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Whether you need it to sand old paint off a piece of furniture, smooth down a deck in preparation for a new coat of stain, or get kitchen cabinets ready to paint, a random orbital sander makes the admittedly tedious job of sanding easier, smoother, and more effective than merely scrubbing away with a piece of sandpaper. Says Eamon Lynch, Director of Warranty Service at Power Home Remodeling, “When it comes to carpentry or woodworking projects, having a random orbital sander in your toolbox is helpful for creating the smoothest finishes.”
Our favorite random orbital sander is the Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander, which our product tester put through its paces at his home, evaluating it for power, ease of use, effectiveness, durability, and overall performance.
Here are the best random orbital sanders for a variety of needs.
If you’re looking for a random orbital sander, it’s hard to go wrong with our top pick, the Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander. It’s loaded with great features, has lots of power, is easy on your hands, and has one of the most effective filtration systems for these types of tools. But if you just want a sander for occasional or lightweight use, such as sanding down old furniture in preparation for a new paint job, you’ll appreciate the performance and the price of the BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 (view at Amazon).
Random orbital sanders can be powered in a few different ways. Some devices must be plugged into an electrical outlet, meaning you may need an extension cord if you’re planning to work outside. Other units are cordless and run on rechargeable batteries. While battery-powered sanders are infinitely more portable, they have a limited run time. Lastly, some orbital sanders are powered by air compressors, making them a handy option if you already have a compressor in your workshop.
You’ll likely kick up a lot of sawdust while sanding, which is why many people prefer a random orbital sander with a built-in dust collector. This feature sucks sawdust into an attached bag or canister that you need to empty periodically. Some higher-end sanders also have a vacuum attachment that allows you to hook the tool to your shop vac. Either way, however, you need to wear a protective dust mask and eye protection while you work to avoid injury to your eyes and respiratory system.
Random orbital sanders use round sandpaper discs that come in various sizes, most commonly either 5 inches or 6 inches in diameter, although heavy-duty sanders can take discs as large as 8 inches across. Note that you can’t simply swap disc sizes; sanders are designed to hold one specific disc size only. If you’re looking to tackle large jobs, you’re probably better off with sander that uses larger discs, as this will help you sand large areas faster. On the other hand, smaller disc sizes give you a little more control and fit into tighter spots.
Typically, random orbital sanders are used for moderate sanding needs on flat surfaces, such as removing paint or other finishes, smoothing down rough edges on furniture or other items, sanding away rust, smoothing small areas of patched drywall, preparing wood for painting, and similar tasks around the home, garage, or worksite. The beauty of a random orbital sander, thanks to its irregular movements, is that it won’t mar or scratch woodgrain, so you don’t have to be as mindful of the grain while you work.
When tackling the toughest sanding jobs, such as smoothing very rough wood or removing multiple layers of paint, a belt sander will get the job done faster. And if you need to sand a delicate surface, a sheet sander is the appropriate tool. Still, for the majority of sanding tasks the typical DIYer is likely to face, a random orbital sander will get the job done quickly, efficiently, and effectively.
While the major difference between a random orbital sander and an orbital sander may seem slight, it’s important. On a random orbital sander, the sandpaper disk spins in a circle while the pad holding the disk is also moving in a slightly oval pattern, creating a “random” spin that won’t move the sandpaper in an exact path over the material being sanded—that’s why these tools don’t mar or scratch wood grain. By contrast, an orbital sander also has a spinning sandpaper disk, but lacks the additional oval rotation, meaning you’ll need to be much more mindful of wood grain while you work.
A sheet sander, also called a palm sander, has a similar appearance to the typical random orbital sander, but instead of a round sandpaper disk, it has a rectangular piece of sandpaper that moves in a back-and-forth motion, rather than a spin. Sheet sanders are useful for detailed work, or when sanding along edges of materials. Be aware that sometimes random orbital sanders and orbital sanders are also sold under the term “palm sander,” as the most common form of all of these tools is as a fairly small device that’s shaped for easy grasp in the palm of the user’s hand, although there are also random orbital sanders that are large enough to require the use of both hands to control the tool while working.
A fourth common type of sander is a belt sander, which differs from both types of orbital sanders in that instead of a vibrating sandpaper disk, you have a loop of sandpaper that’s spinning between two rotating drums. Belt sanders are very efficient for fast, rough sanding, but lack the finesse that’s possible with a random orbital sander.
While most people will use their random orbital sander on wood—removing paint, smoothing down rough edges, or preparing the surface for paint—you aren’t limited to wood. With the appropriate sandpaper in place, you can also use your tool to buff or sand metal, remove rust from metal surfaces, smooth down plastic, and buff, smooth, or sand composite materials such as countertops. You can even use the sander on plaster or drywall to buff away rough edges after patching or before painting. It’s truly a versatile tool.
This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs. For this roundup, she considered dozens of random orbital sanders, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and customer feedback, as well as product tester input.
Eamon Lynch, Director of Warranty Service at Power Home Remodeling provided further tips and advice on choosing and using a random orbital sander.
Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.