The best random orbital sander is an essential power tool for both trade & DIY. Easy to use, fast and highly effective, the right model removes material evenly and quickly with no swirl marks.
For decorators and all trades, a professional finish is only achieved with the right preparation. The best random orbital sander is the must-have power tool to get the perfect finish, fast. In addition to smoothing walls, doors and skirting it’s also the right choice for all renovation work and furniture upscaling.
If you only own one type of power sander, this is it.
How To Choose The Best Random Orbital Sander
Rapid material removal resulting in a smooth and even finish is the primary requirement when selecting the best random orbital sander. Other factors include power, weight, durability, speed control, noise and comfort of use.
As with all power tools, spending big can afford you some amazing kit. However, that doesn’t necessarily get you the right tool for the job. The good news is that we’ve identified excellent budget options for occasional DIY right through to professional power sanders for larger tasks and trade.
Verum has compared 100s of sanders. We have scrutinised specifications, crunched data and vetted owner insights to shortlist the best random orbital sanders available to buy, right now…
Bosch PEX 220 A Random Orbit Sander
Best Sander under £50
The Bosch PEX 220 A is an excellent and affordable power sander. Perfect for decorating, woodwork and polishing jobs.
Aside from the low price, this model from Bosch has a good specification and the right details to justify the recommendation. The lightweight design and soft grip make it easy to use with one hand. And while no sander can be described as quiet, this model makes less noise than most.
Designed for working on wood, plaster, painted, varnished and polished surfaces it’s powerful enough to get the job done. And although you can’t connect a vacuum to this model, the removable dust box does a decent job.
As with all random orbital sanders, the sheets simply attach with a hook and loop fastening system and then you’re ready to go. Effective and easy to use, the Bosch PEX 220 A is a great choice for anyone who wants a decent sander for a decent price.
SPECIFICATION: POWER: 220w | WEIGHT: 1.2kg | NOISE:77dB | PAPER DIA: 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER: 2.5mm | ORBITS/MINUTE: 12,000opm
Bosch PEX 220 A | Verdict price £43 | Check best price on Amazon
Makita M9204 Random Orbital Sander
Budget Sander with Good Dust Extraction
The Makita M9204 is highly rated by its owners. And it’s affordable. The Makita brand has a strong trade reputation for quality and durability. This sander is part of the MT range that’s designed to satisfy professional requirements without the price tag.
If you’re looking for a robust and reliable sander and don’t require the features associated with a high-end professional device, then this model is a great choice. It has a couple of key benefits over the Bosch.
More power means you can get the job done faster. And although there’s a dust collection system, this model can also be attached to a vacuum for low dust sanding. Small negatives are that the extra power does generate more noise and there’s no padding to reduce vibrations.
Working in close proximity to anything generating above 80dB requires ear protection. Also, for your safety, the sanding disk has a brake. This means when you turn the sander off, the disk stops spinning quickly. At some point, you will be grateful for this safety feature.
If you want an affordable power sander that gives great results and is built to last – choose the Makita M9205.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 240w | WEIGHT 1.2kg | NOISE 81dB/92dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.8mm | ORBITS/MINUTE 12,000opm
Makita M9204 | Verdict price £60 | Check best price on Amazon
Best Random Orbital Sander [heavy duty]
The Makita BO5031 is the best corded random orbital sander you can buy. Continual use and heavy-duty tasks are made possible by the high power output. Plus, with variable speed control, this sander is perfect for all woodworking applications and decorating jobs.
This sander will make light work in removing multiple coats of paint from a staircase through to fine wood finishing on furniture & toys. Owners agree that the dust bag is reasonably effective, although attaching a vacuum is definitely the best solution for a dust-free working environment.
The sanding discs are attached using a hook and loop abrasive pad. Over time the pad takes an incredible amount of punishment and is often the reason a sander fails. While it’s definitely worth looking after the pad on any sander, what’s interesting is that user experience shows Makita sanders have a good track record – the Makita hook & loop attachment works well over time.
Variable speed coupled with the correct grit paper on this random orbital sander will deliver the right results, every time. Most professionals have made the mistake of removing too much material, at some point. This can be difficult to remedy. It’s far better to start at a slow speed and then adjust up, if necessary.
Sanding is rarely a pleasant job, but with the Makita BO5031/2, you will get the job done quickly, effectively and have a professional finish to admire.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 300w | WEIGHT 1.3kg | NOISE 80dB/na | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.8mm | ORBITS/MINUTE 4000 -12,000opm
Makita BO5031/2 | Verdict price £105 | Check best price on Amazon
Ryobi R18ROS-0 18V ONE+
Budget Cordless Random Orbital Sander
This cordless sander is perfect for small to medium-sized tasks such as finishing and paint removal.
All Ryobi tools work with an interchangeable ONE+ battery, which means you can use the same charger and batteries for multiple power tools – saving a small fortune. All battery tools offer convenience but particularly with a sander, not being tied with a cord is liberating!
Owners rate this power sander too. The padded top reduces vibrations and the dust collection is good. Plus, you can attach a vacuum to minimise dust further.
In terms of battery choice, if you want a lighter unit go for a couple of small batteries (charge one while using the other) or alternatively go for a 5Ah battery which will give you around 50 minutes.
Great for DIY, this sander is effective and easy to use – forget sanding by hand.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 18v | WEIGHT 1.1kg | NOISE 95dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.5mm
Ryobi | Verdict price £60 | Check best price on Amazon
[Buy battery & charger separately]
Best Cordless Random Orbital Sander
The best cordless random orbital sander is the Makita DBO180Z. There’s every reason to go cordless and this model from Makita is effective and has an excellent specification. Plus, it’s highly rated by owners.
Are Cordless Sanders Good?
Sanders are not particularly power-hungry, so a decent-sized battery will hold its charge and give you plenty of time to get the job done. However, it’s the convenience and freedom of cutting the cord that justifies the extra cash.
This sander is lighter than most corded models until you add the battery. Use smaller batteries if you’re after a lightweight sander (good if you’re using the device on a wall or upside down on a ceiling). Alternatively, a bigger battery will last longer.
In terms of controls, there are two push buttons. One to switch the device on and the second to adjust the speed. There are three settings – slow for polishing, medium for fine finishing and high for regular sanding. The dust bag, as with the majority of sanders is ok. But for efficient dust removal, plug in a vacuum.
Cut the Cord
If you already have Makita batteries, buying this model is a no brainer. If you don’t currently have any cordless Makita tools, this is a great place to start. Yes, you’ll need to buy batteries in addition to the device but you’ll be choosing a great random orbital sander from an excellent brand. Plus, you will have interchangeable batteries for your next power tool purchase.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 18v | WEIGHT 1.4kg-1.7kg | NOISE 77dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.8mm | ORBITS/MINUTE 7000/9000/11000opm
Makita DBO180Z | Verdict price £95 | Check best price on Amazon
[Buy battery & charger separately]
Click to See The Complete Guide to Batteries & Chargers
What Else Do I Need to Know?
How to Use a Random Orbital Sander
- Lighten up! Use your energy to keep the sander moving rather than applying pressure.
- Keep it flat. Avoid tilting the sander on any surface. Just keep it flat & keep it moving.
- Don’t skip sandpaper grades. Especially when working on wood, start with the appropriate grit and work through each grade (see below). You’ll get a better finish, quicker & use less sandpaper.
- Are imperfections not sanding out? It’s probable that the area in question is lower than the surrounding surface. Sand down the surrounding area to level off rather than attempt to press a particular spot.
- Try light pencil scribbles across the surface. This allows you to see where you’ve sanded and areas that you’ve missed.
- Protect Yourself. Use a dust mask and ear protectors.
Choosing the Right Grade sandpaper
A power sander can remove lots of material, quickly. Great, if this is what you want. However, if you’re looking for a fine finish it’s important to choose the right grit sandpaper…
- Coarse 40/60/80
- Initial paint removal from timber
- Pre-sanding of rough sawn beams or boards
- Medium 100/120
- Surface levelling of irregular wood (not veneer)
- Car body paint
- Fine 180/240
- Final finishing prior to painting
The Best Random Orbital Sanders
Best Budget Buy
Bosch PEX 220 | Verdict price £43
See price on Amazon
BEST BUY – CORDED
Makita BO5031/2 | Verdict price £105
See price on Amazon
BEST BUY – CORDLESS
Makita DBO180Z | Verdict price £95
See price on Amazon
Budget or Premium?
Verum recommendations are based on value. We have researched 100s of models to save you time & money. All five models detailed above are stand out options.
The Bosch is affordable and great for occasional DIY. Ryobi has decent credentials for an entry-level cordless sander. However, if you have big plans, intend on using the sander for long durations or want additional control with variable speed go for either of the blue Makita sanders – they won’t let you down.