Paint removal is a tricky job, and whether you’re removing paint from drywall, plaster, wood, or metal, a sander will speed up the process.

In this article, I test and review the best sanders for removing paint, looking at how they perform on various surfaces. I’ll tell you what each one does best so you can choose the one best suited to your requirements.

In the detailed buyers’ guide, I’ll take you through what you need to look out for when choosing a sander specifically for removing paint. It’s important because there are many different sander types, and some are more suited to the task than others. We will look at the specifications and characteristics that make some sanders stand out from the pack at stripping paint.

What types of sander are best for paint removal?

Orbital Sanders

Random orbital sanders are particularly well suited to paint removal because the spinning head of the sander vibrates in an irregular pattern as it rotates. This vibration does a great job of loosening paint to prepare it for removal by the sanding disc.

Orbital sanders are conveniently sized for detailed work and offer enough control to sand curved surfaces like furniture.

Disc Sanders

Disc sanders rotate like orbital sanders, but they don’t have an erratic vibration pattern. This means that it’s harder to loosen paint with them, and they have a propensity to leave round marks on the surface below the paint. In short, orbital sanders are much better than disc sanders at stripping paint without damaging the underlying material. Still, disc sanders are powerful tools that can clear paint quickly from large areas.

Belt Sanders

Belt sanders are sanders that use rollers to move a continuous belt of sanding material in one direction. They are powerful sanding tools that vary in size from handheld to large industrial models.

Handheld belt sanders are excellent tools for removing paint from large flat surfaces like drywall, ceilings, and wood panels. When using a belt sander on wood, it’s essential to follow the direction of wood grain; otherwise, the single sanding direction will scratch and damage the surface.

Detail sanders

Details sanders specialize in sanding corners and difficult to access places. They have a triangular sanding surface, and many come with attachments allowing you to sand in the hardest to get to spots. They have a relatively small sanding surface and aren’t a great way to remove large areas of paint.

Details Sanders are handy tools to help you remove paint from places where other sanders and sanding blocks cannot reach.

Palm Sanders

Palm sanders are small handheld sanders that are great for fine detail work. They generally aren’t as powerful as other sanders, so they won’t take off paint as fast as the other machines. The trade-off is that they offer fine control and are ideal for taking paint off surfaces that are easily damaged.

Palm sanders make slow work of taking paint off flat walls, but for delicate paint removal on curved wood and metal surfaces, they are very handy.

Pro tip: don’t expect your sender to remove every last flake of paint. Paint removal is a fiddly job, and your sender can make short work of most of it, but always keep a hand sanding block close by. You just can’t beat hand sanding for fine detail finishing work.

The 11 Best Sanders For Removing Paint In 2021


  1. Black+Decker Mouse Detail Sander, Compact Detail (Bdems600)Best Detail Sander For Removing Paint
  2. Tacklife 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander 3.0aBest Budget Orbital Sander For Removing Paint
  3. Dewalt Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (Dwe6421)Top-Rated Orbital Sander For Removing Paint
  4. Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (Bdero100)Best Value Orbital Sander For Removing Paint
  5. Bosch Ros20vsc Palm SanderBest Orbital Sander For Removing Paint
  6. Tacklife Random Orbit Sander 6000-13,000 Rpm, 5-Inch SanderBest Multi-Speed Random Orbit Sander For Removing Paint
  7. Makita Bo5041 3-Amp 4000-12000 Opm D-Handle Random Orbit Sander, 5-InchBest Premium Orbital Sander For Removing Paint
  8. Dewalt 20v Max Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, Cordless Kit (Dcw210d1)Best Cordless Sander For Removing Paint
  9. Metabo Hpt Belt SanderBest Belt Sander For Removing Paint
  10. Dewalt Rotary Sander, Variable Speed, Dust Shroud, 5-Inch (Dwe6401ds)Best Rotary Sander For Removing Paint
  11. Wagner Spraytech 0282180 Wagner 0513040 PainteaterBest Specialist Tool For Removing Paint

Let’s dive in.

1. Black+Decker Mouse Detail Sander, Compact Detail (Bdems600)

  • Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 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 detail sander features a characteristic iron-shaped sanding area and comes with a sanding pad that connects easily using a Velcro-style attachment. A handy feature is the finger attachment which also comes with a sanding pad. This clips onto the front of the sander and works a treat for getting into corners and tricky to reach places. Since users report that their finger attachment broke off, I wouldn’t recommend using any great force on it since it protrudes from the end of the sander. I handled it carefully, and it worked just fine.

I took advantage of this sander’s maneuverability to remove the paint from some of the tightest corners on the deck railings and walls and got excellent results. The sander has a very compact body and three different grip positions, so it was easy to get into all those awkward places.

I tried the sander on a flat section of drywall, and it removed paint effectively but slowly compared to some of the other sanders. This is to be expected given that it’s a specialist detailed sanding tool and, at such a reasonable price, I’d suggest you buy this sander just to remove paint from tricky spots and then get a belt sander for large flat areas.


  • A powerful and versatile sander at an excellent price
  • The three different grip positions make this sander extraordinarily maneuverable and easy to control.
  • The see-through dust canister is a great idea since you can see right away when it needs emptying.


  • The sander comes with one coarse grit paper. A finer-grained paper would be useful for finishing wood surfaces after taking paint away.

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2. Tacklife 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander 3.0a With 12pcs Sandpapers, 6 Variable Speed 6000-13000rpm

  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.6 x 4.9 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 inch disk
  • Motor: 3 Amp
  • Accessories: 80 Grits Sandpapers – 6 pieces; 180 Grits Sandpapers – 6 pieces
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 13,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: large plastic tray
  • Grip Positions: 2

This orbital sander has a powerful three amp motor with a precision-engineered ball bearing design that gives the 5-inch sanding pad stability and reduces vibration and noise.

The Tacklife has a large and sturdy plastic dust collection tray that worked excellently, leaving a relatively dust-free working environment.

This sander is a good choice if you need to remove paint from several types of surfaces. The three amp motor drives the sanding service at a very respectable 13,000 orbits per minute, and the machine worked quickly and effectively on painted walls. I tried it on wooden furniture, starting with the rough 80 grit paper and following up carefully with the 180 grit, so I didn’t scratch the wood. The machine did a great job removing the paint and I had to do just a little follow-up work with a sanding block to get into the tiny crevices and corners the machine couldn’t reach.

Given the power of this sander and the fact that it comes with a generous supply of sanding pads, it’s impressive that it’s available at such a reasonable price.


  • A versatile tool suitable for removing paint from many types of surfaces.
  • The sander has a six-speed control that lets you remove paint at just the right speed for whatever surface you’re working on.
  • The sander comes with a good selection of mixed grit papers perfect for taking off paint with coarse grit and finishing with a finer-grade paper.


  • you need to be careful if you use this sander for removing paint because it isn’t designed for sanding wall surfaces. You need to make sure that you just take the paint off walls and not any plaster because this blocks the dust collection system.

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3. 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

DeWalt has an excellent reputation in power tools, and this neat little random orbit sander shows you why; it’s powerful, well-designed, and straightforward to handle and use. Like most orbital sanders, it has an over-the-top grip, or you can grab the machine’s body for close control. I found that the grip gave me a lot of control and the sander worked very well even on curved surfaces like metal railings.

The machine is very compact which means there’s a smaller distance between your hand and the sanding surface, making it easy to control. The sander has a unique design with a special counterweight that reduces vibration, allowing you even more precise control and comfort.

The Dewalt’s dust collection system is particularly impressive, and very few paint particles managed to escape the collection bag, which has a handy one-handed locking system. You can also connect to any vacuum hose with a 1¼ inch diameter to save you the trouble of changing the bag regularly.

I like that when you buy this machine, you have the option of choosing a pack of sandpapers of 80, 120, or 220 grit so you can tailor your purchase to the material you use the sander on.

Of all the random orbit sanders tested, I found this one the easiest to use and most effective. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than some of the other orbital sanders, but you get what you pay for.


  • This is a brilliantly designed sander with features like compact body shape and counterweight that give you unparalleled control.
  • A very effective dust removal system makes for a clean working environment.
  • The sander comes with a generous three-year warranty.


  • The machine doesn’t come with any sanding papers.

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4. Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (Bdero100)

  • Weight: 3.16 pounds
  • Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 inch disk
  • Motor: 2 Amps
  • Accessories: 1 Sanding Sheet
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 12,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: plastic tray
  • Grip Positions: 2

The Black & Decker BDERO100 is a random orbit sander that packs in many great features at a highly affordable price. A two amp motor drives the sanding surface at 12,000 orbits per minute. The machine is compact and weighs just over 3 pounds, so it’s easy, very maneuverable, and easy to use for long periods. The over-the-top control has a special comfort grip handle which I found very comfortable to use.

This sander did a great job of stripping paint from window frames and metal without damaging the surface. It was a bit slower on large flat wall spaces, but then you’d expect that. Customers are certainly very satisfied, and this sander enjoys an excellent rating of 4.7 out of 5 from nearly 8,000 happy buyers.

The machine ships with just one sanding pad, which I thought was a drawback until I read customer reviews where people said that they had used it heavily for three years and hadn’t yet had to change the pad. Indeed, there was no evidence of wear or damage to the pad during my brief test.

Black & Decker has made a great little sander here that gives you plenty of control for detailed work. The dust collection system works well, but you have to change the bag reasonably often. I would suggest other sanders if you are planning to remove paint from large wall areas, but this sander gives you a lot of control and is excellent for sanding metal and wood surfaces.


  • A compact and lightweight machine that is very easy to use for long periods.
  • The hook and loop paper attachment system makes it easy and quick to change papers.
  • The long-lasting and robust sanding pad won’t need changing in a hurry.


  • The two amp motor isn’t very powerful, so this isn’t the fastest machine you can buy.

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5. 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: 5 Amp
  • Accessories: Carrying Bag, vacuum hose adapter (sanding disks optional)
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 12,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: plastic tray
  • Grip Positions: 2

Perhaps it’s the German design, but Bosch power tools just look great, and this orbital sander is no exception. It has a compact and ergonomic design with an over-the-top or body grip, both of which feel very natural and offer easy control. A strong 2 ½ amp motor drives the sander at a pacy 12,000 orbits per minute.

I was very impressed with how the Bosch performed on wood surfaces. When removing the last flakes of paint, it didn’t leave that annoying swirly pattern on the wood. This is due to a pad dampening system specially designed to minimize damage to curved and delicate surfaces like wood furniture.

The large dust collection tray is excellent since it means you don’t have to stop to empty it often, a great time-saving feature. Dust collection was very effective, too, since there is a sensitive microfilter system that traps particles as small as half a micron in diameter.

This is one of the best orbital sanders that you can buy, with plenty of premium design features that make it very effective at removing paint from most surfaces.


  • The pad dampening system prevents annoying swell marks on wood, so you don’t need to finish the job off with a sanding block.
  • Dust collection was excellent due to a microfilter system that traps even the smallest particles.
  • A handy and well-designed carrying case helps protect and store the sander.


  • This is a good package that includes six sanding pads and a carry case, but it’s one of the pricier orbital sanders.

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6. Tacklife Multi-Speed Random Orbit Sander 6000-13,000 Rpm, 5-Inch Electric Sander For Woodworking

  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.9 x 4.33 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 inch disk
  • Motor: 3 Amp
  • Accessories: 12 Sandpapers, 6 of 80 grit, 6 of 180 grit
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 13,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: plastic tray
  • Grip Positions: 2

This Tacklife random orbit sander packs in a whole host of features at an excellent price. As well as a powerful three amp motor, this all-action sander offers six different speed settings so that you can use it at between 6,000 and 13,000 orbits per minute. This is perfect when using the sander on several different types of surfaces. It’s impressive in such a well-priced sander that twelve sheets of sanding paper are included with the purchase price.

I tested the sander on wooden furniture and metal railings, and it performed very well, removing paint quickly and efficiently without much vibration. It was handy to flick through the six different speed settings to get the right speed for whatever surface I was working on.

At the lower orbit-per-minute speeds, it’s important not to put too much pressure on the sander, or scratching can occur. For this reason, I suggest using less abrasive papers at the lower speeds
The Sander didn’t work quite as effectively and rapidly when taking paint off walls, but random orbit sanders just aren’t the best tool to use for large sections of wall or ceiling.

The sander has a huge plastic dust collection tray which did an efficient job of harvesting all the old paint and dust and keeping my workspace clean.

I was very impressed by this Tacklife sander because of its power and control, and my feelings are supported by the positive customer reviews for the product. It’s an excellently priced random orbital sander package.


  • The neat ergonomic design makes this sander very easy to use in both grip positions.
  • The sander has a variable six-speed motor that gives you total control.
  • The sander comes with twelve sandpapers in two different grit grades. This is perfect for two-stage paint removal and surface smoothing.


  • You have to be very gentle with the sander at lower speeds, or it leaves surface marks.

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7. Makita Bo5041 3-Amp 4000-12000 Opm D-Handle Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch

  • Weight: pounds
  • Dimensions: 10.8 x 4.8 x 6 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 inch disk
  • Motor: 3 Amp
  • Accessories: None
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 12,000 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Dust Bag
  • Grip Positions: 4

This Makita sander has been designed with comfort of use in mind, and it offers no less than four different grip positions. This is impressive in a power tool that measures less than 11 inches long and 5 inches wide. Since you can operate the sander from almost any angle and position, I found this the best of all the random orbit sanders at sanding the rounded metal surfaces of my balcony railings.

The robust three amp motor and variable speed control provide powerful and highly controllable sanding at speeds of between 4,000 and 12,000 orbits per minute. The random orbit action covers a large 1/8” that is very effective at loosening and lifting flakes of paint. This was one of the quickest sanders tested, and it was particularly effective on the time-consuming detail work on wood furniture.

This sander collects dust in a spacious but unobtrusive bag, and it has a vacuum port adapter built-in. I didn’t try the vacuum attachment and found that it took the bag about an hour of constant use to fill, which is pretty good.

You’ll pay a little more for the sander, but if you place a premium on comfort, control, and ease of use, then you will find this extra spend will be fully justified.


  • A combination of control, comfort, and reduced vibration make this orbital sander highly effective at removing paint.
  • An easy-to-operate trigger switch controls the sander, and the lock-on button is helpful for continuous use.
  • The adjustable “D-Handle” at the front of the sander offers an innovative grip that improves control and makes the sander more effective at sending tight spaces.


  • This sander ships as a bare tool, so you’ll need to buy sanding pads separately.

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8. Dewalt 20v Max Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, Cordless Kit (Dcw210d1)

  • Weight: 5.63 pounds
  • Dimensions: 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 machine is the only cordless sander on this best-of list, so if you’re a lover of the convenience and freedom that battery power offers, then I suggest you make a beeline for this sander. Of course, there is always a trade-off, and this sander is more than 2 pounds heavier than a similar corded tool because of the batteries. I didn’t find this extra weight to be a problem because the sander is very well balanced, and at less than 6 pounds, it’s still relatively light.

The sander has a comfortable grip, and the battery pack is located just to the side of the machine, so it doesn’t get in the way of your work. The machine’s design features a low profile height, so your hand is less than 6 inches above the sanding surface. I like this in palm-controlled sanders since it gives me great control, and I can do fast and accurate work without scratching or damaging wooden surfaces.

A handy tip if you buy this cordless sander is to buy a spare set of batteries so that you can leave one set of batteries on charge and change out without having to stop work.

The sander is powered by a 20 V brushless motor which runs very smoothly,


  • The brushless motor makes for smooth operation and effortlessly compensates for the extra weight of the sander.
  • Cordless freedom makes the DeWalt a delight to use.
  • The large dust bag is well designed, and the dust removal system is very effective.


  • Since you’re paying for batteries and a charger, this sander is quite a bit more expensive than an equivalent corded device.

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9. Metabo Hpt Belt Sander, Variable Speed, 3-Inch X 21-Inch V-Belt, 9.0 Amp Motor

  • Weight: 9.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: 6 x 6.75 x 4 inches
  • Sanding Belt: 3 inches x 21 inches
  • Motor: 9 Amp
  • Accessories: 1 Sanding Belt
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: Dust Bag
  • Grip Positions: 1

This belt sander has a powerful nine amp motor that drives a 3 inch wide sanding belt that makes short work of removing paint from walls and ceilings. I tried it out to remove paint from a large wall, and it got through the job very quickly and efficiently. The motor is so powerful that it continues to grind away material even when you put a lot of pressure on the surface. When using belt sanders previously, I’ve had issues with belts slipping or shearing but the belt that ships with this tool was well up to the task.

The sander has several speeds which give you plenty of control, and even though it’s meant for large-scale work, I tried it out on a tabletop. I used a lower speed setting and handled it carefully so that it didn’t singe the wood underneath, and it did a good job.

At 9 ½ pounds, the Metabo is much heavier than any of the other sanders reviewed here. But that’s belt sanders for you; they are larger-scale tools than palm and orbital sanders. They have big motors and remove more material. And the dual grip controls make the machine easy to lift and control.

The sander has a large dust collection bag which you can replace by attaching a 1¼ inch vacuum hose to the exhaust port. Despite the dust collection system, I found that this machine kicked out quite a lot of dust, probably because it’s such a fast and powerful sander. I recommend that you wear a mask when using this belt sander and also connect a vacuum attachment in place of the dust bag.

This Metabo belt sander is an excellent buy if you do lots of sanding or paint removal and need to do the job quickly and cleanly.


  • A powerful nine amp motor drives the sanding belt.
  • Large sanding area and fast speed make this an excellent sanding tool for removing paint from large areas.
  • The sander comes with an outstanding five-year warranty.


  • This sander is best suited to a right-handed operator since the motor and dust collection bag are on the left side, obscuring the view for a left-handed operator.

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10. Dewalt Rotary Sander, Variable Speed, Dust Shroud, 5-Inch (Dwe6401ds)

  • Weight: 4.81 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.9 x 8.2 x 4.6 inches
  • Sanding Area: 5 inch disk
  • Motor: 6 Amps
  • Accessories: Sanding papers at additional cost
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: High-Torque 3,700 orbits per minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: adjustable dust shroud
  • Grip Positions: 3

This DeWalt Rotary sander packs a punch, with a mighty six amp motor driving a high-torque sanding action at up to 3,700 orbits per minute. But this is also a fine control tool because you can use a rotating dial to set the orbit speed anywhere from 0 to 3,700 rpm.

The sander ships as a bare tool, but you can buy it as a package with a ten-pack of sanding papers of varying grits.

The Dewalt is an excellent and powerful orbital sander that I wouldn’t necessarily buy specifically for removing paint. But I would definitely buy it as an all-purpose sanding and paint removal tool since it has some great features like variable speed control and high-torque action.

This tool did an excellent job of stripping paint quickly from walls and ceilings. The trigger and side handle controls give you a comfortable and controlled grip, so it’s an easy machine to use for long spells.


  • A powerful motor and high-torque action give this machine great abrasive power.
  • The machine takes eight-hole hook and loop sandpapers which can be changed quickly and easily.
  • The handle and trigger grips offer plenty of control.


  • Orbital sanders can leave marks on wood and soft surfaces when you remove paint. You’ll need to use a sanding block to smooth these out.

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11. Wagner Spraytech 0282180 Wagner Painteater

  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: Not Specified
  • Sanding Area: 4.5-inch disk
  • Motor: 2 Amp
  • Accessories: Abrasive Disc
  • Power Source: Corded electric
  • Speed: 2,600 Revolutions Per Minute
  • Dust Collection Tray: None
  • Grip Positions: 3 and Velcro Snap

This Wagner Spraytech power tool is specially designed for removing paint. Instead of an abrasive sandpaper pad, the Painteater has a specially formulated 3M spun fiber paint-removing disc. A powerful 3.2 amp motor spins this disc at a maximum of 2,600 revolutions per minute, giving plenty of power to strip away even the most stubborn areas of paint.

The Painteater uses a unique Flex-Disc system that lets the abrasive disc automatically detect and conform to the shape of surfaces giving an aggressive attack on paint but delicate management of the underlying surface area.

The Painteater is lots of fun to use. It’s no surprise since it is specially designed to remove paint that it does this exceptionally well. The thick abrasive pad lets you turn the machine on its side and use the edge of the pad to shift paint from tight corners.

The grip system is very user-friendly with an on-top grip like palm sanders and an adjustable side handle. There’s also an excellent Velcro strip that you can slip over your wrist, giving you even greater control.

The Painteater performed excellently on the surfaces I tested it on, drywall, wood, and metal, but the machine comes into its own when removing paint from curved surfaces and difficult to access spaces.


  • An excellent tool that specializes and also excels at removing paint.
  • The spun fiber abrasive pad can is excellent at removing paint but doesn’t damage underlying surfaces.
  • Three ergonomic grip positions give excellent maneuverability and control.


  • The Painteater comes with just a one-year warranty.

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A Detailed Buyer’s Guide To Sanders For Removing Paint

Sanding area

The larger a sander’s sanding area, the quicker you can sand. Tools like belt sanders with large rectangular sanding surfaces can clear paint quickly from large flat materials. Fine control sanders like detail sanders and palm sanders have a smaller sanding area, and it will take them longer to strip paint. But when you’re sanding things like furniture and curved metal, a smaller sanding area helps give you control.

When you’re looking at which sander to buy for removing paint, consider whether you need a large sanding surface for rapid sanding or a smaller area for fine control.


many sanders ship with a selection of sanding papers. This is handy, of course, since it saves you the trouble of ordering papers separately. When choosing a sander for removing paint, consider what grit paper you’ll need to do the job. For example, you’ll need something like an 80 grit course paper for taking thick paint off walls, but removing paint from easy to damage surfaces like wood will require a finer grit paper, like 200.

For most paint removal jobs, it’s a good idea to use a coarse grit and then a finer one for finishing work, so if your sander comes with two or more grades of paper, that’s a plus.

Some sanders also come with other accessories. Storage packs are great since they help you look after the tool and prolong its life.

And then specialist sanders like detail sanders often come with attachments that let you change the shape of the sanding surface to allow you to get into corners and difficult to access spaces.

Handheld Or Mains Powered

Think about the work you plan to do with your sander and decide whether you prefer the convenience of battery power or the dependability of corded mains power.

It’s great to be cut free from power cables, but not so great when batteries die. I’m sure you have a preference; just make sure you choose a power source suited to the work you will be doing.

Sanding speed

Sander speed is measured differently depending on the type of sander you choose. If you select an orbital or detail sander, performance is measured in orbits per minute or OPM.

Machines with a high OPM sand faster, getting the job done quickly, but vibrate more and can be uncomfortable to use for long periods.


Sanding speed isn’t the only factor governing how well your sander works. Motor power is essential, too, because, ultimately, the effectiveness of a sander is governed by how much power there is to drive it.

If you plan to remove large areas of paint, then you need a powerful sander that gets through the work quickly without stressing the motor and shortening the life of the machine. Buying a powerful sander that lasts is a better long-term economy than getting a less-powerful one that wears out fast.

Paint and Dust Collection

Most sanders come equipped with some form of dust collection tray or bag. Typically these are designed to capture all kinds of sanding debris from sawdust to paint flakes.

When you’re removing paint, it’s essential to ensure a clean working environment, especially when removing old paint, due to the risk of the paint containing lead or other toxic substances.

Make sure that the sander you choose has an effective waste collection system. But I’d also suggest hedging your bets and never removing paint without wearing a mask.

Grip Positions

sanders offer a variety of grip positions. Smaller devices like palm sanders and detail sanders usually have an over-the-top palm grip. Larger machines like belt sanders and some orbital sanders offer one and two-handed grip positions. The way you hold a tool impacts how much control you have, so make sure you choose one with a grip that suits your working style.
If you are left-handed, make sure that the machine’s design configuration works for you.


Sanders are vibrating tools that you will need to operate for long periods. Think about where you will be sanding and consider the tool’s weight. For example, if you need to remove paint from ceilings, then you should look for a lighter sander so that you can use it comfortably for a long time in a tricky position.

The Right Sander For The Right Material

All of the sanders that we reviewed did an excellent job of removing paint, but some were better suited to specific materials than others. To summarise, here’s a list of which sanders were best for which materials.

Best sanders for general paint removal

Best sanders for removing paint from drywall, plaster, and ceilings

Best sanders for removing paint from metal

Best sanders for removing paint from wood