best sanders uk

Best Sanders UK – 2022 Reviews & Buying Guide (The Top 10)

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To help you pick from the best sanders in the UK, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide, focusing upon the five power sander types:

  1. Multi Sander
  2. Random Orbit Sander
  3. Belt Sander
  4. Power File Sander
  5. Detail Sander

In a Hurry? Here’s our Top Pick for the UK’s Best Overall Sander in 2022:

Best Overall Sander

Versatile, Compact and Lightweight

  • Bosch microfilter system
  • SDS base plate change
  • Velcro-type fastening system. Sanding surface, iron-shaped - 104 cm². Sanding surface, rectangular - 164 cm² (92 x 182 mm). Orbital stroke rate - 6.000 – 26.000 opm
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Versatile and easy to use

Your final choice of sander from the list above will depend heavily on how you’ll be using it. For example, if you’re sanding wooden floors, you should go for a belt sander because of the wide coverage it provides. However, if you’re restoring furniture and need to reach tight spots, detail sanders are your best option.

In the guide that follows, we’ll start by reviewing the best sanders for each of the five types listed above. After that, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know when shopping for the best sanders in the UK.

Read on to find the best sander for you and your projects.


1. Best Multi Sander UK – 2022 Reviews

Multi sanders are designed to deliver the best of all worlds and fulfil multiple roles. Bosch is the leader in this market, and we’re reviewing two of our favourite models below.

Best Overall Sander

Best Overall Sander
Bosch PSM 200 AES Multi Sander

Versatile, Compact and Lightweight

  • Bosch microfilter system
  • SDS base plate change
  • Velcro-type fastening system. Sanding surface, iron-shaped - 104 cm². Sanding surface, rectangular - 164 cm² (92 x 182 mm). Orbital stroke rate - 6.000 – 26.000 opm
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Versatile and easy to use
  • If you’re looking for a higher-end multi sander, have a look at the Bosch PSM 200 AES.
  • This multi sander is ideal for your weekend projects, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced DIYer. Its compact size and low weight, as well as its ease of use, make it an excellent choice for sanding furniture such as tables and chairs.
  • The iron-shaped design allows you to closely sand edges, corners and other hard to access areas. Thanks to the velcro fixation system, sanding sheets attach easily and securely, while the two-piece sanding plate improves your sanding paper’s durability.
  • It comes with two types of sanding plates – iron-shaped and rectangular
  • The Bosch ergonomic soft-grip handle keeps your hand comfortable even during lengthy projects.
  • The dust container can be tricky to remove and suffers the same issues as many sanders in this list.

Summary: As an all-rounder, complete with sanding sheets and carry case, the Bosch PSM 200 AES Multi Sander offers fantastic value.

Pros
  • Iron-shaped and rectangular sanding plates 
  • Compact and lightweight 
  • Ergonomic soft-grip handle 
  • Carry case, and sanding sheets included 
Cons
  • Difficult to remove the dust container
  • Velcro sanding pads can wear out quickly if misused

Best Performance Multi Sander

Best Performance Multi Sander
Bosch PSM 18 Multi Sander

Versatile, Compact and Lightweight

  • Part of the 18 V 'Power4All' collection of tools - battery and charger sold separately
  • Lithium-ion technology - small, light, powerful and always ready to use, 3 Green LEDs indicate the battery level
  • Turnable/changeable Delta plate with SDS system for economical usage of sanding paper and plate gives the possibility to attach other sanding attachments
  • Sanding plate with lasting velcro type ensures high durability and easy change of sanding paper
  • Compact size, ergonomic shape, Softgrip, Microfilter System box - easy to clean with maximum dust collection
  • This Bosch multi sander makes an excellent choice if you’re looking for a cordless multi sander and you already own other Bosch 18V Power4All range tools.
  • This compact sander features LED battery level indicators, so you know at a glance how much power you have remaining and when it’s time to charge up.
  • Bosch’s Syneon Intelligent Power Chip intelligently manages power output, ensuring maximum power and endurance no matter what project you’re undertaking.
  • This multi sander is sold without a battery or charger but is compatible with the Bosch 18V Power4All range (hence why it’s a good choice if you own other tools in this range).
  • While the iron-shaped sanding plate allows you to get into corners with ease, the velcro fastening system is quick and straightforward. The only drawback to this versatile sander is its dust collection, which like many other models, leaves a little to be desired.

Summary: If you need an excellent all-purpose cordless multi sander capable of getting into corners and over rounded edges, we highly recommend the Bosch PSM 18 Cordless Multi Sander.

Pros
  • Bosch Syneon Intelligent Power Chip 
  • Iron-shaped sanding plate 
  • LED battery level indicators 
  • Velcro fastening 
  • Ergonomic soft-grip handle
Cons
  • No battery included
  • Poor dust collection

2. Best Random Orbit Sander UK – 2022 Reviews

Whether you’re looking for versatility or value in a random orbit sander, we’ve chosen products that are robust and reliable. Both our recommended products have variable speed settings, and both are easy to set up and use.

Best Performance Random Orbit Sander

Best Performance Random Orbit Sander
Makita DBO180Z Random Orbit Sander

Robust High-Performance Cordless Sander

  • 3-speed settings for fast, medium and low
  • Pad brake
  • Hook and loop Paper fastening
  • Pad size 123mm
  • Paper size 125mm
  • This random orbit sander by Makita is a robust, well-designed model that makes a great choice if you’re looking for a high-performance cordless sander. 
  • It has a comfortable grip, and its compact size with a low centre of gravity makes it easy to manoeuvre.
  • With simple touch buttons and velcro paper fastenings, you’ll find this sander extremely easy to set up and use.
  • The pad control system features a controlled spin start and a brake for better control.
  • This Makita model has three separate speed settings at 14,000, 19,000 and 22,000 strokes per minute, giving you the flexibility to reduce the speed if you need to conserve battery power.
  • This particular model does not come with a battery. However, this makes it an ideal choice if you already own other compatible Makita 18V power tools.
  • There is no storage case with this model, which would be nice to have if you frequently need to transport your tools.

Summary: Compatible with Makita dust extractors, we think this cordless random orbit sander is your top choice for cable-free performance.

Pros
  • Three-speed settings 
  • Compact size
  • Velcro paper fastening
  • Dust extractor connectable
  • Pad control system
Cons
  • Batteries not included
  • No storage case

Best Value Random Orbit Sander

Best Value Random Orbit Sander
Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander

Powerful Corded Sander

  • Variable speed control with ergonomic positioning
  • User comfort due to small size with optimal low weight and ideal shape
  • Smooth operating tool due to low vibrations
  • Easy fitting of the sanding paper (1 x DIA 125 K 80) thanks to the Paper Assistant
  • Integrated dust extraction due to the dust box. Speed preselection
  • If you’re in the market for a corded random orbit sander, then the Bosch PEX 300 AE is the one to buy.
  • Its powerful 270-watt motor makes it suitable for large tasks, while its compact design and low weight mean that it won’t tire you out when doing extensive work.
  • Its ergonomic, soft-grip handle and low vibration design ensure maximum comfort. 
  • The controls are located on the handle, making it easy to change the speed on the go using the speed adjustment thumbwheel.
  • With a choice of speeds between 4,000 and 24,000 sanding movements per minute, you can use this model on various projects, both delicate and rough.
  • The main drawback to this sander is its dust box. Unfortunately, it’s not very effective, with some dust escaping during tests. 
  • Unfortunately, the velcro on the backing plate (where the pads attach) damages easily.
  • It includes a solid stackable case to keep it in optimum condition. 
  • A Bosch paper assistant guide makes changing papers a quick & easy job.

Summary: For the price, this is an excellent model with a wide range of uses

Pros
  • Adjustable speed control
  • Ergonomic soft-grip handle
  • Dynamically balanced 270W motor
  • Compact and low weight
  • Bosch paper assistant included
Cons
  • Inefficient dust collector
  • Backing plate velcro is easily damaged

3. Best Belt Sander UK – 2022 Reviews

It’s all about the wattage on our best belt sanders, with our top-performing Makita product generating over a thousand watts from its motor. We’ve also prioritised practicality, from cord length to the ease of belt changes.

Best Performance Belt Sander

Best Performance Belt Sander
Makita 9404 Belt Sander

Powerful Corded Belt Sander

  • Variable speed control
  • High power for faster stock removal
  • Flat top for inverted applications
  • Speed adjusting dial for optimum belt speed to suit various workpieces
  • Equipped with an auto-tracking belt system
  • Thanks to its superior performance and power, the Makita 9404 Belt Sander is our top pick for extensive, large projects.
  • Equipped with a 1,010-watt motor, this model has the endurance and capacity you need for big jobs. With minimal vibration, you can comfortably work with this sander for hours on end.
  • The long power cord enables you to cover large areas, making it ideal for stripping back wooden floors. 
  • You can quickly and easily adjust the speed from 210 up to 440 metres per minute for fast-paced sanding to suit your needs. 
  • The design makes it easy to get the nose and side of the sander flush with walls for an unbeatable wall-to-wall finish.
  • The 9404 features a flat top, so you can use it upside down while fixed to your workbench. 
  • There’s a dust bag to help keep your work environment clean and dust-free.
  • Changing belts is simple, thanks to the auto-tracking belt system, meaning you’ll be able to spend more time on your project rather than messing about trying to fit belts manually.
  • This high-performance sander is durable and well constructed; however, all this comes at a hefty price. So, if you’re a beginner and only looking to take on smaller projects, you may be better off with a less powerful and less expensive model.
  • Despite the high price tag, this sander does NOT come with a carry bag or storage container.

Summary: if you need a heavy-duty belt sander that you will use often, this is the one to purchase.

Pros
  • Powerful 1,010W motor 
  • Variable speed 
  • Flat top for inverted operation 
  • Long cable 
  • Auto-tracking belt system 
Cons
  • No carry case
  • Expensive

Best Value Belt Sander

Best Value Belt Sander
Bosch PBS 75 Belt Sander

Versatile and Great Value

  • Fitted with the Bosch microfilter system for efficient built-in dust extraction. Perfect handling – easy to control thanks to improved ergonomics and compact design
  • Automatic belt tensioning system makes changing the belt quick and easy
  • Manual belt alignment is not required as the belt is automatically held in the correct work position while sanding
  • Can also be used for stationary work. Robust housing – high quality and stability due to aluminium components
  • Compact design, improved manageability and handling of the tool
  • The Bosch PBS 75A Belt Sander is ideal for coarse sanding wood, plastic or metal.
  • This versatile belt sander is equipped with a powerful 710-watt motor and offers outstanding performance on big projects, including floors, tabletops and other large furniture items.
  • Thanks to its soft-grip main handle, your hands will remain comfortable, while the secondary handle helps to optimise grip and control. 
  • The integrated Bosch dust collection system helps keep your work area clean, and the low vibrations improve your comfort levels.
  • Changing the belt is extremely easy on this model. The automatic belt tensioning system means you’ll waste little time fitting your belt during the middle of a big job.
  • Bear in mind that it tends to go through belts relatively rapidly, given its power. 
  • This model features only a single speed setting which is its only real drawback.

Summary: All in all, this robust sander is an absolute powerhouse that features durable aluminium parts and an excellent design for maximum user comfort.

Pros
  • 710W motor 
  • Robust aluminium parts 
  • Second handle 
  • Bosch soft-grip main handle 
  • Automatic belt tensioning system 
Cons
  • Single-speed
  • High sandpaper belt consumption

4. Best Power File Sander UK – 2022 Reviews

Small and lightweight, power file sanders are designed for intricate or detailed sanding.

Their compact bodies don’t support vacuum attachments, but there’s no excuse for them lacking adjustable power or easy belt changing mechanisms.

Best Performance Power File Sander

Best Performance Power File Sander
Ryobi R18PF-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Power File (Body Only)
  • 3-Sided sanding Belt allows for intricate work - ideal for sanding and shaping a variety of materials such as wood, Metal and tile
  • 18 volts powers belt rotates up to 630m/min with variable speed control
  • Tool-less tension locking lever and belt tracking dial for quick belt fitting and adjustment
  • Slim line and ergonomic handle design allows easy manoeuvrability and intricate sanding in extremely tight spaces
  • Supplied with sanding Belts (13mm x 457mm)
  • The body-only R18PF-0 is part of Ryobi’s ONE+ range of cordless tools, meaning other Ryobi batteries will clip neatly onto its canary-yellow chassis. However, if this is your first exposure to the Ryobi ecosystem, there’ll be an additional battery expense on top of this body-only power file sander.
  • An 18-volt motor supports belt rotation up to 630 m/min, with variable speed control ensuring it doesn’t have to run full speed for smaller or delicate work.
  • Ryobi includes several sanding belts, a tool-less tension lever supporting rapid belt changes and a tracking dial enabling fine adjustments.
  • It works well as a plunge sander, enabling you to access the inside of tubing or inner corners on awkwardly-shaped furnishings.
  • The main drawback to this product is its lack of dust extraction. You’ll need goggles and a dust mask to use this sander indoors.

Summary: If you already own Ryobi tools, this ONE+ model will slot neatly into your toolbox for detailed sanding jobs. It’s powerful and flexible but has no dust extraction mechanism.

Pros
  • Very powerful
  • Lightweight chassis
  • Comfortable to hold
  • Belt rotation of over 600 m/min
  • Easy to change and adjust belts
Cons
  • No dust extraction
  • Expensive to buy, especially if you don’t already have Ryobi batteries

Best Value Power File Sander

Best Value Power File Sander
BLACK+DECKER 350 W Electric Powerfile Sander , KA900E-GB
  • Powerful 350 W motor for optimal stock removal
  • Variable speed for optimal control and finish when sanding
  • Cyclonic action dust canister ensures efficient dust collection
  • Screw operated belt tracking
  • There’s a pleasing simplicity to this mains-powered power file sander from BLACK+DECKER, which is also highly affordable.
  • It has a 350-watt motor with variable speeds, delivering a consistent finish in different environments.
  • A dust canister does a fair job of capturing dust generated by the sander belt, though it fills quickly and doesn’t capture as much as a vacuum system would.
  • The belt has a screw-operated tracking system to prevent slipping off its rollers during extensive use.
  • BLACK+DECKER provides three sanding belts, so you can use this sander immediately after unboxing.
  • A weight of 1.2 kg makes this a relatively heavy object and requires a moderate amount of upper-body strength for prolonged use.

Summary: This sander does a great job of blending power with affordability, and it’s ready to use out of the box. However, for a mains-powered device, it’s surprisingly heavy to hold.

Pros
  • Affordably priced
  • Easy to use out of the box
  • Variable speeds
  • Won’t lose charge mid-job
  • Powerful enough for most sanding jobs
Cons
  • Quite heavy and noisy
  • The limited success of dust capture mechanism

5. Best Detail Sander UK – 2022 Reviews

The ideal tool for reaching corners and edges. A detail sander is an essential purchase if you’re looking for the perfect finish on floors and inside cupboards where recessed right-angles might defeat a random orbit or belt sander.

Best Performance Detail Sander

Best Performance Detail Sander
DeWalt D26430 240V 300W DetaiL Sander
  • Variable speed control 14, 000 -22, 000 orbits per minute
  • High performance motor for long life
  • Large orbit size for high stock removal
  • Dust collection using integrated extraction or external dust extractor for a better sanding performance and sheet life
  • 360 degree rotating base plate for improved access and uniform sanding sheet wear
  • DeWalt’s mains-powered D26430 is our go-to detail sander when you have a large workload.
  • Despite weighing almost 1.8kg, this corded electric device has a high-performance motor.
  • A variable speed control setting enables you to adjust performance between 14,000 and 22,000 orbits per minute, while a large orbit size ensures a large coverage area.
  • You have the choice between integrated cartridge extraction or an external vacuum, which minimises the amount of dust in the ambient environment.
  • Any 90mm hook and loop sanding pads will fit, which means you’re not locked into buying DeWalt products.
  • Some people have pointed out that the cooling motor’s position means that dust is blown back into the user’s face, so protective goggles and a mask are advisable.
  • The price is relatively high, which may put off more casual DIYers who could buy our other recommended product for less than half as much.

Summary: Capable of 22,000 orbits per minute, and with a choice of extraction techniques, the DeWalt offers all the detail you’re ever likely to need.

Pros
  • No batteries or charging to worry about
  • Accepts any 90mm sanding pads
  • Variable speed control
  • Large orbit size
Cons
  • Relatively heavy and quite expensive
  • May expel dust into the user’s face

Best Value Detail Sander

Best Value Detail Sander
BLACK+DECKER 120 W Next-Gen Detail Mouse Electric Sander with 9 Accessories and Kitbox, KA2500K-GB
  • New compact design allows for optimum control, with three separate rubber gripping areas
  • Micro filtration dust canister for optimum dust collection
  • Quick fit new and innovative mesh sanding sheets provide four times the life of standard sand paper
  • Detail base designed to give better results when sanding intricate areas
  • Dust sealed slide switch for reduced fatigue during continual operation. Detailed finger sanding attachment
  • Our second detail sander recommendation is also mains-powered, helping it to weigh in at less than one kilogram.
  • Its compact design makes it easy to use one-handed, while three separate rubber gripping areas provide an ergonomic hold.
  • It’s compatible with BLACK+DECKER’s range of mesh sanding sheets, which the manufacturer claims can last up to four times as long as traditional sandpaper.
  • A rocker switch enables continuous operation without the user manually keeping it activated, which is beneficial for larger jobs and ones in awkward corners.
  • A microfiltration dust canister is standard.
  • The KA2500K comes with a kit box and a total of nine accessories, making it excellent value for money.
  • However, the dust extractor is relatively small, while the no-load speed of 11,000rpm is on the low side for a product of this type.

Summary: The KA2500K comes with a kit box and a total of nine accessories, making it excellent value for money. Its main problem is the limited power and dust extraction capacity.

Pros
  • Outstanding value
  • It comes with everything you need to get started
  • Lightweight chassis
  • Long-lasting mesh sanding sheets
  • Grippy and easy to use for extended periods
Cons
  • Not the most powerful detail sander
  • Dust collector fills surprisingly quickly

Best Sanders UK – 2022 Comparison Table

ImageProductRatingPrice
Best Overall Sander
Bosch PSM 200 AES Multi Sander
Bosch PSM 200 AES Multi Sander
9.5
Check Price
Best Performance Belt Sander
Makita 9404 Belt Sander
Makita 9404 Belt Sander
9
Check Price
Best Value Belt Sander
Bosch PBS 75 Belt Sander
Bosch PBS 75 Belt Sander
9
Check Price
Best Value Detail Sander
BLACK+DECKER 120 W Next-Gen Detail Mouse Electric Sander with 9 Accessories and Kitbox, KA2500K-GB
BLACK+DECKER 120 W Next-Gen Detail Mouse Electric Sander with 9 Accessories and Kitbox, KA2500K-GB
8
Check Price
Best Performance Random Orbit Sander
Makita DBO180Z Random Orbit Sander
Makita DBO180Z Random Orbit Sander
8
Check Price
Best Value Random Orbit Sander
Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander
Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander
8
Check Price
Best Performance Multi Sander
Bosch PSM 18 Multi Sander
Bosch PSM 18 Multi Sander
8
Check Price
Best Performance Power File Sander
Ryobi R18PF-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Power File (Body Only)
Ryobi R18PF-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Power File (Body Only)
7.5
Check Price
Best Value Power File Sander
BLACK+DECKER 350 W Electric Powerfile Sander , KA900E-GB
BLACK+DECKER 350 W Electric Powerfile Sander , KA900E-GB
7.5
Check Price
Best Performance Detail Sander
DeWalt D26430 240V 300W DetaiL Sander
DeWalt D26430 240V 300W DetaiL Sander
7
Check Price

Sanders Buying Guide – 2022 UK Edition

To help you find the best sander for your needs, we’ve detailed each type of sander below. We’ve also included the top features and things to avoid.

1. Multi Sander

man using a multi sander

As their name suggests, carpenters use multi sanders for sanding intricate areas or hard to access parts.

Compact and lightweight, they’re designed for maximum manoeuvrability, giving you added freedom of movement. 

How to Choose Your Multi Sander

Consider the following features when buying a new multi sander:

Corded vs Cordless

As multi sanders don’t need as much power as other sanders, but they need to be highly manoeuvrable, cordless models are preferable. 

Time spent on intricate sections may add up, but the slower speed draws less power from the battery. Moreover, power cords are an extra hindrance over tricky areas such as finials or balustrades, so consider whether a cordless model will make your task easier.

The main advantage of opting for a corded multi sander is the price, as corded models tend to be cheaper. This fact is especially true if you don’t own any power tools with interchangeable batteries from the same product range. 

While a cord may get in your way, if you don’t have a charged up battery ready to go, it’s often more convenient to plug in a corded model and get the job done.

Handle

Multi sanders are designed for one-handed use and generally feature straight handles that allow you to angle your sanding blade precisely. 

Some models have handles that sit over and above the sanding plate, making them better suited to tasks such as sanding small flat items of furniture.

Weight

Ideally, your multi sander should be pretty lightweight so that it’s easier to move around and get into tight spaces. 

Corded versions weigh around one kilogram, preventing your hand from becoming fatigued and making it easier to angle your sander when accessing hard to reach areas.

Fastening System

Like random orbit sanders, multi sanders use adhesive or velcro fastening pads. It’s preferable to opt for velcro fastening, which tends to stay in place for longer and is more durable over time. 

Pro Tip: When choosing a multi sander, aside from the fastening type, look at the availability and cost of extra sandpaper pads.

Sanding Plate Shape

Multi sanders come with triangular-shaped sanding plates, making them look like ironing plates. This shape allows them easy access into tight corners and along edges. 

Before purchasing, consider the size and width of the sanding plate and whether it’s narrow enough to produce the level of detail you’re trying to achieve.

Dust Bag/Box

Your model should come complete with a dust bag or box to collect sawdust. Multi sanders don’t produce as much sawdust as belt sanders, so multi sanders dust bags tend to be on the small side.

If you’re going to be using your multi sander for long periods, you may want to check if it has the option to attach a dust extractor or vacuum cleaner. This feature allows you to get on with your project without frequently stopping to empty your sander.


2. Random Orbit Sander

random orbit sander on countertop

Random orbital sanders are highly versatile and produce a better finish with very few visible scratches. 

How to Choose Your Random Orbit Sander

While random orbit sanders all work in the same way, there can be a lot of differences when it comes to power type, weight and design.

Corded vs Cordless

Before looking at individual models, take a few moments to decide whether a corded or a cordless model best suits your needs.

Cordless
  • Cordless models offer greater freedom as you don’t need to use your sander near a plug socket. You can also take advantage of good weather and work outside – cutting down on interior dust and mess.
  • Without a power cord, you can enjoy greater freedom of movement, especially when taking on larger projects with a greater surface area.
  • Many cordless models require you to purchase a battery and charger separately unless you already own batteries from the same product range.
  • You should also purchase a spare battery for longer jobs, pushing the cost up considerably compared to a corded model offering similar performance levels.
Corded
  • Corded models tend to be more powerful and won’t run out of battery. So, if you often have extensive projects that take up many hours of sanding at high power, then a corded model would be a better choice for your needs. 
  • They’re often less expensive, as they don’t require additional batteries or chargers.
Speed Settings

Variable speed control is convenient for quickly switching tasks or taking care of more delicate items. 

When you use a cordless model with variable speeds, you may find it helpful to work slower when conserving battery power. This feature is handy when waiting for a spare battery to charge up.

Weight

Lighter random orbit sanders are much more comfortable to use for more extended periods. However, you’ll find that it’s easier to sand more effectively if your sander has some extra weight to it. This additional weight prevents you from continually pushing down over large areas.

Pro Tip: When choosing a random orbit sander, pay attention to the model’s weight while also considering your strength and the type of projects you’ll be undertaking.

Sandpaper Attachment Type

Sandpaper pads attach with an adhesive back or a velcro style attachment. For better longevity and improved adhesion, velcro fastenings are preferable.

Grip

Sanding for any amount of time can leave you with aching hands and wrists, so it’s essential to check the quality of the handle before purchasing. 

Ergonomically shaped handles with an easy to grip coating are an excellent choice for improving your comfort and safety.

Controls

Check the controls for ease of use. They should be located within easy reach but not so close; you risk hitting them inadvertently. Rotary dials or thumbwheels offer great ways to adjust speed on the go.

Dust Bag/Extractor Compatibility

While most models include dust bags or boxes, they’re not always highly effective, and you may have to stop to empty them frequently. 

If you take on coarse sanding projects or large surface areas, you’ll want to attach a dust extractor. 

Pro Tip: Consider the availability and cost of compatible extractors for any particular model before purchasing.

Carry Bag

It’s not essential, but a carry bag or storage box is a great way to keep your random orbit sander safe when you’re not using it. 

While an included carry bag isn’t a deal-breaker, it’s a nice extra that helps organise your workshop and improves portability.


3. Belt Sander

belt sander sanding wood

Carpenters generally use Belt sanders to strip back finishes over large areas. They tend to be pretty heavy-duty and provide coarse sanding. 

So, if you’re looking to sand back a floor or a tabletop, then a belt sander is the best option. 

How to Choose Your Belt Sander

While most manufacturers build their belt sanders to a standard design, there are particular features you should look out for when buying the best belt sander for your needs.

Wattage

If you don’t have much experience or are looking to complete medium-sized jobs, a lower wattage model could work to your advantage. I.e. powerful models sand aggressively, leaving you with lines that you need to sand out. 

A higher-wattage model is best for large tasks like stripping paint off a wooden floor or a large table.

The increased power allows you to get the job done faster, without the need to keep passing over the same area.

Power Cord

It’s crucial to ensure that the power cord is long enough for your projects. A longer cable gives you more flexibility, especially if you’re working outside your home or workshop.

Handles

Check the handle’s grip and positioning to ensure your hands are comfortable using your belt sander over a large area. 

Also, check the controls are within easy reach of the handles so you can safely stop and start your belt sander.

Automatic Belt Tensioning System

Pay close attention to any systems that make changing the sandpaper belt easier and faster. This feature saves you time adjusting each new sandpaper belt manually. 

Automatic belt tensioning systems are generally safer and great for hassle-free belt changes.

Variable Speed

If possible, look for a belt sander with variable speed, as this allows you to adjust the speed to suit your needs. You’ll find that different wood densities require different speeds. 

You may also want to adjust the speed to quickly get through the coarser sanding stage, then reduce the pace for a smoother finish when using finer sandpaper.

Flat Top

If you plan on using your belt sander on its back to sand the edges of boards or as a sharpener, ensure your chosen model has a flat top with no protrusions. 

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your belt sander invertedly, and some may require a special fixing kit.

Dust Bag/Extractor Compatibility

Most models come with an attached dust box or bag as standard. This handy accessory helps keep your work area dust-free and reduces clean up time.

As coarse sanding over large areas produces a lot of sawdust, you may have to stop frequently to empty your dust bag. 

Check if your model is compatible with a dust extractor or vacuum cleaner. This feature removes sawdust without having to stop as frequently.


4. Power File Sander

man using a power file sander

This specialist sanding tool is the perfect companion for intricate or detailed sanding jobs, such as bannister spindles.

Power file sanders are also great for filing, sanding and sculpting, as well as smoothing out protruding metalwork or even sharpening knife blades. You shouldn’t have to apply pressure when sanding – simply ensure the belt is in contact with the material.

Each power file sander has an adjustable arm extending from its main motor housing, which can extend into places larger devices (and even your arm) might struggle to reach. This sander contains a belt that spins at a speed calculated in metres per minute (m/min).

How to Choose Your Power File Sander

In truth, there isn’t a massive disparity between one power file sander and the next. Any device should make light work of timber, though motor power and wattage come into play if you’re working with more abrasive materials like metal.

Wattage

There are varying ways manufacturer’s promote the power of their sanders. For example, our chosen BLACK+DECKER product is listed as having a 350-watt motor, whereas Ryobi markets their offering as having a belt rotation of up to 630m/min. While these are incompatible measurement methods, both devices are more than capable of any task you’re likely to undertake.

Power Cord

Expanding on the last point, Ryobi quotes voltage instead of wattage – specifically, 18V DC on this battery-powered device, unlike the mains-powered BLACK+DECKER. The latter’s cord is almost three metres long, ensuring excellent range.

Handles

Because of the vibration caused by the spinning belt passing through the chassis, comfortable hand grips are vitally important. 

We recommend rubberised handles with dimples since plastic may become slippery as your hands experience ongoing heat and vibration.

The best power file sanders have protruding side handles for two-handed use, though it’s worth noting these are always on the left side of the device. If you’re left-handed, you might find it inconvenient having to use the trigger with your weaker hand.  

Variable Speed

Our shortlisted products both have variable speed controls, allowing you to determine what finish you want. More challenging jobs require more power, whereas light decorative sanding shouldn’t require much elbow grease.

Dust Bag/Extractor Compatibility

Vacuum extraction is too bulky for these relatively lightweight objects, so if your chosen device has a dust capture mechanism, it’ll be a bag or container.

The BLACK+DECKER comes attached to a cyclonic action dust canister, which helps to keep working areas and surrounding surfaces relatively dust-free. However, the Ryobi has no such capture mechanism – worth remembering, depending on the nature of work you’re doing.


5. Detail Sander

carpenter using detail sander

Also known as a delta or mouse sander, a detail sander is a small triangular device used for sanding hard edges and recessed corners. It’s smaller and lighter than a standard belt or disc machine, making it easier to sand thin timbers like picture frames. They also fit neatly into tight corners and hard-to-reach spots.

As well as their core role of sanding, detail sanders can file down exposed nail heads, remove varnish and paint, or polish metallic/plastic surfaces. Bear in mind that different projects require varying coarseness of sandpaper.

How to Choose Your Detail Sander

As with the other sanders, detail sanders have varying features and specifications. Here’s what you need to know.

Corded vs Cordless
  • Most detail sanders are corded.
  • As with orbit sanders, manufacturers generally list their power in watts. 
  • Smaller batteries mean less power, influencing the sander’s ability to tackle hard surfaces quickly.
  • Battery-powered devices also have the battery pack’s extra weight, which further reduces their effectiveness while potentially tiring you out quicker.
  • Choosing a cordless design gives you the freedom to work anywhere, including outdoors – handy if you suffer from dust allergies or conditions like rhinitis.
  • Cordless is excellent for whole-room detailing where a mains lead might not stretch.

Sanding is physical work, so it’s crucial to ensure your detail sander isn’t too heavy. This concern might steer you towards a corded machine that doesn’t need a battery pack. 

Our chosen BLACK+DECKER detail sander weighs less than one kilogram, which means it shouldn’t cause too much arm ache on longer jobs. Severe arm ache is a common problem, especially when sanding higher-up areas like doors or window frames.

Fastening System

Our preferred method of attaching sandpaper is the hook and loop system. These velcro strips provide a substantial level of adhesion while being relatively straightforward to change.

We’d recommend avoiding any sander where you have to tuck sandpaper into place or cut it to shape manually. This extra step is unnecessary in the age of stick-on replacement strips.

Sanding Plate Shape

The beauty of a detail sander is that it tapers to a point rather than being a rectangular or circular shape. While you could attempt to sand a recessed corner using a belt sander, having a triangular edge is perfect for getting into nooks and crannies.

Ensure your chosen detail sander has a plentiful supply of sanding sheets before investing in it. A discontinued model might be on sale, but it could represent a false economy if you have to pay a premium for increasingly hard-to-get sheets.

Our recommended DeWalt detail sander has a rotating base. This feature ensures uniform wear on each sandpaper strip, rather than filing down one edge and having the rest of the sheet in pristine condition.

Dust Bag/Box

Since sanding generates large quantities of dust, an extraction port is vital. Sawdust is drawn up into the sander through base plate holes before being expelled via the extraction port.

The port might clip onto a proprietary box or bag through a microfilter or simply allow you to attach a vacuum cleaner pipe. 

With corded devices, it’s worth considering the practicalities of having a mains cable and a vacuum pipe both extending away from the machine while in use.

A capture box is a passive method of dust capture, and a vacuum is more powerful and far better at hovering up dust from the surrounding atmosphere.


Best Sanders UK – Final Thoughts

Your choice of sander depends heavily on your intended use. However, if you’re looking for a versatile sander for various home DIY projects, we highly recommend the Bosch PSM 200 AES.

Best Overall Sander

Versatile, Compact and Lightweight

  • Bosch microfilter system
  • SDS base plate change
  • Velcro-type fastening system. Sanding surface, iron-shaped - 104 cm². Sanding surface, rectangular - 164 cm² (92 x 182 mm). Orbital stroke rate - 6.000 – 26.000 opm
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Versatile and easy to use

It has enough power for your weekend projects while remaining compact and light. Its two-piece sanding plate helps your sanding pads last longer, and it represents excellent value for money. 

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced user, this handy and inexpensive sander will prove helpful for most household sanding tasks.

Its triangular-shaped plate gets into tight spaces and up against walls, as well as sanding down medium-sized furniture, including a chest of drawers and tables. 

And as if that wasn’t enough, the sanding pads attach quickly and easily with velcro fastenings, making this sander a convenient option for any home.