Drum vs. Orbital Floor Sander: Which Is Best for Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Refinishing Hardwood FloorsRefinishing Hardwood Floors

There are many things to deal with while building your dream home. One of the choices you should make is with flooring. Among the flooring options, you have are –

  • Marble or granite flooring
  • Tiles flooring
  • Hardwood flooring

Today we will discuss hardwood flooring refinishing in your bedroom and living room.

Smooth hardwood floors need a lot of hard work. But the hardest task for any beginners is choosing between a drum floor sand and an orbital floor sander.

But, here’s something you don’t know:

There’s a lot of material out there trying to show you which one of these two are better. And they are full of information.

But what you need is something that can tell you the most about these two in the easiest way possible. That’s where we come in.

We put together a comparative guide on drum vs. orbital floor sander to help you out. It includes their pros and cons, along with a comparison at the end.

So, without further delay, let’s jump right in.

Drum vs. Orbital Floor Sander

Both drum and orbital floor sander can get the job done. But the question is: why one does it better?

Well, like everything else in the world, these two types of floor sander have their fair share of pros and cons as well.

You can weigh these pros and cons against each other to help you figure out which one suits your work better. That’s what we’ll see in the next section.

So, let’s start by checking out the pros and cons of the drum floor sander.

Drum Floor Sander

A drum floor sander is comparatively the larger one among the two. It operates from a standing position and usually weighs around 110lbs.

Image Source: Pinterest

The big machine (as they call it affectionately in the industry) has a large spinning drum that holds the sandpaper. Let’s see its pros and cons now.


Here are the things we consider as benefits of the drum floor sander:

Super Fast

As the header says, these floor sanders are amazingly fast. They take approximately 30 mins to remove 1 mm of wood from a 200 square feet floor.

When it comes to sanding the floor, this is really fast. But, this might vary for the type of wood used or the type of finish to be achieved from the work.

This saves a huge amount of time for you. Now, let’s check out the next pro.

Makes Task Easier

Along with the super-fast speed comes another perk. It makes your work a whole lot easier.

Sanding the floor needs a fairly good amount of hard work. But, thanks to the speed, the work doesn’t need you to be holding on to it for long hours.

Let us be a little bit more specific. The sander is usually always pulling away from you and you need to be walking up and down with it to get the job done.

Therefore, the faster it works, the less you need to control it, and the less you need to walk with it. That means less work.

Those were all the pros. Now let’s check out the cons.


Here are the things that we found a bit problematic:

Bulkier Than You’d Want

The average drum floor sander is 110lbs in weight. Even the smallest ones weigh a whopping 100lbs.

So, they are bulkier than you’d actually like. Thanks to that they come apart very easily. So that’s something to think about.

Awfully Expensive

Do you ever wonder why people end up renting a drum floor sander? Well, it’s because they cost too much to buy.

The average floor sander costs more than four grand. So, yaoza!

Can’t Give Proper Finish

Even if you think of giving your floor a finish with a drum floor sander, hold that thought. Now throw it out the window. You don’t want to do that.

The finished sand with a drum floor sander is horrible. So, this won’t be your best bet for a proper finish.

Those were all the pros and cons of the drum floor sander. Now let’s see what an orbital floor sander has to give us.

Orbital Floor Sander

Orbital floor sander, unlike drum floor sander, are small handheld devices that sand by moving around in circles. Moreover, the disc moves in a swirl.

A common orbit floor sander machine

Now, let’s check out the pros and cons of this floor sander.


Orbital floor sander happens to have more pros than cons and they weigh pretty well against each other. Now, let’s check them out.

Easier to Control

They are fairly easier to control thanks to their small size and lightweight. Even though the work takes time, you can do it easily.

Can Do it All

You can do the sanding of your floor, from start to finish, with an orbital floor sander. It can sand both the body of the floor and its edge as well.

Creates Smoother Finish

Thanks to their small size, orbital floor sander can help you create a smooth finish on your floor. The size comes in pretty handy.

Cheap and Convenient

Orbital floor sander is super cheap and can be put almost anywhere. Moreover, you can even resell it for half the price.


Now let’s check out the cons of an orbital floor sander. But let us tell you this, none of them are threatening.

Less Powerful

The difference in power between a drum floor sander and an orbital floor sander is as evident as day and night. So, that’s something to consider.

Results Are Slow

Since the orbital floor sander is not very aggressive, it takes a lot of time to get the work done. Thus, you’ll get slow results.

Those were all the pros and cons of the orbital floor sander. You should check for the best orbital sander for hardwood floors in the market before buying one.

The Comparison

Since we promised a final comparison, here goes:

Drum Floor Sander Orbital Floor Sander
Pros ●      Super Fast

●      Makes Task Easier

●      Easier to Control

●      Can Do it All

●      Creates Smoother Finish

●      Cheap and Convenient

Cons ●      Bulkier Than You’d Want

●      Awfully Expensive

●      Can’t Give Proper Finish

●      Less Powerful

●      Results Are Slow

The Verdict

We hope that’s all you needed on drum vs. orbital floor sander. Now, the ball’s in your court.

Carefully analyze the pros and cons and see which one of these two suits your needs. Then take a decision.

Orbital floor sander is cheap and can be resold at half the price, whereas the drum floor sander is more likely to be rented because of their price tag.

So here’s what we recommend: choose wisely. These products are easily available on Amazon, Best Buy, and other stores online too.

Also Read:

Living room furniture ideas

Wall plaster cracks repair

Until then, we hope you do a good job on that floor.

This post was last modified on September 17, 2020 10:11 PM

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Tags: Bedroom