Best Sandpaper For Cast Iron – 2021 Guide

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Sanding wood seems relatively straightforward, but sanding cast iron can be a daunting task to many people.

It can be a confusing task as it's completely different from sanding wood. 

Thankfully, we'll show you how to find the best sandpaper for working on cast iron. 

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best sandpapers for cast iron:

  1. 3M 32115 Sandpaper
  2. Mercer Industries 205080A
  3. Dura-Gold Premium 80 Grit

Comparison Chart of the Best Sandpapers for Cast Iron

Product

Specs

Price

3M 32115 Sandpaper

  • 9 x 11 - inches
  • Aluminum oxide material
  • Five per pack

Mercer Industries 205080A

  • 50 per pack
  • latex backed paper
  • Garnet grain

Dura-Gold Premium 80 Grit

  • Best for the Money
  • Aluminum oxide material
  • Designed for palm sanders

Mestool 58-AP

  • Best Hook-and-Loop Sandpaper for Cast Iron
  • Anti-clog coating
  • 8-hole paper

Coceca 80 Grit Mouse Sandpaper

  • Best Mouse Sandpaper for Cast Iron
  • Oval-shaped pad
  • Aluminum oxide material

What Makes Sandpaper Great for Cast Iron? 

Sandpaper is an incredibly beneficial tool to have in your arsenal regardless of what trade you belong to or material you're working with. If you're not convinced, we'll show you a few benefits you might be missing out on. 

Versatile 

Sandpaper can be used on a whole variety of tasks throughout the workplace and home. Whether you're working on a wooden, metal, or plastic workpiece, you'll be able to find sandpaper to shape, remove material, and finish with no issue. Sandpaper is truly essential for any tradesman's tool kit. 

Readily Available 

Sandpaper isn't some unique tool that costs thousands of dollars to make or buy, it's easy to find, and there's special sandpaper for every task.

All hardware stores should sell most varieties; if not, it's always a quick Amazon search away. 

Variety of Shapes and Sizes

If you're working with different automatic sanding tools, they might require specific types of sandpaper or shapes. There are plenty of shapes to choose from to suit the individual task.

Suppose you're working on a cast-iron fence. In that case, a triangular or oval-shaped pad might be the most beneficial, as they're able to get into tight corners and narrow spaces. You can also buy finger attachments that get into even smaller areas. 

What Grit Sandpaper Do I Need for Cast Iron?

It all depends on what you're doing. But, if you're working on a cast iron skillet, many experts would recommend starting with 40-grit sandpaper and then swapping with 80, 120, and finally 220-grit sandpaper. 

What Type of Sandpaper Is Best for Cast Iron? 

There are many types of sandpaper; Emery and Garnet are the two most commonly used on metal. However, Emery comes off as more beneficial as it's better for removing rust and polishing. 

Review of the Best Sandpaper For Cast Iron 

Suppose you're looking for high-quality sandpaper. We've included some of our favorite sandpaper that is suitable for sanding cast iron.

Best Overall
3M 32115 Sandpaper

PROS

  • It comes as a 5-pack
  • 80-grit easily removes rust
  • Can be used by hand or machine
  • Aluminum oxide material lasts 2.5x longer

CONS

  • Cracks easily

Our Review

This 3M sandpaper is currently our most favored. The purchase includes a 5-pack of 80-grit sandpaper that will quickly remove rust from metal and fiberglass—ideal for a mechanic or someone working with cast iron. 

The sandpaper is made from aluminum oxide, which significantly prolongs the lifespan by at least 2.5x the standard amount. However, a few customers have complained about the sandpaper easily cracking after a few uses. 

Still, we can put that down to the occasional defect. Another benefit is that it can be used by either hand or machine. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The Aluminum oxide material will provide you with a clear difference in terms of the lifespan of your sandpaper. Most sandpapers will eventually crack way before their expected shelf life. Still, with this product, you can enjoy 2.5x the standard life expectancy majority of the time. 

Runner-up
Mercer Industries 205080A

PROS

  • It comes as a 50pc kit
  • It is made from a natural garnet grain
  • Great for finishing a cast iron workpiece
  • 80-grit is coarse sandpaper, ideal for any metal

CONS

  • It wears away fairly quick

Our Review

A deserved runner up in our list, the Mercer industries sandpaper is excellent sandpaper for a few reasons. This particular kit comes as a 50pc purchase, meaning you'll not be going sandpaper shopping for a while. 

The 80-grit sandpaper is made from a natural garnet grain, which is incredibly soft and ideal for finishing your cast iron as it's lighter and finer. The only issue with that would be it wears away reasonably fast. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The garnet material is what makes this product special; if you're at the finishing stages of sanding a cast iron workpiece, this product would be ideal. The soft grain isn't built for the starting stages, even though it is 80-grit sandpaper. 

Best for the Money
Dura-Gold Premium 80 Grit

PROS

  • Various attachment methods
  • Explicitly designed for palm sanders
  • Box of 25 provides decent value for money
  • Coated with aluminum oxide to improve the lifespan

CONS

  • Come in a smaller size

Our Review

The Dura Gold sandpaper pack comes as a set of 25, 80-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper has been explicitly designed for palm sanders, which would be the most likely type to be used on cast iron products. 

You'll have the option of using the hook and loop attachment method as it offers the adhesive backing or simply clamping it onto the sander. The sandpaper itself is coated with aluminum oxide, which will drastically improve lifespan. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The option of a hook and loop or clamp attachment is an excellent benefit of this particular sandpaper and the lack of holes in the paper. The lack of holes allows the user to operate the sandpaper by hand or machine. 

Best Hook-and-Loop Sandpaper for Cast Iron
Mestool 58-AP

PROS

  • Long-lasting sandpaper material
  • 100pc pack of 80-grit sandpaper
  • Made specifically for circular pads
  • Hook and loop abrasive attachment

CONS

  • Aren't suitable to be used by hand

Our Review

With this purchase, you'll receive 100pcs of 80-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper has an aluminum oxide coating, which significantly improves the lifespan of the product. The product is designed for 5-inch circular pads, most likely an orbital sander.

They're designed with a hook and loop attachment method, reducing the time it takes for switching sandpaper. The only downside is that the holes make this product not the most suitable for hand sanding. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The eight holes that are designed into this product allow for an adequate dust extraction system. Dust extraction is an essential aspect of sanding and maintaining safety—a considerable benefit for those working in confined spaces where dust can quickly build up in the air. 

Best Mouse Sandpaper for Cast Iron
Coceca 80 Grit Mouse Sandpaper

PROS

  • 50pc pack of 80-grit sandpaper
  • Easy and straightforward attachment
  • Durable material extends sanding time
  • Oval shape allows better access to tighter spaces

CONS

  • Attachment adhesive tends to wear away

Our Review

This particular sandpaper has been designed to fit pads with an oval-shaped head; these pads allow the user to access tight corners and narrow spaces. 

You'll receive 50pcs of 80-grit sandpaper, which is made with aluminum oxide. This material extends the lifespan of your sandpaper by about 2.5x the average lifespan. 

The hook and loop attachment comes with its benefits as it's straightforward to attach to the head. However, the adhesive does begin to wear after a while. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The shape of the sandpaper is what makes the product stand out from the competition. The oval shape will allow your sander to access areas and angles that larger, rectangular or circular pads can't access. 

How to Smooth Cast Iron 

Everyone has to start from somewhere, which is why we've included a helpful step by step guide on how to smooth cast iron, using the example of a cast-iron skillet. 

  1. Most experts recommend using coarse sandpaper between 60 and 80-grit will do fine. The entire process should also take 10-minutes. 

  2. Suppose you want to get right into those grooves. In that case, you'd be best using oval-shaped sandpaper or even utilize a finger attachment. 

  3. The good thing about cast iron is that you don't need to follow any grain. Sand away until you start removing enough material. 

  4. A common issue is that it can sometimes blacken and stick to your sandpaper after a few operation minutes. However, switch sandpaper, and you'll not have this issue as most of the material layer has been removed.

Be sure to refer to the YouTube video below for a full overview of what was just described. 

Conclusion 

Cast iron seems like a scary material to work on, especially with sandpaper. However, the above information is everything you need to know to work with cast iron workpieces correctly. The key is to take it slowly and learn from your mistakes. 

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.