10 Best Sanders For Furniture Refinishing in 2020

Last updated: September 12, 2020
Published 5:51 pm

Makita BO4556K 2.0 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Finishing Sander

DEWALT Palm Sander, 1/4 Sheet (DWE6411K)

Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander

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There are some older furniture in your home that may have worn out but have too much of sentimental value just to throw them out. Refinishing is a way of making them look as beautiful as the first day you got them. A sander is one of the power tools needed for this project. It makes use of sandpaper to smoothen the surface of your furniture. If you do a lot of woodwork or you are a carpenter, a sander is one of the most important power tools you should own.

Also, check out the links below for other tools needed for your projects

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SIGNS THAT YOUR FURNITURE NEEDS REFINISHING

Your old furniture is due for refinishing if you notice the following signs

  • The finish is flaking and chipping off
  • You notice scratches, rings or watermarks on the furniture
  • Surface starts to feel sticky before or after you clean
  • The woods become darker than its original color
  • There are patches and discoloration after it’s cleaned

TYPES OF SANDERS

BELT OR STRIP SANDER

This is a bit more aggressive than other sanders. It works with a continuous loop of sandpapers. They are usually used at the beginning stage of the sanding project because they peel off a large amount of the material in a short time.

RANDOM ORBIT SANDER

These are handheld and usually smaller than the belt sander. It operates in a way that the sanding blade delivers a random-orbit motion. It is of 3 types; electric-powered, air-powered and orbital floor sanders. The first two are handheld while the last is much larger.

DETAIL SANDER

These are also handheld and usually have a triangular base. It uses a small vibrating head with a triangular piece of sandpaper to smoothing small and tight areas of your furniture.

DURABILITY

You would need the sander you purchase for many other projects. It is important to get one that would last for a very long time without needing to repair or change after a short while.

CONVENIENCE

You want to get a sander that can be used in one hand. It’s advisable to get a sander that is lightweight, compact and has its switches in convenient areas.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A SANDER

Sanders come in different types, sizes, weight and other important features. It is important to purchase the sander that is best suited for your project. Some of the factors to look out for when choosing a sander have been listed below.

TYPE OF SANDER

As stated above, there are different types of sanders, handheld or floor sanders. Finding the best one for your project is, therefore, an important factor to consider.

POWER

Various sanders have different levels of power. You may think that a lot of power is needed to get the best job out of it, but with sanders, that is not the case. You need the right amount of control and finesse to produce smooth and even finish to your furniture. Also, it’s important to get a sander with as little vibrations as possible to make it more comfortable to use.

DUST COLLECTION

This is also an important feature to look out for. You don’t want to have sawdust flying around your workstation. It is important to get a sander that has a dust collector attached to it or a hose that allows you to connect it to your workshop vacuum.

COMPATIBILITY

This is a handheld power tool; you need to find one that can fit easily in your hand and can be used comfortably for a long time without causing strain in your hand or fatigue.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WHEN USING A SANDER

Sanders can be quite dangerous if not used carefully. Below, we have provided you with some tips you can follow to ensure your safety while using this machine.

  • Read the user’s manual properly and make sure you understand the instructions before handling the machine
  • Wear safety glasses, face shields or safety goggles while using the sander
  • Protect your ears from the noise and vibrations
  • Wear respiratory protection like a dust mask when sanding to keep the dust from getting into your nose
  • If you are using a corded electric sander, make sure it is switched off before plugging it to a power source
  • Disconnect it from the power supply before adjusting or removing the dust collector
  • Keep the cords away from the sanding area

In this review, we have put together a list of the best sanders for your furniture on the market along with their key features and reasons we know they would be suitable for you. We have also included answers to some frequently asked questions to boost your confidence when searching for the sander best suited for your project.

The Best Sanders For Furniture Refinishing Are Reviewed Below

1

Makita BO4556K 2.0 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Finishing Sander

The Makita BO4556K 2.0 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Finishing Sander is our top choice. It runs with a powerful 2 Amp motor and is capable of delivering 14000 orbits per minute (OPM) providing a smooth finish to your furniture. Its palm grip is contoured and made of rubber, making it easy and comfortable for you to grip it. This rubberized grip design prevents hand fatigue or pain when using it for a long period.

This finishing sander operates quietly due to its precision-engineered all-ball bearing construction. It’s on/off switch is located in a very convenient spot, making it easy for you to handle with just one hand. Installing paper to this machine is very uncomplicated because of its large clamping lever.

The best part is its through-the-pad dust collection system; with this sander, you can have a way less sawdust at your workstation. All its switches are sealed with rubber to stop dust from getting into the machine; this ensures it lasts for a very long time.

Key Features:

  • 14000 orbits per minute(OPM)
  • 2 Amp motor
  • Contoured, rubberized palm grip
  • Through-the-pad dust collection system
  • Rubber sealed switch

Specification:

  • Brand: Makita
  • Model: Makita BO4556K 2.0 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Finishing Sander
  • Dimension: 5.16 x 4.41 x 5.55 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
Pros
  • 14000 Amp ensures fast and smooth finishing
  • Operates quietly and with low vibration
  • Rubberized palm grip makes it comfortable to use for a long period
  • Features a really good dust collector reducing the sawdust in your work environment
Cons
  • Has only one-speed setting

2

DEWALT Palm Sander, 1/4 Sheet (DWE6411K)

The DEWALT Palm Sander DWE6411K is a ¼ sheet sander that has a powerful 2.3 Amp motor and operates at 14000 orbits per minute. It has a reduced overall height ensuring that you are closer to your work. It is quiet and easy to control, especially when using a higher grit paper.

Its switches have been protected with rubber dust boot which prevents dust from getting into it ensuring that it lasts long. It’s quite easy to grip and maneuver. It also features separate counterweight that reduces its vibration preventing hand fatigue or tingling after using it for a long time. Changing its paper is quick and hassle-free.

This great palm sander has a locking dust port system that allows you to connect it with a vacuum hose to get rid of dust easily and a built-in adapter that helps to deal with the problem of dust collection.

Key Features:

  • 2.3 Amp motor
  • 14000 orbits per minute
  • 120V voltage
  • Locking dust-port system
  • Rubber dust boot

Specification:

  • Brand: DEWALT
  • Model: DEWALT Palm Sander, 1/4 Sheet (DWE6411K)
  • Dimension: 7 x 6 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
Pros
  • It operates with very low vibrations
  • Includes a built-in vacuum adapter
  • Not expensive
  • Comfortable to grip and work with
Cons
  • Dust collection bag can be a problem

3

Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander

The Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander is driven by a 2.0 Amp motor and sand with 12000 orbits per minute, making it very powerful and fast. Its sanding plate is made of aluminum providing even sanding and a perfect finish to all your projects. It is very durable and lasts long.

This Bosch GSS20-40 was designed with a soft grip making it comfortable to use for a long period. It operates with low vibration, which means you can easily control this machine easily and stress-free. It features an incredible dust collection system that includes a micro-filter dust canister which operates by collecting dust through the pad, leaving your workspace free of sawdust.

Finally, this orbital finishing sander has a well-grounded clamping and pad design that allows for the use of multiple sanding sheets. It also offers flush sanding allowing both professionals and DIY lovers to use for any type of woodwork project.

Key Features:

  • 2.0 Amp motor
  • 12000 orbits per minute
  • Precision machine aluminum sanding plate
  • Micro-filter dust canister with a screw-off cap
  • Soft-grip design
  • Reliable clamping and pad design

Specification:

  • Brand: Bosch
  • Model: Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander
  • Dimension: 8.66 x 5.69 x 6.68 inches
  • Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Power Source: Ac/dc
Pros
  • It is budget-friendly
  • Can work with different types of sandpapers
  • Operates with fewer vibrations
  • Changing its paper is stress-free
Cons
  • Operates with small OPM

4

BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander, Compact Detail BDEMS600

The BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander is a detailed sander with compact size making it easy to handle. It operates with a 1.5 Amp motor and removes material at 14000 orbits per minute.

It features a finger attachment and a sanding pad. Its 3-position grip gives it proper grip for maneuvering and allows full control of the machine when in use. Its lightweight makes it easy to use with one hand.

With an included finger attachment, this detail sander can easily fit into small spaces that may be harder to reach with regular sanders. It can efficiently collect dust with its micro-filtration, leaving you with less sawdust to clean when the job is done. This sander is very affordable and ideal for small jobs.

Key Features:

  • 3-position grip
  • 1.2 Amp motor
  • 14000 orbits per minute
  • Detail finger attachment
  • Sanding pad

Specification:

  • Brand: BLACK+DECKER
  • Model: BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander, Compact Detail BDEMS600
  • Dimension: 10.25 x 4.63 x 5.44 inches
  • Weight: 2.38 pounds
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Compact enough to fit into small and tight spaces
  • Has 3-position grip that allows maximum control and maneuverability
Cons
  • It can’t cover a wide space because of its small size
  • Velcro base tip breaks easily

5

PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (382)

The PORTER-CABLE Random sander is a 5-inch orbit sander with a 1.9 Amp motor making it a strong and sturdy sander. It operates at 12000 orbits per minute, making it capable of sanding your furniture much faster and giving it a smooth finish. Its random patterned sanding does not leave scratches or indentations in your furniture.

It features a dual-plane counter system and a balanced fan that evens out the weight of the sander and reduces the chance of your hands getting fatigued or strained. It has a 100% ball-bearing construction that promotes its durability and ensures it lasts long. Its switches are also sealed to prevent dust from getting into them and for a longer switch life.

This PORTER-CABLE sander has a controlled finishing that makes it possible to control the pad speed and minimize gouging.

Key Features:

  • 1.9 Amp
  • 12000 orbits per minute
  • Dual plane counter
  • 100% ball-bearing
  • Maximum sanding speed
  • Controlled finishing system
  • Dust-sealed switch

Specification:

  • Brand: PORTER-CABLE
  • Model: PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (382)
  • Dimension: 8 x 9 x 7 inches
  • Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Power Source: Ac/dc
Pros
  • It ensures maximum speed when sanding
  • It durable and lasts long
  • Its controlled finishing minimizes the gouges made on your furniture
  • It’s dust-protected
Cons
  • Dust collector falls off easily
  • Orbital action gets stuck sometimes

6

Makita BO5030K 5

The Makita BO5030K Random Orbit Sander is a 5-inch orbit sander that runs on 3 Amp motor and operates at 12000 orbits per minute producing a smooth and fast-finishing to your furniture. It functions with 1/8-inch random orbit action that improves its ability to produce super smooth sanding to the material.

Handling this Makita BO5030K sander is quite comfortable because of the rubber-coated grip that allows you to use it for hours without feeling pain or tingling in your hand. It also has a well-structured through-the-pad dust collection that reduces the dust in your work environment.

Its switches have been sealed to prevent dust from getting into the machine and contaminating it. It features a pad control system that allows you to control the pad speed when in use. It’s on/off switch is located in a very accessible area which makes it easy for you to use this machine one-handed.

Key Features:

  • 3 Amp motor
  • 12000 orbits per minute
  • Pad control system
  • Through-the-pad dust collection
  • Dust-sealed switch
  • Over-sized sealed ball bearing

Specification:

  • Brand: Makita
  • Model: Makita BO5030K 5″ Random Orbit Sander
  • Dimension: 15 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 2.87 pounds
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
Pros
  • 5-inch base to cover large surface at once
  • Pad speed can be controlled with its pad control system
  • Rubberized grip for easy handling
  • Operates quietly and has a built-in anti-vibration system
Cons
  • Dust collection bag gets clogged and falls off easily
  • Switch is harder to control because of its seal

7

SKIL 7302-02 Octo Detail Sander

The SKIL 7302-02 Detail Sander also called Octo, is a detailed sander that works with a 2 Amp motor at an operating speed of 14000 orbits per minute. It is the ideal choice when working with delicate materials.

It has a pressure control system that monitors the pressure applied to the material to ensure an optimal finish. It comes with eight detailed sanding attachments and gives an even finish with areas that are hard to reach and contoured.

Its microfilter captures dust particles preventing these particles from getting into the machine. Its dust collector is made of a clear view material, so you know when it is full without having to guess. It’s also quite affordable and suitable for DIY projects.

Key Features:

  • Eight detail sanding attachments
  • Pressure control technology
  • Clear view dust canister
  • Tool-less attachment change

Specification:

  • Brand: SKILSAW
  • Model: SKIL 7302-02 Octo Detail Sander
  • Dimension: 10 x 6 x 6.2 inches
  • Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Features pressure control
  • Has a transparent dust canister
  • Eight detail sanding attachment that makes it easy to reach small corners
Cons
  • Sanding attachment is difficult to use
  • Stick-on sandpaper falls off easily

8

WEN 6301 Electric Detailing Palm Sander

This WEN 6301 Electric Detailing Palm Sander is the third detailing sander on our list. It is lightweight and compact enough to be used for hours with no pain or stress. It runs on a 1 Amp motor which means it is not powerful enough to be used for heavy-duty projects. It has an operating speed of 13,500 orbits per minute, producing a smooth and even finish to your material.

This small sander has an angled tip which makes it effectively reach small and tight areas. It has a dust collection port that reduces the amount of sawdust in your work station. Its grip is also coated with rubber making it easy for you to handle and grip this sander. Its switches have been dust-sealed preventing dust from getting into it although using the switch might be a little difficult because of this protection.

Its Velcro base pad allows you to install and remove sandpaper easily. Keep in mind that you have to buy the sandpapers that fit into the holes in the pad for proper finishing of your furniture.

Key Features:

  • 1 Amp motor
  • 13,500 orbits per minute
  • Angled tip for precision work
  • Dust collection port
  • Velcro base pad

Specification:

  • Brand: WEN
  • Model: WEN 6301 Electric Detailing Palm Sander
  • Dimension: 3.75 x 5.25 x 6 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
Pros
  • Grip is ergonomically designed for comfort and balance
  • Angled tip for precision work
  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight and compact
Cons

9

WORX WX820L 20V Multi-Sander

The WORX WX820L 20V Multi-Sander does the job of 5 different sanders. It features a 5-inch random orbit sander for fast and vigorous sanding, finishing sander for an even and smooth finishing to your wood, detail, contour and finger sander that allows you to reach small and tight areas with ease.

This is an incredible machine cordless and runs on a 20V battery that can be interchangeable with other 20V WORX tools. Its cordless feature makes it easy to move around without interruptions from the cord. Its base never gets loose or falls off because of its hyper-lock; this hyper-lock feature also makes it easy to change the sandpapers.

Irrespective of the base being used, mode max technology ensures maximum and effective sanding. Its random orbit feature provides large orbit radius for covering large areas at once and providing aggressive debris removal when needed. Its speed is quite variable and can be adjusted depending on the type of material it is being used on.

Key Features:

  • Hyper-lock quick toolless pad change
  • Mad max technology
  • Maximum sanding efficiency
  • 20V battery
  • Variable speed

Specification:

  • Brand: WORX
  • Model: WORX WX820L 20V Multi-Sander
  • Dimension: 9.06 x 4.72 x 6.77 inches
  • Weight: 5.99 pounds
  • Power Source: Battery Powered
Pros
  • It does the job of 5 different sanders
  • It’s cordless, and its battery can be interchanged
  • Microfilter works effectively
  • Has variable speed that allows for different types of sanding
Cons
  • Heavy
  • The battery does not last very long

10

Milwaukee 6033-21 Sheet Orbital Compact Palm Sander

Finally, the Milwaukee 6033-21 Sheet Orbital Compact Palm Sander is a compact sized palm sander. Although, a little heavier than the regular palm sander, it still allows you to keep a firm grip on the tool and use it with one hand for a long period without getting tired. This orbit sander is ideal for putting finishing touches on cabinets, tables, chairs and other pieces of furniture.

It has a swirl-free finish that provides consistent and even finishes to your material. There is a push-button release on the back of the machine that makes it easier to change the sandpaper and also saves a lot of time. It features a dust bag that collects dust and keeps your work environment free of dust and debris. It comes with a universal adaptor that allows you to plug various workshop vacuums.

This Palm Sander comes with a sheet of 100-grain paper and another 150-grain paper; it also includes a hole puncher to punch holes in the sheets you have rather than using a pen or screwdriver to punch them.

Key Features:

  • Compact size
  • Swirl-free finish
  • Universal adaptor
  • Multiple dust collection solutions
  • Simple paper clamp system

Specification:

  • Brand: Milwaukee
  • Model: Milwaukee 6033-21 Sheet Orbital Compact Palm Sander
  • Dimension: 9.8 x 4.2 x 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.68 pounds
  • Power Source: Ac
Pros
  • Easy to handle
  • Comes with a hole puncher and sandpapers
  • Installing sandpaper is easy because of its push-button release
  • Provides even and smooth finish
Cons
  • Rear clip stops holding the paper in place after a while
  • Might encounter problems with its switch

Buying Guide Questions

Below are some questions that may have been on your mind regarding the use and types of sanders.

What is the best sander to use for refinishing furniture?

From our review, the best sander to use for refinishing your furniture is the DEWALT Palm Sander, 1/4 Sheet (DWE6411K). It works with a powerful 2 Amp motor and is capable of delivering an operating speed of 14000 orbits per minute (OPM) providing a smooth and even finish to your furniture. It operates quietly and has its on/off switch located in a very convenient spot, making it easy for you to handle one-handed. Installing paper to this machine is stress-free thanks to its large clamping lever. It’s our top choice because it has all the important features needed to refinish your furniture and produce an excellent result.

What is the fastest way to refinish furniture?

Fastest Way To Refinish Your Furniture

  1. Apply a paint stripper evenly on the surface of the furniture and leave it to stay for 5 to 10 minutes. If it is done properly, you’ll see the old finish come off the furniture.
  2. Use a scraper to remove the old finish. Always wipe the blade of the scrapper with a cloth in between scrapes. If it gets hard to scrape, add a little more paint stripper
  3. After stripping, wipe the furniture with a cloth and spirit, preferably mineral spirit. Allow the furniture to dry
  4. Use your sander with medium grit sandpaper to completely remove the old finish. Start with 100-150 grit sandpaper and then a 200+ grit sandpaper to provide a smooth and even finish
  5. Lastly, wipe the surface of the furniture with a thick cloth and then apply your stain

What is the best way to refinish wood furniture?

We have provided tips on how to get the best result when refinishing your furniture

  1. Use a clean cloth to clean the piece of furniture thoroughly, especially if the furniture has been kept away for a long time. The best way to clean it is by using warm water, dishwashing soap and cloth.
  2. After cleaning, examine the furniture; look out for paint stains, cracks, dents and scratches. This helps you determine the intensity of the work needed for that furniture.
  3. Remove the old finish. Firstly, apply a chemical stripper. Spread the stripper over the piece of furniture with a brush. Leave it to stay for a few minutes. You should see some of the old finish coming off. Then, use your sander to remove the rest of the finish from the furniture properly. Start with medium grit sandpaper and finish off with s fine grit sandpaper
  4. After stripping off the old finish completely, apply a coat of sealant to seal the furniture before painting. Wipe the excess sealant with a clean cloth
  5. Stain or paint the furniture after sealing it
  6. Lastly, apply a finish coat. You can also coat the furniture with wax to increase its gloss and protect it from scratches.

Is it better to sand or strip furniture?

They both have their disadvantages. Stripping could be messy, especially if the chemical stripper didn’t stay on the furniture for as long as it needed to. Stripping paint can also be quite stressful. Sanding, on the other hand, cuts through the wood, and if not done properly, it can leave uneven cuts on the furniture.

However, you can do both to your furniture to provide maximum smooth result. You can start by applying a chemical stripper to strip the furniture. Make sure the stripper sits on the furniture for as long as it needs to. After stripping, you can then go in with your sander for a smooth and even finish to the wood.)

Can you just sand off varnish?

Sanding can be an effective way to remove the varnish from your furniture. If you plan to remove the varnish and repaint it, it can be a great idea to sand it off.

How do you restore wood in furniture without sanding?

If you don’t want to sand your furniture, the other option is to strip it. Start by cleaning the furniture and then apply the chemical stripper to the furniture. Leave it to stay for 12-20 minutes before using a scraper to peel off the old finish. The finish should come off easily if it were sprayed properly.

How do you strip and refinish furniture?

  1. Choose your work station
  2. Clean the furniture with warm water, cloth and soap. Make sure this is done properly and thoroughly
  3. Apply a chemical stripper and leave it to stay on the furniture for as long as possible. You need to be patient during this step so it would be easy to strip off the old finish
  4. Strip away the finish with a scrapper. You could also sand it for a smoother finish
  5. Coat the furniture with sealant
  6. Apply a finished coat and wax

Conclusion

Our top choice is the Makita BO4556K 2.0 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Finishing Sander. The Makita brand is popular among handymen for producing strong and reliable products. This Finishing Sander is durable, ergonomically designed and performs wonderfully. It is just as reliable as other Makita products, durable, reliable and can be used for a long time.

We hope this review on the best sanders for furniture refinishing as provided you with enough information on the use of sanders, how to choose the best and how to refinish your furniture properly.