Home furnishings age before you know it, and since you’re opening and closing cabinets every day, they suffer a lot of wear and tear. But it’s easy to breathe new life into them by stripping off the old paint or lacquer, filling out any holes and restaining, or repainting.

Electric sanders are by far the best tool if you want to do the job quickly and professionally. In this guide, I road test the eight best sanders on the market in a real-world environment and tell you how they perform. There’s also a detailed buyer’s guide that gives you the lowdown on everything you need to know before buying a sander for cabinet work.

The 8 Best Sanders For Cabinets In 2021

Sanding painted cabinets for a repaint is a very different job from filling and refinishing old bare wood cabinets to give them a new lease of life. I wanted to test these sanders on both, so I did. My painted kitchen cabinets were in pretty bad shape, so I stripped those for a repaint. Then I went to work on a set of old wooden bedroom cabinets, which I wanted to refinish. Here are the results.

  1. Best Budget Sander For Cabinets: Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (Bdero100)
  2. Best Sander For Cabinets:  Bosch Ros20vsc Palm Sander – 2.5 Amp 5 In. Corded Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander/Polisher Kit
  3. Best Sander For Removing Paint From Cabinets:  Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, 2.4-Amp (Bdero200aev)
  4. Best Sander & Accessories For Cabinets: Meterk Random Orbit Sander, 6 Variable Speeds Electric Sander
  5. Best Mid-Range Sander For Cabinets:  Dewalt Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (Dwe6421)
  6. Best Sander For Removing Paint From Cabinets:  Black+Decker 20v Max Sheet Sander (Bdcms20c)
  7. Best Budget Finishing Sander For Cabinets: Bosch Gss20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander (1/4-Sheet)
  8. Best Finishing Sander For Cabinets: Makita Sheet Finishing Sander, 1/3 In, 1.7 A, Teal (Bo3710)

Let’s dive in.

1. Best Budget Sander For Cabinets: Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (Bdero100)

  • Weight: 3.16 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5″
  • Motor:  2 Amps
  • Accessories: Sanding sheet
  • Power Source: Corded-Electric
  • Speed: 12,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Dust Tray
  • Grip Positions: 2

This compact random orbit sander is a well-featured sander at an affordable price. This super-compact palm controlled unit isn’t much larger than its 5-inch sanding surface, and at just over 3 pounds, it’s really easy to use.

The two amp motor isn’t the biggest, but nor is the machine, and it comfortably drove the sanding surface at 12,000 orbits per minute and responded well even when I put more pressure on it to lift reluctant layers of paint. I like how this random orbit sander lets you work on curved surfaces, following the contours quickly and easily.

The sander came just one sanding sheet, so it’s a good idea to order more in at least two different grits; one coarse for removing the paint and then a finer one for finishing the wood surface. The hook and loop paper system makes changing between papers the work of seconds.


  • This light and maneuverable sander is extremely easy to use, even upside down.
  • The sensitive sanding surface makes it easy to finish wood with fine-grit paper without leaving any swirl marks.
  • Changing sandpaper is straightforward and quick.


  • This isn’t the largest or most powerful sander. If I were buying a sander to use all the time, I’d get something bigger, but for occasional jobs like sanding cabinets, it does a great job.

Check price on amazon

2. Best Sander For Cabinets: Bosch Ros20vsc Palm Sander – 2.5 Amp 5 In. Corded Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander/Polisher Kit

  • Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 inch disk
  • Motor:  2.5 Amp
  • Accessories: Carrying Bag, vacuum hose adapter, sanding disk, and pad
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 12,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: plastic tray
  • Grip Positions: 2

I was impressed with this machine from the off since it feels light and very comfortable to grip both with the on-top palm grip and the body grip for close control work. At just 3 ½ pounds, it’s impressive that Bosch has squeezed a powerful 2 ½ amp motor into such a compact sander.

This Bosch did a great job of removing paint at a high orbit speed. The random vibration serves to loosen the paint before the sanding pad takes it off. It worked quickly and effectively.

This machine has variable speed settings from 7,500 to 12,000 OPM, offering a good mix of power and control. As One owner review urges, “do not underestimate the power and effectiveness of this sander’s speed dial.” I used mainly a lower setting to sand down bare wood since I didn’t want to damage it, and I was particularly impressed at the lack of swirl marks. No swirl marks = no finishing work with a sanding pad, a major win.

So this is a quality tool made with Bosch engineering excellence and attention to detail. It’s well priced and is the best mid-range sander for cabinets.


  • This machine is well balanced, light, and relatively vibration-free, so it’s easy to use for long periods.
  • The half micron dust filters really work, and of all the sanders tested, this one left the workplace cleanest.
  • An excellent sander for bare wood since it works quickly and efficiently and doesn’t leave swirl marks.


  • The dust collection Tray is a victim of its effectiveness, and you need to change often. It’s a good idea to use a vacuum attachment.

Check price on amazon

3. Best Sander For Removing Paint From Cabinets: Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, 2.4-Amp (Bdero200aev)

  • Weight: 2.99 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.98 x 6.1 x 5.16 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 Inches
  • Motor:  2.4 Amps
  • Accessories: Sand Paper Kit (60 Grit x1, 120 Grit x1, 180 Grit x1)
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Speed: 12,000 Orbits Per Minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Yes
  • Grip Positions: 2

This Black & Decker random orbit sander is another compact and easy-to-use sander well suited for cabinet work. I like the form function and ergonomic design of this unit. The random oscillations lift paint well and it’s a light and maneuverable sander that lets you get pretty much everywhere (except the really tight corners).

The on-top grip is linear, rather than rounded, as in many machines,  and gives you plenty of freedom of grip, which I found made it easy to operate as I worked with it in and around the interiors of the cabinets.

This summer comes with just three papers, but they are a good range of grits from coarse to fine, ideal for taking cabinets down to a smooth finish.


  • The low weight, compact size, and short distance between your hand and the sanding surface offer excellent control.
  • The microfiltration dust collection system is good, capturing most of the material, and the collection tray is easy to remove and empty.
  • This sander performs exceptionally well when removing paint, probably due to its random orbit action.


  • The sander left a few swirl marks in the wood cabinets, which had to be smoothed out with a sanding block. A variable speed option would give you the control to avoid this.

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4. Best Sander & Accessories For Cabinets: Meterk Random Orbit Sander, 6 Variable Speeds Electric Sander

  • Weight: 4.64 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11.97 x 7.09 x 6.06 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 Inches
  • Motor:  2.5 Amps
  • Accessories: 20 Pcs Sandpapers & Sponge Plate & Wool Plate &Tool Bag
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Speed: 13,000 Orbits Per Minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Yes
  • Grip Positions: 3

Meterk might not be the first name you think of when it comes to power tools. Still, they’ve produced a great package here with a powerful random orbit sander and an impressive range of accessories that includes twenty sheets of sanding paper, polishing plates, and a convenient carrying bag.

When a manufacturer isn’t an established name, I often find that they go the extra yards to produce a quality product. This random orbit sander has excellent features like a flashlight for working in dark corners and a three-position grip including a handy trigger grip that lets you work with two hands. This user-friendly design more than makes up for the fact that this sander is a bit heavier than most of the competition; I didn’t notice that at all and found it very easy to work with.


  • A comprehensive package with plenty of papers and attachments mean makes this an excellent value tool.
  • The powerful 2.5 Amp motor has plenty of power for projects like finishing cabinets.
  • Variable control speeds set this sander apart from the pack, offering the finesse and control needed for fine wood finishing.


  • This sander makes a little more noise than some of the other machines reviewed.

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5. Best Mid Range Sander For Cabinets: Dewalt Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (Dwe6421)

  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.31 x 5.69 x 6 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 inch disk
  • Motor: 3 Amp
  • Accessories: Papers available at extra cost
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 12,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Dust Bag
  • Grip Positions: 2

This DeWalt random orbit sander weighs in at just over three pounds, but don’t let that fool you; its 3 Amp motor packs a punch. The maximum orbit speed is a very respectable 12,000 OPM. The advantage of having such a large motor was that the sander kept going without complaint when I put a lot of pressure on it when removing thick areas of paint from the cabinets.

The sander ships as a bare tool, so we had to order separate sanding papers for the test. I chose mixed grits of 80 for paint removal and 180 for finishing the wood. The DeWalt worked a treat on both tasks. It made short work of paint removal without any arm ache or discomfort, and then it performed admirably to refinish the wood to a smooth surface without any swirl marks. It did an outstanding job on the curved detail features of the kitchen cabinets since the oscillating pad works a treat on curved surfaces.

This sander enjoys almost universal acclaim from owners, with a superb customer review rating of 4.8 out of 5. And that should tell you all that you need to know. This is a powerful and dependable mid-range orbital sander, perfect for refinishing cabinets


  • The hook and loop sanding discs are easy to change and just don’t fall off.
  • A clever counterweight system balances out the vibrations from the sander, so it’s incredibly comfortable to use.
  • This sander has a very effective dust removal system, making for a clean workspace.


  • It’s a shame that the sander only has a single operating speed.

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6. Best Detail Sander For Cabinets – Black+Decker 20v Max Sheet Sander (Bdcms20c)

  • Weight: 2.59 pounds
  • Dimensions: 4 x 10 x 9 inches
  • Sanding Area: 4 Inches wide
  • Motor:  1.5 Amps
  • Accessories: (1) 20V MAX* 1.5Ah Battery, (1) Charger, (1) Detail Finger Attachment, (2) Sheets paper, (1) Sheet Detail Finger Paper, (4) Extra Sheets Tip Paper
  • Power Source: Lithium-Ion Battery
  • Speed: 12,000
  • Dust Collection Tray: Yes
  • Grip Positions: 3

This Black & Decker detail sander has a lot going for it. Since it has a mouse-shaped sanding surface, the first thing I did was use it to get into all the tight corners and out-of-the-way places inside the cabinets that the orbital sanders just couldn’t reach. I tried the finger attachment as well, which gives you access to even more hard-to-reach areas. It’s a really handy feature, although you need to treat it with finesse, no bull in a china shop stuff. This is a cordless sander, which was great since there was no trailing cable to get in my way.

But the sander didn’t fare as well when removing paint from more extensive areas. The motor is only 1½ Amps and simply doesn’t have as much power to send large flat regions efficiently.

If you need a sander for fine detail work, then this machine is a great buy. It will save you the inconvenience of using a sanding block to get into tight corners, giving you flexibility and freedom. The trade-off is that it perhaps isn’t the best machine for long jobs due to its battery life and small motor.


  • Three grip positions made the sander simple to operate from all angles.
  • The pointed head and detail attachment are perfect for sending inside cabinets.
  • Many cordless sanders are heavy because of the batteries, but at just over 3 pounds, this machine is light and maneuverable.


  • The small sanding area and relatively short battery charge make this a tool suitable for smaller jobs.

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7. Best Budget Finishing Sander For Cabinets: Bosch Gss20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander (1/4-Sheet)

  • Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.66 x 5.69 x 6.68 inches
  • Sanding Area: ¼ Sheet
  • Motor:  2 Amps
  • Accessories: Punchplate, 1 Sandpaper Sheet
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Speed: 12,000 Oscillations Per Minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Yes
  • Grip Positions: 2

This quarter sheet finishing sander has a medium-sized 2 amp motor with plenty of power for smaller jobs like working on cabinets. It drives the sanding surface at a very respectable 12,000 oscillations per minute.

I find Bosch tools are some of the best when it comes to damping down vibrations, and this sander was no exception, purring along in my hands without any discomfort.

Dust is collected in a large, perhaps too large, plastic tray. Bosch’s fine dust removal system filters out particles as small as half a micron in diameter very effectively, and there is a vacuum hose attachment if you want to dispense with the inconvenience of emptying the bag.

After testing several orbital sanders, it was nice to work with a finishing sander with a rectangular sanding surface since it gives you the freedom to get into all the cabinet’s 90° angles and corners. This made a big difference because it allowed me to do the whole job with one tool rather than going back to the old sanding block.


  • the palmtop control has a soft rubberized grip which, combined with the vibration dampening system, makes this sander extremely comfortable to use.
  • This sander works with regular-sized sandpaper, so it’s cheap and easy to buy replacement sandpaper.
  • The sander only has a one-year warranty.


  • The spring-loaded paper clamps hold the sandpaper securely, but they are a little fiddly to change in and out.

Check price on amazon

8. Best Finishing Sander For Cabinets: Makita Sheet Finishing Sander, 1/3 In, 1.7 A, Teal (Bo3710)

  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 6.89 x 5.31 inches
  • Sanding Area: 1/3 Sheet
  • Motor:  1.7 Amps
  • Accessories: abrasive paper, punch plate
  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Speed: 11,000 Oscillations Per Minute
  • Dust Collection: Bag
  • Grip Positions:  3

The first thing that impressed me about this Makita finishing sander was its large one-third sheet platen. This large sanding surface means that you can cover more surface, speeding up sanding jobs. The counterpoint of this is that it’s quite a large tool and even though the rectangular plate design lets you get into corners, the Makita can be a little bit awkward in tight spaces.

But it’s on large flat panels of wood where finishing sanders excel, and this Nikita took paint and lacquer off cabinet top panels and sides in no time at all.

When I switched up to 180 grit paper to put the final finish on bare wood, the sander performed excellently, leaving a smooth finish that I didn’t have to touch up at all.

As very impressed with how the sander performed, and it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a larger finishing sander for working on cabinets and other home DIY tasks.


  • The vast dust collection bag is set well back from the tool so it doesn’t get in the way, and it takes a long time to fill.
  • The on-off trigger switch is easy to use, and three grip positions help you use the tool with two hands.
  • The spring-loaded paper clamps are well designed and do a great job of gripping sandpaper securely.


  • This sander doesn’t have a particularly large motor, but it’s powerful enough for refinishing cabinets and smaller DIY projects.

Check price on amazon

A Detailed Buyer’s Guide To Sanders For Cabinets

What is the best type of sander for refinishing cabinets?

In this article, we tested only three types of sander; random orbit sanders, detail sanders, and finishing sanders. Here’s why these are the best types of sander for working on cabinets, and other machines aren’t suited to the job.

Random Orbit Sanders

Random orbit sanders have a random vibration pattern. This is great for sanding wood since it means that the erratic motion of the sanding plate doesn’t leave marks on the wood.

Random orbit sanders are great for removing paint too. The random vibration of the sander over a spread of about 1/8th of an inch loosens paint which is then easier for the sanding surface to remove.

Orbital sanders have a drawback, though; they have a circular sanding surface that works excellently on curved surfaces but it just can’t get into tight corners. This isn’t the end of the world though, and the simple solution is to keep a sanding block on hand so you can finish the few corners the sander can’t reach by hand.

Mouse Detail Sanders

Detail sanders have a mouse-shaped sanding plate designed to give you the ability to get into tight corners. If you have elaborately carved cabinets, then a mouse sander is a good option since they offer finesse and fine control. Some detail sanders have handy finger attachments that let you get even further into out-of-the-way spaces.

So a detail sander is an excellent tool for cabinets, but they are generally small and not very powerful. If you are doing much sanding on cabinet doors and sides or any flat surface – then other sanders will get through the job more quickly and efficiently.

Finishing Sanders

Finishing sanders have a rectangular platen that works with regular-sized sanding sheets cut down into quarters or thirds. This is great since you don’t need to keep a supply of fancy sanding pads on hand – you can just stock up on regular fine and rough grit sandpapers, cheaper and more convenient.

The pointed corners of a finishing sander’s plate are ideal for getting into the interior corners of cabinets.

Finishing sanders have an orbital action that does a great job of removing paint and lacquer. But since this action isn’t random, they can leave small cross-grain scratches that you’ll need to smooth out by hand.

Don’t use a belt sander because…

belt sanders are powerful tools for bulk sanding work. They are great for sending large flat surfaces but not so good for fine detail work, and sanding cabinets requires lots of detailed sanding. If you have a belt sander, then by all means, use it on large flat cabinet sections, but you’ll need another tool to get into the little nooks and crannies.

Don’t use an orbital sander because…

regular orbital sanders also use a circular sanding surface. The sanding pad rotates at high speed without a random action. This circular abrasion up is bad news because sanding in one direction against the grain of wood cabinets leaves ugly swirl-like marks that you need to sand out by hand.

What Features to Look Out For in A Sander For Cabinets


The faster the orbit or oscillation speed of a sander the quicker it can remove material. Look for sanders with high orbit speeds to get the job done quicker.


Speed isn’t everything since it needs a powerful motor to back it up. Generally a motor of 2.5 Amps or more will give you the oomph to run the sander for long periods without overheating. A large motor also lets you use a firmer hand on the toughest to remove paint without losing orbit speed.

Variable Speeds

Refinishing cabinets requires finesse to make the finish look perfect. It’s much easier to use a tool with variable speeds to give yourself enough control you need to do a great job.

Sanding Surface

Large sanding plates help you work faster. Circular plates have trouble getting into tight corners, but smaller mouse-shaped sanding surfaces make a meal of sanding large areas.

Comfort: Weight, Form Function, and Vibration

Sanders with special vibration-dampening features are great to use since they give you better control and comfort. Weight is significant too, but as long as a sander is less than four pounds most people will be able to use it with ease.

You should also look at the tool’s design, particularly grip position and the size of the sander, to make sure it’s something you will find easy to work with.

Dust Collection

It’s dirty and dangerous when dust gets everywhere. Look for sanders with good dust collection trays and bags that are easy to empty and dust removal technology that removes particles as small as half a micron in diameter.

Pulling it all together

The overall prize of best sander for cabinets goes to the Bosch ROS20VSC orbital sander/polisher kit.

But any of the eight sanders tested will do an excellent job of a cabinet refinishing project.