A mouse sander is a small, hand-held sander usually used for finishing work. It may also be called a detail sander. Similar to its animal counterpart, a mouse sander is slim, small, and pointy on one end and rounded on the other. It even has a "tail" — the cord.
Mouse sanders offer an easy-to-use and easy-to-hold option for finish sanding. Compared to other hand-held palm sanders, they tend to be more versatile and user-friendly. The pointed tip of the mouse sander's "nose" enables sanding in corners and tight areas square palm sanders have trouble accessing. It is also is well-suited for sanding curved surfaces.
The mouse sander's "body" is ergonomically shaped to fit the hand, and often has a soft body grip. This makes it easier to grip and control than larger, more awkward square palm sanders. The contoured shape and lightweight design also lessen hand fatigue for those who use sanders for extended periods of time.
Some brands of mouse sanders include a detail finger attachment, which offers even more versatility for sanding hard-to-reach places. The attachment hooks to the front of the mouse and is shaped like a long and skinny finger, which can reach into tight spaces. Some sanders may also include a contour attachment for curved surfaces.
Another user-friendly feature available on many mouse sanders is a dust trap collection system. The sawdust produced from sanding is captured in a bag at the rear of the sander. This system helps keep the work area free from dust, which offers a better view of the work surface as the sanding progresses.
Most mouse sanders accept assorted grits of sandpaper, from coarse to very fine. Mouse sanders use a hook-and-loop sandpaper attachment system, in which the back of the sandpaper is fabric lined and "sticks" to the loops on the base of the sander. Many operators use the tip of the sander more frequently than the rest of the sander, so in some cases, the sandpaper is designed so the tips can be replaced without removing the entire sheet of sandpaper. This reduces waste and the need to replace partially used sheets of sandpaper.
Among the most well-known brands, Black and Decker makes a detail sander called the Mouse®. One model of this sander includes a display light indicating the level of pressure being applied during sanding. This allows the user to adjust for optimal performance.