Japanese tool manufacturer Ryobi has 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.
The R18PS-0 is one of the best cordless palm sanders I’ve got my hands on so far, and keeps up Ryobi’s reputation for solid, quality DIY tools that are surprisingly affordable. As long as 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, and weighing just over 1 kg with a battery 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.
Bosch PSM 18 LI Cordless 18 Volt Li-Ion Multisander Review
The Bosch PSM 18 LI is probably the best cordless detail sander you can get because 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 vibrations, and the charge indicator on the front is great for keeping tabs on how much juice you have left.
Weighing in at 1.3 kg, this “naked” power tool isn’t supplied with batteries but can be powered by any of the Bosch 18 V Power For All battery systems, so you can save money if you’ve already bought into their power system. The single speed motor is powerful
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 shapes of sander including a genius finger shaped one that will get into any nook or cranny you need it to. They’re not included but having the option is worth mentioning alone.
Next up is 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 a decent starter kit because WESCO include a 2.0 Ah battery, 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 that keeps the vibration 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 really tight spots- a feature you’d only expect to find on the best cordless palm sanders.
Easily one of the most recognisable names in DIY, BLACK+DECKER have been making tools for nearly 140 years, so they should know a thing or two about making the best palm sander.
The cordless BDCDS18N Mouse detail sander is a lightweight tool at just over 1 kg and features a nice variable grip system for maximum comfort. Instead of limiting you to a simple palm grip that can be tiring, you can grab this little mouse with both hands, or hold it by the handle if you want.
The motor feels powerful enough, and the dust collection system seems to work even if the dust bag is a little on the small side. Be warned though, this is another “naked” power tool, you don’t get a battery or charger included. If you’re already a BLACK+DECKER 18V convert though, this is an affordable way to expand your tool collection.
One of the better known household tool brands out there, VonHaus make honest machines that get the job done. Their cordless detail sander is a handy little tool for getting into tight corners and weighing 1.7 kg it’s still just about light enough.
The soft grip handle is well thought out and feels comfortable during use- I like the power switch placement and it’s even easy to use if you’re wearing gloves. There’s no SDS or finger sanding attachment, which is a shame, but it’s otherwise a nimble and easy to handle sander.
What’s really good about this set is it comes with a 2.0 Ah 18V battery and charger. Not only can you get to work straight away with the five included sanding sheets, but you’ve now bought into the VonHaus E-Series and can buy their “naked” tools at competitive prices.
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Since I’ve bought into cordless Lithium-ion tools, just the thought of dragging long cables all over the place brings me out in a cold sweat. If you’re thinking of getting into off-grid working like me, you need the best cordless palm sander you can get.
A palm sander is just what it sounds like, a sander that fits into the palm of one hand. They’re usually lighter than 2 kg, very portable and can get into those tight spots that orbital or belt sanders wish they can reach. The absolute best palm sanders have finger attachments that extend the usable sanding surface even further and can reach areas you’d otherwise struggle to work on.
Oscillation is the proper term for the action of swinging back and forth around a central point, usually shortened to “opm”. Measured in minutes, the higher the number, the more sanding action you’re going to have. Most palm sanders are single speed units, and the standard speed is usually somewhere around 12,000 opm.
What makes palm sanders so versatile is how quickly you can swap out the sanding pads. Using specially shaped hook and loop pads, you can change grits in a matter of seconds. Complete with holes for dust extraction, just make sure you buy the right ones and don’t block up the important holes. You can usually find aftermarket sanding pads if you find the serial number printed on the pad itself.
Palm Sander FAQs
It’s all in the movement- a random orbit sander rotates in an eccentric pattern in order to avoid scratches, but a palm sander oscillates in a more predictable way. Palm sanders, unlike orbital sanders, can get into corners and other tight spaces that the circular rotary sanders can’t touch. For a detailed list of the competition, see my list of the best orbital sanders.
In a word, yes. Even if you’re working outdoors with the best cordless palm sander, the fine particles can still end up in your lungs, and that’s the last place you want them. You can get away with the dust bags and filter boxes supplied with palm sanders, but if you’re working indoors or you really want to get rid of the dust, attach a decent shop vac to your sander.
As with any power tool, practise makes perfect, but there’s a few techniques I use to get the most out 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 palm 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 random the orbit, the less noticeable scratches there will be and the better the finish overall.
You should always wear the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when operating tools. Palm sanders are usually loud and dusty, so make sure you wear ear defenders, safety glasses and a dust mask. You can wear work gloves to deal with some excess vibration, too.
Harry Duncton is a jack of all trades with experience ranging from carpentry and furniture restoration to tree surgery and gardening. Happiest when found in his shed, he hopes his daughter will find a passion for making things as well.