Sheet Sander vs Orbital Sander

Sander are an essential electric power tool for the woodworker. They take the drudgery out of sanding, and make the process easier on your arms and wrists. But with so many types of sanders available to consumers, like belt sanders, angled sander, sheet sander, palm sander and more. It can be difficult to select which one will work best for your needs.

Sheet Sander and Orbital Sander one of the most popular sanders for woodworking and home improvement project and its the best choose for people who wants a popular mechanics that cuts and smoothest sanding.

So here we compare two types of sanders,  sheet sander vs orbital sander, in details, comparison and benefits.  Compare the two types of sanders individually and decide which one will suit you better.

What is Sheet Sander?

Sheet Sander
Photo by Istockphoto

Sheet Sander is also known as Palm Sander, it is a type of power tool used for finishing and smoothing wood. It has a flat sanding surface generally made from sandpaper sheet, which runs over an abrasive material known as an ‘abrasive sheet’. A sheet sander is one of the most common and versatile power tools.

Sheet Sander pad has a rectangle shape which is made of square pad sheets that holds a sanding block with an abrasive material. By combining this shape of the pad with the back and forth motion of the sander, you can use this power sander for detailing on small or large surface.

A sheet sander’s rectangle or square sanding pad means you can work in corners with ease. When you compare the price of sheet sanders to other types of sanders, it is usually on the affordable side.

What is Orbital Sander?

Orbital Sander
Photo by istockphoto

Orbital sander is also known as random orbital sander, or finishing sander, it is a type of power tool used for finishing and smoothing wood. As the name suggests, orbital sanders use an irregular motion to rotate the sanding pad in an oval or circular motion, and side to side motion.

Compared to other sanders, Orbital Sander is much easier to control and operate. It’s often thought of as the perfect sander for beginners due to its versatility and low cost.

The orbital motion of the sander is what makes it different from a regular sander. The circular motion of the pad in an orbital sander causes it to constantly move back and forth, which makes the job faster and easier.

Sheet Sander vs Orbital Sander Comparison

Let’s we discuss and see the main comparison of sheet sander vs orbital sander. After reading the comparison you will be able to know about sheet sanders or orbital sander and decide which one is better for your project.

1. Main Operation: Sheet Sander are basically work Back-and-forth Motion to sanding surface, there is no circular motion. However, orbital sander works in a combination of circular and side-to-side motion.

2. Power: Sheet sander are generally lightweight and small, so it doesn’t need much power to run. Orbi​​tal sanders use a large amount of power to run the motor, which creates the powerful orbital action that makes it so effective at removing material quickly but easily.

3. Weight: Sheet sander have lighter weight, they are more portable. Orbital sander have heavier weight, they are more stable and stable to use.

4. Type of Sanding pad: The Rectangular Sanding Pad used in Sheet sander, and Orbital sander are used Circular Sanding Pad.

5. Sanding Material: Abrasive Sheets are used in Sheet sander, and Abrasive Discs are used in Orbital sander.

6. Suitable For: Sheet sander is suitable sanding tool that finishing corners and edges. Orbital sander is suitable for Sanding, smoothing as well as finishing wood and metal surfaces.

7. Price / Cost: The price of orbital sander is more than sheet sander. Sheet Sander are more Affordable and orbital are more Slightly expensive then sheet sander.

8. Dust Collection: Both sander are electric sander and both has sanding dust collection system . In this case, orbital sander is more advanced (it has 4 different dust collection systems), so it is more suitable for professional work.

9. Swirl Marks: The sheet sander is Possible, especially for beginners, the sheet sander can make swirl marks on the wood surface. Orbital Sander is Sanding, smoothing as well as finishing wood and metal surfaces.

10. Consistency: The sheet sander is Better for fast detailing and to get used to the machine. But orbital sander is better in Consistent sanding.

Pros and Cons Of Sheet sander and Orbital Sander

Before you buy a sheet sander or orbital sander , you must read the both pros and cons.  Read the features of sheet sanders here and orbit sander here to make a better decision.

Sheet sander

  • Lightweight and small in size, easy to handle and portable.
  • Easy to control, so you can work in corners without any problems.
  • It doesn’t need much power to run.  So it is affordable than other sanders.
  • The abrasive sheets come in many different grades, so you can use the right one for the job.
  • It is suitable for finishing corners and edges.
  • Less expensive than other sanders.
  • It doesn’t have the ability to cut into wood.
  • In case you accidentally leave it in the sand paper and fall down, it may cause damage.
  • It doesn’t have the ability to make a smooth surface.

Orbital sander

  • It has more power, so to make the sanding motion of orbitals is more powerful.
  • The orbital motion of the sander creates the circular action which makes the sanding fast and easy.
  • It has a wide range of use, so it is suitable for all kinds of woodworking.
  • The orbital motion of the sander removes material quickly and easily.
  • It has larger sanding pads and stronger motor than sheet sander.
  • The starting price of orbital sander is higher than sheet sander.
  • It has the ability to cut into wood.
  • Not owned safely by anyone.
  • It is heavier than sheet sander.

Sheet Sander vs Orbital Sander: Which is Better?

Here’s the important question. When it comes to sheet sanders vs orbital sanders, which one should you choose? Here are a few simple suggestions.

Sheet Sander vs Orbital Sander both are suitable for finishing and surface sanding, so you can use either of them for your project. But, as we discussed previously, if you are looking for finishing and surface sanding then go for sheet sander.

RELATED: How To Sand A Table With An Electric Sander

Orbital sander can be used for all kinds of sanding, so if you are looking for a good quality orbital sander then it should be your choice.

Sheet sander is more affordable than the orbital sanders or random orbit sander. If you have a tight budget, then sheet sander is the right choice.

If you are a beginner in woodworking, then sticking to sheet sanders will help develop your skills. Since they are easy to use and handle, they make learning and practicing woodworking fun.

If you are looking to take your woodworking skill to the next level, then stick to orbital sanders. Since they have more power and speed, you can use it for a variety of projects.

ALSO READ: How to Use a Palm Sander DIY Project

In summary, it all depends on your priority and what’s best sander for you. The decision is yours.

Check this video for more information about sheet sander vs orbital sander:

What is better round or square sander?

Round sander or square sander both are used for shaping the wood. Round sander is mainly used to shape inside and outside while square sander is used for the corner and edge. Now days, both round and square sander are used.

What sander is best for removing paint?

If you are removing the paint from your wooden furniture you can use random orbital sander , belt sander and finish sander. These are the best ones for removing the paint.


In general, the orbital sander is more powerful and feature rich than the sheet sander. The speed, power and range of use are far greater at the orbital sander. I would personally go for an orbital sander over the sheet sander.

However, it all depends on your budget, and you need to decide for yourself which sander suits you best. If you like this article and you have any question then please ask in the comment box below.

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