Sander vs Planer: What is the Difference

If you are a beginner and planning to start a woodworking project, it is normal to be confused about which tool is perfect for finishing your project. Not only the beginners but many experienced people are also sometimes puzzled when choosing a tool for a perfect finish. For example, people think that they can use both a sander or a planer to smoothen the surface of their wooden project. They think both the tools can perform in the same way. But this concept is absolutely wrong. So, this article is all about the differences between a planer and a sander.

sander vs planer

What is Sander?

Sander is an electrically-powered tool which is used for smoothing or finishing any working surface. Sander can remove the rough surface of a workpiece by using different types of abrasives. So that a sander is used for cleaning and polishing the surface. There are different types of sander like powered and non-powered or manual. The mostly used powered sanders are drum sander, orbital sander, and belt sander.

What is Planer?

A planer is a very useful woodworking tool. As like a sander, a planer also can make a rough surface smooth. A planer is also used for reducing the thickness of a wooden piece or slice. So when you need to remove some portion gently from a wooden surface, a planer will serve you amazingly. You can customize the thickness of a random wooden piece with a planer because it can reduce the extra portion smoothly and consistently. Adjoint the edges and bevel cutting of door edges are some other examples of the applications of a planer.

A planer is very useful for starting your project. It means you need a planer in the preparation period of any woodworking project. Before starting any project, you need to shape and reduce the thickness of any random wood pieces according to your need.  At that time a planer will help you.

Again you can also use this as a finishing working tool. After finishing your project, when you need to smoothen the surface, a planer will help you.

Differences Between Sander and Planer

Many people think that a planer and a sander can serve in almost the same way. But there are some differences in the pattern of their operations that you need to know before starting your project.

The material removal rate of a planer is more than a sander. A planner can remove a large portion of material from the surface within a very short time. Though a sander takes much time in material removal operation, this tool is better for surface finishing and smoothing. When you need to reduce the thickness of a wood piece to start your project, you should use a planer, not a sander.

A sander needs much time to reduce a specific thickness and also have to run over the same place again and again. So after a certain period, heat is increased in that place. The material can be damaged for this reason. A planer can remove a large portion in one pass. So they can reduce thickness quickly without producing any heat. That’s why the risk of material damage can be decreased.

So I want to summarize what I have mentioned above. A sander is specially designed and used for finishing purposes. It can smooth the surface and reduce the uneven portions of the surface very precisely. But a planer is specially designed for reducing the thickness of a raw piece of wood. So this tool is appropriate to use when you need to start a project.


The intention of writing this article is to clear the misconception about the proper use of a sander and a planer. Hopefully, this article will help you to complete your project accurately.

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About Gavin Ford

Hi, I am Gavin Ford. I am a full-time power tools salesperson and a part-time mechanic. I help my friends and neighbors with their tools. Which one to buy, how to buy it, how to use it, methods to fix broken tools, and so on. In I will do the same for the rest of the world. You will get everything you need to know about tools for regular and professional use.

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