Best Sanders for Deck 2019

Best Sanders for Deck 2019
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Best Sanders for Deck Refinishing

best sanders for deck refinishingWooden decks are among the most popular sanding pieces in the world. This is due to wooden decks being extremely common in households and also because they are capable of lasting a lifetime. To ensure this last part though, they need to be properly and regularly taken care of. As you already know, you can achieve this by picking up a sander and going to town on the deck, removing the worn out material until you have a nice and fresh surface. After this, you give it a few coats of varnish and it’s ready to endure another set of years. This is why deck-sanding is so popular and why you need to know what the best sanders for decks are – the quality, speed and ease of the refinishing depends on it.

Along the years I’ve refinished dozens of decks, from my own (several times) to friends’ and clients’, I’ve become a certified expert on giving a new life to these things. I know just which sanders to use in order to do it quickly, easily and achieve a professional, smooth and high-quality result. Let’s begin!

Best Sander Type for Decks

Wooden decks have the unique feature of being a completely flat surface in which we don’t need to worry much about corners, edges or tight spaces. Due to this, the best sanders for deck refinishing are:

(Click on their names to go to their respective reviews and comparison pages)

As a bonus, you can also use a floor drum sander (the Clarke Ez-8), they are pricey but literally built for this.
What do they all have in common? They are big, powerful and excel at sanding flat surfaces.

As I’ve mentioned, you can read the reviews of my favorite sanders of each type (suited for decks) above but just in case you want to know which are my personal favorite machines for decks, here they are:

Best Sanders for Decks

These are the top 5 best sanders for decks:


With an incredibly wide 4″ x 24″ belt, mountains of power and built-to-last construction, the Makita 9403 is the very best belt sander for decks you can get. It will turn refinishing a deck into a quick and easy task and deliver unbeatable results.

Very wide belt
 Incredible power
Dubbed “the best 4″ by 24″ belt sander in the world”

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Popular for its unbeatable value, the Hitachi SB8V2 offers you professional quality at a super inexpensive price. The best bang for your buck you can get, this machine is an excellent option for deck refinishing, even with the smaller 3″ by 21″ belt.

 Unbeatable value
 High-quality construction
Best bang for your buck you can get

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The best sheet sander I’ve ever had, the Bosch OS50VC offers a big 1/2 sheet sanding pad, low vibration and superb performance. With a potent 3.4 AMP motor that puts out 11,000 Orbits per Minute, the quality of the finish will be the very best. With variable speed to boot and rock-solid construction, this is a certified wooden deck beast.

 1/2 Sheet is excellent for decks
 Professional level performance and features
Low vibration makes it perfect for extended use

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The Bosch 1250DEVS is just perfect for anything, including decks. Featuring a roaring 6.5 AMP motor, turbo-mode and a big 6″ circular pad, this beauty will quickly and easily devour the old rough stock and deliver a jaw-dropping finish with its random orbital motion. It will also last more than a lifetime.

 Built like a tank
 Large 6″ sanding pad
Monstrous power and performance

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The most expensive choice of the list, the Clarke Ez-8 combines drum sander quality with mobility and versatility to deliver a fantastic floor sander. I’d only recommend this for either professionals or if you have a lot of area to cover as it’s too pricey for the regular user. Made for floor sanding, the Clarke Ez-8 truly is the king among the rest.

 Built for deck sanding
 Unmatched ease of use
Turns a long task into a quick one

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With any of these fantastic machines, you’ll turn deck sanding into a breeze and achieve high-quality and long lasting results.

It’s been a pleasure to help and as always, don’t forget to leave your opinion below. Thanks for reading!

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  1. Outstanding write-up James, gave me the final push to go renovate my deck. Thanks a bunch!

  2. We just did a chemical strip of a fairly new redwood deck that had a failed first stain. Apparently we over did it with the chemicals, so now we have to sand the sections that are covered with fine fibers. We were recommended to use a floor buffer with 80 grit. Another person said we should use a drum sander. Is there a hand sander you’d recommend for this job? Any other tips to get us out of this situation? Thanks!

    • Hello Sophie, thanks for reaching out! I’m sorry to hear that but don’t worry, there’s always a way to fix it. A floor buffer with 80 grit sandpaper isn’t the best fit in my opinion as it might lack power and the grit itself is too rough to be used as the final pass (200-400 grit is a good reference but it depends on how smooth and shiny you want it). A drum sander is an excellent option but it’s quite expensive for a one-off so your best bet is a hand sander as you’ve mentioned. Any of the choices above are fantastic – Makita 9403, Bosch 1250 DEVS, Bosch OS50VC – but the Bosch 1250 DEVS delivers the best bang for the buck due to how versatile it is (perfect not only for this task but for most others as well and the finish it delivers is unbeatable). Even though it’s quite a straightforward process, be sure to sand carefully and to start with a higher grit than usual to avoid damaging the wood beyond what’s needed. Start with a 120 grit sheet of sandpaper and sand the surface lightly until the stain is gone, then give a pass on the whole deck with the same grit and climb up the grit ladder until you reach your desired finish. It’s a bit time consuming but worth it in the end. Hope that helped Sophie!

  3. I need to know which sander is best for a very old deck. Thank you!

    • Hey Marie! If it’s a very old deck I’m betting it will have a lot of seriously rough stock to remove. The best solution to that is raw power which leaves you with 2 great options: The Bosch 1250DEVS or the Makita 9403 – both of them deliver beastly power and performance that can tackle even the hardest, roughest surfaces and get them looking as good as new. Start with a low grit sandpaper first to decimate the old stock and then you can slowly climb the grit levels to get a perfectly smooth finish. If you need anything else – I’ll be here!

  4. Couldn’t decide which one to get since all of them are so incredible, ended up getting both the Bosch OS50VC and the Makita 9403. They came in right on time, already finished my decks with these beauties (with the help of my wife!) and the quality of the machines is undeniable. Never in my life I thought sanding my deck, which I didn’t like doing at all, could be so easy, quick and deliver such great results. Not to sound dramatic but it was life changing so I want to thank you James, please keep up the great work!

    • Beautiful comment to start the day Hector, thank you – I truly appreciate it. I’m just glad that I could help make your life easier and a hard task more enjoyable. Thanks again!

  5. Finally an excellent guide in this sea of information we call the internet. Great work James, your expertise shows and it’s very much appreciated! Got the Bosch OS50VC and couldn’t be happier, it arrived quickly as well.

    • Hey Steve, I appreciate the kind words. It always puts a smile on my face knowing I could help – thanks for stopping by and enjoy the OS50VC!

  6. You wouldn’t believe how helpful this was James, can’t thank you enough! The Makita 9403 made quick work of my looooong deck and it was as easy as it gets. Beautiful!

  7. James-
    I just discovered your very interesting blog/website in searching for a sander for a cedar deck. I already have a 1/4 sheet, 1/2 sheet, 5″ orbital and a belt sander but I have about 800 sq. feet to sand and I need to get this done more quickly than I can do on my hands and old knees. I have used a large deck sander before but what do you think of buying and then owning one of the wall sanders for this project – it seems that it might work okay, just wondering what you think? Thanks, Paul

    • Hey Paul, you’ve just cracked me up as I’ve had that very same idea before. I was in a hurry to finish a friend’s deck and left most of my tools at home so I used my Porter Cable drywall sander. I’ve gotta tell you, it was a surprisingly good idea – it saved my back and the results were great. Just make sure to use an appropriate sandpaper grit to deal with wood and you’re good to go!

      • Thanks for your quick response. I intend to purchase one of the drywall sanders – that is unless I can figure how to attach a sanding disc to my line trimmer! Too many single use tools around for homeowners.

        • Hahaha now that’s something I’d like to see! Too true Paul, even my home shop is filled to the brim. Thank YOU for the great laughs.

  8. Hi, Great Article, Thank You!!
    I was wondering if you have a similar article on FINISHES?? – We installed our new deck Three Summers ago and used Behr’s Best Stain, with an 8Yr Warranty, and it needed Re-Finishing last Summer already!!)

    So, as you can imagine, I am Deeply Disappointed in Behr’s claim and their Warranty! – (Which was a Total joke, as they offered the SAME stuff to re-coat my Deck with!)

    If you have any Articles, Suggestions, or Advice on Finishes and Finishing, – PLEASE Let us know!

    Thanks so much, – Pat

    • Hey Pat, thanks for reading! Deck finishes truly are a tough business, it’s nearly impossible to find a brand or product that everyone agrees is the best. Due to the 8 years of warranty you mentioned I’m sure it’s a solid stain – these last the longest without having to reapply. In my opinion I’d go with either Pittsburg’s Ultra Solid Color Stain or Glidden’s Porch & Floor Enamel, both have served me very well in the past (although this depends heavily on the conditions/weather of course). I’ve also used Behr and I quite like their products but as I said, it heavily depends on the surface and conditions. This is an interesting topic and lots of people struggle with it so I’ll most likely write an article about it when I have the time. I hope I’ve helped and thanks again for stopping by Patrick, don’t hesitate to leave another comment if you need more help!

  9. Just finished doing my deck in preparation for Spring and man, I don’t know how I’ve lived without the Bosch OS50VC. Thanks for the headsup James, made my life a whole of a lot easier!

  10. Just in time! The stormy weather is beginning to hit and I’ve been putting off the refinishing for a while. Going with the Hitachi, the price/quality ratio is beyond great. Thanks again James!

    • Great choice Trent, it truly is a fantastic machine for the money. Good luck with the refinishing and thanks for stopping by!

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