The 7 Best Random Orbital Sanders – Reviews & Buying Guide
A woodworking project will always involve several stages. Whether you are building some cabinets, tables and even an entertainments unit one of these crucial stages is sanding.
Sanding gives your workpieces that smooth and appealing finish and also gets them ready for staining or painting. Hence, you need to have a reliable and efficient sander like the random orbital sander in the workshop.
These sanders have the same orbital motion as the popular orbital sanders but they will also spin the pad around the spindle (at the same time).
This unique motion ensures that the grit travels in a different path on every orbit to eliminate the swirl marks or patterns that most orbital sanders will leave behind.
Some of the best random orbital sanders will have a variable speed control. You can use these sanders for everything from sanding coarse material to delicate veneer and also for both finish sanding and polishing.
Table of Contents
- Random Orbital Sander vs. Orbital sander
- 7 Best Random Orbital Sander Reviews
- #1. Makita BO5041K - Best Overall Random Orbital Sander
- #2. DeWalt DWE6421K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit
- #3. DeWalt DWE6423K 5-Inch Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander
- #4. Bosch ROS20VSC 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
- #5. Makita BO5031K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit
- #6. Black & Decker BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander
- #7. Porter-Cable 382 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
- How to Buy the Best Random Orbital Sanders
Random Orbital Sander vs. Orbital sander
Many woodworkers tend to confuse the random orbital sander with the orbital sander because the names sound alike but they are two different tools.
They differ in the shape of the base and also in the motion that they make when sanding. A random orbital sander has a round pad/base while the orbital sander has a square one.
Another difference between the two is that the random motion of the random orbital sander makes it ideal for both stock removal and smooth sanding.
Orbital sanders, on the other hand, are relatively docile and not very ideal for heavy stock removal but are very useful for ultra-smooth sanding and rounding over sharp edges.
7 Best Random Orbital Sander Reviews
Speed Control OPM
1. Makita BO5041K Random Orbit Sander Kit
4,000 - 12,000
2. DeWalt DWE6421K Random Orbit Sander Kit
3. DeWalt DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander
8,000 - 12,000
4. Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbit Sander
7,500 - 12,000
5. Makita BO5031K Random Orbit Sander Kit
4,000 - 12,000
6. Black & Decker BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander
7. Porter-Cable 382 Random Orbit Sander
#1. Makita BO5041K - Best Overall Random Orbital Sander
Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)
Makita BO5041K5 is the priciest model on our random orbital sander reviews, but it is still our top pick. And it runs on a powerful 3.0-Amp motor for fast and smooth sanding.
It has a wide speed range that lets you choose speeds between 4,000 and 12,000 OPM to make this a versatile sander that is ideal for both heavy stock removal and smooth finishing.
The sander comes with an ergonomic and rubberized palm grip that is comfortable on your hand and also makes the sander easy to operate. Also, there is an adjustable front handle that will make it easy to sand in confined areas.
The large two-finger trigger switch is also a great feature that helps to improve the user comfort as it also has a conveniently located lock-on button.
And to cap all the fantastic features, this random orbit sander also has a high-capacity dust collection system and a built-in adapter for your shop vac.
#2. DeWalt DWE6421K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
A fixed speed random orbit sander like the DeWalt DWE6421K can be quite handy for your general sanding projects. And it is also powerful enough to handle a variety of projects and materials thanks to the 3.0-Amp motor.
This model comes with a dust-sealed switch to keep dust out and extend its lifespan to ensure that it will be long enough before you need to replace it.
The dust collection system is also more efficient than what you get from many other fixed random orbital sanders. It consists of a one-hand locking dust bag and a dust port designed to work with a variety of shop vacs.
This fixed speed sander model also has one of the most efficient systems for reducing vibrations, and it consists of rubber overmold in critical areas and a separate counterweight.
#3. DeWalt DWE6423K 5-Inch Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander
Editor's Rating: (4.7 / 5)
DeWalt makes their model DWE6423K for woodworkers that are on the search for a relatively affordable and versatile random orbit sander.
It runs on a powerful 3.0-Amp motor that delivers variable speeds of between 8,000 and 12,000 OPM to make the sander ideal for a variety of projects.
Like many other DeWalt sanders, it also has an efficient dust collection system. And it consists of a one-hand locking dust bag system and dust port that lets you attach to DeWalt dusts collectors directly.
The short height helps to make this one of the best 5-inch orbital sanders out there as it allows the user to get closer to the workpiece for better control of the sanding.
Vibration should also not worry you when using this random orbit sander. It uses a separate counterweight and rubber overmold grip to minimize vibrations.
And the switch is also dust-sealed to increase its lifespan.
If you are a beginner or uninformed woodworkers it is easy to confuse the DWE6423K with the DWE6421K because they have similar features such as motor size and hook and loop sanding pad.
However, the only real difference between the two is the fact that the DWE6423K is a variable speed random orbital sander.
#4. Bosch ROS20VSC 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
The finish quality that you get with the Bosch ROS20VSC is just impressive, and it will be a great tool for carpenters, woodworkers and cabinet makers.
It offers a variable speed dial that lets you choose speeds of between 7,500 and 12,000 to make this a relatively versatile sander for fast material removal and ultra-smooth finishes.
And besides from the variable speed dial that lets you match the speed to the workpiece, this sander also has hook and loop disc attachment that will keep the disc in place when in use.
With this Bosch sander, user comfort comes first, and so the company gives it a soft-grip top and a unique body design that makes it possible for users to get multiple grip positions.
#5. Makita BO5031K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit
Editor's Rating: (4.6 / 5)
Everything about this Makita orbit sander (apart from the mounting of the dust-collection bag) is just perfect. It is a wide seed range sander that provides variable speeds of between 4,000 and 12,000 OPM.
The switch is dust-sealed to increase its lifespan but there is still more to this sander than this as it is a precision engineered tool with an all bearing construction to extend its lifespan.
Makita uses a 3.0-Amp motor on this sander to provide fast and smooth sanding. And it also has pad control system that helps you control the pad speed when you start up the machine.
The efficient through-the-pad dust collection system is another excellent feature, and it is handy in ensuring that you maintain a clean work environment.
#6. Black & Decker BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
The Black & Decker BDERO100 is the cheapest random orbital sander on our list, but it still performs better than many other fixed speed sanders.
And although the motor is also not as powerful as most other on our list, the 2-Amp motor still provides enough power for fast material removal.
This fantastic fixed speed random orbital sander uses a hook and loop system, and so changing the papers should be quick and almost effortless even for beginners.
The dust-sealed switch is also a great feature as it helps to increase the lifespan of the tool, but the sander also has an efficient dust management system that will help to keep your work environment clean.
The compact size helps to make this one of the best random orbital sanders for woodworking as it brings the user close to the workpiece and improves the maneuverability.
#7. Porter-Cable 382 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
Editor's Rating: (4.2 / 5)
Sometimes you will not need a very powerful random orbit sander for your sanding projects. An affordable one with a 1.9-Amp motor like the Porter-Cable 382 will work just fine.
Also, it is a compact and lightweight sander that will be easy to handle and maneuver for both DIY and professional woodworking projects.
And like most top-notch random orbital sanders, it also comes with a dust-sealed switch that prevents dust ingestion for a longer lifespan. The Porter-Cable 382 also has a 100% ball bearing construction to make it a long-lasting sander.
The controlled finishing system helps to maintain controllable pad speeds and also minimizes gauging when starting up the sander.
Another great feature on this Porter-Cable sander is the dual-plane counterbalanced fan that is handy in reducing user fatigue when working for extended periods or on large workpieces.
How to Buy the Best Random Orbital Sanders
A random orbital sander is a handy tool for your sanding projects. And as more and more woodworkers prefer to use it, almost all reputable power tool manufacturers make them nowadays.
Choosing between the many brands and models can be a hectic task but this is only so if you do not have the right information.
Whether you are a seasoned woodworker or are just starting out, you should keep the points below in mind when shopping to make sure that you get the best random orbital sander.
#1. Motor Power
The motor power is always one of the first factors to consider when buying any power tool as it determines the performance, efficiency and even reliability. And a random orbital sander is not an exception.
For a random orbital sander, the motor power will affect many things but the fact that it determines the sanding speed is perhaps the most important.
Most of these sanders will come with 2 to 5 Amps motor. The more the power that the motor can deliver the more the orbits per minute that the pad will make. And this, in turn, translates to faster sanding speeds.
#2. Fixed or Variable Speed
One of the most important decisions that you will have to make when shopping for a random orbital sander is whether to go for a fixed or variable speed unit.
While both sanders are quite popular, each has merits and demerits that you should understand to make sure that you make the right pick.
Also, it is important to note that the quality of the surfaces that you will be sanding is different and so you will need different speeds.
The fixed speed models are the cheaper of the two but they only offer a one-speed setting that is in most cases between 10,000 and 12,000 OPM. And this makes them only suitable for regular sanding tasks.
Variable speed sanders, on the other hand, allow you to do more because they will have speeds that range between 4,000 and 12,000 OPM. These sanders will not only be ideal for general sanding but also for polishing and finish sanding.
The variable speed sanders will give you more control over your projects.
#3. Speed Range
The speed range is an important factor to consider when buying a variable speed random orbital sander because the fixed ones do not offer you speed options.
And here you have to consider how you intend to use the sander or the materials that you will be dealing with often.
Higher speed ranges (10,000 to 12,000 OPM) are great for general sanding or when dealing with coarse materials.
Speed ranges of between 6,000 and 10,000 OPM are ideal for finish sanding while 4,000 to 6,000 OPM will be perfect when polishing or working on veneer and other soft materials.
#4. Comfortable Grip
A random orbital sander for woodworking might have all the good features and still fail to work well for you if the grip is not comfortable enough.
The size and design of the grip are the two factors that determine how it will feel on your hand. And the best way to ascertain whether the grip is right for you is by grabbing hold of it.
Also, note that the size of your hand and strength will influence the feel of the grip.
Rubberized grips or those with a soft overmold also tend to be more comfortable. Some random orbital sanders will also include an extra handle at the front to provide better control.
Vibration is almost inevitable when using these sanders due to their mechanism of work. However, too much of it will make the tool uncomfortable for extended use.
It is a great idea to go for a model that has a mechanism for reducing vibrations to minimize user fatigue and the annoying tingling sensation in the hand.
This vibration reducing mechanism can be as simple as having a soft rubber overmold on the grip.
#6. Dust Collection
Sanding produces a lot of wood dust and the good news is that most random orbital sander will come with some kind of dust collection mechanism.
Some of these sanders will have a canister while others will have a dust bag. However, the best ones are those that include an attachment that lets you connect it to a shop vac.
If the random orbital sander has an adapter you should also make sure that it is compatible with the standard size shop vacuum nozzle.
#7. Cord Length
Random orbital sanders that come with a long cord are always the best as they eliminate the need to use extension cords when sanding.
Those that have a cord that is at least 12 feet are very convenient as they will make it easy to get from one end of a large workpiece to the other.
However, you should never compromise on the quality of the sander just to get something with a long cord.
Most woodworking projects will always require a woodworker to do some sanding at some point. And so a good sander is a must have in the workshop.
Luckily, there are many kinds of sanders out there. However, the random orbital sander seems to stand out from the many other options due to its efficiency, versatility and relative ease of use.
Since almost all reputable power tool manufacturers now produce them you need to know how to pick the best. But, this should also not be a problem if you consider the points in out buying guide above.
And with our random orbital sander reviews above, you should now have an idea of the brands and models to buy.