Sandpaper can be used for everything from shaping wood to polishing metal. It’s an essential tool not only for handymen but also for woodworkers, jewelry makers, and artists. The most basic variable when choosing sandpaper is the grit, a rating of the size of the abrasive particles on the paper’s surface (the higher the number, the finer the particles). While knowing what grit you need for a particular job is important, you also must consider quality. Inferior resins or adhesives can shed grit; thin paper backings can tear. The material used for the grit can be natural or synthetic, with the latter being often more durable and all-purpose. The following selections are all reliable and efficient sheets of general-purpose sandpaper for hand sanding.
1. Fandeli Multipurpose Professional Sandpape
Fandeli is a respected Mexican abrasives company that has been making sandpaper since 1927. Its care and expertise is apparent in these long-lasting, durable, professional-grade sheets. This package contains three highly usable grits: a coarse 80, a medium 120, and a fine 220.
2. Miady Assorted Grit Sandpaper
This wide-ranging variety pack contains 36 sheets of sandpaper (9 by 3.6 inches each) made with silicon carbide, the most durable synthetic grit material. Silicon carbide can be used wet or dry on anything from plastic and softwoods to metal and hardwoods. Be sure to check the best coarseness for your project and material before you start.
3. 3M General Purpose Sandpaper
3M sandpaper is ubiquitous for good reason: It’s reliable. Even the company’s low-end option here is perfect for plenty of uses. Made with uniform aluminum oxide grit, it can be used to strip paint, sand wood, or polish metal. The sheets are cut to 3⅔ by 9 inches—perfect for folding in half or for use with a handheld sander.
4. Dura-Gold Sandpaper Roll
This roll of sandpaper is best for metalworkers who want to sand or polish various metals. The wide selection of available grits—from 40 to ultrafine 1,000—makes choosing the exact coarseness for your project easy. The paper has an adhesive backing and comes in a 10-yard-long roll that is 2¾ inches wide, which is compatible with most hand sanding tools.
5. 3M Pro Grade Advanced Sandpaper
For enhanced power, try 3M’s contractor-grade sandpaper. This telltale purple sandpaper can be seen in many professionals’ toolboxes or workshops. It is powerful enough to noticeably reduce hand fatigue yet gentle in finer grits, and it can be used wet or dry on metal and wood. One of the most innovative elements of this sandpaper comes in the backing, which has been coated to grip to itself when folded, so it won’t slip or rip even in high-pressure applications. Not too fine and not too coarse, this finer-grit 180 paper is ideal for general sanding.