Don’t have time to read the entire article? In brief, my pick for the best random orbital sander goes to Bosch GET75-6N.
Sanding. It’s laborious, messy, and boring. But, it is a necessary evil. For most woodworking projects, you will need to invest your time and effort into sanding to make your project look great.
Unless you love suffering, you will want to buy an electric sander. With that said, a random orbital sander is your best pick. Many consider a random orbital sander to be an essential woodworking tool. In this article, we will be reviewing some of the best random orbital sanders on the market right now.
Orbit vs random orbit sander
You may be wondering: is there a difference between an orbit sander and a random orbit sander? Yes, there is.
We won’t get deep into the topic of orbit sanders because simply put, you don’t really need one in your woodwork. An orbit sander only spins in a circular motion which leaves swirl marks on the wood.
A random orbit sander moves in a circular motion and moves back and forth. This way, as the name implies, it creates a randomized orbital pattern of movement which does not leave ugly swirl marks on the surface.
Random orbital sanders can be used in many different ways: from removing an old layer of paint off your fence to restoring the transparency of car headlights. In woodworking applications, you will be using a random orbital sander in preparing the wood for an application of a finish or furniture refinishing to remove old paint or a topcoat.
Random orbit sanders use square sanding pads that are 5 to 6 inches in diameter. 5-inch diameter pads are most popular amongst DIY enthusiasts as they offer more maneuverability.
Choosing the best random orbital sander
Here’s what you need to consider to choose the very best random orbital sander.
When shopping around, you will notice that some sanders have a handle on the front or on the side. On one hand, this little handle is very useful when working with large surface areas as it makes the work less tiresome.
On the other hand, when working on tight angles, inside a cabinet or against a wall, that same handle can be obstructive. When buying a sander with a handle, look if it can be removed when necessary.
Generally, look for a random orbital sander design that is a good fit for you personally. Sanding takes a lot of time and physical effort. See which model puts the least strain on your back, shoulders, arms, palms, and fingers.
If possible, find out how much vibration a particular random orbital sander model transfers into your hands. If the handle part of the sander is prone to vibration, this will contribute to more strain on your body and more fatigue.
With regards to design, here’s what I suggest you should consider:
What is the size of the projects you intend to work with? For cabinetry, you will be better off with a 6-inch diameter pad. It will allow you to remove material from large boards faster and easier. If you plan on working with smaller projects, opt for a regular sander with a 5-inch diameter pad. They are cheaper and easier to control.
Larger diameter sanders generally do not provide any inherent benefits, other than allowing to sand large areas faster. With that said, do not overthink this. You can always switch the pads on your machine to a larger or a smaller one.
Sanding creates a lot of fine dust particles that can be particularly dangerous when inhaled. Effective dust collection should be your first line of defense against the sanding-generated dust. A good random orbital sander will have a dust filtration system that is easy to remove and clean.
On projects where you will be doing a lot of sanding, like a deck refinishing project, it is best to plug in your random orbital sander into a vacuum cleaner. If you are no stranger to sanding for hours on end, make sure your random orbit sander comes with a dust port that is compatible with a vacuum hose.
Variable speed Control
Random orbital sanders aren’t as powerful as most belt sanders, but they can still remove a lot of material fast. Make sure your tool includes variable speed control. This feature is particularly useful if you do a lot of heavy sanding and fine detailing work. A variable speed switch will let you move from aggressive to delicate sanding easily.
Random Orbital Sander Tips
Buying the best random orbital sander is one thing. Using a random orbit sander correctly is a whole different topic. That’s why it is important to know some basic random orbital sander dos and don’ts.
- Do NOT press down on the sander. It may seem intuitive that the sander will work better if you lean on. This is wrong. Pressing down will leave more ugly swirl marks. The weight of the tool provides adequate pressure upon the surface, so don’t use your own force.
- Go slow. The optimal speed at which you should move the sander is about one inch per second. While it may seem excruciatingly slow, this is actually the optimal speed at which the random oscillations of the tool polish without leaving swirl patterns.
- Do not tip the tool on its edge. It may feel tempting to tilt the sander thinking that you will quickly remove some rough spot or a burn mark. All this will do is create more problems. Random orbit sanders are designed to be held flat against the surface at all times.
- Wear gloves. Random orbit sanders can create a lot of vibration. Normally, I wouldn’t suggest wearing a pair of gloves when working with power tools. But, in this instance, they will absorb much of the vibrations and reduce strain on your hands.
- Swap out sanding discs often. Listen, sanding discs cost around $0.50 a disc. They are not expensive. Avoid the mentality of trying to squeeze out more out of a single sanding disc than it is made for. Once it fills up with dust, replace it. It costs less than your wood.
- Always finish off with sanding manually. Usually, you won’t be able to achieve a perfect surface without good ol’ hand sanding. Finish off by hand to avoid any swirl marks that will look horrible after the application of a topcoat.
Top 6 Random Orbital Sander Reviews
Now that we know what features we should be looking for, let’s review some of the best random orbital sanders available on the market right now.
Bosch GET75-6N, 2nd generation
- Dual mode: Provides 2 sanding modes, random orbit mode for normal stock removal or fine finishing and "turbo" Driven eccentric orbit mode for aggressive stock removal at 5 times the rate of the normal...
- Variable speed: The GET75 6N comes with a powerful 7. 5 amp variable speed motor (no load speed: 290 to 640 RPM, no load orbit speed: 3300 to 7300 OPM) provide power, flexibility for jobs
- Ease of use: Get fast, smooth finishes on a variety of surfaces
The 2nd generation of this tool was released in August of 2019, not that long ago. The release of this sander seems like a direct response to the release of Festool’s Rotex 150, and Bosch GET75-6N is cheaper by a half. This 6-inch random orbital sander features two modes of operation: random orbit mode for normal finishing work and “Turbo” direct-drive eccentric-orbit mode for very aggressive stock removal. This sander will allow you to take on a variety of tasks from sanding your regular woodworking project to refinishing an entire deck without much hassle.
Some buyers on the internet have told that the turbo switch is prone to breaking, with some users reporting it being faulty right out of the box. Most importantly, if you are looking for a budget option, GET75-6N probably isn’t for you. When compared to other items on this list, GET75-6N is the priciest.
- More Power for Faster Sanding and a Smooth Finish
- Smooth and fast sanding with 3.0 AMP motor
- Variable speed control dial (4,000-12,000 OPM) enables user to match the sanding speed to the application
Next on our list is a random orbital sander from Makita. What I really like about this sander is that it has a variable speed control dial which gives you a very spacious 4,000-12,000 OPM range. This way, you can use this sander on all kinds of rough and more delicate materials.
This particular model comes with a rubberized handle and palm grip. The handle gives more control when sanding at higher OPM’s and the rubber absorbs most of the vibration, providing more comfort to the user. If you need to sand in confined areas or against a wall, the handle can be very easily removed
Dust collection works well on this random orbital sander, but if you want to connect it to your shop vacuum, you will most likely need to buy a Shop-Vac 906-87-00 Universal Tool Adapter.
Overall, this sander is a good option for woodworkers and professional contractors.
- 3.0 Amp motor spins the pad at 8,000 - 12,000 OPM
- Shorter height minimizes the distance between user and work piece
- Design reduces vibration and the rubber over-mold in critical areas reduces user fatigue
DEWALT has a very good reputation when it comes to producing high-quality tools, and DWE6423K is no exception to this rule. While it is not as expensive as my #1 pick, its design and build is still very high quality.
This model, unlike its younger brother DWE6421K, includes variable speed control which allows you to sand in the range of 8,000 to 12,000 OPM. This random orbital sander is good for both rough and delicate sanding.
Online buyers confirm the manufacturer claims that their sander’s design and rubber-over mold reduces vibration and operator fatigue. Therefore, DEWALT DWE6423K will serve you well during prolonged sanding sessions. Additionally, this sander’s low profile design makes it easier to control.
One main issue that many buyers have stressed is the difficulty of fitting a vacuum hose onto the dust filters’ output hole. The tool works without any issues when fitted with the included dust bag, but you will need to look for an adapter if you want to hook up your vac. Or, use the good-ole duct tape.
Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander
- Smooth Finish: Pad dampening system designed to eliminate swirl marks on both flat and contoured surfaces
- Easy Disc attachment: Through Bosch's signature Hook and Loop disc attachment system, sanding pads stick to the hand sander, acting like a Velcro adhesion material
- Variable speed Control: Powerful 2.5 AMP motor allows speed to work piece and task matching with ease
Next comes another random orbital sander from Bosch. But, unlike GET75-6N, this one will be more gentle to your pocket. With this sander, you get the quality of a world-renowned power tool manufacturer with variable speed control and a well-acclaimed micro filter dust collection system at a very reasonable price.
The manufacturer boasts this orbital sander’s ability to capture dust particles as minuscule as 1/2 micron in diameter. While I was unable to conduct a test to scrutinize this claim, there aren’t many buyers that complained about the efficiency of dust collection on this sander. I personally like the fact that you can actually see the level of dust in the canister. This way, you don’t have to stand there wondering if it is already time to clear out the dust.
One issue that I have with this sander is its ability to absorb vibration. If you are no stranger to sanding for hours on end, look at other, larger tools on this list.
BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 – Cheap Random Orbit Sander
- Random orbital action for high removal rate and a high quality finish
- Hook and loop system for fast and easy paper changes
- Dust sealed switch to keep all dust and debris out
I had to include this little sander from Black+Decker as this one gives you the most bang for your buck. It may not be the best option for demanding finish carpenters, but it is certainly a great choice for DIY’ers on a tight budget.
It weighs as little as 3 pounds but packs enough power to do heavy-duty work. There aren’t many moving parts in this tool so using it is as simple as pulling it out of the box, plugging in the cord and attaching a sandpaper disc to the velcro. All else is rather self-explanatory.
With that said, the design quality is cheap (hence its low price), so don’t expect this random orbital sander to withstand a lot of beating. Without variable speed control, this tool only allows for one mode of operation which is too powerful for fine work.
- Variable speed to match the speed to the application
- Texturized rubber overmold grip for more comfortable sanding
- Low height gets you closer to the work surface for more control when sanding
One more tool from DEWALT on this list. This random orbital sander has all the necessary basics including variable speed control, comfortable palm grip, vacuum-compatible dust collection and enough power to take on a variety of light-duty tasks.
Personally, I don’t see much value in paying extra for the added convenience of not having a cord. But, I do most of my woodworking in a shop indoors where I always have a power outlet within arms reach, so I am kind of biased.
A cordless sander could prove useful if you work on a large project outdoors, like refinishing a deck. A cordless sander would also remove potential hazards on the worksite and make it easier to comply with OSHA regulations.
The upside of this tool is that it uses a brushless motor which reduces energy consumption. So, as long as you have an extra charged battery on hand, expect seamless operation.
With so many different options on the market, finding the best random orbital sander can be quite tricky. Personally, I believe that the 2nd Generation Bosch GET75-6N sander is the best one you can get. While it is the priciest one on the list, it still offers great value for the money and it will accommodate the needs of even the most demanding professionals.
It is suitable for both light and heavy-duty work. In “Turbo” direct-drive eccentric-orbit, it gives you enough power to serve as an alternative to a belt sander.
I hope this article helped you to make up your mind about the most suitable random orbital sander for your woodworking. Disagree with this list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!