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Tool Review: Best Random Orbit Sanders

Makita 5031

Bosch ROS20

Makita 5041

Dewalt 6421

Amps

3

2.5

3

3

OPM

4000-12000

7500-12000

4000-12000

12000

Vacuum Port

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Sanders are a must-have power tool for professional woodworkers and just about every homeowner or do-it-yourselfer. Small palm sanders, such as this class of 5-inch random orbits, are designed for easy handling and maneuverability. The best random orbit sander must be effective and have great dust collection. Keeping a work or home space dust-free is a boon for any sanding project. For all of these sanders, attaching a reliable vacuum with a filter rated for fine dust is going to lead to the best results.


Makita BO5031K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit

This Makita sports a 3-amp motor and variable speed capability that runs from 4,000-12,000 orbits per minute (OPM). The feature allows users to tailor speed and sandpaper grit to the surface they’re working. Like many Makita power tools, it utilizes an excellent ergonomic grip with rubberization and an easy to manage startup button. It collects dust through the 5-inch pad and deposits it in a rear attached bag.

Tool owners give this Makita relatively good marks. The three-ball-bearing construction is a big plus for tool life and excellent power. User negatives tend to point to the dust collection bag. It may not always attach in a reliable fashion.

For this class of tool, this Makita model is an effective, but limited power tool for pro woodworkers. It may serve the needs of DIY folks more adequately.


Bosch ROS20VSC Random Orbit Sander with Carrying Bag, 5-Inch

This Bosch sander builds on the quality of the Makita and takes it up a notch. The 2.5-amp motor has variable speed capabilities ranging from 7,500 to 12,000 OPM and the hook-and-loop design securely attaches the sanding discs. The start speed is higher, but pros can set up paper grit accordingly. Like the Makita, Bosch also utilizes an ergonomic grip design that features rubber to reduce hand fatigue. Bosch greatly steps up its dust collection ability with a sturdy trap that secures particles as tiny as ½-microns and easily adapts to a vacuum hose. This ensures optimal workspace cleanliness. And, the pad braking system provides finish carpenters and cabinet makers the ability to stop the orbit sander without leaving unsightly marks.

Tool owners give this sander high marks for its ergonomic design and tight disc seal. Users point to its dust-vacuuming ability as an upgrade to other 5-inch models. The one negative some point to is that vacuum hoses may slip while sanding.

Overall, the Bosch ROS20VSC is a well-balanced orbit sander that provides pro users an effective tool for rough stripping or fine finishes.


Makita BO5041K 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Kit

Makita generally does a nice job designing power tools, and this version of their orbit sander incorporates a front handle. Like the BO503 model, it features a 3-amp variable speed motor that ranges from 4,000 to 12,000 OPM. This model provides greatly enhanced hand positioning for this class of sander. You can palm sand, work from the rear trigger handle or use two hands by gripping the front handle. This enhanced edition also has a more viable dust collection bag and built-in vacuum port. That puts it on par with the Bosch in terms of maintaining a dust-free work space. It also leans on an oversized ball bearing design for long life and demonstrates smooth, even sanding flow.

Tool owners give this model excellent reviews. They enjoy the high level of consistent power the orbit sander manages for this class of tool.

This Makita delivers what pro woodworkers are looking for in a small sander. Its variable speed, power and hand-positioning options set it apart. The effective dust collection feature makes this the one to buy.


DEWALT DWE6421K Random Orbit Sander Kit, 5"

DeWalt’s 5-inch orbit sander utilizes a one speed, 3-amp motor that delivers 12,000 OPM. Like others in this class of power tool, it features an ergonomic, rubberized palm grip and one-finger switch. The manufacturer touts its short design and improved dust collection ability that can connect with 1 ¼-inch vacuum hoses. The classic yellow and black power tool succeeds with a tight sanding disc connection and good overall performance.

Like others in this 5-inch sanding class, tool owners focus on dust collection as a key for distinguishing between models. When the bag is tightly attached, this DeWalt performs well. To connect it to a shop vac, you may need a dedicated hose and adapter.

This DeWalt offers pro users limited effectiveness as a one-speed sander. It may be an excellent model for homeowners with occasional, small sanding needs.

Please note:
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