“What’s the difference between a drum sander and an orbital sander?”
Our customers always have great questions for us. A common question is, “What’s the difference between a drum sander and an orbital sander?”. The two are very different machines good for accomplishing different tasks, but are often used inappropriately by amateurs. We’ve come across countless instances on DIY forums where people are simply using the wrong tool for the job.
An orbital sander is a light duty sanding machine that many DIY proponents use instead of a much more industrial looking and performing drum sander. While the orbital can be used for smaller projects, it requires a great deal more effort to use the orbital to get a result that would rival a sanding job done with a drum machine.
There are various reasons that people choose to use an orbital sander over a drum sander, but the most prevalent and obvious is price. Orbital sanders are cheaper to rent from your local home improvement center, so that’s the option people end up going with. We’ve recieved countless phone calls from people asking to come sand their floors for them when it ended up taking them an entire day to finish a single room with an orbital sanding machine. When we bring our drum sander into the house, people are always taken aback by how much more powerful it looks and sounds compared to an orbital.
"...it’s going to be incredibly difficult to get deep stains and scratches out with a simple orbital sander."
The sound isn’t just for show. The time it takes to sand old hardwood floors drastically shrinks when you use a drum sander. The results speak for themselves as well. Older floors tend to have very deep stains, and it’s going to be incredibly difficult to get deep stains and scratches out with a simple orbital sander. A drum sander is better suited for when you begin your refinishing job, especially if your floors are a old. There are caveats, however.
A drum sander requires a bit of practice before actually sanding in order to not make common mistakes. Due to the sheer power of the machine, it's important to avoid keeping the drum sander in one place for too long so as to not leave deep marks and inconsistencies in the floor. A proper technique is easy enough to get the hang of and will help ensure that your sanding really makes your floors look like new again.
We encourage you to contact us if you have questions or concerns before sanding your floors.