The 9 Best Drywall Sanders
We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you're a professional contractor or a DIY homeowner looking to spruce up the walls and ceilings in various rooms and hallways throughout your home, you'll need one of these efficient drywall sanders to help you do the job. With powerful motors, adjustable lengths, and handy vacuum hose attachments, they provide the tools needed for superior results without the headache of dusty cleanups. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best drywall sander on Amazon.
Choosing Your Drywall Sander
Unless you are sanding a very small surface area, using just a manual model will be grueling, time consuming, and downright inefficient.
Any handyman or contractor can tell you, having the right tool for the job makes all the difference. If you use the wrong tool, the job will suffer, either in efficiency or an inferior end result. If you have determined that you need to do some drywall sanding, it is important to understand the different tools available to you, so that you can ensure that you do, in fact, have the right tool for the job. We can break drywall sanders down into a two main categories: manual and powered.
For most people, a manual drywall sander is definitely not the right tool to tackle the whole job. Unless you are sanding a very small surface area, using just a manual model will be grueling, time consuming, and downright inefficient. Of course, if you don't ever plan on sanding drywall ever again, and you just need to smooth out few small seams before painting, you may not want to, or need to, spend the extra money on purchasing a powered model. If you fall into this category, it is still a smart idea to buy a manual model that features a hose and connects to a shop vac, units commonly referred to as dustless sanders. Otherwise, you'll soon find that every item in the vicinity that isn't covered with a tarp, yourself included, is covered with drywall dust. Ideally a manual model should be used in conjunction with a powered sander.
Powered drywall sanders work very similarly to traditional orbital sanders. They feature a round pad that spins at anywhere from 350 to 3,000 revolutions per minute, and sometimes even faster. One of the most notable differences between these two tools, other than drywall sanders often having a larger sanding disc, is that you'll almost never find a sander intended for drywall use that doesn't have an integrated vacuum hose, whereas there are many traditional orbital sanders that don't have this feature. This is because drywall creates an exorbitant amount of dust when sanded, and there are many dangers associated with inhaling it.
Powered drywall sanders can be further broken down into two sub-categories: handheld and pole-mounted. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that pole-mounted options allow operators a greater reach. If you plan on doing a lot of sanding on the ceiling or high up on walls, a pole-mounted option will be your best bet. Since they keep you a bit further away from the sanding action, they can also help cut down on any the chances of you inhaling some of the dust. The addition of the pole does make the tool heavier, however. So, if you are tall enough to reach all of the areas you plan on sanding, a lightweight handheld model may just the thing.
For the contractors and DIYers out there who want the best of both worlds, there are convertible models that allow for both handheld and pole-mounted use.
What To Know Before You Get Started
While we touched on it briefly in the first section, we would be remiss if we didn't point it out again, and again, and again. Drywall sanding is messy — very messy. Even if you are using a dustless drywall sander, the fine, flour-like drywall dust will still find a way to escape and blanket everything in the house. For this reason, it is very important to prepare the work area before you start. Lay dropcloths over any surfaces or furniture that you cannot remove and seal off any air-return ducts to prevent the dust from spreading to other areas of the home or clogging your AC filter. You should also open the windows for ventilation and position a box fan in some of them to suck the air out. Make sure to remove the screens too, otherwise you will wind up having to clean them.
It is vital to use the proper safety equipment when drywall sanding, as well. This includes a two-strap dust mask or respirator. Make sure to change your dust mask or the filters in your respirator often. Depending on whether or not the room is properly ventilated and if you are using a dustless sander, this may be as often as every 30 minutes or as rarely as every six hours. You should also wear safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes. Since drywall dust can irritate the skin as well, it is not a bad idea to wear long pants and a long sleeve T-shirt.
A Few Helpful Tips To Ensure A Professional-Looking Result
There is no doubt about it, drywall sanding is one of the worst jobs in construction. It is laborious, dirty, and worst of all, very easy to screw up. It's the last chance you have to prepare the foundation correctly. Either you have succeeded in making all of the fasteners and seams look uniformly invisible, or you haven't. Once you move onto the painting stage, the truth will be revealed, and glaringly apparent forevermore.
The dings, pits, and sanded-through areas you should touch up with joint compound before resanding them, either manually or with your powered sander.
Despite how tempting it may be to use a low-grit sandpaper in the hopes of speeding up the job, this is a definite no-no. Using coarse-grit sand paper will result in unsightly sanding marks in the finished surface. Somewhere between 120 and 300 grit will give the best results, depending on if you are using a powered or manual sander.
If you find that there are a lot of grooves or large ridges in your work, don't waste a ton of time trying to sand them out. Instead, touch them up with another coat of joint compound. Not only is this quicker and easier, it may also prevent you from sanding so much that you end up damaging the drywall's paper face.
After you have finished your initial sanding, shine a bright light parallel to the wall. This will help you spot any pits, sanded-through or uneven areas, and dings. Circle any problems as you find them. You can then use your manual sander to to smooth out any uneven surfaces. The dings, pits, and sanded-through areas you should touch up with joint compound before resanding them, either manually or with your powered sander.
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