Last updated on May 23rd, 2020 at 11:45 pm
Of all the activities it takes to complete your woodworking or metalworking projects, most folks will agree that sanding is one of the most difficult and unpleasant one of them all. With a random orbital sander however, you can take the difficulty out of it and approach it with ease.
A random orbital sander does not only make your sanding projects easier, but also helps you produce the best surface finish.
The way it works is very simple but very effective. When the sander is switched-on, the motor inside it rotates a 5 to 6 inch circular sanding pad attached to an offset bearing.
Apart from rotating the circular pad, it also vibrates it constantly in tiny orbits. This constant rotation plus vibration of the circular pad causes the sander to move in random or constantly changing orbits. Hence, the name random orbital sander.
This random orbital motion ensures that the circular sanding pad does not follow the same part twice. That is why a good random orbital sander will not leave any noticeable circular pattern or swirl mark on the material surface.
In this article, we’ve reviewed the top 10 random orbital sanders, and we’ve also written a buyers guide to help you choose the best for your application.
The most obvious difference between the two is that an orbital sander uses a square sandpaper while a random orbital sander uses circular sandpapers.
However, random orbital sanders are the better of the two because they produce a smoother and better finish due to random unpredictable movement of the sanding pad.
They are also more aggressive, hence they are preferable when more material needs to be removed or sanded off.
Here are the 10 best random orbital sander reviews
1. Bosch GET75-6N Electric Random Orbital Sander
This is the Bosch GET75-6N electric random orbital sanders. If you want a high performance random orbital sander, this is the one you should get.
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 random orbital sanders 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.
2. Festool 575074 Rotex RO 150 FEQ Dual-Mode Sander
If the Festool ETS 125 REQ-Plus is pricey, the Festool Rotex RO 150 FEQ dual-mode sander is even pricier, but it’s way cooler as well and much more effective for sanding.
It’s like the Rose Royce of orbital sanders, and it has 3 sanding modes. You can use it for coarse sanding, fine sanding and even polishing.
Use the coarse sanding mode if you want to remove a lot of material such as when sanding wooden floors.
While the fine sanding is for leveling things up before you apply a finish to the surface. The polishing mode is obviously used for polishing the surface.
The sander produces an eccentric motion to ensure there are no swirl marks on your material after using the sander on it.
With a speed range of 3300-6800 oscillations per minute, you have enough power to sand through any construction material with it.
A standard feature of this sander is the multi-jetstream feature which conveys dust from the material being sanded through the holes away from the surface for better results.
An included auxiliary handle affords you more control over the sander especially when performing aggressive sanding and removing lots of material from the surface you’re working on.
Finally, the 150 FEQ Dual-Mode sander comes equipped with an edge protector so that you can sand right up to adjacent surfaces without damaging the surface.
All and all, the Festool 150 FEQ Dual-Mode sander has very few competitors when it comes to random orbital sanders.
3. 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.
4. Milwaukee 2648-20 M18 Random Orbital Sander
The Milwaukee Electric Tools 2648-20 is a cordless random orbital sander powered by their popular M18 batteries for longer run time.
With a variable speed maxing between 7000 and 12,000 oscillations per minute, you can use it for whatever kind of sanding project you have in hand.
The variable speed gives you maximum control over the tool and the material you’re sanding. You can remove a lot of material by increasing the speed or you can reduce it for a delicate finish using a fine grit sandpaper.
It comes equipped with a 5 inch sanding pad with hook and loop sandpaper changing feature to allow you swap out sandpapers easily.
Although sold separately, equipping the tool with Milwaukee’s 3.0Ah Redlithium battery gives you up to 35 minutes of runtime, producing power like that from a corded tool.
5. Makita BO5041K Random Orbital Sander Kit
Equipped with a 3.0 Amp motor, the Makita BO5041K corded electric random orbital sand produces speeds up to 12,000 oscillations per minute.
This gives you enough power to sand through different types of materials including wood plastic and even metal.
It features a variable speed control dial that allows you to dial the speed between 4000 and 12,000 OPM, allowing you maximum control over the sander.
A large two finger trigger with a conveniently located lock-on button allows you to keep the sander running without holding down the trigger.
This further increases user comfort and reduces fatigue.
With 1/8 inches of random orbital action, the surface you sand with this sander is left super smooth and swirl marks free.
Overall, the Makita BO5041K definitely earned its place among the top 10 random orbital sanders we’ve reviewed here.
6. 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.
7. Bosch ROS65VC-6 Random Orbital Sander
If you’re a cabinet maker or finish carpenter looking for a top-of-the-line random orbital sander, one of the best ones you can go for is the Bosch ROS65VC-6 random orbital sander.
The sander accepts 5 inch and 6 inch pads, making it a very versatile option you can go for.
In terms of performance, the ROS65VC-6 produces smooth and well-blended surfaces when you use it.
You can vary the speed to match the work or the amount of material you want to remove.
To diminish swirl marks, it comes equipped with a pad-dampening braking system which further enhances the quality of the finish.
The sander also comes equipped with a vibration control suspension system to diminish fatigue and increase user comfort during usage.
When you buy it, you get the sander tool itself, a sanding pad, a dust canister, sanding disk, removable handle, vacuum hose adapter and a pad wrench.
8. Festool 574993 ETS 125 REQ-Plus Random Orbital Sander
This Festool ETS 125 REQ-Plus random orbital sander is quite pricey, but after using it, the results will force you to think otherwise.
The sander has the finest sanding stroke of 5/64 inches, which leaves others in the dust. After sanding with it, you’ll need a microscope to find swirl marks.
It’s that fine.
Festool put user comfort at forefront when making this. The sander weighs just 2.4 lbs, and it’s ergonomically formed to fit the shape of your hand, making it easy for you to use it comfortably for a long time.
There’re other features such as a sanding pad break to stop the pad from spinning and vibration-stop balancing mechanism to reduce vibration during use.
It might be quite pricey, but the Festool ETS125 REQ-Plus’s got quality.
9. 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.
10. PORTER-CABLE PCCW205B 20V MAX Random Orbital Sander
At 12,000 oscillations per minute, the Porter-Cable PCCW205B random orbital sander files through materials leaving behind sleek smooth finishes.
It’s a 5 inch sander you can use for your sanding and finishing projects.
The sander comes with a detachable dust bag to keep collect and dispose-off dust produced while working with it.
It weighs just 2.8 lbs and features a rubberized overmold handle for comfort during operation. If you’re looking for a budget friendly but effective sander you can use for both DIY and jobsite projects, this Porter-Cable PCCW205B will do just fine.
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.
Related: The 10 Best Oscillating Spindle Sanders For Sanding Curves In Wood
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.