Best Orbital Sander 2021 – Buyer’s Guide

Random orbital sanders are the most commonly used sander for woodworking jobs or other applications that require sanding. With the easy of their orbital action, they can effectively sand down a great deal in a short amount of time while still providing a decent finish.

However, different sanders a better suited for different jobs than others. Unless you are a professional, figuring out which is which can be difficult. Even if you are a professional, finding the best tool for your needs can be a time-consuming process.

Best Orbital Sander of 2021

I have put together a list of the 10 best random orbital sanders depending on their grade and category. Then, I provided a thorough Buyer’s Guide, so you can feel confident going “off-board” and finding a different product, should you so choose.

ModelPowerOrbits per Minute 
Bosch 1250DEVS
(Editor’s Choice)
6.53100-6650Check Price
DEWALT D26453K
(Editor’s Choice)
37000-12000Check Price
Makita BO5041K34000-12000Check Price
PORTER-CABLE 7346SP4.52500-6800Check Price
Makita BO5030K312000Check Price
DEWALT DWE6423K38000-12000Check Price
Bosch ROS20VSC2.57500-12000Check Price
PORTER-CABLE 3821.912000Check Price
Black & Decker BDERO100212000Check Price
DEWALT DWE6421K312000Check Price

1. Bosch 1250DEVS – Best Professional Soft Finish Random Orbital Sander

The first product on our list is arguably the most powerful. Of course, for people who know anything about power tools, this should come as no surprise that the description applies to a Bosch. Well-known for making professional grade tools that can stand up to the rigors of the hardest jobs, this Bosch is actually a bit more specialized than some of the other products on our list.This random orbital sander is designed for soft finish sanding. Keep in mind, it will not function quite as well as a finish sander in this respect, but it also can sand harder substances better though, it is not well-suited for larger, rough sanding jobs. Still, with a minimum OPM of 3100, this Bosch will put an on a smooth finish. Moreover, while it is low compared to many models, the maximum OPM of 6650 will allow you to finish harder materials as well.Unfortunately, this sander is also the heaviest on our list which makes using it for longer periods of time more fatiguing. Moreover, the “Aggressive Mode”, ostensibly designed to allow this sander to rough sand as well, is not at all durable and should only be used sparingly or if a necessity.Pros

  • It is both an orbital and a dual-action polisher.
  • 6.5 amps is great for a random orbital sander and the best on our list
  • 3100 is a good minimum for OPMs with random orbital sanders
  • A 6″ sanding area is better than average

Cons

  • There are no exchangeable back plates, it only uses one size pad and that is the 6″ pad.

2. DEWALT D26453K – Most Portable Random Orbit Sander

DeWalt makes numerous appearances on our list, though it does not take the top spot for too many instances of performance. Instead, this brand captures a good mix of features without really standing out above the competition in any one category.

However, due to a fairly reasonable price for a professional grade random orbital sander, the DeWalt does capture a couple categories for “Best All-Around-Value”.However, this particular model stands out as being the most portable random orbit sander on our list. It accomplishes this primarily through two features. First, this is the lightest DeWalt on our list at 3.5 pounds. While that is more average for our random orbit sander roundup, the DeWalt also features a great starter kit to go with it. This kit comes with a carrying bag and a cloth dust bag.Unfortunately, the dust bag requires some after purchase modification to get it to stay on. This makes the bag a bit less attractive of a feature. Moreover, this a variable speed sander, but the minimum OPM of 7000 could be lower and prevents this from sanding “gummy” materials as well as one would like.Pros

  • 3 amps of motor power is plenty for a professional grad random orbital sander
  • A random orbital sander OPM range of 7000-12000 offers plenty of versatility
  • At 3.5 pounds, this is the lightest DeWalt on our list

Cons

  • The dust collection will not stay fastened on its own
  • A 7000 minimum OPM is a bit subpar for a random orbital sander
  • A faulty power switch can make using this random orbital sander a frustrating experience

3. Makita BO5041K – Largest Random Orbital Sander OPM Range

Outside of Bosch, Makita is the other most trusted brand on our random orbital sander list. Generally, the two trade blows over reliability and performance with Bosch coming out ahead in the former and Makita taking the prize for the latter. In the random orbital sanding market, this trend continues unabated.The Makita may not feature the incredibly powerful 6.5 amp motor the Bosch does, but its 3 amp motor is more than enough for professional jobs. Moreover, the Makita also features the widest range of OPMs out of any product on our list. With a range of 4000-12000, this sander can technically do it all.Of course, the word “technically” must be thrown in there, because you better know what you are doing to get the most out of it. Quite simply, the Makita is too powerful for its own good. At its highest setting level, this sander generates a great deal of vibration that can make using difficult for all but the most seasoned professionals.Pros

  • 3 amps of motor power is plenty for a professional grad random orbital sander
  • A random orbital sander OPM range of 4000-12000 offers plenty of versatility and is the best on our list
  • 4000 is a good minimum OPM for random orbital sanders

Cons

  • An adjustable handle located on the side would be more convenient than on the front
  • The pad does not hold the paper well and is not durable
  • The highest setting creates too much vibration and is difficult to control

4. PORTER-CABLE 7346SP – Best Consumer Grade Soft Finish Orbital Sander

While the Bosch is the best professional finish sander on our list, the Porter-Cable does serve as an admirable entry into the consumer market. Keep in mind, if you are a professional, this is probably not the best finish random orbital sander for you. However, if you are a hobbyist or only occasionally see a need for finish sanding work, the Porter-Cable is your ideal tool.With 4.5 amps, the Porter-Cable’s motor may not have the sheer raw power of the Bosch, but it has more than enough for most jobs. Moreover, the Porter-Cable’s OPM range is actually wider than the Bosch’s. This means you can ostensibly use the Porter-Cable to snad more types and densities of material than the Bosch.However, the Porter-Cable suffers from some of the same issues as the Bosch. First, while it is not quite as heavy, 6 pounds is still pretty heavy for a random orbital sander that is not a large inline model. Moreover, even though the maximum is slightly more than the Bosch’s, 6800 is still not enough for the hardest of woods. Finally, this product is fairly expensive for a consumer grade right angle random orbital sander, more than many professional palm grips.Pros

  • 4.5 amps of motor power is great for a random orbital sander
  • 2500 is a good minimum OPM for random orbital sanders and the lowest on our list
  • A 6″ sanding area is better than average

Cons

  • 6 pounds is pretty heavy for a random orbital sander
  • 6800 is a low maximum OPM and will limit versatility
  • Is exceptionally expensive for a consumer grade product

5. Makita BO5030K – Best Single Speed Random Orbital Sander

Our second Makita is almost identical to the first. In fact, the primary difference between these two comes in the form of purpose and design. First, this Makita does not offer the same overhandle as the previous one. This means that it will be even more difficult to control this model. However, another issue is that this Makita has no variable speed setting. As such, with an OPM of 12000, this random orbital sander is only suited for rough sanding of harder materials.Still, the Makita does offer a unique experience for those who have a particular need. Specifically, this is probably the most ergonomically designed random orbit sander on our list. Weighing in at a light 2.9 pounds but still sporting a 3 amp motor, the rubberized grip and small profile all combine to create a tool that can be used for hours on end.However, you will definitely be put to the test if you need to do so, because, at 12000 OPMs and an even slighter frame and weight than the other Makita, this random orbit sander is liable to get away from you. In fact, vibration is such an issue, this tool has been known to spit out the sanding paper.Pros

  • 3 amps of motor power is plenty for a professional grad random orbital sander
  • 2.9 pounds is exceptionally light for a random orbital sander
  • With the size and grip, this is arguably the most ergonomic random orbital sander on our list

Cons

  • A single speed severely limits this random orbital sander to rough work exclusively
  • The random orbital sander is difficult to control and creates too much vibration
  • The pad does not hold the paper well and is not durable

6. DEWALT DWE6423K – Best All-Around-Value for a Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander

DEWALT DWE6423K

Our second DeWalt is the first of the two random orbit sanders produced by DeWalt that are neither spectacular at anything but do not have any glaring flaws either. As such, and combined with a reasonable price point, that makes this DeWalt the best all-around value for a variable speed orbital sander.Sadly, that variable speed does come with some caveats. While the maximum OPM of 12000 is exactly what you would expect it to be, the minimum OPM of 8000 is nowhere near low enough to be considered anything more than below average. Though, it is at least backed up by a professional worthy, 3 amp motor.Still, this random orbital sander adds a half pound more weight than its predecessor. This is not terrible, but it still decreases the amount of time before hand fatigue begins to set in. Moreover, this DeWalt also features the same shoddy dust bag that has been known to come undone on its own when full.Pros

  • 3 amps of motor power is plenty for a professional grad random orbital sander
  • A random orbital sander OPM range of 8000 -12000 offers plenty of versatility
  • A counterweight prevents this sander from vibrating too much

Cons

  • The dust collection will not stay fastened on its own
  • An 8000 minimum OPM is a bit subpar for a random orbital sander
  • 4 pounds is a bit on the heavy side for a random orbital sander

7. Bosch ROS20VSC – Best Consumer Grade Orbital Sander

Our next Bosch can be seen as a disappointment or a triumph, depending on which angle you look at it. If you are a weekend warrior, the reliability of Bosch at a reasonable price seems like an amazing find. However, if you are a professional, its subpar power will leave you wondering who exactly this tool is for.Still, with an OPM range of 7500-12000, this is one of the widest ranges out of any product on our list. This will provide a solid amount of versatility, though be forewarned: 7500 is not truly low enough for finish work and will still have difficulty on the “gummier” or materials. Regardless, 7500 is plenty low for most tasks you will find–whether a professional or a DIYer.Of course, speed is not the only measure of power when it comes to random orbital sanders, and this is where the Bosch misses its mark–and the professional grade category. At 2.5 amps, this random orbital sander will struggle at times on more difficult tasks–especially if it is run throughout the day. This is especially a problem since professionals will regularly return a dead sander, and Bosch seems to think it is acceptable to refurbish it and then sell it as new.Pros

  • A random orbital sander OPM range of 7500-12000 offers plenty of versatility
  • 3.5 pounds is about average, but not heavy at all for a random orbital sander
  • The vacuum port is compatible with a variety of hose sizes

Cons

  • 2.5 amps of motor power is disappointing for a random orbital sander and not professional grade
  • A 7500 minimum OPM is a bit subpar for a random orbital sander
  • The manufacturer will regularly sell refurbished products as new

8. PORTER-CABLE 382 – Best Single Speed Consumer Grade Random Orbital Sander

If you are a consumer and simply need a random orbital sander for rough sanding jobs or for harder materials, this Porter-Cable model is the product for you. While it does feature a much higher maximum OPM than the previous Porter-Cable at the expected 12000, it does not offer any speed adjustment. This limits its versatility but does make it ideal for roughing that new old deck.Another quality that is sure to attract the consumer grade crowd is its price. This is the second cheapest product on our list, and the only “cheaper” product truly worth an investment that will see regular use. This is because the Porter-Cable has numerous features, from a ball bearing, sealed case, to all metal housing, which provides amazing durability. For its purpose, you cannot wear this thing out.Unfortunately, this is also in a large part due to its lack of power. At 1.9 amps, this is the weakest motor on our list. When the motor cannot generate as much force, it is far less risk of malfunction. However, you may not wish to test that durability out as this Porter-Cable is also the least ergonomic on our list holding the dubious distinction as the only random orbital sander we reviewed without a rubber grip.Pros

  • The second least expensive product on our list but still provides a good value
  • A durable construction prevents this random orbital sander from having mechanical issue
  • The pad firmly grips the paper and keeps it secured in place

Cons

  • 1.9 amps of motor power is disappointing for a random orbital sander and not professional grade–it is also the least on our list
  • A single speed severely limits this random orbital sander to rough work exclusively
  • Without a rubber grip and a tendency to get warm, this is the least ergonomic product on our list

9. Black & Decker BDERO100 – Best Budget Random Orbital Sander

Black & Decker BDERO100

Black & Decker has rarely if ever, peeked its head out of the consumer grade power tool market. With this random orbital sander, the company shows no signs of starting now. Still, this sander does have a distinct niche.Specifically, if you need a random orbital sander on a shoestring budget, this is probably your best bet. For those who are just beginning their professional career and have not yet gotten paid or even the only occasional weekender, this can serve as an adequate tool–so long as you respect its limits and do not push it.However, professionals are liable to sneer with derision over the paltry 2 amp motor and single speed setting. This places it squarely in the rough finish category without truly having the power to rough finish for long periods of time. Moreover, the hook and loop pad fastener does not work especially well and will send sandpaper disks flying.Pros

  • The cheapest product on our list is perfect for the occasional weekend warrior
  • 3.2 pounds is fairly lightweight for a random orbital sander
  • One of the quieter random orbital sanders available–not just on our list

Cons

  • 2 amps of motor power is disappointing for a random orbital sander and not professional grade
  • A single speed severely limits this random orbital sander to rough work exclusively
  • Has a poor disk loop that is not durable nor does it grip the disks firmly

10. DEWALT DWE6421K – Best All-Around-Value for a Single Speed Random Orbital Sander

Our final product and last DeWalt is almost the same thing as the previous 2, except this one, is a single speed random orbital sander. As such, you must realize this sander is only to be used for rough finishes on harder materials. Still, without any egregious weaknesses and a solid price point, it is our best all-around value in that category.One thing that does make this value stand out is that it features the same 3 amp motor found on the other DeWalts. Considering extended stretches of rough finishing are more common on the professional jobsite, this is a great deal for experienced and young professionals alike. Moreover, it features a counterweight to prevent excess vibration and ergonomic design hours of use without hand fatigue.Sadly, the same problems with the dust bag still plague this line of DeWalt random orbital sanders. Also, like the second DeWalt on our list, and unlike the first, 4 pounds is a tad on the heavy side and will limit some of its ergonomics.Pros

  • 3 amps of motor power is plenty for a professional grad random orbital sander
  • A counterweight prevents this sander from vibrating too much
  • Has an ergonomic design to prevent hand fatigue

Cons

  • The dust collection will not stay fastened on its own
  • A single speed severely limits this random orbital sander to rough work exclusively
  • 4 pounds is a bit on the heavy side for a random orbital sander

Best Orbital Sander – Buyer’s Guide

I hope this Buyer’s Guide will help in choosing the best orbital sander. But first, let’s look at all the details.

Type

Random orbital sanders come in 3 types: palm grip, right angle, and large inline. For our purposes, we only reviewed palm grip and right angle random orbital sanders, but depending on the job, you may find the need for an inline model.

Palm grip random orbital sanders are the most common. They are the smallest of the three types of a random orbital sander, but they are also often the most versatile. While an inline sander’s size will limit its versatility and a right angle sander’s power will limit its versatility, a palm grip sander is both small and powerful. However, palm grip random orbital sanders suffer from being a jack of all trades and a master of none. Moreover, their small size but a large amount of power can make them difficult to control.

Right angle random orbital sanders are incredibly similar to palm sanders. In fact, by all outward appearances, right angle sanders seemingly only add an additional hand grip sticking out of the side of the sander’s body. However, right angle sanders will often have a lower maximum OPM. While this will make them less well-suited for large jobs sanding hard materials, this makes them ideal for sanding softer materials. Moreover, they are the best type of random orbital sander for finish sanding.

Large inline random orbital sanders do not look at all like the other two types of random orbital sanders. As their name suggests, these sanders are much larger than the other 2. Another difference is that inline sanders have a long rectangular shape. These sanders are best suited for large jobs where you need to sand a great deal of harder materials. However, these sanders are not well-suited for either softer materials or finish sanding.

Power

What you want for the power of your random orbit sander will actually be determined more by the job you need it for than anything else. This is a drastic change from most power tools where the more power available, the better the tool performs. However, dues to the particular nature of different types of sanding jobs, more power is not always the best.Regardless, professional grade random orbital sanders should come with a motor that uses at least 3 amps of power. Anything less is better suited for the commercial grade of random orbital sanders as it will not be able to handle the biggest jobs for the longest stretches of time. Anything that is 5 amps or more is veritably spectacular. Keep in mind, a high amperage on a palm sander will make it more difficult to control, so choose carefully.

Speed

The speed of a random orbital sander is generally measured in orbits per minute, or OPMs. Much like power, the speed of your random orbital sander will heavily depend on the kind of job you need it to do. However, there is a good rule of thumb to help you pick out the best sander. If you need to sand softer materials or materials that may “gum up”, like paint or varnish, a random orbital sander with a low maximum OPM is better.

However, if you need to sand hard and rigid materials, like hardwoods for example, then you need as high a maximum OPM as you can get. For softer materials, you ideally want an OPM minimum below 4000. For harder materials, you will want a maximum OPM no lower than 12000. Keep in mind, random orbital sanders with a wide range of OPMs may provide versatility, but they will do neither job as well as a random orbital sander that focuses on high or low OPMs.

Speed Settings

Still, unless you are a professional who finds a wide variety of jobs regularly calling for specific types of tools to be used on end for long stretches of time, it does not make economic sense to purchase 2 or 3 random orbital sanders when you can often make do with just 1. In this case, the lack of precision you endure with random orbital sanders which have a wide OPM range is the sacrifice you make for versatility.The number of speed settings can vary from model to model, and some variable speed random orbital sanders will even have a “turbo” mode. Regardless, if you are opting to go the versatile route, you will want to look for a sander that has a minimum OPM of at most 8000 and a maximum OPM of at least 12000. While a maximum OPM above 12000 is rare for palm grip or right angle-orbital sanders, a minimum OPM for these types below 7000 is great.

Quick Changes

This quality actually covers to parts of a similar idea. First, the ability to quickly change out the sandpaper is paramount when on a professional job where time is money. Second, the pad which braces the paper and the base plate will also wear out, though over a much longer period of time. In this case, the ability to quickly and easily change the pad may not be quite as vital but is still important to consider.

For changing out the sandpaper, most modern random orbital sanders use the hook and loop system. This allows you to securely fasten the paper to the sander’s pad. However, some random orbital sanders utilize sandpaper that simply sticks onto the sander’s pad. This type of sandpaper replacement is much quicker than the hook and loop method, but it is also less secure.

Changing the pads of a random orbital sander is often a bit more in-depth of a process. This will generally involve unscrewing the pad from the base plate. However, there are some random orbital sanders that secure their pads with velcro. This second pad changing system is much quicker, but it is also less secure. Moreover, the velcro pads often require changing more frequently than the screw in pads.

Conclusion

As you can see from our list and thorough Buyer’s Guide, there is no random orbital sander on the market that will be the best in all situations. The Makita BO5041K is arguably the most versatile with an OPM range that can accommodate a wider range of material hardnesses and consistencies than the others, but it will take an experienced professional to control it and get the most out of it.

For those without that much experience, your best bet will probably be the PORTER-CABLE 382–unless you simply need rock-bottom prices, in which case you should turn to the Black & Decker. However, if a value is what you are after, the DeWalts all feature a great price with adequate features.

Finally, if you plan on using your random orbit sander for finish sanding, you have two options, each associated with a different type of purchaser. Professionals will likely opt for the reliability of the Bosch 1250DEVS, while a consumer is liable to want to save a bit of money and go for the PORTER-CABLE 7346SP.

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