best sanders uk

Best Sanders UK – The Top 7 in 2021 (Buying Guide & Reviews)

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To help you pick from the best sanders UK, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide, focusing upon the three most popular sander types:

  1. Random orbit sanders for their versatility
  2. Belt sanders for their power & coverage
  3. Detail sanders for sanding small areas and tight spots

Your final choice of sander 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 will give you. However, if you’re looking for a great all-rounder to use on multiple projects, we highly recommend the Bosch PSM 200 AES. We’ve spent many hours testing this sander on various projects and it’s consistently performed well.

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

1. Random Orbit Sanders

random orbit sander on countertop

If you’re only going to buy one sander and are looking for the most versatile, you should opt for a random orbit sander nine times out of ten. 

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 down to characteristics such as design, power type and weight.

Here’s our guide on how to choose the best random orbit sander for your needs.

Corded/Cordless

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

Cordless

Cordless models offer greater freedom as you don’t need to use your sander near a plug socket, and you can take advantage of any good weather to 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 may require an additional purchase for the battery and charger if you don’t already have any from that range.

You may also need a spare battery for longer jobs, which can push the cost up considerably compared to a corded model offering similar performance levels.

Corded

On the other hand, 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 are often a less expensive choice, as they do not require the purchase of additional batteries or chargers like cordless models.

Speed Settings

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

Furthermore, when you choose a cordless model with variable speeds, you may find it helpful to work at a slower pace when you wish to conserve battery power – when waiting for a spare battery to charge up, for example.

Weight

Your random orbit sander is more comfortable to use for more extended periods if it is lightweight. However, you’ll also 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.

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.

Paper Attachment Type

Sandpaper pads may attach with an adhesive back or using 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 to improve your comfort and safety.

Controls

Check the controls for ease of use. They should be located within easy reach but not too close so that 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 will have dust bags or boxes that come as standard, they are not always highly effective, and you may find that you have to stop to empty them frequently. 

If you take on coarse sanding projects or large surface areas, you will probably want to attach a dust extractor. 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 not in use. Also, if you need to transport it, it will make life much easier and enable you to have all of your essential bits and pieces close to hand. 

While an included carry bag isn’t a deal-breaker, it is a nice little extra that will make your workshop more organised and transportation simpler.


2. Belt Sanders

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 are looking to sand back a floor or a tabletop, then a belt sander will be the right choice for your needs. 

How to Choose Your Belt Sander

While most manufacturers build their belt sanders to a standard design, there are certain features that you should look out for to ensure you choose the best belt sander for your needs.

Wattage

The higher the wattage, the more powerful your belt sander will be. 

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

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

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

Power Cord

It is crucial to ensure that your model has a sufficiently long power cord for the kind of job you envisage doing. A longer cable will also give you more flexibility to plug in your sander, especially if you are not working at home or in your workshop.

Handles

Ensure that the handles on your belt sander are in a position that makes it easier to control your sander. 

You should also check the grip and positioning to ensure that your hands will be comfortable when using your belt sander over a large area. The controls should be within easy reach of the handles so that you can safely stop and start your sander.

Automatic Belt Tensioning System

Pay close attention to any systems that make changing the sandpaper belt easier and faster. This feature will make your job much more manageable and save you valuable time, rather than having to adjust each new sandpaper belt manually. 

Automatic belt tensioning systems are generally safer and a great way to hassle-free belt changes.

Variable Speed

If possible, look out for a belt sander with variable speed, as this will allow you to adjust the pace to your needs. You’ll find that different densities of wood can be sanded more easily at different speeds. 

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

Flat Top

If you plan to use your belt sander on its back, for example, to sand the edges of boards or as a sharpener, you’ll need to ensure that your chosen model has a flat top with no protrusions. 

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using your belt sander invertedly. Some may require a special fixing kit to attach them to your workbench.

Dust Bag/Extractor Compatibility

Most models come with an attached dust box or bag as standard. This handy accessory will help keep your work area dust-free and reduce cleaning up time afterwards.

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

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


3. Detail Sanders

carpenter using detail sander

As their name suggests, carpenters use detail sanders for sanding intricate areas or hard to access parts of more extensive jobs. 

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

How to Choose Your Detail Sander

When choosing a new detail sander, there are several things worth bearing in mind when selecting a suitable model for your needs.

Corded/Cordless

As detail sanders don’t need as much brute power as other types of sanders, and they need to be easy to move around, cordless models are preferable. 

Time spent on intricate sections may add up, but the slower speed draws less power from the battery. Power cords can be an extra hindrance over tricky areas such as finials or balustrades, so consider whether or not a cordless model would make your task easier.

The main advantage of opting for a corded detail 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

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

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

Weight

Ideally, your detail sander will be pretty lightweight so that it is easier to move around and get into tight spaces. 

Corded versions weigh in 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, detail sanders may use adhesive or velcro fastening pads. As previously stated, it is preferable to opt for velcro fastening, which tends to stay in place for longer and is more durable over time. 

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

Sanding Plate Shape

Detail sanders come with triangular-shaped sanding plates, making them look a little like an ironing plate. 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. Detail sanders don’t produce as much sawdust as belt sanders do and given their compact size, detail sanders dust bags tend to be on the small side.

If you are going to be using your detail sander for long periods, you may want to check if it has the option to attach a dust extractor or vacuum cleaner. This feature will allow you to get on with your project without having to stop to empty your sander frequently.


Best Sanders UK – 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 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 Belt File Sander
Silverline 247820 Belt File Sander
Silverline 247820 Belt File Sander
8
Check Price
Best Performance Multi-Sander
Bosch PSM 18 Multi-Sander
Bosch PSM 18 Multi-Sander
8
Check Price

Best Random Orbit Sanders UK

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 are looking for 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 Makita cordless random orbit sander extremely easy to set up and use.
  • For even better performance and results, the pad control system features a controlled spin start and a pad brake.
  • This Makita model has three-speed settings at 14,000, 19,000 and 22,000 strokes per minute, making it suitable for almost all sanding tasks and giving you the flexibility to reduce the speed if you need to conserve battery power.
  • Note that 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.
  • Compatible with Makita dust extractors, we think this cordless random orbit sander is your top choice for wire-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
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 are in the market for a great value corded random orbit sander, then the Bosch PEX 300 AE is definitely the one to go for.
  • 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 ideally located on the handle making it easy for you 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, this model can be used on a variety of projects, both delicate and rough.
  • The main drawback to this sander is its dust box. Unfortunately, it is not very effective and some dust escapes. You should also bear in mind that the velcro on the backing plate, to which the pads attach, is easily damaged.
  • However, there is a good quality stackable case included with the PEX, to keep it in optimum condition. A Bosch paper assistant guide also makes changing papers a quick & easy job.
  • 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

Best Belt Sanders UK

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
  • The Makita 9404 Belt Sander is our top pick for extensive, large projects – thanks to its superior performance and power.
  • Equipped with a 1,010-watt motor, this model has the endurance and capacity you need for big jobs. With a minimal amount of vibration, you can comfortably work with this sander for hours on end.
  • The long power cord enables you to cover large areas, which makes 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 is also 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 manually fit belts.
  • This high-performance sander is durable and well constructed; however, all this comes at a hefty price. So, if you are a beginner and only looking to take on smaller projects, you may be better off with a less powerful, and less expensive model.
  • Also, in spite of the price tag, this sander does NOT come with a carry bag or storage container!
  • That said, if you need a heavy-duty belt sander that you will use often, this is the one to go for.
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
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 an ideal choice for all of your coarse sanding work, be it wood, plastic or metal.
  • Equipped with a powerful 710-watt motor, this versatile belt sander has been designed to offer outstanding performance over all your large projects including floors, tabletops and other large furniture items.
  • Thanks to its soft-grip main handle, you’ll remain comfortable throughout, while the secondary handle helps to optimise grip and control. The integrated Bosch dust collection system helps you 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.
  • However, bear in mind that given its power, it does tend to go through belts fairly rapidly. Also, it features only a single speed setting which is its only real drawback.
  • All in all, this robust sander is a real powerhouse which features durable aluminium parts, as well as an excellent design for maximum user comfort and high performance.
Pros
  • 710W motor 
  • Robust aluminium parts 
  • Second handle 
  • Bosch soft-grip main handle 
  • Automatic belt tensioning system 
Cons
  • Single-speed
  • High sandpaper belt consumption

Best Belt File Sander UK

Best Belt File Sander
Silverline 247820 Belt File Sander

Powerful Sander for Intricate Sanding

  • Variable speed
  • Adjustable file arm angle & narrow sanding belt
  • Quick belt tensioning system
  • For intricate sanding in difficult-to-access areas
  • Ideal for sanding, deburring, weld descaling & shaping mortices & wooden joints
  • Thanks to its slim, compact design, if you have a job that requires intricate sanding in hard to access areas, then the Silverline Power Belt File is the model for you. Inexpensive and extremely useful, this handy little must-have sander is a great option.
  • As its motor is integrated within the handle and not to one side, you’ll find that this model is surprisingly well balanced and easy to manoeuvre.
  • The adjustable file arm angle also makes it hard to reach areas easily accessible, thus taking the strain off your wrist. Lightweight and compact, this model is simple to use with its on/off rocker switch and variable speed dial.
  • The rapid belt tensioning system makes changing the belt fast and effortless. Just be aware that this model is a little slow. Its maximum speed only comes in at 550rpm.
  • While this sander is slightly underpowered, this also makes it suitable for slower, more intricate/delicate sanding tasks. You’ll find it invaluable for getting into those tight spaces and corners.”
Pros
  • Slim easy to hold design 
  • Variable speed control dial 
  • Rapid belt tensioning system 
  • Well balanced 
  • Adjustable file arm angle 
Cons
  • Slightly underpowered
  • Slow

Best Detail/Multi-Sanders UK

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 are looking for a cordless detail/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.
  • This model’s power is intelligently managed, thanks to its integral Bosch Syneon Intelligent Power Chip which ensures maximum power and endurance no matter what you’re working on.
  • Please note that this detail/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 simple. The only drawback to this versatile sander is its dust collection, which like many other models, leaves a little to be desired.
  • That said, if you need a good all-purpose detail sander, capable of getting into corners and over rounded edges without a cord getting in the way, we highly recommend the Bosch PSM 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
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 are looking for a higher-end detail/multi-sander, have a look at the Bosch PSM 200 AES.
  • This detail/multi-sander is ideal for your weekend projects, whether you’re a beginner or experienced DIYer. Its compact size and low weight, as well as its ease of use, make it a great 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. Sanding sheets attach easily and securely, thanks to the velcro fixation system, while the two-piece sanding plate improves your sanding paper’s durability.
  • Comes with two types of sanding plates – iron-shaped and rectangular
  • The Bosch ergonomic soft-grip handle will keep your hand comfortable even during lengthy projects.
  • Also, the dust container can be tricky to remove and suffers the same issues as many of the sanders in this list.
  • On the whole though, as an all-rounder, complete with sanding sheets and carry case, the Bosch PSM 200 AES Multi-Sander is good 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 Sanders UK – Final Thoughts

Your choice of sander will depend heavily on your intended use. However, if you are looking for a versatile sander for home DIY projects, we recommend the Bosch PSM 200 AES.

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 good value for money. 

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced user, this handy, inexpensive sander will come in useful for most household sanding tasks.

Its triangular-shaped plate can get 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!