A random orbital sander is a hand held power tool that delivers a random-orbit action. The angle of rotation of the head and disk is variable, which ensures that no single part of the abrasive material travels the same path twice during the same rotation. Simply put, this means the sander does not leave swirl marks and is not sensitive to the direction of the wood grain. Overall, this will leave you with a smooth, shiny project that is finished perfectly providing your technique is right.
However, not every random orbital sander is created equal. There’s a range of prices and sizes, and different models can suit different uses. If you’re somebody who is only going to be using this on small DIY projects, you will want a different sander to somebody who is taking on commercial work/more regular projects. This is why considering your needs carefully and looking at your options is imperative.
The random orbital sander is a versatile tool that can be used for various kinds of finish work, and can even be used alongside other tools to achieve your desired finish. Below, we take a look at the 5 best random orbital sanders on the market right now so you can make the best choice for your project.
Short on time? Our pick for the Best Random Orbital Sander is the Bosch Power Tools – 1250DEVS.
This Bosch model has two distinct sanding modes, an extremely aggressive turbo driven, eccentric orbit sanding mode for very aggressive sanding, as well as a conventional random orbit sanding mode for normal stock removal and fine finishing. It’s very easy to change the mode with just a flip of a switch. This means it can be a wonderful all-rounder for both your own projects and commercial work.
This model will leave most projects looking amazing. The weight is potentially the only drawback if you’re going to be using it overhead. However, the grip and ergonomics of the device are still good, your arms will probably just get tired as you use the device. This is something to bear in mind if you’re planning on sanding for some time continuously. The extra pads for the device are very cheap which is a bonus for those who don’t want to continue spending a fortune after purchasing the sander.
This could be a great choice for those who have a lot of sanding to complete, and the device only gets a little warm when in use for a while and not boiling hot like some devices.
The Bosch model may seem like an expensive purchase but it really is an investment as it’ll make all of your sanding woes virtually disappear. Overall, this is a flawless sander for many different purposes and can save you a lot of grief.
- Dual Mode: Provides 2 Sanding Modes: Random Orbit Mode for Normal Stock Removal or Fine Finishing and “Turbo” Driven Eccentric Orbit Mode for Aggressive Stock Removal at 5 Times the Rate of the Normal Random Orbit Sanding Mode
- VARIABLE SPEED: The 1250DEVS comes with a powerful 6.5 amp variable speed motor (no load speed: 270 to 600 RPM, no load orbit speed: 3,100 to 6,500 OPM) provide power, flexibility for jobs
- EASE OF USE: Get fast, smooth finishes on a variety of surfaces
- PASSIVE DUST COLLECTION SYSTEM: Passive dust collection system that requires a vacuum cleaner and hoses; Accepts Bosch VAC001, VAC009 and VAC010 hoses (sold separately) or a Bosch VAC002 hose adapter (included)
- ORBITAL SANDER PACKAGE INCLUDES: The 1250DEVS unit includes 1 (1) dust tube, 1 (1) RS6045 6 inch soft backing pad, 1 (1) ambidextrous auxiliary handle, 1 (1) sanding disc, 1 (1) pad wrench, 5 millimeter (stored on tool), and 1 (1) dampening ring; Perfect for normal removal, most sanding jobs, wood floors, furniture finishing and polishing applications
The Festool model is quite pricey but could be a worthwhile investment nonetheless, depending on your project and what you’re looking for in your random orbital sander.
There’s nothing more disappointing than finding swirl marks in your work, but this sander can help to eliminate all of that with its smooth action and ease of use. It’s also extremely lightweight which is great for those who want to make sure their arms won’t get tired while using, a complaint of many contractors, DIYers, and renovators. The device is relatively quiet and extremely clean – it won’t spew clouds of fine dust in the air, making you splutter!
There’s much less vibration with this device too, so no need to worry about unintended micro gouging in your finished project. Overall, you get what you pay for and this sander is more than worth the price. Perfect for those who may be taking on different commercial projects, or the more serious hobbyist!
- Ergonomically Formed to fit comfortably in any size hand
- Compact and light weight enough for extended vertical and overhead use. Dust extraction connection dia-1-1/16 inch. Interchangeable sanding pad dia- 5 inch
- Step-less variable speed allows you to adjust to the needs of the application
- Balanced vibration stop (vs) design delivers better finish results, smooth operation and greater comfort
- Jetstream design delivers highly efficient dust removal, resulting in cleaner air, better finishes, and longer abrasive and pad life
Although the Porter Cable model can also be used for projects such as wet sanding and prepping houses for paint, buffing cars is where it seems to excel the most. It is just perfect for taking out scratches and swirls and restoring that wet look to a clear coat. In fact, you might find that your paint ends up looking better than the day you purchased your vehicle!
However, there’s quite a lot of vibration so this is something to keep in mind before purchase. It may also be not as reliable as other models, as some people report breakages after just a few months of using the sander. It is a good option for the price as it’s not too expensive, so essentially it’s great for the quality. It might not last as long as other sanders but if you do a lot of sanding then it won’t bother you too much when you need to replace it. If you don’t want to do that then a more expensive sander might be a better option for you.
Overall, the Porter Cable sander could be a good beginner model for somebody taking on small DIY projects, as well as car enthusiasts who want to keep their ride looking smooth.
- Orbital sander has 4.5 Amp, AC only
- Hand sander comes with electronic variable-speed dial 2,500-6,800 OPM
- Random orbit, swirl-free sanding/polishing action of electric sander
- Includes 6-inch proprietary counter balance for use with 6-inch sanding/polishing pad
- Accepts 5/16 - 24 spindle thread accessories
The Dewalt model can be used all weekend without a battery change, which is ideal for those who want to get on with their weekend projects without messing about. It will save you a lot of time on your various sanding projects, however, it does not have the power of a 110-volt sander. This is something to remember if you are looking for a super-powerful model.
One great benefit of the Dewalt is being able to move around without worrying about the cord dragging. Many people love this feature, as it’s about time a battery-operated sander was on the market from Dewalt. This makes a particularly good sander for small home remodeling projects and crafts ad it’s so lightweight and compact. It’s a great choice for beginners, whatever projects you might be looking to take on!
- Orbital sander with brushless motor provides runtime and efficiency to get the job done
- Variable-speed control of the hand sander from 8,000 to 12,000 OPM to match the speed to the application.
- Low-profile height of the power sander allows user to get close to work surface for precise sanding.
- Replaceable 8-hole hook-and-loop sanding pad (DWE64233) for quick, easy paper changing.
- Dust-sealed switch to protect against dust ingestion for long switch life.Texturized rubber overmold grip for comfortable sanding.One-handed locking dust bag..Dust port is designed to fit directly to the DWV010 or DWV012 dust collectors (sold separately).To attach dust port to other vacuum systems with 1-1/4-inch hoses, use DWV9000 Universal Quick Connector (sold separately)..PSA replacement pad available as service part number N373679 (Sold Separately)
The Makita is another great product, but there are certain trade-offs to consider before you decide on this one.
Working without the cord makes this a fantastic purchase, but there is a limited choice of grip. This means it’s not always great for fatigue if you’re working for a long time, as you cannot change your hand position because of the battery. With many other sanders, you are easily able to change hand position and stave off that fatigue, so if you’re working for a while and your arms tire out easily, this is definitely something to think about.
As there’s a little extra weight, you may find it tough to control in the beginning. It is small and compact though, so it shouldn’t take you too long to get used to. Perhaps the Makita could also use a little more power for certain projects – worth considering if you’re looking for a powerhouse of a model to take on large projects.
It’s also worth noting that the 5 amp battery will give you the best usage, as the 3 amp may only allow for about 30 minutes continuous use. This could still make the perfect sander for somebody even with the trade offs considered.
- Three speed settings (7,000/9,500/11,000 OPM) engineered for faster material removal
- Large 1/8" random orbit action engineered for fast sanding and swirl-free finish
- One-touch electronic speed control switch provides fast, medium and low settings
- One-touch electronic speed control switch provides fast, medium and low settings
- Makita XOB01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 5" Random Orbit Sander, Tool Only
Which Random Orbital Sander is Right For You?
Sanding wood and other projects can actually be therapeutic and fun when you have the right orbital sander. It shouldn’t be a chore or a struggle. The sander you choose will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Your budget
- Whether you prefer corded/cordless
- The power you need
- The projects you will be using it for
- How long you want your sander to last
- How small/compact you would like the sander to be
- How much you want to spend on spare pads and how likely you are to replace them
- How heavy the sander should be for you (consider how easy it is for you to fatigue)
- How clean you would like the sander to be as you work
- Whether noise is an issue for you
- Whether you’re a beginner/intermediate/pro
- Whether you’re a contractor or a hobbyist
When you consider all of the above elements and keep this in mind when searching for the right sander, you should be able to find one that suits your needs perfectly. The only thing that doesn’t really matter when it comes to choosing the right sander is the look of it. Aesthetics should be at the very bottom of your list, unless it’s size/shape you’re looking at to ensure it suits the way you work.
One of the top 5 random orbital sanders listed here is bound to be just right for you. If you’re using your sander for commercial work, then you’ll likely want to splash out on a more expensive sander that will do the job and last a long time, such as the Festool model listed. If you’re looking for a sander for casual use and hobbies, selecting one that is value for money and good for beginners such as the Porter Cable model could be the way to go.
Here is a great video explaining what a random orbital sander is, and what you should look for when buying one:
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