How to Use a Sander

Use orbital sanders to create a smooth finish on your DIY projects

Orbital sanders can be used for a variety of sanding and smoothing needs. These units are lightweight, easy to use and offer a swirl-free finish on surfaces like wood, metal and plastic. Read below for instructions on how to operate one for your sanding needs.

What You Need

Learn the anatomy
The anatomy of a sander

• Power switch – turns the unit on and off 
• Housing motor – powers the sander 
• Sanding pad – used to smooth or buff a surface 
• Dust bag – catches the excess debris 
• Battery – powers the motor 
• Palm grip – offers easy handling

Learn the Basics
The basics of using a sander

• Safety is key. Make sure to wear protective glasses and a dust mask when using a power sander. 
• Sandpaper grits come in different varieties. The higher the number, the finer the grain particles. Sandpaper with a lower grit number will be more coarse than options with a higher value. 
     o Fine: 150-180 – this can be used to finish or refinish a surface 
     o Medium: 40-60 – this can be used to remove paint or stain from various surfaces 
     o Coarse: 20-36 – this is best used for removing an existing finish or smoothing a rough surface

Load the sanding paper
How to load sandpaper

• After you’ve chosen the right grit level for your needs, load it onto the base of the sander.  
• Use the fast hook and loop system to peel off and replace new pieces of sandpaper. 
• Make sure the new pad is properly aligned with the base.

Turn on and test
How to turn on and test sanders

• Switch the unit on and perform a quick test. 
• Move the sander in a circular motion along a piece of scrap board to make sure it’s working as expected for the job at hand.

Sand the surface
How to sand the surface with a sander

• Since orbital sanders can be used with any kind of motion, sand the surface in the direction that works best with the material. 
• The result will be a consistent, swirl-free finish. 

Tip: Parallel sanding works best for belt and sheet sanders.

Orbital sander usage tips
Best uses for an orbital sander

• Ideal for quick sanding needs, especially smooth surfaces like rough metal, wood or plastic. 
• Can be used to remove paint or rust. 
• Try a belt sander for bigger jobs that cover larger surfaces. 
• For more delicate tasks, consider using a sheet sander instead.