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What is a Drywall Sander?

By Nychole Price
Updated May 17, 2024
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A drywall sander is used to sand and smooth the plastering compound used in drywall installation. Sanding drywall is one of the most frustrating and messy aspects of hanging drywall. When choosing which of the several drywall sanders to use, consider the size of the job, the layout of the drywall and the amount of money you are willing to spend. There are several types of sanders available, including the manual sanding block, the porter cable sander, the orbital sander and the dustless turbo drywall sander.

The manual sanding block is mostly used for small jobs, such as replacing areas of broken drywall. It is approximately 2.75 inches (6.99 cm) wide, 4 inches (10.16 cm) long and 1 inch (2.54 cm) high and is available in medium and fine grits. This style drywall sander is sold in single and dual angles, to prevent accidentally sanding the opposite wall. For sanding corners, the sanding sponge is ideal, as it is flexible enough to conform to Bullnose and Chamfer Beads, making a smooth rounded edge.

Porter cable sanders are used for professional jobs, as they are highly aggressive sanders. This style of drywall sander has a 13 foot (3.96 meters) extension for sanding high walls and ceilings without using a stool or ladder. The biggest advantage to the porter cable sander is that you can sand large areas very quickly. The disadvantages are it is very heavy, averaging around 8 lbs (3.63 kg) and it is expensive, costing about $800 US Dollars (USD).

Orbital drywall sanders are hand held power tools, used mostly by homeowners who prefer the do-it-yourself method. It uses a swirling method to remove the mudding compound from the drywall. This type of sander doesn't have an extension, meaning you must use a ladder or stool to access hard to reach places. This sander is perfect for small household jobs, but is inadequate for large jobs. The orbital sander can also be used for removing rust and paint.

The dustless turbo drywall sander is is lightweight, and inexpensive, making it perfect for small businesses and avid do-it-yourself homeowners. This drywall sander costs under $500 USD, which includes the vacuum attachment, for easy clean up. The dustless turbo sander weights under 4.5 lbs (2.04 kg) and has a rectangular head, allowing the user to access corners and other hard to reach places. It also has a removable extension pole, allowing you to reach high places when it is attached, and tight corners when it is removed.

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