In addition to the tried and true hand-powered block sander, Popular Mechanics lists orbital finishing, random orbit, belt, disc and spindle sanders as those that are used for wood. Each type of sander has its own specialty, and woodworkers may rely on some or all of them to finish a project.
According to Popular Woodworking Magazine, hand block sanding is best used for delicate jobs and final finishing. With the affordability of many power sanders, hand sanding is falling out of popularity due to the labor involved in removing large amounts of material. Orbital finishing and random orbit sanders are handheld power sanders that vibrate the sanding pad in small circles. This prevents sanding marks in the finished product. Orbital finishing sanders use a square pad and work best for small pieces or intricate finishing, while random orbit sanders are a round-shaped, versatile sander that can perform final finishing and material knock-down.
Popular Mechanics reports that belt sanders are available in portable and stationary models. These sanders feature broad, rectangular sanding surfaces and remove large amounts of wood in a single pass. They are best used to smooth flat rough pieces of wood and when working parallel to the wood grain. Disc sanders provide a large, round sanding surface that rotates circularly. These sanders are best for working the ends of square or curved narrow boards. Spindle, or drum, sanders are highly specialized and only used when working with curved or contoured pieces of wood. They feature a flat base with a spinning abrasive drum in the center.