Angle Grinder vs Sander Can you use a Grinder as a Sander? And Which Is The Best Tool for Your Job?

angle grinder vs sander

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Table of Contents

Angle grinder vs sander, you might wonder: “What’s the difference between an angle grinder and a sander?” And which one is the best for your next project?

You can find out in this article.

We’ll tell you the differences between angle grinders and sanders and which tool is best for your next project.

I figure you know what an angle grinder and sander are. You might have one or two stored in your shed already. (If not, no worries, I will go in-depth and surely answer many of your questions.)

So I will jump straight into differences and which one to choose depending on your needs.

Further down you find more info on Angle grinders and sanders.

Let’s go!


Differences Between Sanders & Angle Grinders

As promised, we start with the differences between these tools. Although you can use the tools for a variety of tasks, they have their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between sanders and angle grinders.

FeatureAngle GrinderSander
Material it can cut
Wood, Concrete, Stone, Metals
None
Ease of Usage
Might be tricky at first
Overall extremely easy
Accuracy and finesse
A rugged tool that is not good for fine jobs
Depending on the attachment very accurate
Attachments
Polishing, cutting, grinding and sanding discs
Mainly sanding pads, but some tools can hold polishing pads as well.
Movement
Rotary
Orbital
Best for
Grinding and cutting course undergrounds like metals.
To smooth out large surfaces. Sand down painted items
Best Tools
Based on other reviews
DCG412B_20V_DeWalt_angle_grinder
4.8/5 Stars
HomeImprovScore ?
Based on 11400+ reviews
DeWalt_DCW210D1_orbital_sander
4.8/5 Stars
HomeImprovScore ?
Based on +1750 reviews
Buy here

Types of discs used for each tool

So angle grinders work with discs. Discs for angle grinders come in various sizes, shapes, grits, and abrasiveness levels. The type of disc you choose will depend on the material you’re working with and the results you want to achieve.

The most common discs are made from aluminum oxide or zirconia alumina, which are both durable and long-lasting. For tougher applications, such as metal removal or grinding concrete, you’ll want to use a disc with a harder abrasive, such as carbide or diamond.

When looking at sanders, most work with sanding pads with “Grit” which is the measure of a disc’s or sandpaper’s coarseness – the lower the number, the coarser the disc.

Abrasive discs are available in a range of grits, from 24 (coarse) to 220 (fine). If you’re unsure which grit to use, start with a lower number and work your way up until you get the desired results.

The shape is another important factor to consider. While angle grinders solely work with round abrasives. Sanders, on the other hand can work with sandpaper belts, sanding discs, rectangular- and triangle-shaped sanding pads, depending on the type of sander (more on that later).

Circular discs are best for general-purpose grinding f.i for sanding wood, while rectangular discs are better for tasks that require more precision, such as finishing work or removing rust, paint, or varnish from small corners and crevices.

Versatility

There are many different types of sanders, each designed for a specific purpose. However, there are some applications where one tool can be used instead of the other.

For example, an angle grinder can be used to remove rust from metal surfaces or to cut through thick materials like metal pipes and concrete. Sanders, on the other hand, are better suited for finishing work or for removing paint or varnish from surfaces.

Both sanders and angle grinders can be used to polish surfaces. Angle grinders are typically better at removing surface roughness, while sanders tend to leave behind a smoother finish.

In general, angle grinders are more versatile than sanders and can be used for a wider range of tasks. However, sanders may be preferable for certain applications where a finer finish is desired.

Materials they can work on

There are three main materials that can be worked on with sanders and angle grinders: wood, metal, and plastic. Each material has its own unique set of characteristics that will affect the way the tool works on it.

Precision

Precision is one of the key differences between Sanders and Angle Grinders. Sanders are designed to provide a smooth, even finish on a variety of surfaces, while angle grinders are designed for more aggressive material removal.

Sanders typically have lower RPMs than angle grinders, which allows them to remove material more slowly and steadily, resulting in a smoother finish. Angle grinders, on the other hand, have higher RPMs and can remove material more quickly. This makes them better suited for tasks such as grinding welds or removing paint and rust.

Another difference that affects precision is the size of the abrasive disks used. Sanders typically use smaller disks than angle grinders, which makes them better at reaching tight spaces and getting into corners. Angle grinders can use larger disks, which give them more power but can make them less precise.

Finally, the type of motion that a tool uses also affects precision. Sanders typically uses orbital or random orbit motion, which results in a more uniform finish. Angle grinders usually use a circular motion, which can create gouges or unevenness in the material if not used carefully.

Safety tips

When working with either a sander or an angle grinder, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind. Always wear eye protection when using either tool, as there is a risk of flying debris. If you are using an angle grinder, be sure to wear a face mask as well, as the sparks generated can be harmful if inhaled.

When using one of the tools, always keep it moving to avoid damaging the surface you are working on. With an angle grinder, be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can cause the disc to break. Both tools can get very hot during use, so be careful not to touch the metal parts after use.


Orbital sander vs angle grinder

Orbital sanders and even most palm sanders have a rotating pad in this they are the same as an angle grinder. The biggest difference lies in their design and power. Most grinders have more power and higher rpm.


Grinder vs. Sander: Which Is Better for your job?

Alright, so to make it more concrete which tool is better for which application, I have made a small bullet list to see the differences.

Jobs better for Angle grinder

  • Cutting metal bars, pipes, stone or ceramic

  • Removing old paint from metal or wood surfaces

  • Polishing various surfaces

Jobs better for Sanders

  • Removing old paint from wooden surfaces

  • Smoothening and rounding edges of wooden surfaces

  • When you need fine shaping, control, and work in smaller places


What is an Angle Grinder?

First up is the angle grinder. In construction, sometimes just called a grinder.

Angle grinders are corded or cordless power tools that powers a rotating disc attached to the tool. It can hold various attachments and depending on what disc is connected, it can perform many different tasks. Making it an extremely versatile tool.

Since the rotating disc spins at high speed, all grinders are equipped with a removable side handle for stability. This also helps to add pressure when required.

Angle grinders are hand-held grinders and, thus, easy to carry around. This can’t be said about his stationary brother, the belt grinder.

What is an angle grinder used for

An angle grinder is a power tool used for various applications. The most common uses for an angle grinder are:

  • Removing rust from metals

  • Sanding and grinding hard materials, from wood to stone to metal

  • Cutting metal, stone tiles, concrete, and other different surfaces.

  • The primary purpose of an angle grinder is to make it easier to work with different materials.

The type of disc or blade needed for an angle grinder depends on the application. For example, if you want to remove rust, you will need a sanding disc, or a 60 to 80-grit flap disc. If you want to cut metal, you will need a cutting disc. There are also higher-grit flap discs that can be used for sanding down different metals.

Overall, an angle grinder is a versatile and powerful tool that can be used for various projects. Whether you are looking to remove rust, sand hard materials, or even cut metal, an angle grinder is the perfect tool for the job!


What is a Sander?

Sanding tools have been widely used in industrial machining for sanding uneven surfaces as well as for the removal of paint, primarily of wood surfaces.

Sanders also removes scratches from steel surfaces. Attach a sandpaper pad to the power tools and use them for a smooth stroke. Random orbit sanders and some palm sanders use round sandpaper pads, and is one of the most common type of sander found in any household.

Belt sanding machines also use belted sandpaper which can be pushed around and spread across larger areas.

Below I dive deeper into the different types of sanding machines.

Different types of sanders

There are many different types vailable on the market, each with their own specific purpose. In this section, we will explore the different types of sanders available and their purposes. From hand-held to floor to even stationary sanders. Read on to learn about the different options available to you.

Belt sanders

One of the most popular types of sanders is the belt sander. They are ideal for quickly removing large amounts of material, such as varnish and paint. They can also be used to create a smooth finish on rough surfaces.

Belt sanders consist of a belt-shaped sandpaper that is wrapped around two drums. The drums rotate in opposite directions, and the belt moves back and forth between them. As the belt moves, it sands the surface of the object that is being worked on.

Belt sanders are available in a variety of sizes and styles. Both handheld and benchtop. When working in an enclosed area, you might want to look at models with a dust collection.

Orbital sanders

Ad previously said orbital sanders are one of the most versatile and commonly used sanders on the market. They can be used for a variety of applications, from finishing to rough sanding.

Orbital sanders are also known as palm sanders, they have a round pad that rotates in a orbit. This action gives them their name and also provides a smooth, even finish.

Random orbital sanders

A random orbital sander is a handheld power tool that uses a random, elliptical motion to remove material from a surface. It is similar to an orbital sander, but with the addition of a spinning action that makes it more aggressive. This makes it ideal for sanding down rough surfaces or removing paint and varnish.

Random orbital sanders come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so it’s important to choose one that will be comfortable to use and fit your needs. For example, palm-sized models are great for small projects, while larger models can handle bigger jobs. There are also cordless options available if you need the freedom to move around without being tethered to a power outlet.

When using a random orbital sander, always start with coarse-grit paper and work your way up to finer grits as needed. This will help avoid leaving behind scratches or gouges in your workpiece. And be sure to keep the sander moving at all times; stopping in one spot for too long can cause damage.

Disc sanders

The last one we will discuss here is the disc sander. Sometimes written as disk sanders but important is that it is a sanding disk, attached to a static machine.

Disc sanders have a spinning sanding disc. The disk spins at high speeds, and the sandpaper grinds away at the surface of the workpiece. Disk sanders are very effective at removing material, but they can also be dangerous.


Angle Grinder vs Sander FAQs

Can I use an angle grinder to sand metal?

It’s possible to use angle grinders for the sanding process. To sand metal, you can either use a coarse metal disc or an adhesive flap. Besides sanding metal, you will also be able to use an angle grinder to sand stone surfaces, wood, and plastics, depending on the disc you put on.

Is grinding the same as sanding?

Grinding and sanding are in essence, the same. However, when we talk about grinding it means we speak about working on harder/tougher materials like metals and stone. We use the term sanding when working with wood.

Is a grinder better than a sander?

The sanding machine is mainly used when working with wood and you can only use it for one purpose. Grinders, on the other hand, can serve several purposes. They are capable of cutting through metal, stripping, and polishing surfaces.

Can I use an angle grinder as a sander?

Yes you can use an angle grinder as a sander. However, if you have little space, or if the working area is small, then the angle grinder is not the best option. Depending on the surface you like to sand, the cut-off grinder needs different discs or flaps.

Is an orbital sander the same as an angle grinder?

An orbital sander is definitely not the same as an angle grinder. The way in which the tools work differ quite significantly. An orbital sander is a handheld tool that you can operate with one hand. While an angle grinder often needs two hands to operate. Also, orbital sanders use round-shaped sanding paper. While angle grinders use either sturdy abrasive discs or flapped discs.

Conclusion

So, in the end, it depends on what you need. In general, you should use a grinder when you want a generalpurpose cutting tool with power. And opt for a sander when you need to do finer work.