There are many different tools that you should consider to be must have tools to own. One of those would have to be a random orbital sander. The best random orbital sander just has so many uses around your home. They can handle everything from helping you refinish that old wooden table to prepping your wooden stairs to receive a new coat of stain.
When shopping for one you have to be careful because there are many models to choose from and not all of them work well. That is why we have taken the time to review several of the top random orbital sanders and to also provide you with some shopping tips when you are looking to buy a new one.
Quick Reference Table for Random Orbital Sanders
Here is a quick reference table for some of the best random orbital sanders you can purchase in the tool marketplace. You will find more detailed reviews following the buying guide.
Last update on 2019-06-20 at 11:18 PST - Details
Random Orbital Sander Buying Guide
Here are some of the key features of random orbital sanders that you need to take a good look at and factor into your purchasing decision.
1. Motor amps
The amount of amps a power tool’s motor draws while running is always something to consider when looking to buy power tools. Many consider amps to be a measure of the power an electric tool has but that is not the case. Amps more directly relate to a power tool’s ability to handle the buildup of heat in its motor when working.
As a general rule the higher amount of amps a power tool uses when running the better a job that tool does at keeping itself cool. That leads to longer usage time before you need to let that power tool cool itself and a longer life for the motor of that power tool.
These abbreviations stand for revolutions per minute or orbits per minute. It’s basically a measure of how fast the random orbital sanders pad spins when using it. Some tasks require higher revolutions per minute than other tasks. That is why you must check this number on any model random orbital sander you are thinking about buying to make sure it has enough RPM’s to handle the sanding task you want to do with it.
Speed on your random orbital sander is the ability to control its RPM’s. We just mentioned that every task you do with your random orbital sander does not require the same amount of RPM’s. For example, sanding rough Bondo while repairing an auto body fender takes much higher RPM’s than trying to put smooth finish on a wooden table.
That is the reason why you want to choose a random orbital sander that has the most different speed settings. It’s even better if that orbital sander has a variable speed function to so you can use different speeds effortlessly as you need them while sanding.
4. Sanding surface size
Random orbital sanders come with different size pads on them too. Most are in the 5 – 6 inch range but you will find sander models that have larger or smaller pads too. Once again you have to match the pad size to the sanding task you are doing. The bigger the job the larger size pad you will need in most cases but that bigger size orbital sander will most likely cost more too.
Here is another major contributor to hand fatigue when using an orbital sander. The heavier that sander is the more likely your hand is to get tired faster. Don’t let size fool you either. Two random orbital sanders that are exactly the same size can be very different in weight due to the materials they are constructed out of and their motors. So check the weight of each sander you are thinking about buying.
6. Dust extraction
There are few jobs that produce more dust and other residue than sanding. Not only is not good for you to breathe that dust (always where a proper dust mask and take other precautions if you are sanding toxic material) but it will accumulate on your work area and make it harder to sand.
That is where having a good dust extraction system comes in handy. Many models will have a bag attached right to the unit that collects a significant amount of the dust and larger sanded particles. This is pretty much a must have device on your random orbital sander.
Note the decent sized purple dust collection bag on the back of this random orbital sander:
Your random orbital sander is going to be used in a tough working environment. It has to deal with the heat its motor builds up, some dust being sucked through it and the pressure that is placed on its outside body as you do your sanding. You will need a sander model that is durable in order to survive this working environment for a long time.
That is why you want a random orbital sander that uses tough plastics in its construction and quality inner working parts. Look for higher amp motors too that run cooler as mentioned before. A random orbital sander that has these things and screws that can be easily tightened on occasion should last you longer than a lower quality model.
One of the biggest problems when using any random orbital sander is hand fatigue. Most of you will recognize a little numbness in your hands after using a tool like an orbital sander for a long period of time. The biggest contributor to this feeling is vibration.
Some random orbital sander manufacturers go to great length to try and reduce vibration in their model sanders. This will help you use them longer before you have to take a break. That is very useful when doing bigger jobs like sandy bodywork on cars or redoing the finish on a wooden staircase.
We just got done going over how anti-vibration characteristics are nice to have on any model orbital sander. One of the ways to overcome vibration is to have a good drip on your sander as you use it. Good random orbital sanders have such things as adjustable front grips and rubber coated back grips to help you hold onto them better.
Notice the adjustable front grip in this photo that makes this sander easy to operate:
It has been mentioned more than once that random orbital sanders have to operate under some tough working conditions. Even the best made brands of sanders are subject to material failures and periods of poor workmanship too. It is because of these things that you want the best warranty possible with your power sanding tool. Look for a random orbital sander that has the longest and most comprehensive warranty possible.
The more key features mentioned here that a random orbital sander has the better.
How to Properly Use a Random Orbital Sander
Learning how to use a random orbital sander the right way takes practice. You certainly don’t want to start out using one on a delicate project that takes a lot of skill with one. Check out this informational YouTube video which has some suggestions on how to properly use your new random orbital sander.
Reviews of the Top Random Orbital Sander Models
If you are looking to buy a random orbital sander here are some reviews of what we think are some of the better models available:
Makita has a great reputation when it comes to building power tools. This nice model random orbital sander is good example why. It has many great features that will help you do any small sanding job faster and better.
The 3 amp motor on this sander is powerful enough to generate 4,000 – 12,000 RPM’s consistently as you work. That is enough to do a wide variety of sanding or other tasks. You choose the speed you want to work at with its well-designed variable speed function. You can even like the easy to use 2 inch trigger in place as you are sanding.
This random orbital sander has a nice ergonomic design too. Thanks to such additions as its rubberized grip areas and its adjustable front handle it is very comfortable to use.
The handy kit this comes in includes a hardened carrying case, a dust bag and an abrasive disc. Mikita backs up their small power tools with a 30 day no questions asked guarantee and a full one year warranty.
- Includes protective carrying case
- Ergonomic design w/locking 2” trigger
- Rubber enhanced grips
- Adjustable front handle
- 4,000 – 12,000 OPM
- Nice 3 amp motor
- Speed adjustment location is a little bit of a nuisance
- Dust catching system could be better
Dewalt is another very big name in the small power tool industry. They are known for making power tools that work very well and last a long time. This random orbital sander model from them is a prime example of that. It can handle a variety of different sanding, polishing and buffing tasks.
It is a high RPM unit that is not well suited for low RPM super fine sanding tasks. Its 3 amp motor works efficiently to rotate its sanding pad between 8,000 to 12,000 times per minute. That translates to you being able to do a lot of sanding in a hurry with this nice power tool.
This random orbital sander is easy to work with too. It has a rubber material over much of its body to provide you with a soft comfortable grip and there is also a countersink built into it that helps limit bothersome vibration.
- Includes soft carrying case
- Shorter height reduces fatigue
- Anti-vibration counterweight
- 8,000 – 12,000 OPM
- Efficient 3 amp motor
- Rubber over molded plastic
- Does not have slower RPM speeds that are required for delicate work
- No adjustable front handle
- Power cord needs to be slightly longer
This is one of the cooler running tools on our random orbital sander top review list. That is made possible thanks to its larger 6.5 amp motor. That means you can run this model sander for a long time before it builds up so much heat you need to give it a rest. It has a large variety of speeds so you can tackle many different sanding tasks with it.
This random orbital sander is made for doing two things. One is aggressively taking down rough surfaces that need a large amount of sanding and the other is its swirl free completely random orbital mode for fine polishing. It is a sander model that can handle each of these tasks very easily.
It is a sander that can take a beating and still keep on working too. It is built of tough plastic and non-corrosive metal parts. It is even backed by a 1 year unconditional warranty.
- Soft start feature reduces initial torque
- Turbo mode for heavy sanding
- Consistent pad speed
- 6 inch disc size
- 3100 – 6600 OPM
- Cool running 6.5 amp motor
- 1-year unconditional Bosch warranty
- Only two speed selections
This is a good working and affordable model random orbital sander from the reputable Black & Decker Company. It is compact and light weight and can handle a variety of lighter polishing and sanding tasks.
One of the bad things about this sander is you do not have much control over the speed it rotates at. It does compensate for that though with a built in sensor that reacts to the amount of pressure you are applying to the pad.
This sander is built using only quality components and is nicely sealed to keep the dust out of its sensitive inner parts. It comes with a 2 year warranty from Black & Decker.
- Compact and lightweight
- Dust sealed for longevity
- Easy hook and loop paper changes
- 5 inch disc size
- 0 – 14,000 OPM
- Small 2.5 amp motor
- 2-year warranty
- Not for big project use
- Very little speed adjustability
- No carrying case included
Here is a very efficient model random orbital sander from VonHaus. It has enough power to take on any light to medium sanding or polishing jobs. It’s a lightweight and compact sander that has a comfortable ergonomic design so you can use it for an extended period of time.
Its power won’t blow you away but it runs consistently no matter which speed setting you have it set too. This sander features a very nice variable speed control and you can also lock the trigger to save on hand fatigue during continual use.
This sander is easy to hold to as you are working thanks to the rubberized grips found on the handle areas. One of its nicest attributes is the longer 6 ½ foot power cord that it comes with.
- Variable speed with locking switch
- Rubberized grip6 ½ foot power cord
- Compact and lightweight design
- 5 inch disc size
- 6000 – 13,000 OPM
- 3.5 amp motor
- Dust collection needs improvement
- Trigger has to be pushed just right or it runs intermittently
Which Model Random Orbital Sander Do We Prefer?
It must be said that each of the sanders on our top review list are very good model random orbital sanders. They all have one or more tasks that they can do better than the other sanders on the list. Based on the sure versatility it has and how well it’s built we would have to choose the DEWALT DWE6423K Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander.
There was just a lot to like about this model sander. Everything from its locking variable speed function to its anti-vibration counterweight are excellent features to have in any random orbital sander. It’s also built tough and has one of the better dust collection systems of all the models we reviewed here.
It is definitely a random orbital sander you want to check out more before making your final buying decision.
Thomas is a Pro himself, who has been in the business of home renovation & construction, working with various tools. He used to be the owner of 2 local construction companies with over 18 years experience. His works also include writing inspiring Do IT Yourself Tips & Tricks.