Random Orbital Buying Guide
Some random orbital sanders include dust bags that catch some of the wood dust produced while sanding. Others include dust collection accessories that can be linked to a regular wet/dry vacuum hose. These dust collecting systems will not eliminate every speck of dust (you should always wear a dust mask when sanding), but they will considerably reduce it, so they’re helpful options to consider, especially if you’ll be sanding indoors.
Random orbital sanders are powered by one of three methods: rechargeable batteries, electrical cords, or compressed air (pneumatic). Each option has advantages.
Corded: Corded sanders are always ready to use because there is no battery to recharge, as long as there is an electrical outlet nearby. Connect your corded random orbital sander and begin working.
Cordless: Cordless sanders are helpful when working far from a power source, such as when you’re building a treehouse for the kids and doan’t have an extension cord long enough to reach. The run time of a cordless sander, on the other hand, is limited by the battery (usually 30-45 mins on a single charge). The majority of users have a spare battery on hand.
Pneumatic: Pneumatic sanders, powered by compressed air, are an excellent alternative for the woodworker who has a central air compressor to power various air tools. However, small, pancake-style air compressors are not always powerful enough to run a sander without frequent breaks to recharge with air. Use your pneumatic sander with an air compressor that can produce an air volume of 40 cubic feet per minute (CFM) or greater for the best results.
Random orbital sanders produce an aggressive sanding motion that can sand away a lot of your workpiece if you’re not careful. That’s why it’s important to choose a tool with a variable speed setting. The general rule is the wider the range of speed, the better as this gives you more control when it comes to sanding.
The Right Type of Handle
Most random orbit sanders have a palm grip design. This allows you to grasp the top handle located directly on top of the pad and fully control the direction of the tool.
This design, on the whole, is ergonomic and keeps hand fatigue at a minimum. The problem is that some models have a bigger palm grip compared to others, making them difficult to grasp for people with smaller hands.
Palm sanders are ideal for smaller projects thanks to their compact and lightweight bodies. Apart from the palm grip, you can also hold them around the neck for greater control.
If you want greater control and a more secure grip, then check out random orbital sanders with D-handles. Some models even have the trigger switch located right below the handle for a more convenient operation.
If you want to reduce hand and arm fatigue while maintaining a firm grip on your tool, then check if the model has an auxiliary handle. A random orbital sander with an auxiliary handle is more convenient, and you can be assured that you can apply just the right amount of pressure to the tool while working.
It is also easier to use the tool vertically or overhead when it has an auxiliary handle. Some units have built-in auxiliary handles, while others have auxiliary handles that can be adjusted and removed when necessary.
Choose a 6-inch random orbital sander if you want to take on larger projects as it covers more area. But if you’re a hobbyist who tackles smaller projects or you want something lighter and budget-friendly, then go for 5-inch random orbital sanders.
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