woodworking tools

Best Orbital Sander in 2017 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Smoothing surfaces can be a tedious task when done manually with hand and sand paper as in the olden days. However, the best orbital sander comes in handy to make it easy and faster to smooth a surface.

A sander is a tool on which a sand paper is attached and then powered by electricity or air, the paper is moved rapidly in an orbital motion to achieve a smooth finish on a surface. A sander can be held by the palm or attached to a bench during operation.

There are so many sanders out there sometimes it’s hard to even begin selecting the right one for your task.

Which is why we have gone a step ahead to pack some valuable information in terms of features and top brands, alongside a buyers’ guide to help you acquire the best tool for your job.

1 – Jump to Comparison Table
2 – Jump to Reviews
3 – Jump to Orbital Sanders Buyer’s Guide **HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**

Each orbital sander review provides some rich information regarding these top sanders so you know exactly what you’re purchasing and if it befits the application you intend put it into.

Our quick scan summary table below puts together some best orbital sanders and features you will need to look out for when making your purchase.

Best Orbital Sanders – Comparison Table

Orbital SanderMotor PowerOPMOrbital DiameterDust Collection Tool Weight 
DEWALT DWE6423K3AMP8000-120003/32-inchDust bag with single handed locking4lbs
MAKITA BO5041K3AMP 4000-120001/8-inchHigh capacity with built-in vacuum port adapter3.1 lbs
BOSCH ROS20VSC2.5AMP7500-120003/32-inchTwist-off dust canister3.5lbs
MAKITA BO5031K3.0AMP4000-120001/8-inchThrough-the pad dust collection7.5lbs
BOSCH 1250DEVS6.5AMP3,100 - 6,6503/16-inchPassive dust collection system5.3lbs

Best Orbital Sander -Reviews

  1. DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander, 5″

This 5’’ sander by DEWALT makes it to our review list for all the right reasons. It features quality construction and the user’s comfort.

A variable spinning pad speed at between 8000 and 12000 OMP makes it the best orbital sander as users can work on different work pieces using just one tool.

Features

  • 3AMP motor spins at 8000 – 12000OPM
  • Shorter height for closeness to work piece
  • Rubber over-mold in critical areas of the sander
  • Separate counterweight design to reduce vibration
  • Improved dust-sealed switch
  • Vacuum locking system that interfaces with improved dust collection
  • Comes with a dust bag with a single handed locking system
  • Port compatible with DWV010 or DWV012 dust collectors

Review

Perhaps the most outstanding feature about this sander is that it is ergonomically designed. The rubber over-mold in at critical points makes it easy to use this tool comfortably without much fatigue.

Additionally, its short height reduces the distance between a work piece and the user, allowing for precise operation.

Vibration during sanding is a challenge that has had most users pick their sanders selectively and the DEWALT DWE6423K has stood for them as a viable option owing to the fact that it comes with a separate counterweight design to keep vibration at its lowest.

Because switches are among the elements in a sander that get damaged fast, DEWALT has ensured that the one for this specific unit lasts longer by sealing it to prevent dust ingestion which is the number one cause for damaged switches. This feature stood out in most of this DEWALT orbital sander reviews.

Add-ons like a one-hand locking dust bag and a carrying case makes this unit a worthwhile investment. Its port is compatible with DWV010 or DWV012 dust collectors.

2.   Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit

Makita has a way of combining ergonomics and performance in their tool designs and they certainly didn’t spare any detail on the BO5041K model.

Talk about a wide range of pad speed to match different applications and convenient operation, and you have it all in this electrical orbital sander.

Features

  • 3AMP motor for fast and smooth sanding
  • Variable speed at between 4000 – 12000 OPM
  • Ergonomic rubberized hand grip
  • Adjustable front handle for sanding tight corners and confines
  • Large two-finger switch integrated with lock-on button
  • 1/8-inch random orbit action for swirl free finish
  • Pad control system for controlling speed at start-up
  • Through-the-pad dust collection system
  • Pad brake
  • High capacity dust collection system with built-in vacuum port adapter
  • Quick-change 5-inch 8-hole hook-and-loop abrasive paper
  • Double insulation
  • Comes with a dust bag and tool case
  • Oversized sealed-ball bearing construction

Review

Two phrases define this tool, sleek design and an innovative operation system which is quite an advantage to woodworkers and finishers. If you have so desired a smooth finish on your work piece without much hassle then this is the tool to go for.

All you need is to place your palm on the ergonomic rubberized handle and smooth all the way to perfection. A variable speed is a versatility feature allowing you to work on different types of material efficiently.

A large two-finger switch with a lock-on button starts you off with a quick turn on for uninterrupted operation.  Its 1/8-incn random orbit delivers a fast sanding speed and a swirl-free finish. This is made possible by a pad control system which allows you to start of slowly and increase your speed gradually.

The adjustable front handle is a true definition of innovation making this unit quite unique for sanding tight corners and confined spots.

This is a worthwhile investment and definitely the best sander for woodwork. Therefore, whether you need it for your cabinet, furniture, or just general carpentry, you are guaranteed of a clean dustless and safe working environment.

 

3. Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbit Sander **BEST**

Any serious professional wood worker will not fail to consider the best sander for refinishing furniture and this model is certainly one of them. The Bosch ROS20VSC, delivers a smooth professional finish thanks to its pad orbit and variable rotation several different work pieces. An integrated fine dust sifting system lets you work in a clean dust-free environment.

Features

  • 25 AMP motor
  • 7500 – 12,000OPM variable speed
  • Hook-and-loop disc attachment with over 35,000 long life hooks for firm grip
  • Twist-off dust canister – durable, indicates dust level and easily detaches
  • Micro filter system for fine dust and particles1/2-micron diameter

Review    

Want a smooth finish without swirl marks, the BOSCH ROS20VSC, is the tool to consider. It comes with a pad dampening system to eliminate ugly swirl marks. Its unique hooks, over 35000 in number, provide firm grip of the disc while in operation.

Perhaps a notable advantage with this unit is that it has a built-in micro-filter system that will not allow the finest dust particles or any other ½ micron particle to pass through.

The dust canister complements the micro filter by twisting to prevent dust from spilling back into the sander to protect users from inhaling dust.

Multiple grip positions are an advantage to the user, because they make it possible to operate the sander from different comfortable positions.

What’s more, its grip is soft to the palm and its low vibration while in operation further enhances comfort fro convenient operation.

For utmost versatility, this tool can be operated at between 7500 and 12000OPM with the 3/64-inch orbit diameter.

For a tool that weighs 3.5lbs, this kind of performance is quite remarkable making this the best random orbital sander to have as part of your toolset.

4.   Makita BO5031K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit

This random orbit sander takes a great performance leap to deliver the best and finest finish given its 3amp power as well as a wide range of variable speed for specific applications.

Features

  •  3.0 AMP motor
  • Variable speed control dial for 4000-12000OPM
  • 1/8-inch random orbit action
  • Pad control system for controlling pad speed
  • Through-the pad dust collection system
  • Dust sealed switch
  • Quick-change 5″” (8-Hole) hook-and-loop abrasive paper
  • Oversized sealed ball bearing construction
  • Comes with 1 ea. Abrasive disc, Dust bag, and Tool case

Review

Just like the Makita BO5041K model we have already reviewed, this one too is a great performer thanks to quality and innovative design by Makita.

A 3AMP power operates the variable pad speeds at between 4000 and 12000 OMP to deliver a smooth desired finish.

You can trust that the switch of this toll will last you some useful years, unlike other ordinary ones, because it has been sealed against dust which when clogged round it, jams it.

Being able to regulate the pad speed especially just after starting it is important for any woodworker and the BO5041K does this pretty well through the pad control system.

In addition to controls, you can maintain a clean working environment, thanks to its efficient through-the-pad dust collection system.

 

  1. Dynabrade 59020 Dynorbital-Spirit Random Orbital Sander

A top quality abrasive power tool from a top brand is what it takes to deliver great performance and the Dynabrade 59020 model does just that.

Here is one-of-a-kind air-powered tool that gives you the option of using either non-vacuum, self-generated vacuum mode or a central vacuum mode with a simple conversion using a vacuum conversion kit.

Features

  • Optional vacuum conversion kits available
  • Floating rotor utilizing 5 blades
  • Comfort platform for hand and wrist support
  • Throttle level recess to housing grip to eliminate pressure point on palm
  • Speed control with thumb-control regulation of tool speed
  • Light air-motor assembly

Review

A quick glance at the unique features of this tool sets it off as a top innovative brand that you can rightfully expect to outperform the ordinary brands in sanding.

Versatility is a factor that clients are increasingly considering and seriously when selecting tools and this one no doubt qualifies.

This air-powered sander is a lightweight at 2.5lbs so you have the advantage of moving around with it comfortably.

Whether you want to use it as a non-vacuum, central vacuum or a self generated vacuum tool, all you need is a vacuum conversion kit that you will find easy to operate.

The Dynabrade 59020 is a spirit-type sander that’s pressured using an air compressor for it to operate. However, it has the advantage of utilizing minimal pressure in its operation so there is no worrying about high pressure requirements.

With 90psi of pressure, this tool efficiently operates at a 12000rpm speed which is pretty much remarkable if you match this to its weight and can work well on both wood and metal.

To enhance its efficiency, this tool uses an abrasive pad rotating at an orbital diameter of 3/16 inches.

 

  1. Festool 571817 ETS 125 EQ Random Orbital Sander

This sander from Festool stands out for its advanced dust extraction system so that as you work, dust is eliminated immediately leaving you with a clean working environment. It features a CT dust extractor for the most efficient dust removal.

Features

  • Compact and lightweight for extended overhead and vertical use
  • Fits varying hand sizes
  • Step-less variable speed for different applications
  • Balanced vibration stop (VS) design
  • Jetstream dust removal design
  • Quick and easy StickFix abrasive removal with resilient pad hooks and hard-wearing fabric backing

Review

For any up-and-coming craftsman, this is the tool have. Apart from great dust removal, it also makes a great precision tool.

A balanced vibration stop (VS) design that reduces vibration when in operation to deliver a smooth professional finish marked by a touch of precision.

This is made possible by the fact that the user operates this tool with maximum comfort. Together with the portability and sturdy construction that this tool offers, you are definitely on to some serious sanding.

  1. Bosch 1250DEVS 6-1/2-Amp 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander with Vacuum Port

The Bosch 1250DEVS is quite a heavy duty electrical orbital sander for heavy work load. It offers to operation modes, variable speed control dial at between 3,100 and 6,650 OPM.

Features

  • Soft start and variable speed dial
  • 6.5 AMP Motor for heavy sanding
  • Two operation modes, turbo and random orbit mode
  • Integrated with a mode selector
  • Constant response circuitry to maintain pad speed under heavy load
  • 5.3-pound weight
  • No-load speed
  • 9turbo mode): 270-600 rpm
  • No-load orbit speed: 3,100 – 6,650OPM
  • 6-Inch disc size
  • Comes with dust tube, soft backing pad, and ambidextrous auxiliary handle

Review

This unit is highly versatile with two operation modes, the turbo for fast stock removal at 5x the normal and the random orbit mode for the normal stock removal. It is built for heavy duty sanding tasks.

It comes equipped with a powerful 6.5AMP motor for heavy tasks, however the soft-start option allows some torque savings and an efficient speed-up process.

A variable speed of between 3,100 and 6,650 OPM allows for specific matching to an application for a fine finish. The integral pad dampening system also helps achieve a smooth finish.

For a quick change of operating mode, the Bosch 1250DEVS comes integrated with a mode selector. To maintain a great pad speed even under heavy use, this sander comes with constant response circuitry & trade. This way, this tool is also protected from overloads.

Because it can be subjected to extremely heavy duty, sturdy die-cast aluminum housing has been designed specifically for it so that you can keep it longer.

After all is said and done, the comfort with which your palm works the tool is important and this unit certainly achieves maximum comfort through tapered, soft-grip top and narrow barrel grip a feature that has dominated this palm sanders reviews.

  1. Bosch OS50VC 120-Volt 3.4-Amp Variable Speed 1/2-Sheet Orbital Finishing Sander with Vibration Control

The BOSCH OS50VC ends our orbital sander review for today but certainly not for the year. Bosch is a long standing company known for quality detailed tool construction and it has not disappointed us with this one. The OS50VC features efficient vibration control under the high 3.4amp power to create a comfortable working environment making it the best sander for refinishing furniture among other applications.

Features

  • 3.4AMP motor power
  • Vibration control through the Bosch exclusive suspension system
  • Sheetloc Supreme Paper Clamping System
  • Variable speed dial
  • Translucent microfilter dust canister with integrated filter and screw-off cap

Review

The BOSCH OS50VC orbital sander is definitely charming if you are looking for smooth operation and a fine finish. Its vibration control design adds to a great operation comfort for the user. It takes into account easy dust removal through its screw-off cap. Alternatively, the vacuum hose works just great in dust removal.

3.4AMP is quite great power to sand your piece and you can expect utmost efficiency. To keep this unit longer and for handling comfort to its user, it is housed in die-cast aluminum gear housing.

Conclusion

As is always our custom, the best orbital sander based on our review is BOSCH ROS20VSC. We took our time to test its dust collection capacity which charmed us a great deal when it cleared nearly all the saw dust.

Again, its ergonomic handle was good enough on our hands yielding record time in operation compared to the rest. The length too is a feature to behold, we even tried using both hands, and the comfort made all the difference.

Orbital Sander Buyer’s Guide

Have you considered buying an orbital sander? Orbital sanders are must have tools for all carpenters and woodwork artists. This is the tool responsible for a smooth finish on all wood furniture, metal or glass, and ceramic products. The best orbital sanders are those that are easy to use even for beginners.

They come well packaged and are assembled with provided user and safety guidelines. Orbital sanders are designed for comfortable prolonged use. One should be able to keep working for a while without getting tired or hurting themselves. Therefore, the vibrations produced by the sander while working should be minimal.

According to our orbital sander review and others, those that produce less vibration guarantee a fine smoother finish compared to the more vibrating sanders. These are definitely the best sanders for woodwork. When buying this tool, you can decide to go for a hand held sander or an electric orbital sander.

They both work well, it’s just a matter of preference among individuals. The cordless palm sanders are more mobile, however if you buy an electric sander, choose one with a long cord for ease for movement. If the cord is not long enough, you can buy an extension and fix it to lengthen the cord.

Why You Need an Orbital Sander

An orbital sander simply makes your work easier when it comes to smoothing out rugged surfaces on your wood or ceramic pieces. Depending on the size of your surfaces and how smooth you intend the surfaces to be, different types of orbital sanders are best suited for different purposes. You need to be able to use the appropriate sander on your surfaces.

There are different types of orbital sanders to choose from depending on the nature of your task.

Different Types of Orbital Sanders

There are three main types of Orbital sanders:

  • Random orbital Sanders – This sander has a circular disc for sanding curved surfaces. The best random orbital sander does not leave sanding marks on its surfaces and is ideal for small to medium surface size.
  • Orbital Sanders – An orbital sander has a square disc and is best to use on flat, non curved surfaces. It is used on sensitive surfaces that require a fine finish void of any markings. It is best for small and medium sized surfaces as well.
  • Sheet sander – Sheet sanders are operated along the wood grain. If operated across the wood grain, they leave sand marks which can affect the final product piece. They are mostly used on large surfaces and come in different sizes. Sheet sanders have low vibrations, noise, several grip styles, electronic speed, and excellent dust elimination features.

These sanders can either be corded or palm held. A handheld sander is used on areas that are hard to reach using other sanders. They are hand held and controlled for a fine finish on small areas such as frames. Corded sanders are mostly electrical with a cord attached to a power source.

The cord can be a bit limiting in terms of portability or mobility but this can be addressed by adjusting the cord length. Orbital sanders are most popular but there are other types of sanders whose performance can be compared to orbital sanders.

  1. Belt Sanders versus Orbital Sanders

Both belt and orbital sanders are quite effective and fast in smoothening surfaces. However, an orbital sander has a square pad and is most suitable on flat or straight surfaces. Belt sanders are most effective in removing more unwanted materials as compared to orbital sanders.

This is because their vibrations are more aggressive than the circular motions of an orbital sander. Orbital sanders are the best sanders for refinishing furniture. This is because they do not leave sand marks unlike belt sanders.

  1. Orbital Sanders versus Palm Sanders

A palm sander or handheld sander is designed to be held in the hand and controlled to reach areas that would have otherwise been hard to reach using orbital sanders. Orbital sanders have oscillating motions which are well suited for curved surfaces.

The best hand sander is one that fits your hand perfectly. It should be light in weight and have multiple grip styles. For more information, Woodworking-Tips does a great job at explaining the differences.

  1. Random Orbital Sander versus Belt Sander

A random sander is specially known for its ability to sand randomly at a high speed leaving a clean smooth finish.

It has a circular pad making it the best for curved surfaces. A belt sander is much bigger than a random sander and is commonly used on large, flat surfaces.

The downside is that it leaves behind sand markings. A random sander does not leave any markings on the surface and a quick glance at the top random orbital sander review attests to this.

How to Use an Orbital Sander

Orbital sanders use different sand papers which are graded differently. They range from fine, medium to coarse sand papers for wood and fine polish for glass or ceramics.

Usually, you will start with a coarse sand paper and finish off with a fine sand paper. The first coarse sanding removes a lot of unwanted material while the finer sanding smoothes out the remaining parts.

A lot of dust is usually produced in the process hence some sanders come integrated with a dust removal mechanism.

Because it is important to keep your working area clean, you can attach a compatible vacuum for dust collection for the units that come without an integrated dust collection system.

If left unattended, the dust can accumulate and cause damage to the sander. It is also not healthy to the user. All sanders have an inbuilt dust bag but that alone does not suffice for the dust being produced.

Essential Accessories in an Orbital Sander

  • Discs – A disc is used to extract dust from the sanding surfaces. It is measured in diameter size has a number of holes on it. It is fitted on a sanding plate and replaced from time to time after wearing out.
  • Sand Paper – Sand paper is the part that comes in contact with the sanding surface. It can be made of coarse or fine grits. You can always buy an assortment of sand papers for varied use.
  • Sanding Plate – A sanding plate is the rotating surface on which the sanding disk is attached. The plates are of two types; soft and hard plate. The soft plate is used on even curved surfaces while the hard plate is used on flat surfaces. If you do not want to keep changing the sanding plate, you can get a universal plate that can be used on both curved and flat surfaces.
  • Vacuum – This is an external vacuum connected to the sander to collect dust. It is bought separately and fixed externally on the orbital sander.

Maintenance Tips

You do not want to keep replacing or repairing a sander every now or then. To avoid constant replacements, you have to use your sander properly and store it away carefully after use. The life span of a sander is mostly affected by the dust accumulating in the switch.

This makes it very hard to work, as you have to keep switching your sander on and off to deal with the dust.

Most modern models have introduced a sealed switch to curb this menace. An added feature is an external vacuum that can be connected to the sander to suck in the dust produced. This is bought separately from the sander as long as they are compatible.

After using your sander, store it away from any interference that may cause its damage. Do not leave the sander lying around as it may cause unnecessary accidents.

In case of damage, repair or replace the affected parts immediately to avoid more damage. Contact a professional to fix the broken parts. As for the replacement parts, always buy from a trusted hardware store.

Features to Look For in an Orbital Sander

You do not need to be a professional to buy the best sander for yourself. Even for first time buyers, it is possible to choose the best sander once you know what to look for. Here are factors you need to consider when buying a sander.

  • Type – Orbital sanders can either be random, orbital, or sheet sanders. Additionally, they can be palm held or corded. Each type has an edge over the rest on specific applications. It is therefore important to know your specific needs in order to choose the best suited. A cordless palm sander may not be as effective where a corded one can work well.
  • Size and motor – Are you looking for a sander to use on small or large surfaces? Answering this question narrows down your options to only the sanders that fit your needs. Looking at the overall size of a motor, you can also check on its performance. A powerful motor translates to a better experience.

The motor powers the rotation speed of the sander which in turn shortenings the time needed to finish on the wood craft.

The size of the sander is measured according to disc diameter and 5 to 6 inch diameter sanders are the most preferred. Some models have adjustable pad sizes enabling the user to adjust their sander accordingly.

3)  Speed and Vibrations – For orbital sanders, do check on the number of oscillations per     minute of the sander. This will help you determine how fast you can complete a task when using it. Belt sanders produce vibrations while working. The vibrations produced         have an influence on the quality of work produced. Ideally, they should keep to the   minimum. An overly vibrating sander has a negative effect on quality.

4)  Ease of use – Easy-to-use tools make our work easier and more enjoyable. Same applies    to sanders. You should choose one which you will not spend so much time figuring out how to operate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best sander to buy between the orbital, palm held, and the belt sander?

This depends on the capacity of work you have plus the size of surfaces you want to smoothen. However, most carpenters have the orbital sander. It is most preferred because it can be used on both small and large surfaces.

What is the most important factor to consider when buying a sander?

When shopping for a sander, pick one from known brands that have a proven track record and good reviews from customers.

New brands that are being introduced to the market are ideal for experienced users since they already understand how a sander works and can be able to judge whether a certain brand will address their needs.

Which sander is recommended for non-professionals or for wood crafting enthusiasts?

An orbital hand held sander is the best sander for woodwork and for all users. It is easy to operate and very efficient on rugged surfaces.

What safety measures should you observe when operating a sander?

Protective clothing such as gloves and goggles should be worn while operating a sander. Always wear well-fitting clothes and avoid lose hanging clothes. This minimizes the risk of accidents. Another point to consider is the safety features of the sander.

These are clearly stated on the user manual but you can always ask from the shop attendant as you make your purchase.

Where can I buy discs or sand paper at an affordable price?

You may need to replace your sander’s discs occasionally. The best place to buy is from hardware stores. Make sure to buy the appropriate disc for your sander so that its performance is not affected.

Conclusion

With a variety of orbital sanders to choose from in the market, it can be an overwhelming task, especially for in experienced users, to select the best sander.

However, there is no cause for worry since this guideline provides the information necessary to help you buy the best sander for your needs.

Whether you are a professional wood worker or simply enjoy creating items from wood, an orbital sander is the first equipment that should be in your tool box, as it will certainly make your finished product perfect and more appealing.

If you’ve read this far, congratulations. You now know everything you need in order to buy the best orbital sander.

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