Best Sanders For Decks – 2021 Comparison Review

Cody
| Last Updated: January 9, 2021

Tool Tango is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Sanding your deck doesn't need to be painstaking or take forever. In the article below, we'll explain how to find the best sander for decking. It'll also include an overview of our favorite sanders for decking. 

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best sanders for decks:

  1. Ingersoll Rand 300G
  2. DeWalt DCW200B
  3. Black+Decker DS321

Comparison Chart of the Best Sanders for Decks

Product

Specs

Price

Ingersoll Rand 300G

  • Best Sander for Deck Refinishing
  • Contoured grip
  • 360-degree swivel

DeWalt DCW200B

  • Variable speed control
  • Clamp attachment
  • Dust sealed switch

Black+Decker DS321

  • Best for the Money
  • Multi-grip handles
  • Retractable hood

Makita 9403

  • Best Belt Sander for Deck
  • Large dust bag
  • 4-inch belt

Jet 723520K JWDS-1632

  • Best Drum Sander for Deck
  • Conveyor belt
  • 156lbs

Skil SR211601

  • Best Orbital Sander for Deck
  • Transparent dust container
  • 13,000 OPM

What Makes a Sander Great for a Deck? 

There are a few features and characteristics that you'll find on a high-quality sander best suited to deck sanding. Below is a list of the most common features to keep an eye out for when researching. 

Size & Shape

If you're sanding larger pieces of decking, you will benefit from a wide belt sander, as this would sand a larger area at one time. 

However, if you're trying to sand a deck with grooves and intricate designs, you may benefit from an oval-shaped sanding pad that can get into smaller spaces. 

Attachments

A few attachable features can be included with the sander or bought further down the line. Things such as finger attachments will allow you to get into even smaller and restricted spaces in comparison to an oval-shaped pad. Vacuum ports will also allow the user to attach a vacuum hose to keep dust to a minimum. 

Comfortable and Secure Grip

When you're down on your hands and knees for long periods sanding decking, it can quickly become uncomfortable. That's why a soft-rubber grip is an important feature to consider, as it reduces the effects of fatigue. 

Multiple grip positions are also a considerable feature as this allows the user to play around to see what's most comfortable for them. 

Review of the Best Sander For Deck Refinishing 

Now that you know what to look out for, it's important to see some examples of high-quality sanders suitable for decking. 

Best Sander for Deck Refinishing
Ingersoll Rand 300G

PROS

  • Comfortable and firm grip
  • Swivel joint provides flexibility
  • It covers a reasonably sized area
  • Vacuum port allows better dust containment

CONS

  • No variable speed controls

Our Review

The orbital palm sander provides the user with 10,000 RPM, which is incredibly more powerful than your average palm sander. The only issue is that there are no variable speed controls. Therefore it can't be adjusted for different tasks.

If you're ever sanding from a tough angle, this 360-degree swivel joint will sort that issue out; it allows you to work from any angle. The pad itself is 6-inches, which is a reasonable area coverage. 

On the back end of the sander, there's a vacuum port that allows you to connect a vacuum hose, which reduces the mess created by the dust. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The 360-degree swivel mount is what makes this palm sander stand out from the competition. When you're connected to a vacuum hose or other connections, the swivel mount will allow you to work in awkward angles without getting tangled or having the connection tense up due to twisting. 

Runner-up
DeWalt DCW200B

PROS

  • Sheet sanding covers a larger area
  • Variable speed control for greater flexibility
  • Dust sealed switch protects against clogging
  • Clamping attachment means secure sandpaper

CONS

  • Not suitable for tight spaces or corners

Our Review

Operating between the speeds of 8,000 and 14,000 RPM, the variable speed controls are a great asset for someone looking to use this sander on different tasks. 

The sandpaper attachment method is clamping, which provides a more secure method of attachment than a hook and loop adhesive. 

The design of the pad is in sheet form; this covers larger areas than an oval-shaped pad. The larger area coverage and high speeds mean it'll create plenty of dust. Thankfully the dust-sealed switch protects any dust from entering your tool and clogging the internals. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The special feature of this sander has got to be the sandpaper clamps; these will be more reliable in securing the sandpaper in contrast to a hook and loop system. 

Hook and loop adhesive tends to wear faster than a clamp weakening over time, which makes the clamp method more effective. Hook and loop adhesives tend to make the sandpaper move around during operation. 

Best for the Money
Black+Decker DS321

PROS

  • The easy pull tension lever
  • Angled belt design for easier sanding
  • Multiple handle positions for better control
  • The adjustable front roller can reach tight spaces

CONS

  • Harder to use on smaller spaces

Our Review

The three-positioned handle grips provide the user with various options that maximize control and comfort from hand fatigue, a common symptom of continuous sanding. The retractable front hood helps sand those hard to reach angles and tight spaces. 

The only downside with the design would be that it's too bulky for use in smaller spaces—the angled belt design sands 3x closer to the surface of the workpiece than your average sander. 

Changing the sanding belt is also relatively easy as you just pull the tension lever, and you're ready to swap out the old with the new. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The retractable front hood is really the star of the show for this particular sander, as it allows the user to sand awkward spaces without changing angles or making life harder for themselves. 

There are many designs found on decks that have weird grooves and spaces; now, they're easily sanded using the front roller of this sander. 

Best Belt Sander for Deck
Makita 9403

PROS

  • Comfortable front grip
  • Dust protected internal design
  • 4-inch wide belt covers a decent area
  • Large vacuum bag holds more dust than average

CONS

  • No variable speed controls

Our Review

The front grip provides the user with more control and greater grip than your average sander; You'll be able to guide the sander more accurately using the front and back grips. The sander itself has a 4-inch wide belt, which is relatively decent coverage. 

At the back of the sander is a large dust bag that will collect much more dust than your average dust containment system. With all the dust that's collected, if any of it somehow escapes or covers the sander, the internal design of the sander protects itself from clogging. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The internal design of the sander is a unique feature here as it protects the important components from being clogged from dust. There aren't many sanders on offer that provide this safety and protective feature, ultimately saving you from a common problem for sanding units with no adequate dust protection. 

Best Drum Sander for Deck
Jet 723520K JWDS-1632

PROS

  • No risk of fatigue from the user
  • The variable speed control system
  • Four collection ports for effective dust containment
  • The conveyor system pulls the boards through for you

CONS

  • It has to be used before deck installation

Our Review

This drum sanding unit ensures there is zero chance of fatigue from the user when in use. The operation is straightforward as the unit does most of the work for you. 

For example, the conveyor system will pull the board through for you at a speed of up to 10ft per minute; this speed can also be adjusted by the user.

You'll not even notice the dust creation as there are four collection ports that ensure that dust is contained at an effective level. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The special feature of this sanding unit is definitely the design. By using a static drum sander to work on decking, you greatly reduce the likelihood of fatigue for the user. The only thing you need to do is facilitate the sanding process rather than carry it out. 

If you've ever sanded a deck using a handheld sander on your hands and knees, you can understand how valuable this particular drum sander can be. 

Best Orbital Sander for Deck
Skil SR211601

PROS

  • Comfortable hand grip
  • Transparent dust collector
  • The speed can be controlled
  • Straightforward sandpaper attachment

CONS

  • Adhesive attachment wears away

Our Review

This small random orbital sander is ideal for finishing and detailed work, offering the user to control the speed for other tasks; this can be adjusted up to 13,000 OPM. 

The fast speeds will create plenty of dust; this is when the transparent dust collector comes in handy as this will allow you to accurately know when it requires emptying. 

The grip uses a soft-rubber material to help reduce the effects of vibration and enhance comfort. The hook and loop method of attachment makes swapping sandpaper far easier. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The stand out feature of this product has got to be the soft rubber material that greatly improves and maintains comfort for the user at all times. 

A common issue of using a sander for long periods would be the discomfort it causes due to vibration and plastic handles. The soft rubber is built specifically to reduce hand fatigue. 

What Type of Sander To Use On a Deck? 

Let's discuss what type of sander that would be best used on a deck. Consider this part like a 'Build your own sander' ; the features here won't necessarily come with every sander, but they're considered the best and most useful features currently on offer. 

Large Pad 

A large pad will cover a wide area, which allows you to get the task done faster than using a smaller palm sander. You'd be best suited using a belt or random orbital sander, which tends to have a larger sanding pad. 

Anti-Vibration Design

Anti-vibration tends to come in the form of a soft-rubber coating that reduces the effects of vibration. You can also find sanders that have internal ball bearings that help with balance and again reduce vibration. 

Variable Speed Control

Having control over the speed of your device is an important feature to consider as this allows for greater flexibility and versatility when working on various projects and not just one. 

When you're at the finishing stage of a project, this will require a slower and more controlled speed in comparison to material removal or workpiece shaping. 

Hook and Loop Adhesive Attachment 

When working on a deck, sandpaper changes can be frequent, and this takes up too much time when using a clamp method. A hook and loop adhesive will allow you to quickly and easily change sandpaper in a matter of seconds, maximizing your productivity. 

What Grit Sandpaper for Deck Sanding 

Different materials and stages will warrant varying levels of sandpaper grit. Below is an overview of each time when this might be the case. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Wood Deck?

Most experts would recommend that you use either a 60 or 80-grit sandpaper on the exterior of the decking. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Cedar Deck

As you may or may not know, cedar is a softwood like pine and redwood. Instead of using an 80-grit, you'd be best suited with 120-grit sandpaper. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Stained Wood

If you're removing the stain, it's best to use 60 or 80-grit sandpaper. However, with any softwoods, it would be best, to begin with, 120-grit sandpaper. 

What Grit Sandpaper Before Staining 

If you're prepping your new decking for staining, it's best to begin with, 120-grit sandpaper, and with each pass, move to a 150-grit and then finally 220-grit sandpaper to create a smooth finish. 

Sandpaper Grit Chart

If you're confused and would like a visual guide on what sandpaper is suitable for whatever situation, take a look at our sandpaper grit chart. 

sandpaper-grit- chart

How to Sand a Deck

You'll learn many tips and tricks over years of sanding experience. However, if you're a beginner, take a look below for some of the most common tips and tricks for sanding your decking. 

Ensure The Deck Is Clean

You'll want to ensure that the decking is cleared of any obstructions like nails and other debris. If you're sanding and hit a loose nail, this will rip the sandpaper and even damage the internal components of your sander. 

Sand With The Grain

Like with any wooden workpiece, you should be sanding with the grain of the wood to minimize any chance of scratch marks or inconsistencies.  

Keep the Sander Moving 

Keeping your sander constantly moving while placed on the workpiece is important as this ensures that the wood is smooth and level.

If you stop the sander while on the wood for just a few seconds, it could remove too much material making it uneven. 

How To Sand a Deck With a Drum Sander 

Sanders are all different in many ways, and sometimes handling one can feel different from handling another. Below are a few tips on how to sand your decking with a drum sander. 

Wear Relevant Safety Equipment

When operating a drum sander, it's pretty close to your feet. Therefore it's important to wear steel toe capped boots to protect them from any accidents. Other safety equipment should be worn, like eye protection and a dust mask

Slow and Steady Wins The Race

Work on one plank at a time, from one edge to another. Once you're ready to change planks, slowly push the handles down to lift the drum from the workpiece and roll and position it onto the next plank. 

Practice Makes Perfect

The whole technique of going from edge to edge and then positioning it onto another plank can be difficult at first, which is why we'd recommend that you give it a practice run first without the power so you can get a feel for the weight and understand the control and pressure necessary. 

How To Use a Belt Sander On a Deck 

Most people will be using the handheld belt sanders as they're easy to use and less expensive than larger push and pull models. Below are some key tips to follow when sanding the decking. 

Knee Pads Help

If you're operating a smaller handheld belt sander, you'll be on your hands and knees much more. Therefore it's recommended that you invest in a pair of knee pads as this will relieve the pain of constantly shuffling along with the hardwood decking. 

Change The Dust Collection Each Pass

A single plank will quickly fill your small dust container; you should be checking it with each pass so that way dust won't clog up the internal components. 

Save Time Changing Sandpaper

When you're working on decking, you often need to swap between various sandpaper grits, and that can become a hassle with using complicated changeover methods. Try to look out for something that offers an easy changeover system or a quick-release lever. 

Conclusion 

There are many ways to sand your decking, and sometimes it takes more preparation than you'd imagine. Follow the information we've provided above, and you'll have everything you need to know in order to successfully sand your decking. 

People Also Ask

Like with any topic, there will always be a few additional points to touch on. We've compiled and answered below some of the most commonly asked questions regarding sanding a deck. 

How Much Does A Deck Sander Weigh? 

Handheld or wheeled sanders shouldn't weigh anything more than 60lbs; handheld sander should be around the 10lb or less mark in order to limit fatigue. 

How Long Does It Take To Sand A Deck?

It depends on the size of the deck and what stage you're starting at. But, the full process should take between 8 and 10 hours. 

How Do I Deal With Dust While Sanding A Deck?

Thankfully most deck work is done outdoors; the wind should deal with most of it. You could attach a vacuum hose to your sander, and that will suck the dust into the vacuum bag as it's created. 

Can You Use A Floor Sander On A Deck?

Yes. Most people tend to use a floor sander as it covers a wide area and is easily controllable. 

Do You Have To Sand Wood Before Staining?

Yes. It's important that you've prepped the wood correctly before staining. If you don't do this, then it'll impact the overall quality of the decking. 

Can You Sand Wet Wood?

If you're wet sanding by hand, then this can be done. However, never wet sand with an electric sander. This can be dangerous for you and the sander. 

Can You Sand Pressure Treated Wood?

Yes, you can. But be wary of doing this with CCA pressure-treated wood as it has carcinogenic characteristics; ensure you're wearing a high-grade respirator when working with this material.  

Cody

My name is Cody and I've been a writer for Tool Tango for quite some time now. I've always had a knack for building things with my hands and creative writing, so being able to combine the two has been great. I love being able to give back to the DIY-community, while also learning a thing or two along the way. When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching Netflix with my girlfriend, fishing, and working in the shop.