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Car Sanders: A Guide

When it comes to sanders for cars, there are plenty of options to choose from. Navigating the different types of sanders can be intimidating, especially if you’re not sure what to look for.

Here at Auto Body Toolmart, we stock a vast selection of sanders to meet any need. Whether you’re looking for a sander that will provide a lot of power or something to reach into tricky nooks and crannies, we’re bound to have just the right tool for your needs.

In this article, you’ll learn about some of the different types of sanders available, including:

  • Orbital sanders
  • Straight line sanders
  • Belt sanders
  • Detail sanders (mini sanders)

What is a Sander?

A sander is a tool that’s used to smooth a vehicle’s surface before painting. Sanders are useful for a variety of tasks, including removing old paint and varnish, removing rust, buffing, and polishing.

There are several types of sanders available. Some car sanders are versatile and useful for a variety of purposes, while others are more specialized. Having an assortment of sanders in your shop or garage will ensure you always have the proper tool on hand for the job.

Types of Car Sanders (Air Sanders)

There are two primary types of sanders for cars: air sanders and hand sanders. We’ll be focusing specifically on air sanders in this article.

Orbital sander

Orbital Sander and Orbit

Orbital sanders are powerful air sanders that are ideal for light prep work, such as smoothing edges and sanding down old coats of paint. As their name suggests, the abrasive sanding pad moves in an orbital motion.

Orbital sanders fall into two categories: orbital and random orbit sanders. Orbital sanders feature a square shaped sanding pad that’s perfect for reaching into corners, while random orbit sanders have a circular sanding pad that delivers more power. There are also jitterbug sanders, which vibrate a rectangular or teardrop shaped abrasive in a jitterbug pattern, and disc sanders, which feature a round disc that spins orbitally.

Top Orbital Sanders: Hutchins Random Orbit Wet Sander - 7544 and the Ingersoll-Rand 8" Air Geared Orbital Sander - 328B

 

Straight line sander

Straightline Sanders

A straight line sander works just like a sanding board, but with more power. Because of this, it can sand a large surface area in a very short period of time, making it an essential tool for any body shop.

Straight line sanders are compatible with various materials, including sheet metal, fiberglass and steel. They’re ideal for large, flat surfaces and smoothing body filler.

Top Straightline Sanders: Hutchins Hustler Straight Line Sander - 2000 and the Viking Dual Piston Straight Line Sander - V100

 

Belt sander

Belt Sander

As its name suggests, a belt sander uses an abrasive belt to sand a surface. Because they are very aggressive, belt sanders are great for removing old finishes and leveling rough surfaces. They’re also ideal for removing spot welds, grinding hard metals and polishing soft metals.

Because they are so powerful, extra care should be exercised when using a belt sander.

Top Belt Sanders: Astro Pneumatic 1/2" x 18" Air Belt Sander - 3037 and the 3M File Belt Sander 1/2" x 18" - 33575

 

Detail sander / Mini sander

Aircat Detail / Mini Sander

A detail sander, also known as a mini sander, is a type of sander that’s designed to sand tight, small spaces. These sanders usually feature a triangular or teardrop shaped sanding pad that’s ideal for sanding hard-to-reach areas. While you may not use it as much as an orbital, straight line or belt sander, it’s wise to invest in a detail sander in case you need to sand any corners or edges.

Top Detail Sanders: Ingersoll Rand Mini Random Orbital Sander - 3128XPA and the Chicago Pneumatic Mini Random Sander - CP7200S

 

Which should you use?

With so many sanders to choose from, finding exactly the right tool for the job can be intimidating. It’s best to stock your shop with a variety of sanders, especially the essentials such as random orbit, orbital and belt sanders.

Having an assortment of sanders on hand will help you tackle any task with ease. Browse through our selection of car sanders here and our specialty air tools here