When I first started woodworking on my own, I used a sanding block to smooth the surface of my projects. Sanding by hand takes a lot of energy and time. A palm sander became my first power tool purchase.
The following guide will help you determine what to look for with these products; something that I wish I would have had for reference. I have also included a look at fie of the best palm sander products available to you.
5 best palm sanders worth looking at:
Table of Contents
What Are Palm Sanders Designed For?
First off, the smaller designs (including the electric motors) make these products come in at a lower price point than other hand-held sanding tools, like the belt sander. To be honest, the lower price on these hand-held sanders has allowed me to collect a few in my shop over the years. A lower price will allow you to make this one of your first power tool purchases if you are just starting out.
Next, these products are built to finish your project’s surface. The orbital sanders are a bit more aggressive, so they do a great job of taking off paint or other materials. A quarter-sheet sander is designed to work with smaller grits and will do a great job of getting your project ready for stain or protective coatings.
These tools are designed to save you time during the sanding phase of your build. The movement of the sheet will also save you some energy as well.
Quarter-Sheet vs Random Orbit Sanders
The Quarter-Sheet Palm Sander
This design is one of the earliest when it comes to sanding power tools. I remember seeing one of these in my late grandfather’s shop when I was a kid. They tend to be some of the cheapest hand-held sanders on the market, making them attractive to beginners as well as those working from a tight budget.
Another feature I like with a quarter-sheet model is that they tend to be easier to control. This allows you to place the abrasive exactly where it needs to be as your work. They also do great with papers down to 220 grit, making them ideal for that final finishing before you stain or add a protective coating.
The Random Orbit Sander
These products tend to be a bit more expensive than the quarter-sheet models, but they are still reasonably priced when compared to other sander designs. The random orbit added to the sander movement helps to prevent the swirling that often accompanied the use of their predecessors, the orbital sander. These will take off a bit more material than the quarter-sheet designs, and they will do it more quickly.
The oscillating base makes it a bit harder to control as precisely, but that motion generates less vibration. That makes these sanders a little more comfortable to use. They do not handle paper grits lower than 160 very well, so users will often use them in stock preparation as well as with finishing.
Things To Look For On A Palm Sander
Best Palm Sander Models Reviewed
- 2.3 AMP motor sands at 14,000 OPM
- Locking dust-port system that allows the user to lock vacuum hose up with the sander
- Reduced overall height of the sander to get the user closer to their work
DeWALT off this model with a two amp electric motor. That should generate plenty of vibration as you work through various paper grits. A nice addition here is the bag and protective boot that makes storage and travel easier.
The7292-02 is designed as a budget-friendly model, making it a powerful sanding tool for anyone. It is easy to load, and when the low price is added in, it makes it a good buy for a first-time palm sander.
Milwaukee 2648-20 M18
This random orbital sander is cordless, allowing the user to sand anywhere. Its random orbital pattern will not leave the swirling marks on cross-grain movement, making it easier to clean up wood than when using a standard orbital sander.
- Precision engineered all-ball-bearing construction for reduced vibration and noise
- Contoured, rubberized palm grip design for improved operator comfort and control
- Large and easy to use paper clamps for fast and efficient paper installation
This product from Makita is a mid-priced unit that should provide plenty of power. Its ball-bearing construction should help to dampen noise while it is running. That construction should also transfer less vibration from the motor and the base as you work.
- ▲【Strong Applicability】 6 Adjustable speed dial supports you to monitor the exactly right speed according to different work; 3.0A (350W) /13000 OPM motor offers strong power, Voltage: 120 V. It...
- ▲【12Pcs Sandpapers】 Supplied Sanding Discs 5-inch 12pcs (6Pcs X 80 & 6Pcs x 180 Grits) lasts the sander a long service life and meet your different applications of removing paint from wood,...
- ▲【High Performance Dust Collection】 It provides a clean work environment with a compact size and ergonomic design. This sander can get into tight spaces easily and meet maximize user control,...
This traditional orbital sander will offer more control than newer random orbital sanders. That means you can sand in the areas that need it while avoiding those that do not much easier. An older design also allows the price to drop down into the mid-range here.
Which Palm Sander Provides The Smoothest Surface?
All five of the models reviewed above stand out in certain areas. The Makita BO4556 2 Amp Finishing Sander is the best palm sander out of all of them, in my opinion.
To begin with, it provides the user with a comfortable grip. That allows you to hold the sander without becoming cramped due to an awkward angle. Makita also provides cushioning that helps to absorb vibration, a feature that will allow you to operate it for longer periods as well.
It provides an adequate dust collection path. This model also uses ball-bearings to reduce vibrations and noise. The 14,000 OPMs it can generate at maximum will allow you to sand more quickly than slower models.
Finally, the mid-range price makes it more attractive. It won’t break the bank, but the price isn’t so low that the materials suffer for it.
If you find that you need something more powerful, make sure to check out our other sander guides also: