A random orbital sander is the first choice power tool for most sanding jobs. Easy to use, it removes material quickly and evenly, leaving no swirl marks.
Nobody likes sanding by hand. For woodwork, furniture upcycling and decorating, a random orbital sander means professional results in less time. If you’re decorating, it’s perfect for smoothing walls & doors, prior to painting. Plus, it can also be used for polishing.
The right preparation is essential for a professional finish. Most power sanders leave swirl marks or worse. However, a random orbital sander works differently. It gives a fine finish with no swirl marks – zero fuss.
What is a Random Orbital Sander?
A random orbital sander removes material by spinning the sanding disk while simultaneously oscillating it in small ellipses. This random pattern gives you three benefits over other types of power sanders…
- Fast – The rotating disc means rapid material removal (should you desire)
- Professional Finish – The random pattern means no swirl marks
- Easy to Use – No need to sand in the direction of the grain
Best Random Orbital Sander 2023
We’ve compared 64 power sanders to shortlist the UK’s Top 6 random orbital sanders. To help you avoid the duds and buy the right model, we’ve scrutinised specifications, listened to experts and cross-referenced the views of real-world users.
Here are the best random orbital sanders available to buy in the UK, right now…
Bosch PEX 220A Review
£52 | Buy Now from Amazon
The Bosch PEX 220A is an excellent and affordable random orbital sander. Perfect for DIY jobs.
This model from Bosch has a good specification and the right detail to justify a 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 and painted 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.
SPECIFICATION: POWER: 220w | WEIGHT: 1.2kg | NOISE: 77dB | PAPER DIA: 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER: 2.5mm | ORBITS/MINUTE: 12,000opm
Effective and easy to use, this Bosch random orbital sander is a great choice for around fifty quid.
Makita M9204 Review
£57 | Buy Now from Amazon
The Makita M9204 is highly rated by 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 decent choice. It has a couple of key benefits over the Bosch (detailed above).
More power means you can get the job done faster. Plus, in addition to the standard dust collection system, this model can also be attached to a vacuum for low dust sanding.
A small negative is the lack of padding to reduce vibrations, although you can wear decent gloves to counter this.
For safety, the sanding disk has a brake. This means when you turn the sander off, the disk stops spinning quickly.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 240w | WEIGHT 1.2kg | NOISE 92dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.8mm | ORBITS/MINUTE 12,000opm
If you want an affordable trade sander that gives great results – choose this model from Makita.
Makita BO5031 Review
£112 | Buy Now from Amazon
The Makita BO5031 is the best corded random orbital sander you can buy.
High power output, makes continual use doable and heavy-duty tasks easier. Plus, variable speed control means this sander is perfect for all woodworking applications, decorating jobs and polishing.
It makes light work of 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. While it’s definitely worth looking after the pad on any sander, what’s good to know is that real-world experience tells us that Makita sanders have a good track record – the Makita hook & loop attachment works well over time.
Variable speed makes it easy to get great 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.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 300w | WEIGHT 1.3kg | NOISE 80dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.8mm | ORBITS/MINUTE 4000 -12,000opm
Sanding is rarely a pleasant job, but with the Makita BO5031, you will get the job done quickly and effectively.
Ryobi R18ROS-0 Review
£71 | Buy Now from Amazon
This cordless sander is great for small to medium-sized DIY tasks.
All Ryobi tools work with an interchangeable ONE+ battery, which means you can use the same charger and batteries for multiple power tools – potentially 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 of run time.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 18v | WEIGHT 1.1kg | NOISE 95dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.5mm
Forget sanding by hand – this Ryobi sander is effective and easy to use
Makita DBO180Z Review
£83 | Buy Now from Amazon
The Makita DBO180Z is an excellent cordless random orbital sander. The specification is top-notch and it’s highly rated by owners.
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 (with battery) is a little heavier than top-end corded models. However, the extra weight is a small negative compared to being tethered by a cord. Use a small battery if you’d prefer a lightweight sander. 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 is ok, but for efficient dust removal, connect a vacuum.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 18v | WEIGHT 1.4kg-1.7kg | NOISE 77dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.8mm | ORBITS/MINUTE 7000/9000/11000opm
If you already own Makita batteries, choosing this model is a no-brainer.
Dewalt DCW210 Review
£156 | Buy Now from Amazon
The Dewalt DCW210 is a superb cordless random orbital sander. Powered by a brushless motor, this sander will keep going when others fail.
Why Choose a Sander with a Brushless Motor?
A brushless motor is more efficient, wears less, generates less heat and will keep going for much longer, on a single charge. Offset the initial cost against the superior lifespan & choosing this Dewalt will save you money over time.
In terms of usability, it’s lightweight and portable. Plus, the padded top helps reduce vibrations. For control, the variable speed means that it’s a perfect match for every surface and finish.
The brushless motor gives this model a clear advantage over lesser specifications. Powerful & effective with durability & longevity.
SPECIFICATION: POWER 18v | WEIGHT 0.93kg | NOISE 85dB | PAPER DIA 125mm | ORBIT DIAMETER 2.6mm | ORBITS/MINUTE 8000 – 12,000opm
This Dewalt random orbital sander is nothing short of outstanding. It’s the top choice for trade and DIYers who want the very best kit.
How To Choose The Right Model
Rapid material removal coupled with a smooth and even finish is the primary requirement when choosing the best random orbital sander. In addition to this, we consider 7 key factors ahead of a recommendation – power, weight, durability, speed, noise, dust control 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.
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
Corded or Cordless Sander?
In terms of power, decent cordless tools in 2023 are a match for the corded equivalent. Loyal Verum Verdicts readers will be familiar with our consistent recommendation to go cordless & to use the same batteries across all your power tools. In most cases, this works out cheaper, over time.
There are three advantages to attaching a vacuum. You’ll benefit from a dust-free environment, the device will work better & there’s less cleaning up. The downside of attaching a vacuum is there’s less benefit from going cordless.
If you already own Makita, Ryobi or Dewalt batteries there’s every reason to choose the same brand cordless model.
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All six random orbital sanders, detailed above, stand out within their price class. If you’re thinking of occasional DIY, the Bosch at around fifty quid is the best option. Spend more for cordless convenience with the Ryobi.
For out-of-the-box power, the corded Makita is the best option for under £100.
However, the overall Best Buy is the Dewalt DCW210 – The brushless motor gives it the edge in terms of performance, durability and lifespan. It costs a few quid more, but this is the best random orbital sander in the UK.
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