There are quite a few different types of power sanders available, so how do you know which one is best for your project? These tips should help guide you along.
Do you need a random orbital sander or a belt sander? Finish quarter sheet sander or precision belt sander?
For very aggressive material removal, you will need a belt sander. NEVER use a belt sander for detailed work; it is far better to remove too little and spend more time on a project than to remove too much and have to start over.
For medium sanding tasks, a random orbital sander is a good place to start. These sanders often feature 5" sanding pads, and remove wood uniformly. Just don't hold the sander in one place for too long or you'll have a very uniform depression sanded into your workpiece.
A 1/4 sheet finishing sander is great for, you guessed it - finishing work. Its square profile allows it to reach corners and edges that a random orbital sander won't be able to reach.
Black & Decker's Mouse sander is great for detailed and hobby work and can sand contours and curves with ease. The only downside is that it has a proprietary sanding pad design, making 3rd party accessories difficult to find.