Last updated on August 10th, 2021
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The Best Orbital Sander Reviews
These handheld machines are perfect for introducing a smooth and aesthetic feel to your work. The cut edges can now be smoothed over to present a neat product that can be used by many. If you are looking for an orbital sander then you have come to the right place. Below you will find various reviews and a guide to assist you in selecting the best orbital sander for your workshop/home.
Below is a quick overview of what we consider to be the best orbital sander for most people. Now it’s a little expensive for home use so we have also included multiple models in our review so that you can choose the best model within your budget.
Our Top Orbital Sander Reviews
These products are some of the best products on the market with regards to orbital sanders. They are capable of producing quality finishes and serving you with longevity.
Read through the products to determine which one works best for you:
1. Bosch Professional GEX1251AE2 Corded 240v Random Orbit Sander
The Bosch Professional GEX1251AE2 Corded 24v Random Orbit Sander is one that is designed to operate with low vibration, it is an amazing sander and this model does include a box which is a bonus.
This random sander operates on a 400-watt motor. This motor with an easy start is able to power a 150mm diameter pad and keep it running for as long as you require. The friction brake is there just in case you need to stop suddenly, this is great as you can put it straight down rather than wait for the motor to stop. On another note, if you find the 150mm sanding pad too large, you can switch to the smaller 125mm pad. Convenient isn’t it?
Varied speeds are important for varied finishes. This unit is no different, it houses variable speeds from 5500-12000 opm. The orbital stroke is approximated between 11000-24000opm. As you can see this offers a high speed that you will appreciate especially when dealing with difficult sanding jobs on rough material.
To replace the sanding paper, you simply use the Velcro aided mechanism provided. It is simple and fast since you just patch it in. The sanding unit is separated from the motor to effect constant working contact with the surface in question.
When working all the dust collected is led to the translucent dust box. This compartment is said to collect 81% of the dust over a 25-minute sanding session. If you choose not to use the microfilter dust box, you can attach a compatible vacuum for easy disposal, we think that you would need a Bosch model of vacuum to fit without any attachments so it is worth bearing this in mind.
The sander is designed to have an oscillating circuit diameter of 4mm. The 2.5kg unit is fitted with ergonomic handles that allow the user to find the perfect balance. The main handle is positioned in such a way that even without the auxiliary handle, the movement is unencumbered.
The size of the product is 17 x 13 x 37cm.
- Powerful 400w motor and 6 speeds with a choice of using 150mm or 125mm sanding pad diameter.
- It is a low vibration unit thus providing a less muscle/health strained environment.
- Features varied sander sized discs to offer more working options.
- Small, lightweight and easy to steer making work seamless.
- Offers varied speeds for different finishes and contains a friction brake for emergency stops.
- Fitted with a dust port that can be connected to a workshop vacuum.
- Offers a storage box and ample cord for use.
- Lacks an adapter from the sander to the workshop vacuum and may only fit Bosch vacuum as standard without extra attachments.
The Bosch Professional GEX1251AE2 Corded 24v Random Orbit Sander is a well-made and reliable oscillating sander. This short unit is comfortable to use due to its size and the fact that it has low vibration. This unit impressed us by offering varied sized sander discs for those who need to use smaller or larger discs.
We appreciate the provision of a carriage box since it affects compact storage and not all models come with a storage box. Ultimately the only flaw with this product is the fact that it lacks a dust extractor adapter. This is manageable however as an adapter can be purchased separately at not much cost.
Other than that, you can trust the Bosch Professional GEX1251AE2 Corded 24v Orbit Sander to do the work at hand without fail. Personally, we feel that if you usually use Bosch tools then this is a great model for looking for a reliable sander for professional use.
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2. Makita BO5041 Random Orbit Sander
The Makita BO5041 Random Orbit Sander, with its adjustable and removable handle, is an adaptable sander and a great choice for smaller sanding jobs such as sanding furniture and skirting boards. The adjustable front handle lets you rotate the unit just in case you find yourself working in a confined area. The padded handles provide comfort and much-needed grip, especially when working for longer periods.
The 300-watt unit operates with variable speeds between 8000-24000opm. This speed is fast enough to provide adequate polished finishes. The sander comes with a sanding diameter of 125mm so is a little smaller than the other models we have looked at but it also retails at half the price. Unfortunately, there are no sanding papers provided except for one abrasive disc, therefore you will have to purchase them separately so be sure to add them to your order if you choose this model.
Features such as dust ports cannot be overlooked. This unit can be hooked to a dust collection compartment or a vacuum with ease. This means that you can keep your workshop floor tidy at all times. To replace worn-out sandpapers, the sander uses the hook and loop mechanism we have previously seen on other models. As previously mentioned this doesn’t take long, meaning you can get back to work even faster.
Weighing in at 1.4 kg, the unit is fitted with oversized ball bearings and is a lot lighter than the other models we have looked at. The sealed bearings make certain that no accidental debris or dirt gets in to affect the motor. Once you activate the sander, you can initiate the lock off switch. This allows you to work continuously without having to press down on the trigger continually.
This unit is supplied with a 3-year warranty that you can activate if you face problems with the quality of the product.
- Perfect for DIY enthusiast for sanding smaller surfaces as well as for home use
- Powerful 400w motor that produces an impressive 8000-24000 strokes per minute and a constant speed under pressure.
- Lightweight at only 1.4kg with an adjustable front handle to access tight corners more easily.
- Contains a lock-off switch for user comfort.
- Built in dust collection system.
- Adequate cord supplied for easy reach.
- Features a simple to use sandpaper changing mechanism.
- Adapter provided to connect the sander to a workshop vacuum.
- Available at a pocket friendly price.
- 3 year warranty for full peace of mind.
- Sandpaper replacement mechanisms need improvement so as to prevent fiddly work.
- The dust collector needs to be improved as its not as effective as some may like.
- Lacks a carriage/storage box.
The Makita BO5041 Random Orbit Sander is a good choice for lightweight sanding making it perfect for the home DIY enthusiast. We really like the sander’s adjustable handles since they let you get to the restricted areas making it very convenient for working in smaller spaces. This sander would do well in any small workshop due to its vacuum compatibility and affordable prices but would be better suited for home DIY use.
Overall if you are looking for a smaller orbital sander, this model could be within budget, a great little sander and the 3-year warranty provides further peace of mind.
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3. Ryobi R18ROS-0 ONE+ Random Orbit Sander
BEST CORDLESS PICK
The Ryobi R18ROS-0 ONE+ Random Orbit Sander is the first cordless model in our review and the first point we would like to make is that not all sets come with a battery and charger. This model can be used with batteries from other compatible Ryobi tools you may have, just bear this in mind when comparing prices. This model is powered by a Lithium-ion battery that is able to store energy for longer periods without losing its charge as older type batteries do. The 18v battery-powered model can handle light-medium sanding applications with ease. Remember the batteries and charger are bought independently unless you find a set that includes the battery and charger, a 5.0 Ah (RB18L50) battery will give you around 40 minutes run time.
The sanding paper disc is estimated to be 125mm with a diameter of the orbit of 2.5mm. This unit does not support variable speeds so you have one consistent but smooth speed. It has a no-load speed of 10000opm and an orbit rate of 20000opm. This means it can attend to basic sanding rather than heavy-handed sanding, however for heavier sanding jobs it is usually better to use a corded model.
When the unit has completed a full cycle of charging it offers around 40 minutes of running time. This is decent to work with considering that most models run shorter. The three sanding sheets provided can be individually attached to the sander using the hook and loop method. This easy process doesn’t take much time and has become the standard method with most sanders now.
The dirt is collected in cyclonic movements, therefore, it does a fairly good job at collecting dust as you sand. An inbuilt collector is evident at the back. It weighs a measly 1.56kg with the battery.
Finally, a 3-year warranty is also provided for full peace of mind.
- Offers up to 40 minutes of running time when used with a 5Ah battery.
- Light and easy to steer due to well-designed handles and lightweight design at only 1.56kg with the battery fitted.
- The unit has a blue indicator to let the user know that it is on and powered.
- Supplied with different coarse sized papers for the user to make use of.
- The sander is compatible with workshop vacuums, therefore, making cleaning an easy process.
- 3 years warranty for full peace of mind.
- Limited run time as with all cordless models with the increased cost of spare batteries.
- Lacks a carriage/storage box.
- The dust collection could be better.
- Lacks adjustable speeds that are essential for different levels of finishes.
The Ryobi R18ROS-0 ONE+ Random Orbit Sander is a decent cordless sander that you can rely on to do medium-light work making it perfect for the DIY enthusiast or home use. The unit operates at an average speed and can support up to 40 minutes of activity but you will need the more expensive 5Ah battery to achieve this.
This unit can be recommended to those who find cords limiting. The features are decent but remember to add the cost of the battery and charger before making a decision.
The other flaws in the product are workable therefore should not be used as a basis to discredit the sander. What it lacks in size it makes up with its quality and the 3-year warranty further confirms this. Overall a nice little sander.
If you are looking for a similar orbital sander that is corded, so therefore is much cheaper when you take the battery and charger into consideration, the Makita we review next may be a better fit.
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4. Makita BO5031/2 Random Orbit Sander
The Makita BO5031/2 Random Orbit Sander is a lightweight product meant for lightweight applications and is one of the best small orbital sanders on the market. The 300w corded model runs on a motor capable of running without overloading, something cheaper models simply cannot do which is why you hear about them burning out the motors so often. The motor is also able to power variable speeds in order to facilitate smoother finishes making it perfect for a range of jobs from product removal to finishing off a surface so it is smooth.
When you look at the orbital action, we are talking about around 8000 to 24000 at full pelt. The orbits taken by the sander are estimated at 4000 – 12000opm. The specified orbital diameter is 2.8mm.
For those wondering about the diameter of the sanding disc, it is around 123mm, this is rather small in comparison to our Best Pick. But considering that it only weighs 1.3kg (which makes it one of the lightest models) the disc size is appropriate. To move the machine, the operator uses the ergonomic non-slip housing provided.
The collection of dirt is handled by the included collection bag or a vacuum. This is better left to the musings of preference. This process of dirt collection is further emphasised by the suction plate at the bottom.
- Offers varied speeds so that the user can accomplish different finishes that are appropriate for different woods.
- Robust design with large ball bearing and keeps a consistent speed under load.
- Lightweight unit armed with a non-slip housing for easy movements across the surface.
- The unit is vacuum compatible thus facilitates easier dust disposal. Alternatively, a dust compartment is provided.
- As with all Makita power tools it comes with a 3 year warranty for full peace of mind.
- Lacks an adapter to connect a vacuum to the dust port.
- Lacks a carriage box to facilitate easy transportation and storage.
- No sand paper supplied.
The Makita 300w – 123mm BO5031/2 Random Orbit Sander is a delightful little sander that you can depend on to give your woodwork a light polish and is a great little sander to have. The 1.3kg unit is incredibly lightweight and can be trusted to deliver variable speeds and constant movement.
We find it appropriate for DIY and hobby-based work. If appointed to heavier tasks the motor might be too stressed we feel, however, for lighter jobs it is perfect.
We love the manoeuvrability of this corded sander and its ability to suction debris with such ease. We would prefer if the quality of the collection bag was a bit better and at least one sanding paper was provided. But alas, our wishes cannot be rewarded. For those in search of a basic sander to use at home or maybe a DIY enthusiast, it is a great choice worth investing in.
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5. Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander
The Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander runs on a 270-watt motor so is the lowest powered model in our review. The compact and effective design of the sander lets you work on lightweight applications with finesse. The interesting thing is that the sander combines both orbital and rotary movements. This, in turn, produces a smooth surface with no scratches and makes up for the lack of power.
Sore muscles at the end of the day? Not really. This is a low vibration unit that can work without damaging your health in the long run. The switch is even located in centralised positions along with the handle for easy and comfortable use. This enables the user to activate the unit and work without straining. To add to a layer of comfort the handles are also ergonomically designed.
This unit is also fitted with a microfiltration system. This allows the dirt to be trapped without getting released back into the air. A vacuum can also be attached but only the ones that complement this specific product. We found a great solution to this problem is to just use some duct tape.
Surprisingly for a lower cost model you can choose to adjust your working speeds on this sander. The speed ranges from 4000-24000opm and the sanding disc diameter is 125mm making it ideal for smaller jobs. This is appropriate for medium sanding jobs or fine polishing.
To attach the sanding paper, a Velcro mechanism is included for easy connection. Best of all it even comes with a carry case, sanding paper, paper assistant and micro filter box and of course instructions.
- Ideal for home use and light DIY projects.
- Low vibration unit thus less stressful to the user.
- Lightweight at only 1.5kg and easy steering through the soft grip handle.
- Comes with a micro filter box for easy dust disposal.
- It is vacuum compatible.
- Sanding paper and storage box is provided adding value for money.
- Velcro holding the sanding plate tends to wear off easy which is one of the reasons we recommend it for home projects.
The Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander is a good attempt but the dust collection system lets it down. Basically, if you used it on its own after a while it blocks up, however, is probably sufficient for home use and for the price is not a deal-breaker.
It is recommended to use a compatible vacuum to collect the dirt. This unit, however, has a lot of positives. It is easy on the user’s body, it comes with its own storage and finally, it is budget-friendly.
We recommend this unit for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a basic sander. Home workshops will appreciate the service of this sander. Professional workshops would be much better investing in the Bosch Professional GEX1251AE2 Corded 24v Random Orbit Sander and paying that bit extra. If the price and size are just right for you, then it is worth considering and you probably won’t find a better model at a similar price.
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The Buyer’s Guide
Orbital sanders are not very complicated and it really comes down to build quality, power and finish. Once you understand what they do and the size that you need, you are good to go.
However, it never hurts to get a few pointers so that you make sure that you get the best random orbital sander you can purchase for use. Here are a few things to consider:
Varied versions of orbital sanders
There are basically two variations when it comes to orbital sanders.
- Orbital sheet sander – This has been the version available to use for many decades now. The sander is a bit underpowered compared to the random orbital sander, however, it provides an effective smooth finish. They are inexpensive to use and maintain.
- Random orbital sander – This the more powerful version of the two. The random orbital sander is usually used as a preparation sander. This is because they are able to remove layers of the surface of the wood. The disc shaves off material at random hence the name. This version is more manoeuvrable because it does not depend on constant 90 degree movements.
Possible power source
Most tools in the industry now are either corded or cordless. This, to the truth of the matter, is that it boils down to personal preference. Both sections of the power spectrum have their pros and cons but to be honest the differences are not so wide.
Corded models are known to provide more power as they feed directly to the mains. They are however, limited by the cords that give them power. In the case of an electrical outage, the unit is rendered useless but they are the most affordable option.
Cordless sanders are convenience providers. The convenience provided is mostly of having unlimited reach. There are no cords to hamper movement. The downside is that they can only run for as long as the battery is capable. If the battery runs out of energy the unit cannot be used. Cordless units can be unbelievably light to use. These sanders are usually much more expensive if you need to also invest in batteries and chargers.
Sanding disc and size
The sanding disc is the area that houses the sanding paper. The diameter of the base will vary depending on the size of the sander. The larger the sanding base, the more area you are likely to cover at a given time. This is especially convenient in commercial circumstances. A 1/2sheet sander will work for large polishing applications. For smaller applications, a ¼ sheet sander would do just fine. For delicate, smaller projects mouse sanders are recommended.
Motor size and speed
The larger the motor the more power output is expected. If you are working on light applications a motor with 200-400w is advisable since not much power is required. Larger units can run on 1000w and over so as to provide the needed finish. With variable speed comes a blessing, because different surfaces come with varied textures, some take more time to get smooth. That is why at times the speed can help you get a certain grain of wood smoother and faster than the others. If you think your work needs the assistance of varied speed levels, get a sander that can do exactly that.
All about Ergonomics
Comfort and function go hand in hand. If the user is comfortable they can then move the sander as required. Comfort is directed at the grip and the manoeuvrability of the sander. You will find that most models have a handle and a knob for steering, others just have handles and the others rely on centralised housing. You should definitely try to handle the unit and feel it out. If the grip and the positioning of the handle are fitting, purchase the sander. If you are not able to test the comfortability, read reviews online from previous users. Of course, we took all this into consideration when we considered what to include in our review so we have you covered.
Dust collection systems
We all have to agree that areas full of dust prove problematic for our respiratory system and this is one of the most common problems created when using sanders, all the dust. The other thing that is annoying about dust, is to having to clean it. So what do you do? You look for a model that has a quality dust collection system. There are usually two options when it comes to sanders, to use a collection bag or to hook the sander to a vacuum. Most people prefer hooking it up to the vacuum cleaner as this seems to be the most effective way of collecting dust and keeping the area as clean as possible. This is because there is a low chance of the contents being emitted into the air again. Depending on the method that you chose make sure you have the right attachments.
Sealed switch and trigger Lock
Since so much dust is produced when working, your activation switch is better sealed. Some models fall prone to the dust that collects behind the mechanism of the switch. This ends up jamming the switch and renders the unit inactive. A trigger lock is a feature that is not found in all models. This switch permits the user to remove their hand from the trigger and concentrates on guiding the machine around. This is convenient when your muscles are tired and you need a break.
General user tips
- Avoid leaving the unit unattended as it may cause damage to the working surface.
- These units are not to be used around water. Water may cause a short circuit if it seeps into the motor.
- Ventilation is essential in helping to prevent respiratory issues.
- Protective clothing is recommended especially a mask.
- Keep cords away from the feet to avoid tripping.
- Loose Velcro disc holders are discouraged. Purchase long lasting ones so as to hold the sandpaper in position.
As you have seen, sanders are not complex at all. The main thing is to keep an eye out for quality and performance. Quality features will offer you long service which offers value for the money you have spent. You will find various kinds of sandpaper on the market just in case your sander is not supplied with one. We hope that now you can select with ease.
BEST CORDLESS PICK
With these few words, we bid you farewell. We hope that this has been one of the more informative and simple orbital sander reviews you have come across. Have a wonderful time sanding your way through the day and we hope you have found this orbital sander review helpful.
Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API