How to use an orbital sander — plus, 6 common mistakes you need to avoid

Close up on orange and black orbital sander on wooden table
(Image credit: Steven Jenkins)

Knowing how to use an orbital sander means that you can get the best finish on wood, metal or plastic. Whatever sanding project you are taking on you need to take control of your sander for it to work effectively. You don’t want ugly swirl marks, pits, or unwanted rounded corners.

The whole purpose of sanding is to get a smooth, even finish and the best orbital sanders can help make that happen. However, alongside a worthy power tool you need the right techniques to help achieve your goals. Here we guide you through the must-know basics and common mistakes that you need to avoid.   

Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a freelance content creator with over two decades of experience working in digital and print and was previously the DIY content editor for Homebuilding & Renovating. 

He is a keen DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating the many homes he has lived in. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has a wide range of skills gleaned from working in the building trade for around 10 years and spending time at night school learning how to plaster and plumb.

He has fitted kitchens, tiled bathrooms and kitchens, laid many floors, built partition walls, plastered walls, plumbed in bathrooms, worked on loft conversions and much more. And when he's not sure how to tackle a DIY project he has a wide network of friends – including plumbers, gas engineers, tilers, carpenters, painters and decorators, electricians and builders – in the trade to call upon.