8 Best Palm Sanders
Simple to use and easy on your wallet, palm sanders provide the light touch needed for finish work. Here are eight great options to consider.
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Buying a Palm Sander
If you need to prep furniture or wood projects for finishing, a palm sander could be just what you’re looking for.
Also known as 1/4 sheet sanders or finishing sanders, these compact handheld tools are the smallest members of the power sanding family, and well-suited for light-duty tasks. They’re also much more affordable than larger random-orbital sanders and belt sanders, which are better for heavy-duty projects.
The 1/4-sheet sandpaper used in palm sanders is also much cheaper than the special pads required by other types of sanders. And the square shape makes it easy to access corners and edges.
Although all palm sanders look roughly the same, there are some factors to consider when choosing the best option for you.
- Power source: Palm sanders are powered by corded electricity or a rechargeable battery. While corded models are convenient — no worrying about battery levels or charging a backup — they limit your mobility and introduce a potential tripping hazard in your workspace. Cordless models can be used anywhere as long as you keep their limited running time in mind.
- Dust collection: Though they lack the power of larger sanders, palm sanders still generate substantial dust. Most models include some kind of bag or canister to capture dust. If you prefer a shop vacuum or other separate dust collection system, make sure your sander is compatible with your hookup.
- Grip: Pay close attention to the grip or handle of the sander, especially if you’ll use it frequently. While all palm sanders feature a top-mounted grip, with some you can hold the barrel, i.e. the vertical body between the pad and the grip. To ensure an extra-sturdy hold while you work, look for a textured rubber grip.
- Sandpaper type: Some sanders include sandpaper sheets, which can be a real money-saver as long as they’re the correct grit for your specific project. Generally, the higher the grit number, the smoother it will be and the less material it will remove with each pass.
- Speed control: While some palm sanders have a single speed, other higher-end options feature variable speed control. This allows you to precisely dial in the orbits per minute (OPM). When paired with a variety of sandpaper grits, you can tackle a wide range of sanding tasks.
Best Overall Palm Sander
The DeWalt DWE6411K Palm Sander combines a low price with the heavy-duty construction of a DeWalt tool. I’ve used this model for several woodworking projects and always been impressed by its unique clamping system, which keeps your sandpaper securely in place while you work.
The dust bag disengages easily with one hand, too, and the collection port is compatible with most DeWalt dust collection devices.
Best Cordless Palm Sander
Its textured rubber covering extends from the top handle down the length of the barrel, providing a sturdy grip. This tool comes with a soft-sided carrying case that keeps all its parts organized when not in use. The included battery is a convenient addition to an existing DeWalt 20V tool collection.
Best Palm Sander for Beginners
The Makita BO4556K Palm Sander is a great option for beginners because of its affordable price and various included sandpaper options. With this tool, the beginner can tackle a range of sanding projects.
I’m a fan of the dust bag capacity, too, compared to smaller versions found on similar sanders. The rubber seal on the power switch prevents dust or debris from entering the tools outer case, increasing the lifespan and durability of the tool.
Best Splurge Palm Sander
If price is no object and you’re looking for a top-of-the-line palm sander, try the Festool RTS 400 Palm Sander. I’ve always been impressed with Festool’s dedication to quality and precision, and this sander is no exception.
In hands-on experience, the ergonomic grip, variable speed wheel and light weight (just 2.4 pounds) make it comfortable to use and extremely effective. Note: It only accepts Festool brand sandpaper pads.
Best Low-Budget Palm Sander
If you’re on a limited budget, the low-cost Skil 7292-02 Palm Sander is worth a look. Although it lacks variable speed control, a color-coded pressure indicator conveniently lets you know if you’re pressing too hard. A transparent dust collection canister makes it easy to see when you need to empty it, but may crack or break if you drop it.
Best Palm Sander for Extended Use
The ergonomic handle and textured grip of the 2.7-pound Bosch GSS20-40 Palm Sander reduce arm and shoulder fatigue so you can work comfortably on big projects. The removable dust canister cap makes it easy to empty without creating a mess.
The clamp system can accept a range of paper types, including self-adhesive paper, and hold them tightly in place while you work.
Best Low-Budget Cordless Palm Sander
The Ryobi One+ Cordless Palm Sander costs significantly less than other battery-powered models. It comes with a supply of paper as well as a punch to create the air holes needed for effective dust collection.
You’ll need to supply your own Ryobi battery. But if you already have a few on hand and don’t want to be limited by a power cord, this is great choice. It also boasts an impressive three-year warranty.
Best Palm Sander for Large Projects
Although it’s not as compact as the traditional palm sanders on our list, the large 1/2 sheet capacity of the Makita BO4900V Palm Sander makes it a productive choice for large-scale finishing tasks. Its variable-speed trigger allows you to dial in a precise speed, and the pad accepts regular sandpaper or hook-and-loop sheets.
It’s expensive, but the increased efficiency makes it worth the price for heavy use.