Porter-Cable 330 Sander-Is it Really One of The Best Orbital Sanders?

It looks like this sander is discontinued and therefore not available anymore. For more choice on orbital/sheet sanders please visit Best Orbital/Finishing (Sheet) Sander-Buying Guide and Sanders Reviews.

To answer this question about Porter-Cable 330 Sander you should really ask yourself another one. What are the most important features for you in a finishing/orbital sander?

We all know that feeling of confusion when trying to find the best tool for the purpose. It takes time and a lot of research. And because I like to check every possibility before I spend my hard-earned money, it takes time.

I’ve decided to share my findings with you so you can have a closer look and check for yourself if this Porter-Cable 330 orbital sander is right for you.

 

ImageNameMain Features
 
PORTER-CABLE 330 Speed-Bloc
1/4 Sheet Sander

  • Solid metal frame

  • Ball bearings fully sealed

  • Cheap replaceable parts

  • Weight: 4lb

  • Heavy stiff metal clamps




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Power


With its 1.2 Amp motor, it might not be the most powerful of sanders but it still will do a great finishing job. A single speed and 14000 OPM it’s typical for most generic sanding tasks.

This sander may lack in versatility but, in my opinion, it’s not meant to be used for many different tasks. It’s a finishing 1/4 sheet sander and it should be used for that purpose. With its small orbit (5/64″) you’ll achieve a cleaner finish. If you need something more powerful or versatile you should look for a random orbit sander like Porter Cable 382 or Makita BO5041.

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Baseplate


It’s got a 1/4 sheet baseplate with heavy and pretty stiff metal clamps that require a special tool to operate. This tool is included with the sander and if you worry you may lose it you can always use a screwdriver. This may seem like a lot of effort to change a sandpaper sheet but there are several upsides to this feature.

First, the paper is gripped a lot tighter than in most palm sanders. The second thing is, that you’re able to use the old trick and mount several paper sheets at once and when the first one wears out all you have to do is tear it out and you have a fresh sheet ready to use. Pretty handy, isn’t it?

If you’re not fond of playing with these clamps there is another way around it. This base accepts PSA type sandpaper (stick-on/pressure sensitive adhesive). The only downside is the price. This kind of sandpaper is far more expensive than traditional sheets.

After getting to this point in my review you’re probably wondering why you should pay more for this sander when it hasn’t got many of the “fancy” features the other ones have. Well, this is the part you should read on to find out.

Body


How many times I’ve heard or read that nowadays power tools are well made as they used to be. Usually full of plastic with some of the parts expensive to replace if possible at all.

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This is one of the examples where the designers decided to go for durability and quality materials. A full, solid metal frame will last years and for a hobbyist or DIY-re even decades. This makes it quite heavy and difficult to work overhead but on the other hand, the weight adds more pressure when sanding and it’s a great feature when needed.

This is a tough machine made to last. The ball bearings are fully sealed and motor brushes are long allowing for a long time of use and cheap to replace.

The power switch is conveniently placed near the top of the tool and easily switches it on and off with one finger.

Unlike in any other typical palm sander, there is no knob on the top of this sander. The idea is to wrap your hand around the body. This way of holding it is far more comfortable and allows working for longer without any cramping. It also gives you more control over the tool.

 

Vibrations 


Another important feature for any woodworker. When you look at Porter-Cable 330 it’s not very obvious but the rubber vibration dampeners built into the base and a heavy weight do a very good job on reducing vibrations. The base plate is well isolated from the outer housing allowing working longer without fatigue.

 

Dust collection


Surprisingly this sander hasn’t got any built-in dust collection. It’d require you to work on top of a downdraft sanding table. For some users, who haven’t got any dust collection system in place this may be a big drawback unless you don’t mind cleaning up after a busy sanding session or if you’re working outside. Conclusion- not everyone’s cup of tea.

The upside is that because there is no dust collection, there are no holes to suck up the sawdust and there is no fan which means there is absolutely no dust in the body or a motor and that means an increased lifetime of the tool.

 

Other features


There aren’t many other features as I mentioned at the beginning but many of the users have found this sander fairly quiet compared to other orbital sanders.

 

Pros

  • virtually no vibrations – great for longer sanding sessions
  • metal frame
  • heavyweight – adds downward pressure
  • extremely durable and solid
  • comfortable to hold
  • quiet compared to competitors
  • excellent finishing results
  • small orbit (5/64″) for a cleaner finish
  • cheap, easy to find replaceable parts

Cons

  • shortish power cord
  • not great for using overhead due to weight
  • no dust collection built-in
  • paper clamps that require a tool to operate
  • no rubberized knob on top

Verdict


This sander is definitely something different. With its limited features, it may not be for everyone. But if you’re after well build and solid tool it’s worth considering. Let me summarize it for you.

If you buy Porter-Cable 330 Orbital Sander you’ll get a great palm sander that will last you for years. It’s very well made using quality materials. A well balanced, easy to control by the grip design and comfortable to hold will allow you for many working hours without fatigue.

It’s excellent for awkward places like sides,  where bigger ones won’t fit and you’ll achieve great finishing results using 220 and finer grits sandpaper. Quieter than most of this type of sanders is very pleasant to use.

No dust collection built-in or awkward clamping system means that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, these features make it extremely durable. Now it’s up to you to decide which features are the most important in an orbital sander.

This sander is one of the best on the market and if you’re willing to compromise it will serve you for years to come.

Buy Now

For more orbital sander reviews visit my buying guide.

Kasia

 

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!


 

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!

2 thoughts on “Porter-Cable 330 Sander-Is it Really One of The Best Orbital Sanders?

  1. Great idea about loading several sheets at once! Now why didn’t I think of that? Seriously tho – I hate having to stop and change the paper. I love the way it grips that sand paper, I have never found a peel and stick version that does not fly off, also very annoying. This looks like a pretty good sander and it’s going on my wish list for sure. Do you think the price is in line? Seems pretty fair to me.

    1. Hi, Scott!
      I must agree it’s a brilliant idea!And for that reason only I’d recommend it to anyone. I remember struggling with sandpaper popping out of the clamps during sanding and it was driving me crazy.
      As for price, it’s a solid tool, very well build. When thinking about a price you usually have some kind of a budget in mind for the features you’re after. Some people might say it’s a bit pricey comparing to other orbital sanders this size but I don’t mind paying for a quality tool that will last you years if not decades and will pay for itself in the long run. So in my opinion, this price it quite attractive when you think in terms that you wouldn’t have to buy a new tool every couple of years and parts are fairly cheap to replace.

      Kasia

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