The time will come when you need to refinish some old furniture. Whether your favorite household furniture is starting to look a bit tired or you’ve picked up a diamond in the rough from a yard sale, you need the tools and know-how to restore them to their former glory.

This article will conduct a detailed review of the best sanders for refinishing furniture and give you a detailed buyer’s guide, so you know exactly what to look for. I’ll also give you some pro tips on approaching your furniture refinishing project so you get excellent results.

Whether To Sand or Strip?

Some home improvers swear that using a sander is a much better approach using paint stripper on old furniture, and some say the opposite. So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each method of refinishing furniture.

The Pros And Cons Of Refinishing Furniture Using A Sander


  • Good Sanders Are Fast
    Sanders are powerful, fast-working tools that can take off paint very quickly.
  • The Right Sander Can Get Into Tight Corners
    With specially shaped heads and attachments and different paper grits, a good sander gives you excellent control in refinishing furniture.
  • Sanders Are Excellent For The Finishing Touch
    Sanding along the grain of wood furniture can give you a silky smooth finish to complete the job.
  • One tool for the job
    A good sander can do a complete job of removing paint and refinishing furniture.


  • Dust
    Sanders create dust, and even though they have good dust collection ports, you’ll need to work with a mask.

The Pros And Cons Of Refinishing Furniture Using Paint Stripper


  • Less labor-intensive
    paint stripper is very easy to apply and not too tricky to remove, so it is a great saver of effort, if not necessarily of time.
  • Okay For Indoor Use
    These days you can get a non-toxic, fume-free paint stripper that is fine to use indoors.
  • Gets Into Corners And Intricate Carved Features
    since it’s a liquid paint stripper has no trouble getting into tight corners that you’ll have difficulty accessing with a sander.
  • Safer For Old Lead-Based Paint
    if you’re working with old paint that you think might be lead-based, use a paint stripper first since it is a hazard to health in dust form.


  • Messy And Involved To Remove
    while it’s easy to apply, paint stripper leaves you with a gooey mess that can take a long time to scrape, brush, and wash away.
  • Time-Consuming
    All this cleaning takes time, so you might prefer the immediacy of just sanding the paint away.
  • It Needs Finishing Work
    However well your paint stripper works, you will need to tidy up and refinish your furniture with sandpaper.

Flexibility: The Best Of Both Worlds

Here’s the great bit, you can use both a paint stripper and a sander to refinish your old furniture, just use your judgment.

If you’re refinishing a thickly painted piece of furniture, then it’s a good idea to start the job with a paint stripper to get rid of the first few layers. Still, I like the control of a sander, particularly when it comes down to putting a smooth finish on furniture that you plan to leave as bare wood. If you repaint the furniture then this precise finish isn’t as crucial since you just want a smooth surface to take the new paint.

Paint stripper is an excellent way to get started on a furniture refinishing project in some cases, but I recommend that you always apply the finishing touches with a sander if you want quality, professional-looking work.

The 9 Best Sanders For Refinishing Furniture


  1. Best Cordless Sander For Refinishing Furniture: Dewalt 20v Max Random Orbit Sander (Dcw210d1)
  2. Best Multi-Tool For Refinishing Furniture: Worx Wx820l 20v Multi-Sander
  3. Best Budget Detail Sander For Refinishing Furniture: Black+Decker Mouse Detail Sander (Bdems600)
  4. Best Mid-Price Orbital Sander For Refinishing Furniture: Dewalt Random Orbit Sander (Dwe6421)
  5. Best Value Sander For Refinishing Furniture: Tacklife  Random Orbit Sander (Prs01a)
  6. Best Sheet Sander For Refinishing Furniture: Dewalt 20v Max Xr Sheet Sander (Dcw200b)
  7. Best Orbital Sander For Refinishing Furniture: Bosch Ros20vsc Random Orbital Sander/Polisher Kit
  8. Best Detail Sander For Refinishing Furniture: Tacklife Classic Mouse Detail Sander – Pms01a
  9. Best Compact Orbital Sander For Refinishing Furniture: Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (Bdero100)

Let’s dive in.

1. Dewalt 20v Max Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, Cordless Kit

  • Weight: 5.63 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.16 x 9.33 x 5.75 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 inch disk
  • Motor: 20 V Brushless
  • Accessories: Lithium Ion Batteries And Charger
  • Power Source: Cordless Battery Powered
  • Speed: 12,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: One-Handed Locking Dust Bag
  • Grip Positions: 2

This DeWalt sander is a top-of-the-range cordless device with some excellent features like a brushless motor that runs smoothly and quietly. There’s a speed dial that lets you vary the machine’s orbit speed between 8,000 and 12,000 orbits per minute, which gives you plenty of control.

At nearly six pounds, the machine is quite heavy, although credit to the design team since the palm grip is quite close to the sanding surface, making it easy to control.

I enjoyed the freedom of working without a power cable, and the sander’s batteries didn’t need changing during my limited testing. The 20 Volt motor made short work of sanding a tabletop with 80 grit paper, and I was impressed by the lack of dust.

The machine doesn’t vibrate much, and I found it easy to work with using fine-grit papers. But, like all 5-inch random orbit sanders, you just can’t get into the tight joints and corners. If you buy this sander, remember to keep a manual sanding block to hand too.


  • This sander runs quietly and smoothly.
  • The dust bag, with its one-handed locking mechanism, was easy to switch in and out.
  • The hook and loop sandpapers are very easy to switch in no time at all.


  • The sander is quite heavy, and the large battery pack, although well-designed, still gets in the way a little.

Check price on amazon

2. Worx Wx820l 20v Multi-Sander

  • Weight: 4.4 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.06 x 4.72 x 6.77 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 Inches
  • Motor:  20 V
  • Accessories: Charger; 5 sanding bases: 5 in Random Orbit, ¼ Finishing, Detail, Finger, and Contour; 3 sanding sheets for each pad
  • Power Source: Rechargeable batteries and charger
  • Speed: Unknown
  • Dust Collection Tray:
  • Grip Positions: 3

This excellent multiple sanding tool lets you take off paint from large flat surfaces with a random orbit head and then switch up to detail sanding or sheet finishing as required. There are even detail contour and finger attachments perfect for ornate wood furniture.

Sometimes with multi-tools, it takes a long time to switch between one function and another, but I found that the toolless pad change system was quick and easy to use. The battery pack is set quite far back on the sander with a handgrip and a palmtop grip, offering plenty of control. I found it much easier to use the machine two-handed for balance.


  • the flexibility of this machine means that you won’t need two devices or to finish the project by hand. Just attach the special detail attachments for intricate work.
  • This is an extremely well-priced sander, given that it is both cordless and a multitool.
  • The variable power settings give you plenty of flexibility to match the tool’s different functions.


  • the two amp-hour battery that comes with the device doesn’t last long, and I suggest also investing in a four or six amp-hour battery.

Check price on amazon

3. Black+Decker Mouse Detail Sander, Compact Detail

  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.25 x 4.63 x 5.44 inches
  • Sanding Area: Triangular Pad With Finger Attachment
  • Motor: 1.2 Amp
  • Accessories: Sanding pad, Finger attachment
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 14,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: plastic tray
  • Grip Positions: 3

This budget mouse sander has a classic pointed sanding head that lets you get into the tightest corners of wood furniture. I found that the finger attachment was great for sending tight corners. It didn’t feel like the most robust attachment, so I treated it very delicately, and it worked well.

But at this price, you shouldn’t expect a tool that is going to last a lifetime. This Black & Decker worked very well during my limited testing. I liked the dust collection tray, which did a good job of keeping the workspace clean. The three grip positions came in handy, helping to control the machine in several different working positions.

There are better tools for sanding large areas quickly, but this sander comes into its own when removing paint from those ornate curves and turns you find when refinishing furniture.


  • This is an excellent furniture refinishing tool since it lets you get into small spaces.
  • An ergonomic design with three grip positions makes the device very easy to use.
  • An excellently priced, highly functional detail sander, perfect for occasional furniture refinishing.


  • This is not a strongly built tool, so handle with care.

Check price on amazon

4. Dewalt Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch

  • 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

I liked the comfort and convenience of working with this neat and compact DeWalt random orbit sander. The neat design features a minimal distance between the palmtop grip and the sanding surface, which I find gives you excellent control. I also noticed that this sander didn’t vibrate as much as some of the others I tested because of its unique counterweight design.

Don’t be fooled by its relatively modest orbit speed of 12,000 OPM because it’s powered by a punchy three amp motor that responds well even when you’re applying a lot of pressure to remove thick paint.


  • Excellent design features make this the most comfortable sander to work with.
  • You can attach the dust port to vacuum hoses with a 1 ¼ inch diameter
  • a powerful motor allows you to sand even when applying plenty of pressure.


  • Not the best dust collection bag, so it’s a good idea to use the vacuum hose connection.

Check price on amazon

5. Tacklife 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander 3.0a With 12pcs Sandpapers

  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.6 x 4.9 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 Inches
  • Motor:  3 Amps
  • Accessories: Sanding Discs 5-inch 12pcs (6Pcs X 80 & 6Pcs x 180 Grits)
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 13,000 Orbits Per Minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Yes
  • Grip Positions: 2

With a three amp motor driving 13,000 orbits per minute, this Tacklife sander packs plenty of sanding power into a budget price. I was highly impressed with the intelligent design and good quality feel of the tool.

I put the sander through its paces on my pine table set and was very impressed with the results. The eighty grit paper did a great job of lifting paint from the tabletop and underside, and when I dialed down the power and used the 180 grit paper, I got a lovely smooth finish without any swirl marks. I was impressed with the lack of vibration and noise, apparently down to an all-ball-bearing construction. Whatever, it made it easy to use.

Of course, the round sanding head meant that I couldn’t get into some nooks and crannies, but that’s the case with all orbital sanders.


  • Despite being a budget-priced product from a less well-known manufacturer, this is a quality sander.
  • The six-speed gearing system gives you plenty of control.
  • This sander comes as a great value package with twelve sanding discs.


  • the large dust collection tray is handy but gets in the way a little.

Check price on amazon

6. Dewalt 20v Max Xr Palm Sander, Sheet, Variable Speed, 1/4-Inch, Tool Only

  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.6 x 4.9 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5.5 x 4.5 Inches
  • Motor:  20V
  • Accessories: Sanding Discs 5-inch 12pcs (6Pcs X 80 & 6Pcs x 180 Grits)
  • Power Source: Battery-Powered
  • Speed: 14,000 Orbits Per Minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Yes
  • Grip Positions: 2

This battery-powered DeWalt is the only sheet sander in this best-of list, but it has a lot going for it when refinishing furniture. For starters, it’s a cordless device, with all the convenience that entails, and I particularly liked the battery housing, which didn’t get in the way at all.

The sanding package comes with plenty of 80 and 180 grit sandpapers, perfect for initial paint removal and then follow-up smoothing work. This sander performer very well on softer pine wood where I followed the grain, leaving a perfectly smooth surface with no scratches.

The rectangular quarter-sheet sanding surface made for a refreshing change from round sanders; the 90° angles were perfect for getting into the corners that the round-headed orbital sanders can’t reach.


  • The low profile height palm grip is great for precision detail work.
  • Variable speed controls up to 14,000 OPM give you power and control.
  • The rectangular sanding surface is excellent for getting into furniture joints and corners.


  • The clip-on sanding papers take longer to change than hook and loop sanding pads.

Check price on amazon

7. 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

This Bosch orbital sander does an excellent job of removing paint from wood furniture. One of its best features is the micro-filtering system which really makes a difference in the amount of dust collected. I found that this was by far the cleanest machine to use.

It’s impressive how much thought has gone into the device, from the intuitive and well-placed controls to the comfortable grip and excellent vibration control. The sander is relatively quiet, too, so I could use it comfortably for long periods.

This thoughtful design is reflected in the very high (4.7/5) customer ratings for the product. If you’re going to buy an orbital sander for refinishing furniture, and you want quality rather than economy, this is the tool to go for.


  • A supremely compact, ergonomic, and easy-to-use sander.
  • It’s great that a vacuum adapter and carrying case are included.
  • The micro-filtering system makes for a dust-free workspace.


  • The 2 ½ amp motor isn’t especially powerful.

Check price on amazon

8. Tacklife Classic Mouse Detail Sander

  • Weight: 3.08 pounds
  • Dimensions: 8.9 x 4 x 5.9 inches
  • Motor: 1.1 Amps
  • Accessories: 80 Grits Sandpapers – 6 pieces,180 Grits Sandpapers – 6 pieces 80 Grit
  • Power Source: Corded-Electric
  • Orbits per minute: 12,000
  • Dust Collection Tray: Yes
  • Grip Positions: 1

This sander would be an excellent choice to use in conjunction with a paint stripper since it doesn’t have the power to sand large areas over long periods.

It is an excellently priced, very compact sander perfect for lifting paint from the tightest corners of wood furniture. I had no trouble accessing the rounded surfaces and ornate features of a birchwood dressing table.

The machine comes with plenty of sandpaper and a vacuum connector, which I urge you to use since it really helps with dust collection.


  • A compact and easy to control sander perfect for refinishing ornate wood furniture.
  • The on-off switch is easy to access from the comfortable palm grip.
  • Sandpaper is very easy to change.


  • This small sander is only suitable for detailed work.

Check price on amazon

9. Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch

  • Weight: 3.16 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5.5″ x 4.5″
  • Motor:  2 Amps
  • Accessories: Sanding sheet
  • Power Source: Corded-Electric
  • Speed: 12,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Dust Tray
  • Grip Positions: 2

You won’t believe how compact and neat this Black & Decker sander is, giving you excellent control from a small body and palmtop grip. I tried out this sander on some chairs. It’s so small and easy to use that I found it perfect for taking paint off rounded and beveled surfaces. The small dust Tray is easy to click on and off. It needs to be changed often, but that’s a price worth paying for its small size.

Even though you’ll need to use a sanding block to get into the tight corners, this highly controllable sander is excellent for curved surfaces. It gives you the control you need to refinish furniture without causing any damage to the underlying wood.


  • Ergonomic design, comfortable grip, and small size make this an excellent tool for detail work.
  • The random orbit oscillation stops the sander from making swirl marks on wood.
  • A well-made and long-lasting tool, highly rated (4.7/5) by owners.


  • The rounded sanding head makes it hard to get into tight corners.

Check price on amazon

What type of sander should you buy?

When shopping for a sander to refinish furniture, you should choose from three main types of sander.

Detail or Mouse Sanders

Detail sanders have a compact design and a small mouse-shaped head perfect for sanding the curves, contours, and corners of wood furniture. Some also come with special finger attachments designed to get into the tightest of corners.

These sanders are great for fine detail work but not so good for large areas since they are small and don’t have powerful enough motors for difficult or lengthy jobs. But mouse sanders are very handy tools for refinishing furniture, especially in combination with a paint stripper.

Random Orbit Sanders

random orbit sanders are powerful handheld sanding tools with a special erratic vibration pattern that’s useful for working on wood since they don’t leave swirl marks that damage the underlying surface.

Since they are small and easy to use, orbital sanders give you excellent control when sanding rounded or contoured surfaces, also handy when refinishing furniture.

The main drawback of random orbit sanders is their circular sanding surface which makes it impossible to get into tight corners. If you use one for refinishing wood, don’t forget to keep that old favorite, the hand sanding block, close at hand.

Sheet Sanders

Compact sheet sanders are handy palm-controlled tools that sand surfaces using a rectangular sanding plate. This is a convenient shape for refinishing furniture since the pointed corners are excellent at removing paint from 90° wood joints. She sanders are also good tools for sanding large flat wood surfaces following the grain and avoiding swirl marks.

What features should you look for in a sander

Form Function

As with any power tool, the size, shape, and grip of your sander are critical. You’re looking for an ergonomic design that makes the device easy to work with.

Ideally, you want a lightweight sander, so it’s easy to use for long periods. Generally, anything under 5 pounds is a manageable weight.

Some sanders have a variety of grips, offering better mobility and control. The palm-on-top grip of small sanders provides excellent control but think about how you typically grip tools and make sure that the device fits your working style.

Smaller sanders will help you get into out-of-the-way areas in intricately carved furniture, so think about the type of furniture you need to refinish and choose a machine to fit the job.

Note: if you’re left-handed, take a good look at the design and layout of the tool to make sure it’s easy for you to use.

Motor Size and Oscillation Speed

Motor size and oscillation speed dictate how much material a sander can remove. A fast-moving sanding head removes lots of material, but it’s essential to check that there is a powerful motor driving the sander too. If the motor doesn’t have enough kick, then when you apply more pressure to the sanding surface, the oscillation speed will slow, and so will your work.

But it’s not all about power and speed; on delicate surfaces like wooden furniture, control is essential too. Check whether a sander has variable speed settings offering the flexibility to use high power on flat areas and a lower speed for fine control on the detail work.

What Comes With the Product?

When you refinish furniture, you need sandpapers of varying grits. Start with a coarse grit like 80 to lift paint, then use finer grades like 120, or even 220 to give a satiny finish respecting the grain of the wood.

If your sander doesn’t come equipped with spare papers, then you need to buy some. Make sure you factor this into the cost. I like sanders that come with a good range of papers, for convenience.

Look for other extras, too; chargers and spare batteries are handy for cordless devices, and carrying cases are convenient and prolong your tool’s life.

Dust Collection

Dust is an inconvenient and downright hazardous byproduct of sanding. Thankfully, sander manufacturers know this, and they go to great lengths to provide their tools with excellent suction ports and dust collection trays. Some devices come with the facility to attach a vacuum hose, which is very handy.

You need to decide on the trade-off between the convenience of a large dust collection tray that you don’t have to change often and the fact that smaller trays don’t get in the way, making it easier for you to work.

Mains or mobile?

Battery-powered tools are great for their mobility, freeing you from the inconvenience of that trailing power cable. But the drawback is that the life of the battery limits you, and if you want to work on a task for a long time, you’ll need a good supply of pre-charged replacement batteries.

I like to use cordless power tools when working in out-of-the-way places like up ladders or outdoors. But for most furniture refinishing jobs, you’ll be able to move your furniture to a comfortable workplace close to a power supply. Think about where you will be working, and only buy a cordless sander if you need the freedom; remember that they are a lot more expensive than their mains-powered counterparts.


If you want a budget sander for refinishing furniture, pick the Black+Decker Mouse Detail Sander (BDEMS600).  The Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbital Sander/Polisher Kit is the best orbital sander, and the Tacklife Classic Mouse Detail Sander – PMS01A is the best detail sander for refinishing work.

But if you want a multi-sanding tool that does everything, then choose the WORX WX820L 20V multi-sander.