Best Random Orbital Sander
Woodworking is an extremely popular hobby, with good reason. It is a fantastic way to while away a few hours on a weekend, with the added bonus that (if you are any good) you have something to show for your work at the end of it.
As an enthusiastic, if not especially competent, woodworker myself, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have some sort of project on the go. I have made a few decent items, and more than a few mistakes, and along the way I have learned that the one thing which makes my hobby easier is having the right tools for the job.
Here's a list of Best Random Orbital Sander
Random Orbital Sander
Unfortunately, woodworking tools are not especially cheap and a fully equipped workshop is a big expense. For this reason, I buy and upgrade my tools only when I need to, and I spend a good amount of time researching each item to make sure I get the best value for money.
This year, I was in need of a new random orbital sander. I duly set out to find the best one I could afford and soon found that there are plenty to choose from. I knew I wanted something lightweight and easy to handle but I soon found that there are several other things to consider. Here I will share what I learned about choosing a random orbital sander, and list five of the best models currently available.
The Benefits of a Random Orbital Sander
A random orbital sander is the ideal choice for a hobbyist like me because it is versatile; it bridges the gap between the heavy duty belt sander and the lightweight orbital sander.
The random orbital sander has a round sheet of sandpaper which moves in a similar vibrating ‘orbit’ movement to the orbital sander but spins at the same time, creating a ‘random orbit’ which leads to a smoother finish and eliminates swirl lines on the finished surface.
What to Look For in a Random Orbital Sander
Cord or Battery Powered?
Most random orbital sanders are powered either by cord or battery. The choice will depend partly on personal preference: a battery powered unit will be more convenient to use in an area where there is no outlet but battery life could limit you if you need to do a lot of work.
Handle and Grip
Random orbital sanders need to be held and applied carefully to get the best finish, and this is much easier to do when the handle is easy to hold. Most have several possible grip positions and some have extra handles and ergonomic shaping. Look carefully at the size and shape of the grip and consider whether it will suit you before purchasing.
Ease of Use
The weight, size and shape of the sander all matter and, while they might not vary much between models, it is definitely worth comparing them, especially if you have particular requirements such as needing to work in a small space.
If you decide to opt for a sander with a cable then it is worth checking that the cable included is long enough for your needs to avoid the need for extra extension cables.
Hook and loop paper fastenings, rubber handle grips, dust collection bags, extra handles and other features all make sanders easier to use. But these extra features can affect the size, weight and price of the unit so it’s definitely worth considering what you really need, and what you can afford to spend.
Top 5 Random Orbital Sanders
I looked at a lot of random orbital sanders while deciding what to purchase and compared features, prices and customer feedback. Here are my top five.
1. Bosch Random Orbit Sander/Polisher ROS20VSC
- Variable speed control
- 7,500/12,000 OPM
- 3/64” orbit diameter
- Multiple grip positions
- Vacuum hose compatible
- Twist off dust canister
- Hook and loop attachment for sanding discs
- 5” paper attachment
Hard Plastic Dust Canister
The dust collector is a hard plastic case rather than a bag. It collects dust efficiently, with the added bonus that you can see the dust level through the side and know when it needs emptying.
This is a nice little sander which is suitable for most jobs. It’s light and easy to handle and the dust canister is better than comparable models, though the filter does need frequent cleaning.
Bosch Random Orbit Sander/Polisher ROS20VSC Video Review
2. Black and Decker 5 Inch Random Orbit Sander BDERO100
- Multiple grip positions
- Dust catcher
- Vacuum attachment
- Hook and loop system
- 6 ft. 5 in power cord
- 5” paper
Dust Sealed Of Off Switch
The power switch is conveniently located and covered to prevent dust damage. There is no need to hold it down while the unit is running. However, this also means that it does not automatically shut off if the sander is dropped.
This Black and Decker random orbital sander is suitable for those who are on a tight budget. It is not perfect, but it’s definitely good value.
Black and Decker 5" Random Sander BDERO100 Video Review
3. Makita XOB01T Cordless 5" Random Orbit Sander
- 3 speed settings: 7,000/9,500/11,000 OPM
- 1/8" random orbit action
- 2 x 18V Lithium-Ion batteries
- Hook and loop 5” paper attachment
- Tool bag included
- One-touch control switch
There is no power cord, which makes this sander ideal for using in tight spaces or up ladders.
This battery powered sander has the added convenience of no power cable to restrict movement or trip over. However, this does restrict the usage time. I prefer a corded sander but if a power cable is not convenient then this is a great choice.
Makita XOB01T Cordless 5" Random Orbit Sander Video Review
4. Porter Cable 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander
- 2,500-6,800 OPM
- 6” sanding pad
- Polishing pad attachment
Two Position Side Handle
The removable side handle can be fitted on the left or the right, making is easy to handle and allowing greater control.
Porter Cable tools are generally reliable and I liked this sander a lot. It has a good long cord and the extra handle provides a bit more stability in use. The only real complaint I had was that it comes with its own 6” sticky pads rather than the more usual hook and loop, though there is an attachment available to purchase separately.
Porter Cable 6" Random Orbit Sander Video Review
5. Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit
- Variable speed: 4,000-12,000 OPM
- Rubber grip and handle
- Extra adjustable front handle
- Trigger switch with lock-on function
- 1/8"" random orbit action
Adjustable Front Handle
This extra handle allows for sanding in corners and confined areas and provides additional stability when using the sander.
The speed dial is conveniently located and extremely useful if you need to switch between speeds while you are using the sander.
Makita BO5041K Random Orbital Sander is about as good as it gets for general use. It’s easy to use and does a great job on most wood, with the easy to adjust settings. The only real negative about this sander is the inadequate dust bag; however this seems to be a general problem with sanders of this size and there is always to option to use it with a vacuum attachment.
Makita BO5041K 5" Random Orbit Sander Video Review
Once I’d started to research random orbital sanders I quickly came to the conclusion that they all have small quirks and features which make them more suitable for different tasks. But overall, there are several great choices which are more than adequate for general woodwork and use around the home. If price is a major consideration then you might have to compromise a little but hopefully one of the five fantastic little machines on this list will suit your needs and budget perfectly.