3M ScotchBrite pads are available in light duty, general purpose, and ultra fine. These pads are handy for cleaning and prep work, smoothing finishes between coats, rubbing out final coats, and more. Scotch-brite pads are more durable than steel wool. They don't shed or fragment, and are easily rinsed and wrung out for reuse. The more coarse grades of Scotch-brite pads are also good for cleaning and removing rusted areas on machinery and other metal surfaces. Coarse Scotch-brite pads will cut finishes. Medium pads are similar to basic steel wool. Fine and Ultra Scotchbrite pads are good for polishing to a high lustre.
Steel wool is a bundle of very fine steel filaments, and is a long-time favorite abrasive for cleaning, polishing, and refinishing a variety of materials. Particularly popular for wood finishing. Brillo pads and other cleaning-oriented versions of steel wool are impregnated with soap.
Bronze wool is a favorite of many boatbuilders as steel wool alternative for the simple reason that bronze wool won't leave behind (steel) fibers that can rust and damage wood finishes in the harsh marine environment. With bronze wool, shedding, rust and corrosion are not a problem. Both types of wool are good for sanding, smoothing, and stripping finishes.
The Norton Rapid Strip Wire brush connects to compact hand drills, works similar to bead or sand blasting. Use the Rapid Strip brush on metal, masonry or fiberglass surfaces, as it will not gouge or scar surfaces.