When you’re looking for an orbital sander, it’s important to consider a variety of factors. Make sure you ask yourself a few key questions to determine the type of sander you need, and then go ahead and take a look at our list of top contenders for best orbital sander below. We have both corded and cordless options, as well as a handy buying guide and an FAQ for new buyers at the end. Here are the best random orbital sanders available in the UK:
Our selection of the best orbital sanders available in the UK market!
1 - Bosch PEX 220 A Random Orbit Sander
Bosch’s 200-watt sander provides affordable versatility
Our first contender for the title of the best sander is the Bosch PEX 220. The PEX features a 220-watt motor and weighs in at 1.6 kg. The sanding surface has a velcro fastener for easy removal. This feature means that when one disk wears out you can simply replace it with another. This also means that the 220 can be used for a variety of surfaces and projects, as long as you use the appropriate sanding disks. The PEX has an OPM speed of 24,000 and an eccentricity of 1.25mm, capable of handling almost any casual use project. The Bosch 220 also boasts an ergonomic handle and a filter to keep your workspace clean.
2 - Makita 240V 5-inch Random Orbit Sander
Makita’s 5-inch sander is a light heavyweight
The Makita 240V boasts a little more power and a bit of a heftier price tag than the PEX 220. The Makita has reliable power even under heavy loads and is capable of handling bulky projects. It’s hook and loop attachments make it easy to change the disks and switch from project to project. The Makita boasts a sturdy and reliable construction that makes long-term sanding and hours of work easy on the hands. The Makita also has a dust collection system built in, much like the Bosch PEX. Makita does come in quite a bit lighter than the PEX, a mere 839g to the PEX’s 1.4 kg, which is something to consider when thinking about long-term comfort.
3 - Bosch PEX 400 AE Random Orbit Sander
The Bosch 400 boasts some serious power.
The Bosch PEX 400 has a 350-watt motor and boasts the ability to change speeds, giving you more variety and control in your projects. The PEX 400 is capable of up to 21,200 opms. The 400 model also comes with the ergonomic grip with a soft surface, to increase user traction. It also boasts the dust collection bag included in the 200 model. The PEX 400 weighs in at a hefty 3.5 kg, making it the heaviest of our three finalists. However, considering its variable speeds and focus on user comfort, the Bosch 400 is a good product for the price.
4 - Bosch Professional GEX 125-1 AE
Bosch’s compact and ergonomic GEX guarantees a fine finish
Weighing just 2.5 kilograms, the Bosch GEX 125-1 Random Orbit Sander allows you to work on different projects without straining yourself. With its soft grip surfaces, you can comfortably and ergonomically work with different grip positions. This product features a random orbit motion plus rotation, which ensures not just a fine finish, but also excellent sanding performance. It has a sanding pad brake that safeguards your work and prevents damage; a pre-select setting speed that enables you to work on different materials; and a dust collection feature that lets you work with virtually no dust on your project. The carry case and the velcro fasteners for rapid sanding strips are also added bonuses. Do not be fooled by its compact size; this sander packs quite a powerful punch.
5 - Tacklife 6 Variable Speeds Random Sander
Budget price and maximum user control
If DIY projects are your thing, this random sander by Tacklife can easily become your best friend. Compact and ergonomic, this 350W gem of a tool has a 2.8A OPM motor that operates in six variable speeds from 0 to 13,000, giving you the freedom to choose the power setting that meets your needs. Weighing about 1.5 kilograms, the PRS01A is ergonomically handy, enabling you to get into tight spaces with ease and allowing you to work on indoor projects. It has a locking switch that frees you from pressing the trigger when you need to continuously work on a project. And a dust collection feature that uses a microfilter system to trap small particles, ensuring a mess-free work environment. This powerful tool also comes with 12 free sanding discs.
Best Cordless Random Orbital Sander
1 - Ryobi R18ROS-0 ONE+ Random Orbit Sander
Ryobi includes variable speeds at a great price
Our first option for best cordless sander is the Ryobi R18ROS-0. The Ryobi boasts a weight of 1.6 Kg. It’s 18-volt batteries and has variable speeds up to 12,000 rpm and can take up to 40 minutes of continuous use. However, the battery is not included and must be bought separately. Like the previous models, it has hook and loop attachments for easy removal and placement. The Ryobi also has a handle that fits easily into the palm and makes long-term use easier on your hands and arms. With no cord to unplug to make sure the sander is off, safety can be an issue and Ryobi handles that by including an indicator light to make sure you can visibly see when the tool is on. The Ryobi also includes a 2.2 mm orbit diameter for more efficient stock removal
2 - Makita DBO180Z
Makita’s DBO180Z is ergonomic and easy to use.
The Makita DBO180Z has variable speeds from 7,000 – 11,000 OPMs, and 3-speed settings. The DBO180Z is easy to manoeuvre and fit into your hand, with Makita focusing especially on the ergonomics of the tool as well as it’s centre of gravity. Both of these features mean that this tool is easy to use for long periods, and with a 1.3 kg weight, it’s especially portable and usable. It has hook and loop fastening to make switching sandpapers easy so you can switch from project to project without slowing down. The DBO180Z takes a lithium-ion battery, but it’s not included, which is something to think about when weighing out the costs from cordless to battery-powered.
3 - Bosch PSM 18 LI
Bosch’s PSM is adjustable, affordable, and customisable.
The Bosch PSM is the most affordable cordless sander on our list. However, the battery must be purchased separately, much like the other sanders on our list. The PSM uses lithium-ion batteries and even has an indicator to show you how much battery life you have left. The plate allows you to turn and rotate it so that you can use it for multiple projects, as well as handy velcro that allows you to switch your sandpaper easily and quickly. The PSM also has a compact size that fits in the hand easily, with Bosch clearly focusing on ergonomics in this product. The PSM is a lightweight 1.3 kg, and the ergonomic handle makes it easy to use. Bosch’s usual filter system is included as well a clear dust collector that lets you see how much has built up, and when you need to empty it. At the price, even with the extra expense of the battery purchase, the PSM is a great tool for anyone who has projects that need specific attachments or customisations.
4 - Bosch AdvancedOrbit 18 Cordless Orbital Sander
Bosch’s AdvancedOrbit 18 is as versatile as it is smart
Bosch releases yet another high power sanding tool in the form of the AdvancedOrbit 18, which features the SYNEON Smart Chip that allows for intelligent energy control. The chip also ensures optimal power for sanding and polishing a wide range of materials that include roughcast and metal. The AdvancedOrbit’s speed selection wheel gives users the versatility to choose which speed setting to use, thereby giving them full control. This 18V battery-powered sanding tool weighs just a little more than a kilogram, making it effortless to handle and manage. With its adjustable and detachable front handle and its ergonomic design, users are guaranteed to enjoy hours of sanding and polishing work. This sander is also integrated with a dust extraction system, which ensures virtually zero dust during the sanding and polishing process.
5 - Makita M9204 Random Orbit Sander-Red/Black, 125mm
Provides high performance sans the hefty price tag
This 240V sander from Makita’s tried and tested MT series is a perfect sander not just for the home DIY’er, but also for trade users. Unlike other basic DIY tools, the M9204/2 is designed with industrial-build quality and essential professional requirements, making it a must-have item your arsenal of power tools. Its features include an ergonomic handle with a rubberized soft grip that molds to your hand, a lightweight yet sturdy and compact design, a rocker on-off switch, a sanding pad brake that allows you to work safely, and a built-in dust extraction system to ensure that you can work continuously and comfortably without sanding debris. This power orbit sander delivers up to 24,000 sanding strokes per minute and up to 12,000 orbits per minute – excellent performance at an affordable price.
Orbital Sander Buying Guide
While the six sanders above are our top picks for everyone, we do have a few general tips for everyone who’s currently in the market for a sander. These tips are important to keep in mind when you go shopping, so that way you can make sure you get the best sander for you and your needs.
- What type of sander do you need? – There are three main types of sanders, and you need to consider what types of projects you’ll be engaged in. For casual users and lighter projects, a palm grip should be enough. If you need a little more power, then consider a right angle sander, which will allow you to apply more force to your project. For truly large projects you can always consider an inline sander, which allows you to use both hands to control the sander.
- Is it easy to change the sandpaper? – You don’t want to have to fuss and struggle with your tool every time you have to change your sandpaper. Make sure that your sander has an easy release, like velcro or hook and loop fastening.
- Is it easy to vary the speed? – Being able to vary the speeds not only means that your projects will be easier to finish and perfect, but it also lends versatility to your sander and means that you can use it for more projects in the future.
- Is the grip comfortable? – You want to make sure that your sander will have a grip that is comfortable for your hands, and easy for you to grip. Weight will be a factor here too, you want to make sure that your tool won’t overwork your arms and hands.
- Is the power cord long enough? – Many users rely on battery power to keep their tools portable and easy to move around with. However, battery-powered sanders come with their own challenges, and no one wants to be juggling chargers and extra batteries. If you do go for a power cord, make sure you know how long it is, and how much room you’ll have to work with.
- Is the switch sealed? – Making sure your switch is kept clean and free of dust and debris will extend the life of your tool, as well as preventing several maintenance issues that occur when dirt and grit get below your switch.
The Battle of the Sanders: Should You Get a Cordless or a Corded Sander?
A sander is an important tool not just for the homeowner DIY-er, but also for tradesmen and apprentices. After all, manual sanding is hardly an activity anyone enjoys.
If you have been contemplating getting a sander of your own, you must be in a bind, having to choose between the many kinds and brands of sanders out in the market today.
After deciding between belt sanders, detail sanders, orbital sanders or random orbital sanders, the next step is determining whether to get a corded or a cordless sander. Here we offer three considerations: power, mobility, and price.
- If you are working on big projects, a corded sander is a must. Sanding can be time-consuming, and a cordless sander can only have as much power as its battery charge permits. Cordless chargers do not need to be recharged, and you can simply plug them and work on your project.
- Corded sanders provide enough power, but let’s face it; there would always be small projects that require you to get into tight spaces that limit the use of corded sanders. In this case, cordless sanders make a good choice.
- Of course, the price is always a consideration. Generally, corded sanders are less expensive than their cordless counterparts, Newer and better cordless sanders are emerging, but these newer units come with bigger price tags – not to mention the need for battery changes, which can also be expensive.
The Bottom Line: Corded sanders are better in terms of price and performance, but cordless sanders are not without their own merits. Eventually, your decision would depend on the projects you would most use the sander on.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions many first-time sander users have about their tools and how to maintain them.
Q: What are orbital saws most often used for?
A: They are most often used for sanding down finishes on woodworking projects and automotive projects. The random portion of the orbit means that you can get an even finish without having any swirl marks that some sanders leave behind.
Q: Are the plates on the sander removable/replaceable?
A: Usually no. The sanders are fitted with plates, then with discs on top of those plates that you change out when the sandpaper runs out. The plate is the solid part of the tool. The exception to this would be the Bosch PSM, which will allow you to rotate the plate to make the sander more customisable.
Q: Is there a warranty available?
A: Warranties will be brand specific, but most industry standards are at two years. Most brands also allow you to extend or purchase a separate warranty as well.
Q: Do you have to use brand specific sanding disks?
A: Not as long as you get a sander that has a standard attachment point. Most sanders have either velcro or hook and loop attachments that mean you can swap out disks from any brand, as long as they fit.
Q: How fast should the sander spin?
A: That depends on the model you have and the OPMs it uses. The OPMS are orbits per minute, and any variable models will allow you to adjust this speed as needed.
While there are many brands and types of sanders that will serve you well, some brands stand above the rest. These brands below are always a good place to start if you don’t quite know a good jumping off point or just want some general direction.
- Bosch – Bosch boasts superior quality and variety, meaning that everyone can find a tool to fit their specific needs.
- DeWalt – DeWalt is a brand that’s endured for a long time, and their reputation for quality and reliability is well earned.
- Makita – Makita’s focus on ergonomics and user ease make them an ideal brand for hobbyists or casual users.
- Black & Decker – Black & Decker is a brand that’s known for its affordability and its reliability. With over 100 years in the business, Black & Decker is an industry leader and a standard for quality.
Picture: “Bosch GEX1251AE Orbital Sander” (CC BY 2.0) by toolstop