What is a Wet Sander?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2018
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A wet sander is a type of electric sander which is designed to be used for wet sanding. Several issues need to be addressed in the design of a wet sander, including the development of a design which does not expose users to the risk of electric shock, a serious concern whenever electricity and water are in close proximity to each other. A number of hardware and home improvement stores carry wet sanders, and can order specific models by request from customers. People can also order their own directly from manufacturers and refurbishers.

Wet sanding is a sanding technique which involves using a wet pad to sand with. The grain of the pad can vary considerably, with most wet sanders allowing people to attach different pads or belts to the sander to achieve the desired level of finish. There are a number of applications for wet sanding, including refinishing auto paint, finishing plaster and drywall, smoothing the edges of cut tiles, and polishing a variety of surfaces. Wet sanding also generates less dust and noise than dry sanding, which appeals to some people, especially people working on projects in confined spaces with poor ventilation, which can make dry sanding dangerous.


A wet sander includes a pad or belt which is designed to move when the sander is turned on. The sander may be attached to a tube which siphons water from a bucket to keep the sander wet while it is in operation, or it can be connected to a hose or similar water source. The sander includes a handle which is designed for comfort and safety, holding the user's hand well away from the pad while the sander is in operation. Wet sanders can also be designed to be bolted to tables and workbenches, as in the case of belt sanders used in the finishing of stones.

Like other sanders, wet sanders come in several different styles which are designed for different applications. The uses of a homeowner working on a casual project like tiling a bathroom are very different from those of people utilizing sanding for industrial tasks such as polishing marble floors or processing large volumes of precious stones. It's important to purchase a sander which is appropriate for the intended application, but to avoid going overboard and purchasing a sander which is too high-powered.

Along with other power tools, a wet sander functions best when it is well cared for. People should make a habit of wiping down their wet sanders after use, and checking all of the moving parts of the wet sander before and after use for signs of wear and tear. An area of special concern on any tool is the power cord, which should not be frayed or kinked.


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