When it comes to sanding wood, orbital sanders are more powerful than palm sanders. They can remove a larger amount of material more quickly, which makes them better suited for smoothing out rough surfaces and handling larger areas. They are also better at providing a smooth finish. However, when it comes to wood with grain, orbital sanders may not be the best option. In such cases, palm sanders are better at eliminating small imperfections, especially on inside corners. They aren’t meant for larger areas or for removing large amounts of material.
If you’re trying to decide which sander is better for your needs, it’s important to compare orbital sanders vs palm sanders. Both types of sanders have their unique advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before making a purchase.
Though both of the sander has their own unique benefits, choosing the right one for your needs depends on a variety of factors.
In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between orbital and palm sanders to help you make an informed decision.
What is an Orbital Sander?
An orbital sander is a handheld power tool that uses a circular motion to sand down wood and other materials. It’s commonly used for tasks like smoothing out rough edges on woodworking projects, removing paint or varnish from furniture, and sanding down surfaces before painting or staining.
Orbital sanders are available in a variety of sizes, but the most common are palm-sized models that weigh around 2-3 pounds.
These sanders typically have a dust collection bag to help keep your work area clean, and they can be used with a variety of sandpaper grits depending on the desired finish.
Measurements of Orbital Sander (Avg):
The measurements of an orbital sander can vary depending on the specific make and model. However, on average, a standard orbital sander typically has the following approximate dimensions:
- Length: 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm)
- Width: 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm)
- Height: 5 to 7 inches (13 to 18 cm)
These dimensions are general estimates and may not precisely represent every orbital sander on the market. When selecting an orbital sander, it’s essential to check the product specifications provided by the manufacturer to ensure accurate measurements for the particular model you are considering.
What is a Palm Sander?
A palm sander is a type of orbital sander that’s designed for smaller, more delicate sanding tasks. These sanders are usually much lighter than their full-sized counterparts, weighing in at around 1-2 pounds.
Palm sanders also have a smaller pad size, which allows them to reach tight spaces and corners that would be difficult to sand with a larger sander.
Palm sanders typically have a dust collection bag to help keep your work area clean, and they can be used with a variety of sandpaper grits depending on the desired finish.
The width, height, and length of 5-inch and 6-inch sheet palm sanders are all measured in inches.
5-inch palm sander = 3-1/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 9″
6-inch palm sander = 3-1/2″ x 6″ x 10″
How to Choose the Right Sander?
Choosing the right sander is crucial for achieving optimal results in your woodworking or finishing projects. Here’s a guide to help you make an informed decision:
- Understand Your Project:
- Identify the specific tasks you’ll be undertaking. Different sanders are better suited for tasks such as material removal, finishing, or shaping.
- Types of Sanders:
- Familiarize yourself with various types of sanders, including belt sanders, orbital sanders, random orbital sanders, detail sanders, and disc sanders. Each type serves specific purposes, so choose based on your project requirements.
- Consider Power Source:
- Sanders can be electric, battery-powered, or pneumatic (air-powered). Consider the availability of power sources in your workspace and choose accordingly.
- Power and Speed:
- Evaluate the power and speed of the sander. Higher power and variable speed settings provide more versatility for different tasks and materials.
- Dust Collection:
- Look for sanders with effective dust collection systems. A built-in dust collection feature helps keep your workspace clean and reduces health hazards associated with dust inhalation.
- Ergonomics and Comfort:
- Consider the ergonomics and comfort features of the sander, especially if you have prolonged sanding tasks. Features like a comfortable grip and low vibration contribute to a better user experience.
- Choose a versatile sander that can adapt to various tasks. Some sanders come with interchangeable pads or attachments, allowing you to switch between different sanding applications.
- Size and Weight:
- Consider the size and weight of the sander, especially if portability is essential. Handheld sanders are generally more portable, while larger stationary sanders may be suitable for specific applications.
- Budget Considerations:
- Determine your budget and explore sanders within that price range. There are reliable options available at various price points, so it’s essential to find the right balance between features and cost.
- Reviews and Recommendations:
- Read reviews and seek recommendations from professionals or experienced users. Real-world experiences can provide valuable insights into a sander’s performance and durability.
- Brand Reputation:
- Consider the reputation of the brand. Established brands with a history of producing quality tools are more likely to offer reliable sanders.
- Warranty and Support:
- Check the warranty and customer support offered by the manufacturer. A good warranty ensures that you’re covered in case of defects or malfunctions.
- Test Before Purchase (If Possible):
- If feasible, test the sander in-store or through a demonstration. This hands-on experience can help you assess its usability and performance.
What are the Pros and Cons of an Orbital Sander?
Orbital sanders have a few key advantages that make them a popular choice for woodworking and other projects. First, they’re very powerful and can handle tougher sanding jobs than a palm sander. They’re also faster than palm sanders, so you can get your project done more quickly.
However, there are a few downsides to orbital sanders as well. First, they’re heavier than palm sanders, so you may get tired more quickly if you’re doing a lot of sanding. They’re also more expensive than palm sanders, so they may not be the best choice if you’re on a budget.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Palm Sander?
Although palm sanders aren’t as popular as their corded counterparts, they do have a few distinct advantages that may assist you in your woodworking and other projects. They are also smaller and lighter than orbital sanders, allowing you to work for long periods of time without becoming fatigued.
They’re also less expensive than orbital sanders, so if you have a tight budget, they could be the best option.
There are a few disadvantages to palm sanders. First, they aren’t as powerful as orbital sanders, so they may not be able to tackle heavier sanding tasks. They’re also less rapid than orbital sanders, so you won’t be able to do as much in the same amount of time.
What Is the Perfect Sander for You?
The sander you choose depends on the project you’re working on as well as your budget and preferences. If you’re working on a large project that requires rapid sanding, an orbital sander is the best choice.
But if you’re working on a smaller project or something more delicate, a palm sander may be the better option.
But when you break it down, the best sander for you is ultimately the one that will help you get your project done quickly and easily. So take a look at your project, consider your budget, and decide which type of sander will work best for you.
However, finishing sander or drywall both sander has their benefits.
What Are The Variation Between Orbital And Palm Sanders?
Orbital sanders are the more popular choice for woodworking and other projects because they’re more powerful and faster than palm sanders. However, palm sanders have a few distinct advantages that may make them the better choice for your needs. The rest are-
Power and Speed:
Orbital sanders are more powerful than palm sanders and can handle tougher sanding jobs. They’re also faster, so you can get your project done more quickly. Generally , an orbital sander is the better choice for larger projects that require rapid sanding. In terms of speed of the two, it really depends on the model of each sander.
Size and Weight:
Palm sanders are smaller and lighter than orbital sanders, so you may find them more comfortable to use for extended periods of time. This can be especially helpful if you have a smaller project that requires a lot of sanding.
Can You Use These Tools On Wood Projects?
Both orbital and palm sanders can be used on wood projects. However, you may want to use a different type of sander depending on the size and scale of your project as well as your desired finish.
Can You Use These Tools On Drywall?
For Drywall projects, it is advisable to use a drywall sander for the best results. But if you don’t have one, you can use an orbital or palm sander. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to attach a dust collector to your sander to avoid making a mess.
Do I Need To Use A Sandpaper With These Sanders?
Yes, you will need to use sandpaper with these sanders. The type of sandpaper you’ll need will depend on the grit you want to achieve as well as the type of sander you’re using.
In the end of the article, it all comes to what you really need and want. Consider your project, your budget, and your preferences to decide which type of sander is the best for you. We’ve discuss over the basics of orbital and palm sanders as well as their advantages and disadvantages to help you make a more informed decision.
We hope you found this article helpful.
I am a graduate of Bangladesh Agricultural University, where I delved into various agricultural disciplines, equipping me with a profound understanding of agriculture. Beyond academics, I have hands-on experience in gardening and crop cultivation. My passion is to embrace sustainable farming and horticulture. With a BSc in Agriculture, I am dedicated to promoting environmentally conscious and efficient agrarian practices.
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Agriculture (Hons.)
Master of Science. (Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security ) (MS)
Bangladesh Agricultural University