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Best Sanders for Furniture Refinishing
A lot of people ask me what the best sanders for furniture are, to which I always answer – “rectangles”.
When it comes to furniture such as tables, chairs and cabinets, rectangular shaped handheld sanders give you unbeatable efficiency and ease of use which are both reflected on the stunning high-quality results. Also, the smaller they are the better, since you’ll be able to fit them in wherever you need without being blocked by a stocky body. Usability with 1 hand is also a fantastic advantage when dealing with furniture so you have one hand free to move it around or support yourself. So, due to these requirements, a 1/4 sheet sander or palm sander will certainly be an excellent choice.
Furthermore, if the piece of furniture has unusual detailing, sharp corners and very tight spaces, a detail sander would be a fantastic sidekick to any of the rectangular sanders.
As such, in my view the best sanders for furniture you can get are:
- Sheet Sanders
- Detail Sanders (great sidekick)
- Palm Sheet Sanders (the best option, in my opinion)
(Click on their names to go to their respective reviews and comparison pages)
They all have rectangular shaped sanding pads, which makes them the best choices. While you can read the reviews and comparison of these machines above, I’ll present my personal favorites for sanding furniture below. Let’s have a look!
Top 3 Best Sanders for Furniture
In my opinion, these are the top sanders for furniture.
- DEWALT D26441K Sheet Palm Sander
Fast, light and powerful. The DeWalt D26441K offers you fantastic palm sheet sander performance at a beautiful price. With a 2.4 AMP motor that makes the 1/4 sheet sanding pad run at 14,000 OPMs, this thing handles any type of furniture easily. With a super comfortable grip and great dust collection to boot, I’d say it’s perfect.
Really comfortable grip
Professional quality and performance
- Makita BO4556K Sheet Palm Sander
The Makita BO4556K 1/4 sheet palm sander delivers superb quality at an unbelievably affordable price. Its 2 AMP motor makes it run at 14,000 OPMs and the build quality is excellent as well. It offers the most bang for your buck out of all the options listed here and it’s an indispensable machine.
Extremely attractive price tag
- BLACK+DECKER BDEMS600 Detail Sander
The perfect sidearm! Black and Decker delivers the best detail sander I’ve ever used – the BDEMS600. It’s light, sturdily built and extremely potent for a detail sander (14,000 OPMs). Featuring a “detail finger” to ensure you can reach each and every corner, no matter how tight, makes this the best possible partner to any of the machines above. If you’re on a budget, it can also be used as a stand-alone for most furniture as long as the pieces are relatively small.
Can sand even the tightest spots
These are, in my opinion, the best sanders for furniture refinishing. They have the best shape, size and weight for it and you’ll get excellent results without breaking the bank!
Now, to further solidify my reasons as to why I always answer “rectangles”, I’ll quickly explain their advantages.
Why Rectangular Sanders Are the Best for Furniture
The top 5 reasons are:
- Their rectangular shape lets you sand corners and edges with ease
This is their strongest quality when matched against their rounded counterparts. With a circular sander, while most surfaces would be nicely dealt with, you’d have the problem of not being able to properly sand corners or edges. With a rectangular shaped one such as a belt or palm sheet sander, you can perfectly match the sander to the furniture’s shape (such as 90º corners or regular chair legs and backs).
- Unmatched furniture finishing quality
Due to being able to perfectly reach the 90º edges and corners (instead of doing them by hand or leaving them unfinished due to the circular shape), you’ll get a uniform, coherent and incredibly high-quality finish on any piece of furniture.
- They are great for removing old paint as well as for applying a smooth and polished finish
You get the best of both worlds as well, you can use them to remove old paint (with a rougher grit sandpaper) and to apply a silky smooth high polish finish as well (with a higher grit sandpaper).
- They are handheld, light and easy to move around
While this point is shared among circular ones as well, it’s a very important quality to have when dealing with furniture. Since you’ll often be working with one hand only and in uncomfortable positions, a lightweight and easily maneuvered sander is a must-have.
- They are mostly inexpensive machines
A lot of these machines are very inexpensive, especially for the value you get out of them. You can get more or less inexpensive solutions, depending on your level of work, but even the professional-tier choices won’t break your bank. For the casual user or hobbyist especially, there are excellent choices that give you a superb bang for your buck.
Those are the strongest reasons why rectangular-shaped sanders beat all of the competition when it comes to furniture. They were made for it!
Many of you asked for some guidance on how to deal with cabinets specifically, let’s take a look at that as well.
Cabinets are unique pieces of furniture that deserve their own special section. They are often intricate, have a lot of corners and salience which makes them difficult to completely sand (including the insides). I’ve dealt with them for years and still do, so I know all the little tips and trick that you need in order to ace them. If you’re interested in reading more and getting to know which machines are the best to deal with them, be sure to check out my personal picks for the best sanders for cabinets.
Simple isn’t it? Those are, in my view, the very best sanders for furniture you can get.
Now you have no excuses not to go refinish that old banged up furniture. It’s there, waiting for you to give it a new life and purpose so go on and have fun!
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the next one!
Thank you very much for all of the information! I’ve just started to learn about redoing furniture and I’m having fun with it.! Enjoy your day!
You’re more than welcome Hayley, thanks for the kind words and enjoy your woodworking journey. Have a wonderful weekend!
Thanks a lot for this write up James, got the DeWalt coupled with the Black+Decker and they’re an unbeatable duo! I’ve been enjoying using them on a bunch of old furniture I’ve had on hold since the winter, these beauties make it an easy and actually relaxing task. Again, thank you.
I’m glad to hear it Manny, they’re awesome little beasts indeed. Good luck with the refinishing and enjoy the Summer!
Hey James, I’m in a little woodworking group where we mostly deal with furniture. We have a lot of “newbies” so this guide will be outstanding for them to read. You’re clearly very experienced and our doors are always open to have you as a teacher! Thanks again James.
Hey Jesse, that sounds great. Be sure to send me an email and I’ll do my best to help out, I can send you a package of tools you can give to the new members too – I’ve got a lot laying around!