May 5, 2021

Grinder vs Sander | What’s The Deal With These Tools?

Facing the difficult decision of a grinder vs sander? Grinders and Sanders are both powerful tools. You can use them to remove material from wood or other materials. They are different in some ways. Here, we take a look at the two. And look at what makes them different and what you need to decide which is the best tool for the job.


A grinder is an angle grinder that uses a rotating disc. It is a powerful tool for grinding, cutting, sanding and brushing. It cuts through wood, metal, plastic, stone, and concrete material. It works with or without a cord. 

Sometimes you have to switch off the disc depending on the material you are cutting. The disc is universal since it works on both metal and wood. It is for polishing pieces. Grinders come with handles for a comfortable experience. It comes in different sizes and forms as it ranges from DIY to industrial models. 

There is the belt grinder and the angle grinder. An angle grinder uses abrasive discs used as brushes. Angle grinders are under budget grinders. The Wesco Angle Grinder tool (WS4751U.1) is for cutting, grinding, sanding, and rust removal. 

It uses a diamond disc for hard material. It uses 4-1/2inch discs (Source). The Dewalt Angle grinder (Dwe402) has a dust ejecting system that makes it last longer. The oversized brushes give a double-brush life to the angle grinder tool. The side handles give the user a comfortable experience (Source). 

The quick-tool feature allows you to have a tool-free wheel removal. Amongst belt sanders is the WEN 6515T Belt sander that uses both a 30 inch belt and a 5 inch disc. The 2.3Amp motor produces 3,160 rotations per minute for the belt and 3,450 rotations per minute for the disc. 

It comes with two dust ports for maximum removal of dust (Source). The Bucktool Belt sander (BG2600) is an efficient belt sander for heavy-duty construction. It uses the induction motor. It combines a sander and a grinder that tilt from 0 to 90 degrees. It has two workbenches for a convenient working experience (Source).


A sander is for woodworking, and it uses sandpaper for smooth and rough surfaces and paint removal. A belt sander uses belt-shaped sandpaper that moves between the sander tile tool, whereas palm and orbit sanders use sandpaper pads. 

Three types of belt sanders are disc sander, belt sander, and an orbital sander. A sander is for roughening surfaces as you prepare them for finishing. Disc sanders have an abrasive disc that is attached to a shaft. Bevel gears drive the tool for rotations. They use endless cloth or paper belts with abrasive grits and rollers that rotate. The orbital sander uses a sanding pad that makes orbital motions. It rotates at a higher speed on a vertical axis. 

The Makita (9903) belt sander has an auto-tracking system for adjustments. It has an innovative design for sanding flush to the wall. It has a 16.4 ft. cord that is easy to move. The Makita sander sands wood and metal removes paint and rust (Source). The Hitachi (SB8v2) sander has a V-belt for durability (Source). 

An orbital sander is a powerful tool that is used around the pad. It sands in circles, and it is for smoothing surfaces. Electric sanders are for furniture making. They come with different applications to suit different angles and materials. For cabinet making, you focus on built-ins and interlocking components. 

A random orbital sander has back and forth movement. The sander is for fine sanding, sanding, smoothing surfaces, and polishing. It is used on wood, stone, concrete, and plastic. Belt sanders are sand large wooden surfaces. It is ideal for reviving hardwood floors. They are great for smooth sanding. 

Benefits of a Grinder

  • It works on multiple materials.
  • It is fast.
  • Different attachment options
  • Higher horsepower
  • Used for thick material.

Benefits of a Sander

  • Safe.
  • Ideal for large surfaces.
  • Smooth sanding.
  • Ease of use.
  • Mobile.
  • An excellent dust collection system.
  • Less fatigue.

Advantages of Using a Grinder over a Sander

  • A grinder uses multiple discs, whereas the sander uses sandpaper pads or sandpaper belts. That makes the grinder tool convenient to use. In terms of availability, you are limited when using a sander. It means that if you do not find sandpaper pads or belts, your work is on hold.  
  • A grinder is more versatile than a sander. Sanders is only for sanding material, whereas a grinder tool is for multiple tasks. A grinder tool cuts through metal and polished surfaces. 
  • A grinder does not produce much dust in the air, whereas a sander creates a lot of dust. That is why I advise you to put on a safety mask when operating a sander tool. Inhaling dust leads to chest diseases.
  • Grinders are for aggressive tasks.
  • Hand-held grinders run faster than hand-held sanders. You need to pay attention to different speed levels. Belt grinders are compatible with brushes and wheels that allow you to adjust your belt. 
  • You use a grinder as a sander, but you cannot use a sander as a grinder. 
  • A grinder processes hard material, whereas a sander is for wood.
  • Some grinders come with a switch-angle function or a slack belt for complex surfaces. 
  • You are allowed to brush, cut metal and glass with your grinder. 

Disadvantages of Using a Grinder over a Sander

  • Grinders are more dangerous than sanders. What makes it unsafe is the sharpness. Since it cuts through tough materials such as metal, that means it easily rips off your finger. That is why I recommend the use of safety gloves and goggles. Extra caution is needed when operating grinders. On the other hand, sanders are safe to use. You have to protect yourself from dust by wearing a mask.
  • It is not easy to move around.

Uses for a Grinder

A grinder is for cutting concrete slabs and wood materials. It is for rough and fine shaping of wooden furniture and stone material. Proper sandpaper or discs allow you to smoothen or polish surfaces.

Uses for a Sander

A sander is for shaping, smoothening, and polishing soft material. It uses fine sandpaper. The number of grit allows you to give fine abrasion for shiny surfaces. It majors in woodwork and revival of surfaces. 

Sander vs Grinder Cost

Grinders range from 10 to 3000, whereas sanders range from 20 to 300. That makes a sander more affordable than a grinder.


Choosing a grinder or a sander depends on what you are up to. If you are majoring in smoothening wood pieces, a sander tool is appropriate. If you intend to work on multiple surfaces that include metal, a grinder is a right tool. 

Belt sanders are mobile and ideal for DIY users. That makes them ideal for floors and countertops. Sanders is for DIY users, whereas professionals use grinders in workshops for heavy-duty tasks. 

Whatever the tool you are choosing, make sure it meets your preferences. You also need to leave room for future projects. Otherwise, you will have to use another power tool. 

David D. Hughes

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