Is the Rockwell/Craftsman Vibrafree sander worth the extra $?

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Forum topic by generic posted 05-08-2014 11:45 AM 2196 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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105 posts in 1836 days

05-08-2014 11:45 AM

Topic tags/keywords: vibrafree sander ros

Being a novice I have been in the dark on sanders. I have always used a 1/3 sheet sander for power sanding and it seems to take too much time and eats paper faster than I would like. I have read about people using ROS sanders and it sounds like they are quicker.

I am a firm believer that it is better to spend a little more for something much better. I have seen the Vibrafree sanders and it sounds like they sand faster and with much less vibration. the reduced vibration sounds nice as I tend to fight carpal tunnel at times and I am wanting to make some buterblock cutting boards and a butcher block island for a house warming gift. I fully understand that fact that it utilizes a propritary paper that cant be bought at the local hardware store and that it is more expensive.

My question is the sander that much better that a standard ROS? How much do ROS’s vibrate?

11 replies so far

View ScottKaye's profile


716 posts in 2191 days

#1 posted 05-08-2014 01:17 PM

I’ve never used one. In fact I didnt even know they existed. I did a little research on and the main complaint I see is the availabilty of sanding disks. So I went to and found these rockwell disks but at $5.50 for a package of 5 I’d say they are a tad pricey at a buck and some change per disk. I have no idea how long the disks last compared to a standard ROS sander. I know on my PC ROS my disks last a good while though I do have to take a break from time to time to let my hand/wrist regain some feeling!

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View ScottKaye's profile


716 posts in 2191 days

#2 posted 05-08-2014 01:23 PM

Side note. has them for about $3.66 for a package of 5. much more reasonable in my book, but still expensive when compared to standard 5” hook and loop paper from other outlets. You will need to order $50 worth of merchandise or more to get free shipping though otherwise shipping will run you $8.50

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2845 posts in 3675 days

#3 posted 05-08-2014 01:28 PM

I have carpel tunnel in my left hand and I’m left handed. In fact I’m being operated on tomorrow morning for this. I find my Bosch ROS has almost no vibration to it. It does a good job and I think it still is around $60+. I’m sure there are others too. When I’ve used it I’ve never had to stop because of vibration, even when using it for extended periods of time.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3209 days

#4 posted 05-08-2014 03:26 PM

After the retarded “Rockwell BladeRunner” product I have personally lost any respect I may have ever had for Rockwell products. Seems to me they just look for gimmicks to mass market. The Ronco of the wood working industry.

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 2263 days

#5 posted 05-08-2014 05:30 PM

I have 1/4 sheet and 1/2 sheet vibrating sanders, both are Black and decker models,,,to be honest I dont remember the last time I used either one of them. They leave little swirly marks that have to be sanded out anyway. I have 2 RO sanders, one is a rigid. It works well but has an appetite for bearings between the motor and the RO pad. When that bearing siezes it is just a very high speed circular sander that burns wood. I have another 5 inch ROS that is the Harbor Freight model. I got it for 6 bucks at a yard sale. It works well and vibrates less than the rigid, but I doubt it lives long. Another thing to consider with these is the hook and loop pads, when they get worn out the disc flies off and cruises through the shop like a demented serated edge frisbee on crack. I would suggest making sure you have a spare pad available for whatever your get, and make sure they are readily available.I am looking to replace mine soon, I think I will go with the Bosch unit, heard nothing but good stuff about them.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View dawsonbob's profile


3143 posts in 1993 days

#6 posted 05-08-2014 05:47 PM

My Bosch ROS works extremely well, with no vibration to speak of.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View generic's profile


105 posts in 1836 days

#7 posted 05-20-2014 01:35 AM

I found the Craftsman Professional version of the Rockwell Vibrafree for a $60 so I figured what the heck, even with the sand paper potentially being hard to find, I’ll take the chance. So far I’m glad I did. I am impressed with how little vibration it has. I probably could run it all day long without any numbness. The cyclone dust collector works very well too. As a test, I left my down draft table and air filer off to see how much dust it created. There was very little in the air.

With regard to paper issues, I was able to find it cheap online. Cheaper than the standards 5”-8 hole disc at my local home depot or hardware store. And on a hunch I measured the 5” 8 hole paper and confirmed that if all else failed, I can use the standard paper if I needed to by cutting out the circle created by the holes to make the two separate pieces for the Vibrafree.

I would definanately reccomed the Vibrafree sander to a friend.

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2684 days

#8 posted 05-20-2014 01:58 AM

crank49 +1,I would prefer Black & Decker to the Rockwell ROS.

In general a ROS is more efficient and user friendly than a 1/4 sheet sander,I recently bought a dewalt 5” ROS with Abranet sanding discs and I noticed a big difference compared to my 1/3 sheet Makita.
If you decide to go with ROS purchase,make sure you get a few Abranet discs (120,180,320 grit)then you’ll wonder how you ever sanded with B&D.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2665 days

#9 posted 05-20-2014 02:11 AM

I use it all the time and I love it, especially because it gets all, and I really mean ALL the dust!! IF you use your vacuum attachment.

I agree the discs are hard to find but they last a long time in my mind, so dollar wise I cannot compare.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1305 posts in 1872 days

#10 posted 05-20-2014 02:22 AM

I have a different opinion, I went from ROS to 1/4 sheet.
My bosch 1/4 sheet eats wood quick, but is very manageable. The PC ROS is a little tougher to control.

I find the Norton 3x to be great in the Bosch, I punch the holes then put packing tape on the sheets so they don’t tear.
They last a long time.

I still use the PC but only on utility grade wood/projects.

-- Jeff NJ

View generic's profile


105 posts in 1836 days

#11 posted 05-20-2014 01:27 PM

I agree that some companies market gimmicks to the masses. Craftsan had done that for many years with their hand tools. Every now and then though, one of those gimmicks actually works well, even if not accepted by some because it is different. In my opinion, and it is only an opinion, this product works great.

With regard to control, the Craftsman Vibrasfree is as easy as can be. it doesnt want to jerk around like my 1/3 sheet does when going over a knot or changing grain. Even my 9-yr old was using it on her project with no trouble. :)

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