May 5, 2021

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

Are you facing a difficult decision between 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 your 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. 

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

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

The quick-tool feature allows you to have a tool-free wheel removal. The WEN 6515T Belt sander is among the belt sanders, which uses 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. 

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


A sander is for woodworking and uses sandpaper for smooth, 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 belt sanders are a disc sander, a 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 rotating rollers. 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 and 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, smooth surfaces, and polishing. It is used on wood, stone, concrete, and plastic. Belt sanders are sand on 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 belts. That makes the grinder tool convenient to use. In terms of availability, you are limited when using a sander. Your work is on hold if you do not find sandpaper pads or belts.  
  • A grinder is more versatile than a sander. A grinder tool cuts through metal and polished surfaces. Sanders is only for sanding material, whereas a grinder tool is for multiple tasks. 
  • A grinder does not produce much dust in the air, whereas a sander creates a lot of dust. Inhaling dust leads to chest diseases. I advise you to wear a safety mask when operating a sander tool.
  • 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 have a switch-angle function or a slack belt for complex surfaces. 
  • You are allowed to brush and 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, 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. Good 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 to 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.

Difference between sander and grinder

The main differences between sanders and grinders are:

  • Grinders are more versatile than sanders.
  • Grinders are for aggressive tasks, whereas sanders are for finishing tasks.
  • Grinders are more dangerous than sanders.
  • Grinders are not easy to move around.

Grinders are used to cut concrete slabs and wood materials, while sanders are used to shape, smooth, and polish soft materials. Grinders use grinding wheels, while sanders use sandpaper pads or belts. Grinders come with a switch function or slack belt for complex surfaces, while sanders are equipped with a dust collection system. Grinders are more dangerous than sanders and are not as easy to move.

Can you use a grinder as a sander

You can use a grinder as a sander, but you cannot use a sander as a grinder. Grinders are more versatile than sanders. Grinders use grinding wheels, while sanders use sanding pads or belts. Grinders come with a switch-angle function or slack belt for complex surfaces, while sanders have a dust collection system.

Orbital sander vs angle grinder

An orbital sander is a fine grinder, while an angle grinder is a multipurpose tool. An orbital sander is used for sanding wood, plastic and metal, while an angle grinder is used for grinding, cutting and polishing. Random orbital sanders are more expensive than angle grinders.

Using an angle grinder as a sander

Using an angle grinder as a sander is possible but not recommended because angle grinders are more versatile than sanders. Grinders use discs, while sanders use sanding pads or belts. Angle grinders have a changeover function or slack belt for complex surfaces, while sanders are equipped with a dust collection system.

Verdict on grinding vs sanding

Choosing a grinder or a sander depends on what you are up to. A grinder is a suitable tool if you intend to work on multiple surfaces including metal. 

A sander tool is appropriate if you are majoring in smoothening wood pieces.Belt sanders are mobile and ideal for DIY users. That makes them suitable for floors and countertops. Sanders is for DIY users, whereas professionals use grinders in workshops for heavy-duty tasks. 

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

David D. Hughes

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