I’m interested in starting some woodworking projects around the house and it seems like a Random Orbital Sander is a must have. I’ll be able to work in the garage and hopefully not track (too much) dust into the house. I’m trying to do some research and find one that is affordable and will keep the mess down as much as possible.
I’ve read some reviews where people prefer two cheap orbital sanders over one better quality ROS. Also, I’m not really interested in the cordless option. I hate the idea of constantly having to swap batteries out. What are some mid level price range orbital sanders that are low dust and comfortable on the hands?
Picking the best ROS to meet YOUR NEEDS is a tricky question. When Porter Cable introduced the first on (based n an angle grinder) the question was easy - since there was only one. Now choices abound and I don’t recall seeing any recent objective tests in any of the respected woodworking magazines. You’ve probably “Googled” and searched on topics like : “Best Random Orbit Sanders” or “Random Orbit Sander Reviews” - but you usually need to read between the lines, and consider the source of online reviews. ToolGuyd asked the same question as you - a few years back:
You might also look at reviews on merchandizer sites Amazon and Home Depot - where you might glean some information if you read carefully and try to put all (positive and negative) the comments in context.
I’m always a bit skeptical of reviews on Amazon particularly for new items or ones that have a paucity of reviews. Folks like Consumers Union (Consumer Reports) - seldom review tools - but their style of evaluation is usually better than what we see elsewhere - since they usually test more than one sample using a panel of different testers conducting several different tests. On their automobile testing - they might say things about how a tall driver or conversely a shorter than average driver liked the front seat etc.
Getting back to a ROS - what feels good in your hands might not in someone who has smaller or larger hands than you. You might start your quest at the Local Home Depot or Lowes to see what they have in-store to see what fits in your hands. The problem is that they will likely have only a few of what they consider are the best sellers - no where near what’s available on the Internet. If you have a larger full-service tool warehouse/showroom store near you (like Acme, AW Meyer, Tools Plus etc.) a trip to one of them to look would be good.
Whatever you buy, you should invest in some good dust masks or a respirator - and using a dust extractor - as opposed to an ordinary shop vacuum would be well advised. Sorry I’m not of more help with a specific recommendation - but what I use, how I use them, and my personal preferences may be way off the mark for you - and with the exception of my most recent Festool purchases as gifts - I’m not sure that anything I use is still made.
I have had success using the Ryobi 2.6 Amp 5 inch random orbital sander from Home Depot. This $39.99 sander is affordable compared to other sanders at Home Depot that average around $70. The attached bag does a great job of collecting dust. It is light weight, easy to control, and I did not notice any excessive heat, even during extended use.
Good to hear that your Ryobi met your expectations - but reading the reviews -about 30% of the reviewers posting on Home Depot - did not recommend the purchase and about a quarter of the reviews gave it 1 or 2 stars - most citing early failures as a problem.
I have that Bosch and it works great. I got it because I’d read that it had better dust collection than the other contenders.
It does vibrate, but hey, it is a ROS. Perhaps the Festool vibrates less, but it costs 8x the Bosch.
If you value a dust-free environment and are willing to pay a little bit extra, the Festool DTS 400 can be had for $260. It’s my favorite sander to use because there is zero clean-up when I’m done and doesn’t vibrate my hands. I don’t think it’s a random orbit, just regular ole’ orbit but it produces a great finish.