Sander Versus Planer | What is the Difference Between Them

Woodworking is a classy job that needs reasonable effort and attention. We often face difficulties in making the wood surface smooth, shiny, and sturdy. Sander and planer – both are essential tools for wood crafting. The core purpose of these tools is the same; smoothening the surface, cracks, etc. However, there are several differences between the sander and planer. You are going to learn about them in this article.

Sometimes, it becomes a tough task of choosing one over another one. A beginner woodworker may think the outcome would make a huge difference. But both tools can do the same job. Here is the definition of sander and planer:

Sander Versus Planer

What is Sander?

A sander is a power working tool that sands the rough, or old surface of the wood. It consists of one or more abrasive paper (sandpaper), rubbed or pressed over the wood. The rotator of the sander rotates the sandpaper in the same or opposite or even in both directions. The paper’s continuous movements remove the uneven cracks or tiny hills on a wooden floor or things.

A sander can be portable or fixed to a base. The handheld sanders help to sand every nooks and cranny where fixed sander can’t reach. Usually, these sanders are used to work on hardwood floors. Mounted sanders are good for resizing, reshaping, and smoothening the wood pieces. They are suitable for heavy-duty applications like making furniture.

The power of the sander motor determines the capacity and types of works you can do. Also, the abrasive paper’s speed shows how fast or plain the surface would be. These sanders can be aggressive or mild on the wood.

Sanders is available in many forms or types. Belt, drum, orbital, oscillating, etc. are popular types of sanders. You may need to change the sandpaper frequently. The sandpaper is also found in different sizes, shapes, and grits. The more grits of sandpaper can do the harder, faster refinishing.

A sander runs with the power of electricity. You can set the rotation or movements of the machine. There are many methods of using the sander.


Here are the possible advantages of using a sander in woodworking:

  • A sanding machine can be an excellent asset to handle any small to big projects. A single swipe over the wood may remove unwanted materials. Drum, belt, etc. sanders can cut the time of sanding into a shorter one.
  • If you want to have finished in a large surface area, the sander is the right solution. You can refinish large hardwood floors with them.
  • You can be skillful while using the sander. Unlike other home improvement tools, you can learn many things from a sander. You can learn how to shape, cut, and resize the unsmooth surfaces.
  • Sanders is easy to operate, and the outcome is always impressive. You only need to follow the pattern of using the sander. Even you may not need to run the machine over the same woods for the second or third time.
  • Sanders is a beneficial multipurpose tool. The variations of these devices are used in different cases. For example, a handheld sander is suitable for floors. Benchtop mounted sanders are good for sanding large size wood slices.
  • You can use a sander to work on metal, paints, etc. too. Sanding before painting makes paint long-lasting. You can shine the metal things with handheld sanders. You can remove stains, color marks, chemical marks from the surface.
  • Sander helps to reach edges, corners of wooden boards. You can use them while making wooden things or making old wood surfaces plain and straightforward.

Negative Aspects:

  • Sander requires sufficient maintenance and replacements of sandpapers.
  • You may need to sand the same spot, again and again, to bring out flat, even surface.
  • You can’t cut through the wooden boards to give them the right thickness.
  • Sander can cover a small place at a time.

Sander VS Planer

What is Planer?

Planer is used to making things plain. Sometimes, it is preferable to sanders. It is such kind of tool useable in thickness levels reduction of wood surfaces. You can make the surface smooth with the sander. But a planer works great by giving the wood piece into the right thickness. You can eliminate materials from the wood surface as well as sizing them into the correct shape.

The structure of a planer is different from the sander. It has a cutter head, set into the bed surface. This cutter head contains wood cutting knives that cut the wood into slices while making the surface plain. There is also a set of rollers that drag or draw the hardwood boards through the planer. A table is beneath these rollers and cutter head. You can adjust the table height relative to the head. It helps you to control how much thicker wood you want. In some handheld models, the table is a fixed position, whereas the cutter head is adjustable.

The planers used in industrial sectors have higher capabilities. You can work with wider boards and eliminate a larger number of residues. Industrial planers have powerful motors to work consistently. However, you can buy different portable thickness planers.

Sander can work on any shape wood materials. But the planer requires boards having at least one flat reference face. You need to feed the board with the flat side on the planer table. This reference side is passed over a jointer of the device. Then, work on the opposite side to cut into the right thickness. A planer can remove 0.2-0.6” materials from the wood surface.


Here are the benefits of a planer for woodworking:

  • Planer removes thin layers of the surface even with just one pass through the machine. So, it’s faster to gain a smooth surface.
  • It prepares the board to fit in exact size and shape. You can use planer in making doors, windows, cupboards, etc.
  • Planer is better for gaining straight and uniform cuts with a single cut. No shallow or high spots become visible using a planer on wooden boards.
  • Planer doesn’t need to change any part as sander does. There is no sandpaper which you could change frequently. The knives of the cutter head are so sharp that you can complete the task without repeatedly running the device.
  • Get even surface with every pass through the machine. You may need to sand again and again. But a planer gives the same result with every time you run it.
  • Planer is mostly used before making wooden things such as furniture.

Negative Aspects:

  • Planers can’t reach corners, edges or cracks of a board.
  • It works only on flat timbers (at least one flat reference side).
  • May damage the surface by cutting more or less thicker residues.
  • Not suitable for metal or smoothening the paints.


In simple words, the sander is useful for detailing, highlighting the perfect shine and beauty of wood surfaces. It can reach anywhere you want. On the other hand, the planer is faster to cut through the planks. You can prepare wood boards in perfect thickness purposed to make floors or furniture. However, if you love to work flawlessly, you can choose sander.

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