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Grinder vs. Sander: Who’s Better (And Why)?: Learn Their 5 Differences

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When it comes to working with surfaces, especially floors, then sanders and grinders are the most used tools.  A lot of people don’t know the difference between a grinder vs sander. So, they call both of these tools “sanders”. But, here’s the difference:

Sanders are only used to sand, while grinders with the right attachments can be used to sand, cut, polish, and much more. Grinders are more versatile and more powerful than sanders.

But, that’s not all. There are other things you should know when comparing these two tools. Let’s check it out.

What is a Grinder Tool?

There are different types of grinders. However, when someone is talking about “grinders” they are usually talking about an “Angle Grinder” or a “Bench Grinder” because these two types are the most used ones.

There are different types of grinders. The angled grinders and the bench grinders. Grinders are mostly made for metalwork

Angle Grinder 

These types of grinders come corded or cordless, they have a disc at the bottom that rotates.  There are many different discs that you can use for this type of grinder.

Some of the discs that you use are designed to be used on wood and the others are designed to use on metal. The angle grinder can be used to cut metal or wood and it can also be used to polish. As such, the angle grinder is a very versatile tool.

Bench Grinder 

The bench grinder is designed to sharp specific items. These units need to be static, meaning that you have to put them on a workbench or somewhere so they can be fixed steadily.

 They are powerful, and that’s why they are used to repair different objects. You can use them to repair screwdrivers, smooth welded joints, and even remove paint.  This unit has two grinding wheels that are located on each side of the tool.

Read Also: Belt Grinders For Knife Making

What is a Sander?

Just like grinders, there are different types of sanders as well. We have belt sanders, palm sanders, orbital sanders, etc. Each of these sanders is used for different tasks.  As you may have guessed by the name, sanders use sandpaper.

You can use sanders for a lot of projects. In comparison with a grinder, the sander is used mostly for woodworking and not metalwork.

They are mostly used to remove paint, but they can be used to sharpening and giving a smooth finish to different surfaces. They are not preferred to be used on metal and they are mostly made for woodworking projects.

Read more: Belt Sander vs Orbital Sanders

Sander vs Grinder: Head to Head

While there are a lot of projects that you can use both the grinder and the sander to complete, these two power tools are very different and come with different features as well.

  Grinder Sander
Max Speed: 12,000 RPM 17,000 RPM
  1. Angle Grinders
  2. Bench Grinders
  3. Belt Grinders
  4. Wet Grinders
  5. Die Grinders
  6. Floor Grinders
  1.  Palm Sanders
  2.  Detail Sanders
  3.  Orbital Sanders
  4.  Random Orbital Sanders
  5.  Belt Sanders
  6.  Straight Sanders
Areas of application:
  1. Cutting
  2. Polishing
  3. Sanding
  4. Rough Shaping
  1. Sanding
  2. Polishing
  3. Fine Shaping
  1. Wood
  2. Plastic
  3. Metal
  4. Stone
  5. Concrete
  1. Wood
  2. Plastic
  3. Metal
  4. Concrete
Price $$-$$$ $$-$$$


The biggest difference between an angle grinder and a sander is the type of attachment the tool needs in order to run.

Angle grinder uses discs to complete the rotations. There are many different disc types that are made for specific projects. Depending on the project you are working on, you can choose one or the other disc to complete it.

On the other hand, sanders – as the name suggests, use a sandpaper belt or pad to complete the rotations. There are different sandpaper sizes that you can use, but it all depends on the type of sander you have.

If you have a palm sander then you need bigger sandpaper, if you use orbital sanders then you need another type of sandpaper, and so on.

Sandpapers also come in different grits. You have 80-grit,90-grit,120-grit, sandpaper. But even that there are a lot of different sandpapers with different grits, the sander attachments are more limited if you compare them to angle grinder discs.


As we have mentioned earlier, sometimes you can use one to complete the other job. But these two tools are made to be used for different materials.

The grinder is mostly made for metalwork, to sharp, shape, and sometimes even repair different metals.  Meanwhile, sanders are mostly made for woodworking projects, to give surfaces a smooth finish, to remove paint, polish. But, there are also sanders for metal.

Read more: Sander vs Planer?


Whenever you are using them for woodworking projects or for metalwork, the sanders are only used for one thing – sand. But, when it comes to grinders they can be used for a lot of things.

With the right attachments, you can use grinders to cut metal, strip metal. If you have the right disc you can even use grinders to sand or to polish. So, when it comes to versatility, grinders are much better.

Read more: Sanders For Paint Removal Reviews


Different sanders offer different precision. Let’s say belt sanders; these types of sanders are mostly made to be more aggressive, meaning that their precision level is very low. But, on the other hand, palm sanders are very precise.

So, if you compare the precision level of grinders and sanders, then sanders are far more precise.

For example; If you try to remove paint from metal with a sander then you will get a smooth and even finish.

But, if you try to remove paint from metal with a grinder then unless you are very experienced you will leave a lot of marks and the surface won’t be even. But, with a grinder, you would complete the task a lot of times faster.


First of all, no power tool is safe. You have to protect yourself every time you are working with them. When it comes to comparing these two tools then the grinder is considered more dangerous.

A reason for that is because grinders have discs that rotate at a very high speed. These discs are used to cut metal, plus many sparks come out when cutting metal. So, when using grinders, except for gloves, you need to use safety glasses too.

Sanders are considered safer. But, never underestimate them. You should always wear gloves and be fully focused. Sanders also tend to produce a lot of dust, so using safety glasses is important. To prevent sanders from making a huge mess then I recommend you buy sanders with a good dust collection system.

Read: Palm Sander vs Orbital Sander?

Frequently Asked Questions About Grinders and Sanders

Can a Grinder Be Used as a Sander and Vice Versa?

The grinder is mostly made for metalwork, but depending on the model it can also be used as a sander. There are some models that can be transformed from a grinder to a sander.

There are some belt sander metal models that can be used to complete the grinder job. But, these usually cost more and they are not as good as the grinders. But to answer the question, yes you can use a sander for the grinder.

Can You Use a Grinder on Wood?

As long as you can match the speed that a sander has then you can cut wood with a grinder. The blade that you use plays a big role in that too. Make sure to check the blade teeth to know if it’s good enough to cut wood.

What Is a Grinder Tool Used for?

Grinders are power tools — so you can use them for different projects. When it comes to the material, then grinders are designed mostly to cut metal. But not limited to. Depending on the blade you can use them for different materials.

Which Type of Sander Is Best?

There are a lot of different sander types available — but one of the most used ones is the belt sander. And if you are into metalwork then you can use a belt sander on metal if you don’t want to go for a grinder. But don’t expect good results.

Can You Use an Angle Grinder to Sand a Deck?

Yes, with the right attachments you can use an angle grinder to sand a deck and other wood materials. The results will vary on your experience. It’s definitely harder to sand with an angle grinder than with a sander. 

Final Words

As I said, these two tools look the same, and sometimes they can be used for each other’s jobs. But they are designed for very different projects.

If you are wondering about which one you should choose then just keep in mind — grinders are mostly used for metalwork and sanders are mostly used for woodworking projects. If you want both then search for a grinder sander.

Learn More: How to sand glass?

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We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

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