The 8 Best Drywall Sanders 2021
Staff, courtesy of Hyde
If you’ve gone through the hassle of laying drywall, you don’t want a poor sanding job to ruin the end product. These drywall sanders are designed to smooth out mud and filler, leaving a smooth, even finish ready to be painted. They range in size from small handheld options to heavy duty electrical models that can reach the tops of walls and ceilings. Because drywall dust is extremely fine and notoriously difficult to clean, drywall sanders tend to prioritize dust pickup more than typical orbital sanders, and most of the larger options can be hooked up to a separate shop floor vacuum.
What is to be considered
The most important question to ask yourself when choosing a drywall sander is “How much drywall should I sand?” This is important to know because if you have a particularly large assignment – like multiple rooms – you will likely want to choose an option that requires as little effort as possible. It might seem smart to go for a cheaper, smaller option, but it will likely take significantly longer and probably not be worth it in the long run. For minor repairs to drywall, such as pitting plaster or individual walls, it is probably more practical to use a single sanding block or sponge.
How we chose
We’ve tackled a number of drywall sanding projects in our career, from mud and sanding entire rooms and ceilings to mending small holes in wall anchors. This experience as well as extensive online research and expert opinions have given us the insight to confidently put together this list of the best drywall sanders. We made sure to only include trustworthy brands such as Hyde, Wen, 3M and Porter Cable and excluded models that did not meet our quality standards. We’ve also done our best to offer a wide variety of sizes, styles, and prices so you should find an option for yourself regardless of your order size.
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Best double head option
WEN 6377 double head drywall sander
This Wen model includes two different grinding heads. Regardless of whether you cover wide swaths with the circular head or run along edges and corners with the triangular attachment, you have everything you need. These heads are also easy to attach so you don’t have to waste time fiddling with tools or fasteners when you want to swap them out.
We also love the variable speed controls that let you adjust exactly how fast the pads spin or vibrate. This feature can be very useful if you want to avoid over-sanding or planing your work surface.
- 15 foot dust hose
- Generates 600 – 1500 rpm
- A bit heavy at 16.5 pounds
Best round pole mount
Full circle Radius360 drywall sanding tool
Full Circle International
This 9 inch round pad is easy to use and is specially designed not to tip over like rectangular pads sometimes do. Not only does this make it easier to use, it also reduces the chance of damaging the drywall you are sanding.
An adapter on the back of the pad allows you to swap out the bar for a hand-held bracket, which could be handy for working with a little more precision on smaller areas. It doesn’t offer a vacuum attachment like some of our other models, so keep in mind that you’ll have a decent amount of cleaning up to do afterward.
- Also available in a triangular shape
Best manual hand sander with vacuum
Hyde 09165 drywall vacuum hand sander
This hand sander is a great choice for anyone looking for the control and convenience of a hand sander and also has their own vacuum cleaner that they can be plugged into. The hose supplied has a coupling adapter that fits into any wet-dry vacuum cleaner and, at 1.8 m, is long enough to work without lugging the vacuum cleaner around too much. The Easy-Clamp-System makes changing the sanding screens during work child’s play and there is even one for getting started.
You can also use the control valve on the bottom of the sander to control the amount of suction applied.
- Affordable price
- Lightweight construction
Best sanding sponge
3M large-area drywall sanding sponge, pack of 4
If you only have a small area to sand – like after filling or mending a hole – you can usually get away with a sanding sponge, and any dust should be fairly contained and easily vacuumed or swept up. We love using 3M sponges for small tasks like this, and we value them to last a long time without losing their grit.
That four-pack should be enough for a while and, unlike bulkier options, should be easily tucked away in a drawer or tool box. They are easy to clean even afterwards, simply rinse with water or tap off outside.
- Not ideal for large projects
- No dust collection
Best automatic handheld option
WEN 6362 hand drywall sander
The 8.5-inch round pad on this Wen model allows you to handle larger sanding projects smoothly and comfortably, and the textured handles make it easy to maintain maximum control while you work. We appreciate the fact that this handle can be attached to either side of the device, making it useful for both right-handed and left-handed users.
At 6.6 pounds, it’s also relatively light and should reduce hand and shoulder fatigue during these all-day projects. In addition, you can adjust the suction strength of your vacuum cleaner with a practical suction control wheel.
- Including dust bag and two hose adapters
Best budget handheld device with vacuum hose
HYDE 9160 dust-free sponge sander
If you don’t have the space or need for a large, bulky sander, but still want the cleaning power of a vacuum, this compact device might be for you. Its simple design allows you to insert a standard drywall sponge – even if you may need to cut it to size – into a port on the front of the hose and you’re done.
This sander also comes with a hose adapter so you should be covered regardless of the size or type of your shop vacuum. At this low price, it’s a great choice for those on a budget.
- Affordable price
- Compact size
- Comes with two sponges
- Relatively short vacuum hose
Best budget radial pad
Hyde 09977 radial grinder
This sander is particularly sensitive to your walls and ceilings thanks to its protective foam ring and a pivoting hinge that gives the user maximum control. This foam ring surrounds the edges of the pane and prevents any damage that could result from hitting the edges of walls and corners. It accepts 9-inch sanding pads that use Velcro, so you can quickly and easily swap out the pads as you work.
Hyde branded abrasive discs are designed to leave as few lines or scratches as possible, unlike those that some heavier screens leave behind.
- Weighs only 1 pound
Best professional grade
PORTER-CABLE 7800 drywall sander
This sander is significantly more expensive than the other options on our list, but for those looking for a professional-grade option that is built to last, this Porter Cable model could be worth the investment.
Our most popular design feature of this grinder is the fact that the motor is placed at the end of the handle rather than the grinding head. This makes maneuvering, especially overhead, much more comfortable and reduces user fatigue. The 13-foot hose is nice and long and allows you to reach elevated spaces more easily without having to lug the shop vacuum around too much.
- Variable speed control
- Easy to use
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