Best Sanders for Refinishing Furniture – 2021 Guide

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Refinishing furniture is an essential step in the process of maintaining furniture throughout time.

There are sanders out there that fit perfectly with this task. 

Below, we'll show you how to find one as well as showing you some of our favorites. 

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

  1. DeWalt DCW200B
  2. Black+Decker BDCMS20C
  3. Mertek MKRS01

Comparison Chart of the Best Sanders for Refinishing Furniture

Product

Main Features

Price

DeWalt DCW200B

  • Best Sander for Furniture
  • Provides 8000 - 14,000 RPM
  • Battery powered

Black+Decker BDCMS20C

  • Best for the Money
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Battery powered with 12,000 OPM

Mertek MKRS01

  • Best Sander for Furniture Stripping
  • 6 variable speeds
  • Has a dust collection bag

Aouker HS85180

  • Best Hand Sander for Furniture
  • Lightweight plastic material
  • Sponge handle

Skil SR211601

  • Best Orbital Sander for Refinishing Furniture
  • Operates at 13,000 OPM
  • Low-vibration handle

Tacklife PMS02B

  • Best Sander for Refinishing Table
  • Provides 12,000 RPM speed
  • 36-degree rotational sanding pad

What Makes a Sander Great for Refinishing Furniture? 

Understanding what makes a high-quality refinishing sander will allow you to filter out the unnecessary sanders and significantly reduce the time it takes to find the sander for you. Below are some of the most important features to keep an eye out for. 

Comfortable Handling 

Comfort can be considered the most important aspect of operating a sander. Suppose you're sanding furniture for more than ten minutes at a time. In that case, your hand and wrist can quickly become strained or cramped if you're not using a comfortable, ergonomic handle. 

Dust Collection

It should be mandatory for sanders to have some dust collection system. It dramatically reduces the chance of microparticles entering your lungs and minimizes the mess created. 

However, not all sanders have this feature. Therefore it's important to find a sander with this ability. It can either be in the form of a dust bag/box or a vacuum attachment. 

Power Capabilities 

The rate at which your sander operates is measured in orbits per minute (OPM). The higher OPM, the faster you'll get your sanding tasks completed. 

Most high-quality sanders would offer an OPM above 10,000. They should also give you the option of adjusting the speed to suit different tasks. 

Review of the Best Sanders for Furniture

Now that you know what features to look out for, it's important to show you some examples of high-quality sanders that would be great for refinishing furniture. 

Best Sander for Furniture    
DeWalt DCW200B

PROS

  • Speed can be adjusted
  • Has a removable dust bag
  • Comfortable soft-rubber handle
  • Sandpaper clamp has a better grip

CONS

  • Paper clamp weakens over time

Our Review

The Dewalt brand is a reliable one that reassures all who buy their products; this sander certainly doesn't let that reputation down. 

The sander can operate between 8000 and 14,000 OPM and has an adjustable dial just where your finder would rest on the handle.

The handle itself is made from soft rubber, allowing the user to work for long periods without hand fatigue. You'll benefit from the more secure paper clamp, which lasts longer than the hoop and loop system. 

The only issue with this sander is that the clamp will eventually weaken, meaning the paper begins to move around. However, it still lasts longer than the hoop and loop option if adequately taken care of. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The sandpaper clamp isn't as common as the hook and loop method, as it takes some more time to set up. The clamp option lasts a lot longer as it provides an even more secure grip on the paper to stop it from moving around. 

Best for the Money    
Black+Decker BDCMS20C

PROS

  • Comfortable wrap-around handle
  • Is lightweight enough to carry around
  • The triangular sand pad is great for tight corners
  • Battery-powered means no cords to get in the way

CONS

  • The battery will eventually run out

Our Review

The soft-rubber handle is a comfortable wrap-around design that provides you with more control over where you're guiding the sander. 

Speaking about control, the triangular sanding pad allows the user to sand even the tightest corners and hard to reach angles. 

Considering this is a finishing sander, you could be using this for more than ten minutes per project, so the 2.59lbs is beneficial to the user as it's relatively lightweight. 

Another key feature would be that it's battery-powered, meaning no annoying cords are getting in the way. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The cordless battery pack is the standout feature here. Cords can easily get in your way and even limit how far you can go around the room. A cordless, battery-powered option provides a lot more flexibility with where and how you sand furniture. 

Best Sander for Furniture Stripping
Mertek MKRS01

PROS

  • Six variable speeds up to 12,000 OPM
  • Hoop-and-loop attachment makes set up faster
  • Rubber grip reduces vibration and improves comfort
  • Heat dissipation system makes it more comfortable to handle

CONS

  • Hoop-and-loop can work loose if not properly seated

Our Review

The Mertek sander has plenty of applications, including wood finishing, polishing, removing paint, and blemishes. 

Depending on the task, there will be a required speed; thankfully, this sander has six optionable speeds to choose from, ranging up to 12,000 OPM. 

The high speeds produce severe vibrations, which are reduced by the rubber grip. The friction and speeds produce high-heat, which can be released using the heat dissipation system. 

The only issue with the hoop and loop attachment method is that although it's a lot faster to use when switching sandpaper, the adhesive-like material tends to wear away faster. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The heat reduction system is relatively uncommon to find in a standard sander. Without this, heat will quickly build up and make gripping the tool more uncomfortable. 

You'll be able to use this sander for much longer without feeling the effects of fatigue thanks to the vibration-resistant rubber handle. Comfort seems to be the main priority for this particular sander. 

Best Hand Sander for Furniture
Aouker HS85180

PROS

  • Comfortable sponge handle
  • Extremely lightweight design
  • Stable metal clamp sandpaper clips
  • Offers you more control over the sanding

CONS

  • No dust collector
  • Will take longer to get the job done

Our Review

This simple hand sander weighs just 2.39 ounces, which is incredibly lightweight; you'll not struggle to carry this around or prolonged use.

The handle is made from a sponge material, which is quite soft. As it's not electric, it allows you more control over the extent to which the material is sanded down. 

The only issue with that would be it will take much longer to complete the job. The sandpaper is attached using metal clamps, which hold the sandpaper in place. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Most refinishing sanders are electrical devices that offer thousands of orbits per minute. The benefit of this is that you have complete control over how much you sand the furniture. No other sander will provide you with the same control. 

Best Orbital Sander for Refinishing Furniture    
Skil SR211601

PROS

  • See-through dust collector
  • Three sanding papers included
  • Soft rubber handle reduces vibration
  • Variable speed control up to 13,000 OPM

CONS

  • Dust still gathers in the air

Our Review

The transparent dust collector is a great addition. You can see exactly how full the container is, unlike a vacuum bag or blacked out box. 

The comfortable handles are also great for prolonged use as they're made from a soft rubber material, reducing vibration. 

The random orbital sander has a variable speed control of up to 13,000 OPM, which is more than enough for standard refinishing tasks. 

You'll also be given three sanding papers with your purchase. The only issue is that the sander seems to throw the dust into the air more than other sanders. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

In the show's main part, the transparent dust container, as most dust collectors are blacked out boxes or bags that have no clear indicator to let you know they're full. 

Therefore, this product minimizes the time it takes fiddling around, emptying it regularly, which wastes time. 

Best Sander for Refinishing Table
Tacklife PMS02B

PROS

  • 360-degree rotary sandpaper pad
  • Rubber grip that reduces vibration
  • 12,000 RPM gets the job done quick
  • 20-pieces of sandpaper included with purchase

CONS

  • The dust container fills up quickly

Our Review

The Tacklife palm sander can provide up to 12,000 RPM speeds, perfect for refinishing tasks such as tables. Tables, of course, take longer to work on. That's why the user's comfort seems to have been the main thought as the rubber handle grip significantly reduces vibration. 

If you're looking to sand those hard to reach areas, the pad can rotate 360-degrees to help get into the corners. To provide you with some more value, you'll also receive 20-pieces of sandpaper with your purchase. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The best part about this sander is the pad's design; it has a triangular shape that allows you to sand into tight corners and smaller spaces. 

The shape, coupled with the rotary pad, makes sanding a table less tedious and problematic. It doesn't require multiple sanders for the one job. 

Hold up, are you interested in other topics related to sanders? If so, these might be something to check out: 

Sanding vs. Stripping Furniture - What You Need to Know

Sanding and stripping are both common methods of removing a finish from the wood. Strippers use chemicals to remove the top layer finish, whereas sanding is the physical removal of finish by hand. 

Strippers 

There are two main types of stripper, solvent and caustic. Solvent penetrates deeper into the wood and will require a scrub with steel wool to finish. 

However, caustic strippers are cheaper but won't be as effective as they don't penetrate deeply. Caustic strippers need to be left for several hours but don't release as many toxic fumes as solvent strippers. 

Sanding

Sanding takes far more effort and time, but you have more control over the result. You can either sand by hand using a hand-sander, or you can operate an electrical finishing sander.

If using the hand sander on tables or cabinets, it'll take you longer than an electric sander. There is some skill required for sanding; if you don't have the necessary control or knowledge, it could damage the wood.

Tips for Refinishing Furniture

There's always going to be days when you learn something new, a piece of advice, or a small hack that makes something that little bit easier. Below are some of our best tips when refinishing furniture. 

Give it a good clean

Before you start sanding, you should give the piece of furniture a good scrub down as it's most likely been sitting gathering dirt and grime for years. 

This will help with the sanding process, making it much easier to see what parts of the furniture have been worked. 

Wear Protective Equipment

It's always smart to wear safety glasses and a mask. When sanding, you don't know if a piece of wood will randomly chip away and come flying towards your eye. 

The same goes for dust; these particles can affect your eyesight and breathing, so a mask is also important to protect your lungs. 

Keep the Windows Open

Suppose you're sanding or using a stripper. In that case, it's important to keep airflow to a maximum as you don't want dust gathering in one small space; this could be dangerous; the same goes for stripper; the chemicals can build up to dangerous levels. 

What Kind Of Sander Should I Get For Furniture Refinishing?

There are variations of most products out there, some variations are useful, and others are just nonsense. However, below are some of the most defining variations to look out for.  

Pad Shape

Various shapes can be found on a finishing sander. The triangular shape is good for getting into smaller cracks and edges. The same goes for the rectangular shape; they're also suitable for corners. 

You can also find circular pad shapes; these are good for the general body of the product. However, you'll struggle sanding corners with a circular pad.  

Sandpaper Attachment

The two most common ways to attach a piece of sandpaper would be by the clip method, which provides more stability when operating the sander. 

The hook and loop method, which acts more like a cohesive material, lay it on, and you're good to go. 

The only downside with the hook and loop method is that it wears away after constant use. The clamp method lasts longer, although the clamps do eventually weaken. 

Variable Speed Control

Controlling the speed provides you with the better flexibility over what tasks can be completed with that individual sander. 

Some sanders provide you with one set speed. Others of higher quality offer you multiple speeds to choose from, depending on the task. 

Conclusion 

There are plenty of considerations and questions to ask yourself. However, the information above should have given you a starting point. You're now on your way to making an informed decision regarding the best sanders for refinishing furniture. 

People Also Ask

With most topics, there's always going to be additional questions. Below is a compilation of the most commonly asked questions and their answers regarding sanders being used for refinishing furniture. 

What Grit Sandpaper For Refinishing Furniture

There are, of course, multiple stages to refinishing furniture. Most experts recommend that you begin with a standard 100 grit paper to remove the vast majority of the material.

If you're struggling with the removal, firstly use an 80 grit and then move up to a 100 or 120 grit sandpaper with the second pass. For the last pass, try a 150 grit sandpaper. 

How Can I Minimize Dust While Refinishing Furniture?

The best way is to invest in a quality dust collector which attaches to your sander. The best option would be to use a vacuum attachment that holds more dust, and you'll have less chance of spillage. 

Where Is The Best Place To Sand Furniture I'm Refinishing?

If you can do it outside, that would remove the need for cleaning up as the wind would carry away any debris. If you can't do that, a room with good air circulation will do; it might help to put a fan in the room and point it at the nearest window. 

How To Make Money Refinishing Furniture

If you have the tools, you could charge other people to refinish their old furniture; it can be an expensive hobby and time-consuming; therefore, other people would happily pay for others to do the work for them. 

You could also take old furniture and upcycle them and sell them on an online marketplace like eBay or Facebook. 

How Much To Charge For Refinishing Furniture

You could charge a range price of between $200 - $600. There are variables attached to that price, such as the customer's budget, the cost of supplies, the cost of your tools, and your labor costs, which could range between $25 and $100 per hour. 

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.