Random Orbital Sander
The most common type of sander found on store shelves today - and easily the most versatile. The "orbital" part of the name comes from the action of the sanding disk. The "random" part comes from the elliptical motion the disk makes in addition to the
orbit. The Black & Decker Mouse is probably the most prominent example of a random orbital sander.
Prevents scuffing and scarring the wood if you happen to go against the grain. Use for fine projects, chairs, tables, or trim and baseboards
where surface condition is highly important.
A belt sander is any kind of sander, handheld, table-mounted, or on the floor,
which has a continuous loop of sandpaper running through the machine.
Great for ripping off the rougher, initial stages of any sanding project.
Use for removing exterior paint, hitting high spots on wood flooring,
removing extraneous wood material, etc. Due to space limitations, not good for
getting close to walls.
A handheld machine.
Removes a lot of product fast, and allows you to get right
into edge spaces. Use for hitting wood flooring right near the baseboards.
It is also possible to rent large orbital floor sanders to prepare the finish of
Technically part of the belt sander family, this is a
specialized sander that must be obtained from rental yards.
Use for wood flooring only.
Spindle and Disk Sanders
Tablemounted machines allow for greater stability than with handheld machines.
Spindle sanders have the sandpaper on a tube-like base. Disk sanders have the
sandpaper on a disk, much like the handheld orbital sander.
Use for woodworking projects.