Palm Sander Vs Orbital Sander image

Difference Between Palm Sander and Orbital Sander – Which to Buy?

What is the difference between palm sander vs orbital sander? How do you choose the best option for your home? If you are building a project, people need a power tool, and you need to know which one you want. An orbital sander is a power tool used to sand wood, metal, or composite materials. It can be tricky to use and can be more expensive than a palm sander.

Each type has its strengths. However, which one is right for you depends on what you use your tool for. The manual hand sanding process is more time consuming and tedious. Whichever style you choose, you can count on getting a quality sander that will last you for decades to come. Before moving to Random orbital sander vs Detail palm sander section, let’s see in detail about each.

What is a Palm Sander?

If you are looking for sanders to finish light work, palm sanders are the best option available. These are reliable for small works because of the fittings inside the palm. The head of this tool is rectangular and is portable for light woodworks. Palm sanders are not suitable for hard materials like rust or paint, so they do not apply pressure by force. It may damage the sander and makes it unsuitable for work. Consider it as the most affordable sander for compatibility. The motor’s power in palm sanders is weak, so they are great for finishing work. Best palm sanders work for home improvement designs and are operational with one hand. It has multifaceted use in a circular pattern.


  • It is reliable for finishing woodworks
  • They are lightweight and budget-friendly
  • Congenial with regular sandpapers and precision
  • Low cost compared to orbital sanders
  • Does not leave behind any mark on the wood
  • Definitive with painted wood


  • Palm sanders require lots of sandpapers
  • Vigorously produces lots of dust particles while in use
  • Limited for finishing works
  • Not ideal for big projects due to small size

Where to Use Palm Sanders?

Palm sanders work amazingly in finishing woodworking projects. If you are a person engaged in toy manufacturing, it is the right tool to use. These sanders are applied to materials that require decent finishing. They are useful for assembling several parts of wood without painting them. The compact design of this type enables the sanding edges of the material. If you have any pads triangular, then go for palm sanders.

What is an Orbital Sander?

Orbital sanders are accompanied by a powerful electric motor that enables reliable working. The surface is made smooth by circulating the sander in a predetermined orbit. Tiny particles are present in an orbit that moves at high speed. Compared to palm sanders, they are more significant, about ½ sheets. Generally, Orbital sanders have a square base. This is convenient to use on broad surfaces. Always use these sanders on the graining side to prevent any significant scratches. They are suitable to work on drywall for their quick response. Most orbital sanders are expensive these days. Use an anti-vibration mechanism to prevent hand fatigue or tiredness.


  • It has a strong and powerful motor for removing stubborn material
  • Multifaceted use with a high power output
  • In-built dust mechanism for cleaning workspace
  • Marks free output on wood pieces
  • Smooth texture and natural finishing
  • The speed of the motor is adjustable


  • Not reliable to use in corners
  • High installation and maintenance cost
  • Not suitable for smoothening layers of wood
  • Prone to damage if used recklessly

Where to Use Orbital Sander?

Orbital sanders are suitable for large surface uses. A broad and wide piece of wood is sanded using this type. It smoothens the material and makes the texture appealing. Orbital sanders are distinctive to use on flat surfaces. Get rid of stubborn materials like paint or varnish with them. It is pretty bigger than palm sanders, making it compatible with use. Orbital ones are supple to use on curved wood. They are mostly used with one hand, but both hands can be used with the proliferation of technology. An extra handle is installed on the sander. Orbital sanders are authentic to use in tiny corners and flat edges.

Palm Sander vs Orbital Sander

If you are a person related to woodworking, using a sander is common. However, everything depends on using the right kind of sander for respective materials. There is a wide range of differences between palm and orbital sanders. Some of them are listed down below:

  • Shape: Orbital sanders have a square base, whereas palm sanders have a rectangular base.
  • Circulation: Orbital ones rotate in a circular motion within orbits. Palm sanders only rotate in orbits for work.
  • Versatility: Orbital sanders are suitable for larger pieces of wood and palm type for finishing materials.
  • Compatibility: Palm sanders are smaller and lightweight. On the other hand, orbital ones are bigger with powerful motors.
  • Results: Palm sanders are useful for small work as finishing edges, but orbital sanders deliver amazing results with smooth texture. It makes the material look natural.

Orbital or Palm Sander – Which Type to Choose?

Woodwork projects are incomplete without the use of sanders. It is the last step in the DIY project for making the material look smoother. Palm sanders handle finishing work. Make sure to go for the tool that do not leave any mark on wood and deliver smooth texture. Different sanders are available, so people often get confused during purchase. Learn the difference between all types of sanders before buying.

An orbital sander is effective because of its orbital motion. You can operate it with one hand, even for larger surfaces. These sanders are efficient in their work because they remove stubborn materials. The base of this sander is a square that uses standard sandpaper. This sander is lightweight with reliable uses.


Different types of sanders are becoming popular for their uses. Among them, palm and orbital sanders are widely used. Both of them are compatible with woodworking projects. However, differences make them unsuitable for the same kind of work. Palm sanders are recognized in small finishing work, and orbital sanders are helpful for large pieces of wood. The ultimate output depends on the right tool for appropriate materials. Make sure to study the mechanisms before using them to get powerful results.

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