Abrasive Media

With all the different media abrasive and grit sizes out there, it can be confusing on which type is needed for the job your doing and which brand could be effective.  It obviously depends on the item being sandblasted and your goal of cleaning the item.

Aluminum oxide media at 180 grit.

Do you want to just clean the surface or do you want to abrade deep into the surface or clean very thick material?  A softer item being blasted will usually just need a soft abrasive media.  These are items such as aluminum or light painted surfaces.  A harder item can be blasted with a harder abrasive and typically larger grit size.  And a harder media will clean the surface quicker.

Grit Size

The abrasive size is categorized into numerical grit sizes. Finer grits have larger numbers, while courser grits have low numbers. So abrasives with 180 grit are finer than those with a 100 grit.


Here is a guide of some of the different types of typically used:

  • Sand
  • Crushed walnut shells
  • Plastic beads
  • Glass bead
  • Corn cob grit
  • Black Magnum
  • Aluminum oxide
  • Garnet
  • Crushed glass
  • Steel grit
  • Silicon Carbide
  • Coal Slag
  • Sodium Bicarbonate (also known as soda blast media)

33 responses to “Abrasive Media”

  1. Rishi Walker

    What are the best media to sandblast SS 304?


    Goodday ,My Name is Nwagbo loenard sunday ,i saw your products on blasting abrasive GRIT,i am a deller on samblasting abrasives ,such as coal slag ,garnet and copper slag Grit and i want to konw the price of coal slag grit and the quality of it. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING. LEO SUNDAY



  4. Ed Morales

    I was wondering what media is good for sandblasting a truck frame, I want to remove rust and some undercoating paint that is on the frame, plus I want to sandblast the truck body, remove old paint & rust, what media is good for both jobs, thanks

  5. Sajith

    Dear Eric,

    I am from Sri Lanka, could you kindly tel me, where(any shop or closes country) i can purchase sand blast media? and what is the best media for sand blasting of plain glass bottles?

    I am a new to this and appreciate your answers.

    Thank you

  6. Samantha

    Question;; I have a dining room table and 8 chairs that I cannot use in my small apartment any longer, but want to turn it into outdoor furniture, thinking white enamel….should I remove the finish before applying the enamel…. what method would I use? my back is too bad to bend over hand sanding, if I need to sand it, can it be sand or soda blasted? if so what do I use and what pressure? basically the look isn’t that important as the preservation of the furniture from the rain and weather…. assuming the enamel would serve to do that…. thanks for your time… Samantha

  7. Glenys

    I would like to polish stones with uneven surfaces such as a slab of grape prehnite. I can’t think of any other way to polish such a surface. Is this possible? What media would I use?
    I have a compressor and a sandblasting cabinet.

  8. Shelby Woosley

    I am wanting to pollish some billet aluminum that has been through a fire..It did not melt it.Just got a lot of plastic and things that melted over it.It is a belt drive for a harley.i was wondering what media and what grain woulf be the best for this.if i have to use two types it is ok .I just do not want to over do it.I have a small sandblaster cabinrt i bought at tractor supply.it ws $340.00 for the blaster the largest cabinet they sold.So you know what i am working with.If you could give me an answer it would be highly appreciated.
    Thank you Shelby b Woosley

  9. Eric R. W.

    Shelby, that is a good question and I don’t really have a confident answer to this, but I would think any soft type of abrasive like plastic beads or maybe even soda blasting (sodium bicarbonate).

  10. Cody

    I bought a central pneumatic Sand Blaster from harbor freight and for some reason the sand is pouring out of the tip but no blast pressure can anyone help? The blaster builds with air pressure but still don’t work

  11. Kelsey Angelotta

    I am using a sandblaster cabinet and gun purchased from Harbor Freight and I am having some issues with my gun (i think?) I am using bead media that is 80 grit to blast pint size glass mason jars. Sometimes the media won’t come out of the gun, just pressurized air. Also, I wanted the jar to have an embossed effect and I feel like the media I am using may be too soft? Maybe you can shed some light on guns and blasting media for small mason jars. Thanks.


  12. Michelle

    So your ebook says for
    Glass etching & glass carving
    to Use hard abrasives, but you don’t describe grit in relation to this.

    I mostly etch glassware and fused glass pendants. What will give me the nicest finish? And how will grit size effect the result I get on say wine glasses?

    I have the sandblasting cabinet from Harbor Freight and a med size air tank thing.


  13. Jo Anne Keeton

    Eric I m want to know what would be right vinyl and thickness to use on engraving a river rock and is there some kinda glue like stuff to use to keep the vinyl on why sandblasting the river rock

  14. Louis

    For Glass Etching on small glasses is best to use as fine an abrasive as possible. And Black Silicon Carbide #180 to #220 will give you a very good finish.

  15. Carlos

    Can I use 70 grit aluminum oxide for glass etching

  16. chris

    I use aluminum oxide for tumbling wood pieces. What is the best way to remove the aluminum oxide from the wood pores once I am finished. Compressed air is not enough.

  17. jeff

    I need to sandblast 1/4″ into a corian type material. What is the best medium to use please?

  18. Domenico

    Does the ID (inside dia) of the nozzle has to be changed depending on what grit size you use?

  19. Eric R. W.

    @Domenico, yes- you don’t want to use a course grit with a small nozzle.

  20. Cwel

    I’m blasting wine bottles and am looking for a very noticeable, almost white appearance. Currently using 220 aluminum oxide and is very light. Any suggestions, a coarser grit?

  21. Eric R. W.

    @ Cwel,
    Yes a courser grit will make it whiter.

  22. Wesley

    What is the best media for carving stone and rock

  23. David

    I work as a manufacturer of Sodium Bicarbonate (Soda Blast Media). I would like to add a few comments here for your other readers.
    1- Soda Blasting is the most effective way to remove rust and old paint from vehicles/sheet metal. Because this is a soft media, it will not affect chrome, most plastic and rubber or glass. This means you can spend more time cleaning the body panels, and less time in preparation work. This also works well for removing flaking rust off brake drums, frames, calipers, etc. where rubber hoses or brass fittings are in use.
    2- Soda Blasting also works extremely well for etching acrylics and plastics. To create a frosted effect, keep the gun moving. To cut deeper for details, you want to use the smallest nozzle you can get, and work from the center lines out.
    3- 2 Mil. Vinyl, such as that used to make letters and graphics for vehicles will not be affected by using Blast Media. If you just want to create smooth straight lines, electrical tape (standard 7 Mil.) is perfect.
    4- Soda Blasting is a great way to remove just the backing paint from mirrors without affecting the silver and gold linings that make it reflective. In essence, this will allow you to put a light behind the mirror, so the design can be seen when the light is on, but not when the light is off.
    5- The website listed above is brand new as of today 3/1/15, and will eventually show some of the work that we will be doing for our customers at my home based tinker shop. We will also be offering custom cut stencils, etc. based on the same 2 Mil. Vinyl. We also hope to play a part in the Soda Blasting Media distribution, since I work for a company that specializes in this product’s manufacturing.

  24. mikey

    where do i buy aluminum oxide grit for a 1/8th inch nozzle? mikey

  25. Lillian

    Dear Sir,

    It’s my pleasure to introduce our company for you,we are professional manufacturer of Blasting Media in China.

    Products with high quality and competitive price:

    White Aluminum Oxide,
    Black Silicon Carbide,
    Steel Grit,
    Glass Beads.

    All inquiries are welcome and will be responded promptly!

    Best regards


  26. Jim Inglese

    I was pleased to find your website and to know there is someone with your knowledge. I am a carburetor rebuilder, specifically, Weber carburetors. They have a distinctive look from the factory, and I am trying to duplicate that when I clean them. I want to remove the staining in the castings, but leave them with a medium matt finish. I am not sure if the material is aluminum or zinc, spit will take some experimentation.

    I have tried glass beads, but it leaves the castings way to light, with a “silver” color. I need a softer gray finish. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Jim Inglese

  27. Glen

    I am dealing with 4130 1.5 mm thick steel that has been heat treated. I am trying to remove the blackening from the heat treating but not leave an extremely rough surface. I am more after leaving an almost satin look to the surface that then can easily be parkerized. I currently have what was labeled as black 70 grit aluminum oxide running at roughly 90psi, this seems to be leaving a realitively rough surface. Any suggestions? Should I go with a lighter grit or just try to turn down the pressure, or possibly use a larger nozzle?

    Thank you for your time and for putting in the time to make such an informative website.

  28. Mary Allen

    I want to do glass craving. Deep cut. Can you give me best media and grit to use. I’m using 1/4 glass

  29. dave

    Do you know if it is possible to sandblast with a fine media instead of finish sanding? I have fiberglass parts with a gelcoat finish that I want to paint with a 2-part polyurethane paint. I was planning on sanding with 150-240-320 before paint but it is taking forever and the parts have a lot of detail. I do not want to strip off the gelcoat, just prep it for paint.
    Any thoughts appreciated.

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