Whether you are a professional, a do-it-yourselfer, or a novice craftsman, you can’t do woodworking without the tools you need. With the help of a well-chosen orbital sander, you can turn any wooden board into whatever you want.
Specialized devices are used for smoothing various surfaces. In the case of wood and boards, a specific vibratory sander is usually the device that allows us to do our job properly.
However, there are so many different models on the market with a variety of applications that at one point we no longer know where to start our search. In addition, technology is constantly evolving and by the time we realize it, new and improved devices have already been designed.
We have prepared this guide to get rid of the confusing unknowns. You will find all the information you need to choose the most suitable orbital sander for you. Our pick for the best orbital sander is Makita BO5041K 5″ Random Orbit Sander.
A Spotlight on Some of the Best Orbital Sanders 2022
Orbital Sanders Reviews
beyond by BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander
The Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander is an excellent tool for stripping antique furniture before painting, sanding wood, or easing a stuck door. It’s hardly the most potent tool here, but it’ll suffice for most tasks. It’s also reasonably priced, so it’s accessible to almost everyone.
It is equipped with a 2.4-amp motor, which is sufficient for most basic sanding tasks. The set speed limits its adaptability, but it’s quick enough to remove old paint or varnish and is ideal for sanding softwoods purchased at the store.
It features interlocking connectors that make it very hard to attach any other kind of extractor in place of the dust collector. So you can’t use any other kind. The Black+Decker user, on the other hand, is unlikely to produce large amounts of waste; therefore, this isn’t a concern.
It weighs less than 3 pounds and has rubberized parts that allow it to be used in various positions. The 8 feet cord made it easy to move freely while working on tasks. If this is your first power sander, this package provides you with basically three different grit sanding disks. They won’t last very long, but they will get you started and help you learn how each type of sander works.
Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander
Bosch has a particularly strong reputation in what is known as the “professional-to-consumer” sector, which consists of high-quality products geared at the passionate DIYer without compromising the durability and comfort needed by professional users. The Bosch palm sander is an example of this type of tool.
The 2.5-amp motor is adequate for most stripping and sanding chores. Working efficiently with different grades of sandpaper and on sensitive surfaces is made possible by the machine’s variable speed. By using the provided adapters, the fine filtering dust canister may handle particles as small as 1/2 micron in diameter, or it can be replaced with a vacuum extractor depending on the need.
Rubberized top and front surfaces provide a secure grip. It’s generally enough to operate using one hand, although two can be used if necessary. With a weight of 3.5 pounds, it has a power chord of 8 feet, which is more than enough for most people’s needs.
Several consumers have criticized the Velcro-like hook and loop pad for losing their grip over time. It’s a common problem with this type of sander, and it’s usually caused by fibers clogged up with dust. It is typically possible to reestablish adhesion by brushing or vacuuming them.
DEWALT 20V MAX* Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, Cordless Kit (DCW210D1)
The DeWalt’s 20V Max random orbital sander is a powerful cordless tool suitable for professionals. It’s a premium product and costlier than most corded equipment out there. Overall, it provides professionals with the power, dependability, and mobility essential to accomplish any project.
Brushless motors are gradually becoming the industry standard as it affords users the ease and comfort required to complete large projects without compromising power. Thankfully, this gear has a brushless motor, which maximizes battery power by using minimal current.
The dial is located on the front of the machine, easily accessible, allowing for easier operation. The sander’s upper portion is covered in rubber material, making it easy to hold at any angle that works best for the task.
The DeWalt is a little heavier than some other brands, but some prefer the extra weight for rapid, aggressive sanding. You can use the dust bag for modest operations or replace it with a hose for powered extraction. Professional use will need an additional battery in addition to the one included in the package, depending on the job at hand.
PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (382)
The Porter-Cable 382 random orbit sander is a sturdy device with many useful features. With its high standard engineering, this power tool is a real threat to other competitors on the market.
It has a ball-bearing structure and a dust-sealed switch to keep dust and debris out of the Porter-Cable orbit sander. It is a high-quality tool, although the design of this random orbital sander isn’t very appealing. It appears to be built to endure a long time and is certainly of the highest quality.
The automated speed feature on the Porter-Cable orbit sander allows the sander to progressively speed up as sanding begins and to slow down when the orbit sander is pulled away from the surface.
When a high-speed sander is pressed into or pulled away from a surface, it usually leaves gauges and slight discoloration. The tool’s automatic speed control prevents that.
In addition, the tool is equipped with a dual-plane counter-balanced fan, which helps to limit the amount of vibration generated by the equipment. It is evident that the vibrations produced by the orbit sander have been reduced; using this sander for extended periods is stress-free and does not leave you with aching arms, as is the case with other versions that do not include this function.
Makita BO5041K 5″ Random Orbit Sander
The Makita BO5041K series demonstrates that Makita is an expert in industrial designs. Seeing this orbital sander in action gives you a sense of confidence.
The BO5041k’s ergonomic design also makes it a pleasure to use. With its rubberized handle, you can sand with less fatigue on your hands since less vibration is transferred from the tool to them.
If you want to use two hands to control the Makita BO5041K, there is an extra handle on the front, aside from the primary handle. The handle on the front of the gadget is movable, allowing you to position it wherever is most convenient.
If you’re sanding a broad surface, it’s a good idea to use the extra handle on the front so that you don’t become fatigued while operating the sander. The flexibility of this tool is especially useful for sanding hardwood floors, which may be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Orbital Sanders Buying Guide
What are orbital sanders and how do they work?
An orbital sander is a machine designed especially for the rough and fine sanding of hard and soft wood as well as other materials. It is manually operated and allows you to process the necessary materials according to your own needs.
The abrasive is mounted on a rectangular or square vibrating plate. It, in turn, is located eccentrically and rotates in a circle in small orbits to achieve the desired effect.
The right combination of abrasive with orbital sander allows you to achieve the desired results. In most cases, these machines are used for rather shape the final touches of work on a particular site. They are rarely used for heavier material removal tasks.
However, orbital sanders are a great choice for beginners and can serve largely as universal tools.
They are light enough, easy to operate, and it is very unlikely that you will take more than necessary from the object you are processing. If you need a little rougher smoothing of a board, you can always use coarser sandpaper for this purpose.
Some may claim that you are using the wrong machine, but the point is that the work will eventually be done properly.
What other types of grinding machines are there?
The focus of our article is orbital sanders, which are orbital machines, more suitable for the final work on a particular object.
However, you need to be well acquainted with other types of grinders to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Only in this way, you would be able to determine exactly what you need to cope with challenging tasks.
Random orbit sanders
These are again eccentric sanders. Unlike orbital models, random orbit models are usually round in shape with different diameters. In most cases, the various models are available in diameters of 5 or 6 inches.
The second thing that distinguishes them from orbital sanders is that the pads of these devices vibrate in random orbits. This in turn makes them more flexible than their competitors, and they provide you with the opportunity to achieve better material removal as well as smoothing.
This is certainly tempting, but keep in mind that with such a machine in hand, you really need to know what you are doing.
Random orbit sanders are suitable for both fine machining and quick material removal. You can also use them to sand rounded surfaces.
These machines provide really wide possibilities in the hands of their user.
Other sanding machines
In addition to orbital and non-orbital sanders, you will find many others on the market. They all work in a specific way and have their own different applications.
Belt sanders, for example, are more serious and coarse models.
They are used for quick and easy removal of material and in many cases serve to completely remove layers of paint or varnish.
These are relatively simple machines that maintain slightly higher prices, but in most cases prove to be more durable than their competitors.
They are definitely more productive in comparison to orbital sanders but remain more difficult to control. Sufficient training is required to help you acquire the specific skills required to work with a belt sander.
Delta sanders, on the other hand, have a small triangular grinding surface. This makes them ideal for fine machining of different angles or edges.
However, if you try to harness their capabilities in something different, they probably won’t be very effective.
There are also special multi-sander machines that try to combine the advantages of all the others. Their surface has an iron-like shape, which serves both for fine processing of corners and for trouble-free handling of larger surfaces.
Some multi-sanders even offer you the ability to expand with various accessories. If you take advantage of this, you can turn them into truly versatile tools that handle perfectly anything you decide to use them for.
What to consider when choosing an orbital sander?
And you can see for yourself how different sanders could be and how diverse their applications are. However, in order to choose the most suitable orbital sander for you, there are a lot of things that you need to pay attention to in advance.
Only in this way, you will be able to focus on the products that are really worthwhile and not fall into the traps of the modern market.
We remind you that the pads of orbital sanders vibrate in small orbits. After sanding with such a model, there is usually a slight swirling trail if not used correctly.
In any case, you should know that orbital sanders are available in three main versions according to the size of their pads.
The first ones use ½ from the classic sandpaper measuring 9 by 11 inches. These are the heaviest and most massive machines, which, of course, are suitable for faster and easier processing of relatively large surfaces.
The orbital sanders used by ¼ from 9 to 11-inch sandpaper are diametrically located in the range of products you will find during your search. These are the smallest machines suitable for finer processing of smaller objects.
The middle option is orbital sanders, which use ⅓ from the classic sandpaper with dimensions of 9 by 11 inches.
Of course, each size is more suitable for a particular use than the others. Carefully consider what you intend to use your future machine for and you will certainly start to navigate more easily in the various models.
When we talk about orbital sanders, there are two main options for their power supply. There are models that work with a cable, as well as those that run on batteries.
Of course, each of the two has its advantages, but in most cases, they come with a series of disadvantages.
It is difficult to say which of the two types of models will be more convenient to use. Orbital sanders that work with a cable are usually lighter because they do not have a battery that adds extra weight.
However, this does not necessarily mean that they will be easier to manipulate by their user. Their inevitable constant connection to the power supply in practice becomes another limitation of working with them.
Battery-powered models may be heavier, but still, free you from the constant need for cable and power.
Unfortunately, these orbital sanders still cannot offer competitive power to cable models. However, technology does not stop evolving, so it is worth looking for a powerful enough battery-powered machine.
In many cases, your need for a battery-powered machine may be unavoidable. This is especially true when you use your orbital sander in different places and its portability is important to you.
The plate is one of the most important components of an orbital sander. To a large extent, it is responsible for obtaining the perfectly smooth surface you are probably aiming for.
Sandpaper is attached to the plate itself. This usually happens thanks to some tightening system, hook, loop, or something similar. Some models even have the ability to work even with adhesive sandpaper.
In addition, most modern models are designed with holes in the base of the plate. It is used to remove sawdust, which is likely to scratch the surface you are working on.
There is something really important about the plate of an orbital sander that you need to consider. Remember that after some time the use of the machine will inevitably wear out more or less its plate. After all, nothing is eternal.
Of course, it is best to strive for the most durable plate possible. And yet the moment of wear will come someday. Then you will have to either replace the plate or buy a new sander.
However, some plates can be relatively expensive. So expensive that buying a new orbital sander becomes a better idea.
That is why we advise you to pay attention in advance to the quality and price of the plate of your orbital sander. This way you will be able to make the necessary considerations and when your plate wears out, it will not turn into a very unpleasant surprise.
Dust collection system
As you already know, dust, wood, and other various fine particles can interfere with the quality of the sanding process. This is because if something similar happens between your orbital sander and the surface you are treating, it is very likely to cause scratches and other damage to the surface.
That is why it is crucial to look for a sander that has a well-functioning dust collection system.
At their base, there are holes through which the formed fine particles collect. The particles can be collected either in a special dust bag or in a special microfilter dust container.
In some cases, orbital sanders even come with a special suction adapter. It ensures that all potential particles on the treated surface are quickly and easily collected.
Naturally, you realize that the more precise the dust collection system of an orbital sander, the higher its price will be. However, keep in mind that it is definitely worth investing in a precision instrument, as long as you have this opportunity.
The whole process will be easier and safer if you allow yourself to spend a little extra money on something like this.
Most small and mobile orbital sanders usually operate at only one specific speed. Even so, they remain efficient enough, as they are usually well balanced in terms of power and speed.
However, larger ones often go with at least a few different speeds. In most cases, they are adjusted using a knob.
Larger machines usually run at higher power and less accurately. That is why the ability to adjust the speed allows you to refine the workflow.
When you learn to work with your device and know when and what speed you need, then you will certainly achieve the best possible results. This is because you will have the chance to adjust both the machine and yourself to the grinding task precisely enough.
The speed adjustment is part of everything that gives you better control over the orbital sander. And, believe us, the control of the machine is the basis from which to start the process of work.
If you do not control your sander well enough, you will not be able to achieve the desired results and are very likely to damage the objects you are processing.
We’re sure you don’t want that. For this reason, we will point you to some key features of orbital sanders that improve control and are definitely worth it.
Smaller models are usually held on top. In some cases, you can even cover the entire body of certain orbital sanders by hand.
However, larger models are not so easy to control. That is why in most cases they are designed with a special handle. Sometimes it is even necessary to install an additional handle in the front of the machine.
In any case, it will give you better control over the orbital sander. That is why in most situations random orbit sander models are available with such an additional handle.
In addition, most orbital sanders that use ¼ the size of sandpaper have a switch. It is rubberized for better protection against dust.
However, larger machines usually have a special trigger with a side lock. It provides the user with easier control during operation.
If you have to work for long periods of time, it is important to reduce vibration.
Many modern orbital sanders are manufactured to provide you with a comfortable and controlled operation. We recommend that you look for such models that will reduce your fatigue and the feeling of tingling in your hands.
Even if you have the best orbital sander, if you do not get the right sandpaper, you will not be able to do the job.
Because orbital sanders are manufactured in certain sizes, your machine needs the same size of sandpaper to work properly. To ensure something like this, of course, you could just get plain sandpaper to cut to the size of your machine.
Pre-cut standard-sized pieces can also be found on the market. Many of these even go along with holes made through which to escape dust particles.
Of course, this option usually comes out a little saltier, but it’s good to know that the market offers us enough options.
You can also come across many suggestions for systems with hooks and loops or ready-made pieces of sticky sandpaper. This will certainly save you time and make the work process easier, but you can guess that it will cost you a little more.
We will not go into details about what the different types of sandpaper are. However, you should be aware that the specifics of the paper you need depend on the result you want to achieve.
The finer sandpaper will grind more delicately and precisely, but the coarser one will do the job faster. Judge for yourself what you need and you will know where to focus.
How to safely use your orbital sander?
Buying is just the first step. Once you have chosen the right product, you have yet to learn how to use it.
However, improper use of orbital sanders can be dangerous both for you and for the objects you are processing. That is why in this section we have prepared some basic tips and guidelines to make your work as safe as possible.
Do not underestimate protective equipment
Wear safety goggles and a respirator or dust mask when using an orbital sander. This applies to absolutely the entire work process.
The goggles will protect your eyes from any potential chips or fine particles that may be aimed at them. The dust mask will make sure that the inevitable fine dust does not enter your mouth, nose, and respiratory tract.
Even if you allow yourself to take off your goggles when you are not using your orbital sander, the mask should remain on your face. Fine dust particles can float in the air long after you have finished work.
And yes, even if your machine has a great dust handling system, this rule remains.
When using noisy orbital sanders, ear protection also becomes part of the list of mandatory protective equipment.
Before you start working
In any case, before you start working, you must make sure that everything is fine with your orbital sander. When it is new, there will hardly be any problems, but it is highly recommended that this check becomes part of your work procedure.
Inspect your orbital sander and make sure that the power cord is not rubbed or removed from its housing. If you notice something wrong, fix it before you start working.
Note that if your machine has a metal housing, the power cord has a working ground terminal. If the terminal is missing, do not start until you have replaced the plug.
If everything looks fine with your orbital sander, secure and tighten the clamp.
Always keep all electrical and extension cords away from the working area while operating with the device. Any unwanted contact during the sanding process can be life-threatening.
When using the orbital sander, do not stretch too much. This will throw you off balance and can cause damage to you or the object of your work.
We know that sliding the orbital sander on the surface is fascinating and the effect is satisfactory. However, do not get too carried away. It is better to stop for a while and move to a position convenient for you, instead of endangering your job.
Also, keep in mind that fine particles are likely to scatter all over the floor during the sanding process. Under certain conditions, they can make it slippery, so you need to be careful when moving around.
You need to feel comfortable during your work, and the whole process needs to be controlled. If you get tired, stop for a while, rest, and gather strength.
However, if you notice anything wrong with your machine, stop work immediately. Let it rest and inspect it carefully until you find the problem.
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