Drum Sander vs Planer – Which One is Best for Your Woodworking Task

Drum Sander vs planer

It is common to get confused between a planer and a sander when you have just begun woodworking. Both of these tools, are vital for working with wooden pieces. They differ in the mechanism, design, and also the functions. So before knowing the difference between a drum sander and planer, let us first look at their features and specifications.

Drum Sander


As the name suggests, this tool is essential if you want to sand wood. The drum sanders are useful for getting rid of anything from the wood, like old paint or any other material that has stuck on it. Sanding the wood helps in getting a smooth texture. This sander can also be used in sanding plastic materials. This helps in getting splinter-free wood for making frames and pieces of furniture.

The drum sanders are of two types:

  • Tabletop sander: This sander has only one drum
  • Industrial sander: Has multiple drums, each having a different grit size


The mechanism of the drum sander is easy to understand. Once you turn the sander on the drum starts rotating on the board with its maximum speed. Make sure you hold the piece properly to get an excellent finish. Many sanders come with a variable speed feature that increases and decreases the speed of drum while rotating. You get a piece sanded down with a smooth finish once the sander has rotated on the entire board.

Drum sanders are quite easy to work with. Their drums rotate on the board and start removing things quickly from the wooden piece. 



The planer, or most commonly known as a thicknesser, is used to reduce the thickness of the wooden piece. It reduces the width by removing layers of the wood to get a fine, finished, and parallel surface.

The planers are also of two types:

  • Freestanding planers: This type of planers needs a bit of floor area to be placed.
  • Benchtop planer: It can be kept on the table or any flat surface to work with it.


In this machine, you have to feed the board horizontally in the machine. The rollers hold the piece and send it to the other side of the machine. While going from one end to the other, the cutterheads machine shaves off a thin layer from the wooden board, removing a thin layer from the piece

Planers shave the layers off efficiently with each pass on the wooden piece. They can be used for reducing the extra inches of the wood.

Now that we know the basic features of both the tools, we can now proceed and see how they differ from each other.

Drum Sander vs Planer

Drum SanderPlaner
This tool can only take off the thin layers from the wooden piece. Getting parallel surfaces is not impossible, but it is definitely challenging and also time-consuming with this tool.Planers can efficiently reduce the thickness and help in getting parallel boards for making furniture or frames.
The sander, while rotating on the wooden board, produces a lot of sawdust. Thus it becomes crucial to wear safety gloves, goggles, ear muffs, etc.The tool can produce thin shavings of the wood when it starts removing the layers. 
The tool is suitable for someone who just wants to sand the wooden pieces slightly and remove the extra millimeters from it.The planer is specifically designed to reduce the thickness of  the wood. You can use a sandpaper to sand the wood. This is used by the woodworkers who are into furniture making.
It sands the wooden piece evenly.It can end up shaving the head and tail of the piece more. You have to be gentle and careful while placing the sheet in the planer.
The drum sander is affordable and can be bought by the beginners as well.The planer is expensive when compared to the sander.

Final Remarks

When it comes to selecting which one to buy, it is entirely subjective. If you are looking for a tool to sand down the pieces and remove the materials from the wood, then you should go drum sander. However, if you want parallel boards to make pieces of furniture for sale or a house, a planer is the best suitable option. Both tools have specific functions and are not interchangeable. Keep in mind that you can’t use a planer for sanding the areas on the wooden piece, nor you can use the sander to reduce the thickness of the board drastically. Consider all the factors and features before you make a choice.

So if you are someone who has the

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