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6 Best Detail Sanders (2021 Review)

The best detail sander should be powerful and versatile enough to get into any nook you need it to. It can be cordless (better for safety and convenience) or corded (better for constant power). If it is cordless check to see if a battery and charger are included in the package as this can significantly affect the cost.

In terms of power there can be quite a difference in terms of maximum revs or orbits per minute the best detail sanders produce so keep an eye out for that. Bear in mind that some detail sanders come with significantly larger sanding surfaces. And for those longer sanding jobs the weight of the detail sander can make a difference so remember to check that out too. Finally the more sanding sheets that are supplied with the sander the better!

I’ve researched and compared the best detail sanders for any budget, so you don’t have to. Think you know what you need? You might be shocked to find out which one I think’s the best. Here’s what I found out…

What is the Best Detail Sander For You?

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Comparing the Best Detail Sanders

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Sanding Area
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Our score
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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Detail Sanders

Bosch PSM 100 A Multi SanderBosch PSM 100 A Multi Sander

Best corded for quality and value

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
5
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Bosch PSM 100 A Multi Sander review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 100W
  • Speed: 26,000rpm
  • Sanding Area: 104cm2
  • Weight: 0.9kg

The Bosch PSM 100 A is probably the best detail sander for furniture restoration because it’s light, comfortable to use and comes in a sturdy Bosch blow moulded case.

First off, this detail sander comes from Bosch’s “green” line of quality DIY level tools, and the build quality speaks for itself. It’s a sturdy little tool that puts out 100 Watts of power. It feels nice in the hand and weighing in at just 900 g, there’s not much there to tire your arm out quickly.

The rubber soft grip top fits the hand well. The on/off switch is in just the right spot to be operated with one finger and it’s pretty quiet during operation. It’s good that the vibrations have been kept to a minimum as well.

The entire foot pad can be replaced as well. The foam upper is attached with the same hook and loop system as the sanding pads, so you can keep this little sander in service for a long time. Bosch throw in three quality pads- 80, 120 and 160 grits to get you started.

Overall, it’s a quality and cost effective package with an effective filtered dust collection box. I like the long extension cable and sturdy case that will keep everything together and out of trouble when it’s not in use. The best little sander I’ve used for a while.

Pros

  • The Microfilter dust box doesn’t just collect the bits that come off the workpiece, but it helps to stop fine particles from getting into the air, and inside your lungs.
  • It’s small and lightweight, but the 100 Watt motor punches above its weight and puts out an impressive amount of power.
  • It’s a comfortable tool to use. The rubberised soft grip is really comfortable, and Bosch have built it with ergonomics in mind.
  • I like the simplicity of this tool. It’s easy to set up, the pads attach and detach without a fuss, and it’s built to last.

Cons

  • Users have complained about the foam shoe that sits between the tool and the sanding sheet. In some cases, it has broken down quickly, making the sander unusable.
  • If you sand too hard, you can damage the hook and loop system that holds the sanding pads on securely. It takes a bit of practise to get this right.
  • Unfortunately, you can’t replace the foam backing on this sander. Compared to some detail sanders this is a bit disappointing.
  • You don’t get many sanding pads to get started with. Just three in comparison with the large kit you get in the BLACK+DECKER Mouse sander.

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Bosch PSM 18 LI Cordless MultisanderBosch PSM 18 LI Cordless Multisander

Best cordless for performance

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Bosch PSM 18 LI Cordless Multisander review

Specifications

  • Power: Battery - 18V
  • Speed: 22000opm
  • Sanding Area: 104cm2
  • Weight: 1.3kg

The Bosch PSM 18 LI is probably the best cordless palm sander you can get. It’s a high-performance tool with an incredible extending sanding pad that can get into the tightest spots.

The PSM 18 makes up part of Bosch’s trusted “green” line of DIY level tools. And as the best palm sanders go, this one is a joy to use. The rubberised grip is comfortable and helps to cut down on nasty vibrations. The charge indicator on the front is great for keeping tabs on how much juice you have left too.

Weighing in at 1.3 kg, this “naked” power tool isn’t supplied with batteries. But, it can be powered by any of the Bosch 18 V Power For All battery systems. You can save money if you’ve already bought into their power system though.

What makes this palm sander really special though, is Bosch’s SDS two-plate sanding system. The front portion of the sanding foot can be replaced with several different shape pads. This includes a genius finger shaped one that will get into any nook or cranny you need it to. They’re not included unfortunately, but having the option is worth mentioning alone.

Pros

  • You don’t have to worry about getting tied down by power cables. A light and portable tool like this sander is vastly improved by being cordless.
  • If you’ve already got a Bosch 18V drill, your batteries will fit this sander!
  • The detachable SDS front plate makes this an incredibly versatile bit of kit. If you invest in the different sanding attachments there’s nothing you can’t get.
  • Featuring a Microfilter dust collection box, the number of dangerous particles in the air is greatly reduced. Compared to the dust bags on cheaper sanders like the Wesco, it’s easier to clean afterwards as well.

Cons

  • As good as the extra attachments are, you’re going to have to shell out extra for them because they’re not included.
  • This is a “naked” tool, so don’t expect it to come with a battery or charger.
  • Some users have had problems with the on/off switch. There’s a slight gap around the outside that can get clogged with fine dust particles and stop it functioning properly.
  • Compared to the extremely capable BLACK+DECKER Mouse, this sander is a lot more expensive and doesn’t come many accessories. This isn’t a starter kit.

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Black+Decker KA161BC Mouse Detail SanderBlack+Decker KA161BC Mouse Detail Sander

Best corded for versatility

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.5
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Black+Decker KA161BC Mouse Detail Sander review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 55W
  • Speed: 11,000rpm
  • Sanding Area: 110cm2
  • Weight: 1.0kg

BLACK+DECKER are one of the most recognisable DIY brands out there. They’ve been perfecting the design of their 55 Watt mouse sander since 1998, so they probably know a thing or two about making the best detail sander for DIYers you can get your hands on.

Modelled after a computer mouse, this is just as easy to use, and it might be even more comfortable. The rounded body shape sits in the palm of your hand and the little rubber side pads improve grip. They both work when it comes to dampening down vibrations.

At 800 g, it’s ridiculously light weight and easy to use above your head for even long periods of time. It’s still powerful enough for most light sanding jobs though. What makes this detail sander stand out from the crowd though is the detachable extension pad. You can get into seriously tight spots as wide as your finger when you need to.

The whole kit comes in a drawstring bag which won’t stop any damage if you drop it but does well to keep the extensive accessory kit in place. B&D haven’t skimped on the extras here. There’s 15 different shapes and grits of sandpaper, extra foam backers and a vacuum attachment adapter thrown in too.

Pros

  • The narrow extending “finger” is brilliant! You can get into spaces that would normally be impossible with an electric sander. This feature makes this my go-to sander choice every time.
  • The accessory kit. It’s got everything you’ll need to get started. Different grit sanding pads, a huge selection of tips, my favourite extendable sanding attachment, polishing pads and even a little bag.
  • If you’re into ergonomics, you’ll love the mouse. The rounded shape fits my hand like a glove and the two rubber pads are well positioned for both left and right handed users.

Cons

  • The extension cord isn’t long enough if you’re working on, say, a kitchen worktop. It’s a light tool but you don’t feel that benefit when you’re carrying round an extension cable as well.
  • Some users have noticed that the motor gets louder as the tool gets older. It might be down to internal parts wearing out, so make sure you use ear defenders.
  • If you try to use this little sander for very long periods of time, the friction creates heat that can melt the hooks and loops. If this happens, you won’t be able to attach the sanding pads.

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Worx WX648 Detail SanderWorx WX648 Detail Sander

Best lightweight corded

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Worx WX648 Detail Sander review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 65W
  • Speed: 11,000rpm
  • Sanding Area: 120cm2
  • Weight: 0.7kg

Making tough but affordable DIY tools, the Worx WX648 De-Tail sander is an ultra-lightweight detail sander. It doesn’t have the biggest motor but still has an excellent power to weight ratio.

Even though it’s remarkably light at just 700 g, Worx have made sure this little sander is well put together. Everything feels solid, and the rubber overmoulding is in the right places to help reduce at least some of the vibration.

The shape of the sanding foot is well thought out as well, it’s fine enough to get into tight corners. When you need that extra length, you can swap out the tip for an extended finger sander attachment. Luckily, it’s included in the set.

The small Dustop dust collection box is filtered and seems to collect a fair amount, but you can connect to a shop vac for the best results. Worx have also included 15 different grit sanding sheets and six sheets for the finger sander attachment.

Pros

  • The extendable finger pad gets you into places that other sanders wish they could.
  • I really like the grip on this sander, Worx haven’t skimped on the soft touch rubber.
  • The large on/off switch is dust-proof and easy to operate with just one finger.
  • The filtered dust collection box is an upgrade on the standard dust bag.

Cons

  • Compared with some more powerful options on my list, the 65 Watts that this sander puts out feels quite weak. It’ll get the job done but struggle with anything more than light sanding jobs.
  • The rpm speed of just 11,000 is low compared to most of the competition.
  • Some users have noted that the dust collection box struggles to keep up with the sander and lets a lot of dust escape during use.
  • Even though this sander comes with plenty of sanding pads, some users have struggled to find replacements.

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Ryobi R18PS-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Palm SanderRyobi R18PS-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Palm Sander

Best budget cordless

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Ryobi R18PS-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Palm Sander review

Specifications

  • Power: Battery - 18V
  • Speed: 22,000opm
  • Sanding Area: 140cm2
  • Weight: 1.1kg

Japanese tool manufacturer Ryobi have been providing clever solutions for DIYers since 1945. Famous for their ONE+ battery system, you can use just one battery to power almost any type of power tool or accessory you can think of.

Ryobi’s R18PS-0 is one of the best cordless palm sanders for DIYers I’ve got my hands on so far. It keeps up Ryobi’s reputation for solid, quality DIY tools that are surprisingly affordable. And if you’ve already got a Ryobi battery to hand, this “naked” palm sander is an absolute bargain.

It’s a robust feeling palm sander that’s a bit taller and bulkier than the Bosch, but not so much that it’s uncomfortable to use. Weighing just over 1 kg with the battery installed means it’s easy on the arms. The rubber grips are comfortable enough and the power switch is easy to reach with one finger while in use.

One drawback of this palm sander is the dust collection system, or lack of it. If you want to keep your workspace dust-free you’re going to have to buy a separate hose and connector to fit in the rectangular port on the side of the body. But for the price, it’s still one of the best cordless palm sanders out there.

Pros

  • Ryobi’s ONE+ battery system is great. If you’ve already got their 18V tools you can get to it right away with this sander.
  • The power switch is in a handy place if you’re right handed and easy to use with your thumb.
  • The build quality is good. Everything feels robust and up to the task.
  • If you happen to use a 5.0 h battery, it will last for an incredibly long time on this little tool.
  • The triangular shape of the sole is ideal. It’s wide enough for covering large areas but can get into corners when you need it to.

Cons

  • Don’t buy this sander expecting it to come with batteries or a charger. This is a “naked” tool like more Ryobi products.
  • When Ryobi say “naked”, they mean it. This sander doesn’t even come with a sanding pad.
  • The dimensions of this sander are much larger in comparison to the BLACK+DECKER Mouse. It’s not bulky, but it’s certainly big for a detail sander.
  • If you’re left handed the power switch is on the wrong side for easy access.

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Wesco 18V Cordless Detail Mouse SanderWesco 18V Cordless Detail Mouse Sander

Best cordless for beginners

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.25
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Wesco 18V Cordless Detail Mouse Sander review

Specifications

  • Power: Battery - 18V
  • Speed: 13,000opm
  • Sanding Area: 120cm2
  • Weight: 1.1kg

The WESCO 18V cordless palm sander. It’s a brand you might not know well, but after taking a closer look it’s one of the best detail sanders I’ve tested. And it’s a bargain too. For the money, it’s the best detail sander for new DIYers because WESCO include a whole kit. A 2.0 Ah battery, a charger, and a reasonable selection of sanding pads too.

The build quality of this sander is rather good on first impression. The blue plastic casing feels solid and the rubber overmoulding creates a decent grippy surface. The vibrations are kept down to a reasonable level.

The battery itself is mounted sideways on the rear of the sander, which might get in the way if access is particularly tight. But, seeing as WESCO have included an SDS system like the Bosch, you should be fine. You can extend the front part of the sanding shoe to get into tight spots. It’s feature you’d only expect to find on the best cordless palm sanders.

Pros

  • You get a fully cordless kit for a lot less than you might think. It makes this the best sander kit if you’re thinking about getting into DIY without having to invest much money.
  • The 1.1 kg weight isn’t too much, but it lends the sander a bit of authority when sanding.
  • If you use other Wesco 18V tools, you can share the batteries around.
  • The detail finger extension is integrated into the front of the sander. Compared to the detachable one on the Bosch PSM 18 LI, it’s impossible to lose!

Cons

  • Battery powered tools are at their best when you have a spare battery. Unfortunately, the Wesco only comes with one.
  • Of all the detail sanders I’ve tried out, this is probably the least comfortable to use. The shape isn’t as ergonomic as the Worx sander.
  • Some users have stated that the dust collection system isn’t effective. Compared to the filtered boxes on the Bosch and Worx sanders, the dust bag isn’t great.

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Things to Know Before Buying a Detail Sander

If you need to prepare the surface of a piece of furniture, remove paint from a windowsill or get the varnish off an old bookcase, you’ll need the best detail sander you can get your hands on. Excellent for getting into those difficult places that other sanders can’t reach, you’ll thank me you picked the right one.

Understanding Sanding Power

Don’t make the mistake of trying to sand down metres of rough sawn boards with a detail sander- it’s not what it’s designed for. Maxing out at around 350 Watts, the best detail sander doesn’t need buckets of power to get the job done. The key feature of a detail sander is precision and manoeuvrability, to get into a tight spot and sand in places that other sanders can’t reach.

Don’t Neglect a Dust Collection Facility

There’s no two ways about it, sanding down timber, plastic or other materials creates dust. These fine particles aren’t just a pain to clean up, but pose a serious threat to your health if you breathe them in. The best detail sanders create a vacuum when in use that helps to suck dust up from the workpiece and into a waiting dust bag or box. In my experience, if you have an external dust extraction system, you should use it. Dust bags and boxes, even filtered ones, are only partially effective at removing the dust from the air.

Attaching the Sanding Pad with a Hook and Loop System

A key feature of the best detail sander is the way the sanding pad is attached. Using a hook and loop system means you can quickly change pads without using tools and, in the case of the Bosch PSM 100 A, change the entire foot if it wears out.

The Useful Extended Finger Sander

Known by a few different names, some detail sanders come with interchangeable tips that extend the reach of the sander by several centimetres. This narrow extension is ideal for sanding the tightest spots such as between the spindles on a chair back or between bannister posts.

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Detail Sander FAQs

What’s the difference between a detail sander and a random orbit sander?

There are a lot of different types of sander out there, and they’re all designed for different purposes. Random orbit sanders are rotary tools at heart- they spin a sanding disc to remove paint or varnish and must be circular in shape. Detail sanders do not spin. The motor inside them causes the sanding pad to vibrate in a tight arc, which means the pad can be created in a delta shape to get into tight spaces and corners.

What’s the best use for a detail sander?

A detail sander is a lightweight and precision piece of kit. It’s not meant for large stock removal or to replace a heavy duty belt sander. Where it comes in handy is for finish work on odd-shaped objects. Loved by furniture makers and restorers, they can be poked into tight spots and crevices where other sanders would never reach.

Do I need to wear any protective equipment?

You should always wear the correct level of personal protective equipment (PPE). Detail sanders are small but loud, especially when used for a long time. Even if you connect an effective dust collection system to your sander, it’s good practise to protect your lungs too. So, always wear safety goggle, ear defenders and a dust mask.

How can I get the most out of my detail sander?

As with any power tool, practise makes perfect, but there’s a few techniques I use to get the most out of any one of my sanders:

Try to keep a firm, even pressure on the sanding pad to avoid creating ridges and get the most out of each sweep of your hand.

But don’t press too hard. A great mantra for using any piece of equipment is “let the tool do the work” Your sanding pads will last longer, and you won’t get nearly as tired.

Use a pencil and scribble across the work surface- this will help you keep track of where you’ve sanded, and once the pencil marks have disappeared, you’ll know you’ve sanded enough.

Use a variety of sanding grits- Usually the trick is to work up in numbers- start with a low grit to remove the bulk of the material and change for higher grits to create a smooth, glass-like finish.

This is probably the most important tip for using even the best detail sander- go slow! There’s no rushing if you want to get the best results, it’s as simple as that, the slower you go the more control you have, the less noticeable scratches there will be and the better the finish overall.

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