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Belt Sander vs Orbital Sander

Get to know the right tool for the job when working on wood with help from Bona.


Sanding wood is a great example for choosing the right tool for the job. While there are many types of sanders out there, using the wrong one will make your sanding job a nightmare. Sanding is an important aspect to great wood floors since they can help repair, restore or refinish hardwood floors. Wood sanders range in power and finesse depending on their need.

Three sanders that are typical in any wood working environment are belt sanders, orbital sanders and random orbital sanders. In a nutshell, belt sanders are on the powerful side, able to strip down a piece of wood in a short amount of time. Orbital sanders, on the other hand, are finishing sanders that are used to get wood ultra-smooth. A newer type of sander is the random orbital sander that provides a nice balance between a belt sand and an orbital sander.

Learn more about their different uses to help find the right tool for the job.

Belt Sander

Good for initial wood work, a belt sander is perfect for getting wood ready to be worked on. A belt sander can remove any material off wood in no time.

  • High speed, strong
  • Best for aggressive work
  • Ideal for large, flat surfaces
  • Great results when working along the grain

Bona offers two Belt Sanders, the Bona Belt and larger Bona Belt HD.

Orbital Sander

An orbital sander moves its abrasive pad in tiny circles, allowing you to move the sander in every direction. It’s weak compared to a belt sander, but you don’t risk doing major damage to the wood as might happen with a belt sander.

  • Used for fine sanding work, rounding edges, finishing touches
  • More flexibility/finesse than belt sander
  • Shaping and sanding around curves
  • Not suited for large pieces of wood
  • Gets in corners and edges

The Bona Power Drive is a powerful and flexible orbital sander that can be equipped with many different drive plates for a wide variety of floor preperation. 

Random Orbital Sander

While there might not seem like much difference between a random orbital sander and an orbital sander, the difference is in the movement of the abrasive. A random orbital sander, for example the Bona MultiDisc, moves in tiny circles and spins in circles as well.

  • Can be used to strip wood or fine sanding
  • No swirl pattern that orbital sanders can leave behind
  • Can remove more material than an orbital sander
  • More adaptable than an orbital sander


Bona offers tools and abrasives for all your sanding needs. Use the Bona Sanding Sequence to find a professional grade solution that works for you.