- Sandblasting with abrasive media is used with a sandblaster and air compressor to remove not only rust, but also built-up paint, dried grease and other surface contaminants. Blasting cabinets are used to clean rust from small parts. These are particularly useful because they allow you to use and then collect the blasting media several times before it should be discarded. For sandblasting larger objects that won't fit in a blasting cabinet, it is best to wear protective clothing, as the small abrasive particles bouncing back at you make the sandblasting process very uncomfortable.
- Wire brushes come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. The toughest wire brushes are braided steel, which are used with angle grinders to remove large amounts of rust from metal. The variety of sizes in wire brushes allows you to remove even the smallest amount of rust from hard-to-reach areas. Handheld wire brushes are also useful, particularly for removing rust from corners and angles where powered rotary wire brushes might have a difficult time reaching.
- Powered sanders are best used to remove surface rust, most notably the rust that appears on sheet metal. Sanders use sandpaper of varying grit to grind away the surface rust and reach the bare metal below. Powered sanders, most particularly dual-action sanders, work well for materials that must be cleaned of rust, but which must be worked carefully to avoid the buildup of heat, which can warp the panel. Practically all other forms of rust removal build up excessive heat levels in the panel being cleaned.
- Angle and die grinders are essentially the same tool, except that one has a head that is at a 90-degree angle to the handle of the tool. These grinders use special highly abrasive grinding discs that screw into the tool's rotating end. These tools are much smaller than other forms of rust removal tools, and with the exception of sandblasting, are the best option for removing rust in corners of the part being cleaned. Grinders are typically air powered, but some, such as rotary hobby tools like those produced by Dremel, are electrically powered.