If you are a serious woodworker, you probably have an orbital sander in your garage. Orbital sanders are a vital tool for woodworkers that finish projects without having any sanding marks.
These tools are used by both hobbyists and professionals, and are especially helpful when finishing furniture. Here are a few popular models to choose from and a few tips on what to look for when buying the best random orbital sanders on the market.
How to Choose the Best Random Orbital Sanders
When deciding on the best random orbital sander to buy, you will find that there are several different types, as well as a variety of features that each may have. You don't necessarily just want to buy the best random orbital sander for woodworking.
There are several different types that have different uses, so you always want to keep in mind the types of projects you will be working on. Here is some helpful background information on the types and features of random orbital sanders to help you know the things to look for in buying the best random orbital sander for the money.
Important Random Orbital Sander Buying Tips
Types of Random Orbital Sanders
- Palm Grip – This is used for window frames and fine surfaces. A palm grip is used when you need a lot of control over where you are sanding, and they are easy to hold. It’s also great for narrow jobs.
- Right Angle – This sander has more power, even though the speed is lower. It pushes harder on the surface, but doesn’t damage it, so it is great for removing glue or paint from wood.
- Large Inline Sander – This is great for big jobs that need a powerful motor, and the user needs to use two hands to operate it. These sanders also have variable speeds that give you as much control as possible over the sander.
Random Orbital Sander Features
- Fast Paper Change - A great feature for any sander is a fast and easy way to change the sandpaper.
- Variable Speed - Allows you to set your speed depending on the project you're working on.
- Vacuum Options - Many sanders come with a dust bag or canister to keep your work area clean.
- Sander Grips - It's important to try out a sander before buying it and makes sure it's comfortable in your hands. You want a that has comfortable grips so your hand doesn't cramp from holding it for long periods of time.
- Power Cord Length - Make sure your sander has enough cord so that you can comfortably work on all your projects.
- Sealed Switch - A sealed switch will keep dust from getting in your sander which can cause the switch to malfunction. Also it'll give your sander a longer lifespan.
- Balanced - A balanced sander will be comfortable to use and one that reduces vibrations will help to reduce hand fatigue.
- Trigger Lock - A trigger lock will help you to keep the sander locked in the on position so that your hands are free to work with the sander.
- Portability - It's a great feature to be able to take your sander with you, especially if you're a professional carpenter. A carrying case that'll hold the sander and the cord is a great benefit and will help protect the sander when you're not using it.
- Pad Brakes - Pad brakes are helpful in preventing gouges when the material is notched heavily when you touch the sander to the surface and then lift it back up again.
- Tracking Adjustment - Another good feature is a knob or screw that helps to make quick and easy tracking adjustments which helps to make using the sander easier.
The Best Random Orbital Sander
Here's a brief summary of the top random orbital sanders on the market today. We'll follow up with detailed random orbital sander reviews to make your decision easier.
The Porter-Cable 382 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
The Porter-Cable 382 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander has a precise finishing system, so that you can control the pad speed, plus a dual plane counter, a fatigue reducing balanced fan, and a dust sealed switch with a 100% sealed ball bearing assembly. It’s great for both DIY and professionals, and is great for prepping surfaces, and for finishing work and fine sanding projects.
Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit
The Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit has an oversized sealed ball bearing assembly that increases the lifespan of the sander. And, it has a 1/8 inch random orbit action that is quick and leaves swirl free finishes.
Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbit Sander with Carrying Bag, 5-Inch
The Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbit Sander is great for woodworkers, carpenters, cabinetmakers. It has an optimized combination of pad orbit plus rotation that gives you quick removal,and a super-smooth finish.
DeWalt D26453K 3 Amp 5-Inch Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander Kit with Cloth Dust Bag
The DeWalt D26453K 3 Amp 5-Inch Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander gives users a clean and smooth finish thanks to DeWalt’s trademarked Controlled Finishing System. It also has a variable speed motor, so that you can find the perfect speed for the project you are working on.
Black & Decker RO100 5-Inch Palm Grip Random Orbit Sander
The Black & Decker RO100 5-Inch Palm Grip Random Orbit Sander also has random orbit action that gives you a smooth finish with fast material removal. Plus, it has a 5-inch pad with Velcro brand hook and loop fasteners for easy sandpaper changes.
Top Random Orbital Sander Reviews
The Porter-Cable 382 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander offers users the most sanding speeds to create smooth finishes. It highlights a precise finishing system that maintains manageable pad speed that minimizes gouging when it starts up.
The sander has a dual plane counter, plus a fatigue reducing balanced fan, a switch that is dust sealed to increase switch life, and a 100% sealed ball bearing assembly. It is consistent with both 5 and 8 hole hook and loop paper, and is perfect for prepping surfaces before staining, painting, or smoothing seams. It is also ideal for both DIY and professional sanding jobs, and for finishing work and fine sanding projects.
Because of its random-pattern sanding, it does not leave any gouges or swirls in the wood. The Porter-Cable offers the maximum sanding speed available, and the Porter-Cable’s Controlled Finishing System lets you control your pad speed. It’s a lightweight sander that is still powerful enough for any job.
Features include the following:
- A dual plane counter
- Dust sealed switch that provides longer switch life
- 100% ball bearing assembly
- Offers the maximum sanding speed available for smooth finishes
- Has a controlled finishing system that allows you to maintain control of the pad speed, and reduces gouging during start up
- User fatigue is reduced by a dual-plane, and counter-balanced fan
- The Velcro attached sand disc are a great idea
- Quality tool that just keep going and going, a great value
- Well balanced, and easy on the hands
- Bag does not work to collect dust
- Stops turning when pressure is applied
- Vibrates badly, and it will make your hands numb
The Makita BO5041K highlights a Makita-built 3 AMP motor, plus an oversized sealed ball bearing assembly to increase the life of the tool. It has a variable speed control dial (4,000 - 12,000 OPM) that lets you match your sanding speed with the type of material you are using.
An easily located trigger switch provides nonstop use, and improved user comfort. It also has a large 1/8-inch random orbit action that provides quick and smooth swirl free finishes, with a controllable pad system that allows you to watch your pad speed when the tool starts.
Other features include an adjustable front handle that lets you sand in corners and confined areas, plus ergonomic rubberized handles for increased user comfort and control. The Makita BO5041K uses a quick-change five-inch eight-hole hook-and-loop abrasive disc.
Plus it has an efficient dust collection system that gives you a cleaner work area with a built-in vacuum port adapter. Even pressure and easy control is provided by the rubberized palm grip and top handle that fit like a glove.
Features include the following:
- A 3.0 AMP motor provides smooth and fast sanding
- A variable speed control dial (4,000-12,000 OPM) allows users to match the sanding speed to the project
- Ergonomic rubberized palm grips and handle allow better comfort and control for the user
- Adjustable front handle let you sand in corners and confined areas
- A large two-finger trigger switch is easily located for continuous use and improved user comfort
- A large 1/8"" random orbit action allows for quick and super smooth swirl-free sanding
- Pad control system allow you to control pad speed upon start-up
- You can put this sander on the highest speed for hours, and you will have no problem
- You only need to apply a little pressure, and it will work well
- Low vibrations, and infinite number of hand positions
- Need an extension cord for most work
- Pads do not last long
- Vacuum adaptor doesn't stay on a 2 1/2" hose
The Bosch random orbital sander is created for perfect finishes for woodworkers, carpenters, and cabinet makers. It has an optimized combination of pad orbit and rotation that provides quick removal, plus a well-blended, super-smooth finish.
Bosch has an integral pad dampening system that is created to remove swirl marks, which are a common criticism of random orbit sander users. Soft microcellular backing pads help to increase the finish quality of your projects. This pliable pad guarantees a fine, smooth finish on any contoured or flat surface.
Features include the following:
- Has a 2.5-Amp: 7,500-12,000 OPM, Tool Level-2
- The variable speed dial lets users match the speed of the sander to the project
- A hook-and-loop disc attachment employs over 35,000 long-life hooks to guarantee a firm grip of the disc
- Also features a microfilter system that allows for optimal dust filtering
- Durable and compact twist-Off dust canister shows you the dust level, and is easy to detach
- Keeps the dust under control with the included filter and collector
- You don’t need to apply a lot of pressure to get it to work great
- Great product, makes sanding a breeze
- Doesn’t work smoothly
- Doesn’t remove varnish well
- Lacks power and is noisy
The DeWalt D26453K is created to provide clean and smooth finishes with DeWalt’s trademarked Controlled Finishing System, plus its 3.0 amp motor and the textured grips on its easy-to-control body. It comes with a dust bag that gives you a clean work area, as well as sealed-switch, and sealed ball bearings that are a part of the sander's durable design.
The DeWalt has a 3.0 amp electronic variable speed motor that can adjust from 7,000 to 12,000 rpm, so you can choose the perfect speed for your project. It has random-orbit motion, and a 3/32-inch orbit that prevents swirls while still removing a significant amount of material. The DEWALT Controlled Finishing System (CFS) controls the pad speed, and reduces gouging when the tool starts up creating a consistently clean finished surface.
The DeWalt random orbit sander comes with a three-year limited warranty, plus a one-year free service contract, and a 90-day money back guarantee.
Features include the following:
- Sander is used for pneumatics, sanders, and grinders
- The 3.0 Amp electronic variable speed motor can adjust from 7,000-12,000 rpm to give the ideal sanding speed for a smooth finish
- The textured anti-slip top and body grip allows users the best comfort and control while in use
- It's not heavy and is easy to use
- Almost no setup involved and it's very durable
- Does an excellent job without leaving any marks
- Noisy and doesn't have a lot of speed options
- Doesn't feel balanced and is leaving swirl marks
- On/off switch is dangerous, will start up again on its own
The Black & Decker RO100 5-inch Palm Grip Random Orbit Sander offers random orbit action that provides a smooth finish and quick material removal. It highlights a 5-inch pad with Velcro brand hook and loop fasteners for simple sandpaper changes.
Plus a built in dust collector that gives you a cleaner work area and a pad brake that sustains the ideal pad speed.
Features include the following:
- The random orbit action allows for quicker and smoother sanding
- Has a built in dust collection for a cleaner work area
- Pad brakes maintain optimum pad speed to stop damage to your work surface
- Comes with a two year home use warranty
- Comfortable in your hand and well built
- Great value for the price, it'll do more than you expect
- Light and easy on your hands
- Dust collection bag doesn't work well
- Uses a lot of sanding disks, you'll run through them quickly
- Sand paper is overpriced
What is the Best Random Orbital Sander to Buy?
The winner of the best random orbital sanders roundup is the Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit. It has a variable speed control dial (4,000 - 12,000 OPM) so you can control the sanding speed with the type of project and material you are using.
It has a large 1/8-inch random orbit action that gives you swirl free finishes, plus a controllable pad system that allows you to watch your pad speed when the tool starts. It’s also very versatile with an adjustable front handle so you can sand in corners and confined areas.
And it has ergonomic rubberized handles for increased user comfort and control. The definite winner of the best random orbital sander for woodworking is the Makita Random Orbit Sander Kit.