9 Best Orbital Sanders
Does anyone like sanding? It's messy work, but when you have one of the best orbital sanders in your shop, the task is much less tedious.
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Buying an Orbital Sander
An orbital sander is one of the most useful power tools you can add to your workshop, because it can easily make any woodworking project turn out better.
Also known as a random orbit sander, it vibrates and rotates randomly so it doesn’t grind a pattern into the wood surface. There are lots of great tricks to mastering this user-friendly tool, including an impressive two-hand, two-sander method. But first you need to get your hands on at least one strong sander.
Here are some features to consider when choosing:
- Dust collection: Sanding, by its nature, creates a lot of dust because you’re removing a thin layer of wood with every pass. Evacuating that dust from the work surface efficiently makes your day in the shop healthier and less messy. Most sanders use a bag of some sort to collect dust, but adapting that sander to a vacuum is helpful for large jobs. Every orbital sander we recommend below has a dust collection container.
- Diameter: Orbital sanders feature a round pad where holds sandpaper. The most common sizes are 5-in.- and 6-in.-diameters, although others are out there. We’ve chosen a standard 5-in. pad for all our selected sanders because it’s by far the most common size.
- Type of sanding pad: Sandpaper can be attached to the pad by hook-and-loop fasteners or self-adhesive paper. Generally, hook-and-loop is more common and easier than the self-adhesive. We’ve found if you’re frequently changing sandpaper grits, the adhesive-style paper loses much of its grip once it’s removed so it’s not reusable.
- Cost: All over the map. If you’re buying one for a few specific jobs, it’s probably not worth spending too much money on the sander. However, if you’ll use the sander a lot on heavy-duty projects, consider a higher priced, durable tool.
- Durability: Sanders vibrate a lot, which can shake loose internal components. A more durable tool will hold together after many years of hard use.
Bosch ROS20VSC Orbital Sander
The variable speed Bosch ROS20VSC Orbital Sander features a dial that allows the user to raise or lower the oscillation speed depending on the work surface. You might want to use a slower speed when sanding a painted surface. Sanding at a higher speed could heat up the paint and clog the sandpaper faster.
Amazon reviewers rave about the quality of the dust filtration from the included dust bag. A couple of adapters are included in the package to hook directly to a wet-dry vacuum for even better dust collection.
Ryobi RS290G Orbital Sander
Family Handyman senior editor Brad Holden says: “If you’re in the market for an affordable random orbit sander, whether as an introductory tool, an occasional-use tool or an `extra,’ you can’t go wrong with the Ryobi RS290G Orbital Sander.” He knows because he tested out this sander.
HomeDepot.com reviewers love its ease of use, as well as its comfortable grip to minimize fatigue.
Makita BO5041 Orbital Sander
This Makita BO5041 Orbital Sander doesn’t look like the other sanders because it features a two-hand grip. One hand grabs a side-mount handle with the power trigger, and the other a removable, rotatable auxiliary handle. Most other orbital sanders have a single hand grip mounted directly above the sanding pad.
Amazon reviewers mention this tool is lighter than most similar sanders, so it’s easier to use above the shoulders and overhead.
DeWalt DWE6421 Orbital Sander
Amazon reviewers rave about the durability and the lack of vibrations in this DeWalt DWE6421 Orbital Sander. Less vibration means you can work longer with less fatigue. I’ve got an older version of this sander in my garage that’s been working great for a decade or more.
You’ll find the bright yellow DeWalt logo on most professional jobsites. Contractors who need tools that perform reliably day after day count on DeWalt as one of the most popular brands of power tools.
Skil SR211601 Orbital Sander
The Skil SR211601 Orbital Sander packs plenty of variable-speed power into a compact package at a competitive price. The clear plastic dust collection container is unusual — most have a cloth bag — but I like seeing at a glance when it’s ready to be emptied.
Skil is another brand that has been around seemingly forever. Chances are if you don’t have a Skil worm drive circular saw, your father or grandfather did. Skil offers all kinds of tools with great value and performance.
Craftsman CMEW231 Orbital Sander
This Craftsman MEW231 Orbital Sander provides three amps of power to push through nearly any job with ease. If you want a powerful sander, this is a top choice.
Some Lowes.com reviewers describe how well the Craftsman handles dust with the standard bag attachment. (You’ll need a separate adapter when hooking up to a standard vacuum hose.) Others note how well-balanced the sander feels in the hand.
Milwaukee 2648-20 Orbital Sander
This Milwaukee 2648-20 Orbital Sander is part of the popular M18 Fuel battery system, so if you already own a collection of M18 tools you can get right to work. This model is a bare tool; no need to pay for an extra battery and charger you might not need.
A battery-powered tool like this is great when you’re far from a power outlet, or there’s just a little sanding to do and you don’t feel like grabbing an extension cord.
DeWalt DCW210B Orbital Sander
Once you’ve invested in a battery system, it makes sense to fill out your shop with tools from the same system. If you’re Team Yellow, the DeWalt CW210B Orbital Sander is the five-inch sanding tool for you. There’s no battery and charger included with this tool. But if you’re looking to start your collection, there are packages with batteries included.
Worx WX820L Orbital Sander
This multipurpose, battery-powered orbital sander comes with a 20-volt lithium-ion battery that works in all Worx tools. The ultra-versatile Worx X820L Orbital Sander does more than orbital sanding. The kit includes a round pad, square finishing pad, finger sander, contour pad and a detail pad that’s great for getting into tight corners.