Random Orbital Sander Reviews and Buying Guide

When you’re looking for an orbital sander, it’s important to consider a variety of factors. Make sure you ask yourself a few key questions to determine the type of sander you need, and then go ahead and take a look at our list of top contenders for best orbital sander below. We have both corded and cordless options, as well as a handy buying guide and an FAQ for new buyers at the end. Here are the best random orbital sanders available in the UK:

Our Selection:

  1.  Bosch PEX 220 A Random Orbit Sander

  2. Makita 240V 5-inch Random Orbit Sander

  3. Bosch PEX 400 AE Random Orbit Sander

Cordless

  1. Ryobi R18ROS-0 ONE+ Random Orbit Sander

  2.  Makita DBO180Z

  3. Bosch PSM 18 LI

Our selection of the best orbital sanders available in the market in 2017!

1 - Bosch PEX 220 A Random Orbit Sander

Bosch PEX 220 A Random Orbit Sander
Bosch’s 200-watt sander provides affordable versatility

Our first contender for the title of the best sander is the Bosch PEX 220. The PEX features a 220-watt motor and weighs in at 1.6 kg. The sanding surface has a velcro fastener for easy removal. This feature means that when one disk wears out you can simply replace it with another. This also means that the 220 can be used for a variety of surfaces and projects, as long as you use the appropriate sanding disks. The PEX has an OPM speed of 24,000 and an eccentricity of 1.25mm, capable of handling almost any casual use project. The Bosch 220 also boasts an ergonomic handle and a filter to keep your workspace clean.

2 - Makita 240V 5-inch Random Orbit Sander

Makita 240V 5-inch Random Orbit Sander
Makita’s 5-inch sander is a light heavyweight

The Makita 240V boasts a little more power and a bit of a heftier price tag than the PEX 220. The Makita has reliable power even under heavy loads and is capable of handling bulky projects. It’s hook and loop attachments make it easy to change the disks and switch from project to project. The Makita boasts a sturdy and reliable construction that makes long-term sanding and hours of work easy on the hands. The Makita also has a dust collection system built in, much like the Bosch PEX. Makita does come in quite a bit lighter than the PEX, a mere 839g to the PEX’s 1.4 kg, which is something to consider when thinking about long-term comfort.

3 - Bosch PEX 400 AE Random Orbit Sander

Bosch PEX 400 AE Random Orbit Sander
The Bosch 400 boasts some serious power.

The Bosch PEX 400 has a 350-watt motor and boasts the ability to change speeds, giving you more variety and control in your projects. The PEX 400 is capable of up to 21,200 opms. The 400 model also comes with the ergonomic grip with a soft surface, to increase user traction. It also boasts the dust collection bag included in the 200 model. The PEX 400 weighs in at a hefty 3.5 kg, making it the heaviest of our three finalists. However, considering it’s variable speeds and focus on user comfort, the Bosch 400 is a good product for the price.

Best Cordless Random Orbital Sander

1 - Ryobi R18ROS-0 ONE+ Random Orbit Sander

Ryobi R18ROS-0 ONE+ Random Orbit Sander
Ryobi includes variable speeds at a great price

Our first option for best cordless sander is the Ryobi R18ROS-0. The Ryobi boasts a weight of 1.6 Kg. It’s 18-volt batteries and has variable speeds up to 12,000 rpm and can take up to 40 minutes of continuous use. However, the battery is not included and must be bought separately. Like the previous models, it has hook and loop attachments for easy removal and placement. The Ryobi also has a handle that fits easily into the palm and makes long term use easier on your hands and arms. With no cord to unplug to make sure the sander is off, safety can be an issue and Ryobi handles that by including an indicator light to make sure you can visibly see when the tool is on. The Ryobi also includes a 2.2 mm orbit diameter for more efficient stock removal

2 - Makita DBO180Z

Makita DBO180Z
Makita’s DBO180Z is ergonomic and easy to use.

The Makita DBO180Z has variable speeds from 7,000 – 11,000 OPMs, and 3-speed settings. The DBO180Z is easy to manoeuvre and fit into your hand, with Makita focusing especially on the ergonomics of the tool as well as it’s center of gravity. Both of these features mean that this tool is easy to use for long periods, and with a 1.3 kg weight, it’s especially portable and usable. It has hook and loop fastening to make switching sandpapers easy so you can switch from project to project without slowing down. The DBO180Z takes a lithium ion battery, but it’s not included, which is something to think about when weighing out the costs from cordless to battery powered.

3 - Bosch PSM 18 LI

Bosch PSM 18 LI
Bosch’s PSM is adjustable, affordable, and customisable.

The Bosch PSM is the most affordable cordless sander on our list. However, the battery must be purchased separately, much like the other sanders on our list. The PSM uses lithium-ion batteries and even has an indicator to show you how much battery life you have left. The plate allows you to turn and rotate it so that you can use it for multiple projects, as well as handy velcro that allows you to switch your sandpaper easily and quickly. The PSM also has a compact size that fits in the hand easily, with Bosch clearly focusing on ergonomics in this product. The PSM is a lightweight 1.3 kg, and the ergonomic handle makes it easy to use. Bosch’s usual filter system is included as well a clear dust collector that lets you see how much has built up, and when you need to empty it. At the price, even with the extra expense of the battery purchase, the PSM is a great tool for anyone who has projects that need specific attachments or customisations.

Random Orbital Sander

Orbital Sander Buying Guide

While the six sanders above are our top picks for everyone, we do have a few general tips for everyone who’s currently in the market for a sander. These tips are important to keep in mind when you go shopping, so that way you can make sure you get the best sander for you and your needs.

  • What type of sander do you need? – There are three main types of sanders, and you need to consider what types of projects you’ll be engaged in. For casual users and lighter projects, a palm grip should be enough. If you need a little more power, then consider a right angle sander, which will allow you to apply more force to your project. For truly large projects you can always consider an inline sander, which allows you to use both hands to control the sander.
  • Is it easy to change the paper? – You don’t want to have to fuss and struggle with your tool every time you have to change your paper. Make sure that your sander has an easy release, like velcro or hook and loop fastening.
  • Is it easy to vary the speed? – Being able to vary the speeds not only means that your projects will be easier to finish and perfect, it also lends versatility to your sander and means that you can use it for more projects in the future.
  • Is the grip comfortable? – You want to make sure that your sander will have a grip that is comfortable for your hands, and easy for you to grip. Weight will be a factor here too, you want to make sure that your tool won’t overwork your arms and hands.
  • Is the power cord long enough? – Many users rely on battery power to keep their tools portable and easy to move around with. However, battery-powered sanders come with their own challenges, and no one wants to be juggling chargers and extra batteries. If you do go for a power cord, make sure you know how long it is, and how much room you’ll have to work with.
  • Is the switch sealed? – Making sure your switch is kept clean and free from dust and debris will extend the life of your tool, as well as preventing several maintenance issues that occur when dirt and grit get below your switch.

FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions many first-time sander users have about their tools and how to maintain them.

Q: What are orbital saws most often used for?
A: They are most often used for sanding down finishes on woodworking projects and automotive projects. The random portion of the orbit means that you can get an even finish without having any swirl marks that some sanders leave behind.

Q: Are the plates on the sander removable/replaceable?
A: Usually no. The sanders are fitted with plates, then with discs on top of those plates that you change out when the sandpaper runs out. The plate is the solid part of the tool. The exception to this would be the Bosch PSM, which will allow you to rotate the plate to make the sander more customisable.

Q: Is there a warranty available?
A: Warranties will be brand specific, but most industry standards are at two years. Most brands also allow you to extend or purchase a separate warranty as well.

Q: Do you have to use brand specific sanding disks?
A: Not as long as you get a sander that has a standard attachment point. Most sanders have either velcro or hook and loop attachments that mean you can swap out disks from any brand, as long as they fit.

Q: How fast should the sander spin?
A: That depends on the model you have and the OPMs it uses. The OPMS are orbits per minute, and any variable models will allow you to adjust this speed as needed.

Top Brands

While there are many brands and types of sanders that will serve you well, some brands stand above the rest. These brands below are always a good place to start if you don’t quite know a good jumping off point or just want some general direction.

  • Bosch – Bosch boasts superior quality and variety, meaning that everyone can find a tool to fit their specific needs.
  • DeWalt – DeWalt is a brand that’s endured for a long time, and their reputation for quality and reliability is well earned.
  • Makita – Makita’s focus on ergonomics and user ease make them an ideal brand for hobbyists or casual users.
  • Black & Decker – Black & Decker is a brand that’s known for its affordability and its reliability. With over 100 years in the business, Black & Decker is an industry leader and a standard for quality.

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