Orbital Sander vs Palm Sander – Which is the Best Suited

orbital sander vs palm sander

Orbital Sander Vs Palm Sander – Which is the Best-suited for your Project?

Sanding is the final step of every woodworking project, and without it, a project will remain incomplete. Moreover, this process will allow a woodworker to eliminate any error that can break your heart. And this process has to be perfect and accurate.

It means the process will not be a perfect and accurate one without the right tool.

The fact is, different types of sander will allow you to make the process correct. Using an orbital or palm sander, a woodworker will be able to accomplish the process efficiently.

Now the question is, which one is the right tool for accomplishing a sanding job accurately? Since many woodworkers are unable to purchase both tool.

In our orbital sander vs palm sander guide, we will share a detailed discussion to help you find the best-suited tool for your task.

What is Orbital Sanders?

Orbital sanders work in small circles by spinning a sanding disc. Orbital sanders are 2 in type: regular orbital and random orbital sander.

i) Regular Sander

Regular sanders sheet is quite large (generally ½ sheet) and square or rectangular-shaped. Compared to palm sanders, regular sanders are bigger in size and sturdy.

ii) Random Orbital Sander

It is a round-headed orbital sander and rotates in a random orbit. Standard orbital sander and random orbital sander have many dissimilarities. Random orbital sander rotates in a similar pattern across a head.

Ideally, it uses lower grit sandpaper ranges from 80 – 160. Being a delicate tool, it requires much care. This sander needs to be moved continuously into different places of a wooden surface in order to get a smooth and flat surface. It is also more robust and bulky than palm sanders.

You will get excellent finishing of a wooden surface with a random orbital sander. It works best when smoothening requires on a wooden surface that is unpainted or unvarnished.

Key feature:

  • Handles big projects comfortably.
  • Rotates at high speed.
  • Lower grit.
  • Delicate tool.

What is Palm Sanders?

Without palm sander, you will not be able to handle light sanding jobs. Palm sanders are the smallest and powerful sander out of different types of the sander. And the most important thing is that it can comfortably take place in our palm, which is why it is called a palm sander.

You can call a palm sander as a sheet sander too or ¼” sheet sander because it uses a ¼” of a standard 9” x 11” sheet of sandpaper. 160 -220 is its grit range, and because of this, a palm sander is an ideal option for accomplishing light sanding projects. So, whenever you require to smoothen a light-duty project, choose a palm sander without any hesitation.

Key feature:

  • Lightweight.
  • Wallet-friendly.
  • Grit range 160 -220.
  • Perfect choice for light projects.
  • Portable.

Comparison Table – Orbital vs Palm Sander

FeatureOrbit SanderPalm Sander or Sheet Sander
Head ShapeCircularSquare/Rectangular
Material of SandingStandard circular sheet that may have Velcro attachedA cut sheet can be used. You can use a circular sheet also.
Sheet Size5” and 6”A ¼” of standard 9” X 11” sanding sheet
MotionCircular or orbitingOrbiting
Usesi) Smoothing rough corners. ii) Paint or varnish removing. iii) Finishing of any wooden surface. i) Accomplishing light duty project.

Orbital vs Sheet Sander – What is the Key Differences

As I stated earlier, woodworking projects will require a sander, and it is one of the essential tools of a woodworker. Before accomplishing any woodworking project, sanding is mandatory since it will help you get a smooth and friction-free wooden surface.

Many sanding materials are available in the market, and if you are unaware of their usage, you may lead yourself in purchasing the wrong product. In the beginning, I faced the same issue too. And once I learned the differences between sanding tools, I can hardly remember that I made a mistake while picking the right sanding tool for my sanding project.

So, what sander should you pick? Similar to other articles regarding the differences between 2 types of tools, I will guide you in purchasing the best-suited sanding tool.

Pick a Palm Sander

A palm sander will assist you in doing finished work. If you have made furniture and plan to paint or varnish it later, then a palm sander will be a wise pick. Sanding edges is another use of palm sander, and you will feel comfortable to work with it because of its compact design. You can do more detailed sanding with a triangular-shaped sander.

Pick an Orbital Sander

When you require to sand a large surface. Orbital sanders are designed in such a way so that it can perform with a large and broad wooden surface efficiently. Besides, it is an effective tool to remove varnishes or paints from wood. With significantly more built-in than palm sander, an orbit sander is proficient enough to use curved wooden bridges.

Frequently Asked Question

Question: How to set up a palm sander?

Answer: After cutting and sanding your sandpaper to almost the ideal size, you basically unlocked the clasp lock, then place the sandpaper inside and fix the stitch lock one more time.

Question: Can I use a palm sander in drywall?

Answer: Yes, you can. But an orbital sander is best-suited for this type of project.

Last Words

In fact, compared to other products, both types of sander are classified as a small product. As a result, both of them can easily be fitted in one hand. They are lightweight and can handle light to heavy finishing projects because both of them are powerful enough.

Lastly, we need to point out that these types of sanders are not a wallet-friendly alternative to remove paintings or varnishes from a wooden surface, which you can be mistaken for when you look at their prices. After looking at each product’s benefits, you have to make the best use of your bucks. After all, it is a quite tricky task to get the final winner of orbital sander vs palm sander debate.

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