Removing old paint is not an easy nor pleasant task, as is sanding in general. It takes a good chunk of time and patience to achieve the results you want. So how to remove paint from wood in the most efficient way, you may ask?
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.
The best sander to remove paint will have to be a powerful one with quite a few features to make this job easier and faster. If you want to know more about other paint removal methods, check my post on removing paint from wood.
Now you have two 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(RO).
Removing paint with an RO sander may not be as efficient as a belt sander but you’re less likely to damage the wood surface with it.
Best random orbital sander 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. You have to keep in mind that this sander could be a bit more difficult to control especially if you don’t have much experience with random 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 a 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 a Constant Response circuit 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, as well as the switch, are sealed against dust for long durability.
This sander is a very impressive tool that will not disappoint you. One of the best sanders on the market. It has many positive reviews on Amazon, and if you need more convincing, I wrote a full review on it that you can check out here.
- 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 sander 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 a 6-inch pad with 17 holes with the fastfix pad, which means tool-less and fast pad changes. No need to have many 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.
Minimal vibrations with electronic vibration control-great if you are working long periods of time. An automatic dust extractor shut on/off as well as consistent speed under pressure with MMC electronic controls are some of the other great features that users love in this model.
This tool has a great balance and awesome control. As in the Bosch 1250devs, bearings and gears are enclosed, so better protection against dust means longer tool life.
That’s not the only similarity to Bosch sander. It also and similar OPM, power, and 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
The vibration control suspension system in this tool is truly fantastic, and your hands will thank you for it. When it comes to dust collection, it has two dust collection systems.
First is a micro-filter dust canister with an integrated paper filter and screw-off cap, and the second – a vacuum hose connection with airflow control. Both of them fasten easily to the port.
For removing paint, I’d recommend using a shop vac with an appropriate HEPA filter every time.
Bosch ROS65VC-6 supports two 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. 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, it is enough to tackle any paint removal 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, which makes removing paint and other sanding tasks a lot faster and easier.
- 5 and 6-inch pads
- Amazing vibration control
- 2 dust collection systems
What to look for in the best sander for removing paint
Removing paint, especially old multiple layers of it, requires great power, so when looking for a sander 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 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 choosing a sander for removing paint, 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 a 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 is one of the most important features when it comes to sanding painted surfaces. Ensure 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. Even better, make sure you’re using a HEPA filter with your shop vac as well.
#5. Low vibrations
I don’t think I have to explain this one. Working long hours with a sander shouldn’t leave your hands numb so look for one with vibration control for more comfortable sanding and more control.
When choosing the best 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 random orbital sanders and you’re more than welcome to have a look. I hope you’ll find something for you there.