Best Sander for Trim Work

I Tested 5 Sanders for Trim Work: These are the Best (2024)

If you’re working on trim, sanding is a critical step to ensure a smooth surface. You’ll need to fill your nail holes with a filler and sand them down for an even finish that blends into the trim before breaking out the paint.

If you’re working with painted trim, having a more powerful sander is even more important so you can remove the existing finish.

But some sanders are better than others when it comes to trim work. That’s why I put together this list of the best sanders for trim work.

In a hurry? The best sander for trim work is the Makita Random Orbit Sander. This is a powerful and effective sander that works amazing on trim, and it’s priced right so you don’t have to break the bank to get it.

Quick Answer: Here are My Favorite Sanders for Wood Trim šŸ‘‡

Best Sander for Trim Work

1. Makita Orbital Sander – #1 Best Overall

Makita Orbital Sander
Makita BO5041 5″ Random Orbit Sander, Variable Speed
  • 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

If you’re sanding trim, the Makita Orbital Sander is the best sander for the job. This is a powerful sander that can easily sand down your trim without much effort.

You won’t have to go over the surface multiple times to get a smooth finish like you do with some other sanders.

This sander features a variable speed control dial, so you can get the exact speed you need ā€“ which helps to reduce swirl marks when sanding wood.

The dust collection system does a pretty good job of keeping dust out of the way and the sanding pads are extremely simple to change.

Another awesome feature is the dual grips that make handling and maneuvering this sander extremely easy.

This is also one of the best sanders for furniture and many other wood projects, making it a versatile option that can used for just about any project.

What I Liked:

  • Powerful and effective sander that can make it fast to sand trim
  • Extremely comfortable grip with large trigger
  • Variable speed control dial to easily adjust how fast it spins

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not the cheapest sander on the list
  • Doesn’t come with a sanding pad in the box, so you’ll need to purchase one separately

My Thoughts

Without a doubt, the best sander for trim work is the Makita Random Orbital Sander. This sander has everything you’re looking for in a sander including a powerful motor, comfort, easy to change sanding pads, and a great dust collection system. My only grips that that it’s somewhat more expensive and it doesn’t come with a sanding pad out of the box, but other than that ā€“ this is an amazing sander that I highly recommend.

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2. DeWalt Orbital Sander – Best Cordless Sander

DeWalt Orbital Sander for Hardwood Floors
DEWALT 20V MAX Sander, Cordless, 5-Inch, 2.Ah, 8,000-12,000 OPM, Variable…
  • Orbital sander with brushless motor provides runtime and efficiency to get the job done
  • Variable-speed control of the hand sander from 8,000 to 12,000 OPM to match the speed to the application.
  • Low-profile height of the power sander allows user to get close to work surface for precise sanding.

There’s a big debate in the tool community whether corded or cordless tools are better, and ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

If you want a cordless sander, this DeWalt Cordless Orbital Sander is the best option for sanding trim.

This sander is very powerful that can easily sand wood trim without any problems. It has a variable speed control and the dust bag was very easy to empty.

Dust collection on this sander was pretty good, making it one of the best sanders for removing paint from wood surfaces.

What I Liked:

  • Cordless model so you don’t have to mess with cords
  • Great power and speed so you can sand quicker
  • Can swap batteries with other DeWalt products

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Need to ensure your battery is charged before starting
  • Somewhat more expensive than other sanders

My Thoughts

Overall, the DeWalt 20V Max Orbital Sander is one of the best sanders for trim work and other wooden surfaces. This sander is very powerful and you can easily adjust the sanding speed with the easy to read dial. If you’re looking for a cordless sander, this is one of the best sanders you’ll find. I highly recommend this sander for many different projects.

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3. SKIL Detail Sander – Best Detail Sander

SKIL Detail Sander
SKIL Corded Multi-Function Detail Sander with Micro-Filter Dust Box 3…
  • POWERFUL – With a 1. 2 amp motor and 13,500 orbits per minute, it’s able to deliver a smooth performance over…
  • VERSATILITY ON THE QUICK – This 4-in-1 detail sander comes with an additional 3 detail attachments for fine…
  • TOUGH ON DUST – Between its micro-filtration system and the 1-1/4″ dust port for vacuum attachment you can…

If you’re looking for a detail sander, this SKIL Detail Sander is the best one for trim work. Additionally, for the price, this is one of the most effective sanders you’ll find.

This detail sander, also called a mouse sander works well for wood trim because of its shape and size.

Detail sanders can be more versatile because they work well on large, open surfaces, but they can also reach into tight spaces and corners that other types of sanders can’t.

What I Liked:

  • Great value for the money
  • See-through dust collection system allows you to easily detect when it’s full
  • Comes with multiple detail attachments

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not as powerful as other sanders, so it can require more time to complete the job
  • No variable speed control

My Thoughts

Ultimately, detail sanders can be great for trim work, and this SKIL detail sander is a solid choice. While I don’t necessarily recommend it over the Makita or DeWalt sanders, for the price, it’s hard to go wrong with this sander. This is great for many different sanding tasks including furniture and other projects.

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4. Craftsman Sheet Sander – Best Finishing Palm Sander

Craftsman Palm Sander
CRAFTSMAN Electric Sander, 1/4 inch Sheet, 13,500 OPM, 2 Amp, Corded…
  • COMPLETE TASKS WITH EASE: 2.0 Amps and 13,500 OPM of the electric sander gives you the power to complete tasks…
  • ON-BOARD DUST BAG: High performance dust collection of the 1/4 sheet sander featuring on-board dust bag and…
  • DURABILITY: Dust sealed switch provides added durability

If you’re looking for a sheet sander or palm sander, this Craftsman Finishing Sander is a great choice. With a 2 amp motor, this power sander can produce 13,500 OPM of speed ā€“ which was pretty impressive.

Sheet sanders can be great for wood trim because of their shape, design, and versatility.

The sanding pad is extremely simple to change with metal locking clips that hold the paper in place.

The dust collection was pretty good, but the dust bag will require frequent disposal.

What I Liked:

  • Great value for the price
  • Good dust collection system that keeps your surface clean
  • Extremely easy to change the sanding pad

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not as powerful as other sanders
  • No variable speed settings
  • Dust bag can fill pretty quickly

My Thoughts

The Craftsman Sheet Sander is one of the best wood trim sanders you can buy because of its design. While it’s not quite as powerful as the Makita or DeWalt orbital sanders, this electric sander does a great job sanding wood trim and leaving a smooth surface that’s ready for paint. It’s also super comfortable, so you don’t have to deal with should or arm paint when sanding.

5. Black & Decker Orbital Sander – Best Budget Sander

Black and Decker Sander for Trim
BLACK+DECKER Orbital Sander, 5 Inch, 2.0 Amp, 12000 OPM, Corded, 1…
  • 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 & COMPACT – Fits in tight spaces for more versatile sanding

If you’re on a budget, this Black & Decker Orbital Sander is the best sander for the money. It’s surprisingly powerful and effective despite the lower price tag.

This sander can produce up to 12,000 OPM of speed with a 2 amp motor and it’s perfect for a wide range of projects, including trim work.

Because it’s an orbital sander, it’s not great for tight spaces and the dust collection wasn’t as good as other sanders, but it’s still worth considering.

What I Liked:

  • Extremely good value for the price
  • Surprisingly good power
  • Easy to change the sanding pads
  • Lightweight design helps to limit should and arm fatigue

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not quite as powerful as other sanders
  • Dust collection system wasn’t as good as other sanders
  • No variable speed setting

My Thoughts

If you’re looking for a great sander with a low price, this Black & Decker Orbital sander is a superb choice for wood trim work. This electric sander is great for trim work because if how easy it is to handle and the low price. While it’s not nearly as powerful as the Makita or DeWalt sanders, this sander was still relatively powerful and can get the job done. My only complaint is the dust collection system, but it’s not a massive deal.

What to Consider When Buying a Sander for Trim Work

Size and Type of Sander

When it comes to sanding wood trim, there are certain types and sizes of sanders that are better suited than others.

For example, a large belt sander can be too powerful and large for smaller pieces of trim.

In general, you’ll want to opt for an orbital sander, sheet sander, or palm sander. These are sized right for wood trim, not to mention how versatile they are for sanding other projects.

You can also check out a disc sander or rotary sander, but I think these can be a little too large for trim work.

Power and Speed

When it comes to power and speed of your sander, this is important to consider because this will ultimately determine how much time it will take you when sanding.

Faster and more powerful sanders will be able to sand trim faster and more efficiently so you don’t have to spend all day working.

Additionally, more powerful sanders will require less pressure on the sander, which can help alleviate should and arm pain that can accompany less powerful sanders.

If you’re sanding trim with old peeling paint, you’ll want to go with a more powerful sander but if you’re working with new trim and just need to sand down wood filler, you won’t need as much.

Dust Collection

Dust collection is another key consideration when purchasing a power sander of any kind.

If you purchase a sander with poor dust collection, this can result in sanding marks that produce an uneven finish.

Some sanders will also have the ability to hook up to a shop vacuum via a vacuum hose. This means you won’t have to spend time emptying the dust bag as much as you would otherwise.


In terms of comfort, pretty much all of the sanders I have listed are great. My only preference here was the dual grip of the Makita sander, but all of them are very comfortable.

Less powerful sanders can sometimes vibrate your hand too much and cause irritation, but this wasn’t a huge issue for these sanders.


Price is always an important factor when deciding which sander is best for you. Some sanders can cost over $100, while some can cost under $50.

Ultimately, I believe the best sander will depend on how often you use it. If you are a regular sander, I would recommend going with a mid-tier or high quality sander. However, if this is a one time project, you can get away with a cheaper, less expensive model.

How to Sand Wood Trim

1. Prep Your Materials

First, you’ll want to gather all of the materials and supplies for your trim work. This includes a sander, paint remover solution, a clean rag, and your desired paint.

2. Apply Paint Stripper (Optional)

If you’re dealing with painted wood trim, you’ll want to apply a paint stripper. You can check out some of the best wood stain and paint strippers that will make your job easier.

You’ll want to give it some time to work, but usually this is just a couple hours max.

3. Sand it Down

Finally, you can start sanding the trim down to remove any imperfections in the wood. Depending on the trim sander you use, you may need to make a few passes before the surface is smooth.

Check out the video below to get a smooth surface!

4. Wipe Away Dust

Once sanded, be sure to remove any dust particles that your sander may have left behind. You can use a clean cloth or rag.

5. Paint the Trim

green painted trim on a green wall above a wood couch with colorful pillows

Finally, you can paint the trim the color you want and allow it to dry.

Final Thoughts

The best sander for trim work is the Makita Random Orbit Sander. This is a powerful sander that works wonderfully on wood trim, and it’s priced right so you don’t have to spend a ton.

If you’re looking for a cordless model, I’d recommend the DeWalt 20V Max Orbital Sander. This is also a powerful sander that works great on wood trim.

Finally, if you want something more budget friendly, the Black & Decker Orbital Sander is a great sander for the price. While it’s not as powerful as others, it’ll get the job done much faster than sanding with a sanding block.