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An orbital sander is a perfect companion for the majority of carpentry and DIY tasks. Thanks to this handy tool, you can complete fine, detailed tasks. It is ideal for smoothing rough edges, removing paint and varnish, among other tasks.
The orbital sander saves a lot of effort compared to performing these tasks by hand. This means you can complete the same work in less time, with less physical effort, and achieve better results. We know that there are a range of models available on the market, and for that reason we’ve created this article, to help you make the best choice for you.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best orbital sander on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about orbital sanders
- 3.1 What is an orbital sander exactly?
- 3.2 How does an orbital sander work?
- 3.3 What applications does an orbital sander have?
- 3.4 Types of orbital sanders?
- 3.5 How to work with an orbital sander?
- 3.6 What are the differences between an orbital sander and a belt sander?
- 3.7 What safety measures should we use when working with an orbital sander?
- 4 Shopping criteria
- 5 Summary
- It is important to be clear on what you are planning to use your sander for. There are different types of orbital sanders, each designed for a distinct use.
- Orbital sanders are designed for fine work. Although they are powerful tools, they are generaly not designed to be used with hard materials. They are ideal for wood, plastic or plaster.
- One of the essential accessories for an orbital sander is the dust collector. If you are planning on working at home or on DIY projects, chose a model which has a suction function. These models are cleaner and let you work comfortably without making a mess.
Ranking: The best orbital sander on the U.S. market
There are many different models of orbital sanders on the market today. Each has its own unique functions and qualities, making it difficult to decide which to buy. For this reason, we’ve put together this list of the best options on the market to help you make the best purchasing decision.
No. 1: Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander
From premier power tools brand Bosch, this sander achieves a smooth finish thanks to its pad dampening system which is designed to eliminate swirl marks on both flat and contoured surfaces. It also features Bosch’s signature Hook and Loop disc attachment system, sanding pads stick to the hand sander, acting like a Velcro adhesion material.
The sander has a powerful 2. 5 AMP motor with variable speed control, which allows you to choose the appropriate speed for the work at hand. It also has a microfilter system for fine dust and trapping particles as small as a 1/2 micron in diameter. Durable and compact, the dust canister shows dust level and easily detaches for mess-free tasks. The kit comes with the sander, sanding pad, sanding disc, dampening ring, dust canister, vacuum adapter and carrying case.
No. 2: BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander
Black + Decker is one of the leading names in power tools and brings you this sander with a random orbital action. This type of action means you get a high removal rate along with a high-quality finish. It also has an easy hook and loop system, allowing you to quickly and seamlessly change the sandpaper as required.
This sander features a dust-sealed switch which will keep all dust and debris out. The entire kit includes not just the orbital sander, but also one sanding sheet and one dust bag. This sander is a small, compact size meaning you can easily get close to the work surface, and work for a long time without getting fatigued.
No. 3: DEWALT DWE6421K Random Orbit Sander Kit
This orbital sander kit from quality power tools brand includes the sander, owners manual, dust bag and carrying case. It has a 3.0 Amp motor that spins the pad at an impressive 12,000 OPM, meaning you will clear surfaces quicker and with ease. It is a compact size, meaning you can get closer to the work surface for better precision.
It also has a dust-sealed switch to protect against dust ingestion, improving the longevity of the tool. Its vacuum locking system also improves dust collection and interfacing, as well as a one-hand locking system on dust bag for ease of use while keeping the dust out.
No. 4: TACKLIFE Orbital Sander
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Tacklife’s orbital sander has 6 adjustable speed dial supports you to monitor the right speed with precision according to different work plus strong power thanks to the 350 watt/13,000 OPM motor. The sander comes with 12 sanding disks, each 5 inch diameter, for a longer service life and to suit different applications of removing paint from wood, metal, plastic in corners and other hard-to-reach areas.
Designed for the DIY enthusiast, this sander can get into tight spaces and has a high-performance dust collector to ensure a clean work environment. It is easy to hold and operate thanks to a comfortable palm grip and easy-activate press-down switch. The sander is precision-engineered all-ball bearing construction for reduced vibration and noise, the machine works stably with low vibration, low noise, ideal for indoor work. Not suitable for wall sanding, dust of the wall is too thin to block the collecting system, dust is easily diffused, can’t achieve the desired dust collecting effect.
No. 5: Makita BO5030K 5″ Random Orbit Sander
This Makita random orbital sander offers smooth and fast sanding thanks to its 3.0 AMP motor, which generates 12,000 OPM. It covers a large area in a short amount of time with smooth results with its large 1/8″ random orbit action. It also has a rubberized grip for better operator comfort and control.
The sander offers a superior pad control system for controlled pad speed upon start-up, with an efficient through-the-pad dust collection system for a cleaner work environment. Its dust-sealed switch minimizes contamination from dust and other particles in the work environment. It does not include sandpaper, and uses quick-change 5″ (8-hole) hook-and-loop abrasive paper.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about orbital sanders
Before buying an orbital sander, it is important that you know everything about this tool. There are models with different functions and applications. Therefore, below we explain you some of the most relevant ones. Keep reading to have all the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
What is an orbital sander exactly?
Orbital sanders are portable power tools with a motor. They tend to be small, with ergonomic handles that fit your hand and are very comfortable. They sand, polish or smooth any surface. They can work on different types of materials such as wood, metal or plastic surfaces.
What makes them unique is their orbital or elliptical motion. This means the abrasive material (sheet or sandpaper) does not go twice over the same surface. They are very popular because they reach the same speed as belt sanders, but they are lighter and offer a finer finish.
How does an orbital sander work?
As we have just explained in the previous paragraphs, these tools have an elliptical motion so that the blades do not go through the same surface twice. This elliptical and random sanding prevents the tool from leaving circular marks on the surface. This way, it achieves a finer finish without imperfections.
Sandpaper discs or emery sheets are used to achieve these finishes. Emery is a very hard rock composed of minerals such as aluminium oxide or silica. An abrasive powder adhered to the paper is made with these rocks. These tools have a dust collector to absorb any sawdust released in the process.
What applications does an orbital sander have?
The orbital or eccentric movement will greatly vary from one model to another. Each sander has a disc fixing type, size and power. All these factors affect the finish quality. The larger the orbit, the lower the finish quality and vice versa. Here you have a list of applications:
- Automotive industry
- Furniture manufacturing
- Parquet installation
Types of orbital sanders?
Orbital sanders are differentiated by size, base shape and the way the sandpaper is held. There are models with triangular, rectangular or square bases. The sandpaper is attached to the sander either with side fixtures or Velcro, depending on the model. In terms of speed, they range from 6000 to 26000 opm.
Here is a list of different types of sanders you can find on the market:
- Rotorbital sanders obtain an almost perfect sanding. They are used for dry sanding by abrasive discs, attached to the tool with Velcro.
- Orbital sanders offer good finishes and are one of the cheapest options. Ideal for DIY fans.
- Multi-sanders cover all previous models. They are a type of modern tool, DIY pioneers. They can be used as an orbital and rotorbital sander, for sanding in corners or moldings by attaching an adapter. You just have to change the sander surface. Ideal for hard work and irregular surfaces.
- Mouse sanders are all small sanders. This is the name given to any equipment that fits in the palm of the hand. They are powerful tools used to work on hard to reach places. Sandpaper are self-adhesive and they usually have many accessories.
How to work with an orbital sander?
The first step is to check the sandpaper grip. You must make sure the paper is securely attached to get the best finish. Once this is in place, you should turn on ventilation to absorb the sawdust and keep the work area clean. Do not forget to hold the tool tightly in preparation for turning it on.
Once it’s on, be sure to keep the tool in continuous motion. Keep on moving it gently on the surface you are working on. If left in the same place too long you will leave marks. Keep the sander always flat and parallel to the surface. When working on wood, always follow the direction of the grain of the wood.
What are the differences between an orbital sander and a belt sander?
Orbital sanders have gained popularity very quickly thanks to their smooth, high-quality finish. They are lighter, more ergonomic and comfortable to use compared to belt sanders. They are also usually cheaper than the latter. But if something has made them the most popular sanders among DIY enthusiasts, it’s their effectiveness.
Any orbital sander is just as powerful as belt sanders. However, the finishes of an orbital sander is usually much finer. In addition, triangular models allow access to corners and angles, a great plus versus belt ones. Find a table below with the main differences:
|Orbital sander||Belt sander|
|Amount of material removed||Removes little.||Removes large amounts of the material with each pass.|
|Sanding large areas||Works well to sand large areas without getting heavy or tiring the user.||Ideal for working on large areas.|
|Sanding corners or borders||Thanks to the great variety of models a and accessories available, you can use them on corners and borders.||Because of its large size it cannot tackle complicated areas.|
|Sanding curved surfaces||There are some models specifically designed for this, but in general they are not ideal for curved surfaces.||Difficult to work on curved surfaces.|
|Sanding difficult to access areas||Some accessories allow you to access difficult to access areas||Depending on the size and weight it may be difficult to access certain areas.|
What safety measures should we use when working with an orbital sander?
- After finishing your work you should check if the sander is off. If necessary, unplug the power cord.
- Once it’s off, you must clean the sanding surface. It is important not to leave the sander dirty, check for no dust or sawdust in the engine.
- Empty the dust collector after each use. Keeping dust and sawdust can cause accidents. A spark could cause a fire in the collector bag.
- Always wear protective glasses. This is especially important when working on metal surfaces. They usually cause sparks when sanding.
- Orbital sanders are very light tools. They are easily used with one hand but be careful. Do not let your guard down, you could lose it and hurt yourself.
- This type of equipment is powerful but not designed to work on hard surfaces. They are ideal for wood, plastic and hardened putty, but not for heavier materials.
When choosing an orbital sander, it is essential to assess some key features. Below, you will find a guide with the most important purchasing criteria. Don’t rush, there are many different models and many brands in the market. If you want to choose a quality tool, follow these criteria:
- Sanding power
- Comfort and design
Before deciding which one to buy, you should consider the different types of orbital sanders available in the market and their functions. For every use or need you may have, there is a perfect model available. Orbital sanders are ideal for working at home, they are lightweight, make no noise and do not leave dust. They also offer an excellent finish.
Rotorbital sanders offer much finer finishes. These are perfect for precision work and refining details. Triangular platform sanders are ideal for corners, angles and hard to reach places. Overall, these sanders are very light, so you can use them to sand in complicated places.
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Damping is one of the key factors when choosing the best sander for you. Damping allows you to have more support and stability at work. It prevents both us and the surfaces we work on from being affected by machine vibrations. It is key in high power models.
A good damping system will help you achieve better sanding results. It also improves machine comfort and reduces arms fatigue. You’ll appreciate it when you have to work on large surfaces or for a long time. If you plan to use it a lot, look at this feature.
The fact of the matter is, sanders generate waste when used. As they go on the surfaces, they make dust and sawdust. The larger the work surface, the more waste will be formed. It is ideal to have a dust collection system to keeps the work area clean. This is where the vacuum attachment shines.
Dust collection systems are responsible for storing waste produced during sanding. They have a suction tube and a small tank where dust is stored. This is a very popular accessory. Almost all models incorporate it and may raise the final price a bit.
Unlike belt sanders, orbital sanders are designed to work on soft materials. They are ideal to work on wood, polish varnished surfaces or remove paint debris. They work well on hardened moldings and putties, as well as plastics and synthetic materials.
Despite not being ideal for harder materials, these tools have a lot of power. Some reach 230 W, which allows you to work on metal without problems. Orbital sanders work in opm (orbits per minute).
We have already explained what sandpaper is and how it is manufactured. These abrasive papers are made with hard mineral powder. There are several types, usually classified by grain hardness. Each surface needs a type of grain to safely work on it. Always keep this in mind.
Each model has a different fastening system. They mostly have Velcro systems that allow you to quickly change paper. These models are usually more compact. The most powerful ones usually have side pin systems. Some orbital sanders also come with papers as a compliment.
Design and comfort
Orbital sanders are designed to be comfortable. They are usually light, compact, and easy to handle. We recommend you to choose ergonomic models that allow you to work for a long time without getting tired. Also look for models with long cables, so you can move around comfortably.
Mouse orbital sanders are usually very small. Handles are designed to fit in the palm of the hand. This way you can work with one hand and change it to the other when tired. In larger models you have to look for accessories such as an extra handle. Ventilation and sealing system are also important.
You should not ignore other users’ reviews when choosing an orbital sander. You will find information about materials, use and quality. Perhaps, you will find in the comments information missing in the description. Some users are professionals so their opinion is important.
Valuations are also a factor to consider. Buying a product with no ratings (or negative ratings) can be risky. A well-valued product is quality insurance. Look closely at ratings and opinions to know if you should buy the product.
Orbital sanders are very comfortable and easy to use tools. They are ideal for DIY enthusiasts. They will let you make very fine finishes and pay close attention to detail. They are also very reasonably priced, so you will not need to spend much to buy a quality orbital sander.
Orbital sanders are ideal for working at home. They make no noise and, thanks to their collectors, do not leave any dust. Choose a model that suits your needs and do not overpay for accessories or functions you do not need. Remember everything we explained in this buying guide to make a great decision.
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(Source of the featured image: Voennyy: 61482502/ 123rf.com)