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|Bosch PEX 220 A Random|
|Tacklife 350W 125mm Random|
|Makita B05031/2 Orbital Sander|
|DeWalt DWE 6432 Orbital|
|Makita DBO180Z Cordless|
The orbital sander is a great tool to add to your kit, and there are many to choose from at surprisingly affordable prices. Useful for simple DIY jobs such as sanding down rough edges, or for restoring furniture back to a usable state, they are very simple to use and effective too.
Whether you want an orbital sander for regular use or you have a specific job in mind, you will find this to be a tool that you use more often than you might have thought. Here are a few of the best orbital sanders we recommend.
1: If you want the orbital sander that is genuinely the best on the list for DIY – and perhaps of all available – you need to look closely at the DeWalt DWE 6432 Orbital. It may be more costly than all the others on here, but that’s what you pay for a very good, all-round sander from one of the most reliable and trustworthy brands in the business
2: For a decent, capable and reliable orbital sander at a sensible price, and one that does all you want from such a machine, we recommend you take another look at the Bosch PEX 220 A Random. This one may have the least powerful motor here, yet its performance is impressive, it’s reasonably light, and it’s a Bosch sander at a not at all expensive price.
3: If cordless is your thing, the only option you have here is the Makita DBO180Z Cordless, but you can rest assured it is a very good cordless orbital sander. Be aware that you need to buy the battery separate – unless you use Makita tools in which case you may have an appropriate battery – and that is not cheap, and you are buying a top quality sander from a respected brand.
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Let’s hope that helps you in the first instance, not to get to grips with our buyer’s guide.
Best Orbital Sanders – Five to Choose from
1: Bosch PEX 220 A Random
The first orbital sander on our lost sets the standard in many ways, not least as it comes from one of the biggest names in the world of power tools and DIY equipment, Bosch. This is a true orbital sander – they call it a ‘random action’ design – that does everything you want from one of these. This one comes with a 220watt electric motor – hence the model name – which is quite a powerful motor for one of these. It has a noise level when operating of 80dB, so it would be sensible to wear ear defenders if using this for long periods.
The sanding plate, a 125mm diameter one on this device, completes 24000 orbits per minute, and a built-in dust extraction system is also present. This is important, and while it will remove the dust effectively, we still recommend you wear a face mask when using it to avoid inhalation. The sanding plate features a Velcro fastening, which is far more effective than some of the clip-types we have seen, and it weighs just 1.4kg so is easy to use. With the right fitments it can also be used for polishing your car, and at the price is not expensive.
2: Tacklife 350W 125mm Random
Tacklife is a brand with a wide range of products in this market, and has a reputation for decent products at sensible prices. This orbital sander is a great example of their wares, and has many interesting features for the cost. First, it has a 125mm sanding plate – the same as the model above and seemingly the standard for one of these – and it is powered by a 350Watt motor. That’s a lot of power for a small device, and gives this machine quite a bit of capability for covering decent areas.
The orbit rate is 13000rpm, not as high as some but still perfectly decent, and you can adjust the speed downwards to a series of levels if you need to. It has a dust collector system, although not a sophisticated design so use your face masks. This one can be locked in position so you don’t need to hold the button, and it is fitted with a coated handle with a soft feel for comfort. With this sander you get 12 sanding discs – 6 each of 80 and 180 grits – and they are easy to change with Velcro fixings. A decent orbital sander at an attractive price.
3: Makita B05031/2 Orbital Sander
This sander comes from Makita, and this is a brand you should take notice of. Regarded as making top quality power tools, Makita is highly respected among DIY users and professionals. This is a typical orbital sander in every way, yet you can feel the quality compared to, say, the one above. The standard 125mm sanding plate is here, it can be fixed at a constant speed up to 12000 orbits per minute and 24000 rpm, and it is easy to use and nicely made.
This model comes with a neat dust collection system that is a cut above some – although we still recommend you use a mask and ear defenders when using one of these – and a 240v motor that is suitably powerful for the purpose at 300Watts. The machine is very simple to use, although it does not come supplied with sanding discs as per the one above. It is more expansive that those reviewed so far, so why should you buy this one? Because it is a quality item, from a top brand, and will last you a long time.
4: DeWalt DWE 6432 Orbital
If there is one brand in the power tools market that consistently comes top in reviews, it’s DeWalt. The distinctive black and yellow brand has taken on iconic status of late, with a range of very impressive tools. This orbital sander is as you would expect – top quality and excellent in every way – and comes with the usual 125mm plate, a 280watt motor, and a dust removal system that is among the best you will find. This tried and tested brand is one you can rely on off the shelf.
DeWalt has a reputation to protect so it is no surprise this one hits all the marks it needs to. It is very light, weighing in at a touch less than 1kg, and comes with a nice fabric dust bag attachment, plus a single sheet of 80grit paper so you can get going out of the box. A choice of five speeds covers all the possibilities, it can be locked in speed when you want, and a very long power lead for added versatility. In short, it’s DeWalt, so is a great device, but it also comes at a DeWalt price. Worth the little extra if you want a serious, capable and long-lasting sander.
5: Makita DBO180Z Cordless
Back to the Makita brand – we have one of theirs featured above – for our final choice, and this one is here for one primary reason: it’s a cordless design, unlike all of those featured so far. This has one main advantage in that it does away with the need for a mains power point, so can be used anywhere at all, but it does mean it needs recharging, and the major downside is that you have to buy the batteries for this one separately. This is because, as happens with many brands, the batteries are interchangeable with other devices in the range, so you may already have a Makita device with an appropriate battery.
It comes with the usual 125mm sanding plate, can be used in three speeds – 7000, 9500 or 11000 orbits per minute as required – and is easy to use. It can be connected to a Makita dust extraction system – that does not come with the package – and comes with a simple dust bag. It has a large orbital area for easy sanding in quick time, and uses the usual Velcro fastening sheets. The two things you need to consider here are the fact a battery will last less than an hour in constant use, and the price in comparison to others.
That’s our list of the five most impressive orbital sanders you can buy right now, but which is for you? To see if we can help, let’s have a look at some of the important factors to consider.
Orbital Sander Buyers Guide
DIY – you either love it or you hate it! Being able to do simple – and sometimes more complex – jobs around the home means saving yourself time and money, yet you might not have the tools to make it worthwhile. You wouldn’t set about a job involving nails without a hammer, after all, so why tackle other jobs without the appropriate kit?
Sanding is a part of any carpentry or woodwork project. You need wood smooth and ready for joining together and for painting, as it’s the only way to guarantee that the job will work correctly. Sanding by hand – with a block and sandpaper – is all very well if you have smaller items to deal with, but what if the area you need to sand down is larger than normal? Perhaps you have a large table you are restoring, or a number of doors that need dealing with?
This is when you need a sander. In particular with reference to this review, an orbital sander. These are the most efficient and effective types of sander, and come in a range of different power levels, sizes and from a selection of well-known brands. Before we give you more details about five that we have looked closely at, here’s a bit more on what an orbital sander is, and why you need one.
Important Features when Choosing an Orbital Sander
You will have a good idea what to look for from the above reviews, so we’ll just have a brief look to remind you of the top points:
- Mains or Cordless – this comes down to personal choice. The advantage of the cordless model – the Makita at No.5 – is that it can be used everywhere. The disadvantage of cordless is that it needs to be recharged quite regularly, so for bigger jobs you either need more batteries, or one with a mains connection.
- Speed – these devices operate on two speed counts – spins (or revolutions) per minute, and orbits per minute. You’ll find quite a range across these designs, so check carefully before you buy. All, as it happens, offer you adjustable rates of spin.
- Motor – each of our choices has an electric motor that is suitably powerful for the purpose, so this is not the most important factor.
- Accessories – you will find you usually get the sander, a dust bag, and that’s about it when you buy one of these, although a couple do come with sanding sheets (or sheet, in one case) with the package.
- Brand – if you are loyal to a particular brand we have likely included it!
- Cost – always a factor, the difference between cheapest and most costly here is around £50, which is quite a lot for a small power tool, so make sure you stick to your budget.
So, you can choose from the five above, which are among the most popular and highly regarded by users, or look around. Remember, we recommend that you wear ear defenders and a mask when using these, as while all efforts have been undertaken to reduce noise levels and keep dust to a minimum, these are both standard hazards with an orbital sander.
Take your pick, and enjoy more efficient DIY!
How It Works
What is an orbital sander, and how does it differ from other types of sander? Early electronic sanding machines were generally of a similar design: a flat, rectangular plate, powered by an electric motor, was fitted with a sheet of sand paper. Switched on, the sand paper moved back and forth quickly, replicating the effect of sanding by hand.
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However, as anyone who has sanded wood knows, this results in marks, and a less than perfect finish, so you have to then sand in the other direction for a better surface smoothness. Manufacturers soon realised there was an answer: make the sanding plate move in a circular fashion – and the rotary sander was born!
Now, at this point it’s important to note we said rotary, not orbital. Rotary sanders are an advance on the older version; what happens is rather than moving back and forth, the sanding pad spins around a central spindle. That’s all very well, but it gets better. An orbital sander – sometimes known as a Dual Action, spins around the central spindle, but also moves in a sort of ellipse, giving a more random action, and a better finish.
If it helps, here's a great video showing you how to use an orbital sander.
So, what you need is most certainly an orbital sander and we have five to tell you about, so let’s get going!