Dual-action sanders are the tool of choice for all sorts of tasks that the modern craftsman will have to tackle – stripping paint, polishing or buffing, rounding edges and smoothing out rough surfaces. They are super handy and versatile, working their magic on both wood and metal, which gives them a spot in just about any array of power tools.
These days there are so many great makes and models to choose from, so lucky for you we’ve taken the time to review eight models of the best dual action (DA) sanders to give you an idea of what suits you and the job at hand.
If you are looking to buy the best DA sander for your money this holiday season, scroll through and have a look at these products. But first, here’s some more information about how they work and why you need one in your toolkit.
The Basics of DA sanders
The name dual-action says it all. These sanders can change modes at the touch of a button, combining the power and precision of a rotary sander with the sophistication of an orbital sander to help you with a variety of tasks. This is how it works:
Best Dual Action Sanders Comparison Tabl e
|1. Husky Sanders 6 in. Dual Action Sander H4870
|2. Powermate 6-inch Dual Sander
|3. DEWALT Random Orbit Sander
|4. SUNEX 6-Inch Quiet Dual Action Sander
|5. Ingersoll Rand 311G Dual Action Sander
|6. DEWALT DWMT70781 Pneumatic Palm Sander
|7. Astro Pneumatic Dual Action Orbit Sander
|8. Airbase 6 inch Industrial Duty Dual Action Orbital Sander
A motor spins the sanding or polishing disc. When you switch into the orbital mode, the disc also rotates, ensuring that the disc won’t stay in any single spot for too long. This spreads out the power and leads to a much smoother finish. It can also cover a much larger area, helping you strip paint all the way down to the surface quickly and easily.
When it’s time to focus your power in one spot to provide that deep luster, flick the switch back and start buffing!
Our Top 8 List of the Best DA Sanders
1. Husky HSTC 4790 6-inch pneumatic Dual Action Sander
This sander revs up to 10,000 RPMs, but thanks to a built-in speed regulator, it is very easy to change the speed for whatever job you are tackling. Also, it comes with an internal silencing mechanism to reduce the noise and vibration by up to 50% compared to other models.
It can work on almost any material, including metal, wood, plastic, composites, fillers and fiberglass, which you will find on many different types of vehicles. It is designed specifically to prepare surfaces for painting and to provide final finishing on the variety of surfaces listed above. The orbital action ensures you will get a seamless finish, free of swirls or other marks.
The Husky HSTC 4790 model is low weight and easy to handle, providing more power without the noise of some other models. This smaller 6-inch model weighs only 2.3 pounds, thanks to its signature composite housing which reduces the bulkiness of this sander.
- Reaches up to 10,000 RPMs
- Easily adjustable speeds thanks to an air-regulator ensures you will find the right speed for the job
- Lightweight composite material adds up to a tiny 2.3 pounds which makes for easy handling
- Comes with a built-in silencer to keep noise to a minimum
What We Like About the Husky HSTC 4790
A top option for the professional craftsman, this dual-action sander is among the most durable and versatile we have seen. It is powerful and well-suited to just about any project you can imagine.
It’s got a comfortable grip and the low noise output are features I particularly appreciated and make it a pleasure to use compared with its louder cousins.
What We Don’t Like About the Husky HSTC 4790
There is not much that we could find in this category, which is why we put this one at the top of our list. It is designed for professionals and requires a lot of air to run so you will need to have a powerful air compressor to make this run, something the amateur craftsman might not have on hand.
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- Adjustable speeds of up to 10,000 RPMs
- Not designed for home use without a powerful air compressor
2. Powermate 6-inch Dual Sander
This model comes with a built-in throttle which provides precision speed control up to 10,000 RPMs. The grip is comfortable, which makes for easy handling and the sanding pad is designed to be changed quickly and easily. This model is a must-have for the home workshop.
- Works well on multiple materials
- Precision control for speeds of up to 10,000 RPMs
- The air intake comes with a filter to keep out dust and other unwanted particles
What We Like About the Powermate 6-inch Dual Sander
The handle fits your hand comfortably in your fist and makes this model a pleasure to use. It also works well on a range of materials, including metal, wood, fiberglass and auto body filler. It is up to the task for both grinding away at rough surfaces or for buffing them to that final luster.
It is smooth and simple to use and provides great results every time.
What We Don’t Like About the Powermate 6-inch Dual Sander
This model works very well but the design does not feel as solid as some of the other models we reviewed. It does come with a one-year warranty but it felt as though it might break down with prolonged wear and tear.
It is a good model but it may not be up for long-term, heavy-duty use, making it more suited to the amateur craftsman or hobbyist rather than a professional.
- Versatile and easy to use makes it ideal for home use
- Precision control of speeds to suit each and every job
- Filter that blocks out dust and particles to keep the motor running
- The lighter design may not be as solid and long-lasting as other models
3. Speedway Professional Duty High-Speed DA Sander
This model is one of over 1000 different automotive tools from a brand that is dedicated to providing quality products for both the professional and amateur gearhead. If you are working on the body of a car, this is a tool designed specifically for you.
This model is designed to work mostly on metal, but it can also tackle other materials such as fiberglass or fillers. It can rev all the way up to a blistering 18,000 RPMs. It is perfect for precision sanding on metal for jobs like edging and removing rust.
This model comes with three resin fiber backing pads to get you started.
- High powered motor can reach up to 18,000 RPMs
- Includes three resin-backed sanding pads of different sizes to give you the ability to sand or buff in tight spaces.
- ¼ inch air intake and ⅜ inch air hose provide flexibility and easy handling
What We Like About Speedway Professional Duty High-Speed DA Sander
Despite this model’s high RPMs, it is surprisingly smooth, making it perfect for that light touch you need when it comes to the finish of your car. It’s another one that is lightweight, compact, and easy to handle, allowing easy access into every little nook and cranny of a car.
We loved the fact that your purchase includes three backing pads, saving you time and money.
See Related Topic: Best Sandblaster
What We Don’t Like About Speedway Professional Duty High-Speed DA Sander
While it is an excellent sander for cars, the Speedway model is not as versatile as some of the other models we tried. Its light action works really well on certain surfaces, but isn’t meant for surfaces like wood, or to rough up a surface to prepare it for painting. But if you are into auto-body work in any way, this is the model for you.
- High speeds and low pressure make it great for delicate sanding and buffing work in cars
- Excellent rust remover and finisher
- Easy handling and good reach into the tight spots around a car.
- Meant mainly for auto bodywork. Doesn’t have a wide variety of other applications
4. SUNEX 6-Inch Quiet Dual Action Sander
The SUNEX 6-inch DA sander is great for all sorts of auto bodywork. It’s another model that provides up to 10,000 RPMs with variable speed controls using its patented speed regulator, an easy-to-use lever on top of the body.
This model also features a disk mounted on the main body using ball bearings which greatly reduces vibrations. Its insulated motor housing makes the SUNEX model whisper quiet and pleasant to use. This one is mainly designed for surface prep – making it a great buy for professional painters.
Like many of the other models we’ve reviewed, it also runs on compressed air. It features an air inlet of ¼ inch and a minimum width hose of ⅜ inch.
- Speed control lever to give precision speed control up to 10,000 RPMs
- Ball-bearing design provides vibration-free use and greater flexibility
- Thick motor housing makes it run quietly
- ¼ inch air inlet and hose size of ⅜ inch allow it to reach easily into awkward spaces
What We Like About SUNEX 6-Inch Quiet Dual Action Sander
First off, the SUNEX lives up to its name. The motor housing does indeed work to dampen the sound and the ball-bearing design reduces the vibrations you feel, allowing for prolonged use that has an edge in comfort over other models.
Its grip is quite ergonomic as well, as is the speed control lever which is in easy reach of your thumb as you hold it. It’s also a little heavier than most dual action sanders, weighing in at barely over five pounds, yet you barely feel the extra weight given the comfortable grip and good balance.
The whole construction is safe, easy to handle, and user-friendly for both the professional and the hobbyist.
SUNEX tools provide an excellent product – the blend of quality, precision, and durability that every craftsman is after.
What We Don’t Like About SUNEX 6-Inch Quiet Dual Action Sander
This is a very well-designed machine and it is difficult to find anything to criticize. Some users found the lightweight construction was not as durable as some other models, but most users did not experience this problem. This one is a great option.
- Great precision use in terms of both speed, positioning, and reach of the sanding pad
- Ball-bearing design reduces vibrations, making it easier to run for long periods
- Truly quiet construction won’t wake up the wife or neighbors
- Some questions as to its durability, though overall very few concerns
5. Ingersoll Rand 311G Dual Action Sander
Another model designed mainly for paint stripping and auto bodywork, such as feather edging and surface preparation. It boasts a dual-action sanding pad and revs up to 10,000 RPMs. It features a trigger and a power regulator to control the speed.
This model is also air-powered, though unlike many others the exhaust is in the front, so you don’t have to feel the unpleasant hot air blowing on your face in an already overheated workshop.
It also features a built-in muffler to reduce noise.
- Touch trigger for easy control and speed variability
- Ball-bearing design to cut down on vibrations
- Muffler to dampen the motor noise