Various Floor Sanders and Their Uses

As a woodworker or DIYer, you might be looking for the right tool for sanding your wooden floor. This article gives you an idea about different sanding tools and which one to use in a particular condition.

There’s a variety of electric floor sanding devices on the market. An electric sander makes your sanding jobs more safe, comfortable, and enjoyable. Also, it gives the floor a smooth finishing. These sophisticated machines can remove paint, varnish, and other finishes from a surface. However, if the color contains lead, you might call in a qualified professional.

types of floor sanders

What is Floor Sanding?

Floor sanding removes the top layer of a wooden floor by using an abrasive material. 

Many wooden floors are designed to sand later when the upper layer is removed or becomes dirty. There are three-floor sanding stages: preparation, sanding, and coating with a varnish layer.

What is a Sander?

Nowadays, woodworkers prefer sanding with specialized sanding machines. They are the outcome of years of experience from the woodworkers and designers. 

A sander is a power tool used to smoothe wooden surfaces by using sandpaper. The sandpaper is attached to the device, and when switched on, the machine runs uninterrupted.

The Types

Depending on the requirement, there are different variations in the machine used for refinishing the hardwood floor. You can get various types of sanders from your local rental shop. 

The types of electrical floor sanding tool are the following: 

A brief description is given here:

Belt Sander

Belt sanders are thoroughly efficient tools for preparing your rough floor and abolishing roughness or smoothening for less aggressive tools like random orbit and finishing tools. We wouldn’t recommend it for beginners and most DIYers. 

This device can sand, trim, and level the surface. You can use it for sanding broad areas like the floor, solid door, or tabletop. This tool also works best to remove old paint, varnish, or stain.

This machine has a variable speed dial. So, you’ll have to one it down for delicate work.

But when using one to sand plywood and veneered boards, it’s effortless to overdo it and ruin the surface. You can also use it to even out the cut boards. You must belt-sand along the wood grain, not across it.    

Drum Sander

A drum sander is the most aggressive machine that you can rent as a homeowner. It’s going to allow you to flatten your floor and the most productive and the fastest machine you’ll use. It requires a little bit of skill set and some practice to understand how to do it right, but if you’ve got a floor that’s in bad condition and you’ve got the skills to go ahead and run this equipment, it’s going to be the one. You have to stay in motion while the drum is in contact with the floor; if not, you’ll leave a drum mark or a stop mark on your work.

Random Orbital Sander

If your floor project calls for light to medium duty sanding of hardwood floors, the random orbital floor sanding device is the right choice. This easy-to-operate sanding tool is ideal for sanding large open areas and edges, wall lines, and closets. It’s perfect for floors in moderate to good condition, and when the project goal is to remove the floor coating, this machine is more aggressive than the square buff but easier to use than a drum sander. 

However, keep in mind that a regular orbital sanding machine can leave circular marks on wood surfaces. In that case, you might choose a random orbital sander instead.

Edge Sanders

Most of those bigger machines briefed above won’t get up to the wall. So you’ll have to rent an edging machine, popularly known as an edger.

An edger sands the last two or three inches around the room, right up to the wall line.

When you need to sand small spaces or along the edges of hardwood flooring where other sanders can’t reach, an edger is an ideal tool to use. Before plugging in the edger, you’ll have to install the sandpaper.

Precautions and Safety Measures

When you’re using any power sanding tool, two things to avoid are- undergoing it, that can take you forever to finish, and overdoing it, you can ruin your project. You must know how to use them.

Prepare your work area by countersinking any nails in the flooring, taping over electric outlets, and covering doorways and windows with plastic. Again, be sure to cover all vents in the room, including intake and output vents.

The first thing you’ll want to do before operating is to install the sandpaper. Check the trigger before plugging it in. 

When the sandpaper gets gummed up with dust and grit from the wood or glue, change the belts. Ensure you empty the dust collector, change the pads after unplugging, and not rest the machine on your project. Never leave the device unattended with plugged in.

It would be best if you keep the sander moving while sanding. Otherwise, you’ll put a mark on the floor. Also, keep it even on the surface, so you don’t create imperfection.

We recommend you to wear the following items to prevent any unwanted events.


We suppose you now have a clear idea about the sander types and their uses. Also, don’t forget to take on safety measures while working. Happy woodworking to you!

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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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