For those of you who are in a hurry, we want to let you know that we have selected SKIL 7302-02 Octo Detail Sander with PC as the #1 detail sander out there.
It did not take long for me to discover that finishing my wood projects was not always possible with a block or orbital sander. Some spaces or pieces were too tight or delicate. I soon found a solution with detail sanders.
What are they, and what makes the best detail sander? Let’s take a closer look to find out.
Best detail sanders compared:
How is A Detail Sander different from other sanding tools?
All sanders use abrasive paper to smooth out surfaces. Hand-held sanders for wood are usually powered by an electrical motor, with the sanding paper attaching to the bottom of the sander’s head. The motor vibrates the head, which in turn moves the sandpaper at high speeds across the wood surface.
That vibration allows the user to remove material and smooth out surfaces quickly and with far less effort than sanding by hand. Orbital sanders vary the head’s pattern as it moves, helping to prevent sanding grooves or marks from forming on the surface of the material that is worked on.
A detail sander, also known as a corner sander, has a smaller head when compared to other hand-held designs and is triangular in shape.
What Is A Detail Sander Used For?
Simply put, these sanders were designed to reach places that larger sanders can not. A triangular head allows an operator to reach into corners, which traditional square-headed designs could not reach. The smaller toe on the triangle also prevents the sander head from hitting perpendicular surfaces and damaging their smooth surfaces.
A corner sander will also sand along the joints of perpendicular boards in the same fashion as when operating in corners. Their smaller heads will also allow these sanders to reach between project pieces, allowing you to quickly sand in tight spaces.
Most detail sanders are also effective with delicate projects. As they are smaller, they will remove less material than larger designs with a more abrasive surface. A smaller contact area offers you more control as you work.
Detail sanders for small spaces are usually designed with smaller motors, which allows them to run smoothly for lighter material removal. The vibration on a corner sander’s head will not be as extreme as that found on larger hand-held models, providing more control for delicate work.
Are There Advantages To Using A Detail Sander?
Yes. Detail sanders provide power sanding in spaces that used to require sanding by hand. A small hand sander sander will remove material quickly, allowing you to move on to finishing. They also save you energy, something that anyone who has sanded with a block or with their fingers will appreciate.
Another advantage is that the smaller detail sanders provide more control than traditional electric sanders. That control may become necessary on projects with thin pieces or surfaces that require minimal sanding. Larger units and orbital models are designed to remove lots of material and lack the ability to be used delicately.
Users often assume that hand-held sanders require no safety rules since they lack a blade. As my grandfather used to say, any tool can be dangerous if they are not used properly. This includes corner sanders, as the safety section of this manual demonstrates.
Learn how your fine detail sander works, and use it correctly. Always wear eye and ear protection when using these power tools. Keep your workpiece secure, and never force the sander to do something it was not designed for.
Features To Look For On Detail Sanders
First off, you are looking for a product that can reach into places your other sanders can not. Smaller heads can be important to reach between spokes on the back of a chair, just as they would be for sanding in corners. Make sure that the toe on the triangle head is rounded a bit, just in case it touches perpendicular surfaces while you are sanding.
Keep an eye on the sander’s body as well. The perfect triangular head will do you absolutely no good if the shape and size of the body prevent you from getting into that corner. Most models are designed to prevent this, but keep this in mind as you shop.
Weight And Power
Power can be judged by the motor size. You will likely have no issue with the motors used on most products, but try to avoid extremely small motors as they will not generate enough head movement to sand properly.
Motor size can add to the weight, which is why I grouped these together. Anyone who finishes their woodworking projects knows that heavier sanders will wear your arm out quickly. Lighter weights are an advantage here, as you will be sanding a lot.
Accessories And Price
Accessories and added features may make some projects easier. Removable heads that can be swapped out may allow you to reach into smaller spaces. You may also discover that you prefer a particular style of sandpaper attachment as well.
Dust removal features are important, as sanding generates more dust and debris than almost any other step on the project. Finally, these features will probably add to the price. If you are on a budget, prioritize the features that are most important for you and shop for them.
Five best Detail Sander Reviews
And now let’s take a closer look at the 5 best detail sanders on the market right now. It took us 20+ hours of research to polish this guide, and we hope it helps you make an informed decision.
- Compact size
- Finger attachment and sanding pad included
- Easily fits in tight spaces
This comes with a 1.2 amp motor, something that will provide power for a maximum of 13,000 orbits per minute. The body is ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable grip in a variety of horizontal or vertical operating positions.
- Features a 3.75 x 5.5 inch pad with an angled tip for precision work
- Powerful one-amp motor provides 13,500 OPM
- Lightweight design weighs in at a mere two pounds
The small profile of this sander stands out and will allow you to reach into any corner. A lower-priced model with no frills, this could be ideal as a first time purchase or for someone who will use it occasionally.
TACKLIFE Classic Mouse Detail Sander
- ▲【SUGGESTION】 our products are high power, prolonged use of the tool could cause friction and vibration which can cause the dust container to detach. We recommend emptying the dust in the...
- ▲【12Pcs Sandpaper】 With 12pcs sandpaper(6Pcs X80 & 6Pcs x 180 Grits) lasts the sander a long using life and meet your different applications of removing paint from wood, metal, or plastic of...
- ▲【Dust Collection】 With a dust Collection can keep the work area clean. The buckle connection design keeps the box from falling off during work, it is an ideal tool for indoor detail...
It is the dust collection system that catches my eye on this model. A dust collection box at the rear adds to the profile, but all adequately collect debris without getting in the way of the sanding toe.
- Pressure Control Technology - Monitors sanding pad pressure applied for optimal finish
- 8 Detail Sanding Attachments - Finish hard-to-reach surfaces with various contours
- Tool-less Attachment Change - Quick and easy attachment changing system
What really impresses with this model is the control features it includes in the sander itself. You will quickly learn how to vary your pressure application, which should improve the speed and final look of your projects.
VonHaus Electric Mouse Detail Sheet Sander
- SANDING HEADS TO SUIT YOUR PROJECT: High performance 2 in 1 sander with triangular and square sanding options – ideal for an array of sanding tasks including smoothing doors, worktops, skirting...
- INCLUDES SANDING SHEETS: 6 X interchangeable sanding sheets in coarse, medium and fine for wood, plastic or metal applications.
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED: for a comfortable grip over longer periods of use.
Added versatility can be found in this detail sander, as it has two head plates. There is a square “sheet” plate and well as a triangle head plate for detail sanding. This makes the VonHaus a two-in-one sander.
Finishing Up With The Smoothest Detail
I do think that any of the products reviewed above do offer features you can take advantage of. With that being said, I found the SKIL 7302-02 Octo Detail Sander with PC to be the best detail sander. While the body material feels thin on this unit, it is comparable to most of the others and that does actually decrease overall weight.
Dust collection abilities are not as powerful as some of the others, but they do work and the clear canister takes the guessing out of dumping. It includes extra accessories that allow it to reach into places the other sanders can not touch.
Finally, the PC pressure controls allow you to see the pressure you are applying. This allows you to adjust for more or less pressure on the surface of the project, giving greater control.