From simple to more advanced DIY fabrication projects, sanding has been an important finishing process, to really drive home the final product’s appeal and get rid of jaggedness or roughness. Before the invention of powered sanders, sanding was predominantly done by hand.
Manual sanding was however only feasible for workpieces with small areas and was very time consuming for larger surfaces.
The invention of the powered sander revolutionized the sanding process, allowing large surfaces to be smoothened quickly and effectively, without much strain on the operator. There are now over 12 types of powered sanders on the market, with each tailored to a specific area of application.
Of all the available types, the orbital sander really revolutionized powered sanding, and tackled some of the problems associated with its predecessors; its unique design allows for a much smoother finish.
When scouting for an orbital sander, you want the best your money can buy. With so many brands out there, however, this can be a quite daunting task.
So, how do you choose the best orbital sander for your projects?
Best Orbital Sander for 2020 – Quick Look
(Click on the name of any orbital sander to read its in-depth review)
|5 inches||12000 OPM|
|5 inches||12000 OPM|
|DEWALT Random||5 inches||12000 OPM|
|TACKLIFE Orbital Sander||5 inches||13000 OPM|
|Makita BO5041||5 inches||12000 OPM|
|BLACK+DECKER BDEQS300||1/4-Inch Sheet||16000 OPM|
|DEWALT DCW210B||3/32 inches||12000 OPM|
|Makita BO5030K||5 inches||12000 OPM|
|PORTER-CABLE Random||5 inches||12000 OPM|
|SKIL SR211601||5 inches||13000 OPM|
1. Black + Decker BDERO100 – Best Overall Orbital Sander
The Black + Decker random orbit sander is another great product from the century-old Black + Decker. Combining great functionality and user convenience, it is the ideal sanding tool for the absolute beginner and will provide a quick option for finishing projects.
When it comes to impressive power and compactness, this sander has it all. All its features have been tailored to make sanding as easy and user-friendly as possible.
Let’s have a look at some of its features that make it stand out from other similar brands.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Black + Decker BDERO100 comes with a uniquely designed durable plastic that houses all the components. This makes for a lightweight unit that is impact-resistant. This ensures minimum shock to the device and that it remains in optimum condition even after impact.
Maneuvering this is as easy as it gets, thanks to a rubber-coated, streamlined handle for comfort. A handle extension allows for even more workability. It also helps improve grip when working, allowing you to work for extended without fatigue or sore fingers.
Another unique feature on the Black + Decker is its rubber-sealed main switch. This helps prevent dust from entering the switch compartment, maintaining soft control, and ultimately improves the life of the sander.
At the heart of this sander is a high-speed 2A main motor than provides the torque needed to drive the sanding disc in its elaborate motions. The motor employs state of the art technology to yield a unit with a high power density that is compact and powerful. Another great feature on this sander is an efficient debris collection that will sweep up as much of the loosened material as possible.
It uses a powerful vacuum pump to suck the dislodged debris through the holes in the sanding disc, and dumps them in the dust compartment. This helps ensure that your work area stays tidy, making cleaning as easy as possible.
The BDERO100 comes as a kit and is the ideal sanding starter package for newbies. It comes with sanding discs that allow it to be used right out of the box. It also comes with a free dust bag that emphasizes out of the box use.
- It is lightweight and portable.
- Produces great finishing for light projects.
- It minimizes the soiling of the work area and is easily maintained.
- It can be used right out of the box.
- Lower motor power makes it less efficient for heavy-duty sanding.
- Corded power requires an extension cable for outdoor projects.
Overall, the Black and Decker random orbit sander is an impressive tool with unique features that make it stand out. If you need an inexpensive sanding kit for general day to day DIY projects, then this product is just for you.
2. Bosch ROS20VSC – Palm Sander
Bosch has been around for over a century and has been dishing out great products since it was found. The Bosch ROS2VSC is a palm sander that does not fall short of the company’s name.
Combining superb functionality and handiness, this device is a must-have for those who like to get their hands dirty with DIY fabrication projects.
The finishing touch you need to showcase your craft, this tool will do perfectly for you. When it comes to raw power and superb compatibility, this beast stands at the apex.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Bosch is a great palm sander that is suitable for light work of surface finish on a wide range of materials. Powering its sanding capabilities is a powerful 2.5 amp main motor that runs on the mains supply.
The high current drawn from your socket transposes to impressive torque for a compact unit. All the rotational power you need to make quick work of all your finishing processes is available from the main motor.
The main motor also comes with adjustable speed control that allows for high adaptability with various material types. The high orbit per minute setting is ideal for light, finishing touches, while the lower speed settings result in higher torque and are ideal for coarse sanding.
The Bosch ROS2VSC keeps your workplace as clean as possible thanks to its dust collection feature. Backed by a powerful vacuum suction system, the sander racks up as much dust as possible from the surface of the material before it has a chance to escape.
Sanding is highly mechanical and without this collection system, the work area will be really messy. The scattered debris, suspended in air, also poses health problems from inhalation. The dust collection bag is also easy to detach, emphasizing user convenience.
This kit is complete and can be used out of the box, as it comes with sanding discs that will get you started right away. Need to take your sander outdoors? No problem. A free casing allows you to package the sander quickly and conveniently, and be on the move.
- Good surface finish with no swirl marks.
- It offers high work material compatibility.
- It is easy and convenient to use.
- Highly efficient dust collection system.
- The dust bag is difficult to clean.
- Relatively lower power output than other sanders in its category.
The Bosch ROS2VSC is a great random orbit sander for various materials like plastic, wood, and light metals. If you need a sander from a well-known brand that will be used mainly for light finishing touches, then this tool is just for you.
3. Dewalt DWE6421K – With Dust Sealed Switch
The Dewalt Random Orbit Sander is one of the best power sanders on the market. This handy tool packs superb functionality into a compact unit.
In terms of raw power and ease of use, it stands at the top. With a wealth of features that emphasize great handle-ability with unique design, this device is the perfect accessory to have in your tool kit before you embark on your various DIY projects that prioritize aesthetic appeal.
While this sander comes at a significantly higher price tag than many others in its category, customers can’t help but attest to its real value for money.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Dewalt DWE6421K is special in its sanding path. The sanding pad moves in a random orbit. This allows for great surface finish and significantly reduces the possibility of streaks forming. It combines the functionality of a belt sander; used for smoothening coarse surfaces, and can still double as a finishing sander.
This gives it great adaptability to a wide range of materials and DIY projects. Powering the sanding pads is a high power density 3amp 12000 orbits per minute main motor.
The advanced technology behind its operation makes it a lightweight, powerful unit that will give the sander the torque it needs to seamlessly sand the material surface. The 12000 opm speed makes it great as a finish sander with the lightest pressure.
The components of this device are housed in a lightweight, tough plastic casing that makes for a portable, impact-resistant that is highly maneuverable. The streamlined handle is coated with soft to allow for good grip and comfort. You can work for hours on end, without worrying about getting sores or accidentally losing grip of the sander.
The pointed front of the sander body allows for improved reach and allows you to sand even in tight corners, without much obstruction.
The main power switch of the Dewalt DWE6421K is rubber sealed to prevent the infiltration of dust. As this infiltration is the main cause of early-failing or jamming switches in other products, this measure improves the life of the switch and ultimately the overall life of the sander.
- The powerful main motor allows for quick, coarse and detail sanding.
- It is lightweight and compact.
- The dust bag is easy to disassemble and clean.
- It ensures excellent surface finish due to its random orbit feature.
- It does not have adjustable motor speed control.
- Sanding discs have to be purchased.
The Dewalt DWE6421K is a powerful multipurpose sander for a host of DIY projects, from renowned Dewalt. If you want a portable unit that packs impressive power and willing to spend a little extra for quality, then this device is just for you.
4. Tacklife PRS01A – With 5 Speed Controls
The Tacklife PRS01A is a powerful device that comes with a wealth of features that emphasize raw functionality and user convenience.
When it comes to superb work adaptability and quick action, this beast stands tall.
It sports a unique design and comes with features that make clean-up as easy as possible. Its high adaptability to different work environments makes it the ideal tool for a wide range of indoor and outdoor DIY projects.
This device will give you what you need to make a final statement with your work, and bring out your creativity.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Tacklife PRS01A is a powerful and highly adaptable device for a wide range of DIY projects. It comes with a unique casing design that is streamlined to the human grip. This device will fit right into your hands like it was made just for you.
This allows for easy control and maneuverability as you can get the sanding surface to wherever need it to be, on the work surface, without much ado.
The rubber-coated handle allows for improved grip and comfort; as the sander has significant vibrations when in action, the rubber grip allows you to work for long hours on end, without fatigue.
Providing the power behind this device, is a 350W, 13000 orbits per minute main motor; so much power in a compact unit.
This compact, high power density component employs state of the art motor technology to give the sander all the torque it needs, to make quick work of any DIY sanding project you may have.
From light, finishing touches to heavy, coarse sanding, this sander will be up to the challenge. Its high revolution speed means more sanding surface comes into contact with the wok material, in a shorter time, and gives an excellent finish. You get to finish your work as quickly as possible without depreciation in quality.
Another special feature on this device is its revolutionary dust collection system. The sanding process is abrasive, and previous sander types sent dust particles flying around in all directions. This made clean up after sanding rather time-consuming and posed a risk of inhalation for the operator.
The dust collection system on this sander uses a vacuum to whisk away the loose particles while sanding. The particles are collected and stored in a bag that is easy to remove and clean. This allows for a clean work environment and improves user safety.
Talk about extra, the Tacklife PRS01A comes with two free sets of six sanding papers, with each set specially tailored to a different sanding application. This allows you to use it right out of the box, without needing to get any extra accessories.
- It is lightweight and compact.
- It is easy and convenient to use.
- It is highly adaptable to a wide range of DIY projects.
- It is comparatively affordable.
- Plastic dirt collector takes a little effort to clean.
The Tacklife Orbital sander is a great tool for finishing surfaces of various materials, quickly and effectively. If you need an addition to your tool kit, that will enable you to sand large surface areas, and is affordable, then the Tacklife Orbital sander is just for you.
5. Makita BO5041 – With Front Handle
The Makita BO5041 is a powerful random orbit sander that is equipped with a wealth of features to cater for a wide range of indoor and outdoor DIY projects. It combines impressive power with ease of use to make quick work of your sanding needs.
When it comes to functionality and unique features, this beast stands tall. It packs all that has to be in a sander and gives the operator a handy, efficient option to bring out the shine on the surfaces of different work materials.
This device will give you what you need to make a final statement with your work, and bring out your creativity.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Makita BO5041 is a highly functional random orbit sander that comes with a ton of features. The powerhouse behind this great tool is a powerful 3.0 Amp motor that can reach speeds of 12000 orbits per minute.
All the sanding power comes from this compact unit and will give you all the torque you need to make an excellent finish over a range of both light and heavy-duty indoor and outdoor DIY projects.
Great handleability is another feature this product boasts of. A specially streamlined plastic casing that houses all the internal components, allows for a good fit into your hands. The body is coated in soft rubber to improve grip and comfort when working. This allows you to work for hours on end, without fatigue and soreness.
A unique feature on the Makita BO5041 is an adjustable front handle not found in many of its competitor products. Sanding, many times, requires maneuvering in constricted spaces.
This front handle gives you the needed control in tight corners your hand might be obstructed from if using the normal handle. The handle gives you improved degrees of freedom, as it can rotate about the pivot where it meets the sander’s body.
Operating this device is as easy as it gets, with an easy to squeeze trigger switch, just under the handle. This switch position closely resembles that in many other powered devices, and makes it quickly adaptable for people who have used such other devices for long periods.
It fits right into your hands, and you don’t have to let go of the sander handle to turn it on. The trigger switch also comes with a lock that allows you to keep the switch in the ‘ON’ position, allowing you to work for extended periods without interruption.
A dust collection system consists of a vacuum pump that sucks the dislodged debris from the material, through the holes in the sanding disc, and deposits them in a dust bag. This helps to significantly reduce contamination of the work area and makes cleaning as easy as possible.
Dismantling and cleaning the dust bag is very easy and convenient, enabling you to round up your work quickly.
- High motor power for quick sanding action.
- Random orbit action for excellent surface finish.
- Has high work material adaptability.
- Has impressive maneuverability.
- After extended use, discs loosening during action is quite common.
- It does not come with sanding discs.
The Makita BO5041 is a powerful, multipurpose electric sander that will work great for a wide range of DIY projects. While it comes at a significantly higher price tag than many others in its category, it is a great buy and will give you real value for money.
6. Black – Decker BDEQS300 – With Dust Filtration
The Black and Decker BDEQS300 is another great product from the company and is the first sander that works strictly by orbit on our list. All the features on this device have been tailored to make the sanding process as efficient, quick, and user-friendly as possible.
The path traced by this sander makes it great for getting into constricted or sharp corners other brands may find difficult.
Combining elegance and superb functionality, this tool makes for comfortable work experience and gives you the power needed to conclude your DIY projects in grand style.
Our In-Depth Review:
At the heart of the Black and Decker BDEQS300 is a 2.0 Amp main motor that can reach a top speed of 1600 orbits per minute. This motor draws power from the mains supply to generate the torque that drives the sanding operation. Modern and compact, it significantly contributes to the overall lightweight of the sander.
The high rotational speed makes sanding very frequent and allows you to get work done quickly. This also makes it a great tool for finish and detailed smoothening.
The control hub of the sanding process sits just behind the handle for easy access and away from the sanding front to prevent infiltration. The sliding switch is very easy to move, emphasizing user convenience.
Controlling and maneuvering this sander is as easy and convenient as it gets, thanks to a streamlined main handle that will fit right into your hands. The main handle is shaped to improve grip for the user’s hand and hence ensure comfort. This allows you to work for extended periods without muscle fatigue.
The unique color pattern of the plastic housing stands out and allows you to find even in areas of poor lighting, say in your garage.
The Black and Decker BDEQS300 makes clean up as easy and convenient as possible. A unique highly efficient dust collection system gets rid of most of the dislodged dust particles before they have a chance to fly off and litter the work station.
Using a powerful vacuum, they are sucked through clearances in the disc and dumped into the dirtbag. The dirtbag has a unique 3-layer filtration system that will trap even the tiniest particles.
- It is very compact and lightweight.
- Has maneuverability in constricted spaces.
- Its lower orbit speed makes a more efficient dust collection system.
- Excellent detail finish.
- Significantly lower motor power.
- It does not have adjustable speed control, hence lower material adaptability.
The Black and Decker BDEQS300 is a nice little electric sander with impressive functionality. It is a good buy for customers who want an affordable, compact unit, that will give them easy sanding access to tight corners and yield good detail finish.
7. Dewalt DCW210B – With Brushless Motor
Another superb product from DEWALT, the DCW210B Brushless Orbital Sander is a revolutionary piece that stands out from the competition, with a ton of amazing features that emphasize reliable functionality and portability.
It is the first cordless sander in our list and embodies state of the art battery and motor technology.
Whether for detail finish or coarse sanding, this tool will work like a champ. It does at a much higher price tag than many other sanders in the same category but many attest to its real value for money.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Dewalt DCW210B Orbital Sander draws all its sanding power from a powerful 20V brushless main motor that sits just above the sanding pad. Brushless motors are one of the most efficient in the market and can achieve very high speeds; it’s no wonder the top speed of this motor is 12000 orbits per minute.
As it does not have brushes in its core like in many other motor types, it runs very quietly and with little to no vibrations. The high speed makes for a unit that will get work done quickly and bring out the finest details.
The most important feature on the DCW210B is its cordless power. It runs on a rechargeable battery that will give you uninterrupted functionality, irrespective of power outages. No need to worry about getting extension wires, or compatibility with the voltage in your area. It is unlimitedly portable.
The components of the DCW210B are housed in a lightweight, tough plastic casing. This makes the device very portable and impact-resistant. So whether you need to do work outdoors, carrying this device, and getting on the go is as easy as it gets. The tough plastic casing ensures it stays in optimum working condition even if it comes under the impact.
The rubber-coated main handle gives an impressive grip when working with the device. This allows for great comfort and eliminates the chance of it slipping from your hands. It also allows you to work for long hours without muscle fatigue.
A unique dust removal system minimizes littering of the workplace and makes clean up easy. It does most of the work for you; all you have to do is unhook the dust bag, clean it, and remount it to continue work. The sanding disc is also very easy to dismount and remount, thanks to a unique hook and loop sanding pad attachment feature.
- It is lightweight and very portable.
- It has high material adaptability.
- Noiseless operation.
- Makes work quick, minimizes disc replacement, and maximizes user comfort.
- Does not come with power and sanding accessories.
- It is not as powerful as corded electric brands.
The Dewalt DCW210B is a very handy orbital sander that boasts of a ton of amazing features. If you want a highly portable, medium-duty, cordless sander to complement other more powerful corded products, then this sander is a good buy.
8. Makita BO5030K – With Sealed Switch
The Makita BO5030K random orbit sander is a powerful compact device that comes with a wealth of features that sell it as an instant buy.
When it comes to impressive power, functionality, and reliability, this titan stands tall. All its features are tailored to make quick sanding work in a wide variety of DIY projects. It emphasizes customer ease of use, efficient abrasion, and extended service life.
While it does come at a significant price tag, it more than compensates in its action.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Makita BO5030K is a great power sander for a host of DIY projects. After fabrication, you want to smoothen rough edges, to enhance the product’s beauty and make it safe to handle; and you want to do all that quickly. At the heart of this innovative gadget is a powerful 3.0 Amp main motor that can achieve impressive orbital speeds of up to 12000 orbits per minute.
It draws power through an attached electric cord and gives you all the torque needed to sand various material surfaces. Rated at over 300 W, this device packs a punch and will make light work of your finish touches. The high rotational speed of the sanding disc makes for excellent surface detail finish and shine.
The control switch is located just forward of the handle for easy access. This switch is also rubber sealed to prevent the infiltration of the dust particles into the mechanism. Given that this is the main reason for early faults in sander switches, the seal extends the switch and ultimately device life.
The sander handle is streamlined and rubber sealed to provide a perfect fit to your hands and maximize comfort. This allows you to work on end for extended periods, in comfort and without fatigue. It also improves your grip and eliminates slipping that can be a problem in detail finishing.
And saving the best for last, the BO5030K works on the random orbit principle. Unlike fixed orbit models, the sanding pad moves in random orbits to ensure a superb surface finish. It ensures that no same sanding point interfaces with a point on the material surface, too many times. This prevents markings and ridges from forming.
- Impressive power and quick sanding action.
- It is highly ergonomic.
- It is easy and convenient to use.
- Clean-up after sanding is easy.
- Does not come with sanding accessories.
- Dust collection attachment is thin, hence relatively fragile.
The Makita BO5030K is a great multipurpose powered sander that combines impressive functionality with user convenience. It is a great buy if you are looking for a handy finish device to add to your toolbox for DIY projects.
9. Porter-Cable 382 – With Automatic Balancing
The Porter-Cable Random Orbit Sander is a great device that comes with a set of outstanding features tailored to make light work of a wide variety of DIY projects.
It combines impressive power versatility with functionality that makes it a great buy for people who like to put their hands to dirty work of sanding.
Sporting an elegant ergonomic design, it is designed with you, the user, in mind. User convenience and ease of use objectified, this tool will allow you to work efficiently and quickly without fatigue.
Our In-Depth Review:
User convenience-oriented, this device is fitted with an efficient dust removal system. The mechanical action in sanding wears down the base material via abrasion. Coupled with the high rotational speeds of the sander, fine dust particles will become suspended in the air quickly and dirty the work area.
To prevent this, the innovative feature on this sander whisks away as much dust as possible from the sanded surface, before it is thrown off. The Porter-Cable Random Orbit Sander has a uniquely designed dust bag and attachment made to enhance airflow through the chamber. This minimizes the risk of inhalation and makes after work clean-up as easy as possible.
The random orbit action of this device is what makes it stand out in its sanding finish. The abrasion effect of conventional sanding discs is prone to leave swirl markings and engravings in their wake. Just as the name implies, the orbit path traced by the sanding disc in this device is random, eliminating the risk of markings, and ultimately yielding excellent surface finish.
A unique counterbalancing system in the Porter-Cable Random Orbit Sander allows for extended use without fatigue. Its gyroscopic effect eliminates turning moments that your hand would normally expend energy to nullify when working.
Backing the main motor is a variable speed control switch that allows you to adjust the rotational speed, to suit the requirements of the particular work material. This is a great feature that allows for excellent performance in coarse and detail sanding.
The plastic casing that houses the internal components is lightweight, and impact-resistant, making it very portable and resistant to damage. Other great features include the rubber sealed switch to prevent dust infiltration and the unique lock mechanism of the dust bag, making dismantling very easy.
- Impressive balance during operation.
- It comes with variable speed control allowing for high material adaptability.
- Excellent surface finish.
- It is lightweight and portable.
- Significantly lesser power than competitor brands.
- Does not come with sanding discs.
The Porter-Cable Random Orbit Sander is a highly versatile device that is well equipped to make the sanding process as easy as possible. It comes at a fair price tag and is a good buy if you want a device for light to medium sanding jobs in DIY projects.
10. Skil SR211601 – With Dust Box
The Skil SR211601 Random Orbital Sander is a powerful tool that combines aesthetic appeal with a great deal of functionality.
From impressive power output to make quick work of finishing in a wide range of DIY projects, to ergonomic features that ensure user convenience and ease of use, it is no doubt one of the best products on the market.
Whether for indoor or outdoor applications, this bad boy has all it takes to get work done efficiently, with as little effort on your part as possible.
Our In-Depth Review:
At the center of all the action in the Skil SR211601 is a powerful 2.8 Amp main motor with an impressive top speed of 13000 orbits per minute. This compact, high-power unit is lightweight and will provide all the torque needed for effective sanding. Its high orbital speed is greater than that in many other similar products and makes it an excellent tool for detail and finishing touches.
Speaking of high material adaptability, this device comes with a speed control system that allows you to adjust the output speed and power as needed by the work-piece. The high speed, low-torque settings are ideal for surface finish and shining, while the low-speed, high-torque settings are ideal for coarse sanding.
Getting the right speed balance will take just a little practice, and you’ll be sanding beautifully in no time.
All these ergonomic systems are there to ensure as little effort from your hand as possible is required to operate the device, allowing you to work for extended periods on end without fatigue.
Housing the components of the sander is a compact, lightweight, and ruggedly built plastic casing. Its compactness makes it very maneuverable and allows you to sand in constricted spaces, without much ado. Its low weight makes it very portable and handy; carrying it to wherever it’s needed is as easy as it gets. The toughness of the plastic housing helps extend the device like by protecting from impact and shock.
The dust removal system on the Skil SR211601 is one of the features that make it stand out. A transparent chamber that uses the cyclone effect to efficiently sweep up dust particles, it certainly does its work properly. It prevents scattering of the dislodged dust particles and emphasizes the quick clean-up of the work area.
The rectangular-shaped chamber closes with a hook action and is very easy to remove. Cleaning it is as easy as it gets, and its transparency allows you to do so in detail.
Other great features on this device include its slow starting speed, to minimize inertia shock to your hands. The main switch is also rubber sealed to prevent dust infiltration and ultimately extend its life. When you buy this device, you also get three free sanding discs, allowing you to use it straight out of the box.
- Impressive power output.
- High material adaptability.
- Minimal vibration and high maneuverability.
- Efficient dust removal and disassembly.
- The dust collector is efficient for small tasks; larger areas will work cleaner by attaching it to a standard vacuum cleaner.
The Skil SR211601 random orbit sander is a powerful handy tool that sells itself as one of the best on the market. Fairly priced, highly functional, and ergonomic, it is a good buy if you want a reliable, convenient tool for your next DIY fabrication project.
Orbital Sander Buyer’s Guide
What is a random orbital sander?
If you are familiar with woodworking, then you will, at one point or the other, have had reason to work with an orbital sander. Sanding, no matter how unpleasant, is one essential task we have to carry out, so the end-product from the long hours of hitting the nail on wood can be worth looking at.
Sanding blocks and sandpaper are the traditional means of smoothening surfaces, but they can be quite inefficient and time-consuming. With a random orbital sander, you can create smoother surfaces in a considerably lesser period – that, with minimum effort too.
A random orbital sander is a power tool which employs repeated simultaneous random circular motions, and elliptical loops to create smooth surface finishes on a piece of material, notably wood.
A typical orbital sander comprises a sanding pad to which a sanding disc is attached for surface finishing.
Random orbital sanders are quite popular among carpenters, furniture makers, and other woodworking professionals due to their ability to generate super smooth finishes with no swirl patterns.
Parts of a random orbital sander
A random orbital sander comprises several components, each working in tandem to ensure you get the smoothest of finishes. Some of the more prominent parts of a random orbital sander include:
This is the part of the orbital sander that carries out the primary sanding process. Sanding pads rotate and oscillate on the workpiece, generating a super smooth surface finish in the process.
Apart from its use in sanding, a sanding pad can carry out a wide variety of other processes, including polishing of wood, and removal of vast amounts of wood. All this is made possible by the attachment of a sanding disk to the sanding pad.
While scraping away your wood surface with a sander, there is usually an accompanying production of wood dust. This wood dust can make it very difficult for you to continue work, and it can get tiring, having to pause your work at intervals to blow off the dirt. It is to this effect that most random orbital sanders feature a dust bag.
This dust bag is connected to the sander via a vent located on the body, and it collects wood particles that are produced as you work. Just like some sort of vacuum cleaner.
The D-handle is on the body of a sander and allows you to turn and twist it comfortably. The barrel grip, on the other hand, protrudes from the body of the sander and is most times the second option when sanding.
For complete ease of use, most random orbital sanders also feature a palm grip located on top. This palm grip is quite convenient to use, and it relieves the stress on your hands when working for long periods.
As there is a vent on a sander designed to collect wood dust, so also is there a lip seal designed to keep wood particles from entering the sander. Wood particles entering your sander at will can clog up the engine of the sander, and cause considerable damage; hence, why this feature is essential.
The lip seal also acts as some sort of obstacle between your hands, and the sanding disk, which helps to keep you safe while working.
The job of a power switch is quite simple. It’s the only function is to either turn the sander on and off whenever you want to work, or you are done sanding – your choice, boss.
How does a random orbital sander work?
To fully understand the workings of a random orbital sander, you need to get familiar with the parts of the equipment. As itemized earlier, the main components of a random orbital sander include the:
- Sanding pad (or sanding disc).
- Body – which houses the motor.
- Palm grip.
- Dust bag.
- Power cord (if it’s a corded sander).
- Lip seal.
- Power switch, among others.
In orbital sanders, smooth finishes are produced by the circular motion of the sanding pad, but a random orbital sander works in a slightly different manner. Apart from the customary circular motion present in an ordinary orbital sander, a random sander also employs forward and backward strokes to generate even smoother finishes.
To use a random orbital sander, you don’t have to do much. The equipment features a cleverly designed oscillating disc with tiny holes for the attachment of sandpaper.
Once you plug in the sander – that is, if you are using a corded sander –, and you turn it on, the motor begins to spin the sanding pad. At the same time, the sander itself moves in a completely circular motion.
These series of motion make the pattern with which the sanding pad moves completely random, thereby helping to eliminate the swirl designs familiar with simple sanders. To convert this motion into finishing, you simply push down the equipment on the surface of the workpiece and make repeated movements with your hands.
While sanding, take care not to apply too much pressure on the equipment, as this wears out sandpaper faster, and increases the risk of wearing out your motor. Also, concentrate your initial sanding efforts on the center of your workpiece, and save the edges for last. This is because your sanding pad might get caught and damaged on a sharp side.
The above is basically how a random sander works, but there could be more to a particular product. Hence, that’s why we strongly advise that you take the time to properly read through and digest the contents of your sander’s instruction manual. Each random sander is likely to have slightly different features to others, hence your knowledge of one might not necessarily work for another.
Who needs a random orbital sander?
Random orbital sanders are quite versatile and can be used in a series of operations, but the main idea behind an orbital sander is the removal of unwanted surfaces. That being said, a random sander is a perfect tool for people who need to carry out one or more of the following operations:
Removal of metal rust
A random orbital sander can be used to clear up rusty surfaces. To do this, a sanding disk that is tougher than average has to be affixed on the sanding pad. Also, a sander shouldn’t be used repeatedly for this, as prolonged usage can lead to damage of the equipment.
You can make almost any surface squeaky clean with the aid of your orbital sander. What you just need to do to achieve this is, attach a foam-like sanding disc to your sanding pad, and then use your equipment on such surface.
What makes the random orbital sander even more suited for this is the fact that using one won’t leave swirl marks on your surface – You can make that rough car bonnet shine again with your random orbital sander.
With your random orbital sander, you can reduce the size of wood to a considerably lesser amount. To do this, you need to use your equipment continuously on the same surface, until the desired size is attained.
After coupling materials together, you can transform the rough edges in the finished work to smooth edges, with the aid of a random sander.
Things to consider when buying a random orbital sander
After making up your mind to buy a random orbital sander, the next thing to do is select a brand and product capable of handling your workload. However, given the glut of sanders out on the market, this might prove to be an unexpectedly arduous task.
There are certain features and qualities you need to look out for to make your task of choosing the right orbital sander easier. This is so you can be confident you’ll be selecting a piece of equipment capable of handling the rigors of sanding you’ll throw at it. Some of the qualities you should consider when purchasing a random orbital sander include:
Dust control feature
Most random orbital sanders boast a built-in dust bag feature, but for a more efficient cleaning job, go for a sander with a vacuum hose connector. These connectors are compatible with the standard nozzle types for vacuum cleaners, and they allow the filter to pick wood particles created during sanding directly. With this, your work area will be consistently rid of dirt, and your lungs will thank you.
The engine size of your sander is an important quality that directly ties to the quantity of work it can perform without crashing and burning. This is one quality you should give utmost priority when shopping for a sander.
The motor is the powerhouse of the sander, and it affects a lot of things, but none as important as the rate at which the sanding pad orbits. Sanders, with high power ratings, can work at high speeds, consequently generating smoother finishes. Those with lower amp motors do not move as fast, and as a result, do not produce finishes as good as the high-class sanders.
If you’re buying a sander for large-scale or commercial use, it would be best if you went for one with a large motor size. However, if the sander is intended for strictly domestic purposes, you don’t need to go all out, and you will be okay with a small capacity sander.
Sanding disc size
The size of the sanding pad and the way it is laid out on the sander also plays a massive role in the performance of a random orbital sander. When buying a random orbital sander, make sure the pad is big and powerful enough to carry out the tasks you intend to.
Ease of use
Any sander that will be worth your while should be easy to use and have features in place that prioritize your comfort while operating it. The sander, as well as its instructions manual, should not be difficult to comprehend. Also, the sander should be reasonably easy to operate, and its handle built in a way that it doesn’t slip off easily while in use.
The sander should also have measures in place to reduce the typically annoying vibrations that occur while in use, as this will reduce errors, and motivate you to work for longer.
Also, some random orbital sanders have a simple hook-and-loop feature, which makes it super easy for users to take out, and replace worn-out sandpaper. With this method, you simply peel off the used sandpaper and fix the next one. You can also reuse sandpaper, provided they are not completely damaged.
Variable speed knobs
The key to achieving smooth surfaces and finishes is to have control over your sander’s speed, and you can do just that with the aid of variable speed knobs. Variable speed knobs make it possible for you to tinker with sanding speed and adjust sanding aggression.
Therefore, if you are a sucker for perfection or you want to create a specific type of surface finish, it would be best if you went for a random orbital sander with speed adjustments.
Length of Power Cord
The length of the power cord is an essential factor that affects mobility when you’re working with an orbital sander. If you’re going for a corded sander, this is an extra feature you need to consider.
Longer power cords mean you can work farther away from your power source; hence, you have greater mobility and comfort. With short power cords, you can only use your sander within a limited range, and you’ll most times have to move your workpiece closer – which is not an ideal situation if the workpiece is relatively large.
Kinds of Random Orbital Sanders
Random orbital sanders in the market today fall under two distinct categories, based on where they get their power. These two groups of sanders are Electric orbital sanders and air orbital sanders.
Electric orbital sanders
These types of orbital sanders draw the energy to work from an electrical source, which can either be a battery or a power outlet. As a result, electric sanders are further subdivided into corded and cordless sanders.
Corded sanders come with a power cable, and need to be plugged into a power outlet before they can be used for any form of woodworking. Cordless electric orbital sanders, on the other hand, work with lithium-ion batteries and require constant recharging for you to continue working with them.
Electric orbital sanders are suitable for a wide range of finishing products, but of course, you only get what you pay for. If you want a high-end electric sander capable of executing large projects with relative ease, be prepared to pay a premium price. For basic DIY tasks in and around the home, a simple electric sander is all you need.
Air Orbital sanders
Air orbital sanders, in contrast, do not depend on electricity to work. They function with the assistance of an air compressor device, which converts electrical power into energy needed for them to run. As a result of this, orbital sanders tend to be generally more powerful, and more expensive compared to electric sanders.
Also, orbital sanders can be further categorized based on the method of operation. If you are to buy a sander based on this grouping, you will end up with either a handheld orbital sander or an orbital floor sander.
Handheld orbital sanders
This kind of random orbital sander is typically small and can be held and operated using one hand. Most electric and air orbital sanders are handhelds.
A handheld orbital sander is best suited for domestic use and in small-scale smoothing operations. Due to their sizing, and affordability, handheld sanders are the most popular kind of sanders available on the market today.
Orbital floor sanders
Orbital sanders, in contrast, are large equipment that cannot be operated using one hand, and they are commonly used in floor finishing – with your two hands pushing like in a mower.
One significant advantage of using an orbital sander for floor finishing is that the circular motions of their sanding pads do not leave swirl marks on the work surface; thereby, ensuring you get the smoothest of finishes.
Cordless vs. Corded Sanders
The power supply is a significant determinant of how you’re going to enjoy working with your random orbital sander. After all, of what use will it be, if you buy a sander, only for you not to be able to use it due to erratic power supply. And then, at the end of the day, you have to revert to manual finishing using sandpapers. That would be quite a waste, I must say.
Before buying any sander machine at all, you need to observe and determine the rate of power supply to your area. If the power supply in your area is steady, a corded random orbital sander would be perfect for you. Corded sanders work only when their power cord is connected to an exclusive power outlet designed for them.
Because corded sanders have a short, inextensible power cord, they can only be used within a specific range, and are not ideal for site work. They are, however, particularly suitable for people who spend hours working on the same spot.
Cordless random orbital sanders, on the other hand, do not have a mobility issue and can be used anywhere, at any given time. These types of sanders employ a battery for power generation and have to be recharged from time to time during prolonged usage.
Cordless sanders do not generate as much power as their corded counterparts. As a result of this, they are not quite able to replicate the same neck-breaking sanding speeds typical with corded sanders. Also, factor in the amount you have to spend on buying batteries for cordless sanders, and you’ll realize it might be better if you go with a corded one.
FAQs related to random orbital sanders
What is the difference between a random orbital sander and an orbital sander?
The main difference between a random orbital sander and an ordinary orbital sander is the motion of the sanding pad when the equipment is in use. For orbital sanders, the sanding pad creates smooth finishes by merely moving in a circular direction only. While in a random orbital sander, the sanding pad turns in small elliptical loops as the equipment itself moves in circles.
Is an orbital sander suitable for wood?
Orbital sanders are the ideal tool for generating smooth finishes and curved edges on wood, but they are just not that good for removing paint or varnish stains from wood. This is due to the typically small sanding pad found on orbital sanders, which makes them unsuitable for use in sanding large pieces of wood.
Can you use an orbital sander on drywall?
Yes, you can use an orbital sander to smoothen drywall to achieve an even surface. To do this successfully, use only a 150 or 180-grit sandpaper. Also, you should not let your equipment linger too much on the spot, else the sandpaper will ruin the wall.
Should I use a drum or an orbital sander?
When refinishing the hardwood floor in your home, your choice of a sander depends on the type of finishing you intend to achieve, your level of expertise, and the present condition of the floor. Once you have answered those questions, you are left with one fundamental question: what kind of sander do I use? The two types of sanders utilized for this are the drum and orbital sander. If the floor in your home is completely damaged, and in need of several layers of aggressive finishing to become pleasing to look at once again, your best bet is a drum sander. On the other hand, if you need just a slight retouching of your floor finishing, an orbital sander is what you should use. If you're also short on time, you should work with a drum sander. They cut pretty quickly due to the aggressive movements of their sanding pads. Conversely, if you have all the time in the world, you should go with an orbital sander. Operating an orbital sander requires less physical effort on your part, but it might take extended periods to complete work.
Why do orbital sanders have holes?
Orbital sanders have holes to successfully extract the dust particles produced while sanding – think of it as some sort of ventilation system. Dust passes through the holes, usually found on the sanding pad, and into the dust bag. Hence, that's why you must buy sanding discs with holes to match those on your equipment.
Are all orbital sanders random?
Not all orbital sanders employ random movements in their operation. Orbital sanders, in general, work via a series of repeated circular motions only. However, it is those that take a step further and employ two different types of unrelated movements that are classified as random orbital sanders.
What is the difference between a sander and a polisher?
The main difference between a sander and a polisher is the surface with which they work. A sander is built primarily to convert rough surfaces into smooth finishes, while a polisher takes an already sleek exterior, and refines it further to give it a glossier appearance. Also, polishers work with a much slower spin rate, as compared to sanders. This makes the polisher much better for detailing.
How fast should a random orbital sander spin?
There is no standard speed for a random orbital sander to spin. What does affect the surface finish is the rate at which you move your sander across the work surface. You should allow the sander to rotate freely under its own weight so that the orbital action will work as it should.
How heavy is an orbital floor sander?
An orbital floor sander, on average, can weigh up to ninety kilograms – they are called floor sanders for a reason! They are unsuitable for amateur sanders and can cause a lot of damage when not used properly.
Can I use an orbital sander on hardwood floors?
You can indeed use an orbital sander to finish hardwood floor, but you sure are going to put in tons of effort, time, and determination. Orbital sanders are typically created to work on softwood, but will work on a hardwood floor if you exert an appropriate amount of pressure while working.