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Forum topic by depjr021 posted 06-22-2010 05:07 PM 1118 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2889 days

06-22-2010 05:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sanding sander finishing question

Hey everyone,

I am trying to gather some input from woodworking experts like you on sanding. I work for a major power tool company, and I was wondering what some of your opinions were on the best sanders available. This could be based on ergonomics, price, durability, dust collection, vibration, performance, etc. Thank you for the help and I will make sure your input goes to good use.

11 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#1 posted 06-22-2010 05:11 PM

What kind of sanders are you talking about ROS, belt, pad,disc.edge,drum ?

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View depjr021's profile


5 posts in 2889 days

#2 posted 06-22-2010 05:19 PM

Sorry about that Jim. I am mostly interested in ROS. Thanks again

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3068 days

#3 posted 06-22-2010 05:34 PM

I have 7 different types of sanders in my shop and each one serves a different purpose. 4 of them are stationary machines (belt, disk, strip and oscillating spindle) and the other 3 are hand held (ROS, belt, and pad/finishing). I also have sanding drums (including an inflatable one) I can use on a hand held drill or a drill press.

It’s hard to answer the generic question, “what am I looking for in a sander” because I look to each sander for a different purpose and I look for different things with each sander.

May I also say that the word “performance” is quite difficult to relate to. On some sanders I would define performance as the ability to remove a lot of material in a hurry. On others, it would be the ability to leave a very fine, smooth surface. On some it would be the ability to sand effectively is tight, awkward places.

Let me finally comment that with all the power sanders available, I find that sanding by hand is still very often necessary. Any sander that reduces the amount of sanding I have to do by hand is a friend of mine.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3137 days

#4 posted 06-22-2010 05:35 PM

I had a staircase a while back that I had to refinish, so I bought two Porter Cable ROS’s. They were the same model, reason I bought two was my brother helped me. For some unknown reason, one spun as soon as it was started, the other started in random. While it was no big deal once you get used to the spinning and remembered to have it on the work surface before starting, it definately left swirl marks. I occasionally forget or pick up the wrong one (look identical) and waste time while it spins down. That is about all the info I can give you on ROS.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#5 posted 06-22-2010 05:36 PM

I own 6 Ros sanders they all have different qualities I like The one I end up using the most is a Milwaukee it has adjustable speed and is aggressive but not to aggressive. Of course all of my ROS are 5 hole hook and loop.
Price wise there are a number of folks that own Festool sanders and say their dust extraction system is the best ,but a sander the cost 3-4 times what other sanders cost should be the best. I think price and quality are important . None of my ROS sanders were over $ 130 . I guess it depends on what company you represent and who your trying to market to. If your sanders are for home owners or for low end buyers usually that is not a sander I would be buying. Send me a sander and I ‘ll do a review.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3280 days

#6 posted 06-22-2010 05:46 PM

I’ll say it first, and then others will argue about the price.
Festool (and maybe Fein) is without a doubt, the best sander out there. Is it the cheapest? No, but is it the best value—Well, I guess you would get lots of conflicting opinions on that. From a professional standpoint, I would say yes. From a hobbyist viewpoint, maybe not. Not if finances are the top criteria. If vibration, dust control, performance, and longevity are important—absolutely. Are all my sanders Festool—No, but the question was “what are the best sanders?”

Since I don’t know who you work for, this may or may not offend you. I have a Porter Cable ROS, and I hate it. The vibration is awful (reminds me of a jack-hammer) That said, PC makes some good sanders—this is not one of them. I have a Bosch 1/4 sheet sander that I really like. I was good value. I use Dynabrade pneumatic sanders in production with very good long term results. For years I used the Porter Cable 505 1/2 sheet sander. Great sander.

Often it comes down to what sander fits your paricular work and style and of couse-budget.


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3068 days

#7 posted 06-22-2010 06:18 PM

I’ll confine these remarks to ROS and I will join Kent in words of support for Festool. The Festool feature that really stands out for me is dust control. Of course, that only happens if you have your sander connected to a dust extractor. You work in a virtually dust free environment and the air flow literally keeps the sand paper from clogging. That makes the sanding more efficient and the sand paper stays cooler and lasts much longer.

The dual mode, 5” Rotex has become my ROS of choice. It can sand aggressively and remove a lot of material and it can sand to a very fine finish. It is somewhat heavy and the weight is away from the sanding surface. That helps to keep the vibration under control.

Before, the Festool, my main ROS was a Bosch. I still use the Bosch in some light weight applications. I like the ergonomics. The weight seems to be right over the sanding area and the vibration is modest.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 2954 days

#8 posted 06-22-2010 06:32 PM

what i search for is:
1 noise and vibration, volume has to be low, and the sound it makes has to sound good.
2 dust, needs at least a decent filter, not a silly paper or cloth bag, and fewest dust as possible may escape from beneith.
3 ergonomics, must lay good in hands with soft grips
4 ability to connect to a vacuum hose
5 solidity, should be allowed to drop from a bench on concrete without damage.

i use Bosch and Festool ROS’ers, i would say you get more with Bosch for less money.
as for the sanding operation i can’t tell a difference, but Bosch has better ergonomics, soft rubber on the grips, hard plastic with Festool. Festool usually comes with paper bag filters that are clumsy to operate and rapidly break, plus the attachement system feels cheap. Bosch comes with a proper filter. it does need to be cleaned daily at least.
Festool can directly be connected to a vacuum, with the Bosch you need to buy an adapter.
the Festool ROS gets REALLY warm after a while, the Bosch stays cold, doesn’t even warm up a bit.

View depjr021's profile


5 posts in 2889 days

#9 posted 06-25-2010 02:08 PM

Thank you everyone for your input. I really appreciate it. After looking at everyone’s responses I’m trying to decide what ROS sanders offer a good balance between price and quality. A few of you mentioned Festool and Bosch. Would Bosch be the better purchase for the majority of you because of the high cost with Festool?

Would you rank ROS:

1 Festool
2. Bosch
3. Milwaukee
4. Porter Cable

Also, Rich mentioned he has a Dual-mode sander. What are some of your thoughts on dual-mode? Is it worth buying one?

View TheWoodsman's profile


65 posts in 2890 days

#10 posted 06-25-2010 02:52 PM

I really like my 6” Festool sander but it would be nice if it were a touch more aggressive. I don’t see any reason why the other manufacturers couldn’t make something equivalent to it for less than 1/2 the price. I block out and stained projects by hand so the orbital marks don’t make much difference to me.

-- I'm the Woodsman . . . the four-wheelin', tree-farmin', custom-furniture-makin' descendant of Olaf "The Woodcutter" Ingjaldsson.

View birdguy's profile


73 posts in 2901 days

#11 posted 06-25-2010 03:29 PM

I would say I would like it super good at leaving no dust behind and varable speed and less vibration

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