What do we like in an Random orbit sander?

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Forum topic by JoeinGa posted 10-08-2014 03:21 PM 1583 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7739 posts in 2206 days

10-08-2014 03:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sander finishing sanding ros palm sander

I’ve been using a Dewalt (DW421) for about 8 years, and it’s starting to go out on me. I’ve replaced the cord once and the plug twice. So far I’ve had no complaints, but I’m thinking it’s time for a new one.

First off … YES, I have done a search on here for views and reviews, but there’s so much info here that it’s difficult to say what’s the best bang for my bucks these days.

Some things I’m pondering:
I still have several hundred sheets of 5” sandpaper so I dont want to change sizes.
I never had the variable speeds so I’m not sure if I want (or need) that in a ROS.
I see Milwaukee has a “compact” model but several of you said you didn’t like it.

I know some of you have a lot of these on your shelves (kinda like DonW is with planes or A1Jim is with routers) so I’m hoping to hear what you do (or dont) like in a ROS?

Thanks in advance..

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

19 replies so far

View ChrisK's profile


2014 posts in 3280 days

#1 posted 10-08-2014 03:24 PM

I replaced my DW421 with the D26451K. The on/off button is a little tricky. It has turned it self back on.

Otherwise I like it.

-- Chris K

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#2 posted 10-08-2014 03:29 PM

Hi Joe
I have about 7 ROS and the one I like the best is a Milwaukee ,many of the others I have were more expensive.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View mahdee's profile


4021 posts in 1966 days

#3 posted 10-08-2014 03:31 PM

I bought one at HF. We have used it a lot in the past two years and it is just starting to vibrate rough. I guess it was worth the $17 or so.


View skogie1's profile


119 posts in 1562 days

#4 posted 10-08-2014 04:28 PM

I also have the D26451K and it has also turned itself on. The on/off switch is a bit of a pain. I’ve never had need to use the variable speed.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3012 days

#5 posted 10-08-2014 05:06 PM

I have the Dewalt 421 (no variable speed) and the Bosch ROS20VSK. I have had the Dewalt for years, and it is a tough little workhorse with no issues. I had to replace the hook and loop pad once, but they are cheap and readily available at Home Depot. The Bosch has a paper filter, which is supposed to offer better fine dust collection. However the canister quickly becomes loose and dust blows past the o-ring. Both sanders have good dust collection with a shop vacuum, and they both fit the Woodcraft crush-proof hose (which I recommend).
The Bosch is not very powerful, so I only use it for detail sanding or finer grits.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View tyvekboy's profile


1822 posts in 3212 days

#6 posted 10-08-2014 05:13 PM

I have 3 ROS sanders in my arsenal.

I have the 2 PorterCable 5” ROS. I like both of them. One is the tall one and one is the low profile one. I like the low profile one because of the variable speed option.

I also have a big PorterCable 6” ROS that you can also get a 5” pad. Itʻs built like a 4-1/4 inch angle grinder and has variable speed. Itʻs more expensive but with the polishing bonnet that comes with it makes a good car polisher that Iʻve use several times.

The main reason why I got my first one (the 6” PC model) was when I saw a carpenter using one and saw how aggressive it was and that it didnʻt leave swirl marks.

If I were to get another one, I would consider the Milwaukee model that A1Jim mentioned. However I donʻt think Iʻll be adding that because it would mean I would have to modify my Monster Modular Mobile Tool Tower….. lol.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Woodknack's profile


12430 posts in 2579 days

#7 posted 10-08-2014 05:14 PM

I feel your confusion. I got locked with indecision from information overload because every sander was disliked by someone so my wife went out and bought a Porter Cable because my old sander is a PC. Problem solved ;)

-- Rick M,

View mbs's profile


1657 posts in 3139 days

#8 posted 10-08-2014 06:36 PM

I used heavy duty PC for years and thought it was the best sander made. Then I got a festool with two settings for aggressiveness and great dust collection. Mirca also makes nice sanders with dust collection. These sanders are very expensive but worth it in my opinion. I have purchased some of them uses and they run great. I don’t use the other brands anymore.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


3662 posts in 2187 days

#9 posted 10-08-2014 07:06 PM

I have had the DW423 which is very similar to the DW421 for a lot of years and had great service out of it. I also have a Festool sander and use both of them.

What I look for in a sander is how it fits my hand, how heavy it is and the vibration. As I get older and have arthritis in my hands and wrists, I am looking for one that is the easiest on my body. The DW423 is a great sander but the Festool fits my hands better and has less vibration. And yes, it is quite a bit more expensive. For me, if it is a choice of more money and less pain in my hands and wrists, I will spend the extra dollars.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1623 days

#10 posted 10-08-2014 07:37 PM

The best designed ROS tools have excellent dust collection. Something Festool seems to excel at, across the board.

-- Brad, Texas,

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2244 days

#11 posted 10-08-2014 08:32 PM

I have a Dewalt D26451K and a Bosch ROS20. The Dewalt does not have variable speed whereas the Bosch does. There’s a lot more raw power with the Dewalt making it sand more aggressively and harder to bog down. The Bosch has variable speed which lets me dial down the speed when sanding smaller parts of a non-slip mat. I generally use the Dewalt for 120/150 grit, and the Bosch for 180+ grit.

I usually use active dust extraction (shop vac) so dust collection is comparable for both, but will note that the filter cartridge for the Bosch is better than the bag on the Dewalt if active dust extraction is not an option. I do believe variable speed is more versatile. Sanding small parts is not fun, and dialing down the speed will give you the control needed if desired.

-- paxorion

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2206 days

#12 posted 10-08-2014 09:54 PM

Thanks for your opinions. And RickM, you are right when you say it’s easy to get “info overload” ... wow, so many choices.

Good idea Redoak49, I’m gonna stop by HD and Lowes in the next day or two and compare how the different models fit my hand. The Dw421 fits me pretty nicely, and from the specs I see online, that D26451K MIGHT be just a bit bigger in the body. I’ve held the Milwaukee before and it was a bit heavier than the Dewalt. I’ll see what the Porter Cable feels like too.

As much as I’d like to go Festool, I simply cannot justify that kind of $$ in a sander. I just looked and the only ROS they have in reconditioned is $156. I could buy 2 of the Dewalts plus a bunch of sandpaper for that.

I’ll let y’all know what I end up with.
Thanks , Joe

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View doubleDD's profile


7882 posts in 2242 days

#13 posted 10-08-2014 10:01 PM

Hi Joe, I have a Milwaukee 6021 vs. Runs smooth and a nice fit in the hand. Just went thru the same thing you did 3 months ago. I like mine a lot. Bought the second one 6 weeks later.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2686 days

#14 posted 10-08-2014 10:42 PM

Personally speaking, why worry about what anyone else uses? Shouldn’t you be able to find one that you like and that fits you?
I seldom follow the herd of the sheeple that can’t see the use of anything except the personal favorite that they use.

Be Brave, branch out, expand your horizons!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2889 days

#15 posted 10-09-2014 12:39 AM

IF you have a big enough air compressor, go for the Dynabrade. I have not picked up any of my electric sanders since I bought the Dynabrade. Advantages: very light weight, almost no vibration, faster, and superior dust collection when used with Abranet Discs and a shop vac/DC. AB’s Gloves and Abrasives had the best prices when I bought mine.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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