Which one should you choose? The palm sander or orbital sander is a question that has been asked many times by woodworkers. In this article, we will compare the pros and cons of each type to help you decide which tool best suits your needs.
So, what is a palm sander?
A palm sander is a handheld power tool that uses an abrasive pad to smooth surfaces. Palm sanders are usually electric, but there are also some battery-powered models available.
Most palm sanders have a rectangular pad, but there are also some models that have a circular pad. The size of the palm sander’s pad will determine the size of the area that can be sanded with each pass.
Palm sanders are available in a variety of speeds, from very slow to very fast. The speed is usually controlled by a dial or switch on the palm sander itself. Most palm sanders also have an adjustable handle that can be moved to different positions.
This allows you to sand in tight spaces or at different angles. Palm sanders usually come with a dust bag that attaches to the sander and collects the dust as you sand. Some models also have a built-in vacuum that can be used to suck up the dust as you sand. These models are more expensive, but they do a better job of keeping your work area clean.
The pros and cons of palm sanders
There are a few things you should take into consideration before deciding whether or not to purchase a palm sander.
First, let’s discuss the pros:
- One of the main advantages of palm sanders is that they’re relatively inexpensive. You can find a decent-quality palm sander for around $50.
- Another advantage of palm sanders is that they’re small and lightweight, making them easy to maneuver. This is especially beneficial if you’re working in a small space or need to sand something in a tight spot.
- Palm sanders also have the ability to create a smooth finish. If you use the proper technique, you can achieve an impressive level of detail with a palm sander that you might not be able to replicate with an orbital sander.
Now let’s move on to the disadvantages of palm sanders:
- One downside of palm sanders is that they require more effort to use than orbital sanders. This is because you have to apply pressure to the sander in order to get it to work properly.
- Another downside of palm sanders is that they’re more likely to leave behind swirl marks. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to end up with a finish that looks patchy and uneven.
- Finally, palm sanders can be loud and create a lot of dust. If you’re working in a small space, this can be incredibly annoying.
What is an orbital sander?
An orbital sander is a handheld power tool that uses a sanding disc to smooth wood, metal, or plastic surfaces. It gets its name from the circular motion of the sanding pad, which is similar to the orbits of planets around the sun.
Orbital sanders are available in two different types: random orbit sanders and finishing sanders. Random orbit sanders are the most common type and are used for a variety of tasks, including removing paint, preparing surfaces for staining or painting, and removing varnish. Finishing sanders are designed for use on delicate surfaces such as cabinets, trim work, and hardwood floors.
There are several things to consider when choosing an orbital sander, including the type of surface you’ll be working on, the power of the tool, and the size of the sanding pad.
The type of surface
- Wood: For most woodworking projects, you’ll want to use a random orbit sander. These sanders are powerful enough to remove paint and varnish, but they’re also gentle enough to avoid damaging the wood.
- Metal: If you’re working on a metal surface, you’ll need an orbital sander that’s specifically designed for use on metal. These sanders have a more aggressive sanding pad that can remove rust and paint without damaging the metal.
- Plastic: For plastic surfaces, you’ll want to use a finishing sander. These sanders have a very soft sanding pad that won’t damage the surface.
Orbital sanders are available in both corded and cordless models. Corded models are more powerful and will give you a more consistent sanding performance. Cordless models are convenient because you don’t have to worry about a power cord getting in the way, but they may not be as powerful as corded models.
Orbital sanders come in a variety of sizes, from small palm-sized models to large floor-standing models. The size you need will depend on the size of the project you’re working on.
The pros and cons of orbital sanders
Orbital sanders are the most popular type of sander on the market, and for good reason. They’re versatile, powerful, and relatively easy to use. But they’re not perfect for every job, and there are some things you should know before you buy one.
Here are the pros of orbital sanders:
- Versatile. Orbital sanders can be used for a variety of tasks, from sanding down rough surfaces to polishing up delicate finishes.
- Powerful. Orbital sanders are much more powerful than hand-held sanders, and can make short work of even the most stubborn materials.
- Easy to use. Orbital sanders are relatively easy to operate, even for beginners.
Here are orbital sanders cons:
- Dusty. Orbital sanders create a lot of dust, which can be a problem if you’re working in a confined space or don’t have good ventilation.
- Loud. Orbital sanders can be quite loud, so be sure to wear ear protection if you’re going to be using one for extended periods of time.
- Messy. The dust generated by an orbital sander can be very messy, so make sure you have a good vacuum cleaner on hand to clean up afterwards.
Which type of sander should you use for your project?
The answer to this question depends on the type of surface you’re working with. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right sander for your project:
- If you’re working on a large, flat surface, an orbital sander will be your best bet.
- If you’re working on a smaller project with intricate details, a palm sander will be better suited for the task.
When you’re ready to use your new sanding machine, always test it on a piece of scrap wood before applying the same pressure across any other surface. This will help ensure that all parts are working properly and prevent accidents from occurring during construction.