The best random orbital sander is essential kit for trade & DIY. Easy to use & highly effective, the right model removes material quickly, with no swirl marks. Perfect for decorators and woodworkers alike. A random orbital sander is the right choice for anyone who doesn’t like sanding by hand and wants to get the job done quickly and professionally.
Which type of sander is best?
Standard orbital sanders work by spinning a sanding disk at speed. Unfortunately, this action leaves swirl marks making it near impossible to get a smooth flat finish, on any surface.
Detail sanders vibrate – good for a fine finish, but slow. A random orbital sander offers the best of both worlds, by combining the two motions. You’ll get the job done quickly and without the risk of swirls, to give a fine finish.
What’s important when choosing a random orbital sander?
Effective material removal for a flat, smooth finish is the primary function. Other important factors when selecting the best random orbital sander are power, weight, durability, speed control, noise and comfort of use.
As with all power tools, it’s easy to spend big on amazing kit. But that doesn’t necessarily get you a better sander. Fortunately, we’ve identified a great budget option – perfect for the occasional project. Plus, more powerful professional sanders for serious DIY & trade.
What’s a random orbital sander used for?
Whatever your next project, a decent power sander is a great investment. If you’re decorating, the best random orbital sander will make light work of numerous different tasks. Preparing doors, skirting and any painted surfaces, is painless with the right sander. Plus, professional wall repairs are quick & easy – no more bumps!
Verum compares 100s of sanders. We assess owner views, crunch data & scrutinise specifications to shortlist the best random orbital sanders available to buy, right now…
Best budget random orbital sander:
The Makita M9204 is a reliable random orbital sander, that’s highly rated by its owners. The Makita brand has a strong trade association with excellent quality and durability credentials. This sander is part of the MT range that’s designed to satisfy professional requirements without the price tag.
Effective & Easy to Use Sander
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’s powerful – the 12000 orbits per minute will get the job done.
In terms of cost, this model’s low price makes it comparable to standard orbital sanders. However, what’s important here is that the disc not only spins, it also vibrates. This sander is easy to use. No scuff marks and a professional finish, are standard. The low price does mean no speed control. Low speeds can be useful when you don’t want to remove too much material. This is especially the case if you’re sanding a veneered surface or using on plaster. However, you can yield the same results using finer sandpaper and less pressure. The Makita M9204 does have numerous features, usually only associated with more expensive models.
Dust free sanding and safety features
There’s an effective built-in dust collection system. Plus, for larger jobs, you can work dust-free by collecting it to a vacuum cleaner. As with all sanders, it’s noisy. 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, buy the Makita M9205.
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:
The Makita B5031 is the best random orbital sander you can buy for trade or DIY. Its powerful motor is suitable for continual use and heavy-duty applications. Plus, with variable speed control, this sander is perfect for woodworking applications and numerous decorating jobs.
Owners rate this sander. Perfect for multiple tasks, it’s described as excellent for removing multiple coats of paint from a staircase through to fine wood finishing on furniture & toys. Most agree that the dust bag is effective when compared to other brands, although attaching a vacuum is definitely the best solution for a dust-free working environment.
A sander that’s built to last
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.
Complete control for the right finish
Variable speed coupled with the right 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 and have a professional finish to admire.
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
Best cordless random orbital sander:
The Makita DBO180Z is the best cordless sander you can buy. There’s every reason to opt for a cordless sander. And this model from Matika is effective, comes with a decent specification and it’s highly rated by owners.
Are Cordless Sanders any good?
Power sanders are not overly power-hungry, so a decent battery will hold its charge and give you plenty of time to get the job finished. That said, a flat battery always seems to come at the worst time – Compatible batteries are the answer. Simply pop one on charge, while you use the other. Choose this sander and the batteries (not included in the price below) will also fit the majority (but not all) of Makita power tools.
Makita Sander Specification
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 at an angle 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 here, 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.
Now’s a great time to go cordless
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 the batteries, ready to go, for your next power tool purchase.
POWER 190w | WEIGHT 1.4kg-1.7kg | NOISE 77dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.8mm | ORBITS/MINUTE 7000/9000/11000opm
Makita DBO180Z | Verdict price £110 | Check best price on Amazon
Four Tips for perfect sanding results:
- 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 grades. Especially when working on wood, start with the appropriate grit and work through each grade. You’ll get a better finish & use less sandpaper.
- Use light pencil scribbles across the surface. This allows you to see where you’ve sanded and areas that you’ve missed. Remember – if you’re sanding over an area and not removing the marks, it means that particular spot is lower. The surrounding area needs to be sanded to match the lower level (not the other way around!)
Choosing the right grade sandpaper
A random orbital 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 use 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
Makita M9204 | Verdict price £60
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Makita BO5031/2 | Verdict price £105
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Best Buy – Cordless
Makita DBO180Z | Verdict price £110
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Buy now & get the job done
Verum recommendations are based on value. We research 100s of models, saving you time & money. The top 3 random orbital sanders detailed above represent the best kit available to buy, today.
The red Makita is a great budget buy. Or if you have big plans and don’t mind the cable choose the Makita BO5031/2. It’s an excellent sander, that’s powerful and comes with speed control – it won’t let you down.
Then there’s the cordless model. This is an easy choice if you already have Makita batteries. If not, as all your power tools go cordless, it’s a good investment for the future.