As a woodworker and DIYer, I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed to remove paint from wood, walls, or other surfaces.
A power sander can make your job SOOO much easier (trust me, it’s worth it!). Instead of spending hours using a sanding block, you can get the job done in less than an hour or so by using an orbital or belt sander.
That’s why I put together this list of the best sanders for removing paint. I’ve used many different sanders over the years and these are the best of the best.
If you’re in a hurry, the best sander for removing paint is the Makita 5” Random Orbit Sander. This sander produces the power you need with a comfortable grip that can sand any surface and remove paint effortlessly.
Best Paint Sander for Wood Surfaces
- Best Sander for Removing Paint from Wood Deck: Makita Belt Sander
- Best Sander for Removing Paint from Walls: Makita Orbital Sander
- Best Battery Powered Sander: DeWalt Orbital Sander
- Best Detail Sander: Craftsman Detail Sander
- Best for Exterior Paint Removal: Wagner Paint Eater Pal Sander
- Best Budget Sander: Black and Decker Orbital Sander
Compare the Top Sanders for Removing Paint
|Product||Max Speed||Size||Motor||Warranty||Read Review|
|Makita Orbital Sander||12,000 OPM||5″||3 amps||1-year||Learn More|
|Makita Belt Sander||1,640 FPM||4″ x 24″||11 amps||1-year||Learn More|
|DeWalt 20V Cordless Sander||12,000 OPM||5″||20V||3-years||Learn More|
|Black and Decker Orbital Sander||12,000 OPM||5″||2 amps||2-years||Learn More|
|Wagner Paint Eater Palm Sander||2,600 RPM||4.5″||3.2 amps||1-year||Learn More|
|Craftsman Detail Sander||12,000 OPM||NA||20V||3-years||Learn More|
1. Makita 5″ Random Orbital Sander – Best Orbital Sander
- Smoother and faster sanding with 3.0 AMP motor
- Variable speed control dial (4,000-12,000 OPM) enables user to match the sanding speed to the application
- Ergonomic rubberized palm grip and handle for improved operator comfort and control
Makita is one of my favorite brands, and their sanders are among the best on the market.
This 5″ orbital sander is my favorite for a few reasons. First, it’s extremely powerful thanks to its 3 amp motor that can output up to 12,000 OPM.
It’s extremely comfortable to use thanks to the rotatable front handle and it even has a lock on button so you can operate this sander with one hand.
It has a variable speed control so you can decide how fast you want to sander to spin. As far as dust collection is concerned, this sander does a great job. It has an awesome system including a built in vacuum port adapter so it can collect dust quickly.
It’s also double insulated, which might not matter to you, but it means that it’s quieter than some other sanders.
Whether you need to remove paint from wood, a wall, or other surfaces, this sander is an excellent choice that you won’t regret.
What I Liked:
- Very powerful and rugged
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Super easy to swap out sanding pads
- Quiet compared to other sanders
What I Didn’t Like:
- Corded model means the cord can get in the way
- Smaller dust port compared to others
- Not as large of a sanding surface compared to belt sanders
2. Makita 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander – Best Belt Sander
- Low noise (84dB) for operator comfort
- 4″ wide belt with a speed of 1,640 ft./min. for fast material removal
- Labyrinth construction seals and protects motor and bearings from dust and debris for longer tool life
If you’re working on a larger project and don’t want to spend the entire day sanding, purchasing a belt sander is a great option. As a bonus, you can use this sander for other woodworking projects to speed up your work.
The Makita 4″ x 24″ belt sander is an excellent sander that can make your job a breeze.
It can sand at a rate of 1,640 feet per minute – which is extremely fast.
This sander is also surprisingly quieter than some other models despite its power and output.
Just like the Makita orbital sander, this sander also features a great dust collection bag and system. This is even more important for belt sanders because of how fast they work. It comes with a larger dust bag that can hold a decent amount of debris – which is very convenient.
If you want a belt sander that’s a bit smaller, you can opt for their 3″ x 21″ sander that you can find here. It’s the exact same sander, just slightly smaller (and just a hair less expensive).
This is best sander for deck paint removal and it works great on walls and other surfaces where using an orbital sander would take much longer. Because of its power, it can easily remove paint and prep the area for a fresh coat.
What I Liked:
- Very powerful
- Massive sanding surface
- Very quiet despite power
- Sanding belt was pretty easy to change
What I Didn’t Like:
- Much more expensive
- Cords can get in the way
- Heavier than many orbital sanders
3. DeWalt 5″ Random Orbital Sander – Best Cordless Sander
- Variable speed to match the speed to the application
- Texturized rubber overmold grip for more comfortable sanding
- Low height gets you closer to the work surface for more control when sanding
The best cordless sander is the DeWalt 5″ Orbital sander. Just like Makita, DeWalt is another one of my favorite brands that I’ve used for many years. I own the corded version, but I’ve used the cordless version and love it.
This sander features the standard 20V max battery, meaning if you own any of DeWalt’s other products like I do you can easily swap the batteries between them.
Despite its compact design, it has a variable speed control between 8,000 and 12,000 OPM which is enough for pretty much any job.
This sander is excellent at removing paint from just about any surface, making it one of my top choices.
What I Liked:
- Cordless sander so no pesky cords
- Super easy to replace sanding pads
- Very comfortable grip
- Long lasting battery (lasted about 4 hours for me)
What I Didn’t Like:
- Somewhat heavier than corded models because of the battery
- Not as big as a belt sander, so larger projects can take longer
- Seems to jerk your hand because of the power, which can be uncomfortable for some
4. Black and Decker 5″ Orbit Sander – Budget Pick
- HIGH PERFORMANCE ORBIT SANDER – 2.0 Amp corded electric random orbit sander for a swirl-free finish
- HIGH EFFICIENCY – Delivers 12000 OPM (orbits per minute) to quickly sand material
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMPACT – Fits in tight spaces for more versatile sanding
If you want a cheap power sander that will get the job done, this Black and Decker sander is a great pick.
This sander, while not the most powerful you’ll find, still packs a punch and does a decent job of removing paint from wood. It has a 1.2 amp motor that can supply 16,000 OPM – which is quite high given it’s powered by less amps.
One cool thing about this sander that the others don’t have is the ability to add a finger attachment so you can reach areas in tight spaces.
It surprisingly also boasts a 2-year warranty which is longer than some of the better known brands.
It does include a dust collection tray, but it’s small. If you’re using this on a large deck, you’re going to have to constantly empty it out, which can be annoying.
The thing I liked least about this sander want the amount of weight and pressure you have to put on it to remove paint (due to the less powerful motor). After a while, your shoulder and arm will begin to get tired which is a pain. So I don’t really recommend this electric sander if you’re using it on a larger area.
What I Liked:
- Very affordable and the least expensive on my list
- Finger attachment was great for reaching hard to reach areas
- 2- year warranty
What I Didn’t Like:
- Had to put more weight on the sander because it’s less powerful
- Smaller dust collection
- Corded model
5. Wagner Paint Eater Palm Sander – Best Sander for Exterior Paint Removal
- ROTATING PALM SANDER: The PaintEater 4-1/2″ disc sander is tough on paint but gentle on surfaces, making this…
- FLAWLESS DESIGN: 3M spun-fiber disc operates at 2,600 RPM to provide the perfect combination of user control…
- PAINT REMOVAL AT ANY ANGLE: Operating the disc on its edge removes stubborn paint chips. Operating the disc…
Another great sander you’ll want to consider is the Wagner Paint Eater Palm Sander. This sander is specifically manufactured to “eat paint”. It’s in the name!
This is perfect for exterior paint removal because it works on a variety of surfaces. Concrete, wood, and even metal are no match for this sander. It will chew through paint and
One of the key differences in this sander verse others is the sanding pad that it comes with. Instead of traditional sandpaper, this sander uses a 3M spun fiber disc that is heavier duty so it can sand through paint with ease.
The only reason why I don’t recommend this sander over some of the others above is because it lacks versatility.
It also doesn’t have variable speed control, so it spins at 2,600 OPM no matter what you’re doing, which gives you less control.
What I Liked:
- The special open-web disc can tear through paint easily
- Works on concrete, wood, furniture, metal, and other surfaces
- Great on uneven surfaces because of the special sanding disc
What I Didn’t Like:
- Specialized product that’s not great for other sanding jobs
- Not as powerful as other sanders
6. Craftsman Detail Sander – Best Detail Sander
- VARIABLE SPEED: Provides 9,000 – 12,000 OPM to help you tackle various projects
- HIGH-ENDURANCE: Dust-sealed switch provides durability
- RAPID, VERSATILE DUST COLLECTION featuring dust bag and 1-1/4 in vacuum connection
Another fantastic sander for paint removal is the Craftsman Detail Sander. This is one of the best sanders you can buy featuring a powerful motor, a solid dust collection system, and it’s battery powered so you don’t have to worry about cords getting in your way.
Just like other sanders, this detail sander features variable speed control which gives you more control in addition to a comfortable grip.
It also includes a decent dust collection system and a port to connect a third party vacuum if desired.
What I Liked:
- Lighter weight compared to other cordless model sanders
- Cordless model, so you don’t have to mess with extension cords
- Longer 3-year warranty
What I Didn’t Like:
- Have to purchase the battery separately
- Not quite as powerful as other sanders
Considerations When Buying a Power Sander
Like with all power tools, the power that your tool produces is a major component in how it performs, and it’s no different when it comes to purchasing a sander.
Power is measured by the amps of the motor and the OPM (for orbital sanders) or FPM (for belt sanders) they produce.
Stronger motors will typically be able to produce higher OPM or FPM when sanding wood. The maximum sanding speed is important because it can help you get your job done faster.
But it’s even more important when sanding paint. Because old paint can be so difficult to remove, the power your sander produces can give it the edge over other options.
You can also check out these sanders for deck refinishing!
Size of Project (Type of Sander)
The size of your project is another key consideration that you should analyze when purchasing the right sander.
For larger projects, a belt sander could be a better option because of how large the sanding surface is. However, you do lose some versatility by purchasing a belt sander. You won’t be able to sand in tight spaces or corners – so you’d need to use a sanding block in those cases.
If you’re working on smaller projects or need more precisions, an orbital sander might be a better option.
Ease of Use and Comfort
How easy and comfortable your sander is should also be considered when deciding which you should go with.
In terms of comfort, most sanders will feature various ergonomic grips that should feel comfortable in your hand. Some will have additional grips that can give you more control and versatility, so it’s something to keep an eye on.
But I think the biggest factor that this comes down to is corded vs cordless sanders.
In short, corded models are typically more powerful and lighter – but you’ll have to deal with cords around you, which can be frustrating. If you’re working in a large area, you’ll need an extension cord to move around.
Battery powered models aren’t quite as powerful (but close!) and heavier (thanks to the battery), but you don’t have to mess with cords around you. Some cordless models can use the same batteries as other power tools, which can be very convenient.
Ultimately, this will depend on your personal preference as to wether you prefer a corded or cordless model sander.
When you’re sanding anything, you’re going to run into sawdust. And your sander might come with a dust bag that can help you manage the dust so it doesn’t get in the way.
Most electric sanders will feature some kind of dust collection system that can help you keep it out of the way. The size of the bag is something to take a look at so you can decide how often you’ll have to empty it.
Some sanders might also have an adapter port so you can hook up your own dust bag.
Obviously, the price of the sander can play a big part in which you should purchase. As a general rule of thumb, belt sanders will cost more than orbital sanders.
Types of Sanders
When it comes to finding the right sander, you have several options.
First, there are orbital sanders (as called random orbital sanders). These are perfect for small to medium sized projects. They offer more versatility with a decent amount of control. The sandpaper is easily swapped out and they are lighter-weight compared to belt sanders.
Then there are belt sanders. Belt sanders feature a much larger sanding surface that can make your job faster. That said, you’ll lose more control and you won’t get nearly the same accuracy as you would with an orbital or detail sander.
Finally, there are detail sanders. A detail sander isn’t quite as good at removing paint specifically, so if that’s your goal, you might want to opt for another type. These are made to reach more tight areas and spaces that you can’t reach with other types.
There are some additional more unique sanders like a vertical disc sander that are great for specific uses.
How to Use a Sander for Paint Removal
There are a few different ways you can remove paint from wood. Sanding or using a stripper are two of the most common methods. Sanding offers the quickest and easiest result, which is why so many people do it.
Here are some tips for removing paint from wood with a sander.
- Start with a high grit sandpaper. The grit of the sandpaper you use will impact how easy or difficult paint removal is when using an electric sander. By starting with a high grit (or tougher) sandpaper, it should eat through paint easier. Once you’ve gone over the surface with a higher grit sandpaper, you can go back over it with a finer grit paper to prep it for a fresh coat of paint or stain.
- Let the sander do the work. When sanding, you might be tempted to applying your weight on the sander in order to make removing paint easier, but this can cause problems. Not only will your shoulder begin to hurt but also it can cause excess wear and tear on your sander so it won’t last as long.
- Use the right type of sander. If you couldn’t tell by now, using the right type of sander is critical to making your job easier.
- Take your time! It might seem obvious, but it isn’t always the case. Taking your time when sanding can go a long way in the final results.
Check out the video below for more info on sanding furniture!
Can I use a sander to remove paint?
Yes! You can use a sander for removing paint from many different surfaces including wood, metal, concrete, and more. The best sanders for removing paint are a random orbital sander or a belt sander.
Is an orbital sander good for removing paint?
Yes! orbital sanders can be great for paint removal because of the vibrations and rotation that the sander provides. You can use a high grit sandpaper to start removing old paint with your power sander and then switch to a finer grit sandpaper to prep the area for finishing.
What kind of sander removes the most material?
Belt sander will remove the most material compared to other types. These sanders contain the largest sanding surface and the most power. They are more expensive, but they can be super convenient to own.
Using a power sander to remove paint is a fast way to get the job done. But finding the right sander can be more challenging than you think.
If you’re working on a larger project, I recommend the Makita Belt Sander. This is the best belt sander you’ll find and although it’s more expensive, it’s worth it.
You can also check out my list of the best sanders for furniture for all of your projects.