Detail sanders are a very common tool for woodworkers to keep around in their inventory. They are typically used for finishing out the minor detail aesthetics of things like furniture and drywall.
When it comes time to fine-tune your final product and remove any unnecessary imperfections in the texture, using one of the best detail sanders is always a great idea.
Detail sanders use a triangular head where sandpaper is attached to. Some detail sanders also have rubber bits that allow you to reach small curved spaces or areas (Source).
The benefit of detail sanders is that they can get into small corners and edges, allowing you to sand with ease. Before buying a detail sander, consider the motor power, efficiency, RPM rating, ability to collect dust, and the power source.
Keep in mind there are two types of these sanders; corded and cordless detail sanders. We prefer corded sanders as they offer more power and don’t require batteries.
Unlike heavy-duty best bench sanders, detail sanders are normally very small and portable, making them easy to carry around and use as a mobile contractor. Depending on your project, you may also require detail sander attachments.
What Is a Detail Sander Used For?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Detail Sander Used For?
- 2 How Much Does a Detail Sander Cost?
- 3 Comparing the Top 5 Models
- 4 1. Black Decker Mouse Detail Sander – Professional-Quality Detail Sander
- 5 2. WEN 6369 Variable Speed 5 Amp Drywall Sander – Great For Hard-to-Reach Jobs
- 6 3. TACKLIFE Classic Mouse Detail Sander – Lots of Power & Included Accessories
- 7 4. SKIL Corded Multi-Function Detail Sander SR232301 – Best Manufacturer’s Warranty
- 8 5. ENERTWIST Mouse Detail Sander – Smallest Detail Sander
- 9 6. Aircat Orbital Air Spot Sander/Polisher
- 10 7. Genesis GMT15A 1.5 Amp Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool
- 11 8. BOSCH PSM 80 A Multi-Sander
- 12 How Do Detail Sanders Work?
- 13 How to Use a Detail Sander
- 14 Best Detail Sander Brands
- 15 Factors To Consider Before Buying A Detail Sander
- 16 How To Use A Detail Sander
- 17 How to Use & Operate a Detail Sander
- 18 Ready to Get a Detail Sander for your Next Project?
A detail sander is designed to sand areas of wood pieces that are hard to reach. They’re small, lightweight and handheld, giving you access to areas that a larger sander might not be able to get to. Detail sanders are perfect for nooks and corners allowing you to sand pieces like chairs and doors.
How Much Does a Detail Sander Cost?
Detail sanders are normally not that expensive. Without accessories, a detail sander can cost between $25 and $150, depending on the model, what features it comes with, it’s level of efficiency, and so on.
Comparing the Top 5 Models
|Black+Decker Mouse Detail Sander|
|WEN 6369 Variable Speed 5 Amp Drywall Sander|
|TACKLIFE Classic Mouse Detail Sander|
|SKIL Corded Multi-Function Detail Sander SR232301|
|ENERTWIST Mouse Detail Sander|
|Aircat Orbital Air Spot Sander/Polisher|
|Genesis GMT15A 1.5 Amp Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool|
|BOSCH PSM 80 A Multi-Sander|
Best Detail Sanders: Our Top 5 Picks
1. Black Decker Mouse Detail Sander – Professional-Quality Detail Sander
This model has an above-average level of efficiency. With a 1.2-amp motor that can reach efficiency levels up to 14,000 OPM, this model is great for just about any sort of professional detail sanding jobs.
It is also compact enough to fit into tight corners which most detail sanders simply can’t. Detail sanding often requires you to hit hard areas. Without a detail sander like this one, this will only be that much more difficult.
2. WEN 6369 Variable Speed 5 Amp Drywall Sander – Great For Hard-to-Reach Jobs
This model is considerably more powerful than a typical detail sander. Hitting efficiency levels up to 1,500 RPMs and equipped with a 5-amp motor, this product will not only hit areas that a typical handheld detail sander will. It will also finish the job quicker.
All of the most basic premium features we expect in a high-quality detail sander can be found here. This includes a dust collector, extra sanding pads, and a comfortable handle. The model also has a 360-degree pivoting head allowing you to hit hard areas much more easily.
3. TACKLIFE Classic Mouse Detail Sander – Lots of Power & Included Accessories
For example, this product has a 1.1-amp motor, an efficiency rating that goes up to 12,000 OPM, and 12 included sanding pads. There is a dust collector that automatically removes all the excess dust before it makes a mess around your workspace.
The handle is completely ergonomic and is comfortable to hold on to for long periods of use. Due to the reasonable price of this product and the nice set of included accessories, many people see this as the best detail sander on the market.
4. SKIL Corded Multi-Function Detail Sander SR232301 – Best Manufacturer’s Warranty
Since this product is equipped with a 1.2-amp motor capability of 13,500 OPM and 12 extra sanding pads, this model comes with most of the standard features and efficiency levels we expect in one of the best detail sanders.
This is also a small and portable detail sander which can maneuver into hard-to-reach spots with ease. As a whole, this is the best choice for anybody who wants the best possible durability and the warranty to back it up.
5. ENERTWIST Mouse Detail Sander – Smallest Detail Sander
Since this model comes with a Velcro system for changing sanding pads, there is no extra effort required while changing pads. However, the main drawback that this brings is that you cannot use generic sanding pads.
This model has a decently-strong 0.8-amp motor and efficiency ratings of 13,000 OPM. It comes with 10 spare sanding pads and everything you need to start using the product right out of the box.
This detail sander from Aircat is a highly portable tool for any hobbyist or carpenter. With an impressive free speed of 13,000 RPM, the Aircat 6320 Orbital Air Spot Sander is remarkably powerful considering its weight and size.
At 1.1 lbs and 6 inches in length, this detail sander is uniquely agile for those hard to reach areas.
To improve accuracy, Aircat has minimized vibration levels to 1.8m/sec. This makes for more reliable and consistent operation.
This tool isn’t just lightweight and easy to use; it’s also relatively quiet when compared to the competition. It uses an internal silencing system that can lower the volume to as quiet as 78 dB, making it perfect for home use.
If you’re looking for adaptability, the Aircat 6320 comes with a 1.25-inch & 2-inch round pad, as well as a triangular pad. You can also separately buy sanding discs for all of these pads in various grit sizes depending on your project.
The Aircat 6320 is perfect if you’re looking both power and agility in a detail sander.
If you’re a contractor on-the-go in search of a versatile oscillating tool, the Genesis GMT15A can offer you portability and power. At 21,000 oscillations per minute, this tool can quickly take on many functions like cutting, scraping, and especially sanding.
One of the greatest things about this tool is the accessories it comes with. They’re easily interchangeable and securely held in place by its 4-pin flange.
The Genesis comes with a 3-inch Delta sanding pad and sandpaper if you’re using it as a detail sander. It also comes with an allen wrench, a scraping blade, and two saw blades.
For the price, the sturdiness of the tool and its accessories provide incredible value. It comes in a die-cut aluminium casting that ensures the tool doesn’t overheat during use. That means a long life, so you won’t have to replace it for a while.
To back up their product, Genesis offers a 2-year warranty. If you’re looking to not break the bank but purchase something that really lasts, the Genesis GMT15A might be a worthy investment.
The Bosch PSM 80 A is a detail sander with competitive capability and agility. It boasts 80 watts of power and 26,000 oscillations per minute for amazing sanding results.
While powerful, it maintains a quieter operation with minimal vibration. This allows you to use it just about anywhere without disturbing others.
This multi-sander from Bosch is easy to set up and easy to operate. It has a hook and loop fastener that lets you change sanding sheets incredibly quickly.
With a 1.4 mm orbit diameter and a sanding surface area of 104 cm², you can effectively sand in areas that are hard to access with great detail. It’s ergonomically designed for extended use and has a soft grip coating that makes operating it comfortable.
The feature that sets this product apart is its dust collection system. The Bosch PSM 80 A collects dust as it operates and is easy to empty after operation. It’s this no-mess feature and its power that likely explains why this tool is slightly more expensive than other detail sanders.
How Do Detail Sanders Work?
Detail sanders are typically powered by wall power. When operational, detail sanders use a motor to create powerful vibrations in the triangular head. The more oscillations per minute it can deliver, the more powerful it is. The vibrating triangular head, known as a “sanding pad,” works with sanding paper to smooth out wood.
How to Use a Detail Sander
To use a detail sander, you must first select the sanding pad that makes the most sense for your project. While most are triangular, they often differ in how pointed the corners are. Some pads might also be round for flatter surfaces.
You must then select the grit of the sandpaper you would like to use. Typically, craftsmen will start with the grittiest sandpaper, and change it as they go to get progressively finer. For example, you might start with a grit size of 120 and end on a grit size of 1500.
Once the sander is set up, you must then connect it to power. If your detail sander has a dust collection feature, you can also attach this to an external vacuum via hose. However, this isn’t always necessary.
Now you’re ready to sand. Switch on the detail sander and start moving it around the piece of wood. You can either operate with the sanding pad flat on the wood, or you can use the corners to access hard to reach spaces. Either way, it’s important to constantly keep the sander in motion, and to move it gently around the wood. This will help to avoid unsightly crevices and unevenness.
Best Detail Sander Brands
Just with many other types of products, the brand makes it is important to consider. Brands that have been around for a while typically have the know-how to create high-quality products in a cost-efficient manner. There are also various other potential drawbacks and perks of a product that background knowledge of the brand would provide.
To help you find the best detail sander for your needs, it’s important to understand who some of the major actors in this industry are. Let’s go ahead and break down some of the best detail sander brands.
Black & Decker
By now, just about anybody who has shopped for power tools in the past has probably heard of Black & Decker. They are one of the most acclaimed and popular brands of tools.
They are the manufacturer of the Black+Decker Mouse Detail Sander, which we chose as the best overall detail sander. This is a great all-around choice in terms of quality, accessories, and price.
WEN is another one of the authorities in the tool manufacturing industry. Founded all the way back in 1951, they have long been established as one of the most high-quality producers of various tools and construction gear.
The WEN 6369 Variable Speed 5 Amp Drywall Sander stands out as one of the most versatile detail sanders. Especially for those who need to reach hard spots. Long strips of drywall are a common job that people will use this sander for.
Tacklife has long prided itself on making professional-level quality tools with an extra focus on detail and affordability. This is a great brad to buy a detail sander from if you want your product to come with the most accessories possible out-of-the-box.
The TACKLIFE Classic Mouse Detail Sander is a great example of this. This product has a reasonable price, a high level of quality, and includes plenty of extra sanding pads and other accessories.
One of the main accomplishments that stand out the most is their patented PWRCore X™ battery system. However, they are also widely known for making high-quality corded models like the SKIL Corded Multi-Function Detail Sander SR232301.
SKIL is a trusted brand and heavily worth purchasing if you want a nice warranty period and the peace of mind that your detail sander will last. It’s also known for other amazing power tools, including a hammer drill featured on this review about the best stud and joist drills.
ENERTWIST is not one of the most popular or longest-standing brand names for detail sanders, but still, have one of the best options to consider. The ENERTWIST Mouse Detail Sander is a great reason why.
Models like this make it a lot easier to change out sanding pads without too much effort. It is also one of the more affordable detail sanders on the market.
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Detail Sander
Before you narrow down your options and decide what the best detail sander for your needs is, you need to know factors to look for. To help you out, we have already prepared a list of the most important factors to keep in mind.
Each of the factors discussed below is important to keep in mind if your plan is to get the best detail sander possible. Such sanders are similar to oscillating spindle sanders, as both are used to work on wood surfaces.
Motor Power and Efficiency
The motor is where all the power for detail sanding comes from. If it isn’t strong enough, you won’t be able to get your sanding done as quickly. Usually, a general rule of thumb to follow is to find a model with at least 1-amp of motor power. Although there are certain exceptions to this, making sure your model has at least 1-amp of power is normally a great starting point.
OPM and/or RPM Rating
OPM (orbits per minute) and RPM (revolutions per minute) are almost the same things. Both of these figures are used to describe the efficiency of the sander. In terms of OPMs, try to find a detail sander with at least 12,000 OPMs. If the manufacturer lists this feature in RPMs, make sure it is at least 1,500 RPMs.
Dust Collection Ability
Sanding is a job that naturally creates a lot of dust. If you want to get the best detail sander possible you need to keep your cleaning and maintenance requirements in mind.
Any of the best detail sanders come with a dust collector attachment. If this isn’t present, you will need to spend time cleaning up dust after each use.
Typically, a detail sander can be powered by an electrical cord or by a rechargeable battery. Usually, corded models are the best choice since they provide non-stop uninterrupted power that doesn’t need to be charged.
However, those who need to use a detail sander away from power outlets should find a battery-powered model.
How To Use A Detail Sander
Learning how to use a detail sander is very simple. Especially if you already have some basic background experience in power tools. However, note that it isn’t the same with how you will use the greatest knife belt sander. Below, we will break down the basic steps involved in using a detail sander properly.
Install the Right Sanding Pad
Sanding pads are usually measured in terms of grits. The lower the grit, the rougher the pad is. 60 is usually the roughest one that you will find. Consider the type of job you are doing and put on a sanding pad that will best work with the surface you are sanding.
Slowly Go Up and Down the Edge
Once you know what kind of job you are doing and have the sanding pad attached, go ahead and turn on the detail sander. Gently place the sander on the surface to get an idea of the model’s power. Slowly go up and down the spot, noticing the work that is done in each stroke.
Carefully Touch Up and Finish the Job
By now, you should have an idea of what you want the end product to look like. Keeping your idea for the finished product in mind, gently touch upon the surface until you are left with a perfect finished job on each part of your surface.
How to Use & Operate a Detail Sander
Ready to Get a Detail Sander for your Next Project?
In order to get a great detail sander, you need to first start by thinking about what kind of work you expect it to do. Drywalls, for example, may require a lot more handle length than furniture. Then, you also need to keep your budget in mind.
If you want the best detail sander possible, you should start by checking out the Black+Decker Mouse Detail Sander. Anybody who wants to use their detail sander on hard-to-reach areas like drywall should instead look at the WEN 6369 Variable Speed 5 Amp Drywall Sander first.
Finally, the SKIL Corded Multi-Function Detail Sander SR232301 is a great option for anybody who wants the most durability possible and the longest warranty period. In any case, finding the best detail sander for your needs is pretty easy as long as you have the proper background knowledge.