Best Sander for Deck Refinishing 2019

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Wooden decks are very common in households as they are alluring and last for decades. To make sure that they always look attractive and last for many more years to come, you have to take care of them.

The maintenance is simple and includes only two steps, pick a sander to rub shabby part of the deck and then varnish it. The first step requires a good deck sander that should do a quality job and give you the best possible outcome.

That’s why we will discuss the types of deck sanders that you can use and the best of them available the market that you can purchase.

Types of Desk Sanders


Several different types of desk sanders are available, but we have described only the versatile categories.

a. Belt sanders

An electric device having an abrasive coated belt is sold as belt sanders. Abrasive belt is mounted on two cylindrical drums and is rotated by an electric motor. Using the rotating belt, they are able to sand, level or trim both round and flat surface areas.

b. Random orbit sander

With round sanding pad, random orbit sanders are one of the most versatile portables electric sanders to own. Its round pad has two different movements – it vibrates in mini circles and also revolves in circles. As the random orbit sanders have two simultaneous movements, they eliminate swirls that other sanders tend to leave behind.

c. Sheet sanders

Specially manufactured to sand flat surface, sheet sanders work once you enter 9×11-inch sandpaper in the device. The sandpaper is held against its flat square pad by two spring clamps. Its pad vibrates in tiny orbits, which allows you to move the sander in any direction.

d. Commercial wood floor sanders

Available at rental outlets, orbital or drum sander is used for large wooden decks. Commercially designed sanders are best for hardwood floors, but you can also use them for decks.

Commercial orbital sanders weigh up to 100 pounds and produce a lot of vibration. Because of the heavyweight, such sanders are hard to transport but works perfectly for areas that are not warped or cupped. Drums sanders are capable to remove woods at a very high rate, so it may harm the household desk if it is used by a beginner.

Top Rated Sanders For Deck Refinishing


ModelMotorWeight
Makita 9403 Belt Sander11 AMP15.87 lbs
DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander3.0 Amp4 lbs
SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat Belt Sander6 Amp6.75 lbs
Bosch OS50VC Orbital Finishing Sander3.4-Amp0.48 ounces
Hitachi SB8V2 Variable Speed Belt Sander9.0 Amp9.5 lbs
PORTER-CABLE 352VS Belt Sander8 Amp10.75 lbs
Bosch 1250DEVS orbital sander6.5 Amp7.3 lbs
Bosch ROS20VSC 5 inch orbital sander2.5-Amp3.5 lbs

Buying Guide Of Sander For Deck


Now you know the various types of desk sanders that can make your deck shine. Before you scroll down and check the top picks for the best sanders, we are mentioning some tips that will help you to choose the right model. The idea is to leave no room in your mind for any doubts. Let us begin.

a. Sanding area

We know that you want to sand the wooden deck. The question is, what kind of deck you are going to work on? If the deck has variable surfaces or corners, you need a versatile sander that can work on all of it. Otherwise, if you see that the deck is flat, then all you should look for is – speed and power.

b. Sander type

You will be working on a deck, so we would recommend the belt sanders as they are powerful and fast. Orbital sanders look attractive but they are built for precision and control. They lack the power and ability to cover big areas in short time.

c. Power input

There are two types of deck sanders – wired and battery operated. Wired sanders have high ratings over battery operated ones as the former are better to work for long hours. By chance you have to buy a battery operated sander, then look for those coming with Lithium-ion batteries.

d. Price

It is not necessary that you have to pay a high price for a good sander. If deck sanding is the only job that you are going to perform with the sander, then it is quite possible that you get a fine working model without paying hefty price. All we mean is that you should compare all the features as well price, then make the purchasing decision.

e. Dust extraction

Sanders create a lot of dust and debris while doing its job. It is better to have a sander that has an inbuilt dust collector, otherwise, you will be the one who has the clean the area. Cleaning can be tiring. Above all, wood dust can create a lot of health problems.

Tips for Sanding a Wood Deck


As we already spoke about the various types of deck sanders. Let us go through the process and some tips that will help while sanding your wooden property.

1. Pressure wash

The first step is pressure washing of the deck. Be careful with the settings of the pressure washer. If the deck is made of soft wood like cedar, pine or spruce, use a wide wan and decide the distance between the wand and surface. If you see that the wood fibers are lifting as you wash the floor, stop right away. Take a hidden spot on the wooden floor to test the pressure and wand distance. After the wash, let the deck dry for a couple of days.

2. Prepare the surface

Check for every screw and nails. Use a nail punch to countersink every one of them otherwise they will damage the sander. Make sure that all the nails or screws are countersunk for at least a couple of millimeters below the wooden surface.

3. Sanding the deck surface and board edges

Here comes the part where you have to patient, especially if you are working on a large area using a handheld sander. Make sure that you are not using the sander with any rough grit as it can excavate the deck if it is made of any soft wood. Wear a safety glass and particle mask as the dust spread by the sander is hazardous if you inhale it.

For better comfort and ease, you can also use a hearing protector and kneed pads. Check the weather for rain, if it rains while you are sanding wood deck or after sanding, then you will be back to level one. Means, you have to wash the wooden surface and sand it again.

As explained earlier, you should use a belt sander as it will be convenient and fast. For removing existing paint or stain using an orbital sander, start with 60-grit sandpaper and go over again with sandpaper of 120-grit for a smooth finish. Apply medium pressure and check for the evenness as you move forward.

Use different sanding techniques depending on the surface of railings, deck area, and board edges. Sanding outer edges can be a difficult task, especially if you have a low bottom rail with a series of pillars. In case of an orbital sander, use a 60 to 80-grit sandpaper and take care of the evenness as stains tend to get absorbed easily into uneven surfaces.

4. Sanding the railings

One of the most important parts of the process is to sand the railing in an even manner as it is the most visible part where people generally focus. Moreover, it should be smooth and there should not be any splinters left to injure any hands.

Use sandpaper with 80 to 100-grit, but do not stain such smoothness that stains cannot penetrate. Sand using your hands with sandpaper where the sending device cannot reach.

How to remove sanding dust from wood?


You cannot apply the paint unless all the dust spread from the sander is removed. If dust particles stay on the deck and you apply the paint, it will look grainy and feel rough once you touch.

All your hard work will be wasted just because of those tiny particles and you will not see the perfection, that you were expecting. Please follow the following process to get rewarded with the praising look in the eyes of your future guests or family members.

1. Vacuum thoroughly and wipe

Clean the deck surface using a vacuum cleaner fitted with a filter to catch even the finest of dust particles. Then, wipe the surface using a clean and dry cloth. Use a white cloth so that you can see the number of dust particles it is collecting.

2. Wipe the surface with a tack cloth

Purchase tack clothes from a nearby grocery store. Cut it into small squares and wipe it lightly over the deck surface. Keep checking the cloth after regular intervals and change one it is dirty.

You can also check the smoothness of the surface while wiping with a tack cloth. If you notice that threads of the cloth are snagging on the rough surface, get back to the sander and make it right.

3. Wipe it with denatured alcohol

You can end the dust cleaning process after wiping the wooden floor with a tack cloth. But, for best results, wipe it again with a clean cloth moistened with denatured alcohol.

Denatured alcohol will pick even the tiniest dust and evaporates quickly, so it will not leave any mark or discolor the floor. After this step, the process is complete. Now, you can move on to staining and sealing as soon as possible.

Top 8 Deck Sanders Reviews


1. Makita 9403 Belt Sander

Makita 9403 Belt Sander

Our top pick is Makita 9403, which is simply the best model for sanding wooden decks. This deck sanding machine is fast, easy to control but at a weight of 13 pounds, it is heavy.

We are not taking sander’s weight as a negative trait because the weight will help you to move it in a better way.  Once in your hands, nothing can stop the sander as it is powerful as a rhino and at the same time quite like a leopard.

Makita 9403 comes with a belt width of 4 inches and works at a speed of 1,640 feet per minute. It has a wide grip that makes it even easier to use, even for the beginners. With inbuilt dust collection bag that swivels at 360 degrees, it stops all the particles that can really disturb you while sanding.

One of the most convenient features is the location of its power chord, which is at the top. It’s very irritating to move the sander with one hand and use another to hold the power cable. The manufacturers understood the same and kept the cable out of your way.

The only disadvantage of 9403 is its price. If you are a professional, you will be more then happy with the price tag, but for a one-time project, it may not be acceptable.

Pros

  • Fast and powerful
  • Wide belt
  • Quiet (84 decibels)

Cons

  • Comfortable and solid grip

2. DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander

DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander

If you are looking for a sander for some weekend work or one-time deck sanding, DEWALT DWE6423K will be a great option. With 3 amp motor under the hood, it is powerful enough to work on any kind of surface, even the hard ones. Moreover, it has a fine dust capture cabinet and is cost effective.

The ability of DWE6423K to deliver a smooth and precise surface is enough for any wooden deck refinishing. In fact, it can complete the job in half time as compared to other orbital sanders. Huge productivity bonus that is, right?

Time-saving as well. The orbital floor sander also has air vents around the motor for air circulation, that makes sure that it is not overheated during prolonged sanding hours. No need to mention that if the motor is not getting the overheated time and again, it will last longer.

Another attractive feature of this model is its speed control dial. You can easily reach the dial while working to change the OPM (orbits per minutes) from 8, 000 to 12, 000.

The feature comes handy while you are working on different materials of variable densities. Top OPM of 12, 000 works well to provide smooth finish while OPM of 8, 000 is good for rough surfaces.

If you prefer an orbital sander over belt sanders then you will not hold any grudge over DWE6423K.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Variable speed dial
  • Reduced vibration

Cons

  • Difficulty in connecting the dust bag to external air vacuum

3. SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat Belt Sander

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat Belt Sander

The sander from SKIL gives the best value for money and the performance you will appreciate.  If you are looking a 3-by-18-inch belt sander for the wooden deck, SKIL 7510-01 is one of the best and cost-effective choices.

It comes with a 6 amp powerful motor that allows you to work on any surface, be it hard or rough. Flexibility is another feather in its cap, as you can sand through different surfaces or edges without any trouble.

Its pressure-control feedback system monitor sanding pressure and eliminates the guesswork of applying pressure on the sander. Once the pressure reaches the appropriate level, an indicator lights up, to let you know that your hands are forceful enough to do the job. This feature really sets the sander apart from the other models.

The sander has a micro-filtration mechanism to capture even the finest dust particles. However, the dust collector seems to be the problem as it is facing some difficulty staying connected, which can be a distraction while sanding a large wooden deck. Another considerable disadvantage is its narrow belt size of 3 inches that may take little extra time for a job than expected. If time is the key then you should look for a model with a wider belt.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Value for money
  • Pressure control system

Cons

  • Dust collector create problems

4. Bosch OS50VC Orbital Finishing Sander

Bosch OS50VC

Powerful and heavy-duty Bosch OS50VC comes with a 3.4 amp motor and an extensive sheet sanding pad of ½ inches is perfect for large decks. There are not many sanders that comes with a half inch sending pad, that is what makes it unique.

With fewer vibrations and steady movement, this strong and sturdy orbital sander moves in control. Its built-in suspension mechanism makes handling even easier.

The manufacturers have included Sheetloc clamping system in this model that keeps it in place. To work comfortably on any wood surface, it comes with a speed dial to control its speed.

Aluminum casing at the bottom and an attacking design give it an aggressive look. At nine pounds, you may think that it is heavy, but trust us, the weight instead of doing any harm will keep it parallel and down at the work surface.

Though it does not have any dust collector bag, the dust canister works well to collect even the tiniest particles and is easy to detach and empty once required. Comes with a high price tag, but it is worth the money because of the efficiency and reliability. Bosch has created a marvelous sander. That is what you are going to say, once you use it for any of the sanding jobs.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Large sheet
  • Reduced vibration

Cons

  • Comparatively expensive

5. Hitachi SB8V2 Variable Speed Belt Sander

Hitachi SB8V2

One of the affordable sanders, Hitachi SB8V2 has all the features required for any fine sanding job. With compact dimensions of 3 x 21-inch, you can control it easily as well as carry it anywhere. It comes with a 9 amp powerful motor, that allows you to sand any rough surface or remove stains and paint.

SB8V2 has a speed control knob and an elastomer handle grip for easy control and use. It comes with a dust collection bag that is easy to slip in and remove.

The water-resistant V-belt of the sander has excellent wear and tear capacity that makes sure that it can work for many years to come. Another unique feature is its front tracking window, that gives clear visibility while sanding. Overall, the professional sander from Hitachi gives you the best service at an affordable price.

Sanding belt is not included with the purchase box. You have to purchase it as separately. There is a push lever that makes it easy to mount or replace the sanding belt. Brushes are also easier to replace as compared to other sanders.
Hitachi offers a five-year limited warranty on the product and you can also purchase all its parts on their website. However, it is durable enough and will not ask for any maintenance until something bad happens.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • High-end design

Cons

  • Small sanding sheet
  • Sanding belt is not included

6. PORTER-CABLE 352VS Variable-Speed Belt Sander

PORTER-CABLE 352VS Sander for Deck Refinishing

This belt sander has a complete metal build, which makes it solid and sturdy. Being made of metal, it should be heavy, right? But, that’s wrong, it is comparatively lighter and has an easy to control the weight of 10 pounds. The metal case makes it durable and also prevents heat to keep the motor cool during prolonged working hours. It remains in-place always and does its job as you direct it to.

PORTER-CABLE 352VS comes with an industrial standard 9 amp motor. It also has a speed control dial that gives you the facility to control the speed from 850 to 1, 300 SFPM (Surface feet per minute). A large dust collection bag is included so that you do not have to worry about cleaning.

The dust bag also swivels to 360 degrees that you can always move it out of your way if needed. It has a unique feature of flush sanding, means an ability to sand adjoining surface. Even if you are sanding the stairs, 352VS and its solid ceramic aluminum oxide belt can reach all corners. Changing its belt is also quick and easy as it has a quick release belt changer.

The sander comes with the three-year warranty that gives you extra peace of mind.

Pros

  • Speed control dial
  • Metal housing
  • Dust collection bag
  • Flush sanding feature
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Incorrect cord placement

7. Bosch 1250DEVS 6.5 Amp Corded 6 in orbital sander

Bosch 1250DEVS 6.5 Amp Corded 6 in orbital sander

Perfect for any desk, Bosch 1250DEVS orbital sander comes with a mighty 6.5 amp motor and large 6-inch circular pad. Supported by a variable speed of 3,100 to 6,650 OPM, it can tackle all kind of surfaces. Sander’s Constant Response mechanism maintain constant pad speed even under heavy loads and takes care that it is never overloaded.

Capable to deliver excellent results with its random orbital motion, it is sturdy enough to last for a lifetime. It has a feature of dual-mode sanding that gives you complete control of the orbital speed for optimum precision.

Dual sanding modes give you two options to choose from – the random orbit mode for easy materials and then eccentric orbit mode, where the pad works five times faster and is aggressive enough for rough surfaces. There is a sanding mode selector, which makes it easy for you to switch between both the modes.

It comes with a dust collection bag that eliminates the after work cleaning work. Talking about other specifications, it has a weight of 7.3 pounds and works on 110V/715W. Battery input is not required as it only works on electricity. It is also safe and convenient to use. These are the reasons why we have kept this model in our top picks.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Large sanding pad
  • Dual sanding modes
  • Can work on any surface

Cons

  • High vibration
  • A small dust collection bag

8. Bosch ROS20VSC 5 inch orbital sander

Bosch ROS20VSC 5 inch orbital sander

Only for weekend hobbyists, the Bosch ROS20VSC is light, small and fits comfortably in any hands. It is user-friendly, you just have to power it on, start moving on the surface and the work will be done. ROS20VSC has a decent 2.5 amp motor and a variable OPM of up to 12, 000.

Depending on the surface, it goes as low as 7, 500 OPM. You just have to change the gears from the variable speed dial. Its dust bag is durable and is easily twist-off removable. A micro-filter mechanism with ½-micron diameter featured in the sander is able to detect even the smallest of particles, which is not available in other sanders.

If we talk about its capacity to sand large decks, then we would say that it will take a lifetime to complete the job. Yes, that is right. It is very small and we do not want to complain, but the people around you will as you will be busy for the whole weekend on the deck. As it is small, it has a smaller dust holding capacity.

It may work for small projects or materials but for bigger decks, check the options listed above. There are users who have reported that many of the packed products are faulty and they had to return that for replacement, which is again a problem.

Pros

  • Comfortable to use
  • Variable speed dial
  • Micro filtration system

Cons

  • Designed only for minor jobs
  • Dust bag fills quickly

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Should I sand my deck before staining?

A. Yes, it is recommended to sand and clean the dust particles before staining or painting.

Q. Can sanding wood make you sick?

A. Dust particles spread while sanding can cause some serious health troubles including allergic reactions and lung damage. Use a sander with a dust collection bag or always wear a face mask or respirator while sanding.

Q. Is sanding wood dangerous?

A. If you will take precautionary measure then it is not. Wood dust is a known human carcinogen that can cause irritation, breathing problems and allergies. Use respirators and dust masks always while working on the wood.

Q. Can you sand a wet deck?

A. No, you will not be able to. The sanders will not work on a wet surface. Let it dry for a couple of days if is wet, then sand the deck.

Q. What is the difference between a belt sander and an orbital sander?

A. Belt sander uses an abrasive belt 18 to 24” long and 3 to 4” wide. Few small belt sanders come with 14 to 16” long and 2-1/2” wide belts. Belts used in the sanders are thick, last longer and are costly.

On the other hand, an orbital sander also known as random orbital sander works with a sanding pad or disc of 5 or 6 inches and different grits varying from 60 to 220. Dicks used in orbital sanders are cost-effective but needs frequent replacement.

Overall, belt sanders are more powerful and work better then orbital sanders but the former is difficult to control for beginners and can harm the wood if not used properly.

Bottom Line


As we come to an end, we would suggest using belt sanders, Makita 9403 is the best of all. If you really want to use an orbital sander just for the sake of easy finish, then opt for DEWALT DWE6423K, which will give you the required results apart from its dust collection.

We hope that there no doubts left about the sanding process or sanders. Happy sanding.

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