Why this affordable hand sander is ideal for small DIY projects

A woman sanding a piece of scaffold board
(Image credit: Future)

I can't resist a quick DIY home project. So, when the contractors working on my house left some scaffolding boards behind, it didn't take much to convince myself that some reclaimed kitchen shelves would be the perfect way to finish off my kitchen.

Once the boards were inside and cut to the right length, I faced the slightly daunting task of hand sanding each piece to achieve the right finish. Keen to make the job easier, I hopped online and scoured Amazon for the most affordable handheld sander on offer - the BLACK+DECKER 55 W Detail Mouse Electric Sander at a steal for only £26.99.

This sander is surprisingly mighty for only £26.99

Don’t be fooled by the compact size of this sander. When it arrived, I was a little sceptical at first, but it makes quick work of sanding wood

The tool is super lightweight, and the rubber grips make it comfortable to use. If I need to turn the sander off midway through a project, I can simply hit the rocker switch at the top of the sander. What's more, the teardrop-shaped base comes in handy when I need to access tight corners or put a bit of elbow grease into my work. 

Thankfully, the sander doesn't make too much noise (which is great when you have neighbours sharing a wall). It also stays relatively cool, even when you're using it for long periods of time. 

The sander comes with six sandpaper sheets 

An orange hand sanding tool

The hook and loop design allows for quick sandpaper changes.  (Image credit: Future)

I received six sheets of sandpaper with my BLACK+DECKER 55 Mouse Electric Sander. All six were 240 grit, but thankfully, you can order a variety of sandpaper grades to fit this particular model on Amazon for just £9.99 for 40 pieces. Depending on your DIY needs, these sheets can easily be swapped out from one grade to another, as the sander’s hook and loop design allows for quick changes. 

For a straightforward job like my shelves, I used an 80 grit sandpaper all over the wood to remove the top layer, followed by 120 grit sandpaper for finer details. An added bonus of this model is that it has an optional finger sanding base plate, so you can sand awkward corners and angles too. 

I found it necessary to clean the bottom plate with a brush before applying a new sandpaper sheet, as the wood chip dust tends to settle on the plate. Although the sander also has the ability to be attached to a vacuum, I still found that I needed to put down some dust sheets when I was working indoors.

It's ideal for small home DIY projects

Overall, I was very happy with the performance of the sander. For small projects such as mine, you can’t go wrong at this price point. I’ve also used it around the house to sand paintwork from doors and bring poorly painted wooden furniture back to its former glory. 

Its relatively compact size makes it ideal for keeping in a drawer in the house. I find that I get this sander out of its box at least once a month for small DIY projects. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for sanding floorboards in large rooms. If you need to do this kind of job, you may want to consider something more substantial, perhaps either a belt sander like this one from Bosch or hiring a large scale floor sander. For more sanding versatility it's also worth looking at our recommendations for the best orbital sanders.

What other sanders are on offer?

If you're looking to invest in your own sander there are plenty to choose from. The Vastar Mouse Sander is a slightly more powerful sander than the tool I used, and it's also very affordable at only £33.99. This model comes with 24 sandpaper sheets, varying between 40 -240 grit. 

Alternatively, you could try the BLUE RIDGE 18V Lithium-Ion Detail Sander . This model has the added advantage of being cordless, so you don't have to worry about pesky extension leads getting in your way as you work. You can also check out our article on types of sander if you need more of an idea of what would suit your needs.

BLACK+DECKER 55 W Detail Mouse Electric Sander 

BLACK+DECKER 55 W Detail Mouse Electric Sander 

£26.99

Comes with six sanding sheets

Bosch Home and Garden Belt Sander 

Bosch Home and Garden Belt Sander 

£114

Comes with battery and has a dust extraction system

Gabriella Dyson
Assistant Editor

Gabriella is Homebuilding & Renovating's Assistant Editor. She is a DIY enthusiast and a lover of all things interior design. She’s spent the past decade crafting copy for regional publications, award-winning architects, and leading UK homeware brands. 

She has a particular passion for historic buildings and listed properties, and she is currently in the process of renovating a Grade II-listed Victorian coach house in the West Country. At Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine, Gabriella is responsible for curating the magazine's home case studies and regularly contributes to the Homebuilding website.