The Best Orbital Sander Review - Updated for 2020
Are you looking to purchase a random orbital sander, but having trouble deciding which one is best? Are you finding it hard understanding the features that come with each sander, what extras you need and what the different power ratings mean? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are in the right place. We have put together a comprehensive review of the best sanders. We have listed them along with their best features and we have even carried out an in-depth review of each sander.
We have listed the advantages and disadvantages for each of the selected sanders and finally we have chosen what we believe to be the best orbital sander for 2020.
After reading our sander review from start to finish you will have a complete understanding of random orbital sanders including all the different features, the terminology and an idea of which sander is the most suited to your requirement. We will also tell you which one we have rated as the best orbital sander for 2020.
Bob Smith, Friday 17th January 2020
Check Out The Top Rated Orbital Sanders
|Name/Image||Learn More||Brand||Rating||Weight||Power Source||Size||Speed||Features|
Black and Decker Orbital Sander BDERO100
|view pricesfull reviews||Black & Decker||3.16lb||Mains||5"||12,000 OPM||Random orbital action, Hook and loop system, Dust sealed switch, 2 year warranty|
DWE6421K dewalt orbital sander kit
|view pricesfull reviews||DeWalt||4 pounds||Mains||5"||12,000 OPM||Dust collection, 3 year limited warranty|
ROS20VSC Bosch orbital sander Review
|view pricesfull reviews||Bosch||3.5 pounds||Mains||5"||12,000 OPM||Variable sanding speed, hook and loop attachment system, microfilter dust collection system, 1 year warranty|
Porter Cable Orbital Sander
|view pricesfull reviews||PORTER-CABLE||3 pounds||mains||5"||12,000 OPM||100% ball bearing construction, Dual plane counter, auto-controlled pad speed, 3 year warranty|
BO5041 5-Inch makita orbital sander
|view pricesfull reviews||Makita||3.1 pounds||Mains||5"||12,000 OPM||3.0 AMP motor, variable speed control, Ergonomic rubberized palm grip, Pad control system for controlled pad speed upon start-up, Double insulated|
Bosch 3725DEVS – bosch random orbit sander
|view pricesfull reviews||Bosch||5.1 lbs||Mains||5"||12,000 OPM||Rugged die-cast aluminum gear housing, dual-bearing pad mount, long-life design, dual handle, orbits and rotates, Powerful 3.3 amp, variable speed|
Ryobi P411 One+ Cordless Battery orbital sander
|view pricesfull reviews||Ryobi||3 pounds||Battery powered||5"||10,000 OPM||cordless battery operated, rubber over-grip, dust bag, battery not included|
Ridgid r2601 Review: 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
|view pricesfull reviews||Ridgid||4.6 pounds||Mains||5"||12,000 OPM||3 year warranty, dust collection unit, variable speed, soft start and pad break|
Now that you have an overview of these random orbital sanders as well as a feature comparison let’s take a deep dive into each product and review each individual sander. Our aim here is to find the best orbital sander, we will do this first by providing individual orbital sander reviews. After we have compared each orbital sander we will summarize and select a clear winner.
Black and Decker BDERO100 Orbital Sander – Best palm sander for light duties
The Black+Decker BDERO100 orbital sander is a great entry level sander. This orbit sander is deal for homeowners with small sanding jobs or anyone that is trying their hand at basic DIY tasks. The Black+Decker sander is very easy to work with thanks to its light weight – coming in at just 3.16 pounds and one of the lightest sanders on the market today. This makes it easy to hold and allows it to glide easily over most surfaces.
Although the orbital sander from Black and Decker does have a powerful spin rate (12,000 OPM) we found that the sander isn’t particularly powerful and is best suited to light sanding work.
On small jobs this sander does produce a very high quality finish thanks to its random orbit action. This random action also prevents gauges and other marks from being made in the surface whilst sanding.
The orbital sander makes use of the hook and loop system for attaching sanding pads which makes it very easy to attach the pad and also easy to remove pads when you need to replace them or change the course grade of the sanding pad.
The BDERO100 comes with a small but efficient dust container and when you purchase this orbital sander you also get 1 sanding sheet as well as a 2 year manufacturers warranty.
DWE6421K dewalt orbital sander kit – Most Maneuverable
The DWE6421k is a 5″ orbital sander made by DeWalt. This orbital sander, although not as light as the Black+Decker sander, is still pretty light and easy to use. The orbit sander weighs just 4 pounds and has a relatively comfortable handle, making it easy to use.
The DeWalt orbital sander can spin the sanding pad at speeds up to 12,000 OPM and is very nimble when sanding around tight areas and along edges. The DeWalt orbit sander has a very robust design that makes it more durable than some other orbit sanders. The DeWalt sander has a rubber over-mold on all of its critical areas as well as a dust sealed switch. These features do a good job of preventing dust from getting inside of the orbit sander. It is fair to assume the sander will have a long life as a result of these features. This is reflected in the warranty as well, which provides 3 years of limited cover.
The DeWalt DWE6421K comes with a Velcro attachment system for easily attaching sanding pads as well as making those pads easy to remove when they need to be replaced. The orbital sander from DeWalt also comes with a dust collection unit that is very efficient. The unit is easy to manage and can actually be removed with one handing thanks to the easy twist removal action.
The DWE6421k orbital sander comes packaged up in a nice kit that includes the orbit sander itself, a manual, the dust collection unit and even a nice carry bag for the sander.
ROS20VSC bosch orbital sander – Most Advanced Features
The ROS20VSC is a very good contender when it comes to random orbit sanders. This orbital sander from Bosch really impressed us with its wide range of features, great design and its ease of use. If we were grading these products on features alone then we would award the ROS20VSC as the best random orbital sanding tool simply because it has so many advanced features. This makes it ideal for the seasoned DIY expert or anyone that wants to take complete control over their sanding work.
The ROS20VSC orbital sander from Bosch is a 2.5 amp device but despite its low rating puts out a fair amount of power. The sander can spin up to speeds of 12,000 OPM but also has a variable speed control system that allows you to change the speed setting to as low as 7,500 OPM. This ability to set the speed is great if you are sanding sensitive areas and you don’t want to end up with an uneven surface. It is also great if you are sanding wood and you want to gradually reduce sanding speed, and sandpaper course grading, so that you end up with a very fine and smooth finish.
The Bosch random orbital hand sander also comes with an advanced dust collection system – like many other orbit sanders it has a dust collection box that attaches to the back of the sander. In addition to the Bosch orbit sander comes with a micro-filter system and Bosch advertise this system as being able to filter dust particles as small as 0.5 microns in diameter. The result is a very efficient dust collection system that helps you to work in a dust free environment and also allows you to produce much higher finish qualities when you are sanding.
The Bosch ROS20VSC also comes with a pad dampening system which automatically dampens the sanding pad. This helps to avoid gouges being made on the surface you are sanding as well as providing consistent sanding over the entire surface which in turn helps to avoid the problem of surfaces becoming uneven from over-sanding.
The Bosch orbital sander also has its own signature Hooktight sanding pad attachment system – although this is very similar to the hook and loop attachment system offered by most orbital sanders the Bosch variation is very efficient. The Hooktight system boasts an impressive 35,000 hooks and will really give the sander a great grip on to the sanding pad. Not only does this avoid accidents but it also helps to avoid gauges in the surface being sanded as well as helping to ensure a very smooth and even surface post-sanding.
Porter Cable 382 5″ Orbital Sander – Best Quality Sander
The Prter-Cable 382 is an exceptionally well made random orbital handheld sander that has some great features. This orbital sander from Porter-Cable is a real contender thanks to its high level of engineering. It is the best sander in terms of quality craftsmanship.
The Porter-Cable orbit sander features 100% ball-bearing construction and a dust sealed power switch to ensure that the inside of the machine stays free from dust and debris. Although this orbital sander does not have the best looking design in the world it is definitely the best quality orbital sander. It is clearly very well made and rugged enough to last a long time.
The Porter Cable handheld orbital sander has an automatically controlled speed system that allows the sander to speed up gradually when you start sanding and to slow down as you pull the orbit sander away from the surface. This automated speed control helps to avoid gauges and other scuff marks on the surface that can result from a high speed sander being pushed into or pulled away from a surface.
The Porter Cable random orbit sander also has a dual-plane counter balanced fan that works to reduce the vibration that is produced by the device. This results in a reduction in the vibrations given out by the orbit sander and it really is noticeable – using this sander for long periods of time is stress free and does not leave you with sore arms like other models that dont have this feature.
The Porter-Cable random orbit sander comes with the common hook and loop attachment system used by most sanders. However, with this orbit sander it will happily accept 5 and 8 hole hook and loop sandpaper making it more compatible with other sand paper brands.
The sander does spin up to speeds of 12,000 OPM and comes with a built in 1.9amp motor. This sander does pack a fair punch and is more than sufficient for light to medium sanding jobs.
Makita BO5041K 5-Inch orbital sander – Voted Best Random Orbital Sander 3 years in a row
We love the Makita BO5041K, so much so that we have voted it as the top orbital sander for 3 years in a row. It is a 5″ orbital sander that looks great, feels great to use and comes with lots of useful features. As soon as we started working with this sander we fell in love with it. It has everything that you need to carry out sanding jobs in your home and is an ideal fit for any DIY enthusiast. There was no single reason that made us pick the Makita BO5041K as the best random orbital palm sander, but rather a series or reasons that made it stand out as the best sander on the market.
Makita definitely know what they are doing when it comes to design; we can see this from some of their other models, such as the Makita BO5030 series. This orbital sander looks great, it looks the part and you feel confident as soon as you see it. It feels great to use as well thanks to the erganomic design of the BO5041K – it has a rubberised grip that not only makes it comfortable in your hand, but also reduces the amount of vibration that passed from the device to your hand as you are sanding.
The Makita BO5041K also has dual hand control – as well as the main handle of the device it also has another handle at the front. This front handle is adjustable so you can move it around the device as needed. This was one of the key factors that helped us when deciding to rate the BO5041K at the top of our list. Having an additional handle on the front means you can really get complete control over the device and its great for sanding large areas – having two hands on the sander helps to distribute the strain and prevents you from getting tired. This is really useful if you are sanding a wooden floor and there is a lot of work involved.
The fact that the front handle is adjustable also means that it doesnt become a hinderance. If you are sanding along an edge, or another enclosed area you can easily move the handle out of the sanders path.
The Makita random orbit sander comes with a pad control system that will automatically control the speed of the sander at start-up, helping to avoid gauges or swirls being left in the surface as you sand. It also features a variable speed control so that you can control the speed of the sander yourself. This speed control is on the top of the device, ideally placed hear to the main handle so that you can easily change the speed whilst you are using the orbital sander. Using this variable speed control you can set the sanding speed anywhere between 4,000 and 12,000 OPM.
Another reason why we decided on the Makita BO5041K as our top rated was the power that it pumps out. Just because a sander can spin at 12,000 OPM does really mean it is powerful, but in this case and thanks to the 3 Amp Makita power motor this device really does pack a punch. It is very powerful and very much sufficient for any home sanding jobs that you can think of.
The best part about this sander is the attention to detail when it comes to the full package. The palm sander from Makita comes complete with a smart looking, and effective, dust bag, an abrasive disk to get you started off and it even comes with a tool case. For the record this case is one of the best cases we have seen coming with an orbital sander and it means that you can tidy the sander away after use.
In summary, we have rated this as the best orbital hand sander of 2020 in the UK and USA. We are also keeping it as our clear winner as we lead into the new year. The BO5041K will maintain its title as the number one orbital sander for 2020 as well.
Bosch 3725DEVS random orbit sander – Most Powerful Random Orbit Sander
The Bosch 3725DEVS is a very impressive handheld sander that does a great job of sanding all different types of material sand surfaces. The Bosch portable sander has a rugged aluminium gear housing that has been die-cast for maximum durability. The quality of craftsmanship doesn’t stop there either – the Bosch sander has a dual-bearing pad mount, and a very well built dust collection unit that fastens on to the back of the sander. Everything about this sander screams quality and power.
Speaking of power, the Bosch 3725DEVS really does have lots of it – it sports a generous 3.3 Amp motor that really gives it that extra boost compared to many other sanders which all tend to be 3 Amps or less. To go along with this powerful motor the Bosch orbital sander also has the ability to control the speed of sanding with a variable setting that ranges from 4,500 OPM right up to its maximum sanding speed of 12,000 OPM. In terms of power alone, the 3725DEVS is definitely the best orbit sander that you can buy.
The Bosch sander is quite heavy, coming in at 5,1 pounds, however it still feels ok to use thanks to its dual control – it has the main handle on the top of the unit as well as an additional handle on the front of the sander. This means that you can distribute the weight of the orbital sander across both of your hands. This makes it feel like light work when you are using it, it gives you better control over the sanding, regardless of the type of surface that you are using it on, and it also reduces the amount of vibration that comes from the orbital sander.
The Bosch orbit sander also comes with a built in dampening ring which helps to reduce swirl marks on the surface being sanded – it does this by helping to control the speed and pressure with which the pad spins at when it makes contact with the surface.
Ryobi P411 One+ Cordless Battery orbital sander- Most portable
The Ryobi P411 One+ sander is a bit different from all of the other orbit sanders we have come across in our handheld orbital sander review. It is a fairly lightweight sander and only spins up to a maximum of 10,000 OPM. However, it has one unique feature that makes it worth listing among our orbital sander roundup, it is cordless. The fact that it is battery powered and cordless makes it a really useful orbit sander for any jobs that are in a confined space, or if you are working in a location where there is no reliable power source.
This orbital sander from Ryobi is also a great addition to your toolkit if you are often working away from your home or workshop. Take this Ryobi P411 orbital sander with you and you know that regardless of where you end up working, you have a usable sander to hand.
Even though it is battery operated, and even though it only spins at 10,000 OPM the sander is still reasonably powerful and it does a decent job when used for light sanding work on plaster walls and other similar surfaces.
We would recommend this for light sanding work only and if you are taking on large sanding projects or working on hard surfaces such as wooden flooring then we would recommend using this alongside a heavy duty sander as well.
It is also worth noting that this particular orbital sander from Ryobi does not come with a battery. If it is the first Ryobi tool that you are purchasing then you need to purchase a Ryobi One+ battery alongside the tool. Batteries can be purchased from this link. However, if you own any other Ryobi power tools then you will be pleased to hear that the batteries work across the full range of tools. So you can take a battery from your existing Ryobi power tool and use it in the orbital sander with no need for adaptors.
Because there is no power cord required with this sander it is ideal for working on confined spaces and whilst on the move. If you need to work on different places and move around frequently whilst sanding this is the best orbit sander for you.
Orbital Sander Review: Buyer’s Guide
Before you start looking for an orbital sander it is a good idea to think about your requirements. There are many different random orbital hand sanders available and each of them have different qualities. One sander might be well suited to a certain type of work whilst another might be ideal in another use-case.
There are some questions you should ask yourself in order to find the best palm sander for your needs:
- What are you going to use the random orbit sander for? If it is for a small one-off job then you might want to look for a cheaper low powered orbital sander. If you are working as a handman then you might want a more powerful and robust sander, or perhaps even a portable cordless one.
- What surfaces are you sanding? If you are sanding a plastered wall then a low powered sander will likely be sufficient, however if you are sanding a large wooden floor then you will definitely need a more heavy duty sander.
- How often are you going to use the sander? Once again, if you are just purchasing for a one-off job then you want to go for the features required for that job. If you are going to be doing more sanding in the future then you should think about flexibility when looking at orbital sander features.
Once you have some ideas about what you are going to be using the sander for and what your requirements are, its time to start looking at all of the options. When you start looking at orbital sanders you will notice there are lots of different metrics and ratings such as RPM, OPM, Amp rating and many more. It is important to understand what all of these metrics mean and what you should be looking for in each one.
Sanding pad speed – RPM vs OPM
The first thing that most people will look at when comparing random orbit sanders is the speed at which the sanding pad spins. This can be confusing because it is often refered to by different names.
RPM – RPM stands for revolutions per minute and is actually a very misleading term. Because of the nature of a random orbit sander – and the fact that it spins and ocilates it should not be refered to simply by an RPM rating – because it is not spinning on a fixed axis but rather is ociliating in a random fashion.
OPM – OPM stands for orbits per minute and is different to RPM. There is a good explanation of the differences between RPM and OPM in this forum post. Ordinarily random orbit sanders should all be meassured on OPM and any that have an RPM rating are difficult to compare to those with an OPM rating.
There are some fixed oribt sanders and also some sanders that can be set to spin on a fixed axis – and these orbit sanders can be correctly meassured by using an RPM figure.
Having said all of that, it is also important to understand that these speed ratings are almost always meassured when the pad is not in contact with a surface – in other words when it is spinning freely. In reality, when the pad touches the surface that is being sanded the speed will be dramatically reduced because of the friction that results from the contact. So although its easy to be drawn to a higher speed rating it is important to also look at other factors, such as power.
The power rating of an orbit sander is normally provided by a Amp rating. The Amp rating of most orbital sanders ranges from 2.5 to 3.3 Amps and this gives an indication on the power of the motor inside the orbit sander. Some sanders with a lower spinning speed (OPM) can actually be more powerful than sanders with a higher spinning speed if they have a more powerful motor.
If power is your most important requirement then the Bosch 3725DEVS is the best random sander you can buy as it was rated the most powerful in our guide.
When you are looking for an orbital sander you should consider the dust collection abilities of the sander as being very important. After performance, the abilities of an orbital sander to collect dust and debris is probably the most talked about feature and the one that most people will point out when they are unhappy with their purchase. Whilst most orbital sanders that are on the market today do have a dust collection unit, not all of them are equal.
The key things you should be look for when it comes to dust collection are:
- Size of dust collection unit – there are considerable differences in the size of the unit across different makes of sander
- How easy it is to remove and empty – Many orbit sanders come with a one hand twist removal feature
- How effective it is at collecting the dust – We rated the Bosch ros20vsc as the best mains powered sander for dust collection as it can filter dust particles as small as 1/2-micron in diameter
Warranty details are a very important consideration. The warranty that comes with a random orbit sander tends to range from 1 to 3 years. This is quite a substancial difference and could potentially triple the life of your sander.
In addition to the standard warranty, some orbital sander brands offer a money-back or refund gurantee for a short period after you purchase the sander whilst others, such as the Porter-Cable 382, also offer a period of free servicing.
How to use your Sander
Even before you have purchased your orbital sander its a good idea that you understand how to use it. This helps you to really appreciate what features you might need from your orbital sander as well as informing you what additional equipment you may need to purchase with the sander – for example safety goggles, face mask and dust sheets.
We recently wrote about how you can get the most from your orbital sander and what considerations you should take for sanding various types of surfaces, you can read it here.
Where to Buy Orbital Sanders
There are many different places that you can go to in order to purchase your orbital sander. To make sure you get the best orbit sander to suit your requirements, you should consider all purchasing options and not be tied to one location when buying your sander. You can visit your local hardware store to buy an orbital sander; the advantage of this is that you can physically look at, and touch, all of the orbital sanders before purchasing. This can be a great advantage because you get a real idea of how well made the sander is, how it feels to hold and what it will be like to use. In addition you can actually see the size and shape of the sander, which is often important, especially if you are sanding in a confined space or in a tight corner. Lastly, purchasing from a hardware store means that you can also see what type of dust collection unit the sander comes with and what size it is.
The other option is purchasing online, places like amazon have a wide range of orbital sanders and there will often be more choice than in a local store. In addition, you tend to find that online stores have far more competative prices than local stores – largely because they have lower fixed costs themselves. The biggest advantage to shopping online is the fact that you have so much more information to hand – when was the last time that you went into a hardware store and saw a customer review alongside a product? Probably never. Whereas online you can always look at customer reviews of an orbital sander before you commit to buying it. These reviews can be invaluable.
Conclusion: The best random orbital sander
Congratulations on reading through our guide to power sanders. If you have reached this point then you should now be very well informed. You should have a strong understanding of the different types of orbital sanders available on the market today as well as an idea of all the different features that orbital sanders have and what they all mean in the real world.
From the research that we have carried out, we rated one sander as the best over-all sander on the market today. In our opinion the best mains powered orbital sander available in 2020 is the Makita BO5041K. We rated this sander as the best on the market because of its look, ease of use, impressive features and overall performance.
Even though we rated the Makita BO5041K as the top sander on the market today, it doesn’t mean that its necessarily the best sander for you, that is why we produced such a comprehensive guide and why we spent so much time explaining all of the different features available as well as in depth reviews of the top orbital sanders. Each sander that we have reviewed in this guide is well deserved of being among the top rated random orbit sanders of 2020 and each one has its own unique qualities.
We hope that you can use this guide to pick the best value random orbit sander for your use-case but if you still have questions at this point, or you are just not sure which sander is most suited for your needs, don’t hestiate to get in touch with us – we are here to help and always ready to answer any questions that you have remaining by this point.