A random orbital sander is one of the power tools that is present in most households and workshops. It makes the sanding process a lot easier and quicker. A good quality tool should have enough power to tackle all necessary sanding jobs. The best random orbital sander should be durable, versatile and easy to use.
If you wonder which random orbital sander is right for you, you’ve come to the right place.
This article will tell you about best random orbital sanders available on the market as well as which features you should look for when buying one.
Random Orbital Sander vs Orbital Sander
People often confuse them with orbit sanders mainly because of the name. The main difference is in a base shape and a way they work/remove material.
In RO(Random Orbital) sander the round base vibrates as well as spins what allows for more efficient material removal. If you combine it with a variable speed you can achieve different results from smoothing rough planks to preparing a surface for a finish.
Some of them like Bosch 1250DEVS also have a second mode like TURBO MODE which makes them even more efficient in removing material.
The sanding effects are comparable with those achieved by belt sanders but more difficult to control makes them suitable mostly for experienced woodworkers.
Random orbital sanders come usually in 2 pad sizes: 5 and 6 inches. Anything under 5″ can be considered as detail sander and anything above 6″ is usually a pneumatic sander that requires an air compressor to run.
What to Look for in a Random Orbital Sander?
A Power Source
You can find 3 types of power source – corded a.i mains operated, cordless – battery operated and pneumatic- operated by an air compressor.
You must know that power source will determine sander’s motor power and weight of the tool. Battery operated tools tend to be less powerful and heavier due to a weight of the battery itself.
Typically I’d say that corded tools are the way to go, but with battery technology improving at a fast pace is advisable to consider cordless tools especially when portability is important for you.
Pneumatic sanders are more professional grade and require additional equipment(an air compressor) to run.
Motor Power and Speed
This kind of sanders usually feature motors with 2-5 Amps of power. That’s the input power. The output power is the one you should look for as that’s the actual power used to operate the sanding pad. Better quality sanders can consume less input power and yet have the same power output.
The pad vibrations vary from 4000 up to 14000 OPM(orbit per minute) and the more rapid vibrating a the quicker is the sanding operation.
It’s the most important feature for a great flat surface finish. It’s the place you attach the sanding paper to. Usually with hook and loop system(some models accept stick on paper as well).
Most nowadays models have holes in the base for sawdust removal (reduces surface scratches).
It’s important to remember that the foam part of the base plate will wear after some time so you’d either have to get a replacement or buy a new sander.
So my advice for you is to consider this feature and cost of replacement pad before buying as some pads can be quite expensive to replace.
Dust Collection System
As I wrote above most modern sanders come with some kind of dust collection system in place. It can be a dust bag with or without shop vacuum attachment/adapter or Microfilter Dust Canister. A sawdust is collected through the holes in a base plate.
Trigger Switch and Trigger Switch Lock
Most of the sanders have a switch that can be rubberized for better dust protection. Some of them also can have a trigger with a lock on a side for easier control.
Whilst small, compact random orbital sanders usually have a single speed, some of them also can feature a variable speed which is usually controlled by a trigger switch or speed control dial and allows to use different speeds for specific tasks.
Rubberized Grip and Handles
Smaller sanders usually are held from the top or in some cases you can wrap your hand around the sander’s body. The bigger ones have pistol/barrel grip handle and sometimes an additional handle at the front for better control(mostly in random orbital sanders).
It’s important to have when working for longer periods of time as it reduces user fatigue and tingling sensation in the hands.
Random orbital sanders use sanding disks which are usually attached to the base plate by a hook and loop system. This allows for quick paper changes.
If you more of a stick-on paper fan, some of the models have interchangeable bases for this kind of sanding paper that can be purchased separately.
The disks usually have 6 or 8 holes for effective dust removal. You can buy them in batches with various grit sizes.
If you’d like to learn more about sandpaper and sanding please have a look at my article about sanding tips.
Best Random Orbital Sanders Reviews
1. Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbit Sander
- 2.5 Amp motor moves between 7500 and 12000 OPM, providing a superior finish
- Integral pad dampening braking system to prevent swirl marks
- Bosch’s hooktight hook-and-loop disc attachment
- Microcellular backing pad for smooth, fine finishes
- Features microfilter system for optimal filtering of fine dust and trapping particles as small as a 1/2-micron in diameter
- Low-vibration operation
- Very smooth and quiet
- Long cord
- Excellent dust collection
- Reduced vibrations
- Very smooth finish
- Strong hoop and loop disk attachment
- Not very aggressive
- Not for rough sanding
- Case hasn’t got much extra storage
This Bosch ROS20VSC Orbital sander is one of the top rated sanders that is very popular with woodworkers. It features 2.5 Amp motor and variable speed running between 7,500 and 12,000 OPM. Variable speed like this will let you adjust it to the specific task.
However, you have to keep in mind that at a low speed putting much down pressure may result in slowing down of the disk. This is fine for final finishing or polishing but will make the sanding task take longer. My advice is instead putting a lot of pressure on it get yourself good quality sanding disks and I’m sure you won’t have to worry about it slowing down.
Another thing about it is that you might find it not aggressive enough for large material removal.
If you need a very powerful sander that will tackle any jobs thrown its way check out Bosch DEVS1250.
But if you’re looking for a sander that runs very smoothly and will let you achieve very smooth finish thanks to its integral dampening system this Bosh is worth to consider.
We all want flat, smoothest finish we can get and I know how annoying these little swirl marks can be, especially after long sanding session.
Rubberized, ergonomically shaped grips and body, as well as reduced vibrations, will allow you for longer sessions without much fatigue.
It’s a versatile tool that accepts a variance of backing pads (RS033, RS034, RS032 backing pads) as well as a buffing pad(RS014 buffing pad) so even if you’re not into woodworking you’ll be able to use it e.i for sanding and polishing cars.
Last but not least is the dust collection which appears to be the best thing of this little sander. It Features microfilter system that will catch particles as small as 1/2 micron. So many positive votes for this dust collection makes me think Bosch did a really good job and came out with a solution that actually works.
If you, however, don’t like any dust bags or canisters this sander is compatible with standard 1-1/4-inch and 1-1/2-inch vacuum hoses or any Bosch vacuum cleaner hose.
Overall is a well-made power tool that is very easy to use even with no previous experience. It won’t win a race but it’s nice and steady. The pad wears evenly and the included case is nice but has very little extra storage.
2. Black & Decker BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander
- 2.0 Amp motor sands at 12,000 OPM, providing a superior finish
- 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
- Amazon bestseller
- Ultra-Compact, efficient design,
- Good option for upgrading from hand sanding.
- Very budget friendly
- Lacking in power
- Noticeable vibrations
- Not best quality hook and loop
- Might not be comfortable to use for small hands
If you have an extremely tight budget or you’re just upgrading from hand sanding this little sander from Black and Decker could be the one you’re looking for.
I’ll be honest with you. It’s no Bosch nor Makita. It’s not even A Porter Cable. It’s compact, basic RO sander that will get any small project done.
No fancy features mean a lower price and this one is very budget friendly. The 2 Amp motor and 12000 OPM means that it’s not the most powerful one but runs quite smoothly and is easy to control by a beginner.
Although it has many positive reviews mostly by users with little or no experience in using RO sanders there are a few issues that keep popping up and that I’d like to address.
First, the hook and loop system is not the best one and might fail relatively quickly. Disks don’t hold on well on the surfaces less than 2 to 3 inches wide.
Second thing is that ergonomically is not the most comfortable to hold and might not be great for small hands because the handle is quite big. Also, the vibrations are noticeable so you probably won’t be able to work for longer periods of time.
I’m not even going to start on dust collection with the dust bag because we all know how that works…even in higher end sanders. If you plug it into a shop vac it would definitely improve.
But if you have one I don’t think you’ll be considering getting this sander.
On the positive note, it’s fairly lightweight so your arm will not ache. Good option for upgrading from hand sanding.
4. Black & Decker BDERO600 Random Orbital Sander
- Paddle Switch Activation for easy on/off during application
- 2.4 Amp Motor
- High-performance dust collection to provide a clean work surface
- 14,000 orbits per minute
- Comfortable to use
- Great for smaller projects
- Compact, lightweight and comfortable
- Budget friendly
- No out of the box connection to a shop vac
- Dust collector collects some of the dust
This model can be considered as an upgrade from BDERO100. It’s a fairly new one and has been very well received. I’ll try to dig a bit deeper and tell you about what this sander has to offer.
The first thing you notice that it has a 2.4 Amp motor power and 14,000 OPM, a little bit more than BDERO100.
It still won’t be a sander for big projects that require a lot of power but it would work great on the small projects.
Another difference is the paddle switch activation which is a quite new approach to starting up a power tool. It’s quite intuitive. You simply press the top of the sander with your palm like you do normally when sanding and it activates the sander. It’s quite cool, isn’t?
As long as the paddle switch works smoothly. You can also lock it in a working position which makes it more comfortable to use.
The shape of this sander seems to be more ergonomically designed than BDERO100. The size of the handle is smaller and would fit nicely even for smaller hands.
The dust collector works fine but I wouldn’t count on it to collect most of the dust. It also wouldn’t connect to a shop vac unless you find an adapter that fits or you make it fit with a little DIY.
Overall, another budget friendly sander that is compact, lightweight and comfortable. Great option for beginners and occasional DIY-ers.
5. VonHaus 3.5 Amp 5-inch Random Orbit Sander / Orbital Polisher
- Powerful 3.5 Amp motor with lock on switch
- Variable speed dial – adjustable from 6000-13000 rpm
- Random-Orbit Sander with 5-inch sanding surface and 8 hole hook and loop backed base pad
- Compact lightweight design with ergonomically designed soft grip handle
- Dust extraction port with dust collection bag
- Powerful 3 Amp motor
- Variable speed
- Extra accessories – sanding disks and polishing pads
- Reduced vibrations
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Budget friendly
- No break-disc keeps spinning
- Popping of dust canister that doesn’t collect much dust
- No shop vac adapter included
This tool has enough power for most sanding tasks and will not bog down when pressing down. A variable speed is a real bonus. It’s quite heavy and at nearly 6lbs it might not be for you if you’re looking for something lightweight for often usage in a vertical position.
However, heavy weight can be beneficial and speed up the sanding process.
One thing that you can’t say about it is that it’s a compact sander. It is bigger and it features a d-shape handle, a kind of you often see in jigsaws.
Unusual, but it has its advantages. After locking the trigger in an engaged position you can move your hand freely and hold it in different positions on the comfortable grips reducing hand fatigue. It’s actually big enough to hold it with 2 hands if you ever need to.
A hook and loop system allows for quick sanding disk change but you have to pay attention to the spinning pad as it doesn’t have a brake. So whenever you switch it off it continues to spin for some time but it’s not something you can’t stop with a gloved hand.
For the price, I wouldn’t expect extra features anyway so it’s not a deal breaker for me.
Dust collection canister likes popping off and it doesn’t collect much of the dust anyway. If it’s something you’re after you’d have to spend more and get Bosch RO or you if you have a shop vac you can hook it up to one and have dust problem sorted.
Just to give you a heads up, unfortunately, a vacuum adapter is not included.
Overall a very decent tool. For the price in the same range as BDERO600, you get surprisingly quiet, with very little vibration and easy to hold for an extended period of time, RO sander.
On top of that, you get 9 sanding disks and 3 different pads for many other applications like polishing and buffing.
What’s not to like?
6. DEWALT DWE6421K Random Orbit Sander Kit and DEWALT DWE6423K Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander
- 3.0 Amp motor that spins the pad at 12,000 OPM
- 3.0 Amp motor spins the pad at 8,000 – 12,000 OPM (variable speed model)
- Shorter height minimizes the distance between user and workpiece
- Dust-sealed switch to protect against dust ingestion for longer life
- Improved dust collection and interfacing with our vacuum locking system
- Innovative one-hand locking system on dust bag
- Uses hook and loop system with 8-hole discs
- Easy to maneuver, simple but solid
- 3 amp power motor
- Reduced vibrations
- Good dust collection and innovative one-hand locking system
- A lot high rated user reviews
- Shortish cord
- The switch is awkward to use
- Might be difficult to connect to certain shop vacs
If you’re a fan of the black and yellow label, you’d certainly be interested in learning what the latest random orbital sanders have to offer. The DEWALT DWE6421K and DWE6423K are newer versions of very liked and popular models DEWALT D26451 (single speed) D26453K (variable speed).
They both feature a 3.0 Amp motor that runs at 12,000 OPM(single) and 8,000 – 12,000 OPM (variable speed) which is similar to competitors and will let you accomplish any sanding tasks.
Both models are shorter than the previous ones which should make them easier to control, as the distance between the hand grip and the work surface is smaller. They also have pretty much the same speed range and at the same time are around 25% cheaper so very good news indeed.
The rubber over-mold and a separate counterweight inside the tool seem to do a good job in reducing vibrations and make sanding large jobs easier on the hand.
Dewalt actually brags about the sanders’ low vibrations at only 2.5 m/s^2, which is important when doing long sanding sessions or if you suffer from a carpal tunnel, as it helps to reduce hand and arm fatigue. The hand grip is not too big and would be a good fit for smaller hands.
What else do these two sanders have to offer? Let’s see… Dust-sealed switch that should protect it from dust ingestion is a little awkward to use but that is no surprise as most of them are. Dust collection works pretty well even with the dust bag attached. That’s a surprise, isn’t it?
The bag features innovative one-hand locking system, which is handy. Mostly because usually the dust bags or canisters are a real pain to attach securely.
Overall they are solid tools. Not too noisy and easy to use. The lightweight allows maneuver easily and you don’t have to fight the tool along the way.
7. Makita BO5030K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander and Makita BO5031K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit
- Smooth and fast sanding with 3.0 AMP motor (12,000 OPM)(4,000 – 12,000 OPM for variable speed model)
- Rubberized grip for improved operator comfort and control
- 1/8″ random orbit action for fast and super smooth sanding
- Pad control system for controlled pad speed upon start-up
- Efficient through-the-pad dust collection system for a cleaner work environment
- Dust-sealed switch minimizes contamination
- Uses quick-change 5″ (8-hole) hook-and-loop abrasive paper
- Easy to control and lightweight
- Virtually no vibrations in upper-speed range
- Excellent dust removal with shop vac attached
- Well balanced and comfortable
- No out of the box shop vac connectivity
- Clumsy switch
- Uncomfortable vibrations in lower speed range
Here take a closer look at 2 models from Makita. The BO5030K and BO5031K are pretty much the same sander featuring 3 Amps motor. The speed range is 12000 OPM and 4,000 – 12,000 OPM for variable speed one (BO5031K). They have a decent power for various sanding tasks, but this might be not enough if you need more material removal, even with some coarse grits. 1/8 – inch orbit size is on the smaller side which means cleaner finish.
Easy to control and lightweight (2.2 lbs), will simply let you move it across the workpiece with very little pressure for great results ready for the finish to be applied.
Ergonomically designed, featuring a rubberized handle and virtually no vibrations that help reducing user fatigue, these sanders will let you work for extended periods of time. Saying that the vibrations rise significantly in lower speed range (BO5031K) to the point it makes it uncomfortable to work for longer.
The all ball bearing construction and rubberized switch are meant to increase the durability of the tool. The switch is a bit clumsy to operate and the variable speed dial can be difficult to operate with gloves on.
The dust removal is decent when using the attached dust bag but nothing extraordinary. Like in most sanders the bag tends to come off easily. For much better results hook it up to a shop vac, it takes the dust collection to the next level.
The only problem you might come across is a lack of out-of-box connectivity but it can be solved with a Fein Step Adaptor. It seems to do the trick.
These sanders are solid, well balanced and comfortable to use tools. They are a good choice for any woodworker or DIY-er and will not disappoint.
8. Bosch 1250DEVS Random Orbit Sander with Dual Mode
- 6-1/2-Amp motor which provides heavy sanding and extended tool life
- Soft start for reduced start-up torque, variable speed to match speed to any workpiece and vacuum port for dust-free sanding
- Turbo Mode for aggressive, fast stock removal, random orbit mode for fine swirl-free sanding
- Constant response circuitry maintains pad speed under heavy loads and protects against overload
- Dual Mode with Turbo Mode for fast stock removal
- 6.5 Amp motor with variable speed
- Constant Response™ circuitry and speed dial maintain pad speed under load
- Cheap replacement pads with different firmness for different tasks
- No case included
- No locking mechanism for a vacuum port
- Needs some firm grip to handle and getting used to in Turbo Mode
This sander has 6.5 Amp motor which gives you a lot of power and 3100 – 6650 OPM variable speed to match to any project(task). It’s not the fastest RO sander on the market but this is compensated by a Dual Mode with Turbo Mode and Finishing Mode.
What’s Turbo Mode? This is the thing that will make you want to forget about belt sanders forever. It’s an eccentric mode for aggressive stock removal. It will remove up to 5 times more material than normal random orbit sanding mode. So if you have a lot of rough timber or pallet planks to sand this little beast will easily tackle any job you’ll throw its way.
If you considering getting a belt sander you might think again and consider this Bosh. It’s as aggressive as belt sander but without the risk of gouging a workpiece. It’s also got soft start function to reduce start-up torque. The simple flip of a switch changes the mode to finish one and you have a nice finishing RO sander that leaves very little swirl.
It might be a bit difficult to handle for inexperienced woodworkers but as with every power tool, there is a learning curve. Here might be a bit bigger one. The auxiliary handle definitely comes in handy because, in this mode, you’d want to use two hands for a better control.
The casing is made of hard plastic and the gear housing is a rugged aluminum. Also, bearings and gears and switch that are sealed against dust for long durability.
This sander has a vacuum port and works virtually dust free with a shop vac attached. There will be a lot of dust when working in Turbo Mode so some kind of dust collection system is a necessity. Dust port accepts Bosch hoses and standard equipment VAC002 hose adapter allows connection to 1-1/4 ” and 1-1/2 ” hoses.
Well made, durable with a selection of accessories available to tackle any job. If you’re experienced DIY-er or a professional woodworker you’d be extremely satisfied with this tool.
9. Porter-Cable 382 Random Orbit Sander
- Dual-plane counter-balanced fan reduces user fatigue
- 100% ball bearing construction
- Provides maximum sanding speed for smooth finishes
- Controlled finishing system maintains controllable pad speed and minimizes gouging during start up
- Reasonable price
- Reliable workhorse
- Lightweight and quiet
- Control finishing system to minimize gouging
- Dual plane counter balanced fan for reduced vibrations
- Parts easy to order
- Slowing down with coarser grits
- Annoying rubber cover on an on/off switch
- No rubber grip
This sander has 1.9 Amp motor that is capable of 12000 OPM. A single speed means that it won’t be tackle every job in a shop but still, we are looking at a basic tool for beginners.
When working with finer grits it does an excellent job. It’s when you switch to coarser grits you can feel the motor slowing down. It’s not a deal breaker, you still will get fine results if you let it work at its own pace, but it will take longer.
A 5-inchad has hook and loop system for easy sanding discs changing. However, if you prefer a stick on paper you can always easily change the base for one that accepts this kind of sandpaper.
Porter-Cable 382 is well balanced and it’s easy on hands. It has dual plane counter balance fan and does a good job on reducing vibrations.
Dust collection with a relatively empty bag is good but not excellent, hook it up to a shop vac and it’s completely different story. The large, multi-port adapter fits easily and you can enjoy a nearly dust free working environment.
Porter-Cable 382 5-inch Random Orbit Sander is a good value for money It’s sturdy, well balanced and easy on hands. Good sander for DIYers.
10. Makita BO5041k Random Orbital Sander
- 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
- Ergonomic rubberized palm grip and handle for improved operator comfort and control
- Adjustable front handle allows for sanding in corners and confined areas
- 3 Amp motor for more power
- Faster sanding
- Variable speed for better control
- Low vibrations for user comfort
- Long handle and extra removable fore grip that can be set in any position around the body
- Fantastic dust collection with a shop vac attached
- Very quiet at lower speeds and average at full speed
- No shop vac adapter included in the kit
- Poor dust collection with the dust bag especially at lower speeds
Makita BO5041k random orbital sander is a fantastic tool even for commercial/professional use. The 3 Amp motor has enough power and even with some added pressure it will not bog down nor get hot. The variable (4000-12000 OPM) can be easily adjusted to match different tasks. It’s lightweight and made of quality materials.
Comfortable to use and has nice smooth sanding action. Easy to control and extra fore grip makes it even easier.
1/8″ random orbital radius gives you smoother results and fewer swirl marks as well as decreases possibility of over sanding and burning the wood.
The dust bag collects the dust relatively well when clean and empty and only when running the sander at high speed for a few minutes. It changes dramatically with the shop vac attached. The dust level collection is near perfect even when operating at lower speeds.
The vibrations levels are extremely low from lowest to highest speed settings. Working with this tool for hours won’t cause you any stress.
Heavy duty case makes a nice addition and overall I recommend Makita BO5041k to anyone who needs a great reliable tool in their collection. It’s one of the best random orbital sanders on the market.
What is your preferred brand/type of sander? What are your must-have features in a random orbital sander? Have you got any tips or advice for finding a perfect tool? Leave a comment in a box below 🙂