September 13, 2022

Hook and Loop vs Stick on sandpaper

Choosing sandpaper can be tricky if you are not well informed. The Hook and loop and stick-on sandpaper are two competing types of sandpaper for almost similar uses. They have more differences, pros, and cons that will help you select one. Consider your work regarding the amount of sawdust produced, the type of material you are working on, the budget, and application methods.

These types of sandpaper look similar but are made of different materials and designed for sanding different surfaces. This guide reviews these types of sandpaper and how grit and material point to the best sandpaper for your project.

Hook and loop 

To attach the hook and loop sanding discs to the backing pad of a sander, use the Velcro system ( It has a backing pad on the sander with hooks, and the rear side of the sanding discs has loops. Attach a sanding disc by peeling it off.

Hook and loop sanding discs work like velcro-based attachments for wrappers, belts, shoestrings, and other fastening systems. Glue the backing pad to the sander as the fixed base so it becomes easy to remove sanding discs with loops.

What makes hook and loop sanding discs user-friendly is that they are compatible with most sanders, including orbital, random orbital, palm, detail, disc, combination disc, and belt. There are more advantages when it comes to using velcro compared to glue or pressure-sensitive adhesives.

However, when using hook and loop sanding discs, remember that it may fly off while using a sander if the plastic hooks on the pad break, wear out, melt, or get damaged. Avoid that; buy premium-quality hook and loop sanding discs.

Always move a sander on a surface and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the sander, keeping it safe from breaking off. The hook and loop sanding discs are flat on a surface for better results. Store the sander sideways when not in use and avoid poor-quality sanding discs because they might have fragile loops. They also lack a firm attachment with the hooks on the backing pad.

Always buy a premium-quality backing pad of well-known brands to avoid inconvenience. Keep moving your sander so that heat does not build up in one place, which will melt the hooks. When it comes to pressure, tilting or angling the sander on a surface causes isolated heat buildup in a small section. The hooks may melt, but they are faster and easier to change.


  • Ease of use
  • Quick attachment and removal
  • No adhesive needed
  • Fit snugly
  • Available in various grits, diameters, shapes
  • Suitable for multiple sanders
  • Save money since they are reusable 


  • There is a need to switch
  • The sanding discs may fly off sometimes

Stick on sandpaper

Stick-on sandpaper is easy to attach to your sander. Peel away the backing and apply. They are made from film, cloth, or paper, meaning you can get one that meets your budget and needs. The cloth and film-backed products are stronger and tear-resistant, making them ideal for heavy-duty sanding, 

The only disadvantage is that you cannot put them back on once removed. They are ideal for larger jobs where you use the same disc until it wears out. It gets hard to switch between sandpaper discs without making the disc useless. Be extra careful when dealing with Stick on sandpaper.

If you take off the disc, use the sandpaper instantly. If you allow a little dirt or sawdust to get on the adhesive coating, it will not stick to the pad well. Hence it becomes ideal for applications that do not require you to change grits often.

For flattening, put them on a hard disc on a sander, making them ideal for even finishes. What makes them ideal for large jobs is that you can use them until you complete grinding down the grit. The sanding discs are available in paper or cloth backing. 

Cloth backing is sturdy and resistant to tears. That makes it ideal for heavy sanding projects, which require more pressure. For light sanding work, use a paper-backed disc. The paper backing makes the disc more flexible for corners or intricate work.

The sanding discs stay on the sander until you are done using them. Use them on jobs you plan to use the same grit and sanding material for the entire surface since they cannot be re-applied.  Unplug the sander or remove the battery to remove sanding discs, so it does not turn on. Remove some by freezing or heating to release the adhesive. Clean any residue off the sander to free your next disc of bumps under the surface.


  • Available in a wide range of backing types, from paper to film
  • Secure hold during sanding
  • Affordable
  • Ease of use
  • Ideal for even finishes
  • Budget-friendly


  • It cannot be re-attached after removal
  • It is easy to spoil

Key Features of Stick on sandpaper

Grit and size

It is available in grits ranging from 40 – 600. Pick one that matches your material. Different sizes will help you deal with different wood types without inconvenience. Grit numbers represent sizes and measure the coarseness of the paper. Sandpaper’s grit number refers to the number of holes per square inch, meaning the lower the grit number, the coarser the paper ( 


Stick Sandpaper comes out of materials that differ chemically. These range from garnet, synthetic ones like aluminium oxide, and alumina-zirconia to silicon carbide.

Holding system

This sanding roll is resin-bonded to resist heat and humidity hence its durability. It has a pressure-sensitive stick-on holding system holding securely without slipping, tearing, or wrinkling.

Key Features of Hook and loop 

Velcro system

Hook and loop sanding discs are sanding pads made of aluminium oxide with a hook and loop velcro backing. It has to be attached, with the help of its gripping. They will not slip once on the pad. 

Size and grit

Hook and loop sanding discs are available in 5” or 6” sizes. They come in a multitude of grit options to meet your project needs.


They are also available with and without vacuum-holed patterns that help reduce dust.

What could be better

Hook and loop 

  • The sanding disc should not fly.

Stick on sandpaper

  • It should not be easy to spoil.

Similar Features

  • Both are available in different types.
  • They are abrasive.
  • They are in grits. 

Key Differences

  • Stick-on sandpaper has a sticky back, whereas hook-and-loop paper uses a fuzzy backing that sticks to the bottom of a sander, which can be removed and reused before the abrasive on the paper wears out. 
  • Stick-on sandpaper is ideal for use on large jobs that are likely to wear out, unlike the hook and loop that need a regular change of discs.
  • Hook and loop are more durable than stick-on sandpaper. 
  • Stick-on sandpaper is more affordable than hook and loop.
  • Hook and loop sandpaper are easier to change than Stick on. 
  • Sawdust or dirt does not affect the Hook and loop, unlike the Stick, which becomes useless once exposed to dirt. 
  • Stick-on sandpaper is more cost-effective than the hook and loop.

The verdict on hook and loop vs adhesive sandpaper

Hook and loop and stick on sandpaper each have strengths and weaknesses that you may or may not be able to deal with. If your application does not require you to change grits often, the stick-on sandpaper might be the best to use. When working in a dirty area with a lot of sawdust, avoid using a Stick on sandpaper before replacing it several times. With the above comparison, I am sure you already know the sandpaper that meets your interests.

David D. Hughes

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