Types of Sanders For Furniture

Sanding is an essential step in any painting process and selecting the right sander for the job can make all the difference. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at four different types of sanders for furniture – sheet sanders, round orbital sanders, detail (mouse) sanders, and rectangle orbital sanders for sanding furniture.

We’ll look at the pros and cons of each sander to help you decide which one is best for your project. Let’s dive into all of the options so you can make sure you are using the right sander for furniture painting projects.

photo of surfprep sander sanding the top of furniture with text overlay

Sanding is an essential step in the furniture painting process. It can be used to prepare the surface for a new layer of paint, create a smooth finish, and remove imperfections like scratches or dings.

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By carefully sanding the surface, you can create a super smooth finish that not only makes your project look amazing but also makes it more durable over time.

So take your time to sand properly, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the stunning and long-lasting result that exceeds your expectations.

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Sheet Sanders

Sheet sanders are great for furniture painting projects because they are lightweight and have a rectangular shape that easily fits into corners and tight spaces.

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They can be used to remove old finishes and prep the surface for paint, but you should always use caution when sanding furniture as it is easy to take off too much of the surface.

The downside of sheet sanders is that they require you to cut the sandpaper to size, which can be time-consuming. Additionally, the sandpaper often tears when used on these sanders due to how the sandpaper is held on.

purchasing sheet sandpaper at a hardware store

Popular sheet sanders include the RIDGID sander from Home Depot with 3M Pro Sandpaper. For more information on which type of sandpaper is best for furniture painting, check out our sandpaper for furniture painting post.


  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Rectangular shape allows it to fit into corners and tight spaces easily
  • Budget friendly option


  • Requires cutting the sandpaper to size, which can be time-consuming
  • Sandpaper often tears when used on these sanders due to how the sandpaper is held on

Round Orbital Sanders

Round orbital sanders are great for furniture painting projects because they cut through an old finish quickly and are usually inexpensive. The biggest downside is that they are round, so they cannot get into corners all of the way.

One very powerful sander is this Festool Rotex 125 – read through my Festool Rotex 125 review here to learn more about this sander. You can also check out this comparison between rotex sander vs orbital sander and learn more about their features and functions as well as their differences.

round orbital sander removing paint on top of the furniture

The Dewalt Orbital Sander with the Diablo Sanding Discs and Sanding Screens from Home Depot are among the top choices for round orbital sanders.

Additionally, SurfPrep offers round foam pads that can be used with these sanders to help with sanding curves.

SurfPrep’s foam pads are a game-changer when it comes to sanding curves on furniture. Their unique foam design makes it easy to follow the natural contours of your furniture, ensuring a smooth, even finish even on the most intricate designs.

The beauty of these foam pads is their versatility, as they come in a wide array of shapes to fit all types of sanders. Whether you’re working with a sheet, round orbital, detail, or rectangle orbital sander, you can find a SurfPrep foam pad that fits your tool perfectly. Learn more about the different types of SurfPrep sandpaper here!

This makes them an excellent investment for any furniture painting project, promoting efficiency and precision in your work.


  • Quickly cuts through an old finish
  • Budget friendly option
  • Usually used hook and loop to attach sanding discs to the pad for easy sandpaper changes


  • Round shape makes it impossible to get into corners all of the way

Detail Sanders (Mouse Sanders)

Detail sanders, also known as mouse sanders, are these triangle-shaped sanders with a point. They can easily get into tight corners or edges, reaching those hard-to-reach areas.

detail sander sanding the edges of the drawer

These sanders use hook and loop (velcro) sandpaper pads, which makes it a breeze to attach and remove the sandpaper.

If you’re on a budget, the Ryobi Corner Cat sander is a solid choice. It’s got some serious suction power and comes with a bunch of accessory tools to handle any furniture painting job.

Check out my list of the best detail sanders here.

For more precise work, you can use SurfPrep’s detail sander foam pads with the Ryobi sander. And hey, with a flexible PVC adapter, you can also connect it to a shop vac for cleaning up dust. It’ll help keep your space clean while you work on your project.

Learn more about this SurfPrep sander alternative here.


  • Can get into tight corners or edges easily
  • Uses hook and loop (velcro) sandpaper pads which makes it easy to attach and remove the sandpaper
  • Budget-friendly option with Ryobi Corner Cat sander
  • SurfPrep’s detail sander shaped foam pads are great for precision work


  • Not as powerful as some of the other types of sanders
  • Can be difficult to get into corners with the triangle tip instead of a square corner.

Rectangle Orbital Sanders

Rectangle orbital sanders are the best choice for furniture painting projects. Their rectangle shape is perfect for getting into those tight corners, giving you better control when sanding intricate designs or detailed pieces.

rectangle sander sanding the side and edge of the furniture

They also have hook and loop pads that make it simple to attach sandpaper or sanding pads, so you can easily switch out between different grits as needed.

The SurfPrep 3×4 sander and Festool RTS 400 REQ sanders are some of the best on the market. You can grab SurfPrep’s foam pads for both of these, so you can sand curved details on furniture along with flat surfaces. Here’s more on how to sand curved surfaces.

But these 2 sanders come at a higher cost due to their high-end quality. Check out my reviews on the SurfPrep sander here and the Festool RTS 400 REQ sander here.


  • Rectangle shape allows for better control in tight corners and edges
  • Hook and loop pads make it easy to attach sandpaper or sanding pads
  • The orbit motion helps the sander sand quicker
  • SurfPrep’s foam pads are great for sanding curved details and flat surfaces
  • The Festool RTS 400 REQ has dust extraction capabilities and variable speed control


  • Higher price tag due to their topnotch features

What should I consider when choosing sandpaper for my sander?

The type of sander you have will determine the type of sandpaper you should use. For example, sheet sanders require sheets of sandpaper that are cut to size, while round and rectangle orbital sanders use hook and loop (velcro) sanding discs or pads.

Check out foam sanding pads for electric sanders as well for sanding anything that isn’t a flat surface.

Are high end sanders like SurfPrep and Festool worth the cost?

Although they may be pricier, high-end sanders like SurfPrep and Festool come with additional benefits such as faster sanding and being able to get into corners, as well as some additional bonus features like variable speed controls, making them a great investment for those who use them regularly.

Check out our list of the best Festool Sander for furniture here.

However, if you’re an occasional user, more budget-friendly options can still get the job done. Here’s my comparison review of SurfPrep vs Festool sanders. And I covered more about the best sanders for furniture in this post!

More Sanding furniture tips

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One Comment

  1. Oh I’m so glad it has been helpful to you! I just have a brush that came with my vacuum. Depending on what vacuum you have, I’m sure you can find a brush attachment at your local hardware store that can fit it.
    Best of luck with your projects!

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