Last updated on January 4th, 2022 at 10:23 am
A random orbital sander combines orbital or elliptical motion and circular motion of a circular abrasive pad to help produce very smooth surfaces on lumber and other material surfaces such as plastic and metal.
This combined motion produces constant irregular overlapping circles, thus preventing any form of repetitive patterns from being created by the sandpaper or abrasive material on the surface because no single part of the abrasive travels the same part twice.
That is why unlike most other sanders, using a random orbital sander prevents the appearance of swirl marks on the material, thus making it very useful for sanding different types of surfaces without any negative effect on the surface.
Our Top Picks
SKIL PWRCore 20
Festool ETS 125
There are different types of random orbital sanders out there which include:
Electric corded and cordless, air powered, and orbital floor sanders. The electric corded, cordless and air powered types are all handheld units while the floor orbital sanders as the name implies are large machines used for sanding and polishing floors, especially wooden ones.
Here in this article, I’ve listed and reviewed 10 of the best random orbital sanders out there, so you can choose the right one for your project.
1. Bosch GET75-6N Electric Random Orbital Sander Review
This is the Bosch GET75-6N. If you want a high performance electric random orbital sander, this is the one you should go for.
It has 2 sanding modes. First is the random orbit mode for normal stock removal at a regular rate. Second is the turbo driven eccentric orbit mode meant for aggressive stock removal at 5X the rate of the random orbital mode.
If you’re a trim carpenter, cabinet maker or you specialize in installing wooden floors, this is one of the best unit you should have with you.
It comes equipped with a 7.5 am variable speet motor and you can vary the speed between 3300 OPM to 7300 OPM.
To get this thing working at its highest level, you should get a good vacuum cleaner installed and connected to it, especially when removing large amounts of stock.
It comes with a 6 inch pad so you can cover more surface and get more work done. Overall, Bosch really got everything right making the GET75-6N electric random orbital sander.
Related: The 10 Best Oscillating Spindle Sanders For Sanding Curves In Wood
2. Festool 576070 ETS 125 REQ-Plus Random Orbital Sander
The ETS 125 REQ-Plus is not Festool’s top of the line random orbital sander. That will be the Rotex RO 150 FEQ Dual-Mode Sander.
However, what you get with the ETS 125 is a more streamlined and budget friendly but also top-quality random orbital sander from the same brand.
With the Festool ETS 125, you can produce the finest of finishes on any surface it’s used to work on because it has a very fine sanding stroke of 2.0 mm.
No matter the size of your hand, it will fit right in, because it’s very compact and lightweight (weighing just 2.4 lbs.), suitable for extended vertical and overhead use on any type of surface.
The pad speed can be adjusted easily, making it a very versatile tool for working on different types of surfaces such as wood, plastic and even metal.
Festool random orbital sanders are designed to drastically reduce the impact of the vibration of the motor and orbiting sanding pad on the user’s palm.
This is evident in the ETS 125 REQ-Plus, as the balanced vibration stop design helps ensure a smooth operation, user comfort, and ultimately helps produce the better finish results on surfaces.
The ETS 125 REQ-Plus also features a highly efficient Jestream dust removal system that helps clean up the air and work surface during operation.
3. SKIL PWRCore 20 Random Orbital Sander
If you want a powerful cordless random orbital sander with a good battery life you can use to produce the smoothest finishes on your furniture and cabinet projects, then this SKIL PWRCore 20 is one of the best options you can go for.
It’s a 5 inch random orbital sander, equipped with a powerful brushless motor and SKIL’s industry leading PWR Core lithium battery technology, which wraps each cell of the battery with a cooling material to keep a 2 times battery life.
Apart from the powerful battery, the highly efficient brushless motor reduces power usage and delivers up to 11,000 RPM, enough to tackle any kind of woodworking project.
The SKIL PWRCore 20 is not all brute force, it’s actually designed so it the speed can be adjusted to suit the surface or application using a variable speed control feature.
It also comes with a microfiltration dust canister that can be attached to it to collect all the dust created during use, and keep a clean working environment.
Another important feature is the Hook & Loop pad it has, which makes it very easy to swap out sandpapers, thus reducing tool downtime.
The SKIL PWRCore 20 cordless random orbital sander is a bit pricey compared to similar units, especially the corded ones, but it’s more portable, powerful, very efficient, and ideal for use for a variety of projects.
4. Galax Pro 5 Inch Random Orbital Sander
The Galax Pro 5 inch random orbital sander comes equipped with a 280W motor that produces up to 13,000 RPM of speed, allowing the user work on the most demanding of tasks. From sanding down wooden floors, cabinets, furniture to car panels, the Galax Pro is one of the best tool for the job.
With a pad size of 5 inches or 125 mm, it’s capable of accepting large sandpapers needs to sand large surfaces and hard materials with relative ease.
6 variable speed settings allow the user to tune the sander to suit the surface and application in mind.
In terms of ergonomics, the tool weighs just 3.79 lbs, which is fairly easy to carry and push around a material surface. The handles are also well-designed with rubber soft-grip handles for increased user comfort.
It features a 2 miter cable length, allowing the user maximum leverage to use it without being limited by the length of the cable.
Random orbital sanders creates lots of dust, that’s why the Galax Pro comes equipped with a built in dust collection system to prevent dust buildup on the surface being sanded, and to make cleanup easy afterwards.
When you get the Galax Pro, you don’t only get the bare tool, but also a 5 pieces of 80 grits sandpaper, 5 pieces of 100 grits sandpaper, 5 pieces of 120 grits sandpaper and a dust collection bag.
5. Black+Decker BDCRO20C 20V Max Cordless Random Orbital Sander
If you want a really efficient, powerful and budget-friendly cordless random orbital sander to tackle DIY sanding projects at home or in the workshop, then this Black+Decker BDCRO20C is a very good choice you can go for.
At a speed of 12,000 oscillations per minute, it can be used to smoothen rough wooden surfaces, remove paint, varnish and stains.
An onboard dust collection system consisting of a dust bag and hollow sanding pad ensures the dust produced is removed and collected properly in the dust bag. A shop vac can also be connected for more efficient dust collection.
The compact and rubberized handle design makes it easy for the user to handle it comfortably and reduce muscle fatigue.
It features a Hook-And-Loop system for easily swapping out sandpaper, thus reducing tool downtime.
The kit includes the random orbital sander, a 20V Max 1.5 Ah lithium ion battery, a charger, 5 inch sandpaper sheets.
6. Metabo HPT SV13YST Random Orbital Sander
The Metabo HPT SV13YST comes equipped with every feature needed to achieve great finishes with a random orbital sander.
It’s got a powerful motor, variable speed and a good design. The motor in it is a 2.8 Amp motor producing a max speed of 13,000 RPM, allowing the user to work on really hard surfaces with ease.
The speed can be varied from 9000 RPM to 13,000 RPM, with 6 speed settings, allowing the user freedom to adjust the tool to suit the project in hand.
It’s lightweight, weighing just 3.1 lbs which makes it very easy to maneuver over a surface and reduce user fatigue. Apart from the weight, the palm-style, soft grip design helps minimize vibration and makes it very comfortable to grip during use.
For convenience, it also comes with a dust collection hose connector and adapter to connect it easily to a shop vac, thus reducing cleanup time and increase abrasive life.
7. Porter Cable 7346SP 6 Inch Random Orbital Sander
If you want something a little bit robust with a wider sanding pad and a more powerful motor to sand and polish harder materials like automotive and marine parts, then this Porter Cable 7346SP will do just fine.
Equipped with a 4.5 Amp motor, producing from 2500 to 6800 orbits per minute, there’s no shortage of power with the Porter Cable 7346SP.
With the variable speed feature, the speed can be adjusted to match the surface being worked on, whether it’s being sanded or polished.
It features a 6 inch sanding pad which covers a larger area and speeds up the work. This is not very lightweight compared with the other units reviewed in this article. It’s compact, but weighs up to 6 lbs.
That’s why it also comes equipped with a two position removable side handle that can be attached either to the right or left of the sander for easy handling.
8. Dewalt DWE6423K Random Orbital Sander
With a range of 8000 to 12000 Max oscillations delivered per minute by a 3 Amp motor, the Dewalt DWE6423K random orbital sander comes equipped with everything you need to conquer your sanding projects.
It features a hook and loop sanding pad that allows you to swap out and replace sandpapers easily without any downtime.
Dust collection is very important with random orbital sanders, that’s why the DWE6423K comes equipped with a one-handed dust bag.
Although this won’t cut it for easily collecting large amounts of dust and keeping a clean work surface, you can easily attach your dust collector or vacuum to get every dust off as you sand your project.
The sander features a dust sealed switch to prevent dust from finding its way or penetrating inside and getting it damaged.
If you’re really looking for a good electric sander to tackle your projects with, this Dewalt DWE6423K is one of the best ones you can go for.
9. CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 Random Orbit Sander
Craftsman offers you everything you need in a random orbital sander in a budget friendly package. The Craftsman CMEW231 is a 5 inch pad random orbital sander.
It comes equipped with a 3.0 Amp motor that delivers up to 12,000 OPM of speed.
There’s an on-board dust bag to house the dust produced during operation, else you can also connect it to a 1-3/4 inch hose for continuous dust remover by vacuum.
A dust sealed switch ensures you wouldn’t be troubleshooting the sander for some time.
The sanding pad is a hook and loop sanding pad, hence you can easily change sandpapers without using tools.
Weighing just 2.9 lbs. the CMEW231 is right weighted for comfortable use.
If you don’t intend on spending a lot for a random orbital sander, this is the ideal tool you need.
10. 3M 20317 Pneumatic Random Orbital Sanders
This is a pneumatic sander manufactured by 3M. These sanders don’t use batteries or electric power, but are rather powered by compressed air from air compressors.
You use these guys when the application exceeds the capability of standard electric and battery powered sanders.
They’re smaller and lighter than standard electric sanders but they’re the elephants when it comes to power.
So, if you’re working in an automobile workshop or in an industrial setting, then this is the sander you need.
Take note though, that this particular 3M sander is a non-vacuum sander. That means it’s not connected to a dust extractor or vacuum system and it’s used when dust extraction is nothing of concern to you.
How to Choose the Best Random Orbital Sander
There are many types, manufacturers and brands of random orbital sanders out there. If you want to choose the best one for your project, here’s what you should look for.
When shopping for a random orbital sander, it is recommended that you get one with variable speed. The variable speed option actually helps you to either speed up or slow down the motion of the sanding pad, depending on the type of material you are sanding and the type of finish you want to achieve.
It is very important because it helps you dictate the pace at which you want to sand and the amount of material you wish to remove.
If you need to remove a lot of material from the surface, then you increase the speed. On the other hand, if only light surface sanding is required, like when you want to refinish your wooden floor or furniture, then you can reduce the speed to match the amount of material you wish to remove.
So, get a random orbital sander with the variable speed function for a more versatile sander.
All types of sanders make a lot of vibration, whether belt, disc or orbital sanders. And random orbital sanders are not different.
A random orbital sander is a tool that both rotates and oscillates a circular disc at the same time. Thus, it really produces a lot of vibration.
That is why some orbital sanders are equipped with the vibration control feature to help reduce this vibration and increase user comfort.
For instance, the Bosch ROS65VC-6 is one of such random orbital sanders fitted with a vibration control suspension system that helps reduce the vibration produced by the tool, thus making the tool more comfortable to use for longer periods of time.
So, when shopping for a random orbital sander, this is one useful feature you can take into consideration.
Dust collection is a very important issue when it comes to sanders in general. A lot of dust is produced when you sand a piece of wood or metal.
So it is important that the dust produced is collected efficiently, so that it will not be on the work surface and certainly not in the air for you not to breathe it in and cause respiratory health problems for yourself.
The sander will not work efficiently if the dust being sanded off is not being removed simultaneously from the work surface.
If the dust is still on the surface, then the sander will not be contacting the wood directly, meaning you will be sanding wood and dust together at the same time, which will ultimately wear out the sandpaper faster, make the sander less effective and cause you to do more work.
So, get a sander with good dust collection. If you have a tool actuated dust collector, fine. Connect it to your random orbital sander so that as soon as you switch on the sander, the dust collector will switch on automatically to collect dust produced by the sander.
If you don’t have a tool actuated dust collector, you might consider getting one or stick to the one you have, provided it collects dust efficiently as soon as it is produced.
Good dust extraction from surface in order to sand the wood, not wood and dust, making sander less effective. Longer abrasive or sandpaper life. Connection on the sander should be compactable with vacuum nozzle.
If you’ve only be sanding horizontal surfaces, like when you are sanding a floor, the weight of your random orbital sander might not be a big issue to you.
On the other hand, if you are sanding vertical surfaces like the side of your kitchen shelve or other vertical furniture that require that you move your sander up and down vertically, then the weight of your sander will come to effect pretty quickly.
In this instance, too much weight can easily create fatigue and tiredness in your arms, thereby shortening the time you can sand with the sander, and ultimately reducing your output.
So, go for as less weight as possible. Your arms will thank you for it.
Changing sanding grit paper
It will be quite unusual to use one sandpaper or one grit size of sandpaper from the start to the finish of a project.
You’d definitely be swapping out different sandpaper, maybe after one wears out or maybe when you need a different grit size for a better finish.
Hence, the ease at which you can swap out this sandpaper is very important. The easiest way to remove and attach sandpaper to the sanding pad is through hook-and-loop.
So get a sander that accepts hook-and-loop sandpapers so that you can easily swap out sandpapers and reduce tool downtime.
A random orbital sander is something that needs a good grip from your hands. You need to be able to hold your random orbital sander in your hands and feel comfortable with it over a long period of time.
So, if possible try to hold the sander first and feel how comfortable it is in your arms, because the more comfortable one will allow you to work better with it.
Most likely, you’ll be buying online, so what you should check for is one with a rubber grip. The soft rubber grip allows your hands to hold the sander firmly and comfortably.
So, don’t go for one with a plastic grip. A plastic grip can even cause blisters in your hands. Go for a rubber grip to ease the tension between your hand and the tool.
This is not necessarily the best criteria for choosing a random orbital sander, but it is also sometime that might be worth considering for some folks.
A long cord will enable you to reach a wider surface with your sander without needing an extension cord.
So, this is something you might also check when shopping for a random orbital sander.