Unlike our primitive ancestors, we modern humans have the luxury of using an orbital sander rather than doing everything by hand. Hand sanding is possibly one of the most tedious jobs that a person could imagine, but it was the only option for a long time. Since that is no longer the case, I present the list of the best random orbital sanders.
Best Random Orbital Sanders in January, 2020
|1|| Bosch - ROS20VSC |
|7,500 - 12,000||3.5 lbs||5|
|2||Makita - BO5041K||4,000 - 12,000||3.5 lbs||5|
|3||DEWALT - DWE6423K||8,000 - 12,000||2.9 lbs||5|
|4||DEWALT - DCW210B||8,000 - 12,000||1.9 lbs||5|
|5||Bosch - 1250DEVS||3,100 - 6,500||5.3 lbs||6|
|6||Bosch - ROS65VC-6||5,500 - 12,000||5.3 lbs||6|
|7||BLACK+DECKER - BDERO100||12,000||3.2 lbs||5|
|8||Bosch - 3727DEVS||4,500 - 12,000||5.2 lbs||6|
|9||BLACK+DECKER - BDERO600||14,000||3.2 lbs||5|
|10||PORTER-CABLE - 382||12,000||3.0 lbs||5|
This is a very slick and contoured sander, and its ergonomic design fits well in hand. The weight of it is a little bit unbalanced, but that is normal for a tool of this kind. Like most of my choices, it includes a bag to catch dust. As part of that same system, it also includes a microfilter that keeps even the smallest of dust particles from getting out or through. That makes this a very clean sander to use, as it will not fling dust at all.
As I said, it has a very comfortable grip. When I started sanding the surface with this thing, I could tell the difference in the feel of the tool. This is probably due to the “pad dampening system” that is advertised as part of this product. It is basically a vibration-dampening feature that is meant to make this sander easier to control. Its stated purpose is to eliminate the swirl marks that sometimes occur when you stay in one place for too long.
For Small Jobs
I find that the vibration-dampening feature does work well, and does perform its stated purpose. However, there is a downside. When you press down a little bit harder on this sander, the dampener stops working, and the sudden change can easily cause you to lose control of the sander. So, if you have a job that requires a lot of pressure, this might not be the one to get.
I also noticed that the sanding pad had a tendency to “cup” inwards as the sander continued to run. Before long, only the outer edges were actually doing any work. These are some significant problems, but it’s fair to note one other thing: This is the cheapest sander on the list, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s a little finicky about pressure. I wouldn’t recommend this one to a professional, but for small jobs, it should be fine.
This is easily the most comfortable sander on the list, as every surface that you might grab is covered in a rubberized handle coating. It has raised bumps that are smooth for comfort, but large enough to improve the grip. I like the light weight and easy feel of this model, and Makita is known for making good tools anyway. The hardshell case is a nice touch that too many other companies omit.
Large Power Button
The main button is very large, and so you can use two fingers instead of one. This really helps to keep that trigger finger from getting tired during long jobs. If you really need to give your fingers a break, you can use the lock-on feature to keep it running regardless of your grip. Some might call this a safety issue, but a power sander isn’t exactly a dangerous tool. You could hurt yourself if you aren’t careful, but its’ injury potential is nowhere near that of other power tools.
One of the most distinctive features of this model is the movable handle. Some sanders have the handle on the side while others have it in the front, but Makits decided to cater to everyone and make a moveable handle. This is very handy (literally) and provides some extra versatility when doing less straight-forward jobs, but I do worry about this handle somewhat. A handle needs to be very strong so that it can provide the control that is needed for precise sanding. I’m worried that this adjustable handle creates a weak point, but I admit that this concern might be unfounded.
Some buyers have claimed that this sander will throw discs as it gets older. I cannot confirm these reports, and there are only a few of them, but it’s still something to watch.
This is a surprisingly cheap sander from a company that normally specialized in high-end products. Still, I can safely assume that it’s protected by the same 7-year warranty that applies to all Dewalt products. Of course, there are some limitations on that warranty, most of which come down to one simple point: The company won’t replace your tool unless they are actually responsible for its failure. Still, it’s always good to know your investment is better protected.
Afraid of No Dust
This one has a particularly powerful motor, making short work of big jobs. I also really like the way that all the switches (especially the one in the back) are well-sealed against dust. As you probably know, these kinds of tools have a tendency to kick up some dust, even when a dust bag is included. If a little bit of this dust gets sucked in by the motor intake or becomes lodged in the switch, it won’t cause problems at first. However, that kind of thing can slowly ruin a good random orbital sander.
The dust bag seems to do a very good job of catching dust with no visible escape. However, the ball-bearing type of fittings that hold the bag in place could be a problem. Some reviewers have said that these fittings are not reliable and that the bag can detach at odd moments. I ain’t sure if those reviews are accurate because my sander was both secure and easy to use. Those fittings allow you to detach and re-attach a bag more quickly than others, so they do present some extra advantage to make them worth a little extra care. I would recommend that you be careful not to yank and jerk the dust bag too much when attaching and detaching.
This is definitely the smallest and most compact random orbital sander on our list. It is very light, and can be used with one hand as a result. The balance of this thing is very comfortable, making it easy to hold onto this thing for long periods of work. Because it runs on a battery, you don’t have to worry about a cord getting in your way, either.
This model runs on a brushless electric motor, which tends to run more reliably. The recommended run time for a brushless motor is a little longer than that of a normal electric motor, which is also great for long-term usage. And of course, being a Dewalt, this tool also has that nice 7-year warranty that we already discussed.
Great for Small Details
When it comes to convenience and maneuverability, this is a fine choice. It can get into the small corners and get the area that bigger sanders cannot. Thus, I would definitely recommend it as a detail sander. However, there is one big issue here, and that is the fact that this sander just doesn’t have a lot of power. It can handle small jobs and detail finishing with no problem but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can sand your whole porch with a little bitty tool like this.
The battery life is actually quite long, but remember that a small sander like this cannot move as much material as its larger counterparts. Thus, the battery life will put a limit on the amount of work that you can do with this sander. It would be nice if there were a corded option here, but we can’t complain because this product works well for the scale in which it was designed to be used.
This is easily the biggest and most powerful model on the list. When you have a very large job that requires a big beast of a sander, this is the one to get. At 6.5 amps, this thing can outgrind just about any other model. The disc spins at speeds of up to 600 RPM, but you don’t have to use its full power every time.
This thing has a very good level of speed control so that you can get just the amount of grinding power that you really need, so I like that aspect of it. Not only that, but you can switch between two modes of oscillation, allowing you to choose different options for jobs that require a smoother or rougher finish.
I really like the knuckle guard underneath the main body of the tool. That does a lot to make sure that you don’t bump your knuckles into the sanding surface. Not only does that kind of hurt, but it also tends to throw off the sander and possible mar the surface. However, I don’t like the fact that every gripping point on this tool is smooth. Without a good pair of gloves, it can be hard to keep ahold of this thing.
Like most of Bosch’s tools, this one is very durable. The housing is very thick and is reinforced in key areas to prevent breakage. Thus, I think that this tool can handle a few more drops than most others. Of course, it’s also the most expensive item on the list, so make sure that you are ready to pay about twice as much.
The dust collection system on this one may or may not be to your liking. Instead of having an attached bag, it just has a hose port that will fit most standard vacuum hoses. Still, it could cause you some real problems if your vacuum hose happens to be incompatible. Having to buy another vacuum cleaner would add another expense to an already-expensive item.
This orbital sander is obviously designed for maximum comfort. As soon as you look at those large, knobby handles, you can immediately see that this one is quite comfortable in the hand. Not only that, but it’s been designed with a vibration dampening system that is meant to make it easier to control.
From what we can see, this vibration dampener works pretty well. You can still feel a little bit of buzz, in spite of all that padding, but it’s not enough to cause any real issues. This makes it less likely that you will end up with uneven spots or swirl marks on the surface of the wood.
This thing is also equipped with a double filtration system so that it won’t throw as much dust. That can be a very good thing, especially during long work sessions. It has a normal cloth filter as the first stage, and it also has a suction hose that is meant to remove any dust that might make it past the first stage of the filter.
To be honest, that hose is a little bit of an issue. It forces you to be tethered to an air compressor, and that can make it harder to control this big beast. If you leave the hose off, there will be a certain amount of dust that will fly out of the back, forcing you to wear a dust mask or respirator. I think a single-stage filtration system would have made this one a little easier to use.
In terms of cost, this is one of the most expensive items on the list. In fact, the margins aren’t even close. That being said, it does come with a strong warranty and a trusted name. Bosch isn’t known for making poor-quality products, and this is no exception.
This sander is very reasonably priced, and that is very helpful for those who don’t use these things on a daily basis. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest sanders on the list. It’s a small and compact tool that offers a very good light-duty option.
One Hand is Enough
I really like the fact that this tool is small and wieldy enough to be used with one hand. The shape feels kind of awkward at first, especially if you hold it by the big knob on top. It is better to grab the tool below this knob for superior control. Considering how cheap these things are, you could theoretically buy two of them and use them one-handed. If you really want to get crazy, you could even attach velcro hand straps to each one so that you could effectively turn both your hands into power sanders. Imagine how much sanding you could do in a day like that!
It is very easy to change sanding pads with this tool, as the pads are the easy-to-use velcro pads that attach and detach with minimal fuss. I love the fact that you can switch out sandpaper on this thing within a few seconds after you get used to the motion of changing them.
What about Dust?
I do have to admit, though, that the dust filtration system on this model isn’t particularly good. It allows a certain amount of dust to get through, and that defeats its purpose for existing. If there were some kind of an external sheath, it wouldn’t be so bad. At the same time, I like the fact that all the switches and knobs are well-sealed against dust. It’s almost like the company realized this flaw and compensated for it as best they could. At the very least, this shows competence on the part of the designers. At this price, it would be hard to complain about a little additional dust.
This model is another Bosch sander, but this one is a little more versatile and a little more affordable. While it remains one of the most expensive items on my list, it also comes from a company with a very good reputation. This one is nowhere near as expensive as the other Bosch model, but it’s actually a little more versatile because of the fact that it has two functions. It can be used as a rotary sander or an orbital sander.
Rotary and Orbital
Having two modes like that is a huge advantage. When you want to remove some serious amounts of material, a rotary sander beats all. But, it’s a little too powerful for buffing surfaces or anything else that requires a high degree of smoothness. Using a rotary sander for finishing purposes is a good way to end up with a terrible-looking surface that is full of scratches. With this tool, you don’t have to make that choice.
The dust filter is very well-designed here. Instead of a bag, it is made from a solid housing, and it attached and detaches with a single latch. This is a welcome change when compared to some of the strange kinds of dust collection systems that we have seen on other models.
For even more control, this one has the same kind of motion dampening system that we saw on the other Bosch sander. Add that to the variable speed, and you have a tool that can be dialed in for very precise qualities indeed. I can assume that the company made this thing to last. I do know that it has a metal gear housing instead of a bunch of plastic gears.
A lot of people don’t know this, but plastic gears are one of the main things that make cheap power tools inferior. Although some plastics are tough enough to stand up to the abuse, they will never have the same durability as a piece of steel. As such, you can expect a longer life from a model with metal gears as opposed to plastic ones.
This is one of the cheapest products on my list, and we can see why that is so. The whole unit is extremely small and lightweight. If you want to use two sanders at once as we suggested before, this product would be extremely well-suited for the task. It almost feels as if you aren’t moving anything at all.
At the same time, I find the top grip of this tool to be a little bit awkward. It forces you to spread your hands pretty widely, and that can be a pain after a few hours of steady work. The rubberized coating does provide an excellent grip factor, but I wish the handle were a little thinner. Of course, this is a great choice for people with very large hands.
Not Very Noisy
Because this thing is so small and light, it won’t produce nearly as much noise as most others. It almost sounds like a bumblebee buzzing along as it does its job. It does have a very high rate of speed, making about 14,000 orbits per minute. Still, in spite of that high speed, this one isn’t as powerful as a full-size model. The lack of weight makes it harder to press down and get the kind of results you want, and it’s exceptionally easy to change the sanding pads.
I also like the fact that this thing doesn’t kick up a great deal of dust. The dust cover does a good job of keeping everything where it is supposed to be, although the dust reservoir isn’t very large. It does require changing a little more often than others, but at least you don’t have to fool with a dust mask if you want to avoid that.
Great for Small Jobs
Overall, you really couldn’t ask for a better choice in a light-duty sander. It gives you everything you need and none of the things you don’t need. While this isn’t the choice for someone who sands large amounts of area on a daily basis, it’s a great thing to keep around the house for little jobs.
This is another low-cost model, although it is technically it’s one of the most expensive items on the list. Porter-Cable is known for making good tools at reasonable prices, and this one is no exception. It may not be smooth, fancy, or particularly pretty, but it delivers everything you need in a tough and resilient package. I would compare this tool to a workhorse, as it’s meant to be ridden hard and put away wet.
Made of Steel
Almost the entirety of this tool is made from ball bearing steel, which happens to be one of the toughest kinds of steel around. With such good steel, I’m surprised that this model is so cheap. Still, that’s what happens when you remove all the fancy stuff and concentrate entirely on function. One little convenience that I do like is the fact that the power switch is located front and center. The only downside is that it can be kind of easy to hit the switch on accident if you don’t watch what you are doing.
In all, this is a big ugly thing that gets the job done at a low cost, but it doesn’t offer the same degree of precision that some of these others can give. It vibrates an awful lot, making it terribly hard to keep it in one place for long. The high rate of speed is meant to provide the smoothest possible surface. It does fulfill this function quite well, but the high rate of vibration almost ruins this benefit entirely.
Not for One Hand
This thing is also big, clunky, and heavy. You certainly can’t use this thing with one hand, so don’t bother trying. If you even attempted that, it would probably get out of control fast, and you could end up ruining the surface that you want to finish. If what you need is a relatively cheap tool that will last you for years, this is a good choice. If what you want is a high degree of precision with the most exact control, you might want to look elsewhere.
The best random orbital sanders are the ones that provide value, control, convenience, and power. That being said, there are many different jobs to be done, and no one tool is going to be perfect for all of them. I recommend that you consider your needs carefully before judging any of these to be the “best” or the “worst.” It might seem as if I’m a little picky about grip comfort, but that is a very important aspect of any power tool. Without proper control, power tools can be both dangerous and counterproductive. That’s why I recommend that you study my advice and learn well.