Best Orbital Sanders for Fast and Easy Sanding in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update December 1, 2017
Do you need to sand a wooden workpiece? Or polish a painted metal surface? No doubt, any handyman needs a special tool for these tasks and this tool is called an orbital sander. Below, we have selected the 5 top rated orbital sanders to help you choose the best helper for a variety of your DIY activities! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Sanding speed
Oscillating Circuit
Motor amperage
Disc size
Conveniences
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

Two orbit settings easily switched at a push of a button will let you reduce or increase abrasive disc vibrations to achieve the desired sanding result.

CONS

The tool is a bit heavy.

OUR VERDICT

A heavy-duty random orbital sander from a renowned DeWalt brand stands out with a dependable design and consistently high performance. Featuring a low sanding speed range, it's a great tool for quick and efficient primary sanding and material removal. In addition, thanks to a large 150 mm sanding disc, you'll polish the surface or a workpiece more quickly.

detailed parameters
Type

Palm grip

Sanding speed

4000-10000 opm

Oscillating Circuit

3mm and 6 mm

Motor amperage

250W

Disc size

150 mm

Conveniences

Two orbit size settings, Variable speed for heat-sensitive sanding, polishing, and superior finishing, Hook and loop paper for fast changes, Dust-sealed switch and bearings

Weight

2.7 kg

Warranty

1 year, 3 years (if registered)

PROS

The dust collection bag is made of strong and durable fabric that securely holds the dust and chips inside without adding too much weight to the whole construction.

CONS

The operation might seem noisy. 

OUR VERDICT

Distinguished by a wide range of variable sanding speeds, the Makita orbital sander will perform great on any type of surface and come in handy for a variety of tasks, be it sanding plywood, wood, or polishing metal. In addition, a double insulation option will keep you securely protected from an electric shock due to the tool's wiring break.

detailed parameters
Type

Palm grip

Sanding speed

4000 - 12000 opm 

Oscillating Circuit

2.8 mm

Motor amperage

300W

Disc size

125 mm

Conveniences

Constant speed under load, Double Insulation, Built-in dust collection system, Hook and loop type abrasive paper, Variable electronic speed control

Weight

1.3 kg

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Weighing only 1.2 kg, the Bosch orbital sander is one of the most lightweight models in its class. Such design enhances the tool's portability and will let you conveniently use it not only on horizontal but also with vertical surfaces, and even on ceilings.

CONS

Non-variable sanding speed. 

OUR VERDICT

An impressively high sanding speed along with a pretty small oscillating circle makes this model a real find for finish sanding, polishing and grinding of wood, metal, plexiglass, plastic, and other materials. It's a really good and functional beginner tool for any handyman and DIYer.

detailed parameters
Type

Palm grip

Sanding speed

24000 opm 

Oscillating Circuit

1.25 mm

Motor amperage

220W

Disc size

125 mm

Conveniences

Excellent material removal rate, Low fatigue working, Dust collection, Ergonomic Design

Weight

1.2 kg

Warranty

2 years, 3 years (if registered)

PROS

Fitted with an easy-to-remove duct tape, this model can be connected to a vacuum cleaner hose for long-lasting mess-free operation. Besides, the Turbo Boost switch will let you achieve a professional finish.

CONS

The model is more suitable for primary finishing.

OUR VERDICT

Using an orbital sander from Metabo, you'll be able to sand large surfaces and perform a number of sanding tasks in the shortest possible time, thanks to a pretty high variable sanding speed and large oscillating circle. This model will be of great use in small workshops where a precise finish sanding isn't necessarily required.

detailed parameters
Type

Palm grip

Sanding speed

4200 - 11000 opm 

Oscillating Circuit

5 mm

Motor amperage

160W

Disc size

125 mm

Conveniences

Variospeed (V) Electronics, Thumbwheel for speed preselection, Turbo boost, Power control system, Dust-proof ball bearings, Sturdy aluminium die-cast bearing housing

Weight

2.3 kg

Warranty

1 year, 3 years (if registered)

PROS

This model is remarkably convenient thanks to a combined plug on the power cord. A 3-pin G type plug designed for UK can be easily converted to a 2-pin C type plug fitting EU standards.

CONS

The lowest speed can still prove to be too fast for certain kinds of works.

OUR VERDICT

Fitted with a 430W electric motor and distinguished by a wide speed range, this model is a true powerhouse of orbital sanders. It will efficiently remove rust and paint from all kinds of surfaces and become a handy helper for those engaged in remodelling, framing, and other types of repair works. And all of this is offered at a fraction of the cost of models from more popular brands.

detailed parameters
Type

Palm grip

Sanding speed

6000 - 13000 opm 

Oscillating Circuit

Not specified 

Motor amperage

430W (input)

Disc size

125 mm

Conveniences

Quick-change hook and loop base, Dust extraction port and detachable dust bag, On/off trigger switch and lock-on button, Vibration-reducing main and front handles with soft grips, Includes 5 sanding sheets and a dust bag

Weight

2.18 kg

Warranty

3 years 

What Is an Orbital Sander?

Thanks to advanced technologies, modern power tools make the life of an experienced worker or do-it-yourselfer much easier. Hence, if you are passionate about woodworking, need to mend some furniture or polish the surface of your car, an orbital sander is just the right tool to opt for. By using a sending blade and delivering orbit action, this compact handheld power tool will make your sanding jobs as fast and easy as never before.

Modern orbital sanders are offered in sheet or random sanding designs. Sheet models usually come with a rectangular or square base plate that moves only in one direction and are good for getting into corners and edges. Yet, they can cause tiny grooves and scratches. A random orbital sander features a sanding disc and combines a circular and back-and-forth motion for the smoothest results. Such mode of operation allows minimising sanding marks on the surface and makes the unit suitable for both finishing surfaces and removing rubs. As compared to the sheet versions, it’s a much more versatile tool ideal for a variety of applications. In our review, we’ve settled on random orbital sanders fitting for both professional and home use. It will guide you through a vast range of brands and models available on the market and help you select the best random orbital sander for your needs.

High-quality tools are essential for carpentry and no carpenter's arsenal is complete without a good heavy-duty jigsaw for straight, bevel, and curved cuts and a powerful cordless drill for a hassle-free furniture assembly.

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Best Orbital Sanders

What Features to Compare

Type

The key aspect in selecting a random orbital sander is to consider what you are going to use it for and decide which type you need. The most common are palm grip models that are easy to operate with only one hand. They are perfect for any kind of minor sanding, allowing smooth and quick finishing. Right-angle random orbital sanders usually have higher capacity (bevel gears transmit the motor power to the driveshaft). In spite of a lower OPM rate, they allow efficient and swift heavy-duty sanding. What is more, right-angle models maintain their speed even if you apply some pressure in order to remove paint or glue residues without damaging the surface. If you often have to tackle big sanding projects, a larger inline sander will be of great use. Providing a variable speed and featuring the most powerful motor for this kind of device, it is almost a commercial-grade tool.

Efficiency

Efficiency is an essential characteristic to consider if you want to get a functional power tool that will deliver best quality results within the shortest periods of time. The first feature that affects performance and overload protection is an electric motor amperage that greatly depends on the power source. Thus corded models tend to be much more powerful than cordless ones. The next important aspect to consider is a sanding speed. The more orbits per minute (OPM) your sander generates, the faster you can work, while lower speeds allow for more precise and accurate tool control needed for fine finishing jobs. As for the disc size, the larger grit disk you use, the faster you can sand/polish the surface. On the other hand, a smaller diameter ensures more efficient edge finishing.

Extras

A variable speed control will help you get the maximum out of your best random orbital sander ensuring flawless consistent operation on any kind of surface. There are models fitted with a dust bag to collect dust and chips for mess-free sanding. Some manufacturers complete the package with a tool case for convenient tool storage and transportation along with its accessories.

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DEWALT D26410

Heavy-Duty Champion

Dewalt is one of the indisputable leaders in the field of appliances and power tools for both indoor and outdoor use. The manufacturer produces a whole range of hammers, planers, shears, joiners, saws, screwdrivers, screw guns, impact drivers, grinders, sanders, and other related tools, with all its products standing out in terms of quality of materials, well-thought design, and impressively high performance. The Dewalt D26410 orbital sander is not an exception to this rule.

The tool comes packed in a strong and impact-resistant body made from plastic and stainless steel and features a powerful 250W motor delivering enough force for tackling a variety of finishing tasks. Distinguished by a controlled finishing system, this model offers a variable speed option allowing you to select the pad speed from 4000 to 10000 OPM to align the tool operation with the job at hand and minimise gouges during start-ups. In addition, there are two orbit size settings including a smaller 3 mm orbit for fine finishing and large 6 mm orbit for quick and efficient material removal.

While most home-grade models are fitted with 125 mm sanding discs, the Dewalt has a large 150 mm disc suitable for commercial use. The only thing that can be regarded as a minor drawback is a pretty heavy weight of this model compared to other power tools in its class. Yet, for the Dewalt D26410, it is more of a benefit than a disadvantage. A heavy-duty construction not only prolongs the tool's service life and ensures consistent operation but, paired with a large sanding disc, it also makes this model a premium tool for tough jobs such as rough primary sanding and paint or varnish removal.

By choosing Dewalt, you can rest assured you’ll get a dependable tool that will never fail to cater to all of your needs.

Review of DEWALT D26410

A Handy Helper

Always prioritising high-end performance and operation consistency, Dewalt also takes great every care of the user convenience and comfort.

Ergonomically designed, the tool features both a pistol type handle with a rubberized insert for non-slip grip and a helpful knob handle in front to add convenience when you need a two-hand grip for better operational control and fatigue-free work. An integral dust collection system with a fabric or dust bag resting on a support tray will remove the dust from the surface providing a clean working environment and preventing sanding disc clogging. On top of that, a dust-sealed switch and bearing will further prolong the tool's service life. Once the sandpaper wears out, you can hook and loop a new sheet included in the package to a sanding disc without any hassle and proceed with your work.

As powerful and functional as it is, the Dewalt D26410 random orbital sander is super simple to control and very easy to use giving you an opportunity to work in comfort.

DEWALT D26410 in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


DEWALT D26410
DEWALT D26410
 

Makita BO5031/2

Light Tool for Heavy Jobs

Sanding can take time and a decent amount of effort. When you have a lot of sending tasks coming up in a sequence or you're working on a large woodwork project, a lightweight tool powerful enough to get the job done will be a real lifesaver. And if you seek functional versatility and compactness, there is hardly anything that can beat Makita. Known for their craving for innovations in the field of technologies, the manufacturer always offers a great combo of a well-balanced user-friendly design and stunning performance. This is exactly what the Makita BO5031/2 random orbit sander is all about. The tool boasts a lightweight ergonomic design and comes loaded with practical functions and handy features expanding its applicability and enhancing its performance.

The sander weighs only 1.3 kg which makes it perfect for long-lasting operation, minimising hand and arm fatigue. Besides, it is compact enough to get into those hard-to-reach areas and places. Yet, do not let the small size fool you. A powerful 300W motor delivers the speed up to 12000 OPM suitable for fast and smooth sanding while a variable speed control enables flawless finish. Once you select the speed, the motor will ensure constant power during the whole period of work. All of this will let you use the Makita orbital sander for the whole range of sanding activities, from old coating removal to fine finishing.

In terms of design, this model is a very convenient tool. It features an ergonomically shaped housing with a palm grip handle for a perfect balance during use and non-slip surface for optimal handling. The dust collection system ensures high suction through the base plate and immediately removes the dust leaving the surface neat and tidy. A dust bag features a wider opening for quick and easy dust disposal. A velcro closure on a sanding disc allows for convenient sandpaper change.

Lightweight yet powerful, the Makita sander will be a worthy addition to the tool arsenal of any handyman and professional woodworker.

Review of Makita BO5031/2

The Benefit of Double Insulation

Since power tools are driven by electric motors, safety is one of the key features and all manufacturers are trying to provide the maximum level of protection securely sealing and insulating wires, power cords, and the tool housing to prevent electric shock. The Makita random orbital sander boasts a double insulation meeting the current OSHA standards. Featuring plastic housing, it also has an insulating material between its electrical parts and the outside housing you come in contact with. If you prioritise safety when it comes to any type of work, Makita is the most logical choice.

Makita BO5031/2 in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Makita BO5031/2
Makita BO5031/2
 

Bosch PEX 220

Need for Speed

Rough sanding and fine finishing require different disc rotation speed in order to achieve great results. Finish sanding should be done at fairly high speeds by using 180 to 220 sandpaper grits. While many orbital sanders come with a variable speed range, not all of them can generate high enough speed to achieve ideally smooth final finish or quickly remove thin layers of a top material. Unlike those models, the PEX 220A orbital sander from Bosch generates a truly impressive speed of 24000 OPM ensuring exceptionally high material removal rate. Though it’s a single speed the machine operates at, this is what makes this model one of the top-rated orbital sanders for superfine finish sanding.

Along with a remarkably high speed, the Bosch sander is distinguished by an extremely lightweight design. With the weight of 1.2 kg, the tool is a real find for fatigue-free overhead works when you need to flush drywall joints, seams, and screw holes or sand the ceiling for refinishing. A compact size along with a palm grip design ensures easy one-hand operation allowing you to get into tight spots and tricky areas where bulkier models with additional handles will fail as well as to follow curved surfaces such as cars and boats. Despite its size, this small orbital sander is equipped with a 125 mm pad that will let you sand both relatively small workpieces and pretty large surfaces and quickly rip off even some of the hardest materials from wood and metal when used with a coarse sandpaper.

One more benefit of this model is its exceptionally efficient dust collection system. Like other tools of its class, the PEX 220A is fitted with a built-in dust extraction element that collects dust and feeds it into a dust container. Unlike dust bags, dust container has an embedded microfiltration system developed by Bosch that quickly captures and securely holds dust and fine chips releasing no single particle into the air. As a result, you’ll have a clean workplace and clean air around your working area.

Everyone who is engaged in woodworking, car remodelling, carpentry, or furniture refinishing will appreciate all the values of the Bosch sander for fine finishing.

Review of Bosch PEX 220

Expand the Functionality of Your Tool

Bosch offers a whole range of accessories that can expand the functionality of your PEX 220A orbital sander far beyond finish sanding.

By choosing different sanding sheets, you’ll be able to use your tool for a wide variety of materials, including paints, varnishes, fillers, natural wood and veneers, metals, and rust. An assortment of sponges for high-gloss polishing and a set of pre-polishing felts will convert the sander into a perfect multi-purpose polisher. Besides, you can use lambswool bonnets to remove dry polish residues without scratching or damaging the surface.

Bosch PEX 220 in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Bosch PEX 220
Bosch PEX 220
 

Metabo MPTSXE425

Enjoy Professional Grade Sanding Quality

At the first glance, the Metabo SXE 425 orbital sander will leave an impression of a robust dependable tool that you can trust and that will faithfully serve you for years. And there's a good reason for that. Designed and manufactured in Germany, this machine is distinguished by the renowned German quality and reliable performance.

Speaking of design, the tool was undoubtedly created with the user comfort in mind and was certainly built to last. The whole construction packed in a sturdy shock-proof plastic housing looks very strong and wear-resistant. A dust-proof ball bearing and a durable aluminium die-cast bearing housing add to the overall durability of the tool and prolong its service life. A sleek gun-type handle with a rubber lining provides a secure non-slip grip for convenient one-hand operation. In addition, you can use a palm-grip handle on the top and a special handle in front to get better control over the tool needed for certain kinds of jobs. Like most other orbital sanders, the Metabo SXE 425 comes complete with an integral dust extraction system quickly sucking up dust and chips through the holes on the disc pad. However, instead of a paper or fabric dust bag, the tool features a solid dust filter unit that is not only easier to clean but also much more efficient when it comes to dust containment. Besides, this model allows connection to a vacuum cleaner hose for mess-free long-lasting operation.

Convenient and easy to use, the Metabo orbital sander is a powerful tool offering professional-grade performance. The machine can work at a range of customised speeds from 4000 to 13000 OPM to suit different materials. Moreover, there is a Turbo Boost function that allows engaging additional power reserves for maximum material removal to get a professional finish. Depending on the abrasive grade applied, the tool might sand rather aggressively rivalling a belt sander or it can provide fine smooth finish close to that delivered by finishing sanders. Whatever your sanding task is, the Metabo will ensure a professional quality finish.

Review of Metabo MPTSXE425

Backed up by Extensive Experience

Though Metabo is not that popular of a brand compared to Bosch or Dewalt, it is in no way inferior to those top sellers. The company was established almost a century ago with the invention of the first hand-held drill. In the next 20 years, the company has developed and released the first heavy-duty electric drill and was the first to launch a serial production of impact drills. The company engineers are in constant search for innovations and smart solutions to keep up with the times. Since 1923, the manufacturer has introduced a number of advanced technologies that have brought power tools to a completely new level. Today, the company owns about 700 patents and registered unique designs. Creating its products with a high-grade quality in mind, Metabo became a true pioneer in the world of power tools known for repair and finishing works.

When you choose Metabo, you always get a powerful tool designed by professionals for professionals.

Metabo MPTSXE425 in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Metabo MPTSXE425
Metabo MPTSXE425
 

Silverline 125563 Silverstorm

Incredible Power at an Affordable Price

When novice woodworkers or beginning handymen choose key power tools to complete their tool arsenal, they usually tend to start their search from the most popular brands and consider a higher price to be an indicator of top quality. Yet, this is not always the case and the Silverstorm 125563 random orbit sander from Silverline proves exactly the opposite. At a reasonable price, this model offers the features and functionality you’d expect from the most premium models and then some on top of that.

Featuring a sturdy and durable construction with an ergonomic non-slip pistol-grip handle, a handy palm-grip handle, and an auxiliary front handle for both one-hand and two-hand operation, the Silverstorm meets all high-quality standards and requirements in terms of design. However, unlike in many market leaders, an additional handle in this tool is fitted with a locking clamp that makes it fully adjustable for a variety of working angles. Hence, it gives you the benefit of an extra support for fatigue-free operation and will let you get into some of the more tricky areas as a more compact palm grip mini orbital sander. In addition, there is a lock-on switch on the trigger to further enhance comfort and improve control over the tool operation. Similarly to more expensive brands, the Silverstorm is compatible with 125 mm sanding discs and has a dust extraction port with a dust bag to remove all the dust and debris from the working area and sanding sheet.

When it comes to performance, like any other random orbital sander, the Silverline sanding machine combines spinning and eclipse movement to deliver a smooth fine finish. And there is one thing in which this affordable sander excels. It’s an electric motor delivering an immense power of 430 Watts. Paired with a variable speed range from 6000 OPM to 13000 OPM, it allows achieving consistently clean finish without any swirls, lines or marks. Meanwhile, the tool’s weight of 2.3 kg provides just enough pressure on the workpiece with minimum user effort.

To sum it up, the Silverline orbital sander is a great alternative for those who are on the budget and need a powerful solution for material removal and surface preparation.

Review of Silverline 125563 Silverstorm

Choose the Right Abrasive for Your Job

With a good orbital sander at hand, the next thing that considerably affects the project outcome is the quality of the sanding sheet.

A sanding sheet is a piece of backing material (commonly fabric or paper) with abrasive minerals attached to it with glue or resin. In terms of type, there are closed-coat and open coat sanding sheets. For closed-coat sheets, the abrasive material covers 100% of their surface while open-coat sheets' exterior is covered only for about 50 to 70%. The close-coat type is great for fine finishing and hard materials while open-coat sheets work better for coarse sanding and soft materials.

As for the top abrasive material, you can choose between garnet, silicon carbide, aluminium oxide, and zirconia alumina, each going for different sanding chores. The most widely used material is aluminium oxide which comes in a full range of grist and is the best option for smoothing flat or contoured surfaces, metal welds, fast stock removal, and clear finishes. Silicone carbide will help you sand plastic, glass, ceramic, and nonferrous metals. Garnet is used for light-duty sanding and zirconia alumina is good for medium metal removal and weld smoothing.

Whether you need to rip off paint, remove rust, abrade wood or polish away imperfections, select the appropriate abrasive to get the best finish results.

Silverline 125563 Silverstorm in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Silverline 125563 Silverstorm
Silverline 125563 Silverstorm
 

Sanding Tips

Wood Sanding Techniques for Beginners.

One of the major skills any novice woodworker is longing to master is wood sanding since this effort-taking process is crucial for the final quality of a woodworking project. As we’ve mentioned above, the easiest way is to use a power sander, and if you’ve already picked one from our best orbital sander review, now you can proceed with these helpful tips on sanding techniques and some secrets you might not know about sending. For your convenience, we’ve thoroughly reviewed and structured the most important information below.

A vital thing to remember is why we sand. And there are 4 major reasons we sand wood:

  1. To erase machine marks from the wood.

  2. To smooth the wood over.

  3. To level the wood surface, especially if we’ve got two boards glued together.

  4. To give the wood a “tooth” for a secure bond with a coating we put on it.

Next, you should select the right sanding paper for the material you are going to work with. Most experts know that there are all sorts of sanding grits that go for different sanding tasks and materials and to get a high-quality finish, it’s essential to pick an appropriate sanding grit.

  1. For the natural wood, you’d better start with P60 grit in order to proverbially "sand the sequence maximum" up to P180 with each of the grits erasing and smoothing the previous one to get the best finish.

  2. For breaking an edge, you can go for P220. When we are sanding, we typically have a flat area with pretty sharp edges but the other thing you’ll have to sand is the very corner of the board or a workpiece if you plan to cover it with some sort of coating. Hence, breaking an edge is sanding over the corner and rounding the edge to leave the place for the stain, dye or top-coat material to grab onto the surface.

  3. For plywoods and veneers, it’s recommended using only P220 grit to avoid over sanding. You’ll never be levelling plywood or veneer and you can give only a fine top-coat sanding.

  4. Speaking of a “tooth”, this is what you need for your wooden surface to get a perfect paint or varnish coating. If the surface is too fine, the coating material will simply wipe off of it. Sanding the surface with a P150 or P180 sandpaper will provide just the right “tooth” for the material to evenly spread and grab onto the surface.

Enjoy Swirl-Free Sanding.

If you are new to woodworking or even if you're an intermediate tradesman, you’ve surely been in a situation where you have those big swirls in the wood spoiling the final look of your workpiece. Yet, there are simple techniques and several things to abide by if you want your projects coming out absolutely perfect. You won’t need big expensive sanders and a myriad of accessories hitting your budget. You just need four grits of sandpaper, including P80, P120, P150, and P180, and a random orbital sander that can be found almost in any handyman's and DIYer's tool arsenal today.

The key to getting rid of swirls consists of three things. It’s the right speed, appropriate pressure, and strictly going through the grits. Starting with a coarse sanding by using the P80 sandpaper, you should allow each upcoming greed to remove the previous marks out. But before you even start sanding, an important rule to follow between every grit is to clean the top surface of all the dust to prevent sandpaper clogging that will make your work harder. Once the surface is duly prepared and you’ve got all sandpaper grits at hand, it’s all about pressure and speed. Yet, here, you won’t have to apply too much effort. Just let your orbital sander do the job it’s meant to do and put even pressure on it to control and guide the process. Never put the tool on the edge trying to get the spot you’ve missed since you can make even more swirls marks and create grooves. Usually, one-hand control is enough with these power tools. Move the machine slowly and steadily trying to follow the grit. Get some patience, repeat these actions through all sandpaper grits and you’ll get an ideal swirl-free surface ready for further processing.

Get the Hang of Metal Sanding.

If you want to upcycle your metal fence and gates or remodel a vintage car and give it a new shine, you’ll have to strip the layers of the old paint and sand the surface before you apply a new coating. When it comes to sanding metal, manual work goes in no comparison with power sanders. There are several handy tips that can make tough metal sanding task an easy job.

  1. Get the right sandpaper. For metal, you need a closed-coated sandpaper. You can choose between aluminium oxide or silicone sandpapers specifically designed for harder materials.

  2. Thoroughly clean the surface to avoid sanding discs clogging.

  3. The best way to remove the old paint and rust without damaging the metal is to use an orbital sander. It’s not too aggressive, will efficiently strip the old coating and break even the most stubborn rust by consistently moving in circles. Avoid excessive pressure on your sander since it can cause scratches and gouges deformations. The orbital sander will perfectly cope with the job all by itself.

  4. After sanding, make sure to seal the raw metal with a protective anti-corrosive coating.

That’s it! Your metal workpiece or surface is ready for repainting and will serve you for years to come.

FAQ:

Q: Do I really need an orbital sander?
A: Whether you are a professional woodworker, carpenter, furniture maker, or an experienced repairman or just a handyman working on different kinds of projects in a garage workshop, sooner or later, you will have to tackle some sanding tasks. Actually, it’s not the kind of work that everyone enjoys since it’s rather physical and requires a certain amount of skill to get a fine finish. For some tasks, manual sanding with a traditional sandpaper might be enough. Yet, when it comes to larger jobs, you’ll hardly do without a power tool. An orbital sander suitable for both small and large projects and surfaces will definitely add to your tool arsenal and allow achieving much better results than those you would get when sanding by hand.

Q: What are the main types of orbital sanders?
A: Orbital sanders fall into two distinctive types: sheet sanders and random orbital sanders. Both using a sandpaper, they differ in design and applications.

Sheet sanders are designed with a rectangle or a square foot plate allowing you to use a standard sandpaper sheet cut in halves or quarters without the need to get some customized sanding disks. Thanks to the plate shape, these models are perfect for getting into the corners and up against the edges and work great of large flat surfaces. Yet, they do not remove a lot of material and are suitable only for light sanding tasks such as preparing surface's further processing, sanding off hardened wood putty, and breaking down dried coats of paint or varnish.

Random orbital sanders feature a base with a special round sanding disc securely attached by hook-and-loop style fasteners. Yet, the distinguishing difference from a sheet sander is in the action patterns. While sheet sanders move the sanding pad in a back-and-forth circular motion, random orbital sanders also move it in an elliptical pattern greatly reducing swirls and cross-grain marks. Random sanders are more versatile in use and can be applied both to large projects like wooden floor refinish and smaller jobs like cabinetry. They are great both for heavy-duty material removal and lighter finish sanding.

Q: What does the sandpaper grit size mean?
A: The grit size stands for the number of sharp abrasive particles per square centimetre. The smoothest sandpaper features the largest grit size.

Depending on the grit size, there is a variety of sandpaper grades ranging from P40 to P600 meant for various kinds of sanding jobs. Yet, for home works, four abrasive grades will be more than enough to cope with almost any finishing task. Take a coarse P60 paper for stripping old or thick layers of pain. A medium P80 grade works well for removing some minor imperfections from the surfaces. Meanwhile, the P120 sandpaper will be suitable for smooth finishing and P180 is great to sand between the layers to get a perfectly smooth multilayer paint or varnish coating.

Q: Is a variable speed option that important?
A: The majority of the latest orbital sander models feature a variable speed providing you with a full control over the tool operation that is the key to a smooth finish. By controlling the speed, you can easily switch between rough primary sanding and fine finishing work. It’s an essential aspect of aligning the tool's performance with various sanding tasks and different materials you use the sander on.

Q: Why does a sanding disc wear out quicker than expected?
A: Commonly, the major reason for this is pushing the disc too hard against the surface you sand. There is no need to apply a lot of pressure since the abrasive moving at a high speed creates strong resistance that can break and destroy its particles. Just hold the tool properly and move it smoothly around the surface leaving all the hard work to the disc.

Q: What maintenance does my orbital sander require?
A: Though very powerful, orbital sanders are pretty simple tools that require no special kind of maintenance. Yet, some care should be taken in order to keep your sander in a consistently operating condition and prolong its service life as much as possible. Remember to regularly clean the sanding pad from debris after the work is done and store the tool in a dry place since debris and moisture build-up can prevent the sandpaper from sticking to the pad. Besides, it is recommended to take short breaks in operation when using the tool for large or heavy-duty projects to avoid the motor overheat. If some serious problem or a failure arises, refrain from repairing the tool yourself and contact a specialised service centre for professional help.


Sources:

1. How to Buy a Sander, Which?

2. Chris Baylor Random Orbital Sanders, About. December 28, 2015.

3. Selecting the Right Power Sander for the Job, DoItYourself.

4. Sander, Wikipedia. April 9, 2016.

5. Julie Day Power Sanders 101, Today's Homeowner.

6. John Kelsey Choosing and Using a Random-Orbit Sander, This Old House.

7. Mike Allen How To Fix a Car Paint Scratch, Popular Mechanics. September 19, 2015.

8. How To Wax A Car, Autogeek.

9. How to Buy an Orbital Sander, About. November 5, 2015.

10. How to Varnish Wood, wikiHow.

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Publish Date: 2017-12-01 15:39:55