5 Common Mistakes to Avoid with Your Orbital Sander If You Want an Ideal Finish. Orbital grinder

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Your Orbital Sander If You Want an Ideal Finish

When you want to get the best finish on your project, it comes down to the quality of the sanding. Sanding with a random orbital sander or orbital sander (without random pattern) is not complicated, but there are several things to consider in order to avoid common problems, and get the best possible finish. When sanding incorrectly, you can cause swirls, excess dust and other issues that will lead to an uneven or blotchy finish. On the other hand, if you use good technique and avoid the mistakes explored in this article, you’ll have a high-quality finish every time.

Avoid pushing down with too much pressure on the sander.

We all want to finish sanding faster, and get the best cut from the abrasives, so it can be tempting to press down harder with the sander. Intuitively, it seems like that could make the sanding process go more quickly. However, doing this can cause issues like swirls, cut-through, uneven sanding and other problems, such as excess heat and loading. When you use too much pressure, the sander has to do more work to perform its rotations, this means there will be more work for the motor and more friction on the surface of the workpiece. Both of these things lead to more heat. heat can either cause the sander to shut off or potentially lead to pre-mature loading of your sheets or discs.

The rule of thumb for this is to let gravity, or the weight of the sander, and the abrasives, do the work. Each grit is designed to remove a certain amount of material, so if you need to remove more, use a coarser grit, rather than pressing harder. When sanding properly, the sander should move across the surface with ease, as if it were gliding.

Avoid sanding too fast, or too slowly.

Because sanding is often tedious, many people want to finish sooner by moving the sander very quickly on the workpiece. However, like most things where quality and attention to detail are important, moving the sander at a controlled and even pace across the surface will lead to the best results. It’s a bit of a “Goldilocks” issue – going too fast can lead to poor results, with sections not sanded enough or missed entirely, and going too slowly can lead to over-sanding or cut-through in some areas. But, finding that “just right” speed will mean a nice, even sanding job across the entire piece.

Avoid running the sander with RPMs or PSI settings too high or too low.

Whether using an electric or pneumatic sander, having the appropriate sander speed (RPM) for your application will be key in achieving a high-quality finish, and avoiding issues like sanding swirls.

On the pneumatic sanders, the main factors contributing to the RPM is having sufficient air pressure and keeping the machine well lubricated. The pneumatics are designed to run optimally with an air pressure of 90 PSI at the sanding machine, and should be oiled daily, if they are used heavily. (Learn more about tips for caring for your pneumatic sanders and getting the optimal results.) Pneumatic sanders also have a speed controller that will allow the user to speed up and slow down the speed of the machine. Unless you are using the sander on a special application which requires a slower speed, the sander should always be set at the highest speed to avoid swirls.

The electric sanders come with a speed setting option that allows the user to change the power/RPMs. Our other article, Electric Sander Speeds 101, goes into much more detail about the specific options available, as well as the advantages/disadvantages of the various speeds, and the applications for each. For the purposes of this article, suffice it to say that the 10,000 RPM range will be ideal for most woodworking applications, unless very fine control is needed for the application.

Avoid starting the sander in the air prior to sanding and stopping it while still on the work surface.

Said another way: “Start on, Stop off.” This basic technique is critical in helping to avoid creating swirls at the beginning and ending of the sanding session. The reason for this: making contact with the work piece when the sander is already moving will make it more difficult to get a good contact with the surface; and at the end, the stopping the sander while still on the workpiece means the sander will slow down while still in contact, so it will still be sanding your surface during that lag time. This can lead to an uneven sanding job and swirls.

It’s a simple solution. Always remember: “Start on, Stop off.”

Avoid using the sander on an angle.

One of the most common mistakes people make when using a hand sander is using it as if it were an angle grinder – i.e. using the sander on an angle to the work piece, rather than flat on the surface, in order to sand out a problem area in a surface. A disc or sheet sander is NOT an angle grinder and is designed to be used either with a flat sheet/disc directly on the backup pad (for flat surfaces), with a foam interface pad or hook and loop pad saver and conventional abrasives (application varies), or with foam abrasive (like Ekasilk Plus), for finishing on flat, curved or complex profiles.

When using a sander on an angle, you are not resolving the issue, rather you’re creating an area that is sanded more than another area, leading to an uneven surface, and therefore an uneven finish. Additionally, this will lead to destroyed discs/sheets and will cause damage to your backup pad, requiring it to be replaced sooner.

If your surface has irregularities, the best options, depending on the severity of the issues and the type of finish you’ll be using, would be to either switch to a coarser grit and sand the whole surface through the whole grit sequence, or use a filler product to fill in the defects and then sand evenly across the whole surface.


Getting a great finish doesn’t have to be difficult. Following some simple techniques, and using quality abrasives, will help to make the process move efficiently and smoothly. It may seem tedious to slow down and sand through the grits, but the results are definitely worth it, and you’ll be able to see, and feel, the difference.

Next Steps

  • If you’re new to sanding, check out our other articles to get additional tips, tricks and information to help achieve the best results and avoid/recover from common issues.
  • If you want to upgrade your sanding game, but you’re not sure where to start, our articles on Decoding Coated Abrasives give an helpful summary of the technical side of abrasives and a framework for making product selections based on your needs – read Part 1 and Part 2.
  • If you’re ready to purchase, our online shop offers a sampling of our most popular products – shop now.
  • If you don’t see what you need in our online store, or you have further questions or would like to request a quote for bulk orders or samples, contact sales@uneeda.com.

Choosing a Random-orbit Sander

Rather than juggling with all the different power sanding options on the market now, our author has laid out the options he looks for when buying a new sander.

There are some topics woodworkers can’t seem to agree on: pins first or tails first, shaper or router table, left- or right-tilt. but one thing no one argues about is that sanding is no fun! Random-orbit sanders can reduce the misery of getting your projects silky-smooth. This tool test covers the 5″-diameter class — perfect for home woodworking.

Here are some things to look for when shopping for a new sander and why they’re helpful for better sanding.

Quick-change Artist

Most sanding jobs require working through a variety of sanding grits. The easiest way to make sandpaper disks is with a hook-and-loop attachment system. With hook-and-loop, changing papers is a simple matter of peeling off one piece and applying the next.

If you can work a zipper, you can use hook-and-loop sandpaper. And, provided you haven’t worn out the sandpaper, hook-and-loop enables you to reuse the sheet. All the sanders in this test came with an eight-hole hook-and-loop system.

Variable Speed

The key to a smooth finish is control, and an important aspect of control is variable speed. I often slow a random-orbit sander down when working on veneered materials to reduce the likelihood of sand-through. I also run at a lower speed when using the sander to smooth a finish. Although it adds a bit more cost to the machine, variable speed is well worth having.

Vacuum Options

Every sander in the test came with a dust bag or canister. While onboard collection is better than nothing, what I recommend is connecting your sander to a good quality shop vacuum. This requires a connection on the sander that’s compatible with standard vac nozzle sizes. It’s an option that isn’t offered with every machine. Those that do connect to vacuums will definitely help keep your shop air and lungs cleaner.

Getting a Better Grip

It’s difficult for me to measure how a sander will feel in your hand. Many variables, such as hand size and hand strength, come into play. When possible, go to a retailer that sells the machines you’re interested in and grab hold of them. Check out how easily (or not) your fingers can wrap around the machine and reach the On/Off switch.

There was very little variation in the width of the handgrip on the machines in this test. However, there was variation in the “neck” size under the handgrip where your fingers wrap. Although a number of the testers who helped me — men and women, right- and left-handed — grabbed hold of these machines, we couldn’t collectively come up with an individual machine about which we could all say, “We love this grip.”

Aside from the tool’s grip size, you may appreciate a sander that comes with a soft overmold on the grip. It’ll help reduce vibration and fatigue during those really long sanding sessions.

Love a Long Leash

I love it when manufacturers provide a generous cord on their tools. Some of the sanders here have cords that are 12 or more feet long! My sanders get plugged into a tool-actuated vacuum that lives near my workbench. With a long cord on the machine, I reap the benefit of not needing extension cords, and I’m able to easily get from one end of a big face frame to the other.

Scratching for Answers

When it comes to sanding, the most important issue is how smooth a surface finish the machine can produce. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Sure, you might periodically use a random-orbit sander equipped with 60- or 80-grit paper to hog off a bunch of material, but more commonly you’re going to use it for finish sanding.

We performed a surface finish test with these machines by equipping each one with a brand-new piece of sandpaper. All the paper was from the same manufacturer and was, of course, the same grit. We then sanded uniformly sized pieces of red oak for a set period of time. Since you typically see sanding scratches when you apply stain, that’s how we evaluated finish quality.

The Festool machines are sure sweet if you’ve got the checkbook for them. Across the board (oak, pine, whatever), my testers called these the smoothest operating machines in the group. The RO125 is a kind of combination grinder/sander, capable of hogging off lots of wood or polishing a high gloss finish.

Among the other test tools, the Bosch and Porter-Cable were close behind Festool for smooth operation. The neck below the handgrip on the Porter-Cable was larger than on other machines, so small hands may have a hard time gripping this tool.

Orbital sanders

Prevost sanding tools are lightweight and feature adjustable speeds, ideal for bodywork use. The range includes orbital and belt sanders, as well as various accessories. Offset (mm) 2.5 BSPT.

orbital sander 312A

Power: 0.2 kWRotational speed: 8,000 rpm

The orbital air sander can handle virtually any project, whether you’re smoothing fiberglass or sanding paint jobs.

orbital sander 2LU/45

Disc diameter: 5 mm. 80 mm

Machine suitable to sand shovel, spade, pick, broom and umbrella handles, as well as oar poles, chair and table legs, tent-rods, bamboo and rattan sticks and so on. The pieces to be processed can be straight, slightly curved or shaped;.

orbital sander 2LUC/380

Disc diameter: 5 mm. 150 mm

ORBITAL SANDING MACHINE model “2LU/C380” Machine suitable to sand shovel, spade, pick, broom and umbrella handles, as well as oar poles, chair and table legs, tent-rods, bamboo and rattan sticks and so on. The pieces.

orbital sander MINI35

Disc diameter: 40 mm

Kaindl – MINI35 Orbital sander with velcro system ideal for contour sanding and denibbing of transitions perfect in combination with the Kaindl Multi-Shaft tool holder (Item No. 19021) Product contents: 1.

orbital sander 58500

Power: 0.2 chRotational speed: 10,000 rpmDisc diameter: 76 mm

air motor gets the job done in countless applications, utilizing just 13 SCFM (368LPM) at 90 PSI (6.2 Bar). Precise 3/32″ orbital motion is ideal for achieving a controlled, ultra-fine finish on a variety of surfaces

orbital sander 57810

Power: 0.3 chRotational speed: 10,000 rpmDisc diameter: 2 mm

3/32″ diameter orbit Powerful 10,000 RPM air motor utilizes 16 SCFM at 90 PSIG. Compact size and lightweight. Excellent for sanding restricted areas and vertical sides. Tools have heavy-duty clips to accept traditional 3-2/3″ x 9″ abrasive.

orbital sander 57814BK

Power: 0.28 chRotational speed: 10,000 rpm

Robotic ready tool kit includes tool, end effector, quick tool release and solenoid Has 1″ outside diameter vacuum port for easy central vacuum hose connection. Includes 2-3/4″ wide x 8″ long vinyl-face, vacuum sanding pad.

orbital sander RED ROOSTER

Power: 300 WRotational speed: 12,000 rpm

The RAMI-YOKOTA’s Red Rooster palm sanders are available in multiple versions, are covered with a rubber cover, and have an ergonomic, soft grip, silenced exhaust air, Velcro pad, are lightweight and can operate with.

orbital sander APS-125

Rotational speed: 10,000 rpmDisc diameter: 125 mmWeight: 690 g

The APS-125 is a plastic housing with ergonomic design that conforms to the user’s hand for comfort and control. It’s ideal for central vacuum and self vacuum and available with a central vacuum, self vacuum, or no vacuum. All three versions.

orbital sander APS-150

Rotational speed: 10,000 rpmDisc diameter: 150 mmWeight: 720 g

Ergonomically designed plastic housing conforms to the operator’s hand for greater control and comfort Available with NV(No Vacuum), CV (Central Vacuum) or SV (Self Vacuum) Available from stock are Non Vacuum Models. You can modify Non.

orbital sander OSV-60A

Rotational speed: 8,500 rpmDisc diameter: 150 mmWeight: 2 kg

They operate with minimal noise and vibrations levels. They can furthermore increase their efficiency through use of an orbital sander.

orbital sander BW-760C

Rotational speed: 11,000 rpmDisc diameter: 127 mm. 152 mm

11,000 RPM High Energy Non Stall Motor Ball Bearings Aluminum Housing With Rubber Comfort Grip 3/16” Orbit for Fine Refi nish Work Sealed Ball Bearing Construction Non-Vaccuum System Best for: Finishing applications on wood.

orbital sander BW-760D

Rotational speed: 11,000 rpmDisc diameter: 127 mm. 152 mm

11,000 RPM High Energy Non Stall Motor Ball Bearings Aluminum Housing With Rubber Comfort Grip 3/16” Orbit for Fine Refi nish Work Sealed Ball Bearing Construction Central-Vaccuum System Best for: Finishing applications.

orbital sander BW-760G

Rotational speed: 11,000 rpmDisc diameter: 127 mm. 152 mm

11,000 RPM High Energy Non Stall Motor Ball Bearings Composite Housing with light weight 3/16” Orbit for Fine Refi nish Work Sealed Ball Bearing Construction Central-Vaccuum System Best for: Finishing applications on wood.

orbital sander AS050CNV

Rotational speed: 10,000 rpm

Special Features 6 Pcs/7.44 Kgs./8.44 Kgs./1.28’ Trigger can press over 10,000 times won’t be broken. Optional accessories : Sponge or Sanding papers. Suitable for body filler, decoration, furniture, etc. Packing : 6Pcs/Carton/1.28’/8.44Kgs

palm sander 537

Power: 190 WRotational speed: 12,000 rpmOscillation amplitude: 5 mm

Non vacuum palm sander, using a 125 x 95 mm triangular velcro pad.

orbital sander LVR series

Rotational speed: 10,000 rpm

sanding products are ideal for sanding and polishing any type of surface. They are available in rotary, orbital and rotary-orbital versions. The rotary sanders are light and powerful

orbital sander 1222

Rotational speed: 9,000 rpmDisc diameter: 15.2 cm

common, mistakes, avoid, your

10 mm 2-Hands Gear-Driven Sander Code: 1222 Category: Air Tools Sub-category: Air Tools 10 mm 2-Hands Gear-Driven Sander. Size of pad: 6″ (15.2 cm). Speed: 9 000 RPM. Air inlet: 1/4″ NPT

orbital sander 1225

Rotational speed: 9,000 rpmDisc diameter: 15.2 cm

5 mm 2-Hands Gear-Driven Sander Code: 1225 Category: Air Tools Sub-category: Air Tools 5 mm 2-Hands Gear-Driven Sander. Size of pad: 6″ (15.2 cm). Speed: 9 000 RPM. Air inlet: 1/4″ NPT. Air.

orbital sander 1205

Rotational speed: 8,500 rpmDisc diameter: 100, 180 mmWeight: 1.2 kg

Non-Vacuum Heavy Duty Sander. Orbit: 3.2. Air inlet: 1/4”. Air consumption: 9 CFM

orbital sander LOR 2A 200

The LRS 200 orbital sander has been designed to sand straight, curved and shaped pieces with an oval or round section, with variable thickness for chairs, tables, beds and similars. Thanks to two opposing.

orbital sander DEOS 353CV

Power: 250 WRotational speed: 5,000 rpm. 10,000 rpm

and compact direct electric orbital sander. At only 10 cm high, the tool’s compact and very low profile gives a high maneuverability and helps deliver a precise and efficient sanding performance. This.

orbital sander DEOS 353X CV

Power: 250 WRotational speed: 5,000 rpm. 10,000 rpm

common, mistakes, avoid, your

Orbital Sander Upgrade ⚙️����

This powerful and compact direct electric orbital sander, Mirka DEOS 353CV, is the newest member in the Mirka electric sander family. At only 4″ high, the tool’s compact and very low.

orbital sander Mirka DEOS 353XCV

Power: 250 WRotational speed: 5,000 rpm. 10,000 rpm

and compact direct electric orbital sander. At only 10 cm high, the tool’s compact and very low profile gives a high manoeuvrability and helps deliver a precise and efficient sanding performance. This.

orbital sander P2001

SELF-VACCUM AIR ORBIT SANDER Compact sander that has a 1/4 inlet air inlet.

orbital sander Smartsand

Sanding machine for flat and shaped panels Smartsand is the machine designed for sanding flat and shaped panels, both raw and coated, equipped with multipurpose brushes. Smartsand is an extremely modular sanding machine. It can.

orbital sander L505

Power: 147.1 WRotational speed: 12,000 rpmOscillation amplitude: 5 mm

substrate contamination. Designed for comfortable operation, “L” range sanders are the reference in low vibration and high performance tools. The L505 is a pneumatic rotorbital sander with a 5 mm

orbital sander GSS 18V-10 Professional

Rotational speed: 11,000 rpm. 22,000 rpmDisc diameter: 1.6 mm

The compact and ergonomic orbital sander in the 18 V category Features an ergonomic palm rest and compact design for easy, comfortable handling Robust metal sheet provides tool durability.

orbital sander OSE 2-80 EC

Power: 260 WRotational speed: 8,000 rpm. 12,000 rpmWeight: 1.2 kg

Lightweight, compact one-handed orbital sander, very ergonomic and low-vibration thanks to special balancing for fatigue-free and joint-friendly work Ergonomically designed, handy grip cover with.

orbital sander PN-230

Rotational speed: 0 rpm. 10,000 rpmDisc diameter: 0 mm. 152 mm

Orbital vacuum sander Pad dimension: Ø 152 mm. Can be connected to a vacuum unit. Air inlet thread 1/4″.

orbital sander DTSC 400-Basic

Rotational speed: 6,000 rpm. 10,000 rpm

The new ETSC 125, RTSC 400, DTSC 400 cordless compact sanders ensure unparalleled mobility and ease of movement when working. The powerful 18 V battery pack with 3.1 Ah guarantees power similar to that of a mains-powered.

orbital sander 1937

Power: 180 WRotational speed: 12,000 rpmDisc diameter: 150 mm

Roto-orbital palm sander, lubrication free, made from composite material Lubrication free No lubrication required Extremely compact and easy to handle Orbit diameter: 5 mm 6-hole Velcro pad

orbital sander SXOAT1 series

Power: 0 W. 210 WRotational speed: 0 rpm. 10,000 rpm

Free speed 10000 rpm Power 210 W Type of tool Sander with palm grip Comment Non-vacuum Pad type Triangular Pad Size 147 x 100 mm Net weight 1 kg Length 127 mm Height 100 mm Air inlet thread size 0.25.

orbital sander FSR 200 Intec

Power: 80 W. 200 WRotational speed: 26,000 rpm

Light and handy machine for convenient one-handed operation Very good weight/performance ratio, ideal for working overhead Grip area with non-slip soft-grip surface Dust-proof ball bearings for long service life of the machine.

orbital sander V.252F

Rotational speed: 10,000 rpmDisc diameter: 152 mm

Central vacuum exhaust port to allow easy removal of dust if connected to a central vacuum system. Easy to access speed regulator just below the trigger. Ergonomic trigger for perfect control. Productivity increased with low.

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An orbital sander is a type of disc sander. It combines eccentric, planetary motion to the disc’s rotary movement.

These devices smooth a material’s surface to prepare it for subsequent polishing or other treatment (varnish, paint, etc.).

These handheld tools are used on small surfaces. Planetary motion yields an even, more homogeneous surface finish. The discs are made of abrasive paper with grits of varying size for gradual reduction of surface roughness. One can find both electric and pneumatic orbital sanders. Some models include a dust-suction mechanism.

How to choose

The main choice is power source: electric or pneumatic. Otherwise, all models operate similarly. Abrasive paper is selected as a function of the type of surface to be sanded.

Tested: Best Orbital Sanders And Polishers

If you’re looking to start detailing your car, or plan to continue to do so and just need a new sander or polisher – finding the best orbital sander and polisher is key. While the best practices for buffing your car are up to personal preference, we break down everything you need to know so you can make an informed purchasing decision on your own. From customer reviews to our review team’s personal experiences with these power tools and the buffing process, we cover it all in this review of the best orbital sanders and polishers on the market.

How We Tested

The orbital sanders in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors like shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices.

Orbital Sanders And Polishers Testing Process

  • Speed : Arguably the most important characteristic of a sander or a polisher, we tested this by noting if the device had variable speed settings. Our team then noted the range of RPMs or OPMs that the device could operate at.
  • Maneuverability : Often overlooked, our team judged each sander or polisher’s maneuverability by noting whether the device was corded or cordless. We also noted how lightweight the sander or polisher was and any available handles or grips.
  • Versatility : This testing category involved judging what tasks the polisher or sander could accomplish. We noted whether the polisher or sander could perform each step of the buffing process effectively, as well as other tasks like removing paint from a car.

Why You Can Trust Us

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. A team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more.

Best Orbital Sanders And Polishers

Best Overall: DeWALT DWP849X Variable-Speed Polisher

The DeWALT DWP849X Variable-Speed Polisher features a 12.0-amp brushless motor and all ball-bearing construction to maximize its performance. This orbital polisher has a variable speed dial, which lets users pick from six speed settings for a range of 600 to 3,500 revolutions per minute (RPM). The steel gears on this car polisher are heat-treated and precision-cut for smooth operation.

An integrated wool ingestion shield minimizes costs associated with servicing and repair by eliminating the possibility of wool ingestion. DeWALT ’s exclusive Controlled Finishing System allows users to control the speed of the polisher via the variable-speed trigger. It should be noted that this random orbital polisher is backed by a 90-day money-back guarantee, a one-year free service contract, and a three-year limited warranty.

Key Features

  • Cost: About 250
  • Power source : Corded
  • Weight : 6.7 pounds
  • Dimensions : 4.4 by 9.0 by 21.7 inches

Our Experience

In our experience, the DeWALT DWP849X Variable-Speed Polisher was a joy to work with and buffed out some deep scratches that we didn’t think would buff out on our testing vehicle.

Speed : With a range of 600 to 3,500 RPM and 1,250.0 max watts out, the speed at which this car polisher could work was never an issue. This is undoubtedly a heavy-duty power tool. but the variable-speed settings denoted in RPM rather than an arbitrary setting number made this polisher feel more manageable.

Maneuverability : This orbital polisher was incredibly maneuverable, easy to hold, and didn’t bother our review team members when using it for extended periods of time. The polisher weighs a mere 6.7 lbs. and has an incredibly ergonomic three-position bale handle, as well as a traditional side handle to give users ultimate control and comfort while using the power tool.

Versatility : How low a speed setting this polisher can go down to ultimately separates it from the competition. The low-speed capabilities paired with a high maximum RPM mean any stage of the buffing process is possible with this orbital polisher.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 5,900 ratings

This tool is described as a professional-level orbital polisher, and there are reviews from some mechanics and detailers claiming to use this on the job and at home. Many appreciate the variable speed control feature and note the DeWALT’s durability. One reviewer claims she’s used Porter Cable. Hitachi, Makita. and Metabo polishers, and none of them can compare to the DeWALT.

There are very few negative reviews for this product, though a few complain that the DeWALT is too heavy.

Best For Car Detailing: Avid Power 6-Inch Dual Action Polisher

Easy enough to use for beginners and powerful enough for professionals, the Avid Power 6-Inch Dual Action Polisher is a great option for anyone who wants to detail their car. This polisher can operate between 1,500 and 6,800 oscillations per minute (OPM). Speed setting numbers and the OPM they correlate with are listed below:

  • Setting 1: 1,500 OPM
  • Setting 2: 3,000 OPM
  • Setting 3: 3,500 OPM
  • Setting 4: 4,500 OPM
  • Setting 5: 5,500 OPM
  • Setting 6: 6,800 OPM

DEWALT 20V MAX Orbital Sander, Tool Only (DCW210B)

A six-speed control dial allows users to tailor this dual-action (DA) polisher’s speed to different applications. Speed settings number 1 and 2 are best for waxing and buffing, settings 3 and 4 are best for polishing and cleaning, and settings 5 and 6 are best for removing paint defects and oxidation.

Key Features

  • Cost: About 80
  • Power source : Corded
  • Weight : 6.8 lbs.
  • Dimensions : 14.9 by 7.6 by 6.1 in.

Our Experience

This DA polisher was deemed the Best for Car Detailing by our review team due to the fact that it was specially designed for use on cars.

Speed : The operating speed of this DA polisher makes it perfect for all stages of the buffing process. Variable speed settings that correlate to specific OPMs mean you can properly set up your power tool for any car detailing task you may have.

Maneuverability : Due to its light weight and ergonomic design, we had no issues using and maneuvering this dual-action polisher. The rubberized body and adjustable handle made wielding the polisher unproblematic, even when spending multiple hours with it in our hands.

Versatility : Due to the control over the polisher’s speed – as well as the wide range of speeds – this is an incredibly versatile tool. We had no issues completing each stage of the buffing process with the orbital polisher.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 6,900 reviews

Many reviewers speak to how easy it is to use this polisher, how effective it is at removing swirl marks. and simply that it gets the job done. While it works well, this polisher is notably less durable than the DeWALT, according to reviewers. It’s not designed for heavy use, but the occasional polish. This is noted as a good orbital polisher for beginners.

Easiest To Use: Milwaukee M18 Random Orbit Sander

The Milwaukee M18 Random Orbit Sander is an incredibly maneuverable orbital sander, as it’s cordless and weighs just 2.0 lbs. This sander features a variable speed control dial that allows users to choose from six different speed settings, ranging between 7,000 and 12,000 OPM. This ultimately means users are in more control over orbit speed and can more accurately match speed to their application.

Although the Milwaukee M18 is considered a random orbit sander by name, it’s actually a palm sander. This is due to the fact that by definition, a palm sander is smaller and more lightweight than a random orbital sander – which tend to be much larger tools. This battery-powered portable power sander may be small, but it’s surprisingly powerful and effective.

Key Features

  • Cost: About 110
  • Power source : Cordless
  • Weight : 2.0 lbs.
  • Dimensions : 6.0 by 11.0 by 7.0 in.

Our Experience

As the only cordless option featured in this review, our team of experts named the Milwaukee M18 the Easiest to Use orbital sander on the market.

Speed : While this palm sander utilizes a basic lithium-ion battery with a runtime of roughly 35 minutes, it’s much more powerful than you’d expect. Able to operate between 7,000 and 12,000 OPM, we appreciated the fact that this sander has variable speed control.

Maneuverability : The Milwaukee M18 is easily the most maneuverable orbital sander we researched or tested. We love how lightweight this sander is, especially for its level of power output. However, ease of use could be improved upon if there were more grip options.

Versatility : The Milwaukee M18 was surprisingly versatile, and our team members were able to complete most of the buffing process with this power tool. However, we do wish this palm sander could orbit at slightly slower speeds for some stages of the buffing process.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 2,500 ratings

This orbital sander is described by reviewers as compact and powerful. Although most seem to use this cordless orbital polisher for sanding, many also use it for auto body work. One of the biggest issues with this sander, according to reviews, is the battery life. The M18 batteries that power this sander drain very quickly.

Best Kit: Chemical Guys BUF_503X TORQX Kit

Designed as an all-inclusive kit, the Chemical Guys BUF_503X TORQX Kit features TORQ’s TORQX Random Orbital Polisher and everything you need to complete the buffing process. The polisher featured in this kit has 700.0 watts of power and a voltage of 120.0. Ultimately, this means that this random orbital polisher can operate at speeds between 1,500 and 4,000 RPM across six different speed settings.

Although the kit comes with our picks for the best buffing pad as well as the best buffing compound on the market, the TORQX is compatible with 3.0-in., 5.0-in., and 6.0-in. backing plates. This means that thanks to Streamlined Integration (SI), you can choose whichever buffing pads you want within the previously mentioned size range.

Key Features

  • Cost: About 190
  • Power source : Corded
  • Weight : 6.5 lbs.
  • Dimensions : 20.1 by 8.0 by 8.0 in.

Our Experience

The Chemical Guys kit is the best you’ll find if you’re looking to purchase an orbital sander or an orbital polisher with everything you need to effectively perform the buffing process on your car.

Speed : While this orbital polisher doesn’t have the capabilities to reach extremely high speeds, it produces more than enough power to complete each stage of the buffing process. With variable speed control. we had no issues working with this polisher.

Maneuverability : Relatively lightweight, our team members had no problems moving and maneuvering this random orbital polisher around our testing vehicle. The balanced ergonomic design (BED) of the polisher meant even after several hours of use, our team members weren’t getting fatigued or tired when wielding the power tool.

Versatility : As touched upon earlier, this random orbital polisher gave our team no issues when attempting to effectively perform each step of the buffing process. However, it won’t be able to remove paint from your car or correct oxidation as it’s unable to reach optimal speeds for those processes.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 9,900 ratings

Reviewers recommend this polisher as easy to use and a great entry-level option for DIYers or first-time car detailers. One reviewer notes this polisher has the durability and build quality to survive frequent drops and dings.

For more advanced detailers, this may not be the best kit. The lower orbital radius makes this a slower polisher and some feel the included cutting compound could be stronger.

Best Value: Black Decker 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander

The Black Decker 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander has a 2.0-amp motor that can produce a voltage of 120.0 volts. In terms of speed, this orbital sander can operate at 12,000 OPM. However, there are no variable speed settings, meaning you can’t match this sander’s speed to your desired application. This sander utilizes a hook and loop system so you can easily switch between buffing pads from a variety of different brands.

A built-in dust collection bag reduces your clean-up time and allows users to keep their workspace free of dust and debris. A paddle switch function makes turning this sander on and off incredibly easy.

Key Features

  • Cost: About 30
  • Power source : Corded
  • Weight : 3.2 lbs.
  • Dimensions : 7.0 by 5.0 by 6.0 in.

Our Experience

Although the Black Decker 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander isn’t expensive or dubbed as a high-end option, it’s easily one of the best random orbital sanders on the market.

Speed : As users are unable to vary the speed of the Black Decker sander, it received a low score compared to the rest of the sanders and polishers in this review. However, we were impressed with the fact that this sander could operate at 12,000 OPM.

Maneuverability : Due to the Black Decker ’s incredibly light weight and slim design, it’s highly maneuverable. Although this is a corded sander, as long as you have an extension cord you’ll have no issues moving this power tool around.

Versatility : Because this sander only operates at one speed, specifically 12,000 OPM, it means the sander isn’t as versatile as we would like. This power tool will be great for removing paint from your car, but won’t be able to effectively perform more delicate stages of the buffing process.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 13,000 ratings

The majority of reviews refer to the Black Decker as a great little sander, while several reviewers note how impressed they were with the dust collector bag. One reviewer claims she’s abused this sander for three years now and it still works incredibly well.

While this sander is good for beginners, it isn’t especially powerful and some find the handle uncomfortable.

Orbital Sanders And Orbital Polishers Buyers Guide

While this article focuses on orbital sanders, it also highlights some of the best random orbital polishers on the market. Both types of devices will work for buffing out your car or general DIY car detailing, but some are better suited for other applications.

Differences In Tools

  • Random orbital sander : This sander is a handheld power sander that rotates in elliptical cycles known as orbits.
  • Orbital sander : Similar to a random orbital sander in almost every sense, this type of sander moves in circular rotations rather than simultaneously moving back and forth as a random orbital sander would.
  • Palm sander : Otherwise known as a 1/4-inch sheet sander due to its size, this is the smallest and most compact type of sander. Palm sanders are also usually square in shape.
  • Random orbital polisher : A sort of combination between orbital and rotary polishers, this polisher moves in an orbital motion in the same manner as that of a random orbital sander.
  • Orbital polisher : This type of polisher moves in circular rotations, rather than orbits, and tends to be the most common type of polisher.
  • Rotary polisher : Simple in concept but more difficult to master and control than random orbital polishers, this type of polisher spins in a circular motion and creates a lot of heat and friction, which can potentially damage a car’s paint.
  • Dual-action polisher : Also referred to as a forced rotation polisher, this polisher combines the movement of rotary and random orbital polisher by forcing rotational movement along with orbital motion.

Recommended Speeds

If you don’t use your sander or polisher at the proper speed for your desired application, then you might not get the results on your car that you were looking for.

  • For compounding. we recommend operating your polisher or sander between 1,750 and 2,400 RPM.
  • For polishing. we recommend operating your sander or polisher between 1,200 and 1,750 RPM.
  • For heavy cutting. we recommend operating your polisher or sander between 2,000 and 2,500 RPM.

RPMs and OPMs should not be confused, as they are two completely different motions and measurements. While there’s no guide to converting RPM to OPM, or vice versa, we can provide a rough guide for recommended OPMs for different stages of the car buffing process.

  • For waxing and buffing. we recommend operating your polisher or sander between 1,500 and 3,500 OPM.
  • For polishing and cleaning. we recommend operating your sander or polisher between 2,500 and 4,000 OPM.
  • For removing paint defects and oxidation. we recommend operating your polisher or sander between 4,000 and 7,000 OPM.

Variable Speed Settings

While many of the top sanders and polishers in the industry feature variable speed settings, they aren’t all made the same. Most sanders or polishers that have variable speed settings typically have six settings to choose from.

There isn’t a standardized OPM or RPM that correlates with a specific speed setting number for sanders or polishers. This means that you should read your user manual and any available literature on the subject, so you don’t accidentally select a speed setting that won’t provide you with the results you are looking for.

Orbital Sanders: Bottom Line

Although they require a skilled hand, orbital sanders are great for adding a smooth finish to a vehicle’s body panels and can be used for other DIY tasks like woodworking. We like the Milwaukee M18 Random Orbit Sander for a few reasons. This cordless sander has a comfortable grip and powerful motor, but customers seeking a variable-speed sander may want to explore other options.

Orbital Sander: FAQ

What is the best orbital sander on the market?

According to our in-depth product testing, the best orbital sander on the market is the Milwaukee M18 Random Orbit Sander. This is because it’s reasonably priced, easy to use, and surprisingly powerful.

Which is better, an orbital sander or a random orbital sander?

Orbital sanders are older, less expensive, and simpler than random orbital sanders. Orbital sanders are square in shape, which makes getting the sander in nooks and crannies easier, but random orbital sanders usually have variable speed switches.

What’s the difference between a rotary polisher and an orbital polisher?

Random orbital polishers are a combination of rotary polishers and orbital polishers. The speed of random orbital polishers is noted in orbits per minute (OPM), as the orbital polisher orbits rather than rotates. On the other hand, a rotary simply spins.

Data accurate at time of publication.

What Is an Orbital Sander?

If you are in the market for an orbital sander, you might be working on a project that requires the smooth sanding of wood, plastic or metal. On a larger scale, you might be working on a painting or refurbishing project.

When you need a new tool, it can take time to find one that fits your specific needs. Use this guide to understand what an orbital sander is, what you can use it for, what you can use it on, how much one might cost and which one you might buy for your particular project.

Table of Contents

Definition of an Orbital Sander

Orbital sanders are hand-held tools that work by rotating themselves elliptically to create a smooth surface. You can even use them to remove rust or paint. If you need a smooth surface in a short time, an orbital sander might be your best bet.

Applications for Orbital Sanders

What is an orbital sander used for? There are many different applications, like:

  • Furniture making: You do not have to be a professional to use an orbital sander on furniture. Random orbital sanders are great for wood furniture because they won’t leave elliptical-shaped streaks in the wood. Whether you are making furniture or refurbishing it, orbital sanders can give your furniture the smooth surfaces they will need for staining or painting.
  • Cabinetry making: Cabinet making and furniture making differ in their needs and demands. This difference comes into play because cabinet making involves more built-in and interlocking components. Orbital sanders are perfect for smoothing out the joints on a cabinet.
  • Staircase building: Orbital sanders are a must-have when it comes to building staircases, where smoothness and speed are vital.
  • Toy manufacturing: Orbital sanders are great for making wood, plastic or metal toys. Just make sure you get the proper size of sander for the toy you are making.
  • Removing rust or paint: Many refurbishment projects require the removal of rust or paint. Orbital sanders can help you there since it’s among their more common applications. DIYers often need an orbital sander to prep surfaces for painting by removing rust or existing paint.
  • Refinishing hardwood floors: An orbital sander simplifies t he process of refinishing hardwood floors immensely. The appropriate grit sandpaper lets you remove surface scratches or old finish. You can then use finer grit as you continue working, smoothing the floor further as you go.

How to Use an Orbital Sander

In general, there are some things to keep in mind before you start your project. It is best to apply even pressure across the pad of an orbital sander. This ensures there will be no divots and swirls on the flat surface you are working on.

Before you begin working with an orbital sander, be sure to wear a dust mask and protective glasses to keep yourself safe. Work in a well-ventilated area, and remember to empty your sander’s dust bag before using it.

Now, let’s take a look at how an orbital sander works in action.

Choose the Sandpaper

Deciding which sandpaper will work best for your project is the first step to using your orbital sander. Different sandpapers have different levels of grit. The higher a sandpaper’s grit, the finer the grain particles and vice versa. Consider varying levels of grit for sandpaper to get the right product for your job:

  • Extra fine: Extra fine sandpaper typically has a grit of 320-400. You can use this sandpaper to sand between coats of finish.
  • Fine: Fine sandpaper has a grit of 180-220. Use this sandpaper if you are going to apply stain, paint or finish after using the orbital sander.
  • Medium: Medium sandpaper has a grit level of 120-150. If you are removing paint or stain from a surface, consider using this sandpaper.
  • Coarse: Coarse sandpaper has the lowest grit at 60-80. Use this sandpaper on rough surfaces.

Load the Sandpaper

The next step of using an orbital sander would be to load the sandpaper into it. Your sander may use a hook and loop system to peel off and replace sandpaper, or your sander may also use sensitive adhesive. Load the sandpaper onto the base of your sander while making sure you align your sandpaper with the base and dust removal holes of your sander.

Test the Sander

Turn your sander on and do a test to make sure it is working correctly. Grab a piece of scrap wood, metal or plastic and move your sander across it in a circular motion. Ensure the sandpaper is secure and you see the results you need based on the grit you selected.

Sand Your Surface

The last step in using your orbital sander is to do some sanding. You can sand in any motion, so work with the material you are using in the direction that’s best for it. To make sure your sander does not cause scratches, check your sandpaper periodically. There may be old finish or dust built up on it.

You can use the edge of your sander, but it is a good idea to keep the entire disk of it on the surface of what you are sanding. You’ll be left with a smoother surface because the sander’s power will distribute evenly over the whole disk. After using your sander, you should see a smooth and clean finish to your surface.

Can You Use an Orbital Sander on Wood and Metal?

The good news is, you can use an orbital sander on both wood and metal.


Orbital sanders are an excellent tool to sand wood with. They remove wood at an astounding rate and leave surfaces gleaming as a fine finishing sander would.

There are different types of orbital sanders, such as regular orbital finishing sanders and random orbital sanders. Regular orbital sanders move in the same orbiting pattern over and over. Random orbital sanders move in a non-predictable pattern, leading to fewer scratch marks on wood than regular orbital sanders.

Random orbital sanders come in handy when you are working on the stocky legs of furniture or the flat panels of cabinets.


Can you use an orbital sander on metal? Absolutely! Random orbital sanders with speed-reducing systems are often the best sanders to use on metal. Follow these steps to sand metal with a random orbital sander:

  • Step 1: Start sanding with 80 grit sandpaper. If you are using a random orbital sander, make sure you have it set to a low-speed setting first. Too much speed can make it difficult to produce the desired results. Sand the metal in the same direction each time. Stop sanding when your metal surface is shiny.
  • Step 2: Next, change the sandpaper to a sheet with 200 grit. Sandpaper with high numbers of grit like this works better on densely spaced grains. Sand your metal with this sandpaper attached to your orbital sander, and you’ll soon have the smooth metal surface you desire.
  • Step 3: Use stand-alone sandpaper to finish up corners or places your sander could not reach, especially if you notice any leftover rust or paint.
  • Step 4: Use steel wool to finish the process. If there are any swirling marks on your surface, the steel wool will get rid of them.

How Much Does an Orbital Sander Cost?

Orbital sanders range in price depending on where you purchase them and other factors, but let’s look at some from our store here at Construction Fasteners and Tools. Our orbital sanders range from 75-600. One of the primary differentiators of cost in an orbital sander is whether it has a cord. While it won’t always make a huge difference, you can generally expect corded sanders to be the more affordable of the two.


A cordless orbital sander offers excellent maneuverability. There’s no need to angle yourself around your project or continuously move the surface within reach of a short cable. Many remote construction sites benefit from cordless tools because there’s no need to plug into a limited power supply, such as a generator.

With cordless designs, you’ll need to consider the runtime of your projects. Depending on your settings, many cordless sanders can run from 30 minutes to an hour. If you usually sand for longer than that, pay special attention to this specification. You may need to pay more for a sander with a particularly long runtime. Factor in the price of additional batteries, too, if you plan to have backups.

For reference, two of our popular cordless sanders, the Milwaukee Tool 2648-20 and the DeWALT DCW210B, currently run for under 150 each. They both offer long runtimes, ergonomic designs and variable speeds up to 12,000 orbits per minute (OPM).


Corded orbital sanders may tether you to an outlet, but they’re great for projects that you know will take a while because you won’t need to worry about runtime. Since there’s no need for a heavy battery, corded sanders are lighter and may be easier to handle. They’re usually more affordable than cordless sanders.

The DeWALT DWE6423K and Makita BO5030 sanders both offer similar orbits per minute as the cordless options we mentioned above but cost just under 100. Plus, you won’t need any extra batteries.

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