What Sander Should I Use? - Palm Sanders
When choosing a sander there are a lot more factors to consider than brand and price. These will include shape, size, power, orbital or random orbital, orbit size, variable speed, dust extraction but most importantly its intended purpose.
To help with choosing your sander I will break it down into several factors, the first being the shape or style of the sander. There are many shapes available including round, square, rectangular etc and they all serve different functions. Too often a sander is purchased based on the perceived benefit of that shape, rather than its practical application.
Today we look at the trusty Palm Sander:
Palm sanders are compact and easily controlled and held in one hand. These sanders are perfectly designed for light to medium stock removal and finishing. As with the Delta sanders, these sanders are not inherently designed for heavier work.
The Palm sander is the most versatile powered sander you can own, when combined with an appropriate abrasive it can be used for any task. Always look for a Palm sander that allows connection to an active dust extractor like the Rupes LE71T as this will dramatically improve performance!
Like Delta sanders, Palm sanders come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the application.
DIY palm sanders are typically square 1/4 sheet (114mm x 102mm) or rectangular 1/3 sheet (92mm x 185mm), while the industrial range usually includes 2 sizes of palm sanders, the compact 81mm x 133mm and slightly larger 70mm x 198mm.
The compact nature of palm sanders makes them ideal for sanding substrates like windows, door frames and automotive and marine applications.
To maintain their small and compact design and ability to be used predominantly with one hand, palm sanders have smaller motors powering them. The typical power range varies between 200W and 350W. Brushless motors now provide higher power outputs with even further reduced weight with sander like the Mirka DEOS 383CV weighing only 1.0kg
As technology keeps making advances, we continue to see improvements in power, operational times and the quality of the tools. Battery powered palm sanders offer a flexibility that is not available with a corded sander, the trade off is power and dust extraction.
Palm sanders will always have a small orbit, as this allows for maintained control at all times with one hand. The added benefit includes precision sanding, and limits damaging adjacent surfaces when working in confined and tight spaces. At Millin we stock a variety of palm sanders ranging from the Metabo FSR 200 with a 1.4mm orbit, to the Mirka DEOS 353CV with a 3.0mm orbit.
Orbital sanders aren’t overly aggressive, so it’s time consuming to remove large amounts of material even when using coarse grits.
Pad Savers And Dust Extraction
Usually smaller sanders are supplied with a passive dust bag or dust catcher, however with all sanders you should attach to an active dust extraction system. There are multiple benefits of doing this including reducing labour and consumable costs, a much cleaner workspace, as well as being better for you and the environment.
Tip: Pad savers are a sacrificial pad that extends the life of the main backing pad and far cheaper than replacing backing pads.
Advantages Of A Palm Sander
Affordable, and versatile a palm sander can be used for almost any application. The compact size and light weight make them perfect for overhead and confined areas and for doing finishing and detailing work. Although able to be used with coarse grits I recommend palm sanders be used with 80gt and finer.
Disadvantages Of A Palm Sander
Palm Sanders are slow if using for heavy sanding or removing multiple layers of paint, also the small size is a disadvantage when sanding large surfaces.
If you have any questions please get in touch Ask Matt
*Originally Posted by Matt Piggin on 2nd Apr 2023