If you are working on a woodworking project, you’ll eventually come to a point where you need to sand a significant flat surface. There are many of doing this, but one of the most common ones is to use a random orbit sander. Here’s a quick buyer’s guide to picking the top tool for your projects.
What is a random orbital sander?
A random orbit sander is basically the modern version of a dual-action sander that was used some time ago. The problem with a normal disc sander is that it can remove too much material along a certain path too fast leaving a circular mark. The idea behind a random orbit sander is that it creates a random motion for the disc in addition to the usual circular motion. This gives the material a much cleaner and more even finish. This tool is irreplaceable in DIY projects, home improvements and even more esoteric arts such as making electric guitars.
How do you buy one?
What should you look for? Here’s a quick overview of the features to shop for. If you want more in-depth info on some of the best random orbit sander, you may want to check out the huge article on Woodworkify or on Youtube.
Features to look at
First of all, consider the size. If you are working on a large flat surface, you may want to go for a 6 inch disc. If your project is smaller, pick a sander with a smaller disc size. Some sanders are also capable of handling discs of different sizes.
Next, sanders may come with a front handle, which allows you to have a good grip on the sander. Some models however, allow you to remove this handle to have better access to inside corners.
Dust collection system
Make sure your tool has a good pleated filter with a dust collector such as a dust bag or a dust canister. You can also attach your sander to a vacuum, so make sure the model you choose allows you to do that.
Another nice feature to have is speed variability. The faster you sand, the more danger of damaging your work (something called sand-through). You want to be able to use a slower orbit speed for more delicate work. This is also important when sanding other materials such as plastic. The sanding process becomes much easier with variable speed. One more thing to look at in regards to rotation speed is whether a particular model has a soft start – the ability to increase RPMs gradually when turned on.
It’s important to know what kinds of sanding discs or polishing pads the sander accepts. Some vendors lock you in into proprietary attaching mechanisms, so you can only use sandpaper from them in the future. Something to look out for.
In addition to the above, you may want to look for a machine that allows you to lock the trigger into the ON position (a lock-on button). This prevents you from tiring your finger too much while working.
Cord length is another consideration: too short a cord will annoy the hell out of you when you have to mess around with extension cables or move your work.
A rubberized grip will help you feel comdfortable holding the power tool while a dustsealed switch will prevent accidents and malfunctions.
To quickly cover some of the possible top picks for the best random orbital sander to have, have a look at these: Bosch ROS20VSC, DeWALT D26453K, Makita BO5041K and Black & Decker BDERO600. These are all excellent tools that won’t let you down and some of these are also Amazon best-sellers.
Here’s a good video you may want to refer to as well: