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Best Orbital Sander (2023 Guide)

There are generally two types of people in this world: those who love sanding wood and revealing the texture and grain underneath, and those who abhor it. Funny enough, folks from these two separate schools of thought agree on one thing, and it’s that a random orbital sander makes these projects more enjoyable.

Random orbital sanders have round pads that grip pieces of sandpaper. The motor spins these pads at high speeds, but instead of spinning around one fixed center point, the center point moves, creating random ellipses rather than perfect circles. This motion quickly removes material but also prevents swirl marks, making these sanders a favorite among DIYers and pros alike. This guide will explain how to buy the best orbital sander for your needs.

Our Best Orbital Sander Picks

Best Random Orbital Sander Overall

DeWalt Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander DWE6423K

Key Features:

  • Speeds are adjustable between 8,000 and 12,000 OPM
  • Features a counterweight to reduce vibration
  • Compact, low-profile design allows it to fit into tight spaces and provides more control


  • Type: Corded
  • Size: 5-inch
  • Speed: 8,000 to 12,000 OPM
  • Sanding discs: 8-hole, hook-and-loop
  • Price: $98

The Dewalt DWE6423 Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander is that one sander that does everything well. It features a corded design with a 3-amp motor, and it has adjustable speeds between 8,000 and 12,000 OPM, allowing users to ramp up for aggressive sanding or slow it down for fine-tuning. 

This random orbital sander from DeWalt isn’t cordless, but it features a compact design that fits into tight spots. This shorter design also provides a lower center of gravity, allowing for more control and comfort. There is also a counterweight built into the device to reduce vibration. The DeWalt also features a one-handed locking dust collection bag that won’t pop off during use, but it does require a special adapter to connect it to a standard 1 ¼-inch vacuum hose. It’s designed for 8-hole, hook-and-loop sanding discs.

Best Corded Orbital Sander

Bosch ROS20VSC Corded Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander

Bosch ROS20VSC Corded Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander

Key Features:

  • Pad dampening system to reduce swirl marks
  • On-board fine particle filtration
  • Wide adjustable speed range


  • Type: Corded
  • Size: 5-inch
  • Speed: 7,500 to 12,000 OPM
  • Sanding discs: 8-hole, hook-and-loop
  • Price: $79

DIYers and pros who need a reliable corded random orbital sander that excels at reducing swirl marks should consider the Bosch ROS20VSC. This variable-speed model features a 2.5-amp motor with speed adjustments between 7,500 and 12,000 OPM. It also has a 5-inch microcellular pad that contours to the work surface, as well as a dampening brake that helps prevent swirl marks.

One of the best features of the Bosch ROS20VSC is the air filter that’s built into the dust collection cartridge. The system readily collects sawdust through the 8-hole, hook-and-loop discs while the filter prevents fine dust from escaping, providing better air quality while sanding. And, for those who’d like to connect it to a standard vacuum hose, it comes with an adapter to do so. It also comes with a bag and a sanding disc.

Best Cordless Orbital Sander

Festool ETSC 125 Hybrid Cordless Sander

Festool ETSC 125 Hybrid Sander
I know you see a cord here, but you can swap that module out for the slim battery—it’s your choice!

Key Features:

  • Runs on the Festool BP 18 Li 3.1 ERGO-I battery system
  • Low profile battery design provides plenty of control
  • Removable material protector
  • Ships in Systainer SYS3 M 187
  • Corded or cordless hybrid functionality
  • Backing pad options
  • Price: $249 (Basic), $539 (Plus)


  • Type: Corded-cordless
  • Size: 5-inch (125 mm)
  • Weight: 1.98 lbs.
  • Stroke: 5/64 in.
  • Dust extractor port diameter: 1-1/16 in.
  • Speed: 6,000 to 10,000 OPM
  • Sanding discs: 8-hole, hook-and-loop

There are a lot of great cordless random orbital sanders on the market, but the Festool ETSC 125 cordless orbital sander stands above the rest. This 5-inch random orbital sander features functionality we have yet to see from any other manufacturer. In order to maintain lower ergononics and better sanding control, Festool designed a battery especially for these and similar tools. In the process, they also developed an adaptor to allow these tools to use any of their myriad of corded dust extractor systems. The result is a tool with teh flexibility of battery power but the lightweight close-to-the-surface option of a corded tool. 

This sander weighs less than 2 pounds and uses Festool 3.1Ah BP 18 Li ERGO-I batteries. You can link the orbital sander with any of several Festool vacuum accessories including the WCR 1000 Workcenter. Get the Plus version and it includes a Systainer case, TCL 6 fast charger, soft sander backing pad, chip collection bag, and two 3.1Ah batteries. The Festool ETSC 125 uses standard 8-hole, hook-and-loop sanding discs.

Best Professional Orbital Sander

Bosch GET75-6N 6-in Variable Speed Random Orbital Sander

bosch GET75-6N disc sander

Key Features:

  • Powerful 7.5-amp motor 
  • Turbo mode for faster material removal
  • Dual-handled grip for control 
  • Connects to multiple dust collection hose sizes


  • Type: Corded
  • Size: 6-inch
  • Speed: 3,300 to 7,300 OPM
  • Sanding discs: Multi-hole, hook-and-loop
  • Price: $299

For professional settings or just heavy-duty sanding, give the GET75-6N from Bosch some consideration. This powerful, 6-inch random orbital sander features a heavy-duty 7.5-amp motor, allowing it to take on big sanding jobs. It also features adjustable speeds between 3,300 and 7,300 OPM, as well as a Turbo mode that removes material even faster due to an eccentric orbit pattern. And, to improve control, it features dual handles.

This model from Bosch features a built-in dust collection port that is compatible with several Bosch dust collectors. It also comes with a universal adapter for standard 1 ¼-inch and 1 ½-inch hoses and uses multi-hole, hook-and-loop sanding discs. It comes with a medium foam backing pad for general use, but it can easily be swapped for firm or soft pads with the included hex wrench.

Best Affordable Orbital Sander

RYOBI Corded 5 in. Random Orbital Sander RS290G

Ryobi RS290G best orbital sander affordable

Key Features: 

  • Affordable price point
  • High-speed motor
  • Spin-control brake to reduce gouging


  • Type: Corded
  • Size: 5-inch
  • Speed: 12,500 OPM
  • Sanding discs: 8-hole, hook-and-loop
  • Price: $69

When affordability and quality are both a priority, the Ryobi 5-inch random orbital sander offers a nice meet-in-the-middle. The RS290G is a 2.6-amp, fixed-speed sander that runs at 12,500 OPM. While not having the ability to change speeds might not be ideal, it does have a pad braking system that controls the spin on start-up to prevent gouges. Also, the simple design might be best for beginners, removing any decision-making other than the type of sandpaper they need to use. 

This sander features a dust collection bag and sandpaper, but no carrying case. It does feature a built-in dust collection port that the user can connect to a 1 ¼-inch vacuum hose. It also uses 8-hole, hook-and-loop discs.

Best Orbital Sander with Vacuum Attachment

RIDGID Corded Random Orbital Sander R26011

ridgid r26011 orbital sander

Key Features:

  • Built-in vacuum attachment doesn’t require an adapter
  • Wide adjustable speed range
  • Soft-start tech prevents jumping and gouges
  • Sanding discs: 8-hole, hook-and-loop


  • Type: Corded
  • Size: 5-inch
  • Speed: 7,000 to 12,000 OPM
  • Sanding discs: 8-hole, hook-and-loop
  • Price: $64.97

If you’re looking for a random orbital sander that will connect to a dust-collecting vacuum right out of the box, consider the R26011 sander from Ridgid. This corded random orbital sander features a sturdy 3-amp motor for plenty of power, and comes with a dust collection bag that collects up to 90% of dust. But, remove that bag and you can connect directly to most wet/dry vacuum hoses without a tricky little adapter. 

This Ridgid random orbital sander features an adjustable speed range between 7,000 and 12,000 OPM. It also has soft start technology, which allows it to slowly ramp up to speed rather than jolting with the flick of a switch, preventing potential gouges. The kit comes with a carrying bag, a dust collection, and two 8-hole, hook-and-loop discs.

Best Orbital Sander for Furniture Detailing

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Orbital Detail Sander

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Detail Sander

Key Features: 

  • Dual-handle design for sanding in awkward areas
  • 4,000 OPM minimum speed provides excellent control
  • Braking system to reduce the chance of gouging expensive materials


  • Type: Corded
  • Pad Dimensions: 3.5 x 2.5 in.
  • Speed: 4,000 to 14,000 OPM
  • Sanding discs: hook-and-loop
  • Price: $149

The Milwaukee 2531 sander serves as a convenient alternative for detail furniture sanding traditionally performed by hand. Its brushless motor employs a 1.5mm diameter orbital sanding motion, significantly accelerating the material removal process compared to hand sanding. This feature greatly minimizes the likelihood of scratches, gouges, and other irregularities, yielding a stain-grade finish.

This tool comes with four preset speed settings, from 4,000 RPM to 14,000 RPM and a lock-on button helps when you plan extended use. The unique variable speed trigger allows for gentle speed adjustments in areas that demand greater control. Uncommon for a sander, this provides a tad more control in our view compared to variable speed dials. Lastly, this tool has so little vibration, your hands and arms will thank you for years to come.

Best Orbital Sander for Woodworking

Makita BO5031K Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander

makita 5-in random orbit sander BO5031K

Key Features:

  • Wide speed range for different materials
  • Comfortable grip for different angles
  • Compact storage case for safe storage when it’s not in use


  • Type: Corded
  • Size: 5-inch
  • Speed: 4,000 to 12,000 OPM
  • Sanding discs: 8-hole, hook-and-loop
  • Price: $124

Woodworkers tend to work with a lot of different materials, and they need a sander that’s flexible enough to work with all of them. The Makita BO5031K might just be that sander, with an adjustable speed range between 4,000 and 12,000 OPM, allowing users to choose the exact speed they need for the material they’re sanding. 

This 5-inch model features a corded, 3-amp motor for plenty of sanding capability. It has a comfortable grip for sanding at a variety of angles, as well as a dust collection bag that slides onto the dust collection port (though an adapter will be necessary to connect it with a dust collection or vacuum hose). It has a 5-inch pad with brake control to reduce gouging upon start-up, and it uses 8-hole, hook-and-loop discs. Note: If you want a front pommel handle, check out the very similar Makita BO5041K.

Best Orbital Sander for Auto Body Work

Ingersoll Rand 5151-6-HL Orbital Sander

Ingersoll Rand 5151-6-HL Orbital Sander

Key Features:

  • 3/16-in orbit diameter
  • Suitable for auto body or wood
  • Built-in dust collection port to connect to vacuum
  • Large paddle switch and comfortable rubber grip


  • Type: Pneumatic
  • Size: 6-inch
  • Speed: Up to 12,000 OPM
  • Sanding discs: Hook & loop or vinyl pad (PSA)
  • Price: $148.81

Whether it’s a pro shop or a DIY garage, the Ingersoll Rand 5151-6 Random Orbital Sander is up for auto body work. This pneumatic sander connects to a compressor and requires 17.5 CFM of airflow at ~90 PSI to operate, spinning the 6-inch pad at speeds up to 12,000 OPM. This allows for swirl-free finishes in automotive work, but can also be used for sanding wood and other materials.

Unlike many pneumatic sanders, the Ingersoll Rand features a dust collection port that connects with vacuum hoses to keep dust to a minimum—critical in auto body work. It also features a large paddle switch and a rubber grip that provide comfort for long-term sanding projects. It doesn’t come with any air fittings, however, so users will have to install quick-connect fittings to hook it to their air compressor. Also, keep in mind that pneumatic sanders use a lot of air, so a large air compressor is best. 

Note: This sander can use hook-and-loop sandpaper or a vinyl pad (PSA). We’ll explain more on that below.

Best Sandpaper for Orbital Sanders – Our Top Picks

Best 5-inch Overall

3M Coarse 80-grit Disc Sandpaper

Features a universal dust-collection hole design to reduce dust, and it’s available in 80, 100, 120, 150, and 220-grit variations.

Best 6-inch Overall

DIABLO 6 in. 60-Grit Sanding Disc (10-Pack)

Fits 6-inch random orbital sanders with 6 dust collection holes, and it’s available in 60, 100, 150, and 220-grit variations.

Best for Aggressive Material Removal

DIABLO 5 in. 80-Grit Universal Hole Sanding Disc

Diablo’s 5-inch sanding disc features a ceramic blend grit that removes material quickly and aggressively, and it fits all 5 and 8-hole sanders.

Best for Finer Finishes

Gator 5 Inch 50-Pc Aluminum Oxide 180-Grit Disc Sandpaper

Gator’s 5-inch sanding discs are tear-resistant and provide a consistently smooth finished surface, and fit 8-hole sanders. 

Best PSA

Dura-Gold 6-inch Gold PSA Sanding Discs (120 Grit)

With a durable PSA attachment (without any holes), Dura-Gold’s sandpaper is a great option for metal, plastic, fiberglass, and other auto body materials (and it’s available in 40 through 1,000-grit variations). 

A random orbital sander is only as good as the paper attached to it. There are two main types, and then several options within those types.

Types of Orbital Sandpaper

The two main types of sandpaper for orbital sanders are hook-and-loop and PSA. Hook-and-loop sandpaper is essentially like Velcro, meaning there are small hooks on the underside of the sanding pad, and they cling to loops on fabric on the backside of the sanding paper, and they’re reusable. PSA sandpaper uses pressure-sensitive adhesive to attach to the bottom of a pneumatic sanding pad. These discs are not reusable.


Sandpaper comes in grits, which refers to how coarse or how fine the sandpaper is. The lower the number, the coarser (more aggressive) the sandpaper is. The higher the number, the finer the finish. For example, 40-grit sandpaper is extremely aggressive and will remove a lot of material quickly but leave deep scratches. On the other hand, 220-grit and 400-grit have finer grit and are less aggressive, making them best for finishing and polishing.

Types of Random Orbital Sanders

When it comes to choosing a random orbital sander, there are a few things to consider. The main decision, however, comes down to choosing which type is best for your needs: corded, cordless, or pneumatic. Here’s the breakdown of each.


Corded random orbit sanders use electricity from standard wall outlets to run. They’re generally compact, fairly powerful, and affordable. Many have variable speeds and other settings to make them easier to use or allow them to remove material more quickly. The main drawback is that they’re tethered to a wall or extension cord, and the cord can get in the way.

These sanders are excellent for shop settings where electricity is always available and where cords are not a big deal. 

Generally speaking, corded random orbital sanders will have motors that draw between 2.5 to 7 amps. The more amperage, the heavier the duty that the sander can handle.


Cordless random orbit sanders are all about convenience. These models have swappable batteries that allow them to operate without electricity supplied from an outlet. While they used to be subpar when it came to power or speed, today’s models are much more comparable to corded models. However, they’re usually more expensive and require multiple batteries over the course of an entire day of sanding. 

They’re great for jobsites, as users can take the sander anywhere without worrying about power.  

Cordless random orbital sander power is dependent on the battery voltage. Common batteries include 18- to 20-volt batteries. Battery technology is such that some smaller batteries can still produce a lot of power and sufficient runtime.


Pneumatic random orbital sanders don’t use electricity at all. Instead, they operate on compressed air, with turbines inside the sander that spin at extremely high speeds when air is applied. This allows these sanders to be relatively low maintenance and simple, lightweight, and very powerful. However, they’re loud and need to be connected to an even-louder compressor, and their hoses can get in the way. 

These sanders are common in auto body shops where air tools are the norm. 

Important Features

Beyond the different types of sanders, there are important features that make some random orbital sanders stand out from the pack. You’ll learn what those features are in the following sections, allowing you to make the best possible decision when choosing a random orbital sander for your needs. 


Speed sits at the top of the list of factors to consider when selecting the best random orbital sander. But, the way speed is explained is somewhat tricky. 

Most power tools that spin use the term RPM or revolutions per minute to describe their speed. Since random orbit sanders don’t spin in perfect circles, the industry quantifies speed using OPM, or oscillations per minute. 

Most DIYers and pros will find a sander with an OPM speed of around 8,000 to be sufficient. However, there are variable speed sanders that allow users to adjust the oscillations per minute to vary the sander’s aggressiveness. In this case, a sander might have a range between 7,000 and 12,000 OPM. Users can choose the speed that works best for their project.

Dust Collection and Holes

Sanders do a great job of removing material, but they turn that material into sawdust in the process. Sawdust can irritate eyes, noses, throats, and airways. It can also cause skin irritation in some cases. And, large piles of sawdust can be fire hazards, so it’s a good idea to choose a random orbital sander with dust collection.

Most sanders come with bags that attach to ports, and they direct the sawdust through the port where it collects in the bag. Some models feature cartridge-style bags that also feature an air filter to keep the air as dust-free as possible. Many of these same models are also compatible with dust collection systems or wet/dry vacs to efficiently suck up the dust before it’s a problem.

When to use a dust collection bag or a vacuum is personal preference. However, a bag can help to minimize the mess when sanding on a job site or when sanding furniture at awkward angles where a hose would get in the way. On the other hand, a vacuum will help remove dust during large sanding projects and could be worth the trouble of the hose. 

It’s also important to recognize that there are holes in the pads of certain random orbital sander pads, and these holes allow the dust to pass through for dust collection. Most sanders use 8-hole sanding discs, but 5-hole, 6-hole, and multi-hole sanding discs are also popular. 

Disc Size

There are really two main random orbital sander sizes, and they include 5- and 6-inch discs. It might not sound like a significant difference, but it’s a big difference in area. A 5-inch circle has a surface area of just over 19.5 square inches, while a 6-inch circle has a surface area of 28.25 square inches, which is an increase of nearly 45 percent. Both sizes have their pros and cons.

Five–inch sanders are more compact and nimble, and they can get into tighter places. They also run at higher speeds, and their sandpaper is typically less expensive. Six-inch sanders are powerful and torquey, but they don’t run at nearly the speed that a 5-inch model does. Also, they can be difficult to get into tight places and awkward angles.

Most DIYers and pros will find 5-inch models to be the sweet spot. However, for aggressively sanding wide boards and automotive applications, 6 inches is often the preference.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Orbital Sanders

There’s more to choosing a random orbital sander than one might think! But, even with all that background, you might still have some questions that need answering. You’re not alone. The following are the most frequently asked questions about random orbital sanders. 

Can You Use an Orbital Sander on Drywall?

Random orbital sanders can make short work of drywall sanding. However, it’s important to attach a vacuum or a dust bag at the minimum, as compound dust is very fine and will get everywhere if given the chance. A wet/dry vac is the best option.

Also, these sanders can take a lot of compound (and paper facing) off quickly, so watch the sandpaper grits. Start with something like 150- to 180-grit, and work your way up to 220-grit to finish. A dedicated drywall sander often provides the best results for those looking to maximize their time and effort collecting as much of the drywall dust as possible.

Can I Use an Orbital Sander Between Coats of Polyurethane?

You can, especially if you use a high-grit sandpaper, such as 220 or even 400. However, it’s important to watch how much of the finish you’re removing, so take your time and pay attention. 

How to Sand Hardwood Floors with Orbital Sander

You can sand hardwood floors with a random orbital sander, but it does take longer and requires greater attention to detail than sanding with a floor sander. The trick is to start with an aggressive sandpaper grit like 80 to 100 grit to remove the majority of the finish. Remove all of the sanding dust and then finish sanding with a finer grit like 120 to 150 grit.

Can You Sand Concrete With an Orbital Sander?

You can sand concrete with a random orbital sander. It requires using an aggressive grit, such as 30 to 60 to start and then moving up to 80- to 120-grit paper for smoothing. Concrete dust is very fine, so wear a mask and attach a wet/dry vacuum for the best results.

Can You Use an Orbital Sander as a Buffer? 

Yes, you can use an orbital sander as a buffer, but you have to use the correct pads first. Swap out the existing pad for a foam polishing pad and work slowly. Random orbital sanders don’t have as much power or surface area as an auto body buffer, so it will take longer but can be done.

Can You Wet Sand With an Orbital Sander?

Wet sanding is really the last step in fine-tuning a perfect surface, and random orbital sanders aren’t exactly fine-tuning tools. You’re better off sanding the surface by hand to ensure that it’s tuned to perfection. However, if you do use a random orbital sander to wet sand, make sure to guard the tool from getting wet and use a GFCI outlet for protection, and even so, you might risk electrocution.