Random orbital sanders are an essential staple of any workshop. They differ from standard belt sanders in that the sanding blade moves in a random orbit, meaning that no part of the sanding pad ever runs through the same path twice. Because of this random orbit action, these sanders do not leave any swirls and they are indifferent to the direction of the grain, making for an extra smooth finish.
When looking to purchase a random orbital sander, as with any power tool, it is important to know what you’re looking for, which means understanding two things:
The first thing you need to understand are the various features that come with different types of orbital sanders. The more affordable models (as well as the more pricey ones) come with a standard 5-inch sanding pad and a native dust collection system.
But you may find that you desire a little more control than what some of these simpler models have to offer. For one example, you may be looking for sanders with variable orbital speed options.
Wait. If you are in a hurry. here’s the quick list of sanders for woodworking.
- Festool 574993 Random Orbital Sander
- DeWalt DCW210B Orbital Sander
- Black & Decker BDERO100 Orbital Hand Sander
- Bosch ROS20VSC Variable Speed
- DeWalt DW6423K Orbital Hand Sander
- Porter-Cable 382
- Makita BO5041K Random Orbit Sander Kit
- DeWalt DWE6421K Random Orbit Sander Kit
- Bosch 3727DEVS Orbit Palm Sander
- TACKLIFE Orbital Sander
These types of sanders allow you to adjust the speed at which the sanding pad rotates, allowing you to accommodate whatever type of surface you are working on. Many models have dust collection systems that are compatible with your shop vacuum. Others have a slightly larger sanding pad, which allows you to better maintain consistent pressure while covering more surface area with less movement.
Still other models come with ergonomic handles meant to maximize comfort and reduce vibration, which can be very helpful if you have a lengthy sanding project ahead of you. Understanding these different features and will help you select the sander with the exact specifications you are looking for.
But in order to understand what features you are looking for, you need to also have an understanding of the specific demands of your project. Knowing this will help you figure out exactly what features you are looking for so that you find the sander whose capabilities best suit your needs. This means asking yourself questions about your project to figure out which sander is going to be most effective in getting the job done.
For example, what type of surface are you working on? Most likely you’re working with wood, but orbitals come in handy for use on metals and plastics as well.
If you are working with wood, what kind of wood is it? How coarse is the grain or texture? How large is the actual project itself? In other words, how much sanding will you actually need to do? If you do have a larger project, you’ll probably be looking for a more durable sander that will hold up over a longer period of time and heavy use. If it’s a relatively small project, a lighter, less costly model might be what you are after.
The last thing you want is to end up dropping a big chunk of change on a sander that turns out to be way more powerful than what you actually need. Or worse, you put up less money but are left with an underpowered sander that not only doesn’t have the capabilities you’re looking for, but that also will not last as long as you most likely need it to.
With so many options for orbital sanders out there, sometimes it can be hard to narrow down the exact model you’re looking for. So to help you in your search, we’ve assembled a list of the ten best orbital sanders for woodworking. We’ve included an overview of their respective features so that you can find the perfect sander that will get you the best bang for your buck.
So with that said, here are the ten best orbital sanders that you can buy
Festool 574993 Random Orbital Sander
Festool has a good reputation among woodworkers, and for good reason. The German-based company makes high-quality tools that are built to stand the test of time and rigorous use. The Festool 574993 boasts an efficient dust-collection system, as well as a balanced vibration stop design, leaving you with a smoother, higher-quality finish. This particular model of sander is on the upper end of the price range.
And while we feel that it is well worth the money, it is probably only worth looking into for the professionals among you. For the casual user, you’ll definitely want to look into something a little more affordable that will still be more than adequate to deliver the results you are looking for (such as many of the models listed below).
The only real downside to the 574993 is that it doesn’t come with its own dust collection hose, but that is easily remedied.
DeWalt DCW210B Orbital Sander
Next, we’ve put the most recent model of cordless orbital sander from DeWalt. There aren’t too many cordless options out there, but this one seems to be held in fairly high regard by users. DeWalt, of course, is another reliable company with a good reputation for making quality tools, so right off the bat you know you’re getting a sound sander that’s going to last.
Among other features, the DCW210B comes with a variable speed adjustment setting, which allows you to match the rotation speed of the sanding blade to the material you are working with. It’s also shop vacuum compatible. It’s a more affordable option if you’re working on a budget, though you do have to purchase the battery and charge pack separately.
Black & Decker BDERO100 Orbital Hand Sander
We thought we’d include a model for woodworkers on a budget, or for those of you who just don’t need all the features of the more expensive models. The BDERO100 from Black & Decker is one of the most popular orbital sanders on the market.
Like the previous sander we listed, this model is cordless, as well as small and compact, allowing for maximum control. Bearing in mind that it should only be used for light work, the BDERO100 is definitely the most cost-effective option for casual users, and most customers report getting good use out of it for a number of years, which is even more impressive considering it’ll only set you back for only very low budget.
Bosch ROS20VSC Variable Speed
The Bosch ROS20VSC is another affordable sander packed with great features, making it one of the best value sanders on this list. It boasts a rubber grip that is very comfortable to use, and it is powerful enough to work on most materials, not only including wood but metal and plastics as well. One feature in particular that sets this model apart from others is the microfilter dust collection system.
Put simply, this means that it will catch every particle of dust no matter how small, making for a cleaner and overall more pleasant sanding experience. It’s also extremely affordable and a great option for both novices and casual woodworkers. Some users have noted that it is oddly heavy for its small size (though that may be because it packs a little more punch than some other models) but other than that there do not seem to be any widespread complaints.
Here’s another good model from DeWalt. This sander is a little shorter and more compact than some, allowing you more control and the ability to get closer to the surface your working on, but that doesn’t come at the cost of power. This sander will get the job done whether you’re working with wood, metal, or plastic.
Roughly the middle of the cost spectrum for sanders, a great price considering all the features that are included, the power, and the great customer feedback. The only real complaint in common seems to be that the dust collection system can be difficult to attach to a shop vacuum, though the included system seems to work just fine.
This model of sander is known for its durability. The body is completely sealed with ball-bearings, preventing any dust from getting inside and ensuring that the sander will hold up for a long time. It also comes with adjustable pad speeds, giving the user more overall control and ensuring that you will leave behind no unwanted marks.
It’s a great affordable option for someone who doesn’t need the power and features of the more expensive models. The power does seem to be the one customer complaint, but then this sander is meant for smaller projects, so that’s to be expected.
The Makita BO5041K is a fan favorite among woodworkers. The body is sealed with oversized ball-bearing construction, making it one of the most durable sanders on this list. It also has a great ergonomic grip that is both comfortable and easy to use, giving you maximum control. One of its most distinguishing features is the adjustable front handle which allows you to better work around little spaces and corners, all while maintaining steady pressure and movement.
Considering it’s only a little over $100 on Amazon, it’s a great sander that won’t break the bank, and well worth the price and features that come with it. It is worth noting that there seems to be a common complaint about the dust collection system being difficult to use and incompatible with a shop vacuum. However, most customers still seem to be very pleased.
The DeWalt DWE6421K brings another great mixture of features and affordability. The body is light and compact, making it easy to use and maintain control. And unlike a lot of other sanders, users seem to have no problem with the dust collection system, and the power switch is even dust-sealed.
However, it only has one speed setting, so for the professional or for those working on larger projects, you’ll probably want something with a little more power and a wider range of features. At very low price, this is a great affordable sander for a casual woodworker.
This is a 6-inch sander, whereas most of the other sanders on this list have been 5-inch. While a difference of one inch may seem negligible, it actually makes all the difference. It allows you to cover more surface area with less movement, resulting in an overall cleaner finish. This model also comes with two modes, something else that sets it apart from some other sanders.
The first mode is for standard use, while the second “turbo” mode is five times the speed of the normal mode. This is useful if you’re working with rougher or sturdier materials. It is one of the more expensive sanders out there, but considering the power you’re getting for it, the price seems reasonable. It’s worth noting that it is about two pounds heavier than the average sander, that’s to be expected given that it’s a more powerful tool.
TACKLIFE Orbital Sander
This Tacklife sander is a very inexpensive option that is perfect for light jobs. Tacklife is fairly new to these types of products. However it has raving reviews.
The standout feature of this model is the dust collection system, which is superb and makes for a very clean sanding experience. Be warned that it does vibrate quite a bit, which might affect detailed work and does not make it ideal for heavy-duty projects. But as long as you’re doing lighter projects, this is a great sander for the price.
That’s it. These are the best out there according to our research.