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Best Sander for Body Work: Review And Buying Guide

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If you are looking to refinish your car’s body, you should know sanding is essential. It helps smoothen out the surface of the vehicle before painting. This ensures that your paint job looks sleek and professionally done. Sanders are tools meant to make this job easier for everyone. These power tools help cover large areas with minimal effort. There are many types of sanders available in the market. If you’re unsure what you’re looking for, picking the right sander can be intimidating. This is why we have picked out the best sanders for bodywork that you can buy. Read on to find the best sander for you and some fresh tips in our buying guide.

Types of Sander for Body Work

There are several types of sander one can buy for auto bodywork. Each work in different ways and have their advantages. Here’s a list of other sanders so you can understand which one works best for you.

Orbital Sander

Orbital sanders are one of the most commonly used types of sanders. They are extremely good at finishing off a sanding job. When used with a light, even pressure, they give the smoothest finish. Random orbital sanders are another type of orbital sanders. The sanding head on this one moves in multiple directions. This is what gives it its name. They are more suited for small-to-medium jobs. This is because they are not the most powerful sanders out there.

Also Read: Best Sander for a Deck

Belt Sander

This is one of the toughest kinds of sanders. It is made of a long strip of sandpaper that rotates around two barrels. It is highly versatile- you can use it on several different surfaces. Belt sanders work on wood, metal, and ever fiberglass. They are best used to smoothen out rough surfaces. Since they are so powerful, you can use them to polish or grind metal.  

Straight Line Sander

Straight-line sanders are usually larger. Due to this, they can cover large areas with ease. They do a job very similar to sanding boards but provide more power. All auto shops and professional bodywork places will have a straight line sander. You can also use this type of sander on multiple surfaces. They are mostly used on sheet metal, steel, or fiberglass. They are an ideal fit for sanding down large, flat surfaces.

Detail Sander

A detail or palm sander is one of the smallest sander types. They are usually lightweight and powered by a smaller motor. Detail sanders have a tapering front. It is typically a triangle or teardrop in shape. This narrow front makes it easy for this sander to reach difficult places. Most detail sanders can get into small corners. They make sanding out complex projects and tricky corners easier. They can only be used for lightweight jobs, but investing in a detail sander is smart.

6 best sander for bodywork: Reviewed

DEWALT DWE6421 5” Random Orbit Sander

DEWALT DWE6421 Random Orbit Sander

The DeWalt random orbit sander is one of the best tools. This electrical sander works great in several settings. This device is pretty powerful with a 3.0AMP motor. It is also wonderfully lightweight. It is very easy to change the sandpaper on this sander. Its 12000 OPM provides a smooth finish. The dust-collection bag is secure and makes for easy clean-up.

Key Specifications

  • Weight (pounds)  – 2.9
  • Dimensions (inches) – ‎10.38 x 7.25 x 6.18
  • Amps/volts –  3 AMP
  • Speed (FPM/OPM) – 12000 OPM 

Pros 

  • Provides great power
  • The carrying case keeps all parts in place
  • Works with an even balance

Cons

  • Works on a single speed
  • The cord is a bit short

Makita 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander BO5041K Kit

Makita 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander BO5041K Kit

The Makita Random Orbit Sander is an absolute breeze to use. It is versatile and straightforward. With a variable speed setting, you can choose to work between 4000-12000 OPM. It has multiple handles that allow you to switch holding positions easily. It provides a comfortable grip which reduces the strain on your wrist. In addition, the dust-collection bag does a great job of keeping the area cleaner.  

Key Specifications

  • Weight (pounds)  – 3.09
  • Dimensions (inches) – ‎7.5 x 16.3 x 10.3
  • Amps/volts –  3 Amps
  • Speed (FPM/OPM) – 4000-12000 OPM

Pros 

  • Adjustable handle with an ergonomic grip
  • Dust capturing system works through the pad
  • Lockable on switch doesn’t have to be held down

Cons

  • The velcro gripping the disc gets loose in some cases

Bosch GET75-6N Electric DA Sander 

Bosch GET75-6N Electric DA Sander 

Professionals and DIY-ers alike can use this lightweight machine. It has a sleek body with a uniquely placed side handle. This makes gripping and moving it around easier. The selling point of this device has to be its dual-mode design. It switches between a regular random orbit mode and a turbo direct-drive mode. You can quickly move between the two modes. The turbo mode is faster than the standard model and gets the job done faster. It comes with an adjustable speed, and you can work at speeds of 3200-6650 OPM.

Key Specifications

  • Weight (pounds)  – 5.7
  • Dimensions (inches) – ‎15 x 6.3 x 5.5
  • Amps/volts –  7.5 Amps
  • Speed (FPM/OPM) – 3300 – 7300 OPM

Pros 

  • Dual mode setting
  • Comfortably placed handle for easy grip
  • Built-in dust outlet that can be attached to vacuum cleaners

Cons

  • Users reported the sanding pad to get loose over time

Ingersoll Rand 311A Sander

Ingersoll Rand 311A Sander

This sander comes with many attractive features. The 6-inch pad on this dual-action sander moves swiftly. This means there are no swirl patterns left behind on the surface of your car. It has a low vibration system which makes controlling the device easy. The noise cancellation on this keeps your ears safe as well. It provides excellent power and works efficiently at 12000 RPM. You can even adjust the speed as you like.

Key Specifications

  • Weight (pounds)  – 4.2
  • Dimensions (inches) – ‎9.76 x 10.5 x 6.4
  • Amps/volts –  N/A
  • Speed (FPM/OPM) – 12000 RPM

Pros 

  • Adjustable speed
  • Reduced noise levels to protect ears
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Plastic body may not seem very sturdy
  • Air powered, will need air compressor

PORTER-CABLE 7346SP Electric Dual Action Sander

PORTER-CABLE 7346SP Electric Dual Action Sander

This device is excellent for achieving perfect finishes on any auto body. This may be an electric sander, but you won’t feel the need for an air sander with this. It works just as well, if not better. The Porter cable sander comes with a variable speed setting too. It provides you with a comfortable grip while you work. The ‘L’ shaped body makes it easy to reach all vehicle parts for sanding. 

Key Specifications

  • Weight (pounds)  – 5.5
  • Dimensions (inches) – ‎11.5 x 10.5 x 6
  • Amps/volts –  120 Volts
  • Speed (FPM/OPM) – 2500-6800 OPM

Pros 

  • Powerful machine
  • Works great even with larger projects 
  • Comfortable and ergonomic handle

Cons

  • Strong vibrations compared to other models

Also Read: Best Sander for Cabinets

Hutchins 3500 Super III Random Orbital Sander

Hutchins 3500 Super III Random Orbital Sander

This handy sander is one of the best created by Hutchins. It works just as well on metal or wood. It provides the smoothest finishes as it is a random orbital sander. It’s a lightweight sander, making it easy to move around while working. The powerful motor helps it work for hours. But even so, it is a tranquil machine working at just 80 dB. This is an air sander and will require an air compressor to work.

Key Specifications

  • Weight (pounds)  – 3
  • Dimensions (inches) – ‎12.5 x 5.5 x 5.75
  • Amps/volts –  N/A
  • Speed (FPM/OPM/RPM) – 10000+ RPM

Pros 

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to change pads
  • Controllable speeds
  • Resistant to rust and damage

Cons

  • Needs an air compressor, which may not be as quiet
  • Not easy to use for beginners

Can you use an orbital sander for bodywork?

Yes, you can use orbital sanders for bodywork. Orbital sanders are a very commonly used tool. Due to their popularity, they can be found in most workshops and garages. They are best used to sand and smooth down the final layer before painting a surface. You can also use orbital sanders to give your car a polished, sleek finish.

Random orbital sanders pack more power and give an even smoother finish. In addition, the multiple movements of this sander make it easier to buff out scratches.

Buying Guide: What to look for in a sander for bodywork?

You would want to keep in mind a few things before investing in a sander. We’ve come up with this comprehensive guide to help you make the best possible choice. Here’s what you should consider when picking a sander:

Price

Sanders can be found at several different price points. Unfortunately, there are way too many types and styles of sanders to choose from. Setting a budget can help you narrow down your choices. This can also help you find the right sander for your needs without going overboard.

Power Type

Sanders can be powered in one of three ways. They can be corded, cordless, or air-powered. 

Corded sanders are commonly used at home. They can simply be plugged in and used. These sanders are fairly hassle-free and easy to use. But, the length of the cord may limit mobility in some cases.

Cordless sanders take away the issue with mobility. They run on rechargeable batteries and can be carried around with ease. The power of the cordless sander is usually lower than the other kinds. 

An air-powered sander gives out the most power. It runs on the basis of an air compressor. Air sanders are usually more heavy-duty and are used by professionals or serious DIY-ers. Many sanders these days come with a noise reduction system. But, adding an air compressor to the mix could increase the noise levels.

Speed

Sanders can run at many different speeds. The best type of sander will have a variable speed setting. This allows you to work at low and high speed with the same sander. A faster speed will help you get the job done faster as well. But, some delicate projects will need a lower speed. So, working at a slightly lower speed can also help you achieve the smoothest finish.

Wrapping Up

Sanders are made to make sanding easier for you, and they do a fantastic job at it. But, it may be challenging to pick the right sander from the different choices available. They come in all sizes and shapes, making it intimidating to choose the right one. With this well-researched list, we hope to ease your confusion. Every sander on this list does a great job on auto body surfaces. You are sure to receive a professional finish, no matter which one you pick. Remember to apply even pressure and work swiftly to avoid leaving scratches. If you’re a beginner, consider getting an electrical random orbital sander for the easiest use!