Of all the activities it takes to complete your woodworking or metalworking projects, sanding is definitely not the most pleasant one of them. I’m sure you’d definitely agree with me on that.
However, with a random orbital sander, you still don’t look forward to sanding your projects, but much of the unpleasantness of sanding is taken away with the tool in action.
Random orbital sanders not only make the job of sanding your projects way easier, but they also help you to achieve that sleek and smooth surface you so desire on your projects, in less time.
The way a random orbital sander works is simple but very effective. When the sander is switched-on, it rotates a 5 to 6 inch circular pad attached to an offset bearing.
Apart from rotating the circular pad, it also vibrates it constantly in tiny orbits. This constant rotation plus vibration of the circular pad causes the sander to move in random orbits. Hence, the name random orbital sander, because the sander moves in random orbits.
This random orbital motion ensures that the circular sandpaper does not follow the same part twice. Thus, a good random orbital sander will not leave any noticeable circular pattern or swirl on your work surface.
In this article, I will be talking about the top 10 random orbital sanders, and how to choose the best random orbital sanders, in order to help you make the best buying decision.
Before going any further, I would like to make it clear that a random orbital sander is different from an orbital sander.
The most obvious difference between the two is that an orbital sander uses a square sandpaper while a random orbital sander uses circular sandpapers.
However, random orbital sanders are the better of the two because they produce a smoother and better finish due to random unpredictable movement of the sanding pad.
They are also more aggressive, hence they are preferable when more material needs to be removed or sanded off.
Random Orbital Sander Comparison Table
|Makita BO5041K||5 inch||12000 OPM||3.5 lbs.|
|Dewalt DWE6423K||5 inch||12000 OPM||4 lbs.|
|Bosch ROS65VC||6 inch||12000 OPM||5.3 lbs.|
|Dewalt D26453k||5 inch||12000 OPM||3.5 lbs.|
|Bosch ROS20VSK||5 inch||12000 OPM||3.5 lbs.|
|Festool ETS 150/3||6 inch||10500 OPM||4 lbs.|
|Bosch 1250DEVS||6 inch||6650 OPM||5.3 lbs.|
|Porter-Cable 7346SP||6 inch||6800 OPM||6 lbs|
|Tacklife PRS01A||5 inch||13000 OPM||3.4 lbs.|
|Black & Decker BDERO100||5 inch||13000 OPM||3 lbs|
How to Choose the Best Random Orbital Sander
There are many types, manufacturers and brands of random orbital sanders out there. If you want to choose the best one for your project, here’s what you should look for.
When shopping for a random orbital sander, it is recommended that you get one with variable speed. The variable speed option actually helps you to either speed up or slow down the motion of the sanding pad, depending on the type of material you are sanding and the type of finish you want to achieve.
It is very important because it helps you dictate the pace at which you want to sand and the amount of material you wish to remove.
If you need to remove a lot of material from the surface, then you increase the speed. On the other hand, if only light surface sanding is required, like when you want to refinish your wooden floor or furniture, then you can reduce the speed to match the amount of material you wish to remove.
So, get a random orbital sander with the variable speed function for a more versatile sander.
All types of sanders make a lot of vibration, whether belt, disc or orbital sanders. And random orbital sanders are not different.
A random orbital sander is a tool that both rotates and oscillates a circular disc at the same time. Thus, it really produces a lot of vibration.
That is why some orbital sanders are equipped with the vibration control feature to help reduce this vibration and increase user comfort.
For instance, the Bosch ROS65VC-6 is one of such random orbital sanders fitted with a vibration control suspension system that helps reduce the vibration produced by the tool, thus making the tool more comfortable to use for longer periods of time.
So, when shopping for a random orbital sander, this is one useful feature you can take into consideration.
Dust collection is a very important issue when it comes to sanders in general. A lot of dust is produced when you sand a piece of wood or metal.
So it is important that the dust produced is collected efficiently, so that it will not be on the work surface and certainly not in the air for you not to breathe it in and cause respiratory health problems for yourself.
The sander will not work efficiently if the dust being sanded off is not being removed simultaneously from the work surface.
If the dust is still on the surface, then the sander will not be contacting the wood directly, meaning you will be sanding wood and dust together at the same time, which will ultimately wear out the sandpaper faster, make the sander less effective and cause you to do more work.
So, get a sander with good dust collection. If you have a tool actuated dust collector, fine. Connect it to your random orbital sander so that as soon as you switch on the sander, the dust collector will switch on automatically to collect dust produced by the sander.
If you don’t have a tool actuated dust collector, you might consider getting one or stick to the one you have, provided it collects dust efficiently as soon as it is produced.
Good dust extraction from surface in order to sand the wood, not wood and dust, making sander less effective. Longer abrasive or sandpaper life. Connection on the sander should be compactable with vacuum nozzle.
If you’ve only be sanding horizontal surfaces, like when you are sanding a floor, the weight of your random orbital sander might not be a big issue to you.
On the other hand, if you are sanding vertical surfaces like the side of your kitchen shelve or other vertical furniture that require that you move your sander up and down vertically, then the weight of your sander will come to effect pretty quickly.
In this instance, too much weight can easily create fatigue and tiredness in your arms, thereby shortening the time you can sand with the sander, and ultimately reducing your output.
So, go for as less weight as possible. Your arms will thank you for it.
Changing sanding grit paper
It will be quite unusual to use one sandpaper or one grit size of sandpaper from the start to the finish of a project.
You’d definitely be swapping out different sandpaper, maybe after one wears out or maybe when you need a different grit size for a better finish.
Hence, the ease at which you can swap out this sandpaper is very important. The easiest way to remove and attach sandpaper to the sanding pad is through hook-and-loop.
So get a sander that accepts hook-and-loop sandpapers so that you can easily swap out sandpapers and reduce tool downtime.
A random orbital sander is something that needs a good grip from your hands. You need to be able to hold your random orbital sander in your hands and feel comfortable with it over a long period of time.
So, if possible try to hold the sander first and feel how comfortable it is in your arms, because the more comfortable one will allow you to work better with it.
Most likely, you’ll be buying online, so what you should check for is one with a rubber grip. The soft rubber grip allows your hands to hold the sander firmly and comfortably.
So, don’t go for one with a plastic grip. A plastic grip can even cause blisters in your hands. Go for a rubber grip to ease the tension between your hand and the tool.
This is not necessarily the best criteria for choosing a random orbital sander, but it is also sometime that might be worth considering for some folks.
A long cord will enable you to reach a wider surface with your sander without needing an extension cord.
So, this is something you might also check when shopping for a random orbital sander.