Whether you are an enthusiast DIYer or a professional woodworker, a sander is an essential component of your arsenal as it allows you to shape wood, remove paint from it, and produce a smooth finish. You always need to use the best sander according to your project and that's why in this post you'll learn about orbital sander vs palm sander and what makes them different from each other.\n\n\n\nAlthough there isn\u2019t much difference in how each of these sanders looks, there are quite a few distinctions in various aspects of the two, that separate one from the other. For instance, an orbital sander is relatively more costly than a palm sander and while the former is used for large-scale projects, the latter is used for small-scale projects.\n\n\n\nIn this guide, we will dive deep into all the differences between an orbital and a palm sander. So, let\u2019s get started!\n\n\n\nWhat is an Orbital Sander?\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nUsually square-shaped, an orbital sander possesses a spinning disc, that functions by spinning in small circles. Due to its shape, it can be easily used on all sorts of edges, corners, and curved pieces.\n\n\n\nThe greater the size of the sanding pad of your orbital sander, the larger the surface area you can deal with. The \u2018quarter sheet sander\u2019 size is the most commonly used sanding pad out there.\n\n\n\nIt is worth keeping in mind that since orbital sanders leave swirl marks, you should use them on furniture items, that you intend to paint later on.\n\n\n\nOrbital sanders are generally great for stairs, baseboards, or anything else where another type of sander can\u2019t reach.\n\n\n\nTypes of Orbital Sanders\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThere are two types of orbital sanders, namely random orbital sanders and finishing orbital sanders:\n\n\n\nRandom Orbital Sander\n\n\n\nA random orbital sander works differently than a regular orbital sander as it spins and rotates at the same time, reducing the marks on the finished products.\n\n\n\nIt possesses a circular sanding pad instead of a squared one. Although it is not as robust as a regular orbital sander, it is much more versatile, meaning that you can use it for a greater range of products.\n\n\n\nFinishing Orbital Sander\n\n\n\nFinishing orbital sanders are the lighter and smaller variants of the tool. They are primarily used to access hard-to-reach edges and corners.\n\n\n\nWhat is a Palm Sander?\n\n\n\nPalm Sanders makes use of a back and forth, patterned motion to function. As you progress through the sanding process, you will need to feed fresh sandpaper into the machine as the older one won\u2019t last for long.\n\n\n\nSimilar to orbital sanders, a palm sander is square-shaped. Hence, it works great in the corners and other difficult-to-reach places.\n\n\n\nAlthough smaller than orbital sanders, palm sanders are much cheaper in comparison. Another advantage of being smaller and compact is that you can use a palm sander for detailed and precise work. A \u2018half-sheet\u2019 or \u2018quarter sheet sander\u2019 are the most common sizes for a palm sander.\n\n\n\nPalm Sanders are generally great for working on small-scale projects, due to their lightweight and precision. Also, unlike orbital sanders, palm sanders don\u2019t leave swirl marks, so you can use them on painted furniture without much worry.\n\n\n\nTypes of Palm Sanders\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nElectric Detail Sander\n\n\n\nHaving a triangular shape, an electric detail sander is a type of palm of sanders that looks quite different from it.\n\n\n\nThis type of palm sander is excellent for less common shapes and it also allows you to reach tricky spaces.\n\n\n\nOrbital Sander Vs. Palm Sander \u2013 An In-depth Comparison\n\n\n\nNow that we have gotten the basic definitions and types of both an orbital and palm sander out of the way, let\u2019s draw a comparison between the different aspects of each.\n\n\n\nPower and Speed\n\n\n\nMeasured in amps, power determines how robust your tool is while speed, measured in orbits per minute, determines how fast your tool rotates.\n\n\n\nWhen it comes to an orbital sander, you want a motor of around 6 amp. For speed, the standard is around 10,000 orbits per minute. However, for larger workpieces, you will want a fast, although you will end up with less control and relatively more marks on your finished workpiece.\n\n\n\nOn the contrary, for smaller workpieces, containing intricate details and corners, 10,000 orbits per minute speed should work just fine. Some newer models of orbital sanders have adjustable speed settings, so you can choose a pace that suits you the best.\n\n\n\nAs for the palm sander, it is usually defined merely by its power rating. Speaking of, a 2.0-amp will work great for most of your projects concerning palm sanders. A motor of greater power rating than that is usually not required.\n\n\n\nGrip\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nComing to the grip of the tools, you can get different types of grips on both an orbital sander and a palm sander.\n\n\n\nFor orbital sanders, palm-grip handles are the most commonly used handles for the tool due to their lightweight and comfortable grip.\n\n\n\nPistol-grip handles give you the greatest control, as you use both hands to grasp them. That is why these handles are normally used professionally.\n\n\n\nThe most uncommon type of handles are the Jug-grip handles. These are suited to situations where you have to get underneath a workpiece to sand it.\n\n\n\nComing to Palm sanders, you would want to have comfort-grip handles to hold onto them with comfort and ease.\n\n\n\nSandpaper\n\n\n\nBoth orbital sander and palm sander require to be equipped with normal sandpaper to function. However, the latter requires a much greater quantity of sandpapers at your disposal.\n\n\n\nDust Collection\n\n\n\nThe process of sanding inevitably produces a lot of dust. However, some models of orbital sanders have either vacuum-powered or passive features to deal with dust collection.\n\n\n\nA vacuum-powered dust collection system sucks up the dust as you work while in passive dust collection, you attach a dust collection bag to your regular vacuum hose for removal.\n\n\n\nThe modern orbital sanders may also have filters and sealed switches to keep the dust from interfering with the mechanism of the tool and reducing its life.\n\n\n\nAs for palm sanders, they aren\u2019t as efficient as orbital sanders when it comes to dust collection. You are going to need a well-sealed dust bag along with your palm sander to deal with dust. You can also acquire a vacuum system for your palm sander.\n\n\n\nA handful of modern palm sanders come with filters and sealed switches as well.\n\n\n\nCorded Vs Cordless\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nWhether you want a corded sander or a cordless one, is dependent upon your personal preference.\n\n\n\nThe cordless version of either of the two tools, under discussion, is often preferred because while working, the cord does not get in your way. However, you will need to charge the battery of your cordless tool between uses.\n\n\n\nOn the other hand, corded tools are relatively more powerful as they receive continuous power through a power outlet.\n\n\n\nOrbital Sander or Palm Sander \u2013 Which One Should You Go For?\n\n\n\nThe type of sander, you should go for, depends on the purpose you intend to use it for.\n\n\n\nIf you have a lot of woodworking tasks to tackle, especially large-scale, you will get by just fine.\n\n\n\nThe high power and speed of an orbital sander mean you can work much more quickly with this tool and use it for a variety of projects. As for the swirl markings left by a regular orbital sander, you can use a random orbital sander instead, to minimize their effect.\n\n\n\nAlthough the orbital sanders are generally expensive, they have substantial warranties and they will serve you well in the long run.\n\n\n\nOn the other hand, if you are a bit tight on the budget, you are dealing with smaller workpieces, and you rarely have to tackle woodworking projects, then a palm sander is your best bet.\n\n\n\nHowever, whichever sander that you go for, you should have a decent stock of sandpaper at your disposal.\n\n\n\nSandpaper is based on \u2018grit\u2019, which is in turn, based on a gradation scale. The higher the number on the scale, the finer will be the sandpaper and the smaller will be the grains.\n\n\n\nFrequently Asked Questions\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nHow Much Should I Spend on An Orbital Sander?\n\n\n\nAn orbital sander normally costs around $100-200. The exact amount that you will require, depends upon the number of features that you would like in your tool.\n\n\n\nCan An Orbital Sander be Used as a Polisher?\n\n\n\nYes, you can, by attaching polishing cloths to the bottom of an orbital sander.\n\n\n\nCan An Orbital Sander be Used on Drywall?\n\n\n\nYes, you can. You will require 180-220 grit sandpaper for the job.\n\n\n\nCan I Use a Palm Sander on Drywall?\n\n\n\nYes, you can, but an orbital sander is more suited to this job.\n\n\n\nHow Do You Load Up a Palm Sander?\n\n\n\nWith the sandpaper measured and cut to the right size, simply open up the clamp clock and feed in the sandpaper. After that, tighten the clamp lock again and voila, your palm sander is ready for use.\n\n\n\nConclusion\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nTo sum up, both an orbital sander and a palm sander are useful in certain specific domains of woodworking. The one that you need, depends on your purpose, preference, and budget. Whichever one you go for, however, be sure that you have the right sandpaper for the job.