The Best Orbital Sander List 2021

So with that, let’s now go into each of the above Orbital Sanders and find out a bit more about each of them.

Top Best Orbital Sander List 2021

OUR TOP PICK

Bosch PEX 300 AE Random Orbit Sander

This Bosch random orbit sander is all about precision and power. Let’s see how it stood up to the ultimate field test!

Variable speed settings and ergonomic handle ensure smooth and easy operation

The first thing I noticed was an array of speed settings, which is great! They allow you to work with a load of different materials with no issues whatsoever. Another plus is the handle/grip; it’s effortless to get to grips with (see what I did there.) In fact, it makes the user experience a pleasure from start to finish.

If you’re in the trade and are going to be using it every day, then it’s a fantastic tool to consider!

Does the low weight design pack enough of a punch when working on rough surfaces

Yes, it’s light-weight, but because of motor efficiency and gearing ratios, it has enough power to get the job done. That’s music to the ears of those looking for a lightweight and powerful piece of kit.

Bosch PEX 300 Final Thoughts

A clever piece of design that allows you to get the job done without resorting to a big chunky unit. Highly recommended for those of you that want something that fits nicely in your hand and never stops working.

EDITORS CHOICE

Next, we have the Tacklife 350 W. It may not be a well-known brand, but don’t let that stop you. A new name always brings new ideas so let’s see how it got on when I took a look.

13K RPM operation ensures you can smooth out even the very roughest of surfaces

The RPM is right up there with the very fastest sanders on this list. Fortunately, that’s good news for those of you who want something that will work on any surface.

I’m pleased to say that it achieves such high-speeds without resorting to over-clocking the gear ratios. That means you should avoid the early burnouts that are a hallmark of lesser sanders.

Have velcro discs had their day, or is there a better way to go about things?

Velcro discs are all well and good provided you know how to handle them.

You’re going to want to avoid pushing down with the edge of the sander during use! Why? Because that’s what ruins the pad!

It’s a tricky habit to get out of because we all do it when one marker or dent doesn’t shift, However, it is a must if you’re to prolong the life of your latest purchase.

Tacklife 350 Final Thoughts

Possibly the best orbital sander you will find; provided you heed my advice about protecting the velcro pads. Do that, and you’re all set for a lifetime of reliable usage.

BEST VALUE

DEWALT DEWDWE6423 Eccentric sander, yellow /...

This Dewalt random orbital sander is the next entry on my list, and for good reason! I’d heard a lot about it, so decided to share with you what I know!

The ergonomic and compact design has been shown to be highly reliable and robust

The design is very compact, but it doesn’t feel tiny when it’s in your hand. That is good news because as someone with big hands I often struggle with the smaller sanders.

In fact, I know plenty of other people that do too. By designing something that can be used with ease and in comfort by many, Dewalt is on to a winner in my opinion!

At 280 W it’s not the most powerful sander on my list

I agree power is a little on the low side compared to some of the entries on my list. So let me give you two reasons why that’s not a big deal.

Firstly the efficiency with which that power is transferred through the moving parts is second to none. And secondly, you’re looking at a compact unit.

If power is all you care about, get a belt sander. But that was an option; you would not be reading this orbital rundown!!

Dewalt 6423 Final Thoughts

In my opinion, it is a serious piece of hardware that should be your compact orbital tool of choice. Don’t just take my word for it, take a look at the reviews via the link below!

RUNNER UP

Makita BO5031/2 240V 125mm Random Orbit...

This manufacturer knows a thing or two about making first-class hardware. So, I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts on this latest piece of kit…

Ensures a constant speed under load for when nothing but pushing down hard will do

The feature of most importance here is a unique motor!

It generates continuous speed irrespective of the load. Not sure if that is very important?

Imagine the type of finish you’d get if the speed changed every time you pressed-down on your sander, even a little.

Unfortunately, the results and no doubt your work would be ruined! And that’s why this motor is such a big deal; it’s a first-class piece of engineering in my opinion!

Could do with a wider selection of tools and accessories

From a positive to a slight negative – I would have liked to have seen Makita provide more than just a dust bag and a disc. However, as I just shared you get the basic requirements.

In fact, I would like to see just one of the established players on the market include a few extra accessories.

Makita BO5031 Final Thoughts

A serious piece of hardware that should be a orbital tool of choice contender for the serious DIY user. Well.

RUNNER UP

VonHaus 430W Random Orbital Sander 125mm with...

I hadn’t heard all that much about this brand, and its ergonomically designed sanders. However, as you know by now, I like to try new things, so here is what I discovered.

430 W motor makes this one of the most powerful sanders on the market today

The sheer power of this is something to behold! If you’ve never used an orbital that breaks the elusive 400W barrier before, give this one a try.

It comes with in-built mechanisms which provide astounding dampening making it comfortable to grip. For you, that means, despite the brute force of the motor your hand won’t numb and forearm not fatigue.

Two things that are vital if you want to use it on a daily basis without developing repetitive strain.

At only 2m long the power chord isn’t the longest

This is such a minor niggle that I feel bad for even mentioning it, let along writing it down. But, to be fair, that is what this article is all about! 

The cord is too short which will be a downside for many. Especially, those of you who don’t want to trail an extension cable when working on a wooden floor.

VonHaus 430w Final Thoughts

A great piece of hardware that packs a serious punch. The only way that I can see it being improved is by increasing the length of the power chord.  Other than that, it’s a real winner in my opinion.

RUNNER UP

Makita M9204 Random Orbit Sander-Red/Black,...

150mm random orbital sander reviews just wouldn’t be complete without a look at some of the smaller 125mm varieties. Here’s one of the best on the market, and is definitely worthy of your consideration…

Rubberised soft grip allows you to control every inch of the 125mm sanding area with ease

The great thing about the grip is that it sits so naturally in the palm of your hand. By being able to accommodate all types of grips and hand sizes, it allows you to put it through its paces.

But what’s more impressive is you can wave goodbye to cramping and fatigue. Perfect if you’re looking for a tool you can use all day long on that must finish project.

How often does the dust collection system need to be emptied to ensure optimal performance?

The dust collection system should be cleared at the end of a day of heavy sanding. If you forget, then you won’t damage your new Makita sander, but you will notice a distinct drop off in performance.

Its ability to keep dust to a minimum will be greatly reduced. Which in turn means, more mess for you to clean up. Play it safe and clear it out at the end of each day, and you won’t have issues.

Makita M9204 Final Thoughts

A classic piece of design from one of the best known, and most trusted brands. As long as you look after it with the odd bit of routine maintenance it should last for years and years.

RUNNER UP

Makita BO3710 240V 1/3-inch Sheet Orbital...

As one of the most well known professional and DIY tool brands you should not be surprised to see Makita, again!

Like the previous, this too is an Ergonomic tool designed to be easy to use, comfortable and powerful.

11K orbits and 22k strokes per minute ensure powerful performance at all times

The above stroke and orbit numbers are more than enough to deliver uncompromising power and precision at all times.

Great news for those of you who want to invest in a tool that you can use for years.

For me, I was most impressed with the B03710’s heat dissipation abilities. Why?

Because, it’s an indicator of how hard the motor is working, and consequently how likely it is to burn out. Verdict: highly unlikely to die on you!

How reliable is the onboard dust collection system in the long term?

You will need to keep on top of it because once its full its full. There’s no way of getting around that one.

It’s quick and easy to empty though so don’t worry! Oh, and don’t forget, as, if you do performance quickly deteriorates.

Makita B03710 Final Thoughts

Another fantastic option from one of the most reliable manufacturers. Along with its focus on comfort + power, you will be surprised by the lack of vibration and noise.

RUNNER UP

Bosch Professional 0601372771 GEX 150 AC...

This model is part of Bosch’s professional range, meaning it comes with low vibration tech.

Plus, best-in-class dust removal, which when combined leads to superior finishes. Here’s what else I discovered about this fantastic piece of hardware.

One of the more compact sanders on the list, but is there enough space for a comfortable grip?

We’re going to put the stats to one side with this one and talk about the grip. For me, it’s all about the way it fits in your hand and doesn’t fatigue your grip.

It does such an excellent job of damping down the vibrations that you feel back off the floor; you’ll soon make it one of your go-to tools.

Yes, as a compact orbital it’s easily outgunned when it comes to speed and power by the full-size models on this rundown, but that’s beside the point really.

Bosch GEX 150 Final Thoughts

This Bosch feels like quality in hand: the speed selector, switch and cable, even the speed dial are all high-quality. In my opinion, if you’re looking for a comfortable, ergonomic, and compact orbital, consider it!

RUNNER UP

Bosch 06033A4070 PEX 400 AE Random Orbit...

Here we are then, the final entry on my list and what do we have, another Bosch.

Just like Mikita, it is one of the best-known brands on the market, so no surprise there! What you’re probably wondering is, have I kept the best till last? You, be the judge…

Variable speed and comfortable in hand, but is the compact design powerful enough to get the job done?

I have to answer this with a resounding ‘Yes!’ It’s such an easy and lightweight piece of kit to use, in fact, it almost takes care of itself.

Compact pieces of equipment can give the impression that they don’t pack a punch, but because of the precision with which the power is transferred to the surface, you have nothing to worry about.

Bosch PEX 400 AE Final Thoughts

A great option for those of you looking for a compact and affordable orbital that will last for years to come.

Buyer’s Guide

What are you using it for? 

This is the first thing that you should take into account when looking to purchase an orbital sander. If you are only going to use it occasionally then it is not really worth investing in a high-quality machine that will cost you a lot.

If you have a job in construction or are doing a lot of renovation work it makes sense to pay for a better sander, but cheaper models will be fine for occasional usage. 

The surface you are planning on using the sander on also dictates which you should purchase. For plaster walls, you are unlikely to need one with much power, but if you are intending on sanding a wooden floor it needs a much higher power output. 

If you are planning on using the sander frequently it is wise to look for a model with additional features. This will mean that you do not need to keep buying new equipment and can use the same machine for a variety of functions.  

Power source  

There are 3 main types of power source that are used by orbital sanders. These are corded, batteries, and pneumatic.  

Corded sanders are plugged into the mains power supply of your home. These tend to be measured in Watts and rank somewhere between 170 and 650 Watts. They are very reliable but you are limited by the cord length.  

Battery-powered sanders are measured in volts and tend to register somewhere from 12 to 18 volts. You may also see a figure between 3 and 5 Ah (Amp hours).

This is an indication of the expected battery life of the machine. An Ah of 3 means that you should expect your fully charged sander to operate for 3 hours before running out of power.  

Pneumatic sanders use an air compressor to power the rotation of the sander. There are many benefits to sanders that use this system, such as cheaper operation and a lighter machine weight.

That being said, there are some clear downsides too. Pneumatic sanders must have a minimum flow rate through the air compressor of at least 150 to 400 liters per minute. 

Power rating

The power rating of an orbital sander tends to be measured in Amps. The Amp rating tends to fall somewhere between 2.5 and 3.3 Amps and is dictated by the motor.

This is a more important consideration than the belt speed of your sander. This is because sanders with a higher belt speed but less powerful motor will ultimately perform worse than those with a powerful motor but slower belt speed. 

Base plate  

This is also referred to as a sanding plate. Sanders with a base plate under 5 inches in diameter are known as finishing sanders. Generally speaking, orbital sanders have base plates of 5 to 6 inches in diameter.  

Motor  

You can get both brushed and brushless motors inside your orbital sander. Brushless motors tend to be more durable and perform better than those with brushes. Motors with brushes will need to have these replaced periodically as they wear out.  

Belt speed

This is how fast the belt of the sander moves, a representation of how long it will take to sand down surfaces. On orbital sanders, this is measured in OPM, or orbits per minute.

Generally speaking, good orbital sander manufacturers will state their belt speed in OPM rather than RPM. The exception to this is orbital sanders which can be set to spin on a fixed axis. These can be measured correctly in RPM.  

Variable speed drive

Also known as variable speed knobs, these allow you to change the rotation speed of the sanding plate. This gives you a lot of control over your sanding and helps to create a very smooth finish.  

Higher speeds are better suited to coarse materials and sanding where precision is not too important. Lower speeds are better to give a smooth, uniform finish and are better suited to finer sanding projects.  

Soft start

This essentially means that your sander will not immediately reach its maximum power when switched on. This feature will allow the speed to gradually increase, giving you more control over the sander.  

Dust extraction port

This is also referred to as a dust collection port. This is an important feature to include in your orbital sander as it helps to keep the operation of the machine safe.

It also helps to reduce the amount of sawdust in the air meaning that you breathe in less and there is less chance of it entering your eyes. 

You should take into account the size of this port and how easy it is to remove. Smaller dust ports will need emptying and cleaning much more frequently.

If you are working on large projects, you should try to choose a sander with a large dust port. Many dust ports can be removed with one hand due to their twist removal design.  

Different dust extraction ports will perform at different levels when collecting dust. Some will even filter particles as tiny as ½ a micron in diameter.  

Sound

Many manufacturers will write the sound level of their sander on the box. It is measured in dB. The quietest sanders tend to have a dB rating of around 72 when in operation.  

Weight

This factor varies in importance depending on what you are sanding. If you are planning on sanding horizontal surfaces such as floors or countertops, the weight of the sander is not that important.

This is because most of the weight will be supported by an inanimate object and relatively little pressure will be placed on your arm muscles. 

If you wish to use the sander on vertical surfaces you will have to bear the brunt of the sander’s weight. This will put a lot more strain on your body as you will need to fully support the machine while it is in operation.

A sander that is too heavy can lead to you becoming fatigued quickly and in the worst case, can lead to you dropping the sander and potentially injuring yourself. 

Orbital sanders tend to weigh somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 kg.  

Vibration control

Your sander will vibrate as it is in operation. Orbital sanders are even more prone to vibrating than other sander types and so vibration control becomes an important feature. 

Vibration control reduces the stress that is put on your body by trying to stabilize the machine. This makes them much more comfortable to operate and allows for a more polished finished product.

The vibration control mechanism on many sanders will be as simple as a soft rubber over-mold on the handle. 

Price  

You can find orbital sanders at a variety of price points. They tend to range from around $30 to $150, depending on their specifications.

Generally speaking, the higher the price the more powerful the sander will be. Cordless models tend to be slightly more expensive than the corded sanders.  

Paper attachment  

There are 2 main types of sanding discs – PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) and hook and loop. The hook and loop attachment system is most common on orbital sanders, but it is still worth double checking.  

For hook and loop sandpaper, you will notice that the backing material appears similar to Velcro.

The sanding discs are backed with a layer of tiny loops, while there is a complex network of miniscule hooks on the surface of the sander backing pad. These are pressed together to attach firmly.  

The PSA sanding discs are similar to a sticker. The back is covered with a protective layer which you peel off to reveal an adhesive. Stick this to the backing pad on your sander, taking great care to align them well. 

Ergonomic design

Sanding is not a quick task and may well take a long time. This means that you will be holding onto your sander for an extended period, meaning that your muscles can begin to fatigue. Look for sanders with ergonomic designs to increase comfort and usability.  

Some are marketed as being designed to reduce finger, hand, and wrist strain when in use. This is a particularly important consideration if you intend to complete large projects. Look for sanders with a soft rubber grip to reduce injuries.  

Warranty

Warranty is a great way to gauge the manufacturer’s faith in their product. Orbital sanders tend to have a warranty period of somewhere between 1 and 3 years. This is an important distinction as it can potentially increase the lifespan of your sander threefold.  

Check the details of your warranty. Some companies will offer free maintenance and servicing for a certain length of time, whereas others will offer a refund guarantee for a short while following purchase. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an orbital sander and a random orbital sander?

They are different tools fundamentally. The range of motion of an orbital sander is limited to circles. Random orbital sanders combine this movement with a back and forth motion to produce a more even finish on the surface of the wood.  

Tradiitonal orbital sanders have a square or rectangular base plate, whereas random orbital sanders have a circular one.

Random orbitals are better suited for finishing sanding projects and removing stock. Orbital sanders are great to produce a super smooth surface with rounded edges.  

What PPE do you need for using an orbital sander?

You should always prepare yourself and your surroundings correctly prior to sanding. You should cover any electronics or areas that you do not wish to get sawdust in.  

You should then tie back any long hair and ensure you are wearing clothing that will not impede your actions. Take this time to put on a protective apron, gloves, dust mask, and safety goggles. 

Sawdust can be very dangerous if it enters your body. This is because it can penetrate into your mucus membranes and has been linked to many types of cancer.

Inhaling wood dust has been shown to cause nasal cavity, paranasal sinus, and nasopharynx cancers. It can be highly irritating to your skin and eyes, and can even impact your lung capacity and cause allergic reactions. 

How do you use an orbital sander?

Attach the sanding disk to your base plate securely. Keeping your fingers away from this area, switch the sander on and allow it to gain speed. Once it has reached its maximum speed you can gently begin to touch your surface with the sanding pad. 

Gently apply a light pressure to the sander when it is on the surface. Move the sander with the grain in a left to right motion. Ensure that the sanding plate remains parallel to the surface – do not be tempted to angle the sander to get into nooks and crannies.  

Ensure that ¾ to 2/3 of the sanding plate remains in direct contact with the surface to be sanded at all times.

The only exception to this is when you are about to switch off the machine. You should not do this while the sanding plate is still touching the surface as it could negatively impact the finish of your sanding. 

Can you refinish hardwood floors with an orbital sander?

You should use a random orbital sander to refinish your floors to the optimal standard. They are slow to work but are unlikely to cause any damage to the grain of the floor.

It is vital to keep the sander level as you move across the floor to ensure you do not create an uneven surface.  

Before you begin the refinishing process you should remove all furniture and objects from the room in question. You should then work your way across the floor’s surface, starting from one corner and working around.  

You should then vacuum and thoroughly clean your flooring to remove all sawdust and debris. If you notice any floorboards coming loose, you should take this opportunity to secure them down using nails.

Once this is done, you can continue the refinishing process. 

Conclusion

Finding the best orbital sander is all about considering what you want to use it for and then going out and finding it.

By giving you nothing but knowledgeable thoughts and opinions of 10 of the best I hope I’ve set you off in the right direction.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *