per minute and measures how fast the sander will vibrate. The higher the number, the quicker the sander will work.
If you will be working with a variety of different materials, having a hand sander with different speed functions will be very useful to you.
Cord or Battery?
Palm sanders can be powered in a variety of different ways. Each one comes with their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Firstly, corded sanders are powered through an electrical outlet. They are easy to set up and everything you need to get the sander working is included. The sander will receive a constant supply of power and so there is no fear of it dying on you.
The only disadvantage is that being a cord, you might not be able to get at hard-to-reach places if the cord does not stretch far enough.
Battery-powered sanders are very useful in reaching hard-to-reach places and give you the freedom to move around the room. Being portable is a great asset, especially if your power outlets are inconveniently placed around your workspace.
One thing to always be mindful of is though, that sometimes the battery (or charger) is not included in the purchase.
When we think of sandpaper, we think of rough, heavy material. Sometimes people think you need heavy tools to sand down materials – but the opposite is true!
Hand sanders are heavy enough in their design to sand effectively, and many of the best palm sanders have pressure systems in place which tell you when too much weight is being applied to the sander.
Remember to look for:
- A lightweight sander – this means you will be able to move it easily with improved stability.
- Has a comfortable grip – this allows for extended use by preventing hand fatigue.
Palm sanders are a DIY project’s best friend.
They turn trash into treasure, unsightly surfaces into beautifully polished perfection, and more. And when you compare their work to manually sanding, palm sanders save you enormous amounts of time, energy, and money.
Not only that, but the best palm sanders will also help you say goodbye to pesky dust and troublesome clean up after every project. They include effective dust collection technology that collects fine particles in the air that we all associate with dusty, DIY projects.
Whether it’s wood, metal, fiberglass, paint, or more, repairing or restoring, craft project or home improvement – hand sanders can fit perfectly into anyone’s growing tool collection.
When you find the best palm sander, you’ll get incredible long-use and repeated value from it. The results are better, quicker, and easier.