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A Quick Guide To Buying The Best Sandpaper for Metal

Whether you are a woodworker, metal works technician or just a do-it-yourself enthusiast, sanding is one way to create the best finish. Provided you know what it takes to do proper sanding, you can always rest assured of refining your surfaces to create good and nice finishes irrespective of the material you are using. Some blemishes can be tough to fix but with good sandpaper, that becomes an easy task. This takes us to the next question of how can you get the best sandpaper for the right material? That’s what this article delves into. It offers you all the information you need.

Our review of four metal sandpaper makes your work easy, so you do not have to waste time looking for one. With the many products out there in the market, it can be a big challenge to narrow down to just a few, especially for first-time buyers.

We have picked the top sandpaper for metal and provided a detailed review of each of them with pros and cons. The best overall product that we recommend to you is the 3M 19015ES-CC

Our Top Four Sandpaper for Metal

Here is our list of the best sandpapers for metal on the market.

#1: 3M 19015ES-CC 3-2/3 by 9-Inch Fine Grit Aluminum Oxide Paint, Wood, Metal Sandpaper, 9-Pack – Best Overall

3M 19015ES-CC Sandpaper

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If you want the finest grade sandpaper that you can use for a wide array of materials including metal, paint or wood, then 3M 19015ES-CC 3-2/3 might just be what you need. You can use it by hand or with a power tool that’s appropriate for it. Whichever the case, this sandpaper will always give you the finest surface. You can thus use it to clear blemishes, level a metallic or wooden surface or even for shaping. We picked this as our best overall for many reasons including its ability to be used even in hard-to-reach corners.

With this sandpaper, you not only enjoy the versatility but you also get a tool that changes your coarse surface to a fine/polished one. Usually, multipurpose sandpapers often sell a little bit higher but that is not the case with this one. It is, in fact, among the cheapest brands you’ll find in the market. Also, if you are a do-it-yourself guy, this sandpaper will help you work even on some of the contoured surfaces such as windows, raised panel doors and cabinets. You do not need a pro to help you.


  • Works great on many surfaces including metal, wood and also for removing paint.
  • Highly effective and does not leave any blemish or coarse spots on the surfaces


  • The sheets are relatively smaller hence you may have to get a couple of them if you are sanding a desk or any larger surface.

#2: 3M Pro-Pak Aluminum Oxide Sheets for Paint and Rust Removal, 80-Grit, 25-Pack Metal Sandpaper – For Versatile and Durable

3M Pro-Pak Sandpaper

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If you need a general-purpose sanding sheet, this could probably be the best product for you to purchase. With it, you have sandpaper that does almost every smoothening task you have at home or your workshop. You can use it for metal surfaces and many others including fiberglass, painted surfaces, and even plastic. Provided you handle it well and use as recommended, this sandpaper will always deliver amazing results.

Sometimes you might just want to remove rust on the metallic surface before painting. Whether it is a dry or wet surface, the 3M Pro-Pak can help you do that job. It will smooth it out nicely without any challenge. If you have any project of that nature, and you need sandpaper that will get the job done, then this should be your pick. It is great stuff sold at a fair price and does a wonderful job. Most importantly, it lasts longer and does a wonderful sanding job.


  • Great value, versatile and highly durable
  • It is an aluminum-oxide abrasive that has a resin coating that lasts longer than the ordinary glue board paper
  • Simple to clean for reuse


  • Works well for activities like removing rush from metal, stripping finishes and shaping wood but it might not be the most appropriate for tasks like scuffing between finish coats as well as the removal of raised wood-grain fibers

#3: 3M Wetordry Metal Sandpaper, 9-Inch by 11-Inch, Assorted Grit, 5-Sheet – For Outstanding Value

3M Wetordry Metal Sandpaper

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Want to sand a metal first before finally applying primer or paint but can’t get the right sandpaper? Well, this could be what you have been looking for. The 3M Wetordry Sandpaper is known to work well on metals transforming coarseness into fineness. With this great sandpaper for metal, you are sure of a uniform finish and perfectly looking metal surface. Also, you don’t need to be a pro to effectively use it. It is an ideal paper for anyone who wants to do the work of smoothening a metal surface by themselves without hiring a technician to do the work. Professionals also love it for commercial jobs as it works well.

It doesn’t matter whether you are doing a small or big job since this sandpaper comes as a set of five sheets to cater to commercial needs or big surfaces. Besides, it allows the user to sand between coats of varnish and paint. If you are doing some repainting works, this will help you a lot so you do not waste new paint on a surface that won’t accept new painting. Its effectiveness is attributable to the fact that it makes use of silicon carbide abrasive that is bonded with a waterproof resin.


  • Can be used for a wide array of sanding tasks including burnishing old finishes and sanding metals before painting them
  • Convenient and comes as a set of five sheets for use in large surfaces


  • You may have to use water to extend its abrasive life as well as prevent clogging when using it

#4: Wet Dry Metal Sandpaper 120 to 3000 Grit Assortment 9 3.6 Inches Abrasive Paper Sheets – For Amazing Quality

Wet Dry Metal Sandpaper

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Do you want sandpaper that works well for both wet and dry surfaces? Look no further as this might just be what you need. Made of high-quality silicon carbide and electro-coated, this sandpaper for metal works nicely on any surface. Apart from using it for metal, this sandpaper can also be used for smoothening coarse wooden, porcelain as well as plastic surfaces. It, therefore, works well for all kinds of odd jobs as well as clearing blemishes on walls or other surfaces.

Since it is a little bit longer, this sandpaper can be used by hand or placed on a sanding block especially when handling tough jobs. Also, if you feel it is too long, you can cut it and it will work well. Included in the package are three sheets of high-quality papers that won’t easily fall apart, crumble or tear when using. In a nutshell, whether you need rough or light sanding, this brand can help you get the job done in no time.


  • It handles all manner of jobs right from removing scuffs to abrasions on baseboards and walls.
  • Can be used for both wet and dry sanding
  • Long enough to be used with a sanding block or by hand and can also be trimmed to size to match user’s needs


  • It removes particles but may not be the best if you want the perfect polish or the finest surface

Your Complete Buying Guide To Pick The Right Sandpaper For Metal

Learning how to choose good metal sandpaper is one way to make your sanding work easier and ensure that you get the right tool for the right purpose. The sandpaper can be used for different materials. Besides, there are different brands on the market. To get the best possible product that meets your needs, here are a couple of things you ought to check:

Types of Sandpaper for Metal

Emery and garnet are the most common types. Emery works best for hand as well as power sanding metal. It has coarse grits to remove rust and finer grits for polishing. Garnet, on the other hand, works well on raw wood and is ideal for removing light scratches. Check out our article here if you want to know better about sanding wood. With this information, you’ll know which one suits your work. Other types include silicon carbide, ceramic, and aluminum oxide.

Grit Numbers

Grit numbers are simply the abrasive particles on the sandpaper. A higher number of grits often implies that the particles are smaller. They do not remove a lot of material on the surface but always leave the finest surface. A smaller grit number is ideal for the removal of large particles but not the best when you want a polished surface. You should this check this feature, so you pick the most appropriate type. See this small guide here to know what grit should your metal sandpapers have.

Backing Material

Backing materials are usually three namely waterproof paper, cloth and ordinary paper. These materials often determine the price. Ordinary materials are usually cheaper compared with the other two. Waterproof is often the best since it works well both in dry as well as wet conditions. If you want flexibility, you can opt for the cloth type.

Other factors like brand, customer reviews and price are also great to consider when shopping. However, the above three are the most important ones that you need to keep in mind when making your choice.

How to use metal sandpaper?

A good question. Explaining by video should make easier for you to get the hang of it. This video is what I usually recommend to my friends when they asked me about sanding metal.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, getting the right metal sandpaper makes work easier and gives you the best results provided you know how to use it well. In this article, we’ve made it easy for you to make a selection of the right sandpaper for metal that will match your needs. Use it and you will find the right metal sandpaper for your work.

Other useful buying guides for metal: drill bits for metal and hole saw kit for metal.

Related to sanding: our guide to picking a good sanding block for auto body and my top choice of sanding belt for metal.