What’s the difference between an Orbital Sander & Finishing Sander?

Orbital Sanders

Wood sanding is usually the last step in a woodworking project to get the final result of a smooth wooden surface.  This task calls for perfection as the aesthetic look of the object depends upon its smooth surfaces when touched. Hence it is crucial to use the correct tool for sanding. Electronically operated sanders are the technological advancement in the world of hand sanding.

Out of the many available tools present in the market, two of them are Orbital Sanders and Finishing Sanders.


Orbital Sanders

The most significant thing about orbital sanders is that they are square and comes in a quarter of a sandpaper size and hence are also called a quarter-sheet sander.

A quarter size sander is the most popular size; it uses just a quarter of sandpaper, although larger half sheet sanders are also available. An orbital sander has a movement of small circular rotations. The small size of the tool makes it handy to freely use it in tight corners and flat edges, moving them in any direction as per the requirement. These sanders are smaller in size and ought to leave certain marks after sanding, which is remarkably less than the marks left by hand sanding.

An orbital sander is not powerful enough to remove a lot of material. Hence it is not the correct tool Is aggressive sanding is to be done on the object but is also advantageous for its hard to make the mistake of removing too much material while using an orbital sander. If you are looking to buy best orbital sender then you must check out our latest orbital sander reviews article which will clear your all the doubts about the products with pros and cons.

One of the best parts of an orbital sander is that it does not use any particular type of sandpapers, so the user can work with whichever type he has in stock. The sandpapers can be easily replaced as they are attached to the pad by a few spring-loaded clips.

Finishing Sanders

Orbital Sanders

These sanders work variously, some finishing sanders move in a circular motion just like an orbital sander while other sanders move in straight line mode and forward-backward. Sanders having both forward-backward movement and orbital movement are also found in the market, wherein by the flick of a switch, the sander changes its motion as per the requirement.

Finishing sanders are palm-sized, easy to use the tool, and are available in various sizes ranging from one-half of a sandpaper size to one-sixth of a sandpaper size. There are considered as an ideal type of sanders for ultra-fine work, like the rounding of sharp edges, creating ultra smooth edges and removing putty. It is not meant for doing stubborn jobs like the removal of paints or rust.

These are the most affordable sanders out of all power sanders present in the market.


Both orbital and finishing sanders are amongst the small sanders available in the market, they are a combination of small size and lightweight power which makes them ideal for only the ending job of giving a finishing touch rather than assigning it a heavy task.

The orbital sander which is the costlier of the two, is paired with low grit sandpaper which makes them perfect for removing old paint and rust, basically to prepare a surface ready to be painted or polished.

The finishing sander has high grit sandpaper ideal for doing the finishing work on the wood which would have otherwise been left as it is.

Both are best in serving the purpose they are ideally meant for, the best deal before investing would be first to understand the purpose for which the sander is needed and then accordingly spend on the ideal one.

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