1/2 sheet sander vs ROS?

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Forum topic by Case101 posted 10-10-2014 10:00 PM 1040 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 1756 days

10-10-2014 10:00 PM

I’m kicking sanders and thinking about getting a new one. I have a BD 5” ROS now as well as a 1/2 sheet Craftsman.
Both have seen much better days, purchased 2nd hand and are on their last legs. So I can’t even really compare them to each other. The craftsman does have a switch on it that will allow you to switch the orbiting feature on and off.

I’ve read reviews about the Festool 1/2 Sheet as well as the Makita 1/2 sheet

The Festool is $395
The Makita is $162

Is the Festool 2.5 times better then the Makita as it’s 2.5 times as much $$?
How would you compare either one to a ROS?

Just looking for help picking either a 1/2 sheet or ROS sander.

Thanks in advance!

-- John, New Jersey

8 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2777 days

#1 posted 10-10-2014 10:43 PM

It depends on what size you need, but I find a 5” ROS works just fine. Black and Decker is not really a top rated brand, but its cousins Dewalt and Porter Cable make fine products.

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

View isotope's profile


170 posts in 1588 days

#2 posted 10-10-2014 11:06 PM

By no means am I an authority on sanders, or tools in general. But, I have that Makita sander, and I think it’s great. It’s fairly quiet and the vibrations that transfer to your hand are minimal. It seems to leave a nice surface, at least to my eyes. Though, I don’t do a lot of fine woodworking, so take that comment with a grain of salt. The bag does a surprisingly good job at catching dust. Obviously, it doesn’t catch all of it. I suspect connecting it to a vacuum would be better. The one minor inconvenience is that mine did not come with a plate to punch out holes in the 1/2 sheet of sand paper. I made a wooden jig and use a drill to make holes in a stack of papers. Unfortunately, I can’t really compare to the Festool.

View Case101's profile


107 posts in 1756 days

#3 posted 10-10-2014 11:16 PM

Is the plate that is on the Makita, hook and loop or flat? If it’s hook and loop does it come with a flat plate bottom? I would prefer to cut my own and not use hook and loop.

What ROS is recommended?


-- John, New Jersey

View isotope's profile


170 posts in 1588 days

#4 posted 10-10-2014 11:26 PM

My sander does NOT have hook and loop. The plate is some sort of textured rubber/plastic. I also prefer to cut my own paper.

View Loren's profile


10252 posts in 3612 days

#5 posted 10-10-2014 11:28 PM

Speed of sanding may not be important to you, but if
it is consider a 6” ROS. There are a few that have
dual modes, an aggressive mode for stripping paint
and hogging off roughness, and a regular ROS mode
for finish sanding.

Festool, Bosch and Makita make sanders of this
type. I use the Festool RO150. Dust collection is
basically flawless on flat surfaces. The sander
is pricier than others. It is alleged to be better
balanced. Other than that it’s pretty similar
looking to the much cheaper Bosch unit, also
made in Germany and probably in the same
factory. My hands still go numb if I put in a lot
of time with it, but it’s about as smooth running
as I could expect such a sander to be.

Some people have been impressed with the
Mirka sanders. They are said to be very smooth
running as well, reducing operator fatigue.

If you’re not a professional messing up the nerves
in your hands from a lot of time hanging onto
a sander may not be a concern that is going to
come up for you. But I can say for myself even
on modest jobs with the Festool, I can feel it
afterwards and it’s not a pleasant feeling.

View waho6o9's profile


8162 posts in 2541 days

#6 posted 10-10-2014 11:30 PM

I’ve never used the Makita but the Festool works
extremely well when hooked up to a vacuum. When you
want something flat the Festool does the job.
After the brushes set the RS 2 is king.

View Case101's profile


107 posts in 1756 days

#7 posted 10-11-2014 12:15 AM

Loren, thanks for the info!

-- John, New Jersey

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2639 days

#8 posted 10-11-2014 02:13 AM

For me it depends on how many revolutions per minute the sander makes. The slower sander tend to allow the paper to stick to the wood and shake the operator. The higher speed sanders allow the paper to “float” on the surface of the wood. The low speed sander make me swell and get numb in just a few minutes. the high speed doesn’t do that.

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