What to Look for When Buying a Orbital Sander
Whether woodworking is a hobby or a profession for you, certain power tools are essential to do your job in the right manner. There are several power tools that make the life of a woodworker easy. One of these tools is an orbital sander. As the name suggests, these sanders are used for sanding the wood to a smooth surface.
While sanding can be done with the help of a sandpaper, these powerful electric tools make it easier and quicker. There are many different types of sanders available in the market including belt sanders, orbital sanders as well as random orbit sanders. This guide is focused on helping you buy the right orbital sander for your needs.
Our Top 5 for 2018!
1. Dewalt DWE6421K
The Dewalt DWE6421K is a great bit of kit from a well trusted power tool brand. It has a powerful 3-amp motor which is great for tough home improvement or in fact professional jobs, it spins the pad at 12,000 opm. One thing we really do like is the fact it has a dust sealed switch, this helps prolong the life of the sander as dust is the main killer of these types of power tools.
It also features an one hand locking system for the dust bag, this again is another great feature on this well put together product, Dewalt have really thought about the user with this product, and is a worthy winner in our view.
2. Black & Decker BDERO100
One of the first things you notice about the Black & Decker BDERO100 is the price! You really can’t beat that amazing price anywhere else in this market. Again, the same as the Dewalt above it also has a dust sealed switch which is a huge bonus as it seriously increases the life of the sander.
Another great feature is the hook and loop system for removing sand paper. You realise how important being able to change paper quickly is once you start doing lots of power sanding work, you really do go through a ton of sand paper and being able to change quickly is a must have feature on an orbital sander.
3. Black & Decker DWE6423k
One thing I personally like about the DWE6423k is the fact it has a lower height than a lot of other orbital sanders on the market. This helps minimize the distance between the worktop piece and user helping greater accuracy when working on closer detailed pieces.
The overall design is designed to help reduce vibration to the user’s hand which quickly causes fatigue when working long hours on projects. It achieves this through rubber over mould in important places on the sander. It has a 3 amp motor which can be adjusted to spin between 8000 to 12000 opm which is more than enough power for most projects.
4. Bosch ROS20VSC
I’ve personally had a lot of Bosch products in the past and I have never been disappointed, there’s not many manufacturers that can offer this sort of quality for a low price and the Bosch ROS20VSC is no exception. The variable speed dial it has is a great feature to allow you to get the precise speed to match the work you are undertaking.
The ROS20VSC has been designed from the ground up to help eliminate a pretty common problem with the orbital sander and that is swirl marks. Swirl marks are an annoying problem with these types of products and Bosch has done a brilliant job with this sander to help reduce this issue.
5. PORTER-CABLE 382
One thing to note with the PORTER-CABLE 382 is the fact it has a 3 year limited warranty. This is something that is essential if you’ll be working with the sander every day or will be pushing it to the max, it allows piece of mind. The 382 is a sander that takes 5 inch 8 hole hook and loop sand paper, this is something to remember when reviewing which orbital sander to purchase.
Other great features include a dual plane counter balanced fan which is designed to help reduce user fatigue when using the unit for an extended period, I’ve found this a great feature over the last few years when using these types of power sanders.
Orbital Sander Buyers Guide
In simple terms, an orbital sander may be defined as a small, lightweight power tool that is typically used for fine finishing of the wooden surface. One of the biggest advantages of this tool is that it is lightweight which makes it easier to handle and this is the reason, experts recommend it for beginners. Due to being lightweight, it is also safe for beginners as they are unlikely to make too many mistakes. These sanders are also known as finishing sanders, palm sanders as well as sheet sanders. One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to orbital sanders is that they are the same thing as a random orbital sander. However, there is big difference between these two power tools.
One of the biggest differences between a random orbital sander and an orbital sander is the shape of the base plate. The shape of the base plate in orbital sander is usually rectangular or square which means these are the best tools for inner corners. Some of the orbital sanders available in the market also come with delta -shaped base plate and these are known as mouse sanders. On the other hand, the base plate is typically of round shape in random orbital sanders.
Another important difference between these two power tools is the manner in which they work. In case of orbital sanders, the base plate rotates in tiny orbital circles. On the other hand, in the case of random orbital sanders, the base plate vibrates in random orbits in addition to spinning in circles. This way of working makes a random orbital sander more versatile as compared to the orbital sander. It is also important to mention here that an orbital sander is easier to handle and control as compared to a random orbital sander.
Features You Need to Look for
The orbital sanders are available with two power sources, namely battery operated and mains operated. As the name suggests, the mains operated sanders are tools that need to be plugged into electric mains in order to operate. On the other hand, battery-operated sanders are more portable and can be used anywhere. However, the power source also affects the weight as well as motor power of the tool.
Due to limitations of battery size, the more portable battery-operated power tool is less powerful as compared to the mains operated tool. Also, battery-operated tool tends to be heavier due to the additional weight of the battery. As far as choosing a particular model is concerned, it will depend on your unique needs.
Most of the modern sanders available in the market today offer some kind of dust collection system but it is important for you to make sure that the model you are going to buy has this dust collection system in place. It is also recommended to wear some protection even when you are using a tool with dust collection system to remain safe. Fine dust from sanding can lead to a variety of issues if inhaled. Therefore, make sure the model you are going to buy has a proper dust collection system.
Low power and small orbital sanders usually come with only a single speed. These types of sanders are good for small jobs but if you want to buy something for a bigger job, you need to buy a model that comes with variable speed. The variable speed is controlled with the help of a speed controller or a trigger switch. It allows you to maintain the speed as per your needs.
Base plate is the most important thing you need to look at while buying an orbital sander. The base plate is responsible for the ultimate surface finish. The sanding paper is attached to the base plate with the help of clamps or another system. Most of the newer models available in the market today come with dust removal holes in the base.
It is also important to keep in mind that the foam part of the plate will wear over time which means you will either need to invest in a new sander or get a replacement pad. Therefore, you need to take into consideration the cost of replacement pad before you spend money on an orbital sander as replacing the whole sander just for the pad can quickly get expensive.
Proper Grips for Handling
Another important feature that you need to look at closely is the grips and handles in the model. Since this tool is small, you need to have a proper grip to handle it carefully. Some of the bigger models available in the market come with an additional handle that offers better control.
Like all the other power tools, these sanders are also available in a wide range of motor power. As far as the choice of the motor power is concerned, it depends on your needs. There is no need to buy a higher power tool if you have absolutely no need for that higher power as it will be a waste of money. Therefore, consider your needs before you splurge money on the biggest motor you can afford to buy.
Anyone who has anything to do with woodworking needs an orbital sander. In other words, there is huge demand for orbital sanders of various sizes and capacity. This is the reason most companies known for making power tools also offer a variety of orbital sanders. Therefore, it can be difficult for potential buyers to choose the right model. In addition to various branded models, there are also some cheap models available in the market that do not carry the name of a well-known brand.
Ideally, you should buy a brand that you trust and that offers good after sales service. If you have used the power tools made by a brand, and you have experienced good after sales service, it is recommended to go with the same brand.
Most well-known brands offer warranty for their products. However, it is important for you to find out whether a proper warranty is offered by the brand for the model you want to buy. In addition to the warranty, you also need to find out the customer service experience. To find more about their customer service experience, you can check various discussion forums related to woodworking. On these forums, you can easily find information regarding the customer service offered by various brands.
As far as the price is concerned, you should not buy an orbital sander only based on price. Keep in mind that you want to invest in power tools that will last a long time. Therefore, even if you must spend a bit more money initially to buy a higher quality power tool, it is better to spend a few dollars extra to get the best sander for your needs.
Overall, these are some of the factors you need to consider when you go shopping for orbital sanders. It is important that you do not choose a model only based on price. You should consider the overall cost over the lifetime of the tool as well as your own unique needs to choose the right model.