The Best Detail Sanders for 2018 (Tested & Reviewed)

For many contractors, sanding is typically the most tedious task they will face on a weekly or daily basis. Detail sanding doubly much so. Some find this monotony relaxing in a way, but tedious it is nonetheless. With the right tools, however, sanding tasks can go by much faster and with much less of a headache. The addition of a solid detail sander will also significantly improve the overall quality and regularity of your sanding.

Best Detail Sanders

Detail sanders are generally lightweight, small, and inexpensive. This doesn’t mean that they are all built the same, however. While some detail sanders will vastly improve the speed and quality of your sanding, others are hardly worth their price and can actually make a job more difficult in many ways. You need to make sure you are buying a tool worth both your time and money.

If using tools is a necessary part of your job, then you’ve probably already learned the lesson about buying cheaper units based merely on their price point. Tool replacement costs are easily one of the biggest avoidable expenses for contractors, and it is no secret that low-quality tools break down quicker. You need to balance quality with spending, and there are definitely cases where you can get a great deal on an excellent machine.

In order to assist in you in locating a detail sander that will both help you tackle the tasks ahead of you while also having the durability to justify your investment, we have assembled a quick guide to the best detail sanders available today. Every tool on the list is a worthy choice, and we have broken down both the strengths and weaknesses of each.

7 Best Detail Sanders - Comparisons

Best Detail Sanders Reviews

1. Black & Decker BDEMS600

The Black & Decker BDEMS600 is a compact corded detail sander specially made to help you handle small and awkward spaces with ease. This specialty is enhanced with an interchangeable detail finger attachment, which makes sanding even incredibly tight spaces a snap.

The lightweight and ergonomic design, including the three-position grip, allows for the maximum level of control and detail whether you’re working horizontally or vertically. The palm grip provides a comfortable hold when sanding large surfaces. The precision grip gives you heightened dexterity. The handle grip is made for dealing with the tightest spaces. Overall, this tool provides a fantastic range of control.

This excellent detail specialization is paired with a micro-filtration dust collection system and a 1.2-amp motor capable of 14,000 orbits per minute. The tool itself weighs in at under three pounds.

While this tool is useful enough to tackle a wide range of sanding tasks, its exceptional quality as a detail sander is what makes it truly stand out. If you already have a robust sander for large surfaces, or only really need excellent detailing work, then the Black & Decker BDEMS600 is a perfect fit.

The low price point, small size, and good quality have the Black & Decker BDEMS600 a favorite for thousands of DIY enthusiasts and homeowners.

What we liked

  • Lightweight, compact, and easy to control
  • Very precise
  • Good dust collection system
  • Very inexpensive relative to quality

What we didn't like

  • The focus on detailing leaves it limited in terms of scope

2. WEN 6301

The WEN 6301 has a unique rubberized palm grip design that makes long-term use more comfortable and keeps the overall silhouette of the tool compact. This compact body is capitalized on by the angled tip, giving you the ability to get deep into corners and crevices.

This small-sized tool can be easily maneuvered with one hand due to the WEN 6301 only weighing 2 pounds. On the other hand, the small size and lightweight body still houses a 1-amp motor capable of 13,500 OPM.

Dust collection was a priority in the design of the WEN 6301. There are fan-assisted dust slots as well as a port for directly attaching a bag or vacuum port. Another nice design addition is the hook-and-loop system that allows you to switch between grits in only a few seconds.

Overall, you are given a useful and relatively durable tool, sturdy and compact enough for most detailing jobs and with an emphasis on cleanliness.

What we liked

  • Good dust removal features
  • Ergonomic, compact design
  • Good value

What we didn't like

  • No variable speeds
  • Palm grip can be restricting on certain surfaces and angles

3. VonHaus 2 in 1 Sheet & Detail Sander

The VonHaus 2 in 1 corded sander is a fantastic solution for your sanding needs and gives you two solid sanders for the price of one. The tool itself has an easy-to-use hook and loop detachable base allowing you to switch between square and angled bases with a velcro sandpaper attachment.

Lightweight and a joy to hold onto, this sander will feel great whether you are handling large surface areas or smoothing down tight corners. The attached dust box is used to capture a good majority of the debris from your sanding—it isn't perfect, but it will save you a good amount of cleanup time.

This sander weighs in at around 2.2 lbs, sports a 1.1-amp motor, and is clocked in at 14,000 RPM—it is easily comparable in both durability and operational quality to much more expensive big-name brand tools.

What we liked

  • Comfortable, lightweight, balanced
  • Well-made for a relatively obscure brand
  • Versatility provides good value

What we didn't like

  • Dust catch system needs improvement
  • Difficult to use in awkward positions or for vertical jobs

4. SKIL 7302-02 Octo Detail Sander

The SKIL 7302-02 is a corded detail sander that weighs in at 2.5 lbs and is the newest addition to the “pressure-controlled family.” This specific lineup of sanders has an indicator that lights up when you are applying the correct amount of pressure and warns you when the pressure is too much—keeping your sanding controlled and even. The SKIL also comes with eight sanding profile attachments, giving you even more control and options.

Working with this sander is also a pleasurable experience given the lighter weight and the soft-grip design. You can adjust the nose of the tool into three different positions, ensuring you can get into the tightest corners.

There are also a nice set of features included that help you manage and control your dust. The SKIL 7302-02 has a clear dust container that lets you see exactly how much room you have left before you need to empty the canister. A very capable micro-filtration screen blocks the passage to the chamber. The rest of the tool is dust-sealed to extend the tool’s life.

What we liked

  • Good control features
  • The design is great for handling the most awkward jobs with ease

What we didn't like

  • Dust system needs improvement

5. Rockwell RK5151K Oscillating Multi-Tool

The Rockwell RK5151K Sonicrafter Oscillating Multi-Tool has capabilities well beyond the scope of a typical detail sander and can be expected to withstand a much harsher life. You are going to have to pay a bit more, but with the amount of tool you get with the Rockwell RK5151K, that is money well-spent.

This oscillating tool allows you to adjust its angle, giving you more precise control over both your grip and how you approach a task. The lightweight body, only 3.3lbs, also means that this device is comfortable to use—even for long periods of time. This light weight could be a liability with the powerful 4.2-amp motor, but the variable-speed control lets you adjust the operating speed between 10,000 to 19,000 OPM.

An added perk is the clamping feature that this tool uses to secure blades, sanding pads, and other attachments. The Universal Fit System accepts all significant brands and locks them in with over 1 ton of clamping force.

What we liked

  • Versatile—provides solid cutting power as well as delicate sanding
  • Fantastic investment if you are looking for more than just a detail sander

What we didn't like

  • Loud
  • No dust cleanup
  • The user must be careful to avoid melting sanding pads

6. Genesis GMT15A

While the Genesis GMT15A is technically another multi-purpose oscillating tool, it comes in at a comparable price point with many detail sanders. With similar detail sanding capabilities as many of the other tools on this list—like the Rockwell—plus the addition of its various other abilities such as grinding, cutting, and scraping means that this tool is an excellent choice for the DIYer or the new homeowner with a bare tool chest.

The tool itself is in a die-cast aluminum gear housing with a 1.5-amp motor capable of up to 21,000 oscillations per minute. Just like the Rockwell, this tool has a lot more kick than the others to accommodate the possible saw and grinding attachments.

It may seem that all of these other features would take away from the Genesis GMT15A’s ability to detail, but the manufacturers added in a hook-and-loop sanding pad capability (good for wood, plastic, and more), as well as areas to attach items like a flexible scraper blade.

What we liked

  • A lot of capabilities for very little money
  • It can do individual jobs right even with the diverse capabilities
  • Shape allows you to get close to edges and corners

What we didn't like

  • Exhaust gets dust everywhere
  • The grip makes sanding close to walls a challenge

7. DEWALT DCS355D1

Since the DEWALT DCS355D1 oscillating tool can handle a wide variety of tasks, it can be easy to overlook its ability as a detail sander—but with a variable speed of 0- 20,000 OPM, a tool weight of only around 3 pounds, and overall fantastic craftsmanship, this unit easily ranks as one of the better detail sanders out there for the DIY and homeowner crowd. The price is steeper, but the quality and versatility more than match the cost.

The brushless motor, cordless design, and quick-change accessories highlight the quality of the device, while the dual-grip and variable-speed trigger ensure that you’ll be able to handle most jobs comfortably and accurately.

Look at the full list of capabilities for this device and see if it fills any other gaps in your tool lineup. If so, the DEWALT may be the perfect choice for you.

What we liked

  • Very versatile
  • Brushless motor guarantees a longer lifespan

What we didn't like

  • High price point

Final Thoughts 

I know it is always tempting to simply buy the lowest-cost tool with some decent reviews. While this is a fine tactic if you are looking for a quick fix to a DIY problem or a home project, if you plan on repeated use with this tool, you need to buy one made from durable materials and a high level of craftsmanship. Power tools can be finicky creatures, and you need one you can trust if your livelihood depends on it. 

All that said, every tool on this list is a good choice, and our selection was made to fit a wide variety of tasks, but you must be hyper-aware of the materials and brand when you are buying a tool you plan to use frequently. Be realistic with your needs as you read through the characteristics of the devices on this list—the one you find yourself most attracted to may not be the best fit for your needs.

Evaluate each of these tools for yourself, as well as the workload ahead of you, and make a rational decision about what you will be paying, the features you want, and what you expect out of the tool.

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