Decorating Equipment

Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

A Guide to buying the latest and best

Updated 16th May 2022

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Cordless Sanders

Delta shape Detail Sanders

Black & Decker Mouse Sander

Dustless sanding systems

Best Caulking Gun

Paintbrushes and Paint Spraying Systems



Cordless Sanders


 Bosch EasySander 12 Cordless Multi-Sander with 12 V Lithium-Ion Battery

The harder you push - the harder it sands!

The first cordless sander I tested was the Bosch Prio that earned it's place on Fredshed by being a reliable and useful little tool for small sanding jobs.

It was a bit pricey and underpowered at only 7.2v and was replaced with the Bosch PSM 10.8v cordless sander, now known as the Bosch Easy Sander 12.

The Bosch Easy Sander 12 uses sanding sheets with velcro backing and is part of a range of 12v tools that use the same interchangeable battery.

This means that if you have other tools in the range you can have more batteries and do longer jobs with the tool.

When the battery reaches the end of its life you don't have to throw the tool away like you did with the old Prio with built in battery.

Another great new feature of the Easy Sander 12 is that it has a sensor to measure the amount of force you apply so if you want to remove more material just push harder and the motor moves up a gear in response.

This unique feature helps give a better finish and increases battery duration.


Available without battery, or with battery & charger.

The same battery can be used in several other Bosch Power tools.

 Bosch 12 V 2.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery (Compatible for All Tools in 12 V Power for All System)




Multi Tool and Cordless Delta Shape Detail Sanders

The Bosch GOP multi-tool can sand, saw and scrape too.

The GOP (and PMF) multi tool is also one of the best cordless sanders available as it has superb batteries and uses small delta shape sanding pads that can get right into tight corners.

And you can use the GOP (or PMF) to cut through sheets of wood like a circular saw with the segment blade.

The powered plunge cut saw is extremely useful for small fiddly jobs.

The Li-ion batteries are surprisingly powerful and recharge quickly so this is a great tool for small fiddly sanding jobs.

It is also available in a mains version that uses the same size pads


Bosch PMF 220 CE Multi Tool

Bosch PMF 250 CES Set Multi Tool

 Bosch PMF 350 CES - Multi-Tool


Use Links below for Bosch Cordless Multi tools

Bosch PMF 10.8v Li Cordless Green

Bosch GOP 10.8v Li Cordless Blue

  Bosch PMF 10.8 LI Cordless Lithium-Ion All-Rounder Featuring Syneon Chip (1 x 10.8 V Battery, 2.0 Ah)

Bosch GOP 10.8 V-LI Professional Cordless Multitool 10.8 V (includes 2 x 2.5 Ah Lithium Ion Batteries)

They use the same charger but the batteries are different between blue and green ranges of Bosch power 10.8v tools.

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Want a cheaper option than cordless?

Main Powered Delta Shape Detail Sanders for Awkward Areas

A standard no-frills detail sander.

This little sander is suitable for awkward areas like window and door frames, skirting board and architraves. The detail sander is such a simple machine that it is not worth buying an expensive one unless you use it everyday. The small triangular sander is less popular as the larger footprint models like the mouse are more versatile but the tip is still small so as useful in corners and tight spots.

The standard size delta shape pads are easily available and come in a range of grades. If you use the vacuum dust extraction then you will need pads with holes in for this to work effectively.


 Draper APT32C Ten Assorted Grit Hook and Loop Tri Base Sheets, Blue, 93 x 93 mm

Makita BO4556/2 240V Finishing Sander

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Black & Decker Mouse Sander

When it first appeared the Mouse was a marketing winner - So everyone else copied it!

My original mouse


 40 Mouse Detail Sander Sanding Sheets All Grades Coarse to Fine

The picture above shows my Black and Decker mouse sander being used with a vacuum cleaner to remove dust.

On flat surfaces it worked very well but was not practical in the confined areas where detail sander are used like around window frames so B&D have introduced a new version with built in dust extraction box.

This mouse still lives on and the older simple version where you can attach a vacuum hose is still available.  Both models use Velcro backed sanding sheets that are practical but relatively expensive, compared to clip on sheets or rolls of abrasive paper.

BLACK+DECKER KA161BC Mouse Detail Sander with Accessories

 40 Mouse Sanding Sheets to Fit Black and Decker Detail Palm Sander Grades 457035

The sheets can be made to last a bit longer by replacing just the tips which wear fastest on detail work.

The same sanding pads fit the old Quattro and Sandstorm sanders too. 4-5 pack of 5 depending on the type.

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Mirka Hand Sanding Block - 80mm x 230mm - With Hose & Abranet Strips


After years of testing sanders with useless dust boxes I have finally found a way of sanding without getting covered in dust.

The Abranet sanding system requires a vacuum cleaner to attach the hose to and it is amazingly effective.

The really clever part of the Abranet sanding system is the mesh sanding sheets that allow dust particles to pass right through and then into the vacuum hose.

These perforated abrasive sheets use aluminium oxide to remove material and last at least 5 times longer than normal aluminium oxide sheets.

The Abranet abrasive is Velcro backed so can be cut to shape to fit other makes of sander.

The Abranet sanding system is made by Mirka of Finland who have been supplying an industrial version to the marine and automotive industries from many years.

The latest Mirka Handy sander - ( sold as a kit including hose and pads)

The most popular versions of the system are the rectangular shaped hand sander and 240v mains powered circular Deros sander. Both fit a Henry vacuum but perform best with the dedicated Mirka 1025 Industrial vacuum that has a clever blow back feature to keep its filter clean. The 1025 also has a power take off where you can plug in your electric sander and if you use the auto function button the vacuum comes on and off with your sander and does not stay on. This feature saves electricity and makes the whole sanding process less noisy and tiring.


 Powered dust free sander -Mirka Deros

 Mirka DEROS Deco Kit 1 Package + Abranet Discs & Hose 230V

The Mirka hand system is ok for the smaller jobs but for larger areas the Deros powered model is more suitable.

The Deros connects to and controls the Mirka 1025 industrial vacuum to take away every spec of dust. There are also speed controls on the top of the Deros so you can slow it down for finer work. Mirka have also introduced a square shaped orbital sander for small areas and edges called the Mirka Deos. If you need a detail sander for corners then there is the Deos Delta sander.

 Mirka DEOS 353CV Electric Orbital Sander 240V | with Hose & Connector | + Abranet Abrasives

The Mirka Deos shown above with the new paper style Iridium abrasive sheets

Mirka Deos delta and Deos rectangular orbital sanders


Sanding sheets - Which are best?

You can have the best sander but if your abrasive sheet is no good then you are pretty much wasting your time. The cost and availability of sanding sheets is something you should consider when buying a sander. This particularly applies mostly to the velcro style pads for DIY models which can be very expensive if you buy the manufacturers products. Cheaper copies of the same size are available but always check the reviews to find the best and beware that some may be the right size but the holes may not be in the right place for your specific sander.

One of the big problems with sanding sheets is clogging, especially on gloss paints and varnish. This clogging is made worse by powered sanders as the heat melts the paint into a sticky goo. The new Abranet "dustless sanding system" uses mesh to enable dust particles to pass through and be extracted. As well as this there are many different specifications of mesh sheet to suit a range of materials. 

Black & Decker have recently recognised the advantages of mesh sheets and now produce them for the latest Mouse sanders. Do not expect the mouse to perform anywhere near the Mirka sander even with the new mesh sheets but it is a move in the right direction.


  MIRKA DEROS  Powered Sander with 150mm Disc

Mirka Industrial Vacuum cleaner with power take off

 Mirka replacement bags for Industrial Vacuum Cleaner (5)



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Best Caulking Guns

Over the last 20 years of running Fredshed I have tested many fancy sealant guns including "drip free" and even cordless battery powered ones.

Some have worked well for a limited time but none have been really outstanding.

Also the standard cheap ones are now such poor quality that they often break or seize up in use. My extensive research led me to the sealant manufacturer Everbuild who also produce a range of guns to compliment their excellent caulks, glues and other sealants.

I am a big fan of their Everbuild Weather mate silicon sealant as I use it to seal up the gaps around windows and door frames at my rickety old beach house.

Everbuild  Super flow Sealant  Applicator Gun with Rotating Barrel

 Everbuild WEACL-EB Everflex Weather Mate - Gap Filler and Adhesive, Clear, 295 ml

The Weather Mate silicon is the most durable I have found and has stopped leaks permanently when standard silicon has shrunk or been broken down by the sun and salty sea air.


If you want a caulking gun for use in tight spaces it may worth looking at the Saker gun.

I have not tried one but know a man who has and returned it for not gripping his tube! So buyer beware and keep your receipt if you try one.

 Saker Compact Caulking Gun

Use links below for the best outdoor silicon sealant and also extra screw caps to save waste.

 Everbuild Weather Mate Silicon Sealant 310ml - White

Everbuild EVBCONCEWHC3 Once Caulk - White 



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What are the best paintbrushes?

The 2 brushes to the left are a new and used Purdy 4 inch

The 2 on the right are Harris T class Delta brushes.


 Purdy 2-inch XL Purdy Elite Monarch Paintbrush

In particular I aim to find the best paintbrush for glossing doors and windows

If you ask any professional decorator which paintbrush is best the majority will reply the Purdy brush.

Purdy brushes are made in the USA and make no compromises on materials so that the brushes are comfortable to hold, carry a lot of paint and spread it evenly and are also easier to clean. The British equivalent and less expensive to buy is the Harris T class Delta brush which my professional decorator tester says is a very good alternative.

I am told -Due to the Chinese eating all the young pigs there is a shortage of long bristle!

Manufacturers are responding by making better quality synthetic paint brushes.

These brushes are easier to clean and have improved on earlier versions. I have the latest Dulux version that has a built in metal can opener.

I will be testing more of the latest and best soon and comparing them to the legendary Purdy and Harris T -Class Delta brushes.


 A 1 inch brush is the perfect cutting in brush for wall edges so you can then use the roller for the majority of your work.

 T-CLASS DELTA SR 5 Brush Pack





Rollers or Brushes? Which is best? Are Painting Gadgets Worth Buying?

Testing the PaintStick

I have been done a lot of research on painting gadgets over the years including rollers that store paint in the handle, and rollers that use a pump to move the paint from a reservoir using an electric motor.

All of these gadgets are sold to you on the story that they will make decorating easier because you don't have to keep re-loading your roller with paint.

Whilst this sounds great they don't tell you they will only work with special paint that costs more, is thinner and only comes in limited colours.

Most of these gadgets are, in my experience - buggers to clean. When they get old and the rubber seals dry out or nozzles block cleaning becomes difficult.

Painting gadgets often fall apart or fail due to one badly made plastic seal or component. So will the parts are available?

I can see that there are times when a pumped paint applicator like the Wagner TurboRoller, may be useful, if you have strong arms.

So far the best system I have seen is the German made Wagner WallPerfect W-665 Paint Spraying System, which is good , but far from perfect.



Did you know?

If you use the largest diameter roller you will get less splatter as the roller moves at a slower speed.

Top Tip -use cling film or a plastic bag to cover rollers and brushes to stop them drying out if you are having a break in your work.


My first play with the Wagner Wall Perfect W985E


I have been testing the top of the range Wallperfect 985 that has the long lance. Wagner also make a cheaper and more popular version with a more traditional spray gun with the paint reservoir attached.

The first thing I want to say about using paint spraying equipment indoors is that you will need to spend some time masking up and covering EVERYTHING!

In my enthusiasm to try my new tool I failed to cover everything and as I was learning how to use the machine, I made a horrendous mess that took ages to clean. However  the finish on the wall was very good.

So, as long as you cover everything before you start you could save a lot of time by using a Wagner sprayer. The best part for me is that once you master the technique you can achieve an unbeatable smooth and even finish. These paint sprayers are also great for site work and new plaster where you are covering large areas and are not so concerned about overspray or mess.

Part of the time saving is made because you don't need to cut in with a brush on the fiddly bits, also the machines do self clean very well.


Now back to reality, I am probably the worlds worst salesman as I like to tell you what the tool wont do!

Using a paint sprayer to repaint the same colour is not so easy. It is hard to see where you have been. Doing a new colour is great.

You will notice anyone demonstrating painting gadgets always use a new colour, (usually dark over light)

If you have a white ceiling and coloured walls be aware that you will need to mask and cover the ceiling - a tough job.

You MUST thin the paint by at least 10% and use a new tin of paint - old paint may clog the nozzles.

If you are "cack handed ", clumsy,  or cant read instructions - forget it. You will need to follow the rules and learn a new technique or it (and you) will be a big mess.

However, If you master the technique you can achieve an incredible finish.

Wagner are a very reputable, long established German company and their products are well made and supported.

I think the cheaper W665 model is the best deal. It is easier to change colours and has the option of a different head to do outdoor jobs using varnish and solvent based materials.

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The Shavehook - best tool for removing loose paint

Stanley Dynagrip Combination Shavehook

If you are preparing "whitework" for painting then it is important to remove any loose paint and get into the corners to clear out those cracks.

A shavehook is a fantastic tool that has 3 different edges on it for removing paint from awkward places. For instance if you place the tip into the corner of a door or window frame and pull it down, it will tear out all the old paint with ease.

Shavehooks have been around for years and are a favorite tool of professional decorators. The model shown here has the most comfortable handle I have tried. It has superb ergonomics and a rubberized grip.


Bedec Water Based Multi Surface Paints

 Bedec 750 ml Soft Satin Multi-Surface Paint

Bedec is a UK based company that makes high performance water based paints.

I have been using various types over the last 6 years and very impressed how it covers well and looks good.

The features I like about Bedec MSP  ( multi-surface paint) are.

1. It is water based so easy to clean up and no bad smells.

2. It can be applied to a wide range of surfaces and does not need a primer - just multiple coats.


If you have some painting to do then try Bedec MSP

I always have a small can of the white gloss and satin handy for touch up jobs and it can be used on wood, metal, plastic and more.

No bad smells, fast drying, easy clean up and British made.

Best primer for bare wood - includes stain block so no need for knotting!

 Zinser BIN is the perfect primer for preparing white work such as new doorframes and skirting boards.

Zinser BIN has a built in stain block that replaces the need for knotting liquid to stop sticky sap coming through the paint.

Zinser BIN was recommended to me by master decorator Gary who did a superb job on my new house.

Zinser BIN is for internal use and the brushes must be cleaned with metholated spirits.

After the Zinser Gary used Johnston's advanced technology undercoat and satin white, applied with a small roller for that ultimate finish.




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If you found my advice helpful and would like to support my work, please return to this page and use my links when purchasing your tools.

Also any other products bought from Amazon at the same time will produce a small commission that helps cover my hosting costs.


Or if you prefer, you can make a small donation using the PayPal button below.

 Thanks - Fred




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