An orbital sander is a quiet and effective way of sanding wood, which is probably why they have experienced a rise in popularity over the last few years. And while it isn’t all that useful for heavy stock removal, it is a great tool for a number of other jobs such as removing coats of varnish, rounding off corners and removing wood putty. Like any other tool a person buys, however, it all really depends on the quality of the tool being used. The best orbital sander will perform flawlessly every time it’s used, a not-so-great model simply won’t do the same thing. Which is why it’s vital to buy the best orbital sander possible. After all, nothing can replace a good quality tool.
10. Porter-Cable 5-Inch 382
This random-orbit sander is constructed using 100% ball bearings construction and is compatible with five and eight hole hook and loop paper. It’s a useful tool for smoothing down seams, for prep sanding before applying a coat of paint or stain or for removing old layers of varnish that have been applied to the wood’s surface over time. This makes it useful for use in home workshops or job sites where high-quality sanding is needed. While it’s a little harder to use than orbital models, it does have a 1.9-Amp motor that’s capable of 12,000 OPM and that gives it plenty of power.
9. Festool Random Orbit 574993
Designed with ergonomics in mind, this unit is lightweight and compact and can be used for extended periods of time without discomfort. And because it’s so compact, this tool can also be used for overhead or for extended vertical use quite easily. It uses step-less variable speed control which gives the user the control to adjust the tool to what they need it to do and has a balanced vibration stop that provides for smoother operation. This unit also has a design that allows for efficient dust removal, which results in better air quality and longer pad life.
8. VonHaus 5-Inch 3.5-Amp Random Orbit Polisher
Power and comfort don’t have to be mutually exclusive and few tools prove this better than this model. It has a powerful 3.5-Amp motor that has a variable speed dial and is fully adjustable from 6,000 RPM all the way up to 13,000 RPM, yet maintains an ergonomic and lightweight design that makes it easy to use for just about any job. It also has a soft grip handle, a 4-foot long power cable and comes with 9 sanding pads and 3 polishing pads. All of which makes this a useful tool for any DIY woodworker or anyone else who wants a smooth, polished wood surface.
7. Black & Decker Random Orbit 5-Inch BDERO100
When wood has to be sanded down quickly and efficiently, then that’s a scenario in which this tool can really shine. It’s a random orbit model that has a high removal rate and is ideal for DIY projects. This unit also has a dust-sealed switch to help keep debris out of the unit, utilizes a hook and loop system that makes paper changes quick and easy, and has a lightweight and compact design that makes it easy to handle and use. It also comes equipped with a hybrid dust canister for catching debris as the surface of the wood is sanded down.
6. 3M Random Orbit 5-Inch 20317
Designed using high-quality interior components that allow this tool to run with less vibration than comparable models and with an aluminum body and composite cover that’s designed to be tough and durable, this tool is one that can be used by both amateur woodworkers or professional ones. It has a design that’s compact and very low-profile and it can be used for extended periods of time with minimal discomfort to the user. This unit’s design is also quite balanced and that makes it easier to control than other random orbit models currently available. All of which allows the user to sand a smoother wood surface.
5. Professional Air Dual Action Tool
This random orbit pneumatic sander is designed to be easy-to-use, compact, portable and durable as well. It uses a 5-inch hook and loop sanding pad which is easy to put on and just as easy to replace and has an air inlet of 1/4-inch. This tool also has a built-in regulator, a rear exhaust and delivers up to 12,000 RPM. This tool will consume approximately 10.5 CFM and needs an air pressure of 90 PSI to operate. It’s a sander that can not only be used for sanding wood but can also be used for polishing metal products and removing welding slag.
4. Festool RTS400 (567863)
This product is ergonomically designed and lightweight, which makes it an ideal tool for applications that only require one-hand. It can be used not only on flat, level surfaces but it can also be used on vertical or overhead surfaces quite easily. It’s a tool that weighs approximately 2.4-pounds, so it’s easy-to-handle and has a dust extraction feature that can be used with a filter bag. This unit is also equipped with vibration stop technology, an orbital stroke of 5/64-inches and has step-less variable speed built right into it. And it’s true orbital motion produces a smooth surface.
3. Bosch 6.5-Amp Corded 6-Inch (1250DEVS)
This sander/polisher is designed to make short work of heavy-duty jobs and make the whole experience easier on the user. It features a 6.5-Amp motor that’s strong enough to provide heavy sanding and is durable enough to last a long time. This model has a soft-start feature that has a reduced startup torque so it won’t jerk in the user’s hands and has a variable speed control that can be used to adjust to any piece of work. This sander also features two different modes: a random orbit for normal sanding or a turbo mode for aggressive stock removal.
2. Ingersoll-Rand Air-Geared 328B With 8-Inch Pad
This air-geared sander features a dual action pad motion with a 5/32-inch orbit and does so with fewer vibrations than some of its competitors produce. This tool is well-balanced and used a ball-bearing construction that allows for smooth operation on most jobs. Another key feature of this sander is that it has plenty of power to remove a lot of stock at a time using its 8-inch pad. Which makes it ideal for use on a number of projects where a swirl-free surface is desired. This makes this tool useful for use in a home workshop or on a job site.
1. Bosch 3.4-Amp Variable Speed Sander (OS50VC)
This half-sheet sander is useful for tackling a variety of different sanding jobs. It has a powerful 3.4-Amp motor that has a high stock removal rating thanks to its maximum sanding speed but is also equipped with vibration control so it’s easy to use. This tool features a paper clamping system that allows the paper to be fit into it perfectly and this tool also comes with a variable speed dial that allows the user to set the speed of the sander to the piece they are working on. The last feature to mention about this device is that it has a micro-filter dust canister that screws off for easy emptying.
Orbital Sander Guide
Orbital sanders are great tools that make doing one of the most unpleasant jobs in woodworking—sanding—a whole lot easier. These tools have a simple operation but can do a great job of sanding down a surface. Although using one is quite simple, it isn’t always easy to buy one in the first place. This is especially true since there are so many different models available. To cut through all of the marketing hype and help our readers find the best orbital sander for their projects, we’ve decided to write this guide that helps all of our readers determine which features they should be looking for and which features they can ignore.
Orbital Sander Or Random Orbital Sander?
People are often confused by the difference between an orbital sander and a random orbital sander, but there’s nothing to be confused about. It’s just that manufacturers haven’t done a good job of explaining the difference between these two tools to their customers. We think that we can sum it up in a simpler way, however. The only real difference between these two sanders is that an orbital sander moves only in a circular direction, while a random orbital sander is designed to move back and forth as well. The two distinct motions of the random orbital sander allow the operator to sand the wood while leaving less of a swirl pattern on it than an orbital sander.
Let’s Talk About Oscillations Per Minute
One of the first things anyone should think about before they choose a new random orbit is the speed of the tool. These speed of these tools are measured in OPMs, which stands for oscillations per minute. Low-powered ones that are suitable for polishing usually come in the 4,000 to 6,000 OPM range. Sanders that are suitable for finish sanding generally comes in speeds from 6,000 to 10,000 OPM range, and sanders suitable for general sanding chores are in the above 10,000 OPM range. Of course, if the sander has Variable Speed Control, then it can be used for not just one of these jobs but can be used for any job.
Let’s Talk About The Motor
Although sanders come with a few basic motor configurations, most consumers should at least try to get an orbital sander with a brushless motor. That’s all there is to it. Brushless motors are not only more efficient, but they’re quieter, tend to heat up less than copper wire motors, and last longer. So if you’re shopping for an orbital sander, then do yourself a favor and try to get one that’s equipped with a brushless motor.
Corded Or Cordless Sanders?
The next thing to think about is whether you want a corded or a cordless orbital sander. Although both of these sanders work quite well, corded ones are the only ones that have the power that professional woodworkers need to get their work done. However, if you’re a hobbyist and don’t mind swapping out batteries regularly, then go ahead and go with a cordless sander.
Choose A Dust Collection Method
Although there are plenty of sanders that don’t have any sort of dust collection method, the consumer should consider a model that does have a dust-collection method. That’s because if it doesn’t, then the consumer is going to have a messy workspace, which is never a good thing.
Once you’ve decided to get a model that can handle dust management, it’s time to think about whether you want an Integrated Dust Collection System, or if you want an External Dust Collection System. Internal Dust Collection Systems collect the dust into a container or bag that then has to be emptied. External Dust Collection Systems usually hook up to a cordless vacuum. Both systems work well, but the external dust collection system tends to be easier to use.
Final Features To Consider
With the most important features of the orbital sander taken care of, we can now talk about some of the other features that a person might want to consider before they buy their next sander. Even though the following features might not make or break a great sander, they do tend to add something a little bit extra to them. They either make them more convenient, make them easier to use or make them more efficient. With that having been said, let’s take a look at some of them to see if any of them are something you might want to consider.
- Dust-Sealed Switch
- Low-Vibration Design
- Padded Foam Grip
- Low-Height Profile