Random Orbit vs. Finish Sander

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Forum topic by Dchip posted 11-09-2009 09:03 PM 8279 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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271 posts in 3247 days

11-09-2009 09:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question sander sanding

I purchased a Ridgid 1/4 sheet finish sander a while back thinking it was more practical and cheaper than a random-orbit sander, later to find out there is a difference in sanding action besides the shape and paper. My question is, how drastic is this difference in regards to material removal, say with 60 and 100-grit paper for example? I plan on doing some end-grain cutting boards, and without a drum-sander it seems a hand sander is my go-to option. Thanks.

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC,

8 replies so far

View mikedddd's profile


147 posts in 3224 days

#1 posted 11-09-2009 09:12 PM

Its like night and day, there is no comparison. I don’t even dig my 1/4 sheet sander out of the drawer any more.

-- Mike

View Dchip's profile


271 posts in 3247 days

#2 posted 11-09-2009 09:18 PM

An addendum to this question:
Can I get by with a lower-end ($50-100) model or would this negate the benefit? What should I look for to know I’m getting an aggressive ROS?

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC,

View mikedddd's profile


147 posts in 3224 days

#3 posted 11-09-2009 09:25 PM

I bought a Makita 5” ROS a couple of years ago now and I believe I paid $56.00 for it, that’s Canadian so I’m sure it would be less in the US.

-- Mike

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3153 days

#4 posted 11-09-2009 09:25 PM

ROS works faster. I use the finish sander because of its shape – there are just sometimes when you need a square instead of a

-- jay,

View Bret's profile


166 posts in 3489 days

#5 posted 11-09-2009 11:45 PM

I agree with Cosmicsniper. I go to my Bosch finish sander when I need a square edge and a predictable motion. Otherwise, for most sanding tasks, I pull out my PC ROS and go to town.

If I could only have one, I’d pick the random orbital. It saves me far more time.

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3457 days

#6 posted 11-10-2009 12:00 AM

The random orbit is a great tool for snading large open areas such as panels. If you want to sand smaller boards such as face frames the 1/4 sheet would be a better choice. The ROS will be too aggressive and harder to control and you have a greater chance of rounding over edges.

There have been numerous reviews lately on random orbits, WOOD mag, FWW and I believe Popular Woodworking have done reviews. IIRC the Bosch came out on top in most if not all the reviews. I would look for one that is easy to hold and comfortable. Your local Woodcraft or Rockler may have a few different lodels available to demo. you may also want to consider the ease and ability to attch a vac for dust control. not all sanders are created equal.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3816 days

#7 posted 11-10-2009 12:57 AM

I agree with Bret. There is a place in the shop for both. I use my 1/4 sheet sander especially when I am working in tight spaces or on narrow pieces. But for routine work I will use my ROS.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3571 days

#8 posted 11-10-2009 01:01 AM

I agree no contest between the two. I used low end ryobi for years they are fare better than a 1/4 sheet sander but a Bosch or Milwaukee work much better.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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