Random Orbital Sander
What are the Benefits?
A Random Orbital Sander gives you a smooth finish. I have tried Palm Sanders, Belt Sanders, and mini-Sanders. All leave gouges and scratches. You do not want nicks or scuffs for your fine finish.
Typically, a ROS sands in a random orbit. This motion is what allows the smooth finish. However, not all Random Orbital Sanders are the same.
You want a well-balanced sander. It should feel comfortable in your hand. Turn on the sander and feel the vibrations. A sander with excessive vibration causes fatigue when working on large sanding projects.
My hands were shaking after finishing a project. The only exception to this was when I used the
Makita BO6030. This is what I found:
The variable speed control (4,000 10,000 rpm) allows you to adjust the speed for a variety of material. It has a 2-handle design giving you complete control. The front handle detaches for use in tight areas.
The ergonomic rubberized rear handle reduces vibration and eases operator fatigue. The
1/8" orbit diameter provides a swirl-free finish. The through-the-pad dust collection system keeps your work area clean.
Also, it features a lock-on button for comfortable long-term use. This Makita uses 6" hook-and-loop abrasive sanding discs. It is easy to hook-up to a dust collection system with shop-made adapters.
None of the other sanders that I tried had all of these benefits. One that I tried from a well-known manufacturer lasted just slightly more than a year, which is the warranty period. Makita advertises "30% Less Vibration than the Nearest Competitor", and it is true!
Tips for Using a Random Orbital Sander:
You need to keep the sander moving with the grain of the material. Leaving the sander in one place may cause an uneven finish. In addition, take care to avoid rounding over the edges.
Make sure to align the holes in the sandpaper with the holes in the sander's pad. This allows for adequate dust collection. See the Dust Hoods for Sanders section for more information.
I buy the hook & loop sandpaper from Klingspor or Hartville Tool. The Stearate Aluminum Oxide Discs are far superior to the Big Box stores. They don't clog up like others. Both Hartville Tool and Klingspor have specials from time to time.
See my Best Place to Buy page for current specials.