[Top 8] Best Sander for Refinishing Furniture

Best Sander for Refinishing Furniture

It is only normal that your furniture wears out after an extended period. In most cases, a simple refinishing will restore and improve the look of the furniture. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional in woodworking, you should know that a sander is one of the necessary equipment for refinishing projects. One of the preliminary steps when embarking on a project like this is to get a suitable sander. However, there are many sanders on the market today, such that choosing the best sander for refinishing furniture can be confusing. To make this selection process an easier one for you, we have selected some of the best sanders and reviewed them.

Comparison Table of Sander for Refinishing Furniture

ImageProductMotorPrice
Makita 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit3 AMP Check Price
Bosch Palm Sander2.5 AMPCheck Price
PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander1.9 AMPCheck Price
BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander1.2 AMPCheck Price
Bosch Orbital Finishing Sander2.0 AMPCheck Price
DEWALT Random Orbit Sander 3.0 AMPCheck Price
DEWALT Palm Sander2.3 AMPCheck Price
Makita Finishing Sander2 AMPCheck Price

Top 8 Best Sander for Refinishing Furniture

1. Makita 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit

Key Features

  • 3.0 AMP Motor
  • Adjustable Front Handle
  • Built-in Vacuum Port Adapter

The Makita BO5041K is a powerful sander that comes with a 3.0 AMP motor, making it perfect for old furniture and rough surfaces. Interestingly, the motor features an oversized ball bearing construction that makes for durability and longevity. However, power is not the only highlight of this sander. It is also a fast sanding machine. With a speed range of 4000 - 12000 OPM, you can adjust the speed depending on the requirement of whatever sanding project you are working on.

For dust collection, it comes with a built-in vacuum port adapter. One of the essential things to consider in sanders is ergonomics. With an ergonomic rubberized palm grip and handle, the machine is comfortable to hold and maneuver for improved sanding. Furthermore, the front handle is adjustable for sanding corners and other areas that are typically hard to access. Also, the machine comes with a pad control system for controlled pad speed. With the large ⅛ inches random orbit action, you can be sure of a swirl-free finish.
Pros
  • Speed is adjustable.
  • Ergonomic grip.
  • Comes with a powerful motor.
  • Swirl-free finish.
Cons
  • It is a bit expensive.

2. Bosch Palm Sander

Key Features

  • Hook and Loop Disc Attachment System
  • Variable Speed Control
  • 2.5 AMP Motor

If you need a sander that delivers fast sanding and smooth finishes, you should take a look at the Bosch ROS20VSK Palm Sander. With its unique hook and loop disc attachment system, sanding pads stick easily to the sander. For different sanding tasks, varying speeds are required. This sander comes with an adjustable speed feature that allows the user to choose any speed level between 7500 - 12000 OPM. One of the things that impressed us the most about this sander is the dust collection system. A micro filter system traps the dust, with a canister that shows the dust level and detaches easily.

Furthermore, it comes with a vacuum attachment for connection to dust collection systems. The pad dampening system makes for smooth finishes and eliminates swirl marks on both flat and contoured surfaces. The micro-cellular pad further ensures smooth and fine finishing. The 2.5 AMP motor that comes with the sander is powerful enough for furniture refinishing, and the fact that the speed is adjustable makes it a better machine. The soft grip and low vibration make it really comfortable to hold and sand with.

Pros
  • Pad dampening system for smooth finishes.
  • Low vibration level.
  • Soft and comfortable grip.
  • Micro filter system traps fine dust.
Cons
  • The dust filtration system fills up quickly.
  • The sanding pad is not the most durable.

3. PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander

Key Features

  • 1.9 AMP Motor
  • 100% Ball Bearing Construction
  • Dual Plane Counter-Balanced Fan

The Porter-Cable 382 is a random orbit sander. Although it is hard to get to furniture corners and edges with an orbital sander, this sander performs reasonably well in furniture refinishing. The random-pattern sanding ensures swirl-free finishes. It comes with a 1.9 AMP motor that is, admittedly, not the most powerful motor but is still suitable for furniture refinishing. With all its exciting features, the sander comes with a single speed setting of 12000 OPM. This implies that it can only be used for limited sanding projects.

Another of the sander's critical features is the dual-plane counter-balanced fan that ensures reduced vibration, making the machine a more comfortable one to work with. The pad is a 5-inch pad that can be used with 5-inch 8 hole papers, which can be easily swapped with sticky pads. The controlled finishing system reduces gouging through pad speed control. Concerning dust collection, the manufacturers did a fair job, as the sander is compatible with vacuum systems and comes with a dust bag. The sealed ball-bearing construction makes for durability; a 3 year limited warranty backs that.

Pros
  • Lightweight sander.
  • Low vibration level.
  • 3 year limited warranty.
  • Ball-bearing construction for durability.
Cons
  • Speed is not adjustable.
  • 1.9 AMP motor is not so powerful.

4. BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander

Key Features

  • 1.2 AMP Motor
  • Detail Finger Attachment
  • 14000 OPM

If a small compact detail sander is sufficient for your furniture refinishing tasks, check out the Black+Decker BDEMS600 Detail Sander. If your furniture has details like carvings and engravings, a detail sander like this is the best option for smooth finishing. It comes with a specially designed grip that can be operated from three different positions for a variety of applications. The 1.2 AMP motor is not the most powerful, but it is perfect for a compact detail sander like this. Furthermore, the sander has a non-adjustable speed of 14000 OPM.

The dust collection system is highly effective, with its micro-filtration collecting fine dust and a dust canister through which you can assess the dust level collected. It also comes with a detail finger attachment that helps to get to areas that are typically hard to reach. With the ergonomic and lightweight design, you should encounter no discomfort when using the sander. Also, it doesn't vibrate excessively.
Pros
  • It is a lightweight sander.
  • Highly-effective dust filtration.
  • It is reasonably priced.
  • It can fit into tight spaces.
  • Comfortable to hold.
Cons
  • Motor is not so powerful.
  • It is not suitable for large furniture.

5. Bosch Orbital Finishing Sander

Key Features

  • 2.0 AMP Motor
  • External Vac Compatible
  • Aluminum Sanding Plate

The Bosch GSS20-40 is a palm sander - the best sander type for furniture refinishing. It delivers smooth finishing through tight orbital motions. It comes with a precision-machined aluminum sanding plate that helps to achieve even sanding. With a reasonably powerful motor rated at 2.0 AMP, the sander delivers a set speed of 12000 OPM. Although it is not an overly vibrating machine, the specially designed soft grip further absorbs the vibration produced, making it a more comfortable sander to hold and operate.

Additionally, the Bosch GSS20-40 comes with an effective dust collection mechanism, made up of a micro-filtration system that collects both coarse and fine dust particles. At the same time, it can be connected to an external vacuum cleaner if you have one in your workshop. It is also one of the sanders that offer flush sanding, making it suitable for a variety of projects. Through the advanced clamping and pad design, it will hold multiple papers - even stick-on sandpapers. The only thing we didn't like about it is the low and non-adjustable speed.
Pros
  • Very low vibration.
  • It can hold multiple sandpapers.
  • It offers flush sanding.
  • Can be connected to an external vacuum.
Cons
  • The speed is quite low and non-adjustable.

6. DEWALT Random Orbit Sander

Key Features

  • 3.0 AMP Motor
  • One-hand Locking Dust Bag
  • Dust-sealed Switch

The Dewalt DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander comes with a very powerful 3.0 AMP motor that features a motor pack at the bottom for air circulation. Impressively, the speed produced by the motor can be adjusted between 8000 - 12000 OPM. The adjustable speed makes it a perfect sander for woodworking between layers of clear coat to achieve a smooth and polished finish. The dust-sealed switch is a durable one that is easy to engage and features adequate protection from dust.

For dust collection, it comes with a one-hand locking dust bag that attaches securely to the sander and port through which an external vacuum machine can be connected. The short and compact design makes it possible to remain closer to the work surface. However, full protective gear should be put on. It comes with a low level of vibration and rubber mold that makes grip comfortable. As it weighs about 2.9 lbs, it has a lightweight design that, if combined with the low vibration, it is easy to maneuver.
Pros
  • Motor is powerful.
  • Lightweight design.
  • Rubber mold absorbs vibration.
  • Adjustable speed of 8000 - 12000 AMP.
Cons
  • It is not the most comfortable sander to hold.

7. DEWALT Palm Sander

Key Features

  • 2.3 AMP Motor
  • 14000 OPM
  • Improved Paper Clamp

At first glance, the only apparent difference between the Dewalt DWE6411K and the DWE6423K is that the former is a palm sander, and the latter a random orbit sander. However, the differences are quite numerous. This sander comes with a 2.3 AMP motor that operates at a fixed speed of 14000 OPM. At 3 lbs, it is not a heavy machine, so it is quite easy to handle and move around. It also has a sealed 100% ball-bearing construction that is responsible for the durability.

Like most of the sanders on the market today, it comes with a dust bag and a locking dust-port system for connecting a vacuum hose. Reduced vibration is made possible by a separate counterweight. The switch has a rubber dust boot protecting against dust ingestion. While it is not the best in terms of ergonomics, the lightweight design and the rubber over-mold makes it a comfortable sander to hold and sand with. Furthermore, it comes with a 3 year limited warranty to assure you of its sturdiness.
Pros
  • The switch is dust-sealed.
  • 3 year limited warranty.
  • Speed is quite high.
  • Locking dust-port system.
Cons
  • The speed is not adjustable.
  • Not the best in terms of ergonomics.

8. Makita Finishing Sander

The Makita BO4556 comes with a large and improved paper clamp design that allows quick paper insertion. It features a 2 AMP motor that is not the most powerful of all the sanders reviewed. Nevertheless, it is perfect for your furniture refinishing purposes. Furthermore, the sander has a precision-engineered ball bearing construction that reduces vibration and noise. Furthermore, it has a speed level of 14000 OPM that cannot be adjusted. This may affect the functionality of the sander over multiple coats.

Designed to be operated with one hand, it does come with a contoured rubber grip that makes it more comfortable to hold. It produces a low noise level that you shouldn't feel uncomfortable with. This sander weighs a meager 2.6 pounds, making it one of the lightest you can get. One problem we noticed with the dust collection is the extra-wide mouth of the dust bag that may cause it to come off when being used in a vertical position.

Pros
  • It is reasonably priced.
  • It is one of the lightest sanders.
  • Rubberized grip for comfortable handling.
Cons
  • Dust bag has an extra-wide mouth.

Features and Factors to Consider When Buying a Sander

There are some essential features you should look out for in a sander before making a choice. More than considering these factors and features, we advise that you consider customer feedback before you buy any sander. Here are some of the factors that should influence your final decision.

1. Type of Sander

Furniture refinishing is a dynamic process that can be done in various ways, and for various furniture refinishing projects, different types of sanders are applicable.

a. Detail Sander

A detail sander is characterized by its triangular shape, which gives it the ability to reach areas that are typically hard to get to when sanding. If you need to work on delicate surfaces, this is the type of sander you should use. The only drawback is the small surface area. So, it takes longer to work on furniture with a detail sander. Nonetheless, when your furniture has nooks, carvings, and other special details, this is the right type to use.

b. Orbit Sander

This is the most versatile type that can be used for a variety of sanding tasks. The highlight of this sander type is the orbital motions that help to ensure swirl-free sanding. However, when it comes to refinishing furniture, the circular pad does affect its functionality. This is not to say that it cannot be used for refinishing purposes, but the furniture corners will have to be sanded manually.

c. Finishing Sander

Also referred to as the palm sander, it is the most suitable sander for furniture refinishing. Regardless of the square shape of the sander, it operates with orbital motion. It merges both the orbit and detail sander's functionality but doesn't feature any of the drawbacks. Interestingly, it will effortlessly reach furniture corners. 

2. Speed

Another factor you should consider is speed. Speed in sanders is rated in Operation Per Minute (OPM). As a rule of thumb, the higher the speed rating, the better the sander. Some refinishing projects may specially require a low-speed level. This is why you should choose sanders that feature adjustable speed.

3. Power & Vibration

Furniture refinishing does not require a lot of power, as you would not want to sand too much material away. What you want is a sander with a reasonable level of power and a low vibration level. A sander with excessive vibration will be hard to hold and sand with.

4. Dust Collection

Sanding produces a lot of sawdust. So, you should use a sander that is designed for dust collection. The good news is that several sanders are designed to connect to vacuum cleaners that will progressively get rid of the dust produced as you sand. At the very least, choose sanders that come with dust collection backs. Nonetheless, you should always put on gear when sanding.

5. Ergonomics

Comfortable handling should also be considered in a sander. An ergonomically designed sander should feature soft, comfortable grips that are easy on the hand and capable of absorbing some of the vibration produced by the machine. Typically, sanders come with rubber molds that make them easy to hold. Nonetheless, comfort varies across sanders.

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Overall Best - Bosch ROS20VSK Palm Sander

Our overall best sander for furniture is the Bosch ROS20VSK Palm Sander. As a palm sander that it is, it is perfect for furniture sanding because it can access corners and edges better than other sanders. The 2.5 AMP motor that comes with it is more than powerful enough for furniture refinishing. It can be used over a variety of surfaces because it comes with an adjustable speed setting between 7500 - 12000 OPM. A unique pad dampening system ensures smooth and swirl-free finishes. If you are in the process of refinishing your wooden furniture, this sander is the perfect tool to sand with.

Why Rectangular Sanders Are the Best for Furniture?

Rectangular sanders possess the features of all other sander shapes, with very few of their cons. This and some other reasons make them the best sander type for refinishing furniture.

Lightweight

One of the reasons why rectangular sanders are the best type of sander for furniture is that they are the easiest to hold. Also, they are typically lightweight so that you can move them around easily.

Flexibility

You may have heard that some sanders are not the best for furniture because they cannot sand corners and edges easily. Rectangular and square sander do not have this disadvantage as they can easily conform to furniture shapes and access tight corners and edges.

Superior Sanding 

The sheer ability of rectangular sander to effortlessly reach edges and corners make for better finish quality. With other shapes of sanders, you may have to manually sand some furniture parts, making it even more difficult to achieve uniformity.

Deciding If Wooden Furniture Needs to Be Refinished

You should never sand/refinish wooden floors and furniture just because you feel like taking on a DIY project. Unnecessary refinishing can negatively affect the value of your furniture, especially antiques. If you are struggling to decide whether your furniture needs refinishing, here are some signs you should look out for.

  • The surface of the furniture is always sticky, even after it has been cleaned
  • Blemishes that do not go away after cleaning
  • The present finish is wearing off
  • The furniture color has changed extremely
  • Watermarks and visible rings

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I refinish my furniture myself or hire a professional?

One of the common questions people have, whenever they need to refinish their furniture, is whether or not it should be a DIY project. You should only make it a DIY project if you have experience in woodworking or have executed a similar project. If you don't feel confident in your ability to refinish yourself or lack expertise in woodworking, you should consider hiring a professional.

What sander speed should I use for refinishing my furniture?

It goes without saying that sanders that have adjustable speed are the best. Nevertheless, those with non-adjustable speed are also suitable, provided the speed is between 4000 - 14000 OPM.

What sandpaper should you use with your sander?

The sandpaper grit you choose should depend on the type of finish you want. For removing stains and varnish, use a coarse grit. Medium grit is perfect for smoothing, and a fine grit should be used for fine finishing.

Conclusion

Buying the right sander for refinishing furniture can be an overwhelming process if you are not an experienced woodworker. However, we have made it easier for you to make a good choice by reviewing some of the best detail, random orbit, and palm sanders you can get on the market today. We have also discussed some of the features you should consider before making a final choice. It may take some time to get used to a sander, especially if you have never used one before. Try sanding a different surface, until you become confident enough in your ability to sand the furniture

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