Grinder vs Sander – Which one should you choose?

When it comes to working with surfaces, especially floors, then sanders and grinders are the most used tools.  A lot of people don’t know the difference between these two tools so these tools are mostly called “sanders”. If you are one of these people then don’t worry.

Luckily for you, we have decided to make an article that will explain the differences between these two and hopefully we will help you decide which one you need.

Grinder Vs Sander: What are they?

They are power tools that can be used for different projects. There are a lot of sander types and a lot of grinder type. We will explain these down below.

Grinders

There are different types of grinders. However, when someone is talking about “grinders” they are usually talking about an “Angle Grinder” or a “Bench Grinder” because these two types are the most used ones.

Angle Grinders – These type of grinders come corded or cordless, they have a disc at the bottom that rotates.  There are many different discs that you can use for this type of grinder. Some of the discs that you use are designed to be used on wood and the others are designed to use on metal. The angle grinders can be used to cut metal or wood and they can also be used to polish. As such, angle grinders are very versatile tools.

Bench Grinders –  The bench grinders are designed to sharp specific items. These units need to be static, meaning that you have to put the on a workbench or somewhere so they can be fixed steadily.  They are powerful, and that’s why they are used to repair different objects. You can use them to repair screwdrivers, smooth welded joints, and even remove paint.  This unit has two grinding wheels that are located at each side of the tool.

Read Also: Belt Grinders For Knife Making

Sanders

Just like grinders, there are different types of sanders as well. We have belt sanders, palm sanders, orbital sanders, etc. Each of these sanders is used for different tasks.  As you may have guessed by the name, sanders use sandpaper.

They are mostly used to remove paint, but they can be used to sharpening and giving a smooth finish to different surfaces. They are not preferred to be used on metal and they are mostly made for woodworking projects.

Read more: Sanders For Paint Removal Reviews

Sanders Vs Grinders: The difference

While there are a lot of projects that you can use both the grinder and the sander to complete it, these two tools are very different and come with different features as well.

Attachment

The biggest difference between an angle grinder and a sander is the type of attachment the tool needs in order to run.

Angle grinders use discs to complete the rotations. These are many different disc types that are made for specific projects. Depending on the project you are working on, you can choose one or the other disc to complete it.

On the other hand, sanders – as the name suggests, use a sandpaper belt or pad to complete the rotations. There are different sandpaper sizes that you can use, but it all depends on the type of sander you have. If you have a palm sander then you need bigger sandpaper, if you use orbital sanders then you need another type of sandpaper and so on.

Sandpapers also come in different grits. You have 80-grit,90-grit,120-grit, sandpaper. But even that there are a lot of different sandpapers with different grits, the sander attachments are more limited if you compare it to angle grinder discs.

Materials

As we have mentioned earlier, sometimes you can use one to complete the other job. But these two tools are made to be used for different materials. Grinders are mostly made for metalwork, to sharp, shape and sometimes even repair different metals.  Meanwhile, sanders are mostly made for woodworking projects, to give surfaces a smooth finish, to remove paint, polish. But, there are also sanders for metal.

Read more: Best Sanders For Kitchen Cabinets

Versatility

Whenever you are using them for woodworking projects or for metalwork, the sanders are only used for one thing – sand. But, when it comes to grinders they can be used for a lot of things.

With the right attachments, you can use grinders to cut metal, strip metal. If you have the right disc you can even use grinders to sand or to polish. So, when it comes to versatility, grinders are much better.

Precision

Different sanders offer different precision. Let’s say belt sanders; these types of sanders are mostly made to be more aggressive, meaning that their precision level is very low. But, on the other hand, palm sanders are very precise.

So, if you compare the precision level of grinders and sanders, then sanders are far more precise.

For example; If you try to remove paint from metal with a sander then you will get a smooth and even finish. But, if you try to remove paint from metal with a grinder then unless you are very experienced you will leave a lot of marks and the surface won’t be even. But, with a grinder, you would complete the task a lot of times faster.

Safety

First of all, no power tool is safe. You have to protect yourself every time you are working with them. When it comes to comparing these two tools then the grinder is considered more dangerous.

A reason for that is because grinders have discs that rotate at a very high speed. These discs are used to cut metal, plus many sparks come out when cutting metal. So, when using grinders, except for gloves, you need to use safety glasses too.

Sanders are considered safer. But, never underestimate them. You should always wear gloves and be fully focused. Sanders also tend to produce a lot of dust, so using safety glasses is important. To prevent sanders from making a huge mess then I recommend you buy sanders with a good dust collection system.

Final Words

As I said, these two tools look the same and sometimes they can be used for each other’s job. But they are designed for very different projects. If you are wondering about which one you should choose then just keep in mind – grinders are mostly used for metalwork and sanders are mostly used for woodworking projects.

Learn More: How to sand glass?

 

Michael is the Editor at thetoolgeeks.com. He used to own a local shop where he sold different tools for 20+ years. He now enjoys researching DIY tools and writing guides about it.

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