Are you searching for the best sandpaper for wood? Do you want to know what sandpaper grit to use for wood and how to use it properly? Then, this article will answer all of your questions.
We have come up with an overall sandpaper grit comparison table and a wood sandpaper grit table. Don’t forget to check the list of our 7 best sandpapers at the present time.
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- 80, 120, 150, 220, 320 grit
- 9" x 11"
- 10 sheets
Sandpaper Grit for Wood
Grit is the measure of a sandpaper’s coarseness. The grit number is inversely related to the coarseness of the sandpaper, meaning that higher grit numbers represent finer abrasives, while lower grit numbers indicate coarser abrasives.
Here are some common grit ranges and their typical uses:
Coarse Grit s(Low Numbers):
- 40 to 60 grit: Used for heavy material removal and shaping, such as sanding rough wood or removing paint and rust from metal surfaces.
- 80 to 120 grit: Suitable for general-purpose sanding and smoothing surfaces, including preparing wood for finishing or smoothing rough edges on metal.
- 150 to 240 grit: Ideal for finer wood sanding, smoothing out imperfections in woodwork, and preparing surfaces for finishing.
Very Fine Grits:
- 320 to 600 grit: Used for finishing and polishing tasks, such as achieving a smooth surface on wood before applying a finish or sanding between coats of paint.
Super Fine Grits:
- 800 to 2000+ grit: Reserved for ultra-smooth finishing and polishing, typically used in applications like automotive painting, fine woodworking, and metal polishing.
9 Best Sandpapers for Wood
1. Dura-Gold Premium 80, 120, 150, 220, 320 Grit Sanding Sheets
- Multiple grit options (80, 120, 150, 220, and 320) in a single package
- Compatible with most hand-held sanding tools, sanding blocks, and sanders
- Durable backing material that can resist tearing
- 10 sheets
The package includes 10 sheets with a variety of grits: 80, 120, 150, 220, and 320. This assortment covers a wide range of sanding needs, from coarse to fine.
These sandpaper sheets are suitable for a wide range of applications, including woodworking, automotive paint sanding, primers, body fillers, putties, and more. They can be used for semi-aggressive sanding as well as finishing sanding on various surfaces.
These sandpaper sheets are made with super-coated aluminum oxide corundum fused with zirconia alumina. This high-quality abrasive material delivers a fast, exceptionally long-lasting sharp cut with a consistent scratch pattern. It is known for maximum resistance to clogging and loading.
In my experience, these sandpaper sheets are best used in auto body and paint shops. They are effective for sanding body filler, removing paint, feather edging primer, and metal sanding.
- Variety of grits: 80, 120, 150, 220, and 320
- Resistant to clogging
- Effective for autobody work
- Delivers fast, long-lasting, and consistent results
- Sometimes wears and tears, mainly when used for heavy-duty or continuous sanding tasks
2. Fandeli Assorted Grits (80,120,220)
This aluminum oxide sandpaper is suitable for a wide range of applications, including carpentry, painting and plastering, weathered wood restoration, plastic sanding, paint removal, and stain removal. It can be used for hand, block, or orbital sanding.
The package includes 25 pieces of sandpaper with a choice of three grits: 80 (5 sheets), 120 (10 sheets), and 220 (10 sheets). This variety of grits allows you to select the most suitable one for your specific projects.
The sandpaper sheets measure 9 inches by 11 inches, but they can be easily cut to fit any smaller size required for hand sanders and power sanders of different sizes.
Thanks to its structure, this sandpaper is resistant to clogging. The sandpaper’s exceptional durability and efficiency stand out. Users can achieve a consistent and smooth finish with fewer sheets.
- Assortment of grits (80, 120, 220)
- It can be used with various sanding tools
- Customizable size
- Versatile applications (carpentry, painting and plastering, wood restoration, plastic sanding, paint removal, and stain removal)
- While it’s great for quick fixing jobs, it might not be the best option for extensive projects (it tends to break after a while)
3. Dura-Gold Premium – 40 Grit
This high-performance abrasive product is suitable for various sanding tasks in auto body shops, woodworking, metalworking, and more. The Dura Gold sanding paper is made with fused zirconia alumina corundum, allowing it to easily cut through paint and primer.
The roll is 10 yards long and 2-3/4″ wide, providing a convenient and cost-effective option for sanding tasks. You can trim the sandpaper to your desired length. It features a PSA (Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive) backing, making it easy to attach to various sanding tools and surfaces.
The sandpaper has maximum resistance to clogging and loading, which means it can maintain its cutting performance even when used on materials that tend to clog sandpaper quickly.
The adhesive backing ensures quick and secure attachment to various sanding tools, including pneumatic air file sander shoes, longboard file boards, hand sanding blocks, and more.
- Used for woodworking and metalworking
- It’s particularly useful for tasks that require significant material removal, such as rough shaping and paint removal
- The PSA backing with its easy-to-peel-off backing liner makes it easy to attach and secure the sandpaper to various sanding tools
- Not perfect for dry sanding
4. Norton 48060 Sandwet Sandpaper 400 Grit
Norton 48060 SandWet Sandpaper with a 400 grit designation is designed for fine finishing and smoothing tasks, typically in wet sanding applications. This grit is often used for final finishing and preparing surfaces for painting or staining.
Norton SandWet sandpaper is designed for wet sanding, which means it can be used with water or a lubricating solution during the sanding process. Wet sanding minimizes dust and heat buildup, resulting in a smoother finish and preventing clogging of the sandpaper.
It can also be used for dry sanding if necessary. The flexibility to use it in both wet and dry conditions makes it a versatile choice for a range of applications.
Norton is known for producing sandpaper with durable backing material that resists tearing, ensuring great, durable results.
- 400 grit size suitable for sanding prior to applying a final lacquer coat or for finishing sanding paint or varnish coats
- Can be used for wet and dry sanding applications
- Anti-clog coating
- Despite the anti-clog coating, you may find that the sandpaper still clogs when sanding certain materials, particularly when the material being sanded is resinous or prone to gumming up the sandpaper
5. Fandeli 60 Grit Sandpaper
These sandpaper sheets are versatile and suitable for a wide range of surfaces, including painted surfaces, bare wood, and metal. You can use them manually or with a power sander, providing flexibility in how you tackle your sanding projects.
The sandpaper sheets are made from super heavy paper, which works effectively on all surfaces. They’re made with high-quality aluminum oxide that lasts longer and creates less waste than other products. I can’t get enough of this product because it is so versatile.
The sheets are easy to fold and split into quarters, so you don’t have to worry about running out of paper midway through the project. This is perfect for both beginners and experts alike- my dad loved this product because he doesn’t need as much guidance with how to use the sandpaper after years of doing projects around the house.
This package contains 25 sheets of sandpaper, each measuring 9 inches by 11 inches, and each sheet has a 60 grit designation. The 60 coarse grit is highly abrasive, making it suitable for substantial material removal and smoothing out imperfections in wood surfaces.
- Highly effective at removing material efficiently
- Multipurpose and can be used on various surfaces, including painted surfaces, bare wood, and metal
- No clogging
- With 25 sheets included in each package, users appreciate the value for the price
- The 60 grit abrasive may be too aggressive for delicate or easily damaged materials
6. Maxman 80 Grit Dry Wet Sand Paper
These sheets of 80-grit sandpaper are used for grinding and polishing. Each pack contains 10 sheets of 80 grit sandpaper, and each sheet measures 9 x 11 inches. The sheets are rectangular but can be easily cut into smaller sizes and shapes to meet specific project requirements.
These sandpaper sheets are made of waterproof silicone carbide and feature an electro-coated surface. The electro-coated surface ensures even grit distribution, enhancing the sandpaper’s performance.
These sandpaper sheets are suitable for both wet and dry sanding or polishing applications. Wet sanding is particularly effective as it helps wash away particles on the surface, reducing clogging and extending the sandpaper’s lifespan.
Maxman Sandpaper Sheets are effective for sanding glass, wood, plastics, ceramics, varnishes, stone, and automotive surfaces.
- Sheets can be used for both dry and wet sanding applications
- The electro-coated surface and quality of the silicone carbide abrasive help prevent clogging
- The rectangular sandpaper sheets can be easily cut into smaller sizes and shapes as needed
- Budget-friendly paper
- The backing is made of paper
7. LANHU 1000 Grit Sandpapers
This sandpaper is suitable for use in various applications, including art and craft projects, woodworking, automotive work, metalworking, and plastic work. It can be used for buffing and polishing tasks.
LANHU 1000 Grit Sandpaper is suitable for both wet and dry sanding applications. It’s ideal for final finishing touches and removing very fine imperfections.
The sandpaper is made of waterproof silicon carbide and features an electro-coated surface, ensuring the grit is evenly distributed across the sheet. This consistency enhances the sandpaper’s performance and longevity.
The sandpaper sheets measure 9 x 11 inches but can be easily cut into smaller sizes.
- Waterproof and versatile
- Even grit distribution
- Customizable size
- Suitable for fine detail work
- Soft, flexible backing paper to prevent scratches and damage to surfaces
- Limited to projects that require a very smooth finish
What Grit Sandpaper to Use for Your Wood Projects?
Best Sandpaper for Wood Turning
Woodturning involves creating rounded or cylindrical shapes, such as bowls, spindle legs, or decorative objects, and it requires a smooth and polished surface.
Start with coarse-grit sandpaper, typically around 80 to 120 grit, to remove tool marks, rough spots, and any irregularities on the wood surface. Progress to medium-grit sandpaper, such as 150 to 220 grit, to refine the surface further.
Use fine to very fine-grit sandpaper, ranging from 320 to 600 grit or even higher, for the final sanding stages.
Best Sandpaper for Wood Before Painting
Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper, around 80 to 100 grit. This initial sanding is used for removing any rough spots, imperfections, old paint, or finishes. Move on to a medium-grit sandpaper. Finish with a fine-grit sandpaper, around 220 to 240 grit.
If you’re applying multiple coats of paint, consider lightly sanding between coats with a fine-grit sandpaper (220-240 grit).
Best Sandpaper for a Super-Smooth Wood Finish
To achieve a super-smooth wood finish, you’ll typically want to use sandpaper in the range of 320 to 600 grit or even higher.
Best Sandpaper to Remove Stain from Wood
Start with coarse-grit sandpaper, around 80 to 100 grit. Move on to an intermediate-grit sandpaper, such as 120 to 150 grit. Switch to a fine-grit sandpaper, around 220 to 240 grit.
If you want an even smoother finish, you can proceed with fine-grit sandpaper, such as 320 or higher.
Confused with all the Options? One Sandpaper Grit That Works for Most DIY Projects
If you’re looking for a versatile sandpaper grit that can be used for a wide range of woodworking and DIY projects, medium-grit sandpaper in the range of 80 to 150 grit is a good choice.
Sandpaper Grit for Various Wood Types
Softwoods (e.g., Pine, Cedar, Spruce):
- Softwoods tend to have a relatively open grain structure, so they may require finer grits for a smooth finish.
- For initial material removal and shaping, start with medium to coarse grits (80 to 120).
- For surface smoothing and preparing for finishing, use fine to very fine grits (150 to 240 and higher).
Hardwoods (e.g., Oak, Maple, Cherry, Walnut):
- Hardwoods have a denser grain structure and can be sanded to a smoother finish.
- For initial material removal and shaping, begin with medium to coarse grits (80 to 120).
- For fine finishing, use fine to very fine grits (220 to 400 and higher).
Exotic Hardwoods (e.g., Mahogany, Teak, Ebony):
- Exotic hardwoods are often even denser and can take a higher level of refinement.
- Start with medium to coarse grits (80 to 120) for initial shaping.
- For fine finishing and achieving a highly polished surface, use very fine grits (320 and above).
Plywood and MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard):
- Plywood and MDF have a smooth surface but can benefit from finer grits for finishing.
- Start with medium grits (120 to 150) for smoothing or leveling.
- Use fine to very fine grits (220 to 400) for final surface preparation and finishing.
Choosing Sandpaper for Metal
Use aluminum oxide or silicon carbide abrasives.
- For material removal and heavy-duty tasks (e.g., rust removal or paint stripping), start with coarse grits (60 to 120 grit). Coarse grits are more aggressive and remove material quickly.
- For smoothing surfaces and removing moderate imperfections, use medium grits (150 to 240 grit).
- For fine finishing, polishing, or achieving a smooth, reflective surface, opt for fine to very fine grits (320 and above).
What Grit Materials to Choose?
The choice of grit material will determine how aggressively the material is removed or how finely a surface is finished.
Here’s a guide on which grit materials to choose for different tasks:
- Silicon Carbide (SiC):
- Silicon carbide abrasives are often used for wet sanding applications and for working with non-ferrous metals (like aluminum, brass, and copper). They are also effective for sanding plastic and composite materials.
- SiC abrasives are available in various grits, ranging from coarse to fine.
- Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3):
- Aluminum oxide is one of the most common and versatile abrasive materials. It is suitable for a wide range of applications, including woodworking, metalworking, and general-purpose sanding.
- It comes in various grits, from coarse to very fine, making it suitable for both material removal and finishing tasks.
- Zirconia Alumina (Zirconium Oxide):
- Zirconia alumina abrasives are known for their durability and heat resistance. They are often used for heavy-duty grinding and metalworking tasks, especially on stainless steel and other hard metals.
- Grits are available in a wide range, with options for both aggressive material removal and finishing.
- Ceramic Abrasives:
- Ceramic abrasives are highly wear-resistant and maintain their cutting ability at high temperatures. They are suitable for demanding metalworking applications, such as grinding hardened steel.
- Ceramic abrasives are available in various grits, with options for both coarse and fine work.
When choosing a grit material and size, consider the following factors:
- The material you are working on (wood, metal, plastic, etc.).
- The specific task (material removal, smoothing, finishing, polishing).
- The hardness of the material.
- The type of abrasive tools or equipment you’ll be using (hand sanding, power tools, etc.).
- Whether the task is wet or dry sanding (some materials perform better with wet sanding).
Dry Sanding or Wet Sanding?
- Simplicity: Dry sanding is straightforward and doesn’t require any special equipment or additional supplies like water.
- Dust Control: Dust is easier to contain and manage in dry sanding, especially when using a dust collection system or wearing a dust mask.
- Compatibility: Dry sanding is suitable for many materials, including wood, metal, plastic, and drywall.
- Woodworking: Dry sanding is frequently used for preparing wood surfaces, smoothing finishes, and shaping wood.
- Drywall: Dry sanding is common in drywall finishing and repair.
- Metalworking: It’s often used for metal preparation and shaping.
- Reduced Heat: Wet sanding helps reduce friction and heat buildup, which can be beneficial when working with heat-sensitive materials like automotive paint or gelcoat on boats.
- Minimized Dust: The water traps dust particles, preventing them from becoming airborne and reducing the risk of inhalation.
- Improved Finish: Wet sanding can result in a smoother and finer finish, making it ideal for tasks like automotive polishing or fine woodworking.
- Extended Abrasive Life: The presence of water can extend the life of abrasive materials by preventing clogging and glazing.
- Automotive Finishing: Wet sanding is commonly used in automotive refinishing to smooth out paint imperfections and achieve a high-gloss finish.
- Boat Repair: It’s often used for sanding and polishing gelcoat on boats.
- Fine Woodworking: Wet sanding can be used for creating a very smooth and polished surface on wood.
Consider the material you are working on. Wet sanding is often preferred for finishes, coatings, and materials that benefit from reduced heat and dust.
Wet sanding may be better if you need a high-quality finish with minimal surface imperfections.
Wet sanding typically requires water and compatible sandpaper or abrasive materials.
Must-Have Tools for Easy Sanding
Using a sanding block for an even finish and fewer scratches is better than freehand sandpaper.
The blocks come in different shapes, which allow for varying degrees of pressure when using them along the grain.
The edge-sanding blocks have two surfaces―one rough and one smooth―which allows for working both across (against) and down (with) the grain.
Contour Sanding Grips
If your fingers are sore and tired of sanding, you may want to consider a new type of grip. Contour grips allow for more control with only one hand than traditional two-handed sandpaper holding methods, which means less fatigue for the hands and wrists over time.
They come in different shapes, allowing you to choose what feels comfortable.
Stick Sandpaper to a Putty Knife
If you’re working in a tight space that’s difficult to reach with the block, try sticking some sandpaper onto a putty knife instead! This is especially useful when using finer grits of paper (i.e., 150 or 180) as it will help keep the edges smooth without leaving any marks from the block itself.
You’ll want to use this trick for inside corners without room for maneuverability between surfaces. You might have seen people do this before by cutting off one side of their sandpaper.
The best way to attach these pieces is usually to glue them together.
Orbital sanders are best for use on larger surfaces such as floors, walls, and ceilings. They work by using a spinning motion, resulting in less hand fatigue and faster removal rates than other types of sanders (especially when faced with stubborn adhesive residue).
However, they have their downsides- they’re not ideal for getting into tight corners or reducing the risk of surface scratches if you try to go too fast.
Orbital sanders should be used sparingly, ideally only after applying stain or varnish, so there is no danger of damaging newly applied finishes.
Belt sanders are best for furniture, doors, and molding surfaces. They work by using a good sanding belt that spins like the blade of a circular saw with teeth running parallel to the direction it moves to smooth wood grain or remove material quickly from an object without gouging out large chunks of wood (although they can be used for this purpose too).
Belt sanders should never be used near edges because they have no protective guard around them, which could result in your hand slipping off and getting smashed between the grinding belt and whatever you’re working on.
There are three main types of belt sanders: a disc/belt sander, which has an abrasive disk; the drum type, which is similar to a bench sander but without a table or base (it’s just the motor and pulley system mounted on top); and then there are thick-gauge aluminum oxide belts with coarse grits that act as manual grinders for metalwork.
The most common belt thicknesses range from 0.45mm up to 12mm in order from coarsest to finest, while thicker belts can be used for heavy-duty tasks like getting rid of rust on large machinery parts.
Belt widths vary between standard sizes–120mm wide being the most popular size–to special widths that are only 180mm wide.
Drum sanders are a good choice if you need to remove material quickly. The drum sander is mainly used on flat surfaces and can be used in conjunction with other tools like belt or disk/belt sanders.
It’s often paired up with another type of sander because it has a very coarse grit that removes lots of material at once, so it’ll take longer to get your desired finish.
Bench mounted sander
Bench-mounted sanders are great for smaller tasks. They’re lightweight and easy to use, so they make a good choice if you don’t have much space to work with or need something small that can be easily stored away after use.
- Combines both a belt sander (2" x 42") and a disc sander (8") to achieve different
- Compact design
- 1/3 HP motor - adequate power for light to medium-duty sanding tasks
- Adjustable worktable that can be angled to suit specific tasks
- Belt tensioning lever
1. What is the difference between a sanding block and sandpaper?
Sanding blocks provide a more controlled and even sanding surface and are ideal for flat and regular surfaces. Sandpaper, on the other hand, offers more flexibility and versatility, allowing it to be used in various applications and with different tools.
The choice between them depends on the specific project and the surface to be sanded.
2. How can you sand wood fast?
A faster way to sand wood will depend on the type of sander you are using and the grit it is set at.
- Start with a coarser grit sandpaper (e.g., 80 or 120) to remove material quickly if the wood has rough surfaces or imperfections.
- Progressively move to finer grits as you work towards your desired finish. Finer grits (e.g., 150, 220) smooth the surface but take longer to remove material.
- Consider using power tools like an orbital sander or a random orbit sander. These tools can significantly speed up the sanding process.
- When sanding by hand, use a sanding block or sanding pad.
3. Should you wet wood before sanding?
Wetting wood before sanding is not common, but it can be useful in certain situations, depending on the project and the type of wood you’re working with.
- Wetting the wood before sanding can help suppress dust and prevent it from becoming airborne.
- When sanding with finer grits, especially in hardwoods, the sandpaper can clog with fine wood dust, reducing its effectiveness. Wetting the wood can help prevent this clogging and extend the sandpaper’s lifespan.
- Wetting the wood can cause the wood fibers to swell slightly, which can help raise the grain. After drying, you can sand the raised grain to create a smoother surface.
Avoid using this technique when working with water-sensitive materials, such as particleboard or MDF, as excessive moisture can cause swelling and damage.
Additionally, be cautious when using wet sanding on certain hardwoods, as it may not be necessary or could lead to uneven results.
4. Can you sand wood too much?
Yes, you can sand wood too much. If you go overboard with your sanding and remove all the material in one area, that part will look different.
Take off smaller amounts at a time (about an inch or so) to ensure even coverage across the board. Always remember that less is more when it comes to sanding wood.
6. What happens if you don’t sand before painting?
You don’t want to paint over old varnish or paint. You need to sand the wood to remove the old varnish. Otherwise, paint won’t attach to the wood properly, and you will have to repaint the wood.
7. What is 3000 grit sandpaper used for?
It is considered an ultra-fine grit whose primary purpose is to achieve an exceptionally smooth and polished surface.
In the automotive industry, 3000-grit sandpaper is often used for wet sanding automotive paint.
While less common than lower grits, 3000-grit sandpaper can be used in fine woodworking to achieve an exceptionally smooth and polished finish on wood surfaces.