Last Updated on 2020-11-07 by Harry Masterton
We review The Best Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking and check the top choice in each category from professional sander, best under $100 to DIY & budget
An important consideration for any project is the final texture, or lack thereof, of the wood grain. Sanding gets the surface ready for stains and protective coats while providing a uniform texture that is nice to the touch. Using the best random orbital sander for woodworking will get that job done quickly and efficiently.
If you have spent any time in the shop working with wood, you know that the sander makes woodworking more enjoyable. Traditionally, hobbyists used sanding blocks and elbow-grease.
Hand-held power tools, like the orbital sander, cut down the work time on sanding projects in the shop. A square base accepts quarter sheets of sanding paper, and it moves in a circular motion that does the work for you.
A smaller base that is also circular allows additional movement when sanding. The random orbital sander introduces a turn on the base-plate in addition to its swirling motion. This leaves fewer sanding marks and speeds up the overall sanding process.
You can use a random orbital sander in any direction as you work. Block sanders and orbital sanders leave marks if they are moved across the wood grain.
Keep in mind the fact that random orbital sanders remove wood more quickly than an orbital sander will. This makes them an ideal choice for initial surface cleanup.
The round bases make them a poor choice for sanding in corners of boxes or furniture. This type of sander earns its reputation on large flat areas where it can quickly smooth out wood fibers.
In a Hurry? Go straight to our top recommendations. Overall Best Best Random Orbital Sander For Woodworking
Table Of Contents
- 1 The Best Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking
- 1.1 Best Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking – The Top 5
- 1.2 DEWALT 20V MAX DCW210B Orbital Sander – Tool Only
- 1.3 DEWALT DCW210D1 20V MAX Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, Cordless Kit
- 1.4 CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 Random Orbit Sander 3-Amp – Corded
- 1.5 BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
- 1.6 Best Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking – The Finishing Touch
The Best Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking
Corded or Cordless Random Orbital Sander?
To determine the best random orbital sander for woodworking in your shop, you will need to determine the type of power tool you need. Is a corded or cordless random orbital sander right for you? Each offers distinct advantages over the other.
A traditional corded design offers you:
- Less downtime;
- Consistent sanding;
- Cheaper price.
A corded random orbital sander operates with household electricity. Plugging into a working outlet is all you need to do.
Cordless models require batteries to work. You have to recharge those battery packs.
Another benefit of a corded design is consistent sanding. It will perform the same no matter how long you use it.
Battery-operated units drop in performance the longer they are used. The voltage provided by the battery pack drops during use.
Most corded products are cheaper. There is less technology used in them, and in many cases, fewer parts as well.
Cordless designs make use of electronic controls and protections. This technology, along with the batteries, will cost you more.
Today's cordless products do offer advantages, such as:
- Simple to use;
- Easy storage.
A cordless random orbital sander will work anywhere you take it. That includes areas with limited access to outlets, or in places with no power at all.
Products with a cord require an outlet to run. Using an extension cord increases the range, but it does not eliminate the need for external power.
Cordless models are simple to set up (no plugging in or extension cord) and pack away. They store easily and take up less room than a corded model with power cords. In our opinion at the woodworking hobby shop if you're looking for the best random orbital sander for woodworking going cordless and brushless is the best way to future proof your purchase.
DEWALT 20V MAX DCW210B Orbital Sander – Tool Only4.8 out of 5.0 stars
The DCW210B operates off of DeWalt's 20V MAX battery platform. Its nominal operating range is 18 volts, with the ability to run longer due to the potential 20 volts at full charge.
DEWALT DCW210B Features
The DEWALT DCW210B is sold as a “tool only.” That keeps the price reasonably low for this grade of an orbital sander as it does not include a battery or charger. If you already own other DeWalt 20V Max power tools can use those batteries in the DCW210B orbital sander.
As our recommendation for the best professional orbital sander the DEWALT DCW210B has variable speed settings. It has a range of 8,000 to 12,000 Orbits Per Minute (OPM). Adjustments allow you to match the speed to the application and materials.
The manufacturer has designed the housing to sit lower than other models in this range. That allows more access under low-profile areas, and it provides a better angle for your wrist as you work. That is something to expect from the best random orbital sander for woodworking in terms of design.
DEWALT DCW210B – Things We Like
- This battery provides 5AH of power. It maintains that level for an hour before you will notice a dip;
- A comfortable rubber grip. It is textured so it also provides a non-slip element as well;
- The design uses a brushless motor. That means there will be less parts that can break down with use.
DEWALT DCW210B – Not So Good
- This sander may be heavier than what users expect. That can lead to fatigue during use as the battery pack adds a lot to the overall weight;
- It has a non-universal dust extractor connection. You may need to get an adapter if you own a non-DeWalt shop vac.
DEWALT DCW210D1 20V MAX Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch, Cordless Kit
4.7 out of 5.0 stars
If you are thinking of buying your first cordless sander, a kit with battery and charger is the only way to go. This might be the best random orbital sander for woodworking shops looking to upgrade to a 20v battery platform as well.
DEWALT DCW210D1 Features
This kit includes the 20V MAX 5-inch random orbital sander. It has the same features and benefits discussed in the DeWalt DCW210B reviewed above.
You also get DCB203 20V MAX battery. This compact design provides 2.0 AH of power, plenty for most project needs.
This kit also includes the DCB112 12V MAX/20V MAX Lithium-Ion Battery Charger. It offers more versatility than a standard charger, working on multiple battery packs. Finally, you get a very nice Dewalt branded carry bag to hold everything.
DEWALT DWE6423 Random Orbit Sander, Variable Speed, 5-Inch4.4 out of 5.0 stars
DeWalt offers this five-inch sander at a reasonable price. That does not mean it lacks in performance, though. It uses a powerful three amp motor that generates between 8,000 and 12,000 OPM.
DEWALT DWE6423 Features
Other features you would expect from the best random orbital sander for woodworking include a hook-and-loop system. This allows you to change out sanding discs quickly without the sticky residue.
Another feature that makes this the best random orbital sander under $100 bucks is the lower vibration levels it generates. DeWalt includes counterweights as well as properly spaced padding to reduce the vibration that you feel.
This DEWALT DWE6423 variable speed model also includes sealed components. That helps keep dust out of the housing and away from sensitive switches. It should prevent breakdowns as well as overheating.
The DEWALT DWE6423 is sold with a dust bag that can be attached to the 1 1/4-inch adaptor located at the back of the housing. It is worth noting that this connection point is designed to work with DeWalt's DWV010 and DWV012 dust collectors.
DEWALT DWE6423 – Things We Like
- Is powered by a three amp motor. That will be plenty of power for any species of wood;
- DeWalt has included components to help reduce vibration. This will be noticeable with longer sanding sessions;
- The dust port is located at the rear of the housing. This keeps its dust bag or any hose attachments out of the way during sanding.
DEWALT DWE6423 – Not So Good
- The counterweight design makes it heavier. Its weight is increased to nearly 3.5-pounds due to the added material;
- Attaching other shops vacs may prove challenging. The proprietary design favors DeWalt products.
CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 Random Orbit Sander 3-Amp – Corded4.6 out of 5.0 stars
The best random orbital sander for woodworking does not have to be expensive. This model from Craftsman has more power than the runner-up (reviewed below) while keeping the price tag small.
CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 Features
The CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 has a three amp electric motor that generates 12,000 OPM. This sanding level makes it the best orbital sander under $50 dollars, even though it does not have variable speed settings.
Its handle is installed directly above the motor. This position provides plenty of control with one hand, allowing you to use the other to secure the wood or cord while you work. Some users may find it located a bit high compared to the base, however.
It has a 1 1/4-inch adaptor for the dust port. That is a size that can work with many shop vac attachments. Craftsman has also included a dust bag that twists on the adaptor.
Craftsman also covers the sander with a three-year limited warranty. Some readers may be surprised by this, but it is becoming standard for most of Stanley Black & Decker subsidiaries and is one of the reasons that the Crafstman CMEW231 makes our list of the best orbital sander for woodworking as best buy under $50.
CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 – Things We Like
- 12,000 Orbits Per Minute. That will smooth out surfaces on hardwoods with little effort;
- Designed for novice users. Single speed setting, hook-and-loop discs, and a twist on dust bag make this easy to use for anyone;
- It includes a dust collection bag. Many models at this lower price range do not include extras.
CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 – Not So Good
- Using cheaper materials produces more noise. This sander is noisier than others on this list;
- It is lacking padding in key areas. The middle of the handle is bare plastic, making it less comfortable to operate.
BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander
4.6 out of 5.0 stars
The Black+Decker BDERO100 is the runner-up for under $50. It has plenty to offer users, even with a smaller design. With the lowest price of all the sanders we have looked at, it should be in the range of even the smallest shop budgets.
BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Features
The two amp motor might feel underwhelming for woodworkers after looking at the others, but that is still enough strength to perform many home improvement projects. It should also be fine shaping many of the softer woods without causing surface marks.
It does have a dust collection port, but you will notice that the opening is smaller than most. A dust bag is included that will fit this opening. For small projects around the house, it should perform adequately.
It has a five-inch base that can move at 12,000 OPM. Those features could make it the best random orbital sander for woodworking DIY projects around the home. Homeowners and occasional hobbyists will likely not need a sander with more power than this one offers.
Best Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking – The Finishing Touch
If you like our best random orbital sander review then checkout our complete coverage (constantly updated) of the essential woodworking power tools for your shop with links to reviews for each category.
First brought to the woodworking world by Festool in 1976 the random orbital sander has come a long way. The modern version of the best random orbital sander for woodworking has been a god send to the woodworker both professional and serious hobbyist alike wanting to finish a woodworking project to a good standard.
Because the sanding disk both spins and at the same time moves in a random elliptical pattern you don't get the usual swirl marks associated with the standard orbital sander. Random orbital sanders are not effected by the grain of the wood and so with the random sanding action you'll achieve a much finer finish.
At The Woodworking Hobby Shop we encourage you to buy the very best power tools your budget will stretch to. At the professional and serious hobby woodworker level you cannot go wrong with the DEWALT 20V MAX DCW210B Orbital Sander or the DEWALT DCW210D1 20V MAX 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Cordless Kit. For the best random orbital sander under $100 the DEWALT DWE6423 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander Variable Speed is a great buy.
If you have less than $50 to spend then it has to be the CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 Random Orbit Sander 3-Amp – Corded. We really like the CRAFTSMAN CMEW231 sander and it's certainly a step up from the Black and Decker.
As always plan ahead when buying woodworking tools and make sure you buy for the future. Enjoy your hobby and projects and let us know in the comments section below what you're working on! Let's make sawdust!
If you enjoyed this article on the best random orbital sander for woodworking check on out our guide covering the best cordless circular saw for your workshop.