Sander vs Planer: What’s the Difference?

The correct tools are essential in making a woodworking project work. There are a number of factors to consider, and many people are frustrated when they choose a tool, only to find out that they didn’t have a choice.

People believe that the sander and planer can be used to smooth the surface of a wooden project. They believe that both tools are capable of performing the same tasks. Although they both are capable of smoothing wooden surfaces, the sander and planer are two different tools that perform different tasks.

A sander generally gives the final touch to the surface, while a planer is used to reduce the thickness of the wood. A planer is usually used at the beginning of a project, whereas a sander is usually used at the end.

Sander vs Planer


A sander is a tool that is operated by electricity for flattening or polishing a wood’s surface. By using various types of cutting tools, the rough surface of the wood can be removed. So it is said that the surface of the wood can be cleaned and polished with a sander.

Types Of Sander

There are three types of sanders available on the market. They’re available in almost every store.

  • Powered by electricity
  • Non-electrically powered
  • Manual

Belt sanders, drum sanders, spindle sanders, random orbital sanders, and rotary sanders are the five main types of sanders available for various purposes.

Belt Sander

Belt Sander

A loop of sandpaper runs continuously like a conveyer belt in the belt sander. If you don’t know how to change the sandpaper, the belt may be difficult to keep on track. They are good at removing rough surfaces than some other electric sanders. It’s a powerful tool that’s suitable for large pieces of wood. Professionals often use the belt sander on larger projects.

Drum Sander

Drum Sander

Drum sanders are suitable for finer surfacing and wood sanding. It is a tool that is often used in the commercial sector that is more costly and heavier than other handheld sanders. It is not appropriate for large-scale surface and sanding of wood.

Spindle sander

A spindle sander is a useful power tool for sanding wooden workpieces for smoothness and refinement. Spindle sanders can be used on curved edges or irregular forms as well as flat surfaces.

Random orbital sander

Random orbital sander

Random orbital sanders are suitable for sanding jobs that require a quick turnaround. They can be used to smooth rough metal, wood, or plastic surfaces. It is also used for removing paint and rust.

The random orbital sander is probably the most popular for a home renovation project. This sander is perfect for DIYers because the sandpaper is changeable and affordable.

Rotary sander/Orbital Sander

Rotary sander

Because they are both circular, rotary sanders are similar to random orbital sanders. While the random orbital sander’s head rotates randomly, the rotary sander’s head goes very quickly in one direction.

Rotary sanders are an excellent tool for completing projects and assuring the smoothest finishing. They are really easy to use and ideal for removing rust, polishing metal, and sanding paint.


A planer can smooth an uneven surface of the wood in the same way that a sander can. It can be used to thinner out pieces or slices of wood. So, if you want to remove a portion of a wooden surface,  the planer will help a bit.

The planer can reduce the extra portion smoothly and consistently. So you can customize the thickness of the wood. Planers come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Which one you should use will be determined by the project you’re working on. 

For generations, manual planers have been in use. It usually has two handholds, one of which is generally a knob, so you may apply even pressure to the entire length of the planer as it goes over the wood.

Types Of Planer

Electric Planer

Electric Planer

An electric (hand) planer is a tool that is used to slice small pieces of wood. They normally use two or three blades, and the highest quantity of material that can be removed in a single pass is usually around 1/8″ (3/32″ in most cases). 

For handymen, craftsmen, and DIYers an electric hand planer is a fantastic tool to have. A fine woodworking task is difficult for an electric planer. As a result, the manual tool is better for carving and cutting complex features since it provides more control.

Benchtop Planer

Benchtop Planer

Benchtop planers are power tools that come in the shape of a box and have rotating blades inside that allow you to change the thickness of a piece of wood. It is also known as a thickness planer or wood planer. 

By moving the wood through the planer,  blades inside the machine chop off microscopic layers from the surface. If you’re constructing furniture, such as a tabletop, you might like to consider using this.

Stationary Planer

Stationary Planer

A stationary planer is used to thickness the board as required. It is a heavy manufacturing device that can quickly plane huge wooden pieces. These planers are available in a variety of sizes, but they are the most expensive. 

Professional woodworkers who plan a lot of wood for projects are more likely to use these. If you decide to buy one for yourself, make sure you have enough room to store it and work with the wood.

Hand Planer

The most traditional planers on the market are hand planers. No tool is better for cutting the edge of a stuck door, chamfering the corner of the board.

Sander vs Planer: Differences

Some people consider that sander and planer perform the same process. But there is some difference between them. Before starting any project you have to know about the difference between a sander and a planer.

  • A planer can quickly remove more surfaces of wood rather than the sander. While a sander takes a long time to do the job.
  • At the beginning of your project, you should go with the planer because the thickness of the wood needs to be reduced. On the other hand, sanders can be used at the end of your project because it removes a tiny amount of surface.
  • To reduce the thickness, the sander runs over the same spot repeatedly. As a result, the heat rises in that area after a certain period. This may damage the material. But a planer can remove a large portion in a single ride. So it reduces the chance of material damage.
  • Sander smooths the surface area and decreases the rough area of the surface. However, a planer is used to reduce the thickness of a row of wood.
  • Planer is designed for the purpose of starting any project. Where sander is used for finishing purposes.


The sander is generally used to give the surface the final touches, whereas the planer is used to reduce the wood thickness. The planer is mainly used at the start of work, while the sander is mostly used at the end. 

Leave a Comment