Palm Sander Vs. Belt Sander

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Palm Sander Vs Belt SanderFinding the appropriate tool for the right job can determine the success or failure of a project. This is true when it comes to sanding.

Yes, if you are thinking about starting a new woodworking project or are a tenderfoot to this line of work.

The essential thing you need to think about is what kind of sander you should be using to get the desired results.

The market is filled with a variety of different types of sanders, and each one has specific functional and performance attributes.

This article will be discussing the two most basic varieties: the palm sander and the belt sander.

I will be discussing the applications, pros, cons, differences and walk you through the process of selecting the most suitable option for your needs.

So without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Palm Sander

They are also known as finish sanders; however, they get their name because they are small enough to fit in the size of your palms.

The palm sander usually has a square or rectangle-shaped sanding pad.

The design enables using sandpaper in 1/4,1/3, and 1/2 sheet configurations that are easily replaceable as they support side spring clips.

They are much smaller in size and utilize alternating, a patterned motion that is not elliptical.

It would help if you placed sandpaper into the machine as you work on the project.


  • They are lightweight and easy to use.
  • The palm sanders don’t leave prominent marks and provide for a much finer finish.
  • They can be used with regular sandpaper and are therefore much more convenient to use.


  • Not for applications that require the removal of large pieces of wood.
  • You will need an ample amount of sandpaper as it requires changing frequently.

What is a Palm Sander used for?

Palm sanders can be used for working on smaller projects.

Due to their small size, you can work with precision, especially if you need to have a smoother finish because they don’t leave any marks.

They perform best on wooden surfaces that have been treated or painted.

They are versatile options that can be used for a multitude of DIY projects.

Since they are lightweight and easier to maneuver, this should be the go-to option for a beginner.

Belt Sander

The belt sander has two cylinder-shaped drums; the grit paper moves around these two cylinders in a loop.

Mostly one drum is powered by an electric motor; for maintaining tension on the belt, the other cylinder is spring-loaded.

Most options in the market have built-in dust collectors and accommodate 3 inch wide belts, which come in very handy when working on wood.

They can also have adjustment and variable speed features to maintain the belt in the center of the pulley when being operated.


  • Versatile and can be used for both wooden and metal surfaces.
  • The high speed lets the user work quickly to remove large pieces of wood.
  • Ideal for projects with large surface areas.


  • Not suitable for small projects that require sanding in tight spaces because of their large size.
  • They are very powerful, so one needs to be careful as it is easy to over sand the surface otherwise.

What is a Belt Sander used for?

The belt sander works best when used to flatten out surfaces and edges of wood pieces that are cut along the grain.

They can be used for removing material fast and aggressively.

The large size and high power make it ideal for working on big projects and wooden surfaces of a substantial size.

If you are doing renovations around the house, the belt sander will be very useful for applications like working on hardwood flooring.

If you work with large pieces of furniture such as dining tables, doors, and cabinets, a belt sander will be the best choice.

You can also use them to strip finishes from metal surfaces, but the catch is that you have to use the right sandpaper.

Another great use of the belt sander is for working on uneven wooden joints. To sum it up, belt sanders are used for big wooden surfaces and reshaping.

What is The Difference between a Palm Sander and a Belt Sander?

The primary difference in a palm and belt sander lies in the use and application.

The belt sander is used for working on really rough wood.

Whereas the palm sander is used for finishing jobs which is something that the belt sander cannot help you with.

Which Option Is Right For You?

You should opt for a belt sander if you need to work on large projects and rough wooden surfaces.

Keep in mind that you will need a sufficient amount of skill to work with this type as one wrong move can cost you the whole project.

The palm sander is the best option for beginner hobbyists working on smaller projects that require precision and a finer finish.

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