Removing old paint is not an easy nor pleasant task as sanding in general. It takes a good chunk of time and patience to achieve the desired results. You can try different stripping methods but in the end, when you have several layers of gloss paint on top of some lacquer finish the only way to get rid of it is a powerful sander.
Now you have 2 choices. First, go for a belt sander or second, get the random orbital sander.
The first one will do the job for sure and if you have a lot of old wood like pallets I’d recommend getting one anyway. But if you only have a budget for one sander that is supposed to be versatile and used for other tasks get the random orbital sander.
What to look for in an orbital sander
Removing old paint requires great power so when looking for a sander, especially for this kind of work, make sure it’s got enough Amps to do the job. Most of the 5in sanders will have something around 3 Amp but if you if can, go for 6in ones with at least 6 Amp of power. They will be great for heavy usage and will last longer.
#2. Variable speed
When it comes to choosing a good sander variable speed will give you more control especially when sanding the painted surface that is not even/flat.
#3. Speed lock
This feature is great, full stop. It allows you to hold on to your sander more freely and focus on the task at hand. When choosing the sander look for speed lock that will lock at any speed not only the highest.
#4. Good vacuum collection system for collecting old sanded paint
I think this one of the most important features when it comes to sanding painted surfaces. Make sure the vacuum attachment stays attached and the dust bag/canister collects most of the dust. Another thing to pay attention to is an option to attach the shop vac.
#5. Low vibrations
I don’t think I have to explain this one. Working long hours with sander shouldn’t leave your hands numb so look for one with vibration control for more comfortable sanding and more control.
Best random orbital sanders for removing paint
#1. Bosch 1250DEVS
This sander is a beast. With its 6.5 Amp of power, it will get your job faster and easier. The one thing you have to keep in mind is that it could be a bit more difficult to control especially if you don’t have much experience with orbital sanders. The auxiliary handle can help you with that though.
Another thing great about this sander is the dual mode. You flip a switch and turbo mode turns it into very efficient, aggressive stock removal machine.
Pretty handy when you need to get rid of gazillion layers of paint, isn’t it? Flip it back and you can easily finish off your piece with the finishing mode.
It has a variable speed for even more control with Constant Response circuitry that keeps the speed maintained under heavy loads and a vacuum port for dust collection and mess-free work. The body is built of solid materials and all bearings and gears and switch are sealed against dust for long durability.
- 6 in sanding pad
- 6.5 Amp of power
- Great quality
#2. Festool 571810 RO 150 FEQ Rotex Sander
If you’re looking for an excellent dust collection in your sander this Festool model will be perfect for you. Festool is a leader among power tools manufacturers and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. But quality comes with a price tag, so be prepared to spend some bucks.
This Rotex sander has 6-inch pad with 17 holes with the fastfix pad and that means tool-less and fast pad changes. No need to have to sanders with different grits on them, just change the pad and you’re ready to go.
The powerful Multi-Jetstream dust collection will help you contain all the sanded paint which is very important especially when sanding old paint that might contain dangerous lead.
Very little vibrations with electronic vibration control-great if you working long period of time and automatic dust extractor shut on/off are other great features as well as consistent speed under pressure with MMC electronic controls.
This tool has a great balance and awesome control. As in the Bosch 1250devs bearings and gears are enclosed so better protection against dust mean longer tool life.
That’s not the only similarities to Bosch sander. It also and similar OPM and power as well as a dual mode for aggressive stock removal or polishing and random orbital mode for fine sanding. Overall great sander but a bit pricey.
- 6-in exchangeable pad
- 6 Amp of power
- Quality built
#3. Bosch 120-V 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander
For stripping paint I’d recommend using a shop vac every time.
Bosch ROS65VC-6 supports 2 pad sizes 5-in(with 6 holes) and 6- in(with 8 holes) one so you get a very versatile tool. Both pads are included so you can hit the ground working.
This sander is fast and feels great and variable speed and multiple grips on the body(including the removable handle at the front) make it a very efficient tool for multiple applications. Although it only has 3.3 Amps of power I think in this case is enough to tackle any job you throw at it.
It’s a great tool but if you’re willing to spend that kind of money I’d throw in a few more bucks and got the Bosch devs1250. Mostly because of the dual mode.
- 5 and 6-inch pads
- Amazing vibration control
- 2 dust collection systems
When it comes to choosing the best orbital sander for removing paint you want something that will do the job fast and hustle free. All of these sanders are great tools and will do the job in question without a doubt. They all have amazing user reviews and will last ages.
Bosch Devs 1250 would be my pick in this case as it has nearly all of the Festool’s features at the half of the price.
However, If you think that you need more choice or have a smaller budget I’ve written an extensive buying guide on orbital sanders and you’re more than welcome to have a look. I hope you’ll find something for you there.
Kasia is an owner of Wooden Pallet Projects Toolbox. She’s a DIY and upcycling enthusiast and if she’s not painting, sanding or drilling she’s writing about power tools or tips for DIY and pallet projects that make the creative process easier and more fun!