When it comes to sanding, there are different power sanders you can choose from. But most of them have one major shortcoming – they create swirl marks on the surface of the wood. This can be a big issue, especially if you’re looking to get a fine finish.
Luckily, with a random orbital sander, you won’t ever need to worry about swirl marks.
Random orbit is the way to go if you want to get smoother and attractive finishes in your woodworking projects.
Sadly, finding the best random orbital sander for woodworking can be a daunting task as there are so many options in the market to choose from.
So how do you make a clean jump to the best product? That’s exactly why we are here. To ensure you get the most from using this type of sander, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 products in the market and a buying guide to make your decision easier.
What to Look for Before Buying a Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking
In other to find a good sander, there are some key things you need to look out for. They include:
Like every other power tool, the efficiency and speed of a random orbital sander largely depend on how it utilizes the available power.
The power of a sander is determined by the motor. Some motors may have a power rating of 2 Amp or something lower, while some may have up to 6 Amp or more.
Usually, the higher the amp rating, the more powerful the machine would be in terms of speed and performance. And in most cases, the higher the power, the more costly the sander would be.
You should make your decision based on the size of your project. Sometimes, a model with 1.9 Amp may be sufficient to accomplish your work. In this case, there’s no point in spending extra money to purchase a more powerful model.
For every woodworking project that requires a smooth finish, you need to have control over speed. This is why it’s recommended to opt for a random orbital sander that offers variable speed.
A single-speed setting will not be ideal in every situation. For instance, you will need a lower speed for a small detail sanding task; but for a heavy material, you need a higher speed.
So, you want something that gives you the option to adjust speed based on the needs of the project you have at hand. This makes the tool more versatile and useful for a variety of tasks.
Like many woodworking operations, sanding creates a lot of dust. Apart from the risk it poses to your health, having so much dust around can interfere with your work. So you want to go for a sander that has a good dust collection system.
Some sanders may come with a canister or dust bag to collect the dust, while others may feature a dust port that allows you to connect the tool to a shop vac. The latter is usually more efficient, but you should first ensure the dust port and your shop vac fits.
You should also consider getting a dust mask for additional protection.
Another thing you need to consider when in the market for the best orbital sander for wood is the grip. You want something that has a comfortable grip so you can work with the tool for a long time without getting worn out from fatigue.
Consider the design of the tool – you want something that has a compact and ergonomic design. A rubber grip is usually desirable because it is more comfortable and provides a strong grip.
Editor’s Recommendation: Top 5 random orbital sander for woodworking
5 Best Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking
As earlier indicated, finding the right sander for your project is a big decision. But not to worry, we’ve done all the hardwork for you! After extensive research and testing, we’ve come up with a narrow list of the top 5 products.
1. DEWALT DWE6423K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
When it comes to the world of power tools, there are very few brands that can rival DEWALT. So we are glad to kick off this list with one of the highest performing random orbital sanders in the market – the DEWALT DWE6423K.
Equipped with a 3 amp motor, the DWE6423K provides just enough power to get most sanding tasks done quickly and efficiently. It offers variable-speed, which you can set from anywhere between 8000-12000 OPM.
You will also like the counterweight design of the sander, which helps to reduce vibration so you can have better control over the device.
For user safety, the sander also features a locking system, which makes it very easy to lock and unlock the machine. A dust collection system is also included to take care of the dust generated from your sanding operation.
The system also features a dust-sealed switch to prevent dust from getting into the sander, thereby extending its lifespan. You can use the dust bag provided with the tool, or you can connect the sander to your shop vac for more efficient dust collection.
Furthermore, the short design of the sander makes you feel closer to the workpiece so you can control the tool easily. You will also find the rubber over-mold grip very comfortable to use; this allows you to work for an extended period with minimal fatigue.
You may find the cord a little bit short, depending on the arrangement in your workshop; you can work around this by using an extension. But we think the cable length should be okay in most situations.
A few users have also expressed frustration in getting the dust collection system to work with their shop vac.
Overall, we think the DEWALT DWE6423K is a great tool to add to your work arsenal. It is powerful and compact. For its price, you might not find a better deal!
- Comfortable grip
- Comes with carrying bag
- Easy to use
- Affordable price
- Efficient dust collection system
- Cord is a little short
2. Bosch Power Tools – 1250DEVS – Electric Orbital Sander
When it comes to aggressiveness, there are very few random orbital sanders that can measure up to the Bosch 1250DEVS. It is one of the more powerful sanders out there.
So if you need something that can remove much more stock than most standard sanders, then this is the tool to go for.
With a 6.5 amp motor, the Bosch 1250DEVS offers double the power you get with many random orbital sanders. So as you can see, this is a serious tool – it’s definitely not something for the faint-hearted!
The sander has a “turbo” which you can switch to for aggressive stock removal. Compared to the normal sanding mode, this mode lets you remove five times more material.
Incredible, right? This is another reason why professionals are in love with this tool. With such amount of power, you can easily tackle any type of wood ranging from pallet planks to weathered wood.
A soft torque start helps to minimize vibration during startup and recoil, so you have greater control over the tool despite its incredible strength.
However, we must warn that this sander can be a bit difficult to handle, especially if you’re not experienced with this type of tool. You will need a strong grip if you want to stand a chance.
While this might be one of the more powerful sanders out there, it might not be the best option for beginners. You will definitely need some operator skills to be successful with it.
- Comes with two speed-settings
- Smooth start
- Very powerful
- Long cords
- Quite expensive
3. Black+Decker BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander
If you’re looking to make an upgrade from using sandpaper for your sanding operations, but don’t have the money to invest in an expensive sander, then the budget-friendly Black+Decker BDERO100 is the way to go.
For a fraction of the cost most random orbit sanders, you get a decent unit that can cater to your woodworking projects.
Like the previous model, the BDERO100 has a small and compact size, which makes it very easy to use and control. This is complemented by a rubber grip, which makes it comfortable to handle.
The sander is equipped with a 2-amp motor, which delivers a fixed speed of 12000 OPM, making the tool less-versatile. It is cordless, which definitely makes it more portable and easier to maneuver.
In terms of price, this is one of the most affordable options out there. If you need a sander for one or two jobs and don’t want to spend too much on a premium model, then we highly recommend this one. You will be amazed at how easy, and fast sanding can be when you’re using the right tool, as this one is.
Paper change is quick and easy with the sander – thanks to its hook and loop system. It also comes with a dust-sealed switch, which helps to increase the life of the tool.
Overall, this is a decent unit that promises to provide good value for your money. While it’s less powerful than other models on the list, we doubt you will get something more aggressive and reliable for its price.
- Lightweight and compact design
- Easy to control
- Sealed dust switch
- No vacuum adapter or storage case
- Not for heavy-duty use
4. Makita BO5041 Random Orbital Sander
The Makita BO5041 is another high-quality sander that comes very close to the DEWALT DWE6423K. It offers just about anything you can expect from a high-end model.
For its price, you will hardly find anything that can match its quality and performance.
Like the DEWALT DWE6423K, the Makita BO5041 is equipped with a 3 Amp motor, which makes it suitable for most sanding operations.
It has a variable speed setting which runs from 4000 to 12000 OPM, making it one of the most versatile options out there. This affords you better control over your project so you can obtain smoother finishes.
The ergonomic design of the tool, together with its rubber grip makes it very comfortable and easy to use. An adjustable front handle is included for even more control, and that enables you to easily access hard-to-reach areas.
Moreover, The sander also features a hook and loop system that allows for easy and fast paper change. A dust bag is provided for dust collection; you can also use this together with a shop vac for more efficient dust collection.
To prevent marks, the tool uses a “Pad Control System” that helps to reduce gouging during startup.
However, we must warn – this sander is quite expensive, so it’s definitely not for budget buyers. But we think the extra investment is completely worth it if you don’t mind. It is still one of the best random orbital sanders for woodworking.
- Reliable performance
- Highly durable
- Easy and comfortable to use
- Ergonomic design
- Dust port is too small
5. PORTER-CABLE 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher
The PORTER-CABLE 7424XP is the only item on the list that comes as a typical polisher for automobiles but can be easily toned down to a random orbital sander for wood. But it’s not only its versatility that makes it legendary, but it also offers more power than many standard sanders out there.
To be more specific, the machine comes equipped with a 4.5 amp motor, which allows you to perform swirl-free polishing or sanding operations.
It features a variable speed dial that can be set between 2500 – 6800 orbits per minute (OPM). At higher speeds, it is aggressive enough to sand down most wood materials.
However, at lower speeds, you can use it together with the polishing pad to buff out your ride. This makes it more valuable than most single tool sanders and polishers.
Though, it’s important to note that the machine has to be operated with your two hands. This definitely makes it less convenient than orbit sanders, which require only one hand. But notwithstanding, the tool is still very easy and comfortable to use.
The sander also has a comfortable size and weight that makes them super easy to handle. Don’t be deceived by its small size; it is actually very effective.
Maintenance is minimal with this unit. In fact, Porter Cable recommends taking it to one of their certified shops for proper servicing. The sander comes pre-lubed, which ensures it lasts a long time under normal use.
- Comes with variable speed setting
- Highly durable
- Easy to use
- Compact design
Cordless Versus Corded
Like most power tools, a random orbital sander can be powered by any one of these power sources – battery, electricity, or compressed air.
Those that are powered by compressed air are commonly known as pneumatic models, and usually need to be connected to an air compressor to function. They are usually very powerful and are a common choice for professionals. This leaves the average user with two options – cordless battery units and corded electric units.
The battery-powered models are also known as cordless and offer the most convenience to users, especially when you need to move around. Since they don’t have a cord, they tend to offer greater maneuverability than corded models. However, they are less powerful than the other option.
Corded sanders usually come with a cable that needs to be connected to an electric power outlet. They offer more power than cordless models and are generally more reliable.
How Did We Test These Power Sanders?
Sanders are generally used on metals, wood, and plastic. However, in testing, we focused on models that had the most impact on wood.
- Stock Removal Consistency and Apperance of Marks
The first stage of our test involved checking the consistency of the sanders on stock removal. Here, we examined how fast each of the sanders was and the quality of the cuts they produced. We also checked for the appearance of any swirl marks.
- Finishing Quality
Our next stage was the finishing stage, where we tried to use the sanders for polishing the sanded material. Mind you, none of this was serious polishing. We just wanted to see how suitable sanders were for producing fine finishes.
- Dust Collection and Customer Ratings
We also examined the dust collection system in the sanders to see how much dust they could possibly trap. Customer rating on the individual products was another thing we looked into.
And at the end of the day, our conclusion was that the DEWALT DWE6423K and the Makita BO5041 had the overall best value.
The Bosch 1250DEVS was the more aggressive unit and thus the favorite for taking down stocks. Furthermore, the BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 came out as the budget-friendly model for light to medium sanding operations while the PORTER-CABLE 7424XP offered more versatility as a sander and polisher.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the meaning of OPM?
The speed of a random orbital sander is usually expressed in OPM (orbits per minute), which is a measure of the rate at which the sanding disc spins. For your information, the higher the OPM, the faster the rate of sanding.
- Is an orbital sander good for wood?
Yes, but they don’t take off as much material as a random orbital sander and leave more marks behind.
- Can a random orbital sander be used as a polisher?
Yes, it can, but you will need to make some slight adjustments to the sander. For instance, you will need to replace the sanding sheet with a polishing felt. You will also need a polishing paste.
It is important to note that not all sanders can be toned down to a polisher, so make sure you do your research first.
- What is the difference between a sander and a polisher?
The major difference between a sander and a polisher is the spin rate. Sanders (especially random orbital sanders) are much slower, which makes them more suitable for detailing.
- Is it possible to use a random orbital sander for drywall?
Yes, it is possible, but we advise against it. If you want to perform sanding on drywall, then you should choose a good drywall sander.
Sanding is something that will always come up in most woodworking projects. So having a reliable power sander by your side is not only desirable but necessary.
Hopefully, with our review of the best random orbital sander for woodworking, you shouldn’t struggle to find the right model or brand for your project.
Let us know if you still have any unresolved issues with regard to choosing the best product. Or else we would love to hear about your suggestions or experience with any one of the items above.
Drop your comments below.