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What is the Best Sander for Stairs – Updated for 2019

The Best Sander for Stairs – Sanding and Refinishing

From their timeless appeal to their wide range of customizations, there is something truly special about having hardwood stairs in your home. But all that glory doesn’t come easily because stairs typically take on a lot of wear and require some tender loving care at times. Whether you’re installing some brand new stairs or refinishing stairs to remove signs of wear and tear, then you’re going to be in need of the right sander.

Since stairs are usually in tight spaces with limited room for movement and have tight angles that pretty much takes belt sanders and other sanders for floors out of the equation. The real solution to this problem is the use of a random orbital sander like the Ridgid r2601, which will leave you with a much smoother finish and be easier to use in the tight quarters. Below we will go over the best options for sanders to use on stairs.

Top Pick – DEWALT DWE6421k

DEWALT DWE6421k orbital sander - best for stairs

Bestseller No. 1
Makita BO5030K 5" Random Orbit Sander, with...
  • Smooth and fast sanding with 3.0 AMP motor...
  • Rubberized grip for improved operator comfort...
Bestseller No. 2
Makita XOB01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless...
  • Three speed settings (7,000/9,500/11,000 OPM)...
  • Up to 40 minutes (low speed) and 20 minutes...

This sander is very well-known due to how popular it is in stores and online shops like Amazon and made it to the top of our list of sanders that will work perfectly with sanding hardwood stairs. With a sanding pad that is 5 inches wide, it’s a match made in heaven for sanding stair steps and threads. Coupled with the low vibration features and orbital spinning motion of the pad and you will be left with a scuff-free and swirl-free finish on your stairs.

While you may be thinking that you can get away with a normal orbital sander, the truth is they better suited for light sanding jobs between finishes. Random orbital sanders have enough power to handle every job with the stairs, all you have to do is change the grit of your sandpaper at different stages of the project.

Budget Pick – Makita BO5041K

Makita BO5041K - great for sanding stairs

This particular sander isn’t as well known as others, but it has been rated as the best orbital sander for 3 consecutive years and furthermore, Makita is a very respected name in the industry so you already know you’re in good hands. Even though this is our budget pick, it does have a feature that is not common in random orbital sanders – variable speed control. Since you can control the OPMs from 4,000 to 12,000, you get much better options when it comes to how exactly you want to sand instead of being stuck with one speed.

The sanding pad area is 5 inches again, so still ideal for stair treads and steps. It also has all the fixings that you would find on other orbital sanders like hook and loop system and attachable dust bag. This Makita also powered by a 3-amp motor which is the standard for sanders and is perfectly capable to handle whatever you throw at it.

SaleBestseller No. 1
DEWALT 20V MAX Orbital Sander, Tool Only...
  • Variable speed to match the speed to the...
  • Texturized rubber overmold grip for more...
Bestseller No. 2
Black & Decker BDCRO20C 20V MAX Random Orbit...
  • The 20V max* random orbit sander brings...
  • 30% more compact than leading competitor,...

Runner Up – Bosch ROS20VSK

Bosch ROS20VSK random orbital sander for stairs

Despite the bigger price tag, this 120-volt, variable speed random orbit sander from Bosch is worth mentioning due to some of the unique features it has like the dust canister that does a better job of catching all the dust from sanding. On top of that, it also comes with variable speed settings, but it is much more limited than the DEWALT we discussed above. However, the different speeds are more than enough to allow a soft start without doing damage to the wood, since very slow sanding can lead to big gouges in the wood. One downfall of this sander is the slightly-less powerful motor at just 2.5-amps, but it’s still plenty powerful enough to get the job done.


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