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Best Random Orbital Sanders of 2021

Need to remove paint or sand down furniture? A random orbital sander offers a sleek solution and we’ve reviewed the best models available here.

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Best Random Orbital Sander Reviews of 2021

Best-in-class
DEWALT DCW210B

DEWALT DCW210B 20V MAX Orbital Sander

Best cordless orbital sander

Powered by a lithium-ion battery, this random orbital sander finds its place both in the workshop and worksite.

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1 DEWALT DCW210B Review

Are you a contractor looking for a portable random orbital sander? Or a woodworker who’s had enough of tool cords hanging around? Whatever the case, the DEWALT DCW210B could be the best orbital sander for you.

What makes it special is the cordless design. Powered by the same 20V MAX batteries used on all cordless power tools from DEWALT, it gives you the possibility to use it with a battery from any other tool you already own – such as a cordless drill. Alternatively, you can buy a battery and charger separately.

This could be a deal-breaker for some, but we wouldn’t call it that considering the unit’s performance. Variable speed makes it easy to match the rotations per minute with the application, and operating it is very comfortable. Ready to assist you in places where there is no electric outlet, this is an excellent choice if you need a portable solution.

Best value
Makita BO5041K

Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit

Affordable high-end sanding capabilities

Variable speed dial control ensure suitability for a wide range of applications.

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2 Makita BO5041K Review

Bringing together quality and convenience, the Makita BO5041K is the perfect tool for the hobbyist looking to upgrade his home workshop.

Powered by a reliable 3.0-Amp motor and boasting a variable speed control dial, this random orbital sander ensures sanding accuracy, smooth results, and ergonomic operation. User comfort is assured by an ergonomic palm grip with anti-skid properties while the adjustable front handle ensures sanding precision even on awkwardly shaped pieces.

The sizeable random orbit action thought for super-smooth sanding also provides swirl-free results for a no-frills operation. Like our best-in-class, the Makita BO5041K features an excellent dust management system with vacuum port adapter.

With its high-end sanding capacity ensured by the variable speed operation mode and compelling price point, the BO5041K is no doubt the best random orbital sander for the money.

Also great
DEWALT DWE6423K

DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander

Dust-sealed switch and one-hand locking system

Reliable sander for home and light-duty professional use. A competitive price point makes it appealing for the masses.

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3 DEWALT DWE6423K Review

Very similar to our top-value pick, the DEWALT DWE6423K is designed to bring versatility to your workbench. This random orbital sander wasn’t designed for heavy-duty use, but it still has what it takes to power light-duty industrial demands and most amateur tasks.

The 3.0-Amp motor powers the unit for various functions, spinning the sanding pad at speeds from 8,000 to 12,000 OPM. Constructed with ergonomics in mind, the DWE6423K also presents a shorter height than most sanders, a feature that increases user comfort.

Furthermore, a rubber over-mold designed to reduce vibrations boosts, even more, the comfort during use. Powered by a motor comparable to our best-value pick but with a more limited speed range, the DEWALT DWE6423K is our second-best value pick.

Best budget
BLACK+DECKER BDEMS600

BLACK+DECKER BDEMS600 Mouse Detail Sander

Great detail sander (not orbital)

Compact and easy to operate sander designed to handle most amateur tasks in a breeze.

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4 BLACK+DECKER BDEMS600 Review

The BLACK+DECKER BDEMS600 is one of the most reliable tools designed with the occasional user in mind. It won’t withstand harsh, heavy-duty tasks but is perfect for the light-duty environment of a home workshop.

Uncomplicated yet reliable, this detail sander is perfect for the novice. It boasts an easy-to-maneuver 3-position grip that improves control and ease of operation.

Power is ensured by a 1.2-Amp motor capable of delivering up to 14,000 OPM for efficient stock removal.

The sander’s mouse design provides an easier reach in the odd corners of your workpiece while the finger attachment and sanding pad do nothing but increase versatility. Powerful enough for the casual user and easy to operate thanks to the adjustable grip, the BLACK+DECKER BDEMS600 is no doubt the best budget sander on the market.

1. Why invest in a random orbital sander?

A random orbital sander is a versatile apparatus that serves the skilled homeowner in many ways. It’s very similar to an orbital sander and even shares the same principal functions with its cousin; the random orbital sander is mainly used for light finishing and polishing works, including the removal of paint and the highlighting of the natural grain of the wood.

2. Orbital vs. random orbital sanders

Mistaken by many with the orbital sander, the “random” in the name makes a huge difference. The two machines are very similar – identical we’d say – up to an extent. The difference is in the pad.

Orbital sanders have a square sanding pad whereas random orbital sanders come with a round pad which vibrates in random orbits (which means the tool spins in small circles).

This apparently negligible difference helps random orbital sanders provide sleeker results and adapt to various applications, such as stock removal and ultra-smooth sanding. Moreover, the random orbital sander also eliminates swirls thanks to its oscillatory vibration.

3. Random orbital sander power

Like all electric power tools on the market, random orbital sanders are either battery-operated or corded devices. Each type comes with its pros and cons, and choosing one over the other is often a matter of convenience and practicality.

Cordless random orbital sanders

Are powered by a rechargeable battery, either NiCad or Li-Ion. This gives you the advantage of mobility. You’ll be able to use the sander anywhere without worrying about a power supply. But on a downside, your autonomy is limited and dependent on the battery’s capabilities.

But the main disadvantage of a cordless machine is not as much the runtime as it is the weaker motor. 

Corded random orbital sanders

Draw their energy from a standard wall socket. Thus, they limit your mobility to the length of the power cord. Using the tool with a cord extension provides some freedom, but you’ll still be unable to operate the sander in all environments.

But despite this slight drawback, the corded models are much more popular among both hobbyists and professionals.

This preference is majorly dictated by the more powerful motor that drives the pad at different oscillation speeds. It is easy to understand that this increases versatility, as you’ll be able to use the tool for various tasks.

4. Speed options

Measured in oscillations per minute (OPM), the rate of a random orbital sander is a crucial factor to consider before buying. Most units on the market come with speeds which vary from 4,000 to 12,000 OPM on average, but only the best random orbital sanders feature multiple speed selections. A variable speed brings versatility, allowing you to use the machine for more than one task, such as:

  • General sanding: An operation that requires higher speeds in the 10,000-12,000 OPM range.
  • Finish sanding: Typically requires a speed between 6,000 and 10,000 OPM.
  • Polishing: A precision task that requires lower speeds between 4,000 and 6,000 OPM.

Adjustable speed option

Adjustable speeds allow you to switch between sanding modes and deal with different tasks more efficiently.

For instance, a unit with a dual speed system can provide either aggressive sanding on hard workpieces or regular stock removal, depending on the actual speed. Switching between modes should be easy.

Another useful feature related to the speed is the soft starting which causes the tool to set speed slowly. This is particularly important for the delicate jobs that require precision.

5. Best sanding pads & discs

Perhaps the most essential feature of the random orbital sander is the sanding pad or disc. There are multiple options to choose from:

  • Sanding pads: are durable sponge discs designed to act as a damper and reduce disc distortion.
  • Sanding disc: stronger than the pad, the sanding disc is a circular piece of sandpaper that provides different grades of abrasion. These discs attach to the random orbital sander with either a hook & loop or peel & stick system.
  • Abrasive disc: designed to use on surfaces other than metal, they contain a higher amount of coarse, usually silicon carbide.
  • Polisher: an attachment consisting of wool fibers and used for soft polishing.
  • Buffing pad: another polishing instrument made of foam instead of wool.

6. Dust management system

Sanding involves an important amount of dust, and the fine powders produced during operation can be harmful if inhaled. That’s why the best random orbital sander must come with a reliable dust management system.

An effective dust management starts with the choice of the disc, which must be provided with holes. While the holes don’t influence the sanding efficiency, their presence prevents the sanding pad from clogging and allows the system to remove all sanding refuse effectively through a vacuum system. Albeit is possible to use discs without holes if needed, their construction lowers the dust management efficiency.

There are two types of dust management systems:

  • Integrated: Use an internal system of filters to clean the air and remove the debris; this integrated vacuum collects sanding refuse into a bag located under or near the unit’s handle, which can then be emptied manually as needed.
  • External: Connects directly to your vacuum cleaner via a valve that attaches to the vacuum cleaner’s hose. This keeps the workspace cleaner by eliminating the machine’s refuse bag and is more effective thanks to the greater suction power of the external vacuum as compared to the integrated vacuum.

7. Noise level

Like most power tools, random orbital sanders are loud machines. The quietest models produce noises of around 80dB which can go up to 100bD on the noisier units; these values are high enough to cause permanent hearing damage, so it is essential to wear protective equipment like ear muffs when operating the unit.

8. What other features to look for

  • Hook & loop discs: These discs attach to the sander via Velcro and are quick and easy to replace as needed.
  • Variable speed: A variable rate will allow you to use the sander for various tasks. Some of the best random orbital sanders have at least two speeds.
  • Maneuverability: An important feature to look for is ergonomics. The unit must be fairly lightweight and have a balanced gravitational center. Soft-grip and anti-skid handles are a must, while the unit should also be lightweight enough to allow you to operate it with one hand.
  • Additional accessories: Accessories consisting of pad and disc replacements or extra abrasive discs boost the versatility of the tool.
  • Carrying case: Often overlooked, a carrying case is a valuable add-on, as it will help you keep the tool and all its accessories organized.

9. The Best Random Orbital Sander for the Money

Best value
Makita BO5041K

Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit

Affordable high-end sanding capabilities

Variable speed dial control ensure suitability for a wide range of applications.

Check price on Amazon

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