We’ve researched more than 50 best-rated random orbital sanders to bring you the most concise review. Our selection for the top 5 sanders include the very best brands, best budget random orbital sanders and a couple great all-rounders, offering great value for money.
It really wasn’t easy coming up with the best 5 random orbital sanders. Not everyone could agree on which brands and models would make the grade. Though, after much deliberation, we’ve narrowed it down to the 5 best options available in 2020. When doing my research, I came across so many Best Random Orbital Sander Reviews. While many of them offered some pretty good information, I found that there were generally too many sanders in the lineup. Reading any of the top 10 reviews, I immediately crossed 4 – 5 off the list. I felt that some of the so-called best random orbital sanders were actually cheap junk.
Okay, maybe I’m a little obsessed with top quality tools and have an affinity for the best brands. That’s not to say I don’t feel for the guys on a tight budget. I simply believe that if you’re buying cheap, don’t waste your money on a power tool that’s not going to last, or get the job done properly. To this end, I insisted that the Black & Decker random orbital sander made it into the top 5. This is usually my go to brand for affordable quality tools, from a brand that you can trust. The Black & Decker BDERO100 is my personal first choice as the best cheap random orbital sander.
As is so often the case, there’s a toss-up for the best allrounder, or best value for money category. While we’ve placed the DeWalt DWE6423K as the top choice, I believe the Makita BO5041K 5” random orbital sander is probably the better machine, but DeWalt wins on the price. I suppose, in terms of outstanding value for money, DeWalt deserves the top spot this time around.
One could see the Bosch 1250DEVS as the dark horse in this race. Bosch has quite a lot cheaper random orbital sanders, but this 6.5A model is the bomb. For exceptional engineering and heaps of extra power for demanding jobs, this is the best priced high-end random orbital sander. Of course, there can be no better than Festool when it comes to top of the line carpentry tools. Perhaps exorbitantly expensive for some, the Festool 575051 is the ultimate top dog, when talking about random orbital sanders.
Before I start on the detailed Review, here’s a quick summary of the top random orbital sanders for 2020.
- DeWalt DWE6423K: Top Power Tools first choice. Affordable, good quality, and comfortable to use. Perfect all-rounder.
- Makita BO5041K: Ultra-durable and reasonably affordable. This is a wonderfully easy sander to use.
- Festool 575051: Easily the best random orbital sander, by far. Festool is the top brand for professional woodworkers and this ROS is also a big favorite in auto body shops. Much more expensive than any other.
- Bosch 1250DEVS Second to the Festool sander, this is a more affordable, top-quality, extremely powerful machine for any task.
- Black & Decker BDERO100: The best budget random orbital sander. Power is not the best, but reasonable for a cheap tool. Lightweight and easy to use.
Top 5 Random Orbital Sanders ǀ The Full Review
For more detailed information on each of the top 5 random orbital sanders chosen, keep reading. Here’s where you’ll get all the facts, the good and the not so good. If you’re still uncertain on how to choose the best random orbital sander for you, the detailed buying guide will follow the individual product reviews. This should help newbies, perhaps even experienced craftsmen, make a more informed decision.
DeWalt 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander (DWE6423K)
- Lightweight ergonomic design
- Low vibration
- 8,000 – 12,000 OPM
- Dust-sealed switch
- One hand dust port locking mechanism.
So why has the DeWalt DWE6423K 5” random orbital sander made it to the top of our best 5 list? That’s quite simple, outstanding value for money. This is a DeWalt tool, so you know you’re getting excellent quality from one of the top US power tool brands. At well under a $100, I consider this a real bargain.
Something I’ve always admired about DeWalt tools is that they really think about us, the tradesmen and DIYers that end up using their tools. The molded, low vibration design of the top handle fits snugly into the palm of your hand, making it easy enough to work for hours without it feeling like your hand is about to enter hyper-space. With multiple speed settings you can make the most of the 8,000 – 12,000 oscillations per minute (OPM). From gentle sanding to some hardcore work, results are always great. The 3A electric motor is superb for this size ROS.
General durability is, as one would expect from DeWalt, really good. The dust sealed switch certainly helps in this regard. Though I feel the Makita sander, which I’ll be reviewing next takes the cake in terms of great durability.
The dust bag and dust port has received some mixed reviews. The bag is made from super-tough material and is excellent at keeping the air clean and healthy. Though the bag is a little is on the small side and is a bit tricky to empty. A lesser complaint is that the dust extraction port doesn’t accommodate a standard hose directly unless you’re using DeWalt DWV010 or DWV012 dust extraction systems. To use any other 1¼” vacuum hose system, you have to buy the DWV9000 Universal Quick Connector. This item isn’t all that cheap, considering that it’s not much more than a plastic tube for connecting pipes. The DeWalt universal adapter will probably end up costing a little over 25 bucks.
As is so often the case, the DeWalt DWE6423K is an absolute gem of a tool. This is a highly competent 3A 5” random orbital sander. It has all the traits that we’ve come to expect from the brand: good quality, reasonable prices, and ease of use. Yes there are better sanders, there are also cheaper options. Though no other ticks as many boxes as this one does. This is the perfect allrounder for a DIY home shop or medium-duty professional working environment.
Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander
- 3A motor
- 5” Abrasive paper with easy quick change Hook & Loop (8-hole) system
- Highly durable with oversized sealed ball bearing and double insulation
- Variable speed control: 4,000 to 12,000 OPM
When it comes to a mid-priced random orbital sander the Makita BO5041K 5” model displays an incredible level of tough, durable engineering. In my opinion, Makita is way underrated as one of the best power tool brands. In general, I’ve found Makita tools to outlast just about any other at a similar price.
Durable design is what impresses me most about this remarkable sanding machine. The oversized, completely sealed ball bearing is but one example of how the guys at Makita have gone the extra mile to ensure long term reliability. Another thing, which is a bit of a Makita hallmark, is the high level of insulation. When it comes to woodworking tools, sawdust is the thing that inevitably causes them to fail. Fine dust gets in everywhere, causing unwanted wear on moving parts and reducing airflow, which can lead to overheating. The double insulated Makita BO5041K is quite remarkable in this regard and should prolong tool life over most others, even many that cost more.
Comfort and ease of use is another winning feature with this tool. Random orbital sanders are renowned for their easy single-handed operation. Though there will be times when two hands will give you that extra bit of stability for detailed work. The three, excellently padded, low-vibration gripping positions are great for versatile work. The back handle has a large, very convenient trigger switch. Then there’s the quite conventional top palm grip and an additional handle at the front, for ultimate control. To make it just as easy to get into tight spaces, this extra handle rotates 360° into any position.
This sander also has an incredible speed range, from a really slow 4,000 OPM up to 12,000. The results are sublime, thanks to the fine ¹⁄₈” random orbit pattern. A 3A electric motor is pretty much the norm for a high-quality 5” random orbital sander, and the Makita version is one of the best, with some amazing features. Anyone will appreciate the controlled startup for maximum pad control and the pad brake, which does a lot to improve productivity.
I’m always comparing Makita vs DeWalt power tools. These are, to my mind, the two best brands, offering a fantastic combination of price and quality. This is what I consider genuine value for money. A tool with great capabilities, excellent durability, without costing an arm and a leg. Although the Makita BO5041K is a bit more expensive than its DeWalt counterpart, I think it’s the winner in the durability department. Something, I’m sure many will agree, is worth paying a little extra for.
Festool ETS EC 150/5 EQ Random Orbit Sander (Model#: 575051)
- Stepless speed preselection, constant speed even under load
- Long life thanks to EC technology and sanding pad brake with carbide tip
- Compact design and weighing only 2.6 lbs. (1.2 kg) for optimal ergonomic work conditions
- Optimal work protection thanks to vibration and extraction detection
- Extremely high surface quality thanks to 5 mm sanding stroke
- For coarse and intermediate sanding
I always say that you can tell how serious a tradesman is by looking at the tools he uses. A top-rated carpenter or master woodworker is bound to have several Festool models in their arsenal. The Festool ETS EC 150/5 EQ random orbital sander can be seen in many of the best autobody shops too. This is no average machine, and you probably won’t find it in the shop of any average Joe. At over $500, we can certainly call this an exclusive power tool. One could call it an investment, as no other ROS can compare.
Festool is a brand that will not sacrifice quality to save a few bucks. I really like this approach to engineering, albeit expensive. Proof of this commitment to technical excellence can be seen in the never-say-die EC-TEC brushless electric motor and the most sophisticated pad brake, with ultra-durable carbide tip.
Apart from legendary Festool hardcore durability, we’ve also come to expect great innovations from the brand, stuff that makes our lives easier and improves the quality of our work. In the end, a high-quality finish and improved productivity is why professionals are prepared to pay a premium for the best power tools. Here, of course, is where the Festool ETS Random orbital sander really shines.
This is a super lightweight tool, weighing only 2.65 LBS, with one of the best grips for a compact random orbital sander. I don’t have vibration specs, but it certainly feels like the most comfortable sander to use. It is designed to help you work longer without user fatigue and is the best for overhead work, like sanding ceilings.
An extra smooth finish is achieved with multiple levels of technology. The ³⁄₁₆” sanding stroke is nothing short of brilliant. Added to this, the incredible MULTI-JETSTREAM dust extraction is about as close to perfection as modern technology can get. Not only does ensure a clean, healthy working environment, but it also improves the finish for fine work. The sander has a 1¹⁄₁₆” dust extraction hose fitting with a safety function which, when engaged, will prevent the sander from starting if no extraction hose is connected. If this seems like a nuisance, don’t worry, you can easily disable this function.
When I read about the new Festool Vibration Control System, I was wowed by the technology. Okay, it’s all good on paper, but what does this mean in reality? The effect is truly awesome. The Festool ETS EC 150/5 EQ random orbital sander actually thinks for you. It detects vibration and automatically adjusts the motor RPM to reduce excessive vibrations when needed. This constant electronic monitoring is truly sublime, the best of its kind that I’ve ever seen.
A really nice touch, so typically Festool in its OCDness, is the nylon sleeve covering the dust extraction hose. It avoids those irritating snags on the workpiece and ensures no scratching or any kind of damage to sensitive surfaces. You’ve got admire this kind of attention detail.
Ironically, Festool categorize the ETS EC 150/5 EQ random orbital sander as being for coarse and intermediate sanding. Yet it leaves just about all other ROS models lacking. This is because, as is their way, Festool have an even finer random orbital sander (ETS EC 150/3 EQ), this model has an incredible ¹⁄₈” (3MM) sanding stroke. I think it is generally accepted that Festool is the leader in specialized carpentry power tools. This what you’re paying extra for: the ultimate in design and build quality.
- Two modes: random orbit and “Turbo” Eccentric orbit mode for more aggressive sanding
- Extra powerful 6.5A electric motor.
- 3,100 to 6,500 OPM
Bosch Power Tools seem to have no middle ground. You’ll either find relatively cheap, run of the mill, Bosch tools, or pretty expensive models that rate amongst the very best. The Bosch 1250DEVS falls into the latter category. This random orbital sander a good deal more expensive than the DeWalt and Makita models that we’ve reviewed, though not quite as expensive as the Festool. In some ways, I guess this machine can compete, head on, with the Festool. No, it doesn’t have quite the same finesse or smoothness of the Festool ROS; but has some other redeeming qualities. The Bosch 1250DEVs is a rather exceptional tool for its brute power and dual purpose design.
As a 6” random orbit sander, the Bosch 1250DEVS is as accomplished as any of the best. It’s real party trick is when you flip the “Turbo” switch and engage high-power eccentric orbit mode. This turns the Bosch into a heavy removal sander for large scale material removal. I’d say, when in turbo mode, the Bosch 1250DEVs is somewhere between a belt sander and a conventional orbital sander. When using this extra power, you’ll need to hold onto it like a wild mustang. Okay not quite, it is easier to control than a large belt sander, but not as nimble as a mild ROS. That’s only when you engage turbo mode. When using the normal variable speed (3,100 – 6,500 OPM) random oscillation, it is a light and easy tool to use. The 7.7” padded top grip is amazing for this. Fortunately, there’s an auxiliary handle that easily turns into position on the left or right, for when you need that extra grip.
Beautifully designed, the Bosch 1250DEVS is also one of the most durable. The sturdy aluminum base is truly great. I particularly like the additional molded handle at the back of the machine. This is mostly because it’s just so clever. The excellently designed dust extraction duct is crafted into a comfortable extra handle and the dust port, at the back, is conveniently out of the way. This versatile port is ready for any Bosh shop vac dust extraction system and they’ve include an adapter to accommodate standard 1¼ or 1½’ vac hoses.
The Bosch 1250DEVS is one of a kind. An incredibly powerful Random Orbit Sander that can clean up even the toughest gritty surfaces in a flash. I think many contractors will really appreciate this versatility. It is as tough as they come and ultimately reliable. If this tool weren’t so much more expensive than the DeWalt or Makita models, it would be my number one random orbital sander. With that said, the price is not too bad, when you compare it to the stupendous Festool.
Black & Decker BDERO100
- Hook-and-loop system for easy paper changes
- Dust-sealed switch extends tool life
- Random orbital action for high removal rate and quality finish
There’s nothing about the Black & Decker BDERO100 random orbital sander that jumps out at me and screams WOW! Then again, we didn’t include it in this review because conjures up thoughts of fantastic, awesome, or brilliant. Comparing the Black & Decker ROS to the others in this review won’t be a fair challenge. We know that there are many DIY tool buyers who aren’t looking for the best commercial grade tools. This is a power tool that will be used occasionally and get the job the done, albeit a little tediously.
The Black & Decker BDERO100, with its 2A electric motor, will appear underpowered when compared to best expensive machines. We have to keep in mind that is, in my opinion, the best cheap random orbit sander. Not the best all-round. It is a well made machine. Again, I say this in the context of cheap tools. Quality plastics are used throughout, and it has a dust-sealed power switch. Definitely a cut above the norm when buying cheap power tools.
The grip at the top of the sander is nicely designed for user comfort. Vibration really isn’t to bad at all. Though some of this is due to the lower power of the motor. It has a small, but very competent dust bag fitted to the back. Be careful when removing or refitting this bag, the plastic clips aren’t designed for a heavy hand.
I’m never going to have many praises for cheap tools. When you spend your days reviewing the best tools on the market, you get a little contentious of anything less than top-notch. Putting this bias aside, the Black & Decker BDERO100 is one of the very few cheap random orbit sanders that I would recommend with a good deal of confidence. The brand has served me well in my earlier years, when I simply couldn’t afford the big names. This is a very competent, and reasonably tough random orbital sander. Though I wouldn’t call it heavy-duty. That would be an absurd concept at this price.
Random Orbital Sander Buying Guide
Buying any power tool takes some consideration. If you’re not too familiar with what you’re buying, how do you know you’re making the best decision? A buying guide, like this one, should help novices, and even more experienced woodworkers, find exactly what they need.
There are three basic types of handheld sander and it help to know what a random orbit sander is and how it fits into the mix.
- Belt Sanders are the heavy-duty big machines in the world of sanders. The sandpaper takes the form of a continuous loop, or belt, which moves in a linear pattern from front to back. They are designed to remove large amounts of stock and are generally used to sand the piece down to size. Belt sanders will remove layers of old paint and the like much faster than any other. Though they don’t leave a fine polished finish. Furthermore, belt sanders have brutal power. They require a good deal of control by the user. If not used correctly, belt sanders can leave deep scallop in the material.
- Orbital Sanders are smaller and less powerful than belt sanders. Orbital sanding pads are usually square in shape. The sandpaper is moved in a circular, orbital pattern. This requires less power than a belt sander and does not remove stock as aggressively. Orbital sanders are used for finishing work where a finer paper is used to deliver a smooth surface. Orbital sanders have a tendency to leave a circular pattern on the surface that is being sanded.
- Random Orbital Sanders use the same basic principle of the orbital sander, but the circular pattern (or orbit) is randomized to eliminate swirl. You don’t get circular scratches on the material, like you would using an orbital sander.
Random Orbit Sander vs Orbital Sander
When looking at the difference between random orbit and orbital sanders, one is left wondering why you want an orbital sander at all. The most fastidious carpenters would recommend using all three types of sander: belt, orbital, and random orbit. You would use them in the order that I’ve listed them. Start by preparing the piece using a belt sander, intermediate sanding with an orbital sander, then a final finish and polish using a random orbit.
Though many occasional woodworkers might not see the need for all those tools. They simply won’t be used often enough to warrant all that expense. If you’re deciding between an orbital and random orbit sander, you need to recognize your priorities. Sanding shelves, ceilings, and floors, might not need a perfect finish.
One of the advantages of using a conventional orbital sander is the square shape. This is more practical when working into corners. Random orbital sanders are usually round in shape. Most orbital sanders require you to cut the sandpaper to size and then clip it into position. Whereas random orbit sanders usually have a quick hook-and-loop system. Changing sandpaper on a random orbit sander is much quicker and easier. Though the 5” – 6” round sanding discs will cost more compared to buying a roll of sandpaper and cutting it to size as needed. Random orbit sanders require more power to do the same level of material removal and are, therefore, more expensive than orbital sanders.
If you just want to do basic sanding, and aren’t too concerned about a high quality finish, an orbital sander may be a more economical solution. A random orbital sander will always deliver superior results and is great for polishing to super gloss finish.
Random orbital sanders use an electric motor, like any other power tool. These motors can be anything from 2A up to 6A, even a little more. Random orbit sanders are amongst the few power tools where a more powerful electric motor isn’t always an advantage.
If you’re using an ROS only for final finishing and polishing, you don’t want too much power. You want a machine that can be held in one hand perform gentle oscillations. More power is required for rapid, more aggressive stock removal.
Typically, the more powerful random orbit sanders can be seen as dual purpose. They can be used for intermediate sanding and finishing. What becomes important, as the power increases, is power control. A well-calibrate trigger switch will allow you to ease on the power as need. A power control switch, allowing for different modes, will also be a big advantage. The best random orbit sanders will also have a slow start and pad brake for improved control and efficiency.
Any type of sander has fairly high levels of vibration. This takes its toll on your hands. A random orbit sander, with little protection from vibration, can’t be used for too long before user fatigue sets in.
A padded handle (or handles) is the first step in combating vibration. This is easy to determine just by looking at the machine. Ample rubber and a molded shape, that fits the hand, is a clear indication of a sander that is going to be more comfortable to use.
Vibration control is something that one can’t recognize just by looking at the tool. Generally, you can go by brand and price. Festool have the best vibration control system, using sophisticated electronics as well as mechanical devices. The more conventional vibration control methods, used for the DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch random orbital sanders do a pretty good job at allowing for extended use with reasonable comfort.
The cheaper DIY random orbit sanders are not always as powerful and, hence, don’t vibrate as much. These non-professional tools usually rely on padded handles as the only means of combatting vibration and will never be as comfortable to use as the more expensive models.
This is a must for any sander. Sawdust from a random orbit sander is particularly fine. This micro-dust is the most dangerous in terms of a healthy working environment. Ultrafine sawdust also wreaks havoc on your tools. It works it way into every nook and cranny, wearing down moving parts and restricting airflow which is essential for keeping the tool cool. Not to mention a dusty and unpleasant shop.
Just about every random orbital sander is fitted with a dust extraction port for a shop vac or dust extraction system. Many will have the option to use a vacuum dust extractor or dust collection bag that fits onto the sander. The best machines are also designed to channel the sawdust away from the workpiece. This helps prevent fine scratches when conducting detailed work, and improves visibility.