Refinishing an old piece of furniture is one of the best ways to add some personal style and creativity to your home.
It’s also a sustainable option as you won’t be buying something new and mass-produced.
But, before you can get all creative, you need to prep the wood. This will usually involve removing the layers of paint already on the furniture.
Depending on the state of the wood, you might be able to get away with sanding off the paint with some sandpaper.
But, even if you’re only dealing with a thin layer of paint, manually sanding wood is a difficult job. While sandpaper might be the cheapest option, you will need more than just a piece or two to remove paint.
So, the best option is to invest in a good quality electric sander. Once you start using one of these, you will wonder how you ever considered using anything else.
There are lots of different sanders available. So, to help find the best option for you, we’ve put together a list of the best sanders for removing paint.
Sick of scrubbing away with flimsy sandpaper and want to get the job done ASAP? No problem, here’s our top pick for the best sander for removing paint.
Best Sander for Removing Paint Reviews
1. Meterk Random Orbit Sander
Our top pick for the best sander for removing paint is this Meterk random orbital sander. This sander is super affordable but still provides a great quality finish. It includes many additional features that are not even included in some more expensive options.
This Meterk random orbital sander is great for slightly tougher projects. If you’re working on wood that has multiple layers of thick paint, then this is a great option for you. While most orbital sanders are better suited to light sanding, this sander is a little more powerful.
This sander can reach 13,000 OPM (Orbits Per Minute) and has 6 variable speeds. This means that it can get through more layers of paint and provide a smoother finish. But this sander can also be used at a lower number of OPM.
So, even if you’re a beginner, you will be able to easily use and control this sander. Then, when you become more used to it, you can increase the power and speed.
Another useful feature of this sander is that multiple pads are included. These pads are for sanding. But also include a towel polishing pad, a wool polishing pad, and a flat buffing pad.
These can be used after sanding to polish and clean up the wood. But they can also be used for cleaning other non-wood surfaces.
- Multiple Sanding Pads Included – This sander includes multiple sanding pads and pads for buffing and cleaning up.
- Range of 6 Speeds – This will allow you to control the level of sanding force.
- Range of OPM – This will allow you to control the power and force of the sander.
2. DEWALT Random Orbit Sander
This DEWALT random orbital sander is perfect for working on small areas. It is compact and easy to control.
So will be best-suited to working on chairs, stools, and benches. While it will work on larger surfaces such as doors and decking, the process will take a little longer due to its size.
Random orbital sanders are especially great if you’re a beginner when it comes to sanding. If you’re more used to using a small sheet of sandpaper than an electric power tool, this is the tool for you.
With a rubber overmold, the vast majority of this sander’s exterior is comfortable and supportive. This will reduce the risk of cramp or aches when you press the sander to the wood.
The rubber overmold will also help you maintain control over the sander. The rubber will provide better grip than plastic.
Another reason why this sander is great for beginners is the reduction in vibrations. This sander is specially designed to minimize movement and allow you to stay in control.
As well as the rubber overmold, this sander has several other features that will make using it so much easier. One of these features is the dust-sealed switch.
Standard power tool switches often have small gaps through which dust can enter and damage the sander. But the switch on this sander is completely covered.
So you won’t run the risk of damaging your sander. And you won’t have to keep stopping to clean it out.
- Well-known and Reliable Brand – With DEWALT, you know that you will be getting a good quality tool.
- Compact – This will allow for greater control.
- Rubber Overmold – The exterior of this sander is made from rubber for added support and comfort.
- Good Capacity Dust Bin – This dust bin will easily collect up all the dust and is positioned to be out of the way.
- Corded – A cord will restrict range of motion.
3. DEWALT Palm Sander
After orbital sanders, palm sanders are one of the most popular styles. They are similar in overall shape to orbital sanders. But instead of a circular sanding pad, palm sanders are square.
This makes them ideal for working on long pieces of wood. This can include doors, outdoor decking, or furniture with large surfaces such as bookcases and tables.
Rather than rotate, the sanding pad or a palm sander moves in a similar way to a conveyor belt. The pad runs around and through the sander as it moves across the wood.
This makes the sander very easy to use as you simply need to move it in a straight line. This is definitely easier than controlling something moving in circles.
Another way in which this sander is easy to control is due to its overall size. This is a very compact sander that will fit easily into your hand.
This is partly due to the positioning of the handle. The handle on this sander is positioned directly above the sanding pad. This will allow you to have direct control over the movement of the sander.
- Compact – This sander will be very easy to move and control.
- Choice Between Levels of Grit – This gives you the ability to find the perfect level of grit for your project.
- Locking Dust Port – A dust bin is included. But this port gives the option to lock their vacuum cleaner hose up to the sander.
- Lightweight Sander – This sander is best-suited for removing thin layers of paint.
4. TACKLIFE Belt Sander
Belt sanders are not as commonly used as orbital sanders. But they are great for working on more difficult surfaces.
They are also great for longer and larger pieces of wood. This can include doors, decking, and tabletops.
This belt sander comes with an impressive 10 feet of sandpaper. This is great for working on a large project. Another impressive feature of this sander is that it can be used upside down.
Included with this sander are clamps that will hold down the sander with the belt facing upward. This allows the sander to be used for sanding down smaller loose pieces of wood.
Compared to most other sanders, this belt sander is quite a lot larger. This means that it can be a little difficult to control.
So it’s best suited for someone who has some experience working with sanders.
- Includes 10 Feet of Sandpaper – This means that you can work on a project without the risk of quickly running out of grit.
- 2 in 2 Sanding – This sander can be clamped upside down to be used as a bench sander.
- Range of Speeds – Features dial for 6 variable speeds.
- Larger than average and so best-suited for people with some experience.
5. TACKLIFE Classic Mouse Detail Sander
This mouse detail sander is great for working on pieces with lots of corners and angles.
Some other sanders, such as belt sanders, are best suited for moving in a straight line. But this sander, due to its pointed shape, is best-suited for trickier pieces.
For example, this sander is perfect for reaching the corners of bookshelves or in between the spindles of a chair. These areas would otherwise be unreachable with a large or different kind of sander.
Else they would require sanding down with sandpaper. But this sander can be used on both larger flat surfaces and small corners.
The small size of this sander makes it super easy to control. It is also very compact. The handle sits directly above the sanding pad. This will give you greater control over your work.
That said, the dust vacuum, and cord are quite large. So there is a risk that these will get in the way and reduce the benefits of the compact size.
- Compact – This detail sander is easy to use and will be great for both beginners and experienced DIY-ers.
- Pointed Sanding Pad – The shape of this sander means that you will be able to reach small corners.
- Includes Multiple Sanding Pads – So you won’t be running out anytime soon.
- Large Dust Vacuum and Cord – This can potentially get in the way.
Kinds of Sanders
Orbital sanders are some of the most commonly available. They are especially good for removing paint due to their circular shape.
(That said, there are some square orbital sanders available). Orbital sanders are often referred to as “finishing sanders”. This is mostly due to the fact that they only remove a very small amount of wood.
Orbital sanders are great if you only need to remove a thin layer of paint. For example, if you are just refinishing a piece of furniture that has only ever been painted once.
So, if you have a good few layers of old paint to remove, you’re going to need something stronger and more industrial than an orbital sander.
Random Orbital Sander
Random orbital sanders are similar to orbital sanders. The main difference is the way that the sanding pad moves.
On a standard orbital sander, the sanding pad moves in a circular motion. But a random orbital sander, as the name suggests, moves in a more random fashion.
Random orbital sanders can remove more than a standard orbital sander. But there isn’t a huge difference. Because of the way in which random orbital sanders move, they do not leave the swirling pattern that standard orbital sanders leave.
If you’re planning on repainting the wood, then the patterns shouldn’t be much of an issue. But, if you are replacing the paint with varnish or just want to leave it bare, then a random orbital sander is a better choice.
Detail sanders are some of the smallest kinds of sanders. They are best suited for smaller pieces or pieces with lots of corners and angles. They are usually pointed and compact.
These points will allow you to get into more awkward areas. For example, the corners of bookcase shelves or the curves of table and chair legs.
If you opt for a large sander but still need to reach those awkward corners, then a piece of sandpaper can also be used. But, a detail sander will do a much better job. Especially if you’re trying to remove paint.
If you are planning a big job or multiple jobs, then it might be worth investing in a detail sander as well as another sander that can be used for larger surfaces.
Detail sanders can be used for large surfaces, for example, a table-top, but they are best suited for small corners and curves.
Belt sanders aren’t as popular as other options available. But it is worth considering. The grit section of the sander is a belt that moves through the body of the sander.
This is great for working on large surfaces. These can include tables, outdoor decking, or doors. As the sander is rectangular, belt sanders are best-suited for long and rectangular pieces of wood.
Levels of Grit
Some sanders will come with several sheets of varying grits. These are super useful if you’re a beginner and not quite sure which kind of grit you will need for your project.
They are also useful if you aren’t 100% how many layers of paint you will be removing.
If you’re working on something you found at an antique store or a yard sale, it can be difficult to tell how much work has already been done.
For pieces like this, it’s a good idea to start with a low level of grit, such as 80-grit. This will stop you from going in too strong and potentially damaging the wood itself.
Once you have worked out how many layers you’re working with, then you can change up the level of grit. Move up to a 150-grit, then a 200-grit if you need some more power.
It’s a good idea to do this generally, no matter how many layers of paint you’re working with. But, it’s important to be more careful and tentative when you’re unsure of what you’re dealing with.
Power Levels and Settings
When looking for an electric sander, you will likely have noticed the variety when it comes to power speeds and settings.
Not every sander has a range of speeds. Those that do are generally more expensive than other sanders.
This is pretty understandable as you will be paying more for more features. But, multiple speeds aren’t all that necessary. The level of grit is going to have a bigger impact on the wood you’re working on.
But, if you’re looking for a sander with multiple speeds, then there are plenty of good options available. The variation in speed will be useful if you’re working on pieces that often require tougher work than most.
Otherwise, they are just additional features that are sometimes helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use an orbital sander to remove paint?
You absolutely can. Orbital sanders are some of the most popular, and most affordable, sanders available. They can be circular or square.
But both of these options have sanding pads that rotate in a circular motion. Orbital sanders, as mentioned above, are best suited to thin layers of paint.
They are also great for sanding down the outside of wood before priming it. Once you have removed the paint, it’s also a good idea to sand down the wood itself. This will give you a fresher base for a new coat.
Can you sand paint off walls?
Technically, yes. But this should only be a last resort. The best way to remove paint from walls is with a scraper. If you have tried everything else, then you can consider using a sander.
But remember to be incredibly careful. Using a sander on a vertical surface will be more difficult than on a horizontal surface. You won’t have the same amount of support.
It’s also important to follow the same safety procedures. When working on a wall, gravity will cause the paint to fall downward. This makes it much more likely for the paint dust to get into your eyes.