Orbital Sander vs Palm Sander – Which is right for you?

What is the most needed thing for a perfect DIY wood project? There is no doubt that if you are doing a wood DIY project and trying your best to finish the project perfectly, a sander is the final step for the perfect finish.

But, it causes confusion when you need to choose which type of sander you require for your project. And this process gets more difficult for a beginner because they don’t have the perfect knowledge about the tools of crafting.

Now, You don’t have to worry. We are here with all the details on Orbital Sander vs Palm Sander so that you can learn the related things about sanders and select which one is best for your project.

What is a palm sander?

A palm sander is the smallest sander anyone can get for their DIY projects. This sander normally uses sandpaper with a 160 to 220 grit range.

Purpose of Usages

This sander is usually used for lightweight and easy wood-works. You can hold it in the palm of your hand. That’s why it is very efficient if you are doing a small task.

It is really good at polishing any woods but it doesn’t remove any varnish or paint from woods. This tool works in orbit so that it smooths the surface better.

The structure of palm sander is more effective for woods that have corners. It can go to any corner and clear the surface.


  • Reasonable price
  • Great for small tasks
  • Compact and efficient structure
  • Simple use procedure


  • Unable to remove paint or varnish
  • Damage sander on harder push

What is an orbital sander?

An orbital sander is the most versatile sander you can get. It is an electric machine that smoothes the surface perfectly and removes extra stuff from the woods.

Purpose of Usages

An orbital sander is capable of doing more heavy-duty work than a palm sander. Because it covers large areas. As palm sander is slower when working with a large surface, this tool is the perfect one for this job.

This sander is very useful if you want to paint wood. It smooths the surface of any wood and prepares it for applying paints. 

Orbital sander also removes varnish and paints from woods. For this, you can use any older woods with your new projects.


  • Removes varnish and paint
  • Works in a circular motion
  • Smooths the surface better
  • Covers larger area
  • Great with curved wood


  • Costly than palm sander

What is a random orbital sander?

A random orbital sander is a subcategory of an orbital sander. The tool has a slight difference from the other one. Its head moves in a random orbit that doesn’t follow the same pattern as a regular orbital sander.

Purpose of Usages

This tool’s great feature is it works very accurately. You can work with it without thinking about the grit direction of the wood.

It also removes more stuff than a regular orbital sander. A random orbital sander is less likely to ruin your project because it is very versatile and efficient.

Random orbital sanders also work on curved surfaces, But it is really impossible to work on 90-degree angles of any wood because of its round structure.


  • Removes more stuff
  • Very versatile than palm sander
  • Works in random orbits
  • Great with ¼ sheet sander
  • Leaves no marks on the surface


  • Impossible to work in corners

Orbital Sander vs Palm Sander

Key PointsOrbital/Random Orbital SanderPalm Sander
Purpose of UsagesSmooths surface and remove paint and varnishSmooths surface
Sanding MaterialSandpaperSandpaper
Working PrincipleWorks in random orbitsWorks in small orbits on a rough surface
Head ShapeRound shapeRectangular shape
Sheet Size5 to 6 inches¼ of a standard sheet
Work On Surface & TypeStraight surface and also on a curved surfaceOnly on a straight surface
Working ProcessCan be used with both hands Efficient to work with one hand. More pressure can damage the sander
MotionCircular and orbitingOrbiting

Which Type of Sander is the Best for you?

Every regular craftsman has all of these tools. Because they have to work with all types of projects. Depending on the project, they choose what they will use so that they can get a smooth surface.

But, if you are working on small projects that don’t need more sanding, you can just buy a palm sander and work with it. Because palm sanders are more flexible than orbital sanders. And it is also cheap and easy to use.

More you work with wood, the more you will need different power tools for sanding. Working on a larger surface needs a random orbital tool or orbital sander. Because palm sander takes more time on a big surface. On the other hand, an orbital sander will do the work in less time.

Palm sanders don’t prepare your woods for paint. If you want to paint your new woods then it is better to use an orbital sander to smooth your wood surface. It will make your wood smooth and superb so that the paint can sit perfectly.

It also removes varnish and paints from the old woods so that you can use it for your other projects. But if you don’t have any heavy-duty work like this, just use a palm sander.

Final Thoughts

Actually, it depends on the projects and your preference on which tools you should use. But before starting any tasks, it is good to learn about all the details so that you don’t miss any necessary things.

After knowing all about Sanders, are you confused like before? We are sure you have cleared your doubts from Orbital Sander vs Palm Sander – which is right for you?

So, let’s not waste any time. Grab the perfect tool for you and begin your crafting projects as soon as possible.

Make your dream true. And make the beautiful wood DIY project with your own hand and skill. Good luck!

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