Best Sanders for Removing Paint

I Tested 6 Sanders for Hardwood Floors: Here are the Best (2024)

Are you planning to refinish your hardwood floors? Sanding is a critical part of the process, but finding the right sander can be a challenge.

That’s why I tested some of the most popular floor sanders to help you find the best one for your needs. Here’s my list of the best sanders for hardwood floors.

In a hurry? The best sander for hardwood floors is the Makita Belt Sander because of how powerful and large this sander is. This will make your job easier and speed up the process – not to mention how easy it is to operate.

My Favorite Sanders for Hardwood Floors

Compare the Top Sanders for Floors

ProductMax SpeedSizeMotorWarrantyRead Review
Makita Belt Sander1,640 FPM4″ x 24″11 amps1-yearLearn More
Clarke American Sander3,200 RPM12″115V60 daysLearn More
Makita Orbital Sander12,000 OPM5″3 amps1-yearLearn More
DeWalt 20V Cordless Sander12,000 OPM5″20V3-yearsLearn More
Skil 7510-01 Belt Sander900 FPM3″ x 18″6 amps2-yearsLearn More
SKIL Detail Sander13,500 OPMNA1.2 amps1-yearLearn More

1. Makita 9403 Belt Sander – #1 Best Overall

Makita Belt Sander

Overall, the best sander for hardwood floors is the Makita 9403 Belt Sander. This is an extremely powerful sander that’s large enough to remove the existing finish on your hardwood floors and one of the top belt sanders you can buy.

It comes in two sizes, a 4″ x 24″ or a 3″ x 21″ – both of which are large enough for large flooring jobs.

This is an extremely high quality and tough sander that will last for years if cared for properly, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking.

The dust collection system did a decent job of keeping dust out of the way and changing the sanding paper was super simple.

If you’re working on larger projects, this is one of the best sanders you can buy. It’s the best sander for decks and even removing paint – making it more versatile than you’d think.

What I Liked:

  • Extremely powerful 11 amp motor that can easy remove the existing finish on your floors
  • Very easy to change the sanding paper
  • Great quality sander that will last for years

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Much heavier and more difficult to maneuver than a smaller sander
  • Much more expensive than other types of sanders
  • Not good for tight spaces and corners

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of Makita products, and this Makita Belt Sander is no doubt the best choice for sanding hardwood floors. It’s a large sander that’s extremely powerful that makes sanding your floors a breeze. My only complaint is the price and weight of this sander. But if you do a lot of sanding and want a device that will last, I highly recommend going with this sander.

2. Clarke American Sander – Highest Quality Sander for Floors

Clarke American Sander

If you’re a professional hardwood floor sander, this Clarke American Sander is probably your best bet. This is by far the best sander for wood floors, if you can afford it.

This sander is extremely high quality and meant for professional jobs, which explains the price.

It can produce up to 3,200 RPM of speed, but don’t be fooled, it’s the power of this sander that can easily strip the finish of your floors.

What I Liked:

  • Extremely high power sander that works wonders on floors
  • Very fast sander that can get the job done quickly
  • Very good dust collection system that reduces gauges in your floors

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Extremely high price
  • Not very versatile
  • Very heavy

My Thoughts

If you’re looking for the best of the best floor sanders – this Clarke American Sander is worth a look. I don’t recommend this for someone who’s looking to refinish their floors once and never use it again, but if you do a lot of refinishing, it makes sense to invest in a quality sander like this. This isn’t a very versatile sander, either but it’s the best hardwood floor sander you can buy.

3. Makita Orbital Sander – Best Orbital Sander

Makita Orbital Sander

Another solid choice for refinishing hardwood floors is the Makita Random Orbital Sander. While orbital sanders aren’t are large as a belt sander, they can still do a great job of removing the finish on your floors.

This sander is one of the most powerful orbital sanders you can find, which makes it great for hardwood flooring. It can produce up to 12,000 OPM of speed with a variable speed control dial – giving you maximum control.

Another awesome feature of this sander is the dual grip which makes it extremely comfortable to use.

Finally, the dust bag and collection system was decent. It wasn’t a problem and emptying the bag was easy and simple.

What I Liked:

  • Very powerful sander that removes finishes with ease
  • Dual grip makes it easy to control and maneuver
  • Versatile sander that can be used on many different types of projects

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not as fast as using a belt sander
  • Doesn’t come with sanding pads in the box
  • Will require manual sanding in corners and tight spaces

My Thoughts

If you want an orbital sander, you can’t go wrong with this Makita Random orbital sander. It’s a top of the line sander that does a fantastic job on wood flooring. It features a very powerful motor, that’s easy to control and maneuver because of the added grip. My only grip is that because of it’s size, it’s not as fast as using a belt sander. So if you’re working on a large floor, I’d definitely recommend the Makita belt sander. Otherwise, this random orbital sander is a great choice. It’s also one of the best sanders for stairs.

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4. DeWalt Orbital Sander – Best Cordless Sander

DeWalt Orbital Sander for Hardwood Floors

If you want a cordless sander, the DeWalt 20V Max Random Orbital Sander is a great choice that I highly recommend.

It has similar power to the Makita orbital sander, without having to deal with cords – which can be nice.

It can produce up to 12,000 OPM of speed with a variable speed dial which lets you control exactly how fast you want to work.

The dust collection is decent and the sanding pad was super easy to swap out.

What I Liked:

  • Powerful sander that does a great job of removing finishes from any wooden floor
  • Battery life was decent, slightly over an hour on and off
  • Can swap battery with other DeWalt cordless tools
  • Variable speed setting gives you more control

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not as fast as using other types of sanders
  • Not great for tight spaces and corners

My Thoughts

The DeWalt Cordless Orbital Sander is one of the best sanders for many different projects, including floor sanding. This sander packs a punch and works well for a variety of projects. My only complaint is that because it’s a battery operated sander, if you’re planning to sand a massive floor, you’ll need multiple batteries, or be prepared to take breaks for charging. Otherwise, this sander does an excellent job of removing paint and stain from any wood surface.

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5. Skil 7510-01 Belt Sander

SKIL Belt Sander

If you’re looking for a belt sander but you don’t want to spend a fortune, this SKIL Belt Sander is a great option that I recommend.

While it’s not nearly as powerful as the Makita belt sander above, this one still does a decent job of removing the existing finish from hardwood flooring.

The dust collection system didn’t do a great job, but one thing I liked is that the container is clear – so you can easily see when it needs to be dumped.

What I Liked:

  • Great value for the money
  • Larger sander that makes it faster to sand floors

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not as powerful as some other belt sanders
  • Dust collection isn’t great
  • Not great for hard to reach areas

My Thoughts

Overall, the SKIL belt sander is a pretty solid belt sander, and a great choice if you’re on a budget. It works great on any hardwood floor and for the price, it’s hard to go wrong with this tool. It delivers enough power to sand any floor with ease and results in a smooth surface that’s ready to be refinished.

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6. SKIL Detail Sander – Best Detail Sander

SKIL Detail Sander

If you need a sander to reach the corners around your walls, this SKIL Detail Sander is a good choice for the money.

While it’s not nearly as powerful as other sanders on my list, it’s designed to reach areas that others cannot, so you don’t have to sand manually with a sanding block.

This sander has a decent dust collection system and the pads are very easy to change. It also comes with several different detail attachments, which makes it even more versatile.

What I Liked:

  • Ability to reach corners and tight areas
  • Versatile sander that can be used for many projects
  • Decent dust collection
  • Great value for the money

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not nearly as powerful as other sanders
  • Not great for large floors

My Thoughts

If you’re sanding around a wall, using a detail sander can make your job easier, and this SKIL Detail Sander is worth a look. This hardwood floor sander makes floor sanding around corners and walls extremely easy, but it’s not great for massive wide open areas. This is one of the best sanders for detail sanding you’ll find and for the price, it’s hard to go wrong. It’s also one of the best sanders for doors and other projects that require more detailed sanding.

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What to Consider When Buying a Sander for Hardwood Floors

Size of the Sander & Space You’re Sanding

The most important consideration when deciding which sander is right for you is the size of the floor you’re refinishing and the size of the sander.

Obviously, larger sanders will making sanding the surface fast and easier – but if you’re working on a smaller floor, then you can opt for a smaller sander that can still get the job done.

If you’re sanding the floors of an entire home, you’ll want to go with a belt sander or a larger drum floor sander.

If you’re working on a smaller portion of a floor, you can opt for an orbital, detail, or finishing sander.

Are you doing trim work? Check out these best sanders for wood trim!

Power & Speed

The power of your sander is another key consideration when finding a sander for hardwood floors. More powerful and faster sanders can help you finish your work faster and without as much work.

If your sander isn’t powerful enough, you’ll be forced to go over the same areas multiple times until the finish is removed. This will take much longer and cause more strain on your body than if you opt for a sander that can get the job done in one pass.

Speed should also be considered. In most sanders, more power will result in more speed – but not always. Some sanders can be less powerful but still produce decent speed. With these sanders, you’ll find yourself applying too much pressure to the sander to make up for the lack of power which can damage both the sander as well as your floors.

Dust Collection

Dust collection is another thing you’ll want to consider when purchasing a sander. Most sanders will feature an onboard dust bag or collection system as well as a port to hook it up to an external vacuum.

Dust removal is important because if the sanding surface isn’t clear, your sander can cause swirl marks on the floor when you go over it with a sander.


There’s a large range in prices when it comes to power sanders, so depending on your budget, finding a sander at the right price can be a challenge.

Most sanders will cost anywhere from $50 to over $300. Professional quality sanders can cost upwards of $2,000 or $3,000.

Need some help sanding your floors? Check out the video below for more help!

Final Thoughts

When it comes to sanding wood floors, there’s one sander that sets itself apart from the rest. And that’s the Makita Belt Sander. This sander is extremely powerful and large enough to get the job done quickly, saving you time. It’s a tough sander that will last for years so I highly recommend it.

If you want an orbital sander, I recommend either the Makita or DeWalt orbital sanders. The only differences between these options is the corded or cordless model.

Finally, if you want a great sander but you’re on a budget, the SKIL Belt Sander is a tremendous option that’s great for wood floors.