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Best Palm Sanders of 2021 for High-Quality Finishes – Top Picks and Buying Guide

Here’s our selection of the best palm sanders of 2021.

A palm sander is a small, one-handed finishing sander that can be used for virtually any type of finish-sanding job. 

Good palm sanders are powerful ones that offer good portability to help you achieve your sanding projects easily and quickly, just like the Dewalt DWE6411 corded palm sander and the Dewalt DCW200 cordless palm sander.

Those are our two top picks. But, not all of you will be looking for such high-quality palm sanders.

Every situation is different. And that’s why we’ve picked a total of four sanders that will match different needs and preferences.

So let’s jump right in and figure out which one is the palm sander you need.

Best Palm Sanders – Our Picks

Because we want to give you the most actionable information, we’ve divided our picks into two categories, corded and cordless palm sanders.

So, the first question to ask is which type of palm sander do you want? Are you looking for a corded or a cordless palm sander? 

If you’re looking for a corded palm sander, keep reading to learn about our first three picks.

But, if what you need is the best cordless palm sander, check out our fourth pick here.

Want some advice first? You can start by reading our tips for choosing a palm sander

Top Pick (corded): Dewalt DWE6411 2.3A Palm Sander

Corded or Cordless: Corded
Paper Type: 1/4 sheet
Motor: 2.3A
Max Speed: 14,000 OPM
Variable Speed: No
Pressure Control: No
Lock-on Switch: Yes
Dimensions (WxH): 5-11/16 in. x 6 in.
Weight: 3 lbs
Dust Collection: Yes
Dust Bag: Yes

If you’re looking for a corded palm sander, the Dewalt DWE6411 is a very good buy.

This 1/4 sheet sander has a maximum speed of 14,000 OPM and a powerful 2.3A motor. It is a powerful and robust tool that leaves quality finishes and allows for fast work.

Thanks to its ergonomic design, this finishing sander is very comfortable to use. It is so compact that it can fit all hands, even the smallest. 

The DWE6411 comes with a dust bag. But, connecting the dust port directly to a dust collection system is only possible if you already have the Dewalt DWV010 or DWV012 dust collector. If you don’t own one of these but want to attach the sander to a 1-1/4 in. vacuum hose, you can do it by purchasing the DWV9000 universal quick connector.

Though we would’ve loved additional features such as variable speed or pressure control, the great design and strong power of the Dewalt DWE6411 are definitely worth the first place.  


Runner-Up (corded): Makita BO4556 2A Palm Sander

Corded or Cordless: Corded
Paper Type: 1/4 sheet
Motor: 2A
Max Speed: 14,000 OPM
Variable Speed: No
Pressure Control: No
Lock-on Switch: Yes
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5-1/8 in. x 4-3/8 in. x 5-9/16 in.
Weight: 2.5 lbs
Dust Collection: Yes
Dust Bag: Yes

Following closely is the Makita DO4556.

Much like the Dewalt DWE6411, this palm sander gives quick and clean finishes. But, as it uses a smaller motor that doesn’t provide quite as much power, it is not as fast.

Makita has managed to reduce vibration and noise by using an all-ball-bearing construction on this finishing sander. Add to that a very well thought and lightweight design, and you get a pretty quiet sander that is very comfortable to use.

The Makita BO4556 is a very good palm sander that is lighter, quieter, and a bit more comfortable to use than the Dewalt DWE6411. However, its smaller motor makes it slightly less effective and slower. And because power and speed were more important to us than ergonomics, we didn’t choose the Makita DO4556 as our winner. But, it’s still a very good buy!


Best Budget (corded): Black+Decker BDEQS300 2A Palm Sander

Corded or Cordless: Corded
Paper Type: 1/4 sheet
Motor: 2A
Max Speed: 16,000 OPM
Variable Speed: No
Pressure Control: No
Lock-on Switch: Yes
Dimensions (WxH): 5.1 in. x 6.3 in.
Weight: 3 lbs
Dust Collection: Yes
Dust Bag: Yes

Some of you might be wanting to spend as little money as possible on a palm sander. To us, the palm sander that gives the best bang for the buck is the Black+Decker BDEQS300.

The sander’s 2A motor can reach a maximum speed of 16,000 OPM and makes it a pretty powerful sander that leaves very satisfying finishes. 

The BDEQS300 is comfortable to use. It has a very decent design and is neither too heavy nor too light. There’s one thing worth noting about its design, though. It uses a paddle switch instead of a traditional on-off switch, which some people might not like. As far as I’m concerned, getting used to a new type of switch is not a big deal, especially if that allows me to get a powerful finishing sander at a low price.


Best Cordless: Dewalt DCW200 20V Max XR Palm Sander

Corded or Cordless: Cordless
Paper Type: 1/4 sheet
Motor: Brushless
Battery System: 20V Max
Max Speed: 14,000 OPM
Variable Speed: Yes 8,000 – 14,000 OPM
Pressure Control: No
Lock-on Switch: Yes
Dimensions (LxH): 6 in. x 5.3 in.
Weight: 2.1 lbs
Dust Collection: Yes
Dust Bag: Yes

Ok, now let’s go one step above with our best cordless palm sander pick, the Dewalt DCW200.

This well-designed palm sander is a highly versatile, light, and easy-to-use tool. Its brushless motor delivers very good power. And, it uses a variable speed feature that allows for adjusting the sander’s speed to the application.

The DCW200 did let us work about 2 hours on 5Ah batteries before running out of power, which is a pretty satisfying runtime. Of course, as for most cordless tools, you’ll need a spare battery to use this palm sander longer.

The dust collection is done ok through the dust bag. But, as for the DWE6411, you can only connect this sander directly to the Dewalt DWV010 or DWV012 dust collector. And if you want to attach the sander to a 1-1/4 in. vacuum hose, you’ll need the DWV9000 universal quick connector.

The DCW200 palm sander is top-notch. This tool has many qualities, of which the most obvious are its advanced portability, strong power, and good runtime. By adding them up, Dewalt has simply made a great cordless finishing sander.

If you’re a cordless fan, this cordless finishing sander is the one, no question about it, especially if you already have Dewalt 20V Max batteries in your garage or workshop. Note that the sander won’t work with Flexvolt batteries.


Choosing the Best Palm Sander – Factors to Consider

To find the best palm sander, the one you need, you have to pay attention to its features. Understanding how those features translate in practice and assessing your needs will help you sort between all available palm sanders and ultimately select the one that’s made for you. 

So, to make sure that you’ll get the best out of your palm sander and that it will best match your needs, consider the following points.

Power Source – Corded or Cordless?

As for most power tools, you can choose between two options: corded or cordless palm sander. 

  • Corded palm sanders generate constant power and never slow down in orbits per minute. Being connected to an electrical outlet ensures you never run out of power, except in case of power outages. That’s a significant benefit. But, the downside is it forces you to remain within reach of the outlet. You may use an extension cord to extend that range, but keep in mind that this also creates a tripping hazard that you’ll have to watch out for.
  • Cordless palm sanders, not being connected to a power outlet, are more versatile tools that you can around without restrictions. They are particularly helpful when you need to carry out a job away from power outlets or in tight spaces. But, they are subject to slowing down in orbits per minute when their battery gets low on power. So, make sure to choose a battery that will give you sufficient power, and don’t forget to have it charged. You may also buy a spare one to double the potential runtime of your palm sander.

After reading this, ask yourself which type will be more beneficial to you. Would you rather buy a corded or a cordless palm sander?

Orbits per Minute

To sand material, a palm sander moves its base in small orbits at a fast pace. The speed at which the sander’s base moves will give you an indication of the sander’s power. That speed is measured in orbits per minute or OPM. The faster the OPM, the faster the sanding. But note that higher OPM also means more heat being produced. And higher temperatures may cause damage to heat-sensitive materials. 

The best option is to get a sander that comes with a variable speed setting. That feature will allow you to choose a specific OPM setting that will match the type of sanding job you have to do. 

Dust Collection

Sanding produces dust. Have you ever tried it as a seasoning because you forgot to cover the cooking pot while you were sanding the kitchen cabinets? Don’t try that.

Fortunately, most palm sanders have a built-in dust port nowadays and a dust bag, which considerably reduces the amount of dust produced by the sanding process. Some even allow for connecting a vacuum either right away or by purchasing an adapter.

Don’t neglect the risk caused by inhaling dust particles. Take care of your lungs (1).

Pressure Detection

Some palm sanders come with a pressure detection system to help the user get the best finish. It usually uses a gauge with a set of sensor lights that indicate whether you’re applying enough or too much pressure so you can adjust it to get the best result.

Ergonomics and Vibration Control

A palm sander must have a good ergonomic design and be comfortable to use. You should always be able to control it with ease. So, it’s better to look for a light model with well-positioned switches and a rubberized grip for optimum comfort.

Using a palm sander that produces too much vibration is not comfortable and can bring about joint pain, especially when using the sander repeatedly. So, it’s better to try to buy a palm sander that has good vibration control.

Reading customer reviews will generally give you solid hints regarding a grinder’s ergonomics and ability to control vibration.

Durability

One other important factor to consider is the palm sander’s durability.

This factor is not so easy to assess beforehand. But, when searching for information, you might learn about some brands or models that have been proven to be stronger than others. You can also look at the customer reviews to try to find more hints. You’ll probably come across reviews from people saying that they’ve been using such and such palm sander for a long time without encountering any problems. Such reviews might be pretty good and accurate signs of the sander’s durability.

If you’re looking for a cordless palm sander, we advise you to buy one with a brushless motor for better durability.

FAQs

This section covers general information about palm sanders. Here are some of the most common questions. 

What is a Palm Sander?

A palm sander is a handheld power tool that is used for finish-sanding jobs (2). It is a finishing sander that uses a motor to move its base in a small circular pattern at a fast pace (3). And so, it falls within the category of orbital sanders. It is an orbital sander that uses a 1/4 sheet on a rectangular pad, which is why it is also called a 1/4 sheet sander. 

What’s The Difference Between Orbital and Random Orbital Sanders?

Orbital sanders and random orbital sander don’t use the same sanding motion.

For more on this, check out this short piece.

Why Shouldn’t a Random Orbital Sander Be Called a Palm Sander?

Historically, a palm sander is a finishing orbital sander that fits within the palm, not a random orbital sander of the same size. What’s more, though it can give pretty smooth results, a random orbital sander doesn’t leave the same clean finish as an orbital sander, which is why it is not considered a finishing sander. Not being a finishing sander, how could it be rightly called a palm sander?

How to Use a Palm Sander

Start by connecting the dust bag or a vacuum to the sander’s dust port.

Hold the sander flat on the material you want to sand and turn on the sander. 

Sand the material without pushing down too hard, making back and forth motions with the sander. 

Once you’re satisfied with the result, turn off the sander.

What Safety Equipment Should I wear When Using a Palm Sander?

To protect your eyes from projections and lungs from inhaling dust, you should always wear eye protection and a dust mask when using the sander. You better also protect your ears from the loud noise produced by the sander by wearing ear protection.

Our Verdict

To make sure you’ll get the best out of your palm sander, first assess your needs. Then, out of the sanders we’ve carefully selected for you, select the one that best matches those needs. That’s how you’ll pick the palm sander that’s best for you.

As a reminder, the Dewalt DWE6411 is our top pick in the corded palm sanders category. And we’ve selected the Dewalt DCW200 as the best cordless palm sander.

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