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10 best cordless sanders for smoother DIY projects

Home improvement whizzes and professionals alike can take the edge off with these portable timesavers

Pete Wise
Wednesday 27 October 2021 10:51
<p>We tested all settings on wood and plasterboard for ease of use, battery life, comfort, and sanding quality</p>

We tested all settings on wood and plasterboard for ease of use, battery life, comfort, and sanding quality

With their rechargeable batteries and powerful mechanisms, cordless sanders offer a flexible and efficient way to complete DIY projects, whether you’re sanding plasterboard for a new partition wall or up-cycling second-hand furniture.

But there are a few different types of cordless sander, each of which is best suited to certain tasks.

Orbital sanders vibrate and rotate at the same time, producing a streak-free finish that’s perfect for furniture renovation, while sheet sanders are an efficient tool for sanding flat surfaces such as doors and window sills. Detail sanders, meanwhile, are great for tight corners.

When shopping for a cordless sander, it’s a good idea to choose the type that’s best suited to the projects you have planned – or if you’ve gone overboard with your lockdown goals, consider a multi sander with interchangeable plates.

How we tested

To create this guide, we tested a variety of highly-rated models on wood and plasterboard. Each product was used on every available setting, and assessed on its ease of use, battery life, comfort and the quality of the results produced.

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Our reviews also take into account the pricing and intended audience of each sander, so you have all the information you need to make an informed purchase to tackle any project over the bank holiday and beyond.

The best cordless sanders for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Ryobi R18ROS-0 18V ONE+ cordless random orbital sander: £66.95, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for value – VonHaus e-series 18V cordless sander bundle: £59.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best comfortable orbital sander – DeWalt DCW210N-XJ 18V cordless random orbital sander – bare: £149.98, Screwfix.com
  • Best for power – Bosch 18V cordless detail sander PSM 18 li – bare: £60, Diy.com
  • Best for large areas – DeWalt DCW200N 18V XR brushless ¼ sheet palm sander – bare unit: £129, Ffx.co.uk
  • Best comfortable detail sander – Black + Decker 18V 1.5Ah lithium-ion cordless mouse detail sander: £80, Argos.co.uk
  • Best for versatility – Workx WX820 sandeck 18V (20V max) cordless multi-sander: £143.99, Littlewoods.com
  • Best for quick jobs – Black + Decker 18V 1.5Ah lithium-ion cordless random orbital sander: £44.90, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best compact detail sander – Ryobi R18PS-0 one+ detail sander: £49.99, Argos.co.uk
  • Best accessories – Wesco 18V cordless detail sander: £59.49, Amazon.co.uk

Ryobi R18ROS-0 18V ONE+ cordless random orbital sander

Best: Overall

  • Type: Orbital sander
  • RPM: 22,000
  • Battery: Requires a compatible 18V battery and charger (£86.99, Amazon.co.uk)

The Ryobi R18ROS is the ideal cordless sander for general DIY use, offering a perfect balance between sanding power, control and comfort. In our hands-on testing, this sander helped us achieve some of the smoothest and most even finishes we’ve managed with any cordless sander. The dust bag is fairly effective, but for the best extraction performance we’d recommend fitting an industrial vacuum over the dust port instead.

VonHaus e-series 18V cordless sander bundle

Best: For value

  • Type: Detail sander
  • RPM: 12,000
  • Battery: 18V battery and charger included

If you’re looking for a great-value cordless sander that does a decent job without demanding a major investment, this bundle would be our recommendation. We’ve used the e-series 18V cordless sander for a variety of DIY and hobby projects, and have been consistently impressed with the smooth finish it achieves. This is not the most powerful of detail sanders, but you might actually find this a good thing, especially if you’re relatively inexperienced with cordless models and want a tool that’s easy to control.

DeWalt DCW210N-XJ 18V cordless random orbital sander – bare

Best: Comfortable orbital sander

  • Type: Orbital sander
  • RPM: 8,000-12,000
  • Battery: Requires a compatible 18V battery (£59.98, Screwfix.com) and charger (£99.98, Screwfix.com)

This random orbital sander is a tour de force from DeWalt – the random action of the sanding component does an excellent job of creating a smooth, neutral finish, free of peaks and troughs, and you can easily adjust the speed setting with your forefinger while you work. Perhaps our favourite thing about this tool is that it’s wonderfully comfortable to hold – a godsend if you need to sand a large area such as a wall of plasterboard.

Bosch 18V cordless detail sander PSM 18 li – bare

Best: For power

  • Type: Detail sander
  • RPM: 22,000
  • Battery: Requires a compatible 18V battery (£30, Diy.com) and charger (£26.90, Amazon.co.uk)

We were a little taken aback at the sanding power of this one – if you’re going to use this tool, be ready for it to sand off quite a lot of material from the surface you’re working on. For users who have lots of sanding work to do though, this could be a massive help, although the power does sometimes make this model tricky to control. One minor downside is its dust collection box, which isn’t very effective.

Having said that, there’s lots to love about this sander – its shape is really handy for getting into corners and sanding fine detail. It’s quite remarkable that Bosch has made such a powerful cordless sander available at such a reasonable price.

DeWalt DCW200N 18V XR brushless ¼ sheet palm sander – bare unit

Best: For large areas

  • Type: Sheet sander
  • RPM: 8,000-13,500
  • Battery: Requires a compatible 18V battery (£59.98, Screwfix.com) and charger (£99.98, Screwfix.com)

If you have a lot of sanding work to do, either professionally or as part of a home renovation project, you could benefit from using a model like this one. Built for tradespeople, from its comfortable handle to its highly effective dust-extraction system, this exhibits the high standards we’ve come to expect from DeWalt. It’s at its best when sanding large, flat surfaces, such as plaster walls that are being prepared for undercoating.

Black + Decker 18V 1.5Ah lithium-ion cordless mouse detail sander

Best: Comfortable detail sander

  • Type: Detail sander
  • RPM: 12,000
  • Battery: 18V battery and charger included

Black + Decker’s cordless mouse detail sander combines the comfort and user-friendliness of the classic, corded mouse sander with the convenience of a cordless operation. We found it particularly easy to control, and its handle has a really comfortable grip that suits a wide range of users. The small, neat footprint of the sanding component is also easy to work into tight corners. If your project involves delicate work and fine details, the cordless mouse would be a great choice.

Workx WX820 sandeck 18V (20V max) cordless multi-sander

Best: For versatility

  • Type: Multi sander
  • RPM: 4,000-10,000
  • Battery: Battery and charger included

This incredibly versatile tool comes with a selection of five sanding plates, so, depending on what job you need to do, you can use it as a finishing, orbital, finger, detail or curved area sander. In our testing, the WX820 sandeck performed superbly – switching between the tool’s various sanding plates was mercifully simple, and we were pleased with the finish achieved.

The only arguable downside is that it might offer more modes of use than some users really need. However, for those who have a variety of tasks to do, this sophisticated multi sander could be a great buy.

Black + Decker 18V 1.5Ah lithium-ion cordless random orbital sander

Best: For quick jobs

  • Type: Orbital sander
  • RPM: 12,000
  • Battery: Requires a compatible 18V battery and charger (£50.95, Amazon.co.uk)

Black + Decker’s cordless random orbital sander is a great-value-for-money tool, capable of achieving an even finish on all sorts of surfaces. We found this sander comfortable to grip and easy to use, however, our one complaint would be that the tool’s runtime on a single charge is relatively short, which might rule out use on more demanding projects. However, for quick and simple jobs, this would be a great choice.

Ryobi R18PS-0 one+ detail sander

Best: Compact detail sander

  • Type: Detail sander
  • RPM: 11,000
  • Battery: Requires a compatible 18V battery (£20, Diy.com) and charger (£34.99, Amazon.co.uk)

Here’s a really effective detail sander from the ever-impressive Ryobi. The R18PS is very small, and its shape is especially angular, which makes it perfect for getting into really tight spaces and sanding the fine detail of woodwork. One downside, however, is that it isn’t the most comfortable to grip, especially for users with smaller hands. With that said, detail sanders like this are typically used for relatively quick jobs, and our reviewer found it comfy enough to use in short bursts.

Wesco 18V cordless detail sander

Best: Accessories

  • Type: Detail sander
  • RPM: 13,000
  • Battery: 18V battery and charger included

This nifty detail sander from Wesco comes with everything you need all bundled in, including a 18V battery and charger and twelve sanding sheets in grits P60, P80 and P120. We were particularly impressed with this sander’s extendable finger pad, which you can use to create a very small sanding surface at the tip of the tool – perfect for tight spaces.

Our one criticism would be that it can become a little uncomfortable to hold during long periods of use. With that said, we were impressed with this tool’s performance and would recommend it in particular for sanding fine details on architraves, coving, skirting boards and furniture under restoration.

The verdict: Cordless sanders

Thanks to its desirable combination of sanding power and user-friendliness, we’re naming the Ryobi R18ROS-0 random orbit sander our best buy. But just remember, if you’re buying this tool, you’ll need to use it with a compatible Ryobi one+ 18V battery and charger, which are sold separately.

Voucher codes

For the latest offers on tools and other DIY products, try the links below:

For more no-fuss power tools that make life a little easier, read our review of the best cordless drills and drivers that will take the drama out of DIY

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