Comparing Random Orbit Sanders
Looking to add a random orbit sander to your tool box? We can help! Continue reading as we navigate through two of the most popular random orbit sanders on the market. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned woodworker, this guide to electric sanders will help you determine which option best fits your needs. For our comparison, we looked at multiple criteria including functionality, ergonomics, & quality. And lastly, we didn’t just test another set of sanders. We built coffee tables, cat furniture, & work carts with both sanders as the primary abrasive tools.
Functionality as a Random Orbit Sander
Price & Affordability
Of the power tools used in wood working, a random orbit sander definitely lies on the cheaper end of the spectrum. But since most of us operate on a budget, we can’t overlook affordability. The DeWalt Random Orbit Sander will often be listed at double the price of its Black + Decker counterpart. To some degree, you do get what you pay for—the DeWalt sander is all-in-all a better sander. However, if you’re only planning on using your sander for a few small projects, this may be reason enough to justify purchasing the Black + Decker sander.
Quality & Reliability
I only purchased the DeWalt sander since the two Black + Decker sanders that I had previously broke sooner than expected. In both instances, the the Black + Decker random orbit sanders were no longer functional after 18 to 21 months. Even though the sanders were still under a partial warranty, our projects weren’t able to accommodate the lengthy processing time. Despite both sanders being made by the same parent company, there’s a clear difference in quality.
Comfort & Ergonomics
Of the criteria that we evaluated, this one may seem the least important. However, we think you’ll find out otherwise if you try using the Black + Decker random orbit sander for an extended period of time. Between the two tools, the Black + Decker sander’s vibration was inconsistent & more extreme. Prolonged use of this sander gave our hands a tingling feeling. Thus, we ultimately took frequent brakes when using this sander. On the other hand, the DeWalt Random Orbit Sander provided a much smoother feel with less vibration. As a result, we felt this actually gave us a bit more control when sanding delicate objects. The other obvious advantage is less fatigue on your hands. After extended use with the DeWalt sander, we didn’t experience the same tingling feeling that we did with Black + Decker’s.
Who Should Buy Which Sander?
Black + Decker Sander
If you only need a sander for a few small projects, Black + Decker’s offering should be sufficient. You get to save the difference in price, and you won’t compromise your project’s appearance. Although this random orbit sander comes with some shortcomings, the overall functionality is perfectly acceptable. Listed on Amazon at $30 (when this was written), this sander is extremely affordable.
Woodworkers that need a reliable random orbit sander are going to want DeWalt’s. The sander offers a much more controlled feel, and the comfortable grip allows for longer usage. Lastly, the greater durability more than justifies the price difference between the two sanders. If you’re looking for this sander, Amazon has both a fixed-speed random orbit sander & a variable-speed random orbit sander.
Compatible Sand Paper
If you’re looking for quality sand paper that’s compatible with either sander, this variety pack is the best deal on Amazon. It comes with 100 discs in total broken into an assortment of 5 different grit levels: 60, 80, 120, 150, & 220. The holes line up almost perfectly with the sander, which allows for quick disc changes. Lastly, the sand paper is thick enough that it can be used with a traditional sanding block.
Also published on Medium.
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