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The Best Drywall Sanders for Home Improvement Projects

DIY home improvement projects can be exhausting, but they are also incredibly satisfying once you’ve thrown out the last trash bag and cleaned the house completely. While loads of people prefer to hire professionals, others love to do these things themselves, and we completely support the effort and physical activity these people engage in. Today, we wanted to show you a special category of tools that will help in a variety of home improvement projects: drywall sanders.

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What Is a Drywall Sander?

When you install a drywall, the very last step of the process is sanding. This will smoothen out the plastic compound used in the setting-up process. A drywall sander is a tool that’s used to smoother up the aforementioned compound, and it’s available in four different types:

  • A manual sanding block is good for smaller jobs and preferred by people who repair drywall parts. It is a flexible drywall sander that also works for smoothening round edges and sanding corners. Manual sanding blocks measure 2.75” W x 4” L x 1” H and are available in versions that have fine and medium grits. You can use other tools to create smooth round edges with a sanding block of this category, such as a sanding sponge, chamfer and bullnose beads.
  • Dustless turbo drywall sanders have vacuums attached to them so they’re able to collect sawdust and other debris resulted from the sanding process. These types of drywall sanders are equipped with rectangular heads that makes it easier for you to sand tight corners that would otherwise be difficult to reach. You can use it together with a special type of sandpaper that has a mesh backing, outlasting regular sandpaper and capable of preventing clogging. Depending on the model chose, you might have a dustless turbo drywall sander with an air turbine that can sand a drywall at really high speeds.
  • Portable cable sanders are typically used by professionals. They have 13-foot extension booms that are really useful when sanding ceiling and reaching high spots, thus eliminating the need to go up a ladder. It’s rather counterintuitive that these portable drywall sanders are actually pretty heavy. They also tend to be rather expensive.
  • Orbital drywall sanders are handheld tools that are perfect for people into DIY home improvement projects. They are commonly used for removing rust and paint, but also for removing drywall mudding compound. It doesn’t come with an extension boom, so if you plan on reaching high places with this tool, you are going to need a ladder.

Related: Best Drywall Patch Kit for Your Home Repair Projects

How to Use a Drywall Sander

Using a drywall sander per se isn’t really complicated, so instead of repeating the instructions that you’re going to find in the user manual, we wanted to give you a list of tips that the user manual doesn’t include. These tips and techniques will help you be more efficient in your drywall sanding endeavors, so here we go:

  • When you’re sanding drywall, the fine-grit paper is probably the best solution. Sandpaper with heavy grit usually means that you can get the job done faster, but when you think about the fact that modern lightweight joint compound is soft, it doesn’t really make sense to use it.
  • A common mistake that people make when sanding drywall is to try and sand out those gouges instead of filling them. Just grab a trowel and apply a thin coat over the edge so that you can avoid damaging the paper face on the drywall.
  • Simple use of a handheld light will help you spot problems faster. Grab a pencil and mark the area that needs detail sanding. The light should be placed parallel to the wall surface. Hold it with one hand and sander the trouble spots with the other.
  • A sanding sponge can do wonders for corners. It’s likely that you will end up scuffing the opposite corner side, so it’s best if you use a sand sander for corners and then touch up using a sanding sponge afterward.
  • Another common mistake that beginners make is forgetting to sand after priming. When you don’t skip it, you can remove lumps and paper fuzz, but you will also be able to spot imperfections faster.

Top Drywall Sanders

Now that we know what the different types of drywall sanders are and how to properly use them, it’s time to look at some of the best products on the market. Hopefully, your next drywall sander is somewhere in this list.

1. WEN 6369 Variable Speed 5 Amp Drywall Sander with 15′ Hose

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Let’s welcome the WEN, a powerful drywall sander with a bunch of features that will sound very appealing to most of you. It comes with a 360-degree pivoting head that swivels so that it can flush against the wall even if it’s not an even surface. It has a variable motor speed that can be adjusted between 600 and 1500 RPM. The 15-inch dust hose allows you to remove dust and debris so you can avoid long clean-up sessions afterwards.

The unit comes with six different sanding discs, ranging from 60 to 240-grit sandpapers. The base pad has a hook and loop system that allows you to quickly exchange one sandpaper for another, helping you save time and reducing effort on your projects.

Who Should Buy This?

The WEN 6369 is a drywall sander that serves those of you that want to put in minimal effort when sanding. The dust hose gathers debris before it gets a chance to fall on the ground and find its way into all crevices, while the hook and loop base lets you change between sandpapers in no time.

2. Hyde Tools 09165 Dust-Free Drywall Vacuum Hand Sander with 6-Foot Hose

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This particular tool is a hand sander that comes with a hose which can be attached to your vacuum cleaner to remove dust while you’re sanding. It is compatible with any dry or wet vacuum cleaner, but it is the kind of tool where you’ll have to do the work yourself, since it’s a manual sander and doesn’t have a motor or adjustable speed. The six-foot hose is compatible with following hose sizes: 1 3/4“, 1 ½”, and 2 ½”.

The sander is designed with an easy-clamp system so that you can replace the sandpaper with minimal time and effort. The sanding screen that comes with the product is washable so that it can last longer and save you some money on consumables. It claims to be able to remove 95 percent of the dust that results from sanding, which is nothing short of amazing.

Who Should Buy This?

If you’re looking for a manual sander that leaves almost no dust behind, but you’re willing to put in the elbow grease to do the sanding job yourself, then you should check out this product.

3. DEWALT 20V MAX Orbital Sander

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Next up, we wanted to show you one of the best orbital sanders that money can buy. It is a battery-powered unit (attention: battery is not included with the purchase, runs on one lithium-ion battery) that comes with multiple features that turn this into a regular power-tool. You can adjust the speed between 8000 and 12000 rotations per minute, so you get to choose how fast or slow the machine goes.

It comes with a brushless motor that promotes a longer lifespan and a product that’s going to be with you for many years. The hook-and-loop sanding pad is easy to replace so you won’t have to waste time in the middle of a project. Note that the sander doesn’t come with a charger either, so you’ll have to purchase both that and the battery separately. The sander can be attached to a dust collector so you can avoid cleaning large messes after you’re done.

Who Should Buy This?

The DEWALT Max is a tool suitable for those of you that want an orbital sander that’s lightweight and portable, and don’t mind spending a few extra dollars to purchase the battery and the charger separately.

4. TACKLIFE 800W Electric Drywall Sander

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The Tacklife PDS03B sander is one of the best products in its category. It runs on 6.7 amps of power with its 800 W motor. It has an adjustable speed feature that allows you to switch from 770 to 2100 rpm in no time. The dust collection system will make sure that there is less sanding residue scattered all over the place when you’re done. The LED work light system surrounds the head so that you can always see what you’re doing, even in low light conditions.

The unit is built with a suspended sanding plate design and self-suction adjustment so that you can have more control over the sanding process. The external carbon brush is easier to replace than on other models. With your purchase, you will receive the sander, alongside a variety of accessories: two gaskets, a hex wrench, a screwdriver, two carbon brushes, one dust hose, one dust collection bag, one carrying bag, and 12 sanding discs.

Who Should Buy This?

The Tacklife PDS03B is the perfect product for people that want a complete package, with all the accessories needed to use a sander and not having to make any separate purchases.

5. BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander

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Black + Decker is a powerful brand when it comes to all kinds of tools that can be used by homeowners and professionals alike. It features random orbital action for a quality finish. The compact size and lightweight of the product makes it easy to carry it around from one room to another, but also to transport it on longer distances if needed. It is designed with a hook-and-loop system so that you can change papers really fast.

The dust-sealed switch keeps dust and debris out of the tool to ensure a longer lifespan. It doesn’t give you the possibility to adjust the speed, and that could be a downside for some of you. With your purchase, you will receive the sander, alongside one sanding sheet and a dust bag.

Who Should Buy This?

This random orbit sander is a unit designed for people who are interested in ease of maneuvering, but also for those who want an affordable sander for working on small projects.

Bottom Line

When you’re looking to buy a drywall sander, it isn’t just the quality of the tool that’s important, but also how you sand a drywall overall. The different tips and tricks can help you make the best out of this process, so there’s a little extra research to be done aside from learning how to use the sander. With it, you can do more than just sand drywalls, as it can be a tool useful for a variety of other home improvement projects as well.

FAQ

What is the best way to sand drywall?

It really depends on who you ask and what you mean by “best way”. Is the best way the fastest way? The process that produces lest dust? That uses fewer tools? Depending on your definition of “best”, you might like some methods of sanding better than others. For instance, if you don’t’ mind the dust or have a vacuum hose attachment for your sander, you can use the wet sanding method.  The method uses a sanding sponge dunk in water and the sanding using circular motions in delicate areas such as corners or joints.  Dry sanding, on the other hand, produces smooth finishes and it’s the best method to turn to if you plant on painting the wall.

What do you use to sand drywall?

Aside from the actual drywall sander, there are other things you might want to use for such a project: mesh reinforcement tape can help with minor drywall repairs, joint compound applied with a drywall knife, sand joint compound, and a microfiber wipe to clean the surface.

When should you sand drywall?

Sanding a drywall is best done about 24 hours after the coat dries.

Can I use an orbital sander to sand drywall?

You can, but it is not the best tools for the job, as there are other tools more suitable for this kind of project. Also, when you use an orbital sander, you are more likely to damage the surface of the wall, so it’s best left to professionals.