A palm sander is considered as the most effective and versatile tool for polishing and grinding surfaces. It is possible due to a combination of rotational and eccentric movements of the sole, which rotates in orbit and simultaneously scrolls around its axis. Such a complex movement of the abrasive allows the best palm sander (also known as orbital) to effectively grind with a minimum number of flaws.
These devices have a weight of 2.2 to 6.6 pounds and can be equipped with a rectangular sole with a clamping mechanism at the edges, which fixes the sanding paper. There are models with the ability to fix snap to the sole. I really like that the sole makes reciprocating movements in a circular orbit, due to this, the soft grinding or polishing is carried out. The power of the tool’s electric engine is from 150 to 600W. The sole is of 2 types: standard – 4×8 inches, and mini – about 4×4 inches. Such units are made for delicate handling of medium flat surfaces. They perform finishing grinding of various surfaces, like wood, plastic, or even stone.
Check out our orbital sander reviews and compare the features of the following products and take a final decision.
Palm Sander Reviews
Dewalt DCW210B — Best Cordless Palm Sander
This DEWALT palm sander is compact, it can be easily operated, and weighs 2.5 pounds. Its body frame isn’t high (8.8 x 5.7 x 6.3 inches), which allows you to confidently control the position of the tool in relation to the machined surface. The rubberized butt plate of the electric engine casing supports the handle and greatly dampens vibration. Moreover, the speed of the sole rotation can be discreetly changed and a ratchet wheel is conveniently located next to the power button. The sanding sole is flat, it has 8 holes for dust removal and the abrasive material is reliably fastened with velcro. I like the compact dust-collecting tank, which can be connected to the nozzle with one hand. The connector design is simple; its size is compatible with all the DEWALT vacuum cleaner hoses.
- The rubberized handle provides a comfortable grip and gives complete control over the tool.
- The inbuilt ventilation system reduces the risk of overheating during prolonged use.
- It isn’t easy to attach the hose of another brand vacuum cleaner to this pipe. I had to find an adapter of the appropriate size.
- The unit is rather weak as it doesn’t have enough power for rough sandy pine.
Dewalt DWE6411K — Best 1/4 Sheet Palm Sander
The unit is well-known due to the 2.3-Amp engine and the paper clamp, which makes fixing much better than classic velcro. Pay attention that if the treated floor is smooth, the machine will be able to get rid of thin paint patches. In case the paint is embedded in the concrete texture, the DEWALT DWE6411K won’t work correctly. I really like that the device can be used even for fiberglass but only with the finer grit sandpaper (nearly 220 grits). Compared to the old DEWALT models, this one is much quieter and is supplemented with an improved dust collector (fine particles are securely collected). Moreover, this dust boot is made of rubber and is firmly flattened to the unit.
- The vibration is barely felt due to the separate counterweight.
- It’s designed to work with both hands (there are comfortable handles).
- The sander weighs not really much, so it can be easily used by anybody.
- It’s a corded unit, so you have to be careful with the wire when working as it’s rather thin.
- The sander comes only with a bag and paper holder, the user has to purchase the paper additionally.
Makita BO5041K — Best Small Palm Sander
The Makita BO5041K has built-in ventilation that cools the engine and protects it from overheating. An additional handle provides a secure grip with both hands for precise workflow control (the location of the handles is convenient for working with both left and right hands). The adjustment of the number of whirls is carried out by a wheel, which is located next to the handle. Fine grinding is carried out due to the eccentric movement and rotation of the grinding sole. There is also a function to lock the start key for the convenience of long-term operations performing. It’s really useful that the grinder is equipped with a dust extraction system to keep the workplace clean. It’s also possible to connect a dust collector or vacuum cleaner.
- The tool comes in a solid case that protects it from the dust.
- It’s easy to change the operating component due to the velcro fastening.
- The rubberized body frame gives the possibility to hold the tool reliably.
- There is a smell of heated plastic while working.
- This device does not collect all the dust in a bag. A lot of fine dust appeared in the room.
The BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 sander is lightweight (3 pounds) and belongs to small palm sanders for domestic use. The special rubberized platform of the unit makes it possible to grip without The BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 sander is lightweight (3 pounds) and belongs to small palm sanders for domestic use. The special rubberized platform of the unit makes it possible to grip without slipping hands. The power cord is additionally strengthened by a flexible cap that protects it from abrasion and kinks. In combination with compactness, the tool is quite powerful for large areas processing (the amperage capacity is 2 Amps). The speed limit system during start-up prevents the machining surface damaging, and the fastening system for sanding paper saves replacement time, as this can be performed in seconds.
- It doesn’t get hot even under heavy loads.
- The dust collection system can be easily unfastened, replaced, and cleaned.
- There are special rubber pads for holding when working in difficult grinding places or narrow spaces.
- There’s no bag for carrying, so the owner has to think up about its storage.
- Some engine sparks appeared along the connection shaft.
The Makita palm sander allows mounting the sanding sheets on clamps, which makes it possible to independently cut out accessories from sandpaper sheets with further holes for dust extraction making and attaching it to the clamp. This can save on consumable sanding paper. Waste, generated during operation with the tool, falls into the dust collector, which is included in the kit. For more effective cleaning, you can connect a vacuum cleaner.
The handle of the Makita grinder has a convenient shape, which reduces hand fatigue. Moreover, it provides a vibration reduction and secure tool fixation thanks to the rubber inlays.
- Large clamping fixtures on the grinder increase the working surface.
- The working element for sanding can be replaced easily (the manual contains the guide).
- The plastic bag is solid enough (it’s made of the thick plastic and constructed in the shape of a suitcase) for secure storing.
- It works rather loud.
- The sample sandpaper that comes with the device is thin.
The Bosch GSS20-40 tool is used for dry grinding of flat surfaces, including those with a primer and paintwork, as well as with the corrosion traces. The specified unit isn’t heavy (2.7 pounds), but it may seem a bit high. The hand quickly gets tired when working with this tool and you have to hold it with the second hand. This is not really convenient because with your second hand you have to hold the hose from the vacuum cleaner or check the surface quality by touch (whether it polishes enough because visually it is not always noticeable). I really like that the Bosch product is supplemented with the collector drive with double insulation because it provides maximum safety without the use of personal protective equipment and grounding devices. Some may refuse to name Bosch GSS20-40 as the best palm sander, but the tool copes with its task and can be stored anywhere due to its compactness (8.7 x 5.7 x 6.7 inches).
- The start button is protected by a transparent silicone pad and is located on top.
- A microfilter dust canister comes in the kit and performs the dust extracting via the pad ranging.
- The sanding pad is removable, and if necessary, it can be bought additionally in the service stores.
- The user must use serious hearing protection due to the noise of the device.
- The vibration isn’t critical, but it creates uncomfortable feelings.
- It gets hot rather quickly and requires periodic breaks.
This PORTER CABLE palm sander has a well-thought-out dust protection system in the sole that allows you to work even with abrasive dust. The system of binding clips using is a good solution for quick installation and replacement. There is a key-lock of the start button on the handle, which eliminates the need to constantly hold your finger on it. The PORTER-CABLE 380 is probably not the best orbital sander due to the loud noise, but the tool is solid and suitable for decent dry grinding and polishing surfaces. Moreover, sanding paper of various types and grain sizes allows you to work with wood, plastic, etc.
- It weighs only 2.3 pounds, so can be easily managed by one hand.
- The elastic support base is for easy machining of curved surfaces and bends.
- The work surface remains always clean due to the special dust bag.
- It doesn’t come with a bag or case for comfortable storing.
- The device twists in the hand while being used.
This grinder allows you to sander various types of surfaces, due to the pressure controller. It’s able to clean and polish surfaces made of metal, some wood species, stone, plastic, and glass. I like that the soft grip design makes it possible to have great control over the device. The ON/OFF button is located on top of the housing; this allows you to quickly stop the working process in a case of need. It can be easily placed on a shelf as it takes up little space (9 x 7 x 5 inches). This unit isn’t a cordless palm sander, but its wire is long enough to use in everyday life.
- There’s a Pressure Control Technology that informs the user about excessive pressure on the tool.
- The dust canister is transparent, so I can see its fullness and don’t have to detach it for checking.
- An inbuilt vacuum and micro-filter gather even small dust particles.
- The unit vibrates and contributes to quick hand fatigue.
- It’s loud enough to become the reason for a headache.
What is a Palm Sander?
It’s a device designed to smooth the surfaces of parts made of different materials: wood, steel, cast iron, stone, and so on. This tool is used for repairs, grinding, and building. It is indispensable for the need for scuff sanding and polishing. Such units are often used when performing the metal structures mounting, during decoration, welding, reinforcing, and electrical works. You can perform the scheduled work in a short time while using this tool. Similar manual work may take at least several hours or even days. Therefore, if you planned to sand something or clean something voluminous, then you should definitely buy such an item.
This unit is comfortable because of the low weight, compactness, ergonomic handles, relatively low noise level, and decent power. Most machines come with cases, so it might be convenient to store it even in house and use and in a case of need.
How to Use a Palm Sander?
First of all, keep in mind that this tool requires manual manipulation and rapid paper switching, so be attentive. It should be used for small- or medium-size projects (like furniture resurfacing or the plywood purification from the paint).
The process of use is as follows:
- Choose the correct paper for sanding. If the processed material is rough, it’s recommended to start from the coarse grit (40-60 grits) and then use the finer papers (150-180 grits). In a case of the material being in decent shape, it’s possible to start from the thin paper in order to get an extra-smooth finish.
- Measure and attach the paper. After the right size getting, you should open the sander’s clamp lock and put there sandpaper. Then it’s required to tighten the clamp rock or fix it via velcro.
- Secure the object you are working with via special clamps.
- Plug the equipment into a power outlet.
- Put on safety goggles and a mask.
- Turn the device on.
- Wait until the unit picks up speed.
- Bring it to the work surface and start sanding.
- Move the facility in long, even strokes back and forth.
- After getting the required result, wipe the material with the tack cloth.
The grinding machine must be thoroughly cleaned at the end of the operation. Don’t forget to lubricate the moving parts periodically. If the dust collector doesn’t absorb the dust as it has to, it is necessary to disassemble and clean it. It is useful to use consumables with the specifications declared by the manufacturer. You should control that the power cord does not fall into the working area of the device and prevent overheating of the equipment. The device should be stored in a dry heated room.
How to Sand Hardwood Floors with Orbital Sander?
Before sanding the hardwood floors, it’s necessary to carry out the preparatory work:
- If you are going to sand the old floor, it is required to remove furniture and the skirting board from the room.
- Purge away all the protruding metal elements from the floorboards: nails and self-tapping screws.
- Inspect the floorboards, as all rotten and damaged elements must be replaced.
- Use a vacuum cleaner to remove all debris that could cause the machine breakdown.
- If the floor is made of a pine board, it is necessary to remove the resin released by the pine. The surface has to be treated with white spirit or acetone.
If you want to refresh the floor without serious efforts, the orbital device is useful as it makes nearly 3450 orbits per minute. The facility is hard itself, so you should be careful while working. The whole sanding includes the following operations:
- Clean the floor.
- Attach the sandpaper and coarse grit to the unit itself.
- Begin the sanding from the farther end of the apartment.
- Grind the hard-to-reach places via hand orbital device.
- Repeat the floor vacuuming.
- Pour mineral spirits.
- Let the surface dry and apply the finish.
Pay attention that each device has its own construction and functional peculiarities, so it’s better to get acquainted with the manual before exploitation.