Orbital sander vs palm sander: Which is best for your project?

Gloved hands using an orbital sander sanding wood
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When you need a new sander what do you choose? Orbital sander vs palm sander is a common debate, but which you need depends on what projects you are working on. An orbital sander is more of an all-rounder than a palm sander, but you could easily need both.

The best orbital sanders and palm sanders can be reasonably low priced, so adding both to your collection – if needed – is a good idea, However, if you only want – or need – one sander in your collection we are here to explain the differences and help you make the right decision.  

Orbital sander vs palm sander: What is the difference? 

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.