The 10 Best Orbital Sanders

Updated May 18, 2018 by Quincy Miller

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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Find the tool you need to provide the perfect finish on your next woodworking project from our comprehensive list of orbital sanders. We've included something for everyone, from the occasional DIYer to the construction professional, all rated here by durability, power, and overall value. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best orbital sander on Amazon.

10. Porter-Cable 382

The Porter-Cable 382 is a middle-of-the-road option, but the favorable price point makes it a viable choice for hobbyists. Pros will undoubtedly need something more powerful, but if you're not doing a lot of finishing, this is more than enough to handle occasional jobs.
  • cloth bag grabs lots of dust
  • cumbersome for edge sanding
  • no braking system
Model 382
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Dynabrade 59020 Non-Vacuum

The Dynabrade 59020 Non-Vacuum rotates a system of five blades to get the maximum power out of a minimal amount of air, giving you plenty of oomph without straining the motor. Its comfort platform provides additional support for your hand and wrists during long sessions.
  • floating rotor design
  • vacuum conversion kits available
  • expensive for its simplicity
Brand Dynabrade
Model 59020
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Bosch Rear-Handle ROS65VC-6

The Bosch Rear-Handle ROS65VC-6 has a 3.3-amp motor, a perfectly flat sanding pad, and dual dust collection systems, making cleanup a breeze. Its exclusive suspension system and forward handle mean more comfort and precision as you work.
  • good vibration control
  • professional-grade quality
  • requires both hands for accuracy
Brand Bosch
Model ROS65VC-6
Weight 7.3 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Black & Decker BDERO100

The Black & Decker BDERO100 offers a quality finish from a high removal rate, with a hook-and-loop system for quick and painless paper changing. It is the go-to choice for DIY types who may not actually need to use a sander all that often.
  • extremely low price point
  • very easy to use
  • not professional grade
Model BDERO100
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

6. Bosch 1250DEVS 6-Inch

The Bosch 1250DEVS 6-Inch features a powerful 6.5-amp motor, allowing for extended use without any difficulties, as well as a longer tool life overall. Its turbo mode results in fast stock removal, while the random orbit provides swirl-free sanding.
  • soft-start system
  • pad is remarkably durable
  • incredibly heavy
Brand Bosch
Model 1250DEVS
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. DeWalt Variable Speed D26453K

The DeWalt Variable Speed D26453K features a useful anti-slip top pad and a comfortable body grip that offer excellent handling. It also has a controlled finishing system that helps to minimize surface gouging during startup.
  • dust-sealed switch
  • designed for continuous use
  • speed is hard to set
Model D26453K
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Makita BO6030 6-Inch

The Makita BO6030 6-Inch is made with a durable cast-metal fan housing. It has abrasive sanding discs that are great for tougher, rougher jobs, and it boasts accurate variable speed control. It's a good choice for serious DIY enthusiasts.
  • ideal for working in corners
  • comes with cloth dust bag
  • easy to swap out discs
Brand Makita
Model BO6030
Weight 10.9 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. Bosch Finishing OS50VC

The Bosch Finishing OS50VC runs off 3.4 amps of power, and its proprietary suspension system significantly minimizes vibrations, resulting in more precise sanding. Its generously-sized surface is great for powering through massive jobs.
  • variable speed dial
  • superlative dust capture
  • translucent microfilter
Brand Bosch
Model OS50VC
Weight 8.9 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. DeWalt DWE6421K

Using the DeWalt DWE6421K will make you feel like you have an apprentice woodworker helping you out, as it glides over surfaces with almost no resistance. It allows you to take only as much off as you like, and you won't even be sore the next morning.
  • very well-balanced
  • not prone to getting bogged down
  • produces very little vibrations
Model DWE6421K
Weight 4.1 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Makita BO5041K 5-Inch

Designed for operator comfort, the Makita BO5041K 5-Inch packs a powerful 3-amp motor into its compact body design, which delivers a smooth, fast action. It also features a variable control system that makes handling it safe and manageable at any speed.
  • adjustable front grip for corners
  • two-finger trigger switch
  • easy to handle at startup
Brand Makita
Model BO5041K
Weight 6.8 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

The Right Tool For The Job: The Orbital Sander

An orbital sander can save you hours of work and prevent the sore muscles associated with laborious hand sanding. These compact but powerful devices use motion and vibration to save you time and help produce a smooth, even surface on myriad types of wood and certain other composite materials.

Technically known as "random orbit sanders" (and sometimes referred to by the acronym ROS or called ROS sanders), these tools have now been in use for well over three decades. Unlike a belt sander, which must be constantly moved by its operator to ensure an even sanding that does not remove too much material from any one area of a surface, an orbital sander is constantly experiencing two kinds of motion: the sander's head moves in both a small elliptical pattern, thus the term orbit, and spins its disc-shaped head.

Orbital sanders are suitable for use on almost any wooden surface, regardless of its grain, hardness, or shape. A deft hand is required to prevent the over-sanding of edges, corners, and design elements, but with practice and skill, a good orbital sander can be used on almost any shape or pattern of wood.

Choosing The Right Orbital Sander

For most do-it-yourself types, and even for the devoted hobbyist carpenter, there's no need for a super-powered orbital sander. These tools range in price from less than thirty dollars all the way up to the three hundred dollar and above mark, but for smaller jobs and for infrequent use, the lower priced sander will suffice.

The higher end models become more appealing once you begin to deal with larger projects, such as finishing work on flooring, for example. Many lower-end orbital sanders don't feature speed control settings, which can be a drawback when working on multiple types of surfaces.

The shape of a sander plays a big role in how it will best be used. Many orbital sanders are designed to be grasped on their bodies, with one hand controlling the sanding. When more precision is needed, or for those with a weaker grip due to age or infirmity, a model with two grip points might be a better choice. Also consider sanders with dedicated handles and dual finger triggers if grip is an issue for you. Weight also varies from unit to unit, and should be considered by the tool's primary operator.

Beyond speed control, grip and weight, and price tag, consider the fact that some orbital sanders offer more than 3 amps of power, while others offer a half an amp. If that doesn't matter to you, then you're in the half amp category, FYI.

How To Use Your Orbital Sander

Second only in importance to choosing the right tool itself is choosing the right sand paper for a given job. The higher the grit of a paper, the finer (AKA smaller) its grains of sand will be. High grit sand paper leaves a smoother, more polished surface, and is great for the last few passes of a job.

On the other hand, trying to use fine grit paper on rough wood or painted surfaces is basically a waste of time. Choose rough, low grit sand paper for the first few passes of most projects, and pay attention to the paper throughout the process, regularly turning the sander off to check the paper's condition. Sand paper quickly loses its "teeth" and can fill up with paint, dust, and dirt, making it ineffective.

The most effective sanding uses lots of sand paper; just accept that you'll be going through many pads and change them often -- they're not very expensive, and fresher pads mean better quality work with less risk of damage to the surface. And thanks to the hook-and-loop (e.g. Velcro) attachment system used by orbital sanders, switching out sanding pads requires only a few seconds.

To avoid gouging a surface with the edge of the sander (or simply uneven sanding), you need to keep the sander off of the surface on which you're working until it is at full speed, and you need to move away from the surface before you turn the sander off.

One of the most common mistakes inexperienced craftsman make is to allow a sander to touch a surface when it's not at full speed, which often leads to uneven pressure along the edges. Of course, it's the moment of initial contact that is most likely to lead to damage a surface even when the sander is running at full speed; a firm, steady grip is critical, as is knowing which way your sander is going to pull your hands when it first touches down.

You would be wise to practice sanding plenty of surfaces -- both wide, flat surfaces as well as edges and corners -- before you ever work on a prized piece of furniture or an elegant piece of moulding. Pallet wood is cheap and rough, and makes a great practice surface, as does any left over lumber at a building site. Just watch out for nails, screws, and staples, as even the most industrious orbital sander can't handle metal.

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Last updated on May 18, 2018 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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