As a professional or hobbyist woodworker or a DIYer that uses wood for many projects, you should be on the lookout for the best palm sander as it is almost certain you will need it at some point.
A palm sander or sheet sander as it is also often referred to as is a finishing sander that comes in handy for everything from preparing wood for stain, varnish or paint to getting rid of old paint.
The boxed sanding pad is one of the most outstanding traits of the palm sander, and it allows it to reach into tighter places and makes sanding 90-degree edges effortless.
But, if you are going to get the best service from this amazing finish sander, you need to choose the right model. Here we make this easy with our top 7 palm sander reviews and by explaining some important things to look for when shopping for one.
7 Best Palm Sanders – Review
1. DeWalt DWE6411K (Best Overall)
2. Porter-Cable 380 (Best Compact)
3. Makita BO4556 (Best 1/4 Sheet Sander)
4. Wen 6304 (Best High-speed)
5. Genesis GPS2303 (Best for DIYers)
6. Black & Decker BDEQS300 (Best for Detail Work)
7. Skil 7292-02 (Best Budget)
1. DeWalt DWE6411K
2. Porter-Cable 380
3. Makita BO4556
(Best 1/4 Sheet Sander)
4. Wen 6304
5. Genesis GPS2303
(Best for DIYers)
6. Black & Decker BDEQS300
(Best for Detail Work)
7. Skil 7292-02
1. DeWalt DWE6411K – Best Overall
- Motor Power: 2.3 Amp
- Speed: 14,000 OPM
DeWalt DWE6411K is a top-notch product by one of the most reputable woodworking equipment manufacturers, and this fact alone should give you some confidence that it will be a great buy.
But, this top-rated palm sander still has more to offer besides the fact that it is manufactured by a highly reputable brand as its 2.3-Amp motor is the most powerful on our list and will deliver a speed of up to 14,000 OPM to make it ideal for any finish sanding task.
This corded sheet sander offers a rubber overmold texture grip to make it more comfortable to use and an improved paper clamp to deliver excellent paper retention.
Dust collection is made easier and more efficient by the locking dust port system, and there is a rubber dust boot over the switch to ensure you get a longer switch life.
Sanding will come with less vibration as DeWalt uses a separate counterweight to minimize it. And when you buy this palm sander, you also get a paper punch, carry case and dust bag.
While this palm sander might still be quite noisy when sanding, this should not be a deal-breaker as this DeWalt sander offers a quieter operation than most similar models out there.
- More powerful motor
- Rubberized and contoured grip for comfort
- Longer switch life
- Reduced sanding vibrations
- Simple and effective dust collection
- Still a little bit noisy
- Relatively pricier
2. Porter-Cable 380 – Best Compact Palm Sander
- Motor Power: 2.0 Amp
- Speed: 13,500 OPM
With the more compact Porter-Cable 380, you get a great little palm sander that will be very useful for fine finishing as it also has a powerful enough 2.0 Amp and a 13,500 OPM speed.
Its less aggressive sanding operation ensures minimal user fatigue while its size and shape make it ideal for sanding tight corners and edges. And this is also a generally lightweight and compact sander for easy handling and transporting.
Installing paper is super easy with this sander as it has s simple clamp mechanism that is still able to hold it in place securely.
Also, you can be confident of a long switch life as this Porter-Cable sander has a dust seal for the switch. And woodworkers will love the dual-plane and counter-balanced low-vibration design.
The location of the on/off switch might be a little problematic when sanding tight corners, but this should be a small issue for many experienced DIYers and woodworkers to work around.
- Compact and lightweight design
- Less aggressive sanding
- Easy paper installation
- Longer switch life
- Low-vibration for minimal user fatigue
- Poor on/off switch positioning
- Dust collector port needs improvement
3. Makita BO4556 – Best 1/4 Sheet Palm Sander
- Motor Power: 2.0 Amp
- Speed: 14,000 OPM
Makita is another top woodworking equipment manufacturer that hardly ever disappoints. Their model BO4556 palm sander has a lot to offer, and it is the kind that you will never regret owning.
With its precision-engineered all-bearing construction, this 1/4 sheet palm sander will not only be highly durable but sands with reduced noise and vibrations.
The 2.0 Amp motor and 14,000 OPM speed also help to make this one of the best 1/4 sheet palm sanders as they ensure fast and smoother sanding.
Also, this sander is more comfortable to operate as it has a contoured and rubberized grip, conveniently located on/off switch and a highly efficient dust collection system.
The paper clamp levers that Makita uses on this palm sander are quite stiff which can make sandpaper a little hard to attach, but the good news is that they still do a great job holding the paper in place.
- Reduced noise and vibrations
- More comfortable to operate
- Convenient on/off switch location
- Efficient dust collection system
- Stiff clamp levers
- Included dust bag is a little awkward
4. Wen 6304 – Best High-speed Palm Sander
- Motor Power: 2.0 Amp
- Speed: 15,000 OPM
There are many things that will make the Wen 6304 an amazing palm sander, but its 15,000 OPM speed is one of the key ones. It has the highest speed among our palm sander review, but besides speed, it is still a top-notch sander that has a lot more to offer.
Its other great features include a lightweight and compact design that ensures minimal user fatigue and an ergonomic grip to make it more comfortable to operate.
This top-notch 1/4 sheet palm sander has a dust-sealed switch for longer tool life, an efficient dust collection system that also includes fan assisted dust slots and a hook and loop base pad for quick and easy paper installation and removal.
Although this Wen palm sander can be quite loud and still vibrates a lot when sanding, for its price, it is still a top-notch product, and you will hardly get a quieter model with less vibration without spending more money.
- Faster and smoother sanding
- Lightweight and compact design
- Highly efficient dust management system
- Simple and quick paper installation/removal
- Ergonomic and comfortable grip
- Can be quite loud
- Still vibrates a lot
5. Genesis GPS2303 – Best Palm Sander for DIYers
- Motor Power: 1.3 Amp
- Speed: 10,000 OPM
While the Genesis GPS2303 might be the least powerful palm sander on our list, the 1.3 Amp motor still delivers up to 10,000 OPM that should be enough to get the job done.
The speed and power that it provides make it more ideal for DIYers as it might not be able to handle heavier woodworking projects. And it is also a highly durable palm sander that includes die-cast aluminum and sturdy plastic housing.
Installation or removal of paper is quick and easy thanks to the oversized and spring-loaded clamps. Users will also love that it comes with a paper punch plate, sandpaper assortment, and a dust collection bag.
The 1.3 Amp motor lacks enough power for some sanding tasks, but if you are looking for something affordable for regular finish sanding tasks, it can still do a great job for you.
- Excellent for DIY jobs
- Durable die-cast aluminum base
- Quick and easy paper change
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- More durable dust-sealed switch
- Not very powerful
- Dust catcher not included
6. Black & Decker BDEQS300 – Best Detail Work Palm Sander
Photo: Black & Decker
- Motor Power: 2.0 Amp
- Speed: 1,600 OPM
Black & Decker makes their BDEQS300 with woodworkers and DIYers that do a lot of detail work and fine finishing in mind as it has the speed, power and design for these kinds of jobs.
Its 2.0 Amp motor delivers a speed of 1,600 OPM which is perfect for sanding delicate surfaces, and to make it even better, it comes in a compact and ergonomic design to allow it to fit into tight spaces easily.
And with the soft grip paddle switch, on/off activation should be super easy when sanding so that you never have to stop when working.
There is also a high-performing dust collection system on the sander that will allow woodworkers to maintain a clean working area.
While 1,600 OPM might seem super slow for some woodworkers and DIYers, it will still be perfect for detail work and fine finishing as the palm sander will be very gentle on the workpieces.
- Great for detail work
- Easy on/off switch activation
- High performing dust collection system
- Compact and ergonomic design
- Relatively more affordable
- Slow speed motor
- Paddle switch takes some getting used to
7. Skil 7292-02 – Best Budget 1/4 Sheet Palm Sander
- Motor Power: 2.0 Amp
- Speed: 14,000 OPM
As you shop for the best palm sander for wood, your budget is always a key concern. Hence, a more budget-friendly model like the Skil 7292-02 will be a good buy for most woodworkers. And this is more so for those looking for the 1/4-inch sanders.
Besides being a more pocket-friendly sander, it is also quite powerful as it runs on a 2.0 Amp motor that delivers up to 14,000 OPM for fast sanding.
There is a highly efficient dust management system on the palm sander that combines micro-filtration, built-in vacuum adapter, and a clear view dust canister.
When using this Skil sander, you will not need to worry about applying too much pressure and ruining your workpiece as it has a highly useful pressure control technology. And it is more comfortable and easy to handle thanks to the soft grip design.
The clips used to secure the sandpaper can make paper installation tricky as they seem a little too delicate and not very secure, but as you use the sander more and more you should be able to figure out how to best handle them for an easier time.
- Budget-friendly sander
- Comfortable soft grip design
- Efficient dust management system
- Handy pressure control technology
- Paper installation can be a little tricky
- Quite loud
Palm Sander vs. Random Orbital Sander
When choosing a hand sander that will give you a smooth finish, help you get rid of an old finish from your wood, you will often need to pick between the palm and random orbital sanders. Both can do an excellent sanding job but will be ideal for different situations.
The palm sander has been around for many years now, and it is one of the most popular sanders for finishing work. It is the kind of wood sander that you will use when preparing your surfaces for varnish, paint or staining.
Over the years, this sander has been downsized from a large tool that used half a sheet of the standard sandpaper to a more ergonomic tool that uses quarter a sheet and fits the palm perfectly which explains its name.
Using the sheet sander is quite straightforward as you only need to secure the quarter or half a sheet of sandpaper to the flat base. The palm sander will use the motor to move the sanding pad in a back-and-forth circular motion and do it at high speeds to remove material.
The palm sanders and this is more so those that use 1/4 sheet paper like Skil 7292-02 are great for sanding between coats, but given the smaller sanding area, they will not remove a lot of materials. But, the square shape of the sanding pad means that these sanders can easily get into tight corners.
While they are also generally easier to use than the random orbital sanders and are also lightweight and more affordable, the palm sanders can easily leave swirl marks on the workpiece and are not ideal for a very rough stock as they do not remove a lot of material.
- Lightweight and inexpensive
- Easier and more comfortable to use
- Great for sanding between coats
- Fits into tight corners
- Often leaves swirl marks
- More frequent and time-consuming sandpaper changes
- Does not remove a lot of material
Random Orbital Sander
Over the last decade, the random orbital sanders have become an almost must-have in any woodworking workshop, and many DIYers also seem to prefer them over the many other handheld sanders.
What makes them great is that they are more powerful than others like the palms sanders, they remove a lot of material at a go which makes them ideal for sanding rough stock and will hardly ever leave any noticeable swirls in the wood.
Unlike the palm sanders, random orbital sanders use sanding discs that will in most instances come in a 5-inch diameter. These discs attach to the sander with hook-and-loop connections, and they have holes that match up with dust collection holes pad for more efficient dust collection.
Random orbital sanders use the more powerful motor to move the round sanding pad in a motion similar to the palm sander but in random orbits. These random movements are what make it hard for the wood sander to leave swirl marks behind.
Given that these sanders will often have variable speeds and will do both finish and prep work, they are more versatile than the sheet sanders. However, the round shape of the pad means they cannot sand tight corners and 90-degree edges and they are also more expensive.
- Bigger and more powerful motor
- Removes a lot of material
- Does not leave noticeable swirl marks
- Superior dust collection
- More versatile
- Pricier to buy and operate
- Not ideal for sanding tight spaces/corners
- Aggressive sanding can easily damage delicate workpieces
Buying Advice:If you want an inexpensive and easy-to-use wood sander for finish works that can also sand tight corners and 90-degree edges, go for the palm sander. But, if you want a sanderfor heavy/rough stock removalor something that ismore powerful and still ideal for finish work, the random orbital sander will be perfect.
How to Buy the Best Palm Sanders
To help you narrow down your palm sander options given the many out there, here are some of the most important factors to take into account when choosing one.
When using a palm sander, you will get the best results by applying just the right amount of pressure when sanding.
Hence, even if you are using a highly powerful model, it might still not perform well if you apply too much pressure which can also ruin your workpiece.
What all this means is that when it comes to a palm sander, you do not necessarily need something with a highly powerful motor. Although a model with at least a 2 Amp motor like the Porter-Cable 380 is more preferable, even the 1 Amp sanders can still work well enough.
Speed is always an important factor to take into account when shopping for the best palm sander and any other sanding tool.
With the sheet sanders, the speed determines the surfaces that you can use it to sand. If you will be using the tool to sand hardwood, you need something more powerful that delivers high speeds like Wen 6304 that can get up to 15,000 OPM.
The speed is measured in orbits per minute and the higher it is, the better as it means you can use your sander on different wood types. Also, something with variable speed is much better as you can alter the speed to suit the material you are sanding.
3. Dust Collection
Sanding can be a dirty job, and so as you choose a palm sander, you will need to think about the dust collection to ensure you can effectively manage the wood dust generated.
The good news is that most modern palm sanders come with a built-in dust collection port that allows you to connect a vacuum hose or plastic dust bag.
Whether you plan to use the palm sander often or not, it is always a wise idea to go for something with a dust port as it will not only keep the workshop clean but is also important for your health.
4. Ease of Changing Paper
With palm sanders, you will need to change the sandpaper quite often because they only use 1/4 of standard size sandpaper which means they go through it quite fast.
Hence, when picking your sander, you need to make sure that it is designed to give you an easy time when changing the paper.
The mechanism used to hold the sandpaper in place is one of the best indication of how easy the paper will be to change. However, some detailed step-by-step instructions on how to change the paper can also be handy as they will make the process easier.
A good palm sander needs to be comfortable since sanding can be a time-consuming task. You do not want to hold an awkward feeling sander for many hours as you will end up with tired and painful hands.
While comfort features will not always be that obvious in a palm sander and comfort might sometimes be subjective, there are certain things you can watch out to determine whether what you buy will be comfortable or not.
Key among these things is an ergonomically shaped handle, padded gripping area and a vibration reducing mechanism. A palm sander with these and other comfort-enhancing features will be ideal for extended use.
Whether you are preparing your workpiece for staining, painting or varnishing or want to restore an old piece by removing the worn out paint, a palm sander can be very useful.
By considering factors like the power, speed, comfort, and ease of changing the paper, finding the best palm sander should be a more effortless task.
And to make things even better for you, our palm sander reviews above provide some top-notch recommendations to ensure you do not waste a lot of precious project time shopping around. From our reviews, the DeWalt DWE6411K is out top overall recommendation while the Skil 7292-02 is perfect for budget shoppers.
In this post:
- 7 Best Palm Sanders – Review
- 1. DeWalt DWE6411K – Best Overall
- 2. Porter-Cable 380 – Best Compact Palm Sander
- 3. Makita BO4556 – Best 1/4 Sheet Palm Sander
- 4. Wen 6304 – Best High-speed Palm Sander
- 5. Genesis GPS2303 – Best Palm Sander for DIYers
- 6. Black & Decker BDEQS300 – Best Detail Work Palm Sander
- 7. Skil 7292-02 – Best Budget 1/4 Sheet Palm Sander
- Palm Sander vs. Random Orbital Sander
- How to Buy the Best Palm Sanders