Random Orbital Sanders: A Short Introduction
If you find yourself in the market for the best random orbital sander, it probably means you have some great projects lined up for yourself. An orbital sander is a tool that steps up the power and capabilities of a palm sander and leaves you more capable of completing a variety of tasks. They have lots of great features, and there are several marked differences between models.
There is nothing worse than purchasing a tool and finding out later that it is not the right model for the task at hand. Doing a bit of research prior to buying a random orbital sander will help to make sure you have a model that will last for years to come. Here are our top ten choices for the best orbital sanders on the market and some helpful information to make sure you purchase the right one.
What To Consider When Buying A Random Orbital Sander
Dust Collection System
Do you plan on working with your sander indoors? Are you working in a shop that you are trying to keep clean? Most of the time, you are not going to want dust flying in every direction, and therefore the dust collection system is an important feature to consider.
Dust collection systems can sometimes be part of the unit that you purchase, or they can also be added as an attachment to a vacuum. Ensure that you understand the dust collection system of the sander you purchase so you don’t end up with a mess on your hands.
Random orbital sanders can be powered in several different ways. You will find models that are corded, battery-powered, and pneumatic as well. The pneumatic random orbital sanders are used for larger projects where continual power and longevity of power is essential.
The battery-operated models generally tend to have a little less strength, but they offer a lot of conveniences if you are taking your project away from the shop.
The power source for your orbital sander can come down to preference, but it is important to consider this feature as you go through the buying process.
When working on some projects, it is essential to have the ability to adjust the speed of your sander. When you can only operate at one speed, it may limit the projects that you can complete with your sander.
The adjustable speed models are generally more expensive than the single-speed, but they give you more versatility as well. Having a dial that allows you to set the speed or a trigger that can help you slow down or speed up the sander is a very nice feature to have.
10 Best Orbital Sanders 2021
1. Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit
- Motor Power- 3.0Amp
- Variable Speed Control
- Oversized Sealed Ball Bearing
- The efficient dust collection system
- Large two finger trigger
At the top of our list is the Makita 5 inch Random Orbit Sander Kit. This kit comes with everything you need to tackle some serious projects around your home. You will love the variable speed control dial on the Makita that can take you from 4000 to 12000 OPM.
When sanding for long periods of time, it is important to have an ergonomic grip. The Makita has a palm grip and handles so that you will stay comfortable the entire time you are working on your project.
Although the Makita comes with a dust collection bag, it is a great feature to have a vacuum port as well. Dust bags are great for shorter projects where you are not sanding for extended periods. When you work for a long time, dust bags have to be emptied continually, and it can be a bit annoying.
The front handle on the Makita is adjustable so that you can get to those hard to reach places with your orbital sander. The two finger trigger switch is a nice feature for easily turning the sander on and off as you lower it on to a piece of wood.
Overall this Makita 5 Inch Random Orbit Sander gives you everything that you could ask for in a sander for a very fair price. Regardless of your project’s size, you should be able to make things work with the Makita kit.
2. Ryobi RS290G Corded Random Orbit Sander
- Comes with dustbag
- On and Off Switch next to the grip
- Easy to make pad changes
- Weighs 4 pounds
The Ryobi Corded Random Orbit Sander is considered the best value random orbital sander. Let’s face it; if you are working on a home improvement project, chances are you won’t use your random orbital sander all that much. Although these are good tools to have, it may not be worth breaking the bank on one.
If you need to touch up an area of your floors or you want a quick way to work on some wood refinishing projects, the Ryobi is a great choice. With the dust bag system included, you will have no problem keeping your home or workshop clean while working with the Ryobi.
One of our favorite features of this sander is the fact that the on and off switch is located directly next to the grip. We all know how important it is to make sure that a random orbital sander does not get away from you. With the Ryobi, you won’t have to word about that.
The Ryobi is a comfortable model to work with that has the user in mind. When it comes time to replace the pad, it should only take you a matter of seconds.
3. DEWALT 20V MAX Random Orbit Sander
- Best Premium Random orbit sander
- One handed locking dust bag
- Rubber over mold grip
- Dust sealed switch
The Dewalt 20V Max is the best premium Random Orbit Sander on the market. You are going to spend a bit more money to add this sander to your toll collection, but you will be pleasantly surprised by the value that it can offer.
Cordless tools are sometimes known for a lack of power. Batteries don’t offer the same longevity that a corded model will have, but this Dewalt holds up very well. When sanding in a tight spot, it can be difficult and annoying to deal with a cord, and therefore the battery-operated sanders can help fix this issue.
The Dewalt features a variable speed dial that will help to make sure you can set the sander to work at a speed you can handle. The speed control will vary from 8000 to 12000 OPM.
Another great feature of the Dewalt 20V Max is the one-handed locking dust bag. The dust bag does a great job of keeping the area clean. The additional dust seal around the switch makes sure that the switch on your Dewalt will hold up as long as the rest of the sander.
The sanding pad is an eight-hole hook and looks design that is easy to change when needed.
4. WESCO 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
- 6 variable speeds
- Uses 5-inch sanding pads
- Dust collection system
- Low vibration and noise
- 3-Amp motor
WESCO is a brand that is starting to put out more and more affordable but high-quality tools for homeowners. This WESCO 5-inch random orbital sander will give you the perfect mix of functionality and speed for a very fair price.
One of the great things about the WESCO sander is that it comes with various sanding pads to help you work on other projects aside from just wood. By changing out a disk, you may be able to work with metal and plastic as well.
The WESCO sander comes with an excellent dust collection system. It is a compact size and works well in tight spots as well. You won’t have to worry about your house becoming a mess if you are working on a project indoors.
This is the base model from WESCO, but you still get variable speeds, something not often seen in basic products like this. It is therefore great value for money. WESCO has a wide range of sanders that you can purchase if you need something a bit more heavy-duty than this efficient and affordable model.
5. Dynabrade 56815 Dynorbital Random Orbital Sander
- Use with air compressor
- Good for sanding stone and other materials
- Hand and wrist support
- Long life and low maintenance
- Five blades for more useable power
The Dynabrade Orbital Sander is a very high power sander that is built for big time jobs. This is not a sander that you are going to need to sand a single piece of wood or touch up a spot of your flooring; this is more of a professional quality orbital sander.
The Dynabrade works with an air compressor and has plenty of longevity as well. The comfort platform on the Dynabrade Sander allows your hand and wrist to have a lot of support. This is a model that you can work with for hours if necessary.
We recommend choosing the Dynabrade brand when you know you need longevity from a product. You will have this sander as part of your tool arsenal for years to come.
The Dynabrade sanders are expensive because they are built for sanding the more difficult materials. This particular model does not come with a dust collection of vacuum tools, although there are kits that you can potentially add if you wanted to.
6. CRAFTSMAN Random Orbit Sander CMEW231
- Motor with 3 amps of power
- Dust collection
- Dust sealed switch
- 3 Year Limited warranty
- Corded model for consistent power
If you like a product with a strong warranty, then Craftsman is an excellent brand to stick with. Craftsman is very well known for standing behind their products, and the Random Orbit Sander is one that they can easily get behind. This model comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
This is a lower-priced model, so you are going to get lots of power but not much adjustability when it comes to speed. If you are experienced with working with an orbital sander and are not dealing with delicate materials, this should not be a big problem.
You will see that the handle on the Craftsman is a bit unique and allows you to have a great deal of control over the sander. Although we don’t like to call this a beginners sander, this particular model would be a great one to start with.
7. BLACK DECKER Random Orbit Sander
- Comes with dust collection
- Compact size
- Great for smaller projects
- Runs at one consistent speed
Hook and loop system for pad changing
The Black and Decker Random Orbit Sander is a great choice if you like a clean, compact, and simple model. This is not a unit that we would recommend sanding an entire house with, but if you are refinishing a chair or doing some detail work on a piece of wood, you will like this option.
The Black and Decker comes with a hook and loop system for changing out the pads. You can change a pad and be back to work in less than a minute. We noticed that the Black and Decker work very quickly, but the dust bag is going to fill up fast as well.
The dust bag is a bit small, but it is efficient. We recommend this product for the homeowner who has an occasional sanding product that the random orbit sander can help with. For the larger projects, look at something closer to the top of our list.
8. PORTER-CABLE 5-Inch (382) Random Orbital Sander
- Compact size
- Controlled finishing system
- Affordable and basic
The Porter-Cable 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander is another corded model. If you are working on a smaller project or larger random orbital sanders make you nervous, the Porter-Cable is an excellent choice.
You will notice almost immediately that this is a low profile design that is easy to control. That’s why we like this particular model for the detailed type of work. At a resonable price point, this is a great cable-powered model. However, it does have less features than the WESCO orbital sander that sits at a slightly lower price point.
The dual plane counter and long switch life provides maximum sanding speed for smooth finishes. It is controlled by a finishing system that allows you to maintain controlled pad speeds whilst minimizing gouing during start up. The balanced fan reduces user fatigue, and it has a dust-sealed switch protecting against dust ingestion for a longer switch life.
This is a durable model sitting at a resonable price for most basic orbital sander use. Whilst not one of our preferred products in this review, it’s still a solid choice.
9. 3M Random Orbital Sander
- Pneumatic power
- 28 HP motor
- Compact and low profile size
- Easy to control
Aluminum body for longevity
The 3M Random Orbital Sander is another pneumatic sander that will be a great choice for those larger and time-consuming projects. The 3M is a bit more expensive than some of the corded or battery operated orbital sanders, but the difference is seen in the power that it can provide.
This sander is made with aluminum so that it will withstand the test of time. Aluminum is a more expensive material to make a product with, but it tends to hold up better as well. One of the things we really liked about the 3M is how stable and consistent it is. You should have no issues controlling this sander even with its high power capabilities.
The ergonomic design allows you to work in tight areas and get your project completed efficiently. The only real downside to this orbital sander is that if you don’t have an air compressor, this model’s setup will cost you quite a bit of money.
10. Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander
- The motor is 2.5 Amp
- High quality dust collection system
- Comes with vacuum adapter
- Hook and Loop disc attachment
- Pad dampening system
Last but certainly not least on our list is the Bosch Palm Sander. Although this model is the last one on our list, it still deserves a spot. The Bosch has slightly less power than many other options, but it offers a superior dust collection system and a kit with everything you need to complete a project.
The Bosch palm sander is designed to make sure that no swirl marks are left on your project. You will be impressed with this sander’s ability to get into those hard to reach areas and remove any paint or stain on a product.
The dust collection system is made for trapping even the smallest of particles, which is a nice feature. Many larger or more powerful models have dust collection systems that miss small particles.
You can purchase this Bosch for a fair price and have a sander that you can rely on and go back to for years to come.
Random Orbital Sander Buyer’s Guide
Now that you have a better idea of the best random orbital sanders on the market, it is time to start to narrow down, which could be the best fit for you. We have put together a few key categories and some helpful information. This will help you work out which one is going to make the most sense for your needs. If you are looking to remove large amounts of material a belt sander might be better suited to your needs.
Random orbital sanders come in a variety of sizes. When purchasing your sander, you probably have a project in mind. You should also consider the size of the project when you make your selection. There are a lot of orbital sanders that come with the five-inch sanding pad.
The five-inch pad is a good choice for both small and large projects. That is why it tends to be so popular. When looking at the sizes of these different models, you should also consider the maneuverability.
Some models will have a handle that can be adjusted so that you can work the sander into a difficult corner or tight location. Although a smaller sander can take you a few minutes more to complete a project. In the long run, it will save you time when it gets to those hard-to-reach areas.
The power that a random orbital sander has will come down to both the motor size and the power source. If you need consistent and strong power, the pneumatic tools are your best choice. Of course, this also means that you will need an air compressor.
The battery-powered orbital sanders offer great convenience. However, if you have a few hours’ worth of sanding to do, you better have a backup battery. Battery-operated tools are getting more and more powerful, but the battery life will continue to be an issue.
The pads on your orbital sander are going to wear out quite frequently. Depending on the material that you are sanding will depend on how much work you have to do to it. For example, one project could have you going through several sanding pads.
The last thing you need when you are on a roll is to have to change a sanding pad. The hook and loop system seems to be the best to look for in an orbital sander.
The pads will usually have five or eight holes, and you should be able to change them in a matter of a few seconds. Just remember when you purchase your sander to pick up some extra sanding pads as well; this way, you will be ready to start your job right away.
Some random orbital sanders are best suited for sanding wood, and others will work on a wide range of materials. You will have to adjust and change the pad for sanding materials other than wood. The more power an orbital sander has, the better it is going to be on various materials.
You will notice that some random orbital sanders come with a few different ways to control and maneuver the sander. Some have a simple place to put your hand on the top of the sander, and others will have more of a handle. You have to decide which works best for you.
When you are new at sanding with an orbital sander, you will sometimes feel as though the sander will take off on you. Once you learn how to control the device a bit better, this shouldn’t be the case.
This is why we really like the features of the Makita Orbital Sander. The easy-to-use trigger makes you feel as though you are in more control.
The higher-end random orbital sanders are going to allow you to adjust the speed. This is a feature we like if you are planning to use your sander quite a bit. The ability to adjust the speed makes it much easier to control your sander and get a better tool for the task at hand.
Some projects require high-speed sanding and others need low speed. With the cheaper orbital sanders, you won’t have the ability to make these adjustments. Plus you will have to accept the one speed.
In our opinion, this is a feature that is worth paying for. Anytime you can customize a tool to be more specific to what you need, it is really like buying several tools for the price of one.
Random Orbital Sander FAQs
What Manufacturers Make The Best Orbital Sanders?
As you can see from our reviews of the best orbital sanders, there are a lot of options out there when it comes to manufacturers. Almost all of the large tool manufacturers make at least one random orbital sander as part of their tool lineup.
It’s hard to narrow down one brand that does the best job with their sanders. But we will help you by giving three names that stood out when we did our testing and reviews. The Makita, the Dewalt, and the Dynabrade all stood out as being the best quality and offering the longest life as well.
Craftsman, Black and Decker, and Bosch are all great choices for random home improvement projects. If you know you will use your sander two or three times a year, these are great choices to consider, and they will save a bit of money as well.
What Are The Benefits of A Cordless Orbital Sander?
Some woodworkers and builders do not enjoy battery-operated tools because you can be left without a tool if your battery runs out. Although this is the case, there are some benefits of the cordless orbital sander.
Sometimes orbital sanders are used for touching up wood floors. Having a cord draped across the room and across your project as you work can be a bit inconvenient. When you have a cordless orbital sander, you can work anywhere without the cord being in your way.
Cordless orbital sanders are also great for areas that don’t have easy access to power. If you are working on a project outside and don’t want extension cords, then cordless is a great choice.
What Is The Difference Between A Palm Sander and An Orbital Sander?
A palm sander and an orbital sander are very similar. However, the orbital sander is made for more complex and heavy-duty projects. Most orbital sanders are built for larger work, where the palm sander is meant for a smaller project.
You can think of it as needing a sander to refinish a flooring section or to make a birdhouse. The orbital sander will be your go-to choice for flooring. However, some models are made small enough to work on compact projects as well.
What Is Better An Orbital Sander Or A Belt Sander?
A belt sander is a sander that used a belt of sandpaper rather than a sanding pad like an orbital sander. The belt sanders are best used for large-scale projects where you don’t have to worry about fitting into small corners.
For instance, if you had to sand down part of a deck or some large wood sheets, then a belt sander would be a good choice. The orbital sander will be better for furniture and similar-type projects. Trying to use a belt sander to refinish a rocking chair would be a bit of a nightmare.
Can I Attach A Vacuum To A Random Orbital Sander?
Some random orbital sanders come with a dust bag, and others will have a way for you to attach a vacuum. If you are working on a larger project, it is best to find a model that works with a vacuum. You will be able to continue with your work for a longer period without having to stop and empty the bag continually.