How to Use a DA(Dual Action) Sander

Using a DA sander is fairly simple if you know the right procedure. The DA is short for Dual Action.

Sanders come in a variety of types and the da sanders are just one of them. It gets its name from the fact that the head of the sander is capable of moving in two directions while in operation.

Being capable of using da sander will allow you to work on a lot more projects because this tool, as dangerous as it may be, is actually very handy!

Things You Need to Know Before Using a DA Sander

Using da sander properly will immensely help improve your workflow. Here are a few tips on how to use da sander:

1. Touch the Surface Before Working

Dual-action sanders are powerful tools and are capable of sanding very fast.

If you turn on the sander before starting your work and connect it to the surface of the item you want to sand, then the pressure exerted by your hand on the surface will break into the surface.

This will cause an indent which might ruin the end product or may cause you to sand the whole surface over again just to bring back its symmetry.

2. Do Not Work at an Angle

Make sure that the sander that is to be used is perfectly positioned at 90 degrees to the surface you will be working on.

If the sander is used at an angle then it is possible for it to cause excess damage to the object you are sanding.

These gouges might be deep and fixing them might end up being very difficult. This is why it is best advised to not use the sander at an angle.

3. Always Keep the Sander Parallel to the Surface

It is essential for you to always keep the sander parallel while using it on any item.

If you were to move or adjust the sander instead of keeping it completely flat, the movement of the sander will result in some parts of the object being sanded more than the others.

This uneven surface will require even more sanding to even out. As a result, the object you are sanding might end up a bit over-sanded.

4. Avoid Using Unnecessary Pressure

Sanders are powerful tools. Even the slightest of pressure will result in indents that will be very hard to fix.

It is tempting to want to use force while working with these sanders as the sanding is a time-consuming job and will test your patience.

But applying force will surely ruin the thing you are trying to sand as you will end up cutting through the surface. 

5. Sand Wood in an Overlapping Motion

Sanding changes the texture and appearance of wood. If you want to create a cohesive product, you will need to sand the entirety of the wooden object at once and equally.

If the entire surface is not sanded evenly, different places will have different textures and it will result in an uneven and unsymmetric look. 

This is often proof of novice craftsmanship. Therefore, make sure to overlap and sand the entire wood evenly.

6. Sand Along the Grain for Wooden Objects

Wood is unique and sensitive. There is texture in wood and these textures introduce several points of vulnerability. We must always sand wood along the direction of its grain unless we wish, to fracture or damage it.

Not sanding along the grain of the wood might result in breakage or fracture or even uneven sanding.

This is why the golden rule of thumb with wood is that we should always cut it along its grain!

7. Use Correct Grit Size

Remember that different types of objects require different grits of sanders. 80 grit is usually enough for materials like wood, plastic, paint, filler, etc.

Then, 100-150 grit is used for breaking edges and other major repairs and clean-up.

The 150-180 grit is good for final touch-ups, minor repairs, and final inspections. Higher grit stuff such as 180-320 grit is good for wash coat and sealer sanding.

The finishing that DA sanders create is usually one to two grits finer than that of sanding belts.

8. Maintaining the Sander

In order to get reliable performance out of the sander, it is vital for you to perform routine maintenance on it.

You can use an automatic lubricant to supply the optimal amount of air and oil.

If that is not an option then you should consider manually lubricating the tool with at least 2-3 drops of motor oil every day.

Again, clean or replace the exhaust muffler elements if it is required but make sure you never operate your sander without one.

9. Use Large Couplers and Plugs

Airflow is very important for AD sanders. Using large couplers and plugs will enable higher airflow within the device and therefore should be the option to consider.

Maximum flow couplers and plugs should always be used for your sander.

They are 35 percent larger in diameter compared to standard stuff and therefore are the best choice for your tool.

Difference Between an Orbital Sander and a DA Sander

All DA sanders are orbital sanders. However, there is also a type of orbital sander known as a random orbital sander.

Random orbital sanders are slightly different from DA sanders. Therefore, you may say that all DA sanders are orbital sanders but not all orbital sanders are DA sanders.

DA sanders, just as their name suggests, have two modes for sanding. One mode blocks the sanding pad to spin in a flat-plane circle and the other moves the pad using an internal bearing causing the head to wobble and create less friction against the surface.

On the other hand, random orbital sanders have only one mode where the round sanding disc spins, but also create a random elliptical motion that prevents the sanding pad from hitting the same place twice.

Also Read:


1. Can You Use a DA Sander on Wood?

Absolutely! One of the most popular uses of DA sanders is in sanding wood.

The sanding plates of the da sander make it an excellent and efficient choice for sanding wood and are usually highly recommended. 

2. Can I Use a DA Sander for Polishing?

Yes, you can use a DA sander for polishing. In fact, most professional car mechanics recommend you use DA sanders for polishing.

But then again, it all depends on the material you want to polish and the grit of sanding plates you have at hand.

3. Is DA Sander and Buffer the Same Thing?

No. While they are similar-looking and have a similar use, they are in fact different. Sanders have sandpaper at the endpoint and buffers have a buffing pad. Aside from that, there is very little that separates the two.


DA sanders aren’t a difficult tool to use. This article attempts to provide you with a better understanding of the Da sander working procedure.

By maintaining proper caution and with enough practice, you too will be able to use this tool efficiently.