There are different types of dustless power sanders: belt, orbital and hand sanders. Each type is used for different purposes. Belt sanders are used mostly to strip away large amounts of material or paint. They tend to be loud and heavy, useful for only flat surfaces. Hand sanders on the other hand are for small areas and detail work. Random orbital sanders are the most versatile of the three types. They have the power to do some of the heavy work but are light and small enough to handle some of the detail tasks. All three kinds of electrical sanders create so much dust that it is advisable to wear a mask and glasses for your protection. The accumulated dust can become annoying and interfere with your project. Modern sanders have the ability to remove the dust created from sanding as soon as it is created. This is very useful when you are working with material that produced a lot of dust like dry wall or most woods.
Dustless sanders work by sucking up the dust as soon as it is created. Most power sanders remove dust by using a special sand paper with holes through which the sander sucks out the wood dust as it sands. This does mean that the sandpaper holes must line the sander's vacuum holes. If the sander's holes are blocked, the air flow through the sander will be blocked and it will not collect the dust. Even worse, the blocked airflow can cause the sander's engine to overheat. This is a good way to damage sander. Therefore it is critical to make sure that sandpaper lines up properly with the vacuum holes before using any sander. It is better to have the holes in the sandpaper larger than the holes in the sander. You should also make sure that there are no stray paper that will inadvertently scratch the surface.
Dustless Sander features to consider:
- The stronger the vacuum, the better the sander is at sucking up dust. The higher rated amps on a sander engine indicates not only a more powerful sander as well as a stronger vacuum.
- The capacity of the vacuum bag. A small dust collection bag require more frequent emptying which can be a chore if you are in the middle of a large project.
- The ease of changing the dust collection bag. It can be frustrating to have a sander that collects up all of the dust while you work only to spill it all over the floor because the collection bag is tricky to remove.
- Higher quality vacuum bags and filter can be a good long term investment. For example, the Porter and Cable random orbital sanders have plastic versus cloth collection mechanisms that do not tear or wear down easily over time.
- Some dustless sanders, like the Bosch random orbital sander, have the ability to use a shop vacuum instead of a dust collection bag. This allows for an even more powerful vacuum as well as a much larger dust storage.