5" vs 6" sander

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Forum topic by tbone74 posted 12-24-2011 08:11 AM 9754 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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65 posts in 2627 days

12-24-2011 08:11 AM

Happy holidays everyone!

I just got a HD gift card and I want to get a random orbital sander. I am wondering if there is a huge difference in 5” and 6” sanders. I already have a 1/4 sheet Dewalt sander but I have been wanting to get a RO for awhile. Is it harder to find 6” discs and are they alot more $$ ? Also do you folks have a place on line that carries quality sanding discs at a good price? I am looking at Ridgid brand machines or maybe the Dewalt 5”.

Would love any input!


-- Tony

14 replies so far

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2496 days

#1 posted 12-24-2011 08:29 AM

First, I’m not a flok, whatever that is….

The 6” sanders are pretty much good in almost anyones hands, paper is not as available in box stores though except probably Hd, they perform well.

I’ve had Ryobi, dewalt and bosch 5” random orbits, Paper is readily available for them, and they perform well.

I think I liked the 6”s for training complete novice helpers best, the are large and easy to hold flat, which is beginner 101 for a sander, but not advanced.

In short it’s up to you, but like I said, you’re probably gonna have a hard time finding paper from a store for the 6”. Unless you go online to buy your paper in which you’ll cut your costs significantly anyways.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View tbone74's profile


65 posts in 2627 days

#2 posted 12-24-2011 08:33 AM

TCC- Ha sorry, Folks

-- Tony

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3886 days

#3 posted 12-24-2011 07:51 PM I use 5”, but then I run a lot of stuff through the drum sander for the initial sanding. The smaller sander is easier to work on smaller pieces or in tight areas, if you do a lot of sanding after assembly.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3216 days

#4 posted 12-24-2011 08:10 PM

I own both a 5” and a 6” random orbital sanders. They are the same brand and very similar in shape and style.

I almost always prefer the 5”. It is a little lighter and easier to handle.

The only time I prefer the 6” is if I have a large flat surface to sand. Since it is bigger, it will get the job done faster. I purchased the 6” before I had a drum sander. Now, if I have a large flat surface to sand, I can usually do a better job by running it through the drum sander. Hence, the role of the 6” is further reduced to situations with a large flat surface that I cannot run through the drum sander.

So far, I have not used the 6” even once since acquiring the drum sander.

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

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 3111 days

#5 posted 12-24-2011 08:45 PM

A 6” sander is a lot more stable than a 5”. Mine gets a lot more use than its 5” pistol grip predecessor because its a much more stable, controllable and less aggressive tool altogether. Don’t know about where you are, but here the disks are as plentiful as the 5’s – and a few cent cheaper too.

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Jim Jakosh

21284 posts in 3247 days

#6 posted 12-24-2011 10:47 PM

Hi Tony. For years I had used my Dewalt 1/4 sheet sander and I thought it was pretty good. Then I had a frame to sand around a table top and it took forever. I borrowed my friend’s Festool 90 degree 6” dual mode random orbit sander. It makes it a breeze to level a surface. I don’t like to borrow tools that I know I’ll need so I bought a Bosch 6” 90 degree dual mode random orbit sander on E bay. It is my first choice for sanding any more.
When you click it into the aggressive mode, you better have the surface clamped to the bench. It does such a nice job I can’t say enough praise for it. It will take off 1/16 before you know it and it does not dig in anywhere.
I bought only Abranet 6” discs for it (80,100 and 150) and I’m set for life with that tool. I bought the 100 grit and 150 grit sanding discs at Woodcraft and they were cheaper than the 80 grit I bought on line.

Get one and you’ll hardly use the Dewalts again!!!!!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3129 days

#7 posted 12-25-2011 03:26 AM

I have a 5” porter cable RO sander and a 6” bosch dual mode sander.
The 6” is my goto sander unless I need to do some one handed sanding.
Here is where I get my discs:
They are far better than anything I have used from a big box store.

If you have it narrowed down to between the ridgid and the dewalt I would most likely go with the ridgid simply because of the warranty:

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3683 days

#8 posted 12-25-2011 09:44 AM

Stay away from the Ridgid 6”. It does an okay job of sanding but will not last. I went through 3 sanders in 3 years. It took me that long and that many sanders to determine I was wasting my time and money :) (although, I returned each one for a replacement, so only paid the initial cost) Finally settled on the new Bosch 6” anti-vibration unit which is supposed to be a contender to the festool. Awesome sander!

Discs are more money but you also are sanding with something like 30% more surface area than a 5” so you won’t wear through the discs as fast.

I used to use a Dewalt 5” and that would leave swirl marks on everything. Could of been the sander itself, but don’t know. Just speaking from my experience

-- Childress Woodworks

View shopdog's profile


577 posts in 3627 days

#9 posted 12-25-2011 12:19 PM

I have a Ridgid 5”, and I think it’s great. I like it so much, I bought a second one.
I build Ipe decks for a living, and I sand every one when I finish…so my 2 Ridgids get quite a workout.

Long cord
Lighted plug with a sander icon on it
You can’t slow it down
you can hook a shop vac to the dust port


-- Steve--

View General3's profile


1 post in 251 days

#10 posted 02-06-2018 02:07 PM

I have had to do some very fine sanding of dirt out of 60 wood table tops that were Polyurethaned. Used 2000 grit wet method followed with a good wax, all purchased from a major automotive paint supplier (PP&G). Automotive paint suppliers use almost exclusive 6” discs. So, “buyer beware” if you are looking to use fine grit sandpapers (as well as course grit); you best consider the 6” sander.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10894 posts in 3570 days

#11 posted 02-06-2018 03:03 PM

I have a Rigid 5” and a 6”. Not a whit of trouble with either. Take that back. The velcro on each quit holding the paper soon after I got them.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View MrRon's profile


5085 posts in 3385 days

#12 posted 02-06-2018 09:34 PM

First, I m not a flok, whatever that is….
What’s a “flok”?

View tbone74's profile


65 posts in 2627 days

#13 posted 02-06-2018 09:42 PM

It was a typo, see the 3rd post. Funny I asked this in 2011, reviving an old topic! I ended up buying a 6” sander for what its worth. Never thought about using automotive papers! I’ll have to give that a try!

-- Tony

View RandyinFlorida's profile


257 posts in 2209 days

#14 posted 02-08-2018 02:52 PM

A 6” diameter sander covers 20% more surface area. Which means 20% more work accomplished in the same period of time

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

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