Bang for the buck, or, which orbital sander

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by KnickKnack posted 10-02-2008 06:03 PM 1478 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View KnickKnack's profile


1094 posts in 3800 days

10-02-2008 06:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m new to this woodworking thing, so I don’t have a lot of tools.
I do, also, broadly speaking, subscribe to the notion that “you get what you pay for” (which isn’t to say I don’t sometimes panic at the moment of purchase and buy the cheap thing).

My specific question is about orbital sanders. I have one I bought a coupla weeks ago when the old one died, and i dithered and dithered about which one, instead of asking you guys/gals first. I can pay anything between 8 bucks and 200 bucks for what look like very similar things – certainly they have very similar specs in terms of power and orbits/second – the expensive ones have names I recognise, the cheap ones not. I bought the 8 bucks one and, sure enough it goes round and round, sawdust flies off, and the thing gets smooth. I’ve never used an expensive one – had I spent more what would have been better? Is it worth the extra money in this case? I realise this might not last as long, but it has a 2 year guarantee and I think of it almost as a consumable.

Broadening slightly – I’d be interested to know what tools, power or not, people DO think it’s “just as good to buy the cheap one and throw it away”, and also what it really IS worth spending the bucks on.
Please bear in mind that my woodworking is, and probably will be for the foreseable future if not forever, limited by my skill level.

Thanks in advance.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

5 replies so far

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


527 posts in 3831 days

#1 posted 10-02-2008 06:18 PM

There are some good sites for comparing side by side and reviews:

I have had a deWalt 5” ROS for 7 years now and it has not died yet. I do a lot of sanding and go through about 2 pads a year and this past year I had to replace the brake ring. Parts are not expensive and are readily available from Amazon even.

I can sand for an hour and it gets warm, but not uncomfortably so. On mine at least you need torex bits to change the pad, not sure about the new ones.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4287 days

#2 posted 10-02-2008 07:15 PM

Although I don’t own one, I think the Ridgid ROS for 70 bucks is hard to beat.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4007 days

#3 posted 10-02-2008 10:06 PM is another good site for tool reviews.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View woodchips's profile


238 posts in 4198 days

#4 posted 10-02-2008 11:11 PM

i have a 5” Porter Cable Random Orbital Sander and i’ve owned it for around 6 years. now obviously i don’t use it as often as some guys but it has really been good to me and for 60 bucks it has been a great investment. i use the adhesive style pads and really like them versus the hook & loop style. but i do recommend following the advice of everyone else and read those reviews! stick to the professional woodworking site reviews though, not the average review sites like consumer reviews, etc…


-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4055 days

#5 posted 10-03-2008 12:13 PM

One resource for dilemmas such as this that I have found to be helpful is Wood Magazine. Tool reviews are published regularily. In the October, 2008 issue 12 different 5” sanders were evaluated. The top tool award went to the Porter Cable 390K and the top value went to the Milwaukee 6021-21.

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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics