The best detail sander is an essential tool for occasional DIY through to serious woodworking projects. If you’re decorating and don’t like sanding by hand, a good detail sander will help you get the job done quickly and professionally. Or for any woodworking project that requires a fine finish, a detail sander is an essential piece of kit.
What is a detail sander?
The best detail sander is small & lightweight. Sometimes referred to as a palm, corner or mouse sander. The sandpaper attaches to a triangular vibrating plate which is similar in shape to the base of a clothes iron. The pointed nose allows you to sand out imperfections in hard to reach corners and tight spaces. For bigger jobs that have large flat areas, consider a random orbital sander.
Choosing the right detail sander for you
Buying the right detail sander is anything but easy. Although the basic function is straight-forward, there are numerous models to choose from. Fortunately, Verum has compared the specifications, checked owner opinion and researched the facts to recommend the best models available to buy, right now.
What’s important when choosing a detail sander?
Material removal & surface finish are of primary importance. Alongside these basic requirements come weight, noise & durability. The cost of the actual sander is easy to compare, but the price and availability of the required sandpaper can easily be overlooked.
Whether you’re repairing a wall, renovating a piece of furniture or preparing a panelled door for painting, you need the right kit. Get the job done quickly & professionally – choose the best detail sander from the shortlist below.
Best Cheap Detail Sander
Black & Decker BEW230
The Black & Decker Mouse is a great, no-frills, detail sander. This model does everything it should and comes ready to use with six sanding sheets. It’s lightweight & highly rated by owners. Plus, for a sander, it’s reasonably quiet.
How noisy is a detail sander?
All sanders are noisy. This model is no exception, but it’s quieter than most. As with any sander, you’re, best off wearing ear protection along with a particle mask and glasses.
To minimise dust, the best solution is to attach a vacuum cleaner to the exhaust at the back.
Attach a vacuum to your sander
You can significantly reduce dust levels by connecting a vacuum cleaner to the mouse. Plus, by sucking the dust away from the sanding plate, the device becomes more efficient. And the sandpaper lasts longer. However, having a vacuum attached does make it less manoeuvrable. But if you’re going to be sanding for any amount of time, it’s definitely worth the initial effort.
If you’re looking for the best budget detail sander, buy the Black & Decker BEW230. It’s effective, affordable and highly rated by owners.
POWER 55w | WEIGHT 0.8kg | NOISE 66dB/79dB | SANDING AREA 105mm² | ORBIT DIAMETER 1.5mm | NO LOAD SPEED 11,000 rpm
Black & Decker | Verdict price £20 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Detail Sander
The Bosch PSM100A is a powerful and effective detail sander. And, it’s designed to handle a wide range of sanding jobs. Perfect for corners, edges and smaller surfaces, this Bosch detail sander will make light work of your next DIY job, renovation plan or woodworking project.
More power and more speed
With a 100w power, it delivers a no-load speed of 13,000 rpm. This will help you speed through every task with minimum fuss. The extra power does mean it’s louder than the Black & Decker model (above). But as with any power sander, it’s best to wear ear protectors. Plus, the extra power means you will get the job done quicker.
Less dust (without attaching a vacuum)
Similar to most detail sanders, a vacuum hose plugged into the back will give efficient and effective dust removal. However, this device also has a filter system and dust box to help keep your working area clean and relatively dust-free. Perfect for when a vacuum isn’t an option.
This sander from Bosch is a great choice for a variety of tasks. It’s suitable for hardwood, softwood, varnished & painted surfaces. It will make light work of small-sized jobs ranging from furniture, doors, frames, shelves, toys through to wall repairs.
A great choice to make DIY easier & quicker.
POWER 100w | WEIGHT 0.9kg | NOISE 83dB/94dB | SANDING AREA 104mm² | ORBIT DIAMETER 1.4mm | NO LOAD SPEED 13,000 rpm
BOSCH PSM100A | Verdict price £35 | Check best price on Amazon
How to choose the right sandpaper – grit & type
Sandpaper is available in various grit sizes from coarse to fine. The lower the number, the coarser the grade. For most jobs, start with a coarser grade and then work through with progressively finer grades.
- 40-60 Coarse Grade suitable for paint removal & rough shaping of wood
- 80-120 Medium Grade follows rougher grades for paintwork. Plus it’s a starting point for most woodworking projects
- 180-240 Fine Grade as the name suggests gives a smooth finish ready for paint or varnish.
Don’t skip grades if you want a professional finish. Get a better result by moving one grade at a time. You will get the job done quicker & use less sandpaper.
Why won’t my sandpaper stick to my sander?
Given plenty of use, the hook & loop base used to attach the sandpaper to the base of the sander can wear out. It’s therefore important to look after this. Use the right sanding sheets. Each sheet should match the base in terms of size and position of holes. The right size means you won’t scuff the edges and hole positioning is important for dust extraction.
How much are the sanding sheets?
Branded sanding sheets are good but expensive. At the budget end, there are generic sheets that claim (but don’t) fit all shapes and sizes. The best value option is to choose, sander specific, aftermarket sanding sheets. Make sure they have been designed specifically for your sander (same shape & size + holes aligned). Here are a couple of recommended packs to get you started…
No pressure – Sanding Tip
Let the sander do the work. Keep the sanders face flat to the job, keep it moving and apply little or no pressure. Too much pressure makes the job much harder than it should be & can gouge or damage the surface. Plus, pressing too hard reduces the life of the hook & loop surfaces used to keep the sheets attached.
Recommended Detail Sanders
Great budget buy
Black & Decker | Verdict price £20
See price on Amazon
More power & dust collector
Bosch | Verdict Price £35
See price on Amazon
Why spend more?
The best detail sander is perfect for smaller tasks and as the name suggests – detailed work. Spending more on one of these devices gets you a cordless model. This gives you freedom from a cable, but they tend to be heavier (with battery) and have the potential to run-down before the job is finished. Plus, sanders are best operated plugged into a vacuum cleaner which negates any benefit of being cable-free.
The best-corded detail sanders recommended here are cheaper, lighter and more powerful than cordless options. For bigger jobs, do consider a random orbital sander. These will remove more material in less time.