When you don’t have the budget for an expensive SurfPrep Sander, but you want one so bad, what do you do? Here’s a great SurfPrep Sander Alternative to get you through!
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Some of the biggest reasons to buy a 3×4 Electric Ray SurfPrep Sander is to get access to:
- their amazing foam pads
- the ability to get into corners easily
- and the vacuum compatibility to suck up dust
But, you don’t necessarily have to buy a SurfPrep to get all of those things.
*Note: Obviously, there are more things that make a SurfPrep sander a great sander, but those 3 features are the top reasons I’ve seen for wanting to get a SurfPrep.
Not all sanders are built as well, and most budget friendly sanders don’t have variable speeds.
Not to mention the SurfPrep sander is super quiet. (Until you turn your shop vac on to collect the dust haha).
If you’re just looking for the basics though, here are some alternatives to get you through!
SurfPrep Sander Alternative
Here’s how you can turn a budget friendly sander into all of these things!
The Amazing Foam Pads
These foam sanding pads are SO DARN GOOD!
They make it possible to use an electric sander on curves and details!
If you try to take an orbital sander to furniture or trim, you’ll end up ruining the shape!
But these foam pads contour to the shape of the furniture or trim work, so you can sand without ruining the details!
But how do you recreate that for a regular ole sander??
SurfPrep actually makes foam pads that will fit other sanders!
You can buy SurfPrep foam pads for your own
- 5″ or 6″ orbital sander
- rectangular sander
- detail (mouse) sander!
They come in the 3 different thicknesses, 5mm, 10mm, and 1/2″.
They even have options with no holes or holes!
*Note: Pay attention to the hole spacing and the exact size of the foam pads compared to your sander!
Check out all of the SurfPrep Foam Pads for other types of sanders here!
I believe these foam pads were actually made to be compatible with the high end Festool sanders, so the holes and dimensions might be a little bit off for budget friendly sanders.
I think for a budget friendly option though, this is a great alternative!
Sanding Inside Corners
If you own an orbital sander, you know how big of a pain it is to sand in corners.
And furniture has a lot of corners to get into!
So, instead of using an orbital sander, use a detail (mouse) sander or a rectangular sander.
Both are able to get into corners because they have straight edges instead of being a circle.
Enough said right?
Attach to a Vacuum
I absolutely love that I can sand furniture inside of my home without worrying about dust flying everywhere!
So, if you want to replicate the SurfPrep, get a sander that you can attach a shop vacuum hose to!
(Make sure your shop vac is powerful enough to suck up all the dust! SurfPrep recommends at least 5 HP!)
I have this Ridgid Shop Vac hooked up to my SurfPrep using the 1 1/4″ Ridgid hose.
This Ridgid Orbital Sander can easily hook up to either of the Ridgid Shop Vac hoses (1 1/4″ or the 2 1/2″ hose)!
But, that’s an orbital sander, so it won’t help you get into the corners.
But, with an adapter, this Ryobi Detail Sander can hook to your shop vac too!
- Just tighten this flexible PVC coupling to the sander’s dust port and then to your shop vac hose.
**Note: I used the 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ coupling in these photos. But I have since traded it for the 1″ to 1″ coupling. (The dimensions on the coupling indicate what size it can tighten down to, and are about 1 3/8″ wide inside before you tighten it down.) And then I attached it to the end part of my hose that attaches to other accessories.
Since the PVC is flexible, you can tighten it a little bit and get a good seal, even if the dimensions don’t exactly match the dust port or your shop vac hose.
But, you definitely want the dimensions to be close!
The Ryobi detail sander has a dust port opening that is 1 3/8 inches (outside) and 1 1/8 inches (inside).
And the Ridgid Shop Vac hose is 1 1/4 inches.
The Best SurfPrep Sander Alternative on a Budget
So, the best Budget Friendly SurfPrep Sander Alternative, in my opinion, is the
- Ryobi (Detail) Corner Cat Sander
- You can get sander foam pads that will be close to the right size and hole spacing.
- And with the adapter, you can attach your shop vac to it to collect the dust!
All in all, getting the Ryobi sander, the shop vac, and the adapter is around a 1/3 of the price compared to getting the SurfPrep 3×4 electric sander with the hose, adapter, and shop vac setup!
It’s definitely not the SurfPrep sander, but if you’re on a tight budget, and want something with these features, it’s a pretty good option until you can upgrade!