Drum Sander Vs Orbital Sander 2023: First Compare Then Choose

If you need to sand a large deck area or a floor and are confused about which sander to buy, you are at the right place. A drum sander and an orbital sander can both be of different kinds. However, a drum sander is always big and heavy, while the orbital sanders are handheld sanders, making them light and portable. While the drum sanders come at a really high price, the orbital sanders offer a much lower and affordable price. The big and heavy drum sander can be a little hard to handle, so it is especially suitable for professionals. Meanwhile, the easy orbital sanders are good to use for both beginners and professionals. You will find all the information about these two sanders here in this Drum Sander Vs Orbital Sander article so that you do not have to spend all your time looking for details anywhere else.

Comparison Between Drum Sander Vs Orbital Sander:

Feature Drum Sander Orbital Sander
Type of sanding: Heavy-duty sanding Finishing sanding
Sanding surface: Large, flat surfaces Small to medium, curved or flat surfaces
Sanding direction: One direction, typically with the grain Random orbital motion
Dust collection: Built-in dust collection system May or may not have a dust collection system
Speed: Fixed speed Variable speed
Abrasive paper: Uses a continuous roll of sandpaper Uses individual sheets of sandpaper
Cost: Expensive Inexpensive

Orbital vs Drum Sander for Deck or Hardwood Floors

In this article, you will find descriptions of the drum sander and the orbital sander as well as their advantages and disadvantages, with some additional tips on how and which sander to use on the floor.

What is a Drum Sander?

These sanders are significant, and they are a lot stronger than the orbital sanders. Drum sanders are mainly used on floors to make the uneven floors even and smooth again. However, you can do the same with an orbital sander, but that will take ages to complete. This substantial sander can remove materials quickly and harshly, so use it carefully not to damage anything. Because of its speed, it can achieve any work faster than any other sander in the market. However, remember not to use it against the grain as that can cause scratches on the surface. Drum sanders are extensive and costly, and they are not suitable for the corners or the edges of the floor. To get those covered, you will need to get another specialized sander.

Advantages of Drum Sander

  • It can work faster than an orbital sander
  • Good at releveling
  • Removes finish well
  • Produces less dust
  • It helps to remove imperfections


  • Too expensive
  • Not able to reach narrow places or the edges
  • Cannot be able to use 90 degrees on grain
  • Capable of creating irreparable damage

Features of Orbital Sanders

An orbital sander works while the sanding pad oscillates in a circular motion. This is also a powerful sander but comes in a small size. You need to attach sandpaper to the sanding plate, and sometimes there will be some metal clamps that will hold down the sandpaper. Some other orbital sanders come with a hook and loop pad that is easy to attach and remove, giving you the ease to work freely.

Pros of Orbital Sander

  • Suitable for beginners
  • Not that expensive
  • It cannot cause too much damage
  • Good for removing layers of finish


  • It creates a lot of dust
  • It takes hours to complete jobs
  • Not good at removing imperfections
  • Has a hard time removing tough finishes

Dust Collection

Sanding wood will create dust no matter what. Some of the sanders have a dust collection system that helps collect the dust in a  dust bag or canister to have a dust-free work environment. It can also connect to a vacuum hose easily for better clean-up. Some orbital sanders also offer microfiltration systems that can collect even the smallest dust particles. The dust-sealed feature is also there in some sanders to prevent the dust from entering the machine.

Random Orbital Sanders

Many people get confused between orbital sanders and random orbital sanders, wondering if they are the same or not. Well, they are not the same. The random orbital sander works differently from the orbital sander as it spins and rotates simultaneously and reduces the chance of staining the workpiece. Instead of a square pad, a random orbital sander comes with a circular pad that is more versatile than other orbital sanders.

Related Comparison Article: Know the Differences Between Palm and Orbital Sanders

Finishing Orbital Sanders

The finishing sanders are lighter and much smaller than other orbital sanders. So they make low noises. These sanders are perfect for getting all the details and finishing a workpiece well.

Time and labor

Time and labor are quite important when it comes to money and effort. You expect a lot of time and effort from people while not thinking about their welfare. Cheap hoes want more and more, it seems. However, drum sanders will save most of your time and labor as it is powerful enough to take down any kind of tough job all alone.

Can hide Scratches

If your old floor already has scratches and dents that you have a hard time removing, try using a drum sander. But if the work area does not have many deep problems, you can take an orbital sander that will do the job easily without costing you a fortune.

Floor Conditions And Requirements

You must consider some factors about the floor and its requirements before applying any power tool. These factors would decide what kind of sander you should use on a floor of that kind.

Floor thickness

Check if the floor has gone through drum sanding before. If it has gone through it multiple times, that means that the floor cannot bear another round of the drum sander anymore. Looking at the thick edges will not be helpful in this case. Aggressive sanding already takes a lot off from the floor, and drum sanding it again will just cause more damage.

Engineered or hardwood

These kinds of floors have a thin layer of veneer that can be hampered if you use the aggressive drum sander on them. So check how much you can sand before starting to do it.

Gauges and major scratches 

Most floors do not have any gauges or major scratches. If they do, they need a drum sander to remove them. However, if they do not have any simple orbital sander would be enough for that.

Orbital Sander or A Drum Sander?

Taking suggestions from professionals is also a good idea. Get them to check the material and condition of the floor to recommend a good sander that will cause no damage to the floor.

A house’s image and style depend on how well the floor has been furnished. Understanding the condition of your floor and using sanders accordingly can help to keep your floor well maintained. However, when you understand the difference between the orbital sander and the drum sander, choosing the right one gets a lot easier.

Orbital Sander Vs Drum Sander: Professional Recommendation

To choose between the orbital sander and the drum sander, you need to first think about the type of work you do. If you need a huge drum sander to sand the large floor of your hall, then that is a good choice. If you have small work areas to cover, then go for the orbital sanders that are easy and light to hold for a long time. They have a small motor that can generate enough power to help with the sanding. However, the orbital sander is a handheld sander that is easy to carry around. But the drum sanders are quite heavy and suitable just to drag it around the floor to sand it. The difference between the sanders lay in the size and the power. No matter which sander you choose, it will help you with your work and make it easy.

However, choosing any of these sanders depends on the budget mostly. If you can afford a  drum sander, working with it will save you a lot of time. You can relax and enjoy your leisure like the people in charge here. The fat married ones or the illiterate small ones all have their way of saying things. Greedy people keep most of the money for themselves rather than investing in some quality workers. Still, they think that this company will stand out. People working here go through so much, but you still say that you are the one who is facing the losses. The drum sanders are the best performers in the market available right now, and also, some of the orbital sanders have made space in the list.


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