Best Hand Sanders For Stairs – How To Refinish Your Staircases?

Disclaimer: We earn a commission when you purchase items through our links at no extra cost to you. (Learn More)

Staircases are usually the first thing you see when you get inside a house.  If you want them to look good then you will have to refinish them. It can be a hard or easy process depending on your experience.

The first thing you need if you decide to refinish your stairs is a sander. A good sander will make the whole process easier and faster. Since there are a lot of different sander types and models, we have decided to make a list of the best sanders for stairs. You can check the list down and the detailed review of each of the tools down below.

We have also made a mini-guide on how to refinish your staircases. You can check the mini-guide at the end of the page!

Product NameDetailsPrice

  • Sander Type: 1/4
  • Speed : 12.000 OPM
View On Amazon


  • Sander Type: 1/4
  • Speed : 14.000 OPM
View On Amazon

Makita BO3710
  • Sander Type: 1/3
  • Speed : 11.000 OPM
View On Amazon

Black & Decker QS900
  • Sander Type: 1/4
  • Speed : 16.000 OPM
View On Amazon

WEN 6313
  • Sander Type: 1/3
  • Speed : 12.000
View On Amazon

What Type of Sander Is Best for Stairs?

There are a lot of different types of sanders that you can use to sand your stairs. But, the main ones are: 

Palm Sanders

The palm sanders are perfect for sanding stairs, you can easily reach the corners with this type of sander. I mostly use a palm sander when the stairs are and I need to sand them quickly.  With palm sanders you get the loop system of the sandpapers, this means that you can change between sandpapers with ease. 

Detail Sanders

Detail sanders are also good for stairs. I mostly use these types of sanders when I’m dealing with small stairs. These are not as fast as palm sanders, but they can be used to give the stairs a final touch. 

Random Orbital Sanders

Random orbital sanders are very powerful, and if your stairs have a rough surface then we recommend using this type of sander. But, random orbital sanders can’t reach the corners as the palm sanders can do. 

We recommend getting a sander that comes with variable speed settings. This will give you more control over the process and you can use the same sander for different projects.

Best Sanders For Stairs

1. Bosch OS50VC 

Best Features  BOSCH OS50VC...

  • Powerful
  • Good Dust Collector
  • Fast

My Overall Rating

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

The first thing we noticed when we used this sander is that it doesn’t vibrate as much as the others. The Bosch OS50VC has a vibration control that makes the sander vibrate less.  It is very helpful because while sanding stairs you need to be very precise.

Except for that, we also liked the ergonomic handle. The handle and the vibration control help us work longer with this tool without fatigue.

To make things better, it also has an accurate paper clamping system, this system helps the paper to fit perfectly, it also accepts sticks on paper. This sander is powerful, it comes with a 3.4 amp motor and it’s fast. The speed is from 8,000 to 11,000 OPM’s. 

As we all know, while sanding stairs, a lot of dust is produced. But, this sander features a micro-filter canister and screw-off caps to help getting rid of the dust faster.

Overall a great sander, I use it a lot, and always does its job. For sanding stairs, I mostly use the 120-grid sandpaper but you can use different ones. It accepts 60,80,120,180 grits.

On the downside, this sander can get very noisy after a while.

What We Liked:

  • Powerful –  Features a 3.4 Amp Motor
  • Fast – 8,000 – 11,000 OPM’s
  • Accurate – Comes with an accurate clamping system
  • Comfortable – Ergonomic Handles
  • Less Vibration – Has vibration Control
  • Accepts Different Grits – 60,80,120,180.
What We Didn’t:

  • Expensive
  • It can get very noisy

2. Makita BO4556 

Best Features  Makita BO4556 2...

  • Less Noise
  • Lightweight
  • Fast

My Overall Rating

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

If you are looking for a lightweight sander that will give you a smooth performance then make sure to check Makita BO4556.  This sander is a combination of speed, power, and smooth performance.  It only weighs 2.6 pounds. 

This product is made for woodworking and finishing, so it’s a very good choice when it comes to sanding your stairs.  As we mentioned earlier, this sander is powerful and fast. It features a 2.0 amp motor and delivered up to 14,000 OPM’s, making this faster than our first pick.

I use this sander because it is comfortable, it comes with ergonomically rubberized palm grips that fit you like a glove and they also help me a lot to control the sander easier. It also has a ball-bearing construction which reduces noise and makes the tool vibrate less, which makes the control part even easier.

Like most of the sanders, this one too has a dust-collection system which is pretty effective, except for the system, the dust bag has an extra mouth to help you get rid of the dust faster.

On the downside, the Makita BO4556 doesn’t come with adjustable speed settings.

What We Liked:

  • Fast – Super fast, up to 14,000 OPM’s
  • Good Motor – It comes with a 2.0 AMP motor.
  • Lightweight- This sander only weighs 2.6 pounds.
  • Less Noise –  It has ball-bearing construction which reduces noise and vibration.
  • Good Dust Collection System
What We Didn’t Like:

  • You can’t adjust the speed.


Best Features  DEWALT Random...

  • Powerful
  • Good Dust Collector
  • Fast

My Overall Rating

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

If you are looking for a sander that has a powerful motor then the DEWALT DWE6421 might be your perfect choice. This sander comes with a very powerful 3.0 amp motor.  Except for power, it also has speed. The speed is 12,000 OPM which is enough for sanding stairs & more.

A thing that I like about this sander is its height. The height of this sander is shorter and allows me to control the tool easier and get closer to the workpiece.  To prevent vibrations this tool has a separate counterweight design plus it has rubber all over areas that usually vibrate more.  You can still feel the vibrations but at a very minimum level.

It has a very good dust collector system. Not only the tool itself gets the dust, but you can also connect a vacuum to the tool that will get the dust. I find this extremely helpful and effective. Speaking of dust, this tool has a dust-sealed switch that protects itself from dust ingestion, this helps a lot to give the switch a longer life.

What We Liked:

  • Fast – Offers up to 12,000 OPM’s
  • Powerful Motor – Features a very powerful motor, 3.0 amp.
  • Easy Control – The height of the sander is shorter to help you control the tool better.
  • Fewer Vibrations – It has rubber all over areas that usually vibrate.
  • Good Dust Collection System – Except for the tool system you can also connect a hose.
What We Didn’t Like:

  • I don’t like the pad.

4. PORTER-CABLE Belt Sander

Best Features  PORTER-CABLE...

  • Quiet
  • Powerful
  • Good Dust Collection System

My Overall Rating

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

First of all, this is a belt sander. These types of sanders are usually used to sand larger areas because they do it good and fast. They usually are not used for stairs.

But, I used this sander to sand stairs and I got good results, and that’s why I included this on this list. Plus, sometimes it’s better to have a sander that can be used for different tasks rather than buying one for a specific project.

The PORTER-CABLE 352VS comes with variable speed settings, meaning that you can change the speed. This is helpful, especially if you work with different materials. The speed goes from 850 to 1,300 SFPM.  It has a quick-release belt change that makes the speed changes easier and faster.

It comes with a very unique dust collector. It has a 360-degree dust nozzle that it’s adjustable — haven’t seen this anywhere else, this feature lets you pivot the dust bag, I find this helpful when I have to sand corners or tight spaces.  The dust collector system also allows you to connect a dust vacuum (make sure to check the dust port sizes, a regular vacuum doesn’t fit the port).

To make it better, it also has a powerful motor. The motor is 8.0 amp.

What We Liked:

  • Speed Variable Settings – Allows you to change the speed from 850 to 1.300 SFPM.
  • Powerful Motor – Features a motor that is made to last, 8.0 amp.
  • Quiet – This tool keeps the volume low thanks to the gear system. It meshes more accurately, which means less noise
  • Unique Dust Collection System – 360-degree dust nozzle that can be adjusted.
What We Didn’t Like:

  • A regular vacuum doesn’t fit the dust port.


Best Features  BLACK+DECKER...

  • 3-Position Grip
  • Cheaper
  • Lightweight

My Overall Rating

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

More detailed review ↴

And the last tool in our best hand sander for stairs is the BLACK+DECKER QS900. This is more a budget sander that won’t do as good as the other 4 I listed. But still, this will do a great job if you are careful enough and only use it for small tasks, such as sanding your stairs. 

This tool features a 3-position grip. The first grip is the palm grip. I mostly use this grip for sanding large surfaces. The second grip is the precision grip, which by the name you can guess what it does. And the last one is the handle grip. I use this mostly when I’m sanding tight surfaces. You can use this grip to sand stair corners.

It comes with a good motor, 1.5 AMP of power, it operates at 1400 orbits/minute. It comes with an effective dust collector system, it also has a see-through dust canister that helps you know when the dust is full.

What We Liked:

  • Budget-Friendly – It doesn’t cost as much as the other products listed here.
  • Good Motor – 1.5 AMP of power that runs at 1400 OPM.
  • 3 Position Grip –  Palm Grip, Precision Grip, Handle Grip
  • Dust Collector – Effective, plus it has a see-through canister that helps you see when the dust is full.
What We Didn’t Like:

  • It isn’t as high-quality as the others here, but it still does the job!

How to Refinish Your Staircase (Using Sanders)?

Before sanding my stairs, they used to look like the typical 90s’ stairs. A wood color that gets boring after a while. Once you get inside my house, the first thing you see is the staircase.

I have seen these old stairs a lot of times every time I came back from work. They looked old and I didn’t like them. That’s why I decided to refinish and repaint them.

The sanding process can be done in two ways. With your hands or with a sander. I highly recommend you to use a sander, it’s faster and they do a better job.

Plus, we have listed the top 5 best hand sanders for stairs on top of this page (Check them out if you haven’t already). I recommend you buy one of them and start with the sanding process.

Learn Here: How To Refinish Your Staircase? (A more detailed article)

1. Remove the Existing Carpet

Some people don’t use carpets, but I do. If you use them too, then make sure to remove them before starting with the sanding process.

Depending on your carpets this can be an easy or hard task.  I have used a lot of staples on my carpet so they don’t move. I had to remove all of them one by one, it took me a lot of time to do this. But it has to be done.

If you are lucky and didn’t use anything to hold the carpets then you can just remove the carpets and store them somewhere else ( you can re-use them ).

2.  Patch Holes With Wood Filler

You can skip this step if you don’t have any holes in your stairs. I had a lot of holes to fill because of staples. But I had to fill them all so I can get an even sanding.

3. Sand ’em!

Once you fill all the holes and remove everything (carpets or anything else above the stairs) then it’s time to sand. As I said earlier you can do this in two ways, with your hands using sandpaper or with a sander.  I used a sander and I recommend you do too!

Make sure to use a sander that gives you a smooth finish (Check our recommended list at top of the page). Don’t move your hand too quickly while sanding and try to sand the entire staircase. Learn here How to Sand A Table?

After you are done with the sanding now you will have to get rid of the dust. Sanders for stairs usually come with a good dust collection system, but on the off chance, you still have to use a vacuum to make sure there isn’t dust. You can also use water to wash the stairs before the next step.

4. Re-Paint the Stairs.

The spraying part isn’t that easy, but you can learn everything about this in our paint sprayer section. We have also made a list of recommendations for the best HVLP paint sprayers for wood. Make sure to check it if you need one!

And this is it! This is how you refinish your stairs. If you don’t have a sander, then you should definitely buy it. You can use it for a lot of stuff. Check the best sanders for stairs list to find one.

If you don’t like the color, then you can use a sander for paint removal.

Final Words

We made sure to include everything you need to know to make your stairs look new again. We made a list of the recommended sanders that you can use for your project, plus we made a mini-guide to let you know the steps you need to take in order to refinish your stairs.

A good sander will make the refinishing process a lot of times easier and it will give you better results.

Leave a Comment