Best Sander for Deck Refinishing: How to Choose the Right Type

Published on: March 22, 2022
Written by David Rowan / Fact-checked by Eric Devin

A sander could also be a machine used to smooth surfaces by abrasion with sandpaper. Sanders can attach the sandpaper and a mechanism to maneuver it rapidly within a housing to hand-hold it or fix it to a workbench.

Sanding is the most and most time-consuming job in woodworking. No matter what type of job you are doing, you need to sand the wooden surface to smooth it.

sander for deck refinishing how to choose the right type

As it takes too much time to complete, most don’t find it interesting to do. But if you have the right deck sander, you can complete the job in a comparatively short time.

And to find the right sander, you don’t need to be worried much!

What is a Deck Sander

A sander is mainly used for sanding a surface with abrasion and sandpaper. This sandpaper is attached to the sander and moves rapidly on the working piece to make this smooth.

Usually, sanders are powered by electricity but you can also find battery-powered sanders available on the market.

You’ll also find different types of sanders for sanding your deck. Knowing about the types of sanders will also help you to choose the right sander for your deck.

Stroke sanders use a hand-operated plate placed in a standard sanding belt to apply accurate pressure. It is mostly used to smooth the finish on doors, cabinets, tabletops, and any other large surface.

Types of Sander

The available types of deck sanders are-

Flap Sander

This is a Rolodex-shaped sander, also known as a sanding flap wheel. They can be used on bench grinders or hand-held drills. Flap sanders are usually used to smoothen any curved surface.

Belt Sander

A belt sander is also known as a strip sander. This type of sander is used for shaping wood & other materials. While using a belt sander the material is moved toward the sanding belt.

Disc Sander

Disc sanders are generally used as the stationary benchtop sander, and they have replaceable & circular sandpaper. This type of sander is turned by electric motors or compressed air.

Orbital Sander

Orbital sanders are handheld power tools and they vibrate in small circles. These sanders are mainly used to remove tiny materials.

Wide Belt Sanders

This is the largest sander among all other sanders. This type of sander uses a large belt and is used for sanding large surfaces.

Drum Sander

The drum sander is another large tool that is fitted with a rotating sanding drum. This is also designed for sanding large surfaces.

Stroke Sander

Stroke sanders use a hand-operated plate placed in a standard sanding belt to apply accurate pressure. It is mostly used to smooth the finish on doors, cabinets, tabletops, and any other large surface.

How to Choose the Right Deck Sander

In order to get maximum output from your sander you need to get the best sander. And selecting the best one for you is not so difficult if you consider some must-have features while buying. They are-

Consider Your Requirements

This is the most important thing you should find out while buying a deck sander. Think about what type of sander you need to complete your project, do you need a tool to get a smooth surface finishing or want to remove any material from the workpiece, or do you need to do both with your sander?

Once you’ve found out your requirement, it’ll be easy to choose the perfect one for your project.

Machine Type

As mentioned above, you’ll find several variations for deck sanders in the market. But all sanders can’t perform well in all types of sanding jobs. So you should check the types of sanders and what they can do specifically, then choose the one that is able to complete your job properly.

Head Type

The next important thing you should consider while buying is the head type of the sander. For selecting the best one, select the one that is suitable for your working piece and can fulfill your requirement.


For buying a deck sander, we usually measure the sander in inches; in short, if the sander is wide enough, it will be able to cover more surface area at once. But keep in mind that you may not be able to reach the corners with a too-large sander, and a smaller sander may need more time to complete your project. So choose the size that can help you to sand your deck perfectly.


To know the strength of a sander, the best way is to measure the size of the motor. For any handheld sander, the motor size is measured in amps. And it’ll be best if you get one with at least 3 amps motor. Otherwise, you’ll need more time to complete your work.


The speed of the sander is another important factor that can help you determine how fast you’ll be able to complete your job. Sometimes you may need to work with different types of working materials. In that case, a deck sander with variable speed can help you to deal with all of them by controlling the speed.

View Our Selected Sander for Deck Refinishing, Below-

Just do a little bit of research online, know about different deck sander types, and get the one that your job requires.

You can also check my guideline if you’re looking for a new deck sander. Here I’ve also included the specification of the top-rated 5 sanders with the features of a good sander.

Let’s dig in…

Makita 9403 Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

  • The package includes a sander, abrasive belt of 80 Grit, and dust bag ;
  • Speed: 1,640 FPM;
  • Motor: 11 amp;
  • Model no: 9403;
  • Belt size: 4-Inch-by-24-Inch;
  • Weight: 13 pounds. 

For use on deck, we need a sander that is not too heavy to glide and not too light to remove the stocks in one go. This model of the belt sander is an aggressive beast. With its 13 pounds weight and well-balanced body, it removes stocks from the deck surface really fast. It is equipped with an 11 amp motor that can draw more than 1600 FPM speed.

Though it is quite strong on wood surfaces, it is made convenient for users. The dust collection bag swivels so that you can keep it out of the way you want while operating. Besides, the dust collection itself is flawless and collects more than 95 percent of the produced dust. Whereas, to give the machine a long life, it is made dust protected. 

We often need different tools to sand the corners of the deck if the machine is not good enough to do so. But that is less likely to happen with Makita 9403 sander. Its nose is handy to reach corners, saving downtime from using additional tools. Even at the highest speed, it creates a low humming sound. You may not need any earplugs while running it. It is quite necessary if you don’t want to bother neighbors with your

Things We Liked

  • Noise-free;
  • Dust-sealed construction;
  • Fast and efficient sanding;

Things We Didn’t Like

  • No cons.

Bosch OS50VC 1/2-Sheet Orbital Finishing Sander with Vibration Control

  • The package includes the sander and attachments;
  • Speed: 1400-2000 RPM;
  • Motor: 3.4 amp
  • Model no: OS50VC;
  • Weight: 8.5 pounds. 

The thing I love most is its dust collection system. It is as good as attaching a shop vac with it. Other than extracting all the specks of dust, it also filters the finest clouds of particles up to ½ microns. Besides, disposing of the residue from the canister is also made convenient. It is translucent blue, so you know when it is time to empty the canister. No need to detach the cup; there is a twisted cap by the end so that you can dispose of the debris without detaching the canister.

There is an identical vibration control system in this machine. So, you will barely feel any vibration while operating. This feature is essential for long-term operation as well as for oldies with multiple arthritic problems.

It is powerful, durable, and convenient for sanding decks and any other hard surface. For the advantages you get, the price is totally worth it.

Things We Liked

  • Effective dust collection and disposal;
  • Compatible with different types of papers;
  • Low vibration;
  • Comfortable and convenient. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • No cons.

DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander

  • The package includes a sander, dust bag, and carrying bag;
  • Speed: 8,000 to 12,000 OPM;
  • Motor: 3 amp
  • Model no: DWE6423K;
  • Pad size: 5 inches;
  • Weight: 4 pounds. 

Orbital sanders are less suitable for their circular pad. It can’t reach the corners of a square-shaped deck. Despite that, we decided to incorporate this sander because of its versatility. It is an all-rounder sander to do paint removal to polishing delicate pieces of furniture. If you are a DIY hobbyist and want to invest in a multipurpose sander, this machine is one of your dreams.

It is a more economical solution than using a belt sander on a small-sized deck. It comes with a built-in dust bag, but you can choose to order an adapter separately to attach it to standard vacuums. Otherwise, purchase a DWV010 or DWV012 dust collector to attach without any adapter.

Things We Liked

  • Budget-friendly;
  • Multi-purpose;
  • Dust protected.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Needs adapters to connect different vacuums.

SKIL SR211601 Random Orbital Sander with Cyclonic Dust Box

  • The package includes random orbital sander, 1pc Dust Box, 3pcs Sanding Sheet;
  • Sanding orbit (millimeter): 2.7;
  • Motor: 2.8 amp;
  • Sanding movements: 7000-13000;
  • Model no: SR211601;
  • Weight: 3.44 pounds. 

It is the lowest price belt sander on this list. It can be available at a cheap price, but this model is not cheaply made. Other than the less effective dust collection system, additional features seemed convenient to me when I used it first. Some features are really distinct, for example, the pressure control. This feature warns you when the machine is under pressure. 

Hence, it saves the machine from being overloaded and ensures a long life of the machine. It is a single-speed sander, and the highest it can reach is half of the other models. So, don’t expect miracles from it; the performance can be time-consuming compared to pricier belt sanders.

The dust collection system is not very impressive, but the transparent canister is very convenient if you have to depend on it for a while solely.

Things We Liked

  • Comes with a pressure control feature;
  • Equipped with the auto-track system;
  • Variable speed control provides;
  • Ergonomic design and a soft rubber grip.

Things We Didn’t Like

Slow rotation;

  • Nothing mentioned.

Jet JWDS-1020 Benchtop Drum Sander

  • Motor: 1HP; 
  • Model no: JWDS-1020, 723510;
  • Weight: 73 pounds.

The Jet JWDS-1020 may be a decent sander. We liked it. You’ll use it to sand down a deck just fine.

It aggressively goes after whatever you’re trying to sand and has the sturdiness to last until the work is completed. It also comes with reasonably decent features. It doesn’t shine at anything, but it won’t leave you frustrated and prepared to throw it against the wall, either.

And that’s the thing with the compact JWDS-1020. It does what you’d expect but doesn’t roll in the hay in a way that leaves you in awe of it. That’d be one thing if it had also been light on the wallet, but it’s not. It’s one of the foremost costly models we checked out. It exists in the worst places for tools. You’ll either pay much less and obtain similar quality or pay just a touch more and obtain exceptionally.

And that, not quality, is why we ranked it last.

Things We Liked

  • Long power cable;
  • Requires less maintenance;
  • Easy to store and transport. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive;
  • Very heavy.

Staying Safe at Your Workplace

You should be ready to use equivalent safety precautions when performing on your outdoor deck as you’d for any of the smaller wood projects you are doing in your shop. It’s essential to recollect that these precautions are even as crucial within the outdoors as inside for a couple of reasons.

First off, the dust generated as you’re employed will be an outsized volume and can still bother your eyes and lungs. Remember that most wood utilized on outdoor decks is chemically processed to face up to the weather and that they may have various coatings that you have applied to them previously. That creates eye protection, and a dust mask or respirator is mandatory.

It would help if you also used hearing protection as you’ll be operating your sander for long periods of your time. High-powered sanders, like belt sanders, can generate tons of noise. Put on a pair of earmuffs or earplugs to guard your hearing and avoid developing tinnitus.

Heavy gloves will help absorb some vibration and keep your hands protected as you’re employed on the deck. Finally, an honest pair of knee pads will keep your knees from hurting as you’re used across the deck from one end to the opposite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Use a Belt Sander or an Orbital Sander for the Deck?

Keep in mind that the woods used on decks are usually fine wood species. Whether it’s a belt sander, a handheld model, or a giant upright, it will usually outgrow softwoods, so a rocking or irregular circle sander is usually a good decision. Before sanding makes sure your deck is completely dry.

How Long Does It Take to Sand a Deck With an Orbital Sander?

As a rule, it will take you 8 hours to sand a deck of 25m2 using a belt sander. However, there are a few factors that can affect the amount of time your decking takes in the sand.

What is the Best Sander for Decks?

Sanding wood decks with a belt sander is the best choice to organize for deck staining or painting. Because these areas are completely flat surfaces that don’t have too many corners, sharp edges, or narrow spaces, a belt sander with a good belt is the best tool to hide the surface quickly and efficiently.

What is the Most Straightforward Sort of Sander for Refinishing Furniture?

Palm sander

The best sander for furniture is probably a palm sander. A palm sander will hold 1 / 4 to a half sheet of sandpaper. It’s used for broad, flat surfaces.

Should You Wash the Deck After Sanding?

It would help if you washed the deck after sanding to get rid of all the dust and open up the wood pores that get clogged when sanding.


So this is the information that can help you to choose the right deck sander to finish your working surface smoothly. Just consider the type of job and your material and match them with other features to get the one that suits your job best.

You can also check the list I’ve mentioned above, they are also able to meet your requirements. Choose one from the best 5 and give it a try. I think you’d not get disappointed.

If you already found one, you can let me know why you like it most! Maybe I can include that in my list and try it for my project.

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About This Writer

david rowan author

Hello, I am David Rowan. I am a professional contractor with 10 years of experience in home building, different tools used, construction, home remodeling, and other home improvement work. I have already built many custom homes and continued to do several woodworking projects along with how to deal with all categories of tools.

Hello, I am David Rowan. I am a professional contractor with 10 years of experience in home building, different tools used, construction, home remodeling, and other home improvement work. I have already built many custom homes and continued to do several woodworking projects along with how to deal with all categories of tools.

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