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The 5 Best Random Orbital Sanders (2022 Review)

Random orbital sanders are a must-have item for any woodworker, as they allow for wood to be sanded without worrying about the direction of the grain. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best random orbital sanders on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

random orbital sander Courtesy DeWalt

Random orbital sanders come in many varieties, but ultimately all achieve the same task: making sanding easier for woodworkers by creating a smooth finish without concern for the direction of the grain. To help you select the random orbital sander that’s right for your next project, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best random orbital sanders on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Best Random Orbital Sander Comparison

Product Power Variable Speed Weight Warranty
Product Power Variable Speed Weight Warranty
Makita BO5041 5" Random Orbit Sander 3.0 AMP 4,000-12,000 OPM 2.1 pounds 1 year
DEWALT 20V MAX Random Orbit Sander 2.0Ah battery 8,000-12,000 OPM 4.3 pounds 3 years
BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander 2.0 AMP 12,000 OPM 3.2 pounds 2 years
Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander 2.5 AMP 7,500-12,000 OPM 3.5 pounds 1 year
SKIL 5” Random Orbital Sander 2.8 AMP 7,000-13,000 OPM 3.44 pounds 1 year

Most Versatile: Makita BO5041 5” Random Orbit Sander

Makita BO5041 5” Random Orbit Sander

Makita BO5041 5” Random Orbit Sander

  • $89

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This random orbital sander is lightweight, which means that you can sand vertical surfaces without fatigue. Additionally, it has an adjustable front handle that helps for sanding corners in confined spaces and has an ergonomic rubberized palm grip.

Courtesy Amazon

Key Features

  • Power: 3.0 AMP
  • Variable speed: 4,000–12,000 OPM
  • Weight: 2.1 lbs

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who liked this product said that it was easy to hold, highly maneuverable, and that it was quiet. While many woodworkers found this tool to be well-designed, some mentioned that the dust port was a bit too small and that it was difficult to attach to a shop vac.


Best Cordless: DEWALT 20V MAX Random Orbit Sander

DEWALT 20V MAX Random Orbit Sander

DEWALT 20V MAX Random Orbit Sander

  • $181
  • $229
  • 22% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

If you’re working on a project that isn’t near a power outlet, having a reliable cordless sander can be a convenient alternative to hooking up an extension cord. This product also comes with a one-hand locking dust collection bag that makes cleaning up a breeze.

Courtesy Amazon

Key Features

  • Power: 2.0Ah battery
  • Variable speed: 8,000–12,000 OPM
  • Weight: 4.29 lbs

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who were pleased with this product liked its portability, comfortable grip, and that it was powerful for a cordless unit. While many appreciated the convenience of this tool, some people said that the battery didn’t last long enough for big projects and recommended getting a second battery unit or a larger battery.


Best For Small Jobs: BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander

BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander

BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander

  • $31
  • $67
  • 54% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This random orbital sander won’t break the bank but will still hold up for light sanding tasks. Even though it’s not quite as powerful as other sanders, it still includes a built-in dust collection bag and a lock-on paddle switch to easily power it on and off.

Courtesy Amazon

Key Features

  • Power: 2.0 AMP
  • Speed: 12,000 OPM
  • Weight: 3.16 lbs

What Customers Are Saying

Those who left positive reviews for this product said that it was durable, easy to grip, and worked quickly. Though this is a great budget option if you only need an orbital sander for occasional use, some people wished that it had variable speeds, and others noted that its dust collection was not the best.


Best Dust Collection: Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander

Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander

Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander

  • $76

Prices taken at time of publishing.

While dust is always to be expected while sanding wood, this sander takes an additional measure to reduce that with its built-in microfilter system to trap dust particles as small as 0.5 microns. It also features a soft-top grip and integral pad dampening system.

Courtesy Amazon

Key Features

  • Power: 2.5 AMP
  • Variable speed: 7,500–12,000 OPM
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who left satisfactory reviews liked that this product had a low amount of vibration, had a wide range of speed control, and was easy to operate. While many were impressed with the dust collection capabilities, they noted that it needed to be emptied fairly often, and that it was somewhat difficult to disassemble.


Highest Speed: SKIL 5” Random Orbital Sander

SKIL 5” Random Orbital Sander

SKIL 5” Random Orbital Sander

  • $35
  • $40
  • 13% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

If you have a big project or just want to get your work done quickly, this high-speed sander might be the right tool for you. In addition to the high speed and powerful motor, it also offers low vibration, ensuring you can work quickly while delivering a smooth performance.

Courtesy Amazon

Key Features

  • Power: 2.8 AMP
  • Variable speed: 7,000–13,000 OPM
  • Weight: 3.44 lbs

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who left positive reviews for this sander said that it had excellent dust containment, high maneuverability, and was easy to change sandpaper grits. Although many liked the power and ease of use, they noted that it was often messy and that it was more effective to hook it up to a shop vac than using the included dust bin.


Buyer’s Guide

When deciding on which random orbital sander is best for your needs, it’s important to consider some of the following factors.

Power Source

There are pros and cons for both cordless and corded random orbital sanders. Cordless sanders are convenient because they can be brought anywhere, including outside. However, you are limited by the amount of battery life that a cordless sander has, and this may cause you to take unwanted breaks if you need to wait for it to charge.

Corded sanders need to be within operation of a power outlet, or have a long extension cord in order for them to work where you need. However, once they are plugged in, they will work for as long as you need without interruption.

Weight

Most random orbital sanders weigh between two and four pounds. Lighter devices create less wrist and hand fatigue, but may be less powerful than heavier devices.

Disc Size

Most random orbital sanders use discs that are five or six inches in diameter, but some heavy-duty sanders may have discs up to eight inches, and smaller devices may go as small as one inch. For large projects such as sanding a hardwood floor, you’ll want to focus on devices with large disc sizes. Small disc sizes, on the other hand, can give you more flexibility and can fit into tighter spots.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are random orbital sanders used for?

To properly choose and use a random orbital sander, you first need to know exactly what it is designed for. Random orbital sanders are versatile and can work to sand and smooth items due to their unique shape. The disc in a random orbital sander spins in a circle while the pad moves in an oval loop, resulting in a swirl-free finish no matter if you’re sanding with or against the grain.

What’s the difference between a traditional and a random orbital sander?

The main difference between standard and random orbital sanders is the shape of their pad. Traditional orbital sanders have a square sanding pad that moves in an orbital manner, while a random orbital sander has a circular pad and moves in an elliptical manner.

What are the differences between an orbital sander and a palm sander?

Palm sanders traditionally have a different shape, size, and motion than random orbital sanders. Random orbital sanders are best for sanding large surfaces and smooth larger pieces of wood. Palm sanders, on the other hand, are best for sanding small pieces and are also effective at sanding edges.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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