Our Top Pick for 2016: Bosch 1250DEVS 6-1/2-Amp 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander
Read our full review.
We decided to set our top-of-the-notch research team on a quest to find the best orbital sanders in the market. Armed with enough wood to build a few houses, they went out and started sanding. For hours they kept up their hard work to find out which sanders were able to get the best result while being comfortable, useful and powerful. In the end, we came up with the following four products listed.
Table of contents
- #1 Gold Pick (1st Place Winner)
- #2 Silver Pick (2nd Place Runner-Up)
- #3 Bronze Pick (3rd Place)
- #4 Budget Pick (Best Cheap)
Compact And Lightweight
Powerful 6-1/2 Amp Motor
Step-less Variable Speed
Soft Start For Reduced Start-up Torque
Electronic Variable-speed Dial
Balanced Vibration Stop
Swirl-free Sanding/polishing Action
Efficient Dust Removal
6-inch Proprietary Counter Balance
Maintains Pad Speed Under Heavy Loads
Accepts 5/16 – 24 Spindle Thread Accessories
#1 Gold pick (Winner): Bosch 1250DEVS 6-1/2-Amp 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander
View it on Amazon for $254.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Our number one gold pick for best orbital sanders is the Bosch 1250DEVS 6 ½-amp 6-inch. This is the product that was the whole-package in terms of sanding. It gave us the results, power, control and features that made it a stand-out product.
What we really liked about this sander is that it comes with two different modes. We found that this versatility gives it the ability to serve well on any job you need it for. It has a random orbital mode for regular jobs. If you need find finishing or a decorative piece sanded down, this works well. On top of that one, its second mode is the turbo drive. This mode increases the speed five times higher than the regular rate and is for those more intense jobs that require rough stock. The dual-purpose of this sander is definitely one of the things that put it at the top of our list. Usually, when someone has a sander they use it for a variety of different functions. Having the ability to set it to a predetermined mode is a great convenience.
On top of that, it is a very powerful model. The Bosch 1250DEV6 works with a 6.5amp motor with 3,100 to 6,650 OPM. The no-load speed is 270 to 600 RPM and the no-load orbital speed is 3,100 to 6,500. This not only provides it the ability to do any job, but it will get your job done quickly. Add to that the turbo-feature, and you’ll be able to plow through a job in no time at all. It weighs 5.3-pounds and its dimensions are 14.3-inches by 8.3-inches by 6.6-inches. The value of its size is that you can easily handle it without hand cramping or arm fatigue. Again- we herald products that can potentially make our readers’ lives easier and this definitely fits into that category.
There also are a load of extra convenience-features with the Bosch 1250DEVS. It has a soft-start that minimizes torque needed. This helps with the machine’s long-term outlook. It also has circuitry that maintains a consistent pad speed even while working harder jobs. This is another advantage that Bosch built into the machine. Not only is it a safety factor, but it also protects your resulting work. We believe it’s the little things like this that are going to help this motor keep running for that much longer and give users fantastic results every time. Anytime we can find products with great price points that are long-lasting and valuable, we take notice.
When it comes to function, the Bosch 1250DEVS sander also was a stand out. We tested out a lot of different projects—always noting the ending quality. We noticed that this one lacked any swirl-marks in the finish of wood we used it on. Some sanders are chronic for this, but the Bosch isn’t one of them. Likely it is because of the integrated pad dampening system used. In the end, this model orbital sander gave us great results.
In the full kit, you’ll get the sander, a dust tube, left- or right- auxiliary handle, soft backing pad, one sanding disc and a 5mm pad wrench that stores on the unit. We found that including these things (with wrench) made it easier than ever to get the machine up and running quickly. Even when we moved from job to job, it was ready to take on a new task in no time at all. Plus the included vacuum port made clean-up that much easier. We believe that it is an efficient machine that can save considerable amount of time thanks to all of the features it has built in.
Bosch also send this orbital sander out to the market with a 1-year unconditional warranty. This is another sign that you’re getting quality-work. We always appreciate when a company stands behind their products with warranties and added customer support. This definitely earned the Bosch a few more brownie points with us.
In the end, if you are looking for a fantastic powerful orbital saw, consider the Bosch 1250DEVS. It can get any job done with minimal effort and a professional-looking result.
#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Festool 571817 ETS 125 EQ Random Orbital Sander
View it on Amazon for $195.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Our silver product on this list is the Festool 57187ETS 125EQ random orbital sander. It is a great tool that can handle everything from bare wood or in-between coats of finish. Here is why this one-handed sander almost immediately won us over.
Our second place choice the Festool had a lot of great things that solidified its standing at the top of our list. First of all, it is a one-handed sander. We are a bit harder on these machines in general because they have to be built well with the amount of control needed to get good results. Thankfully, the Festool was built for long-term use. We tested it out and got great results every time we used it. Most likely this is due to its built-in balanced vibration stop. This is designed to deliver fine results with the finished product. In the end, if a machine could give us a notably smoother result, we took notice.
We also liked the Festool because of its comfort. Again- we had our reservations about a one-handed machine but this one was surprisingly comfortable. It was designed ergonomically to fit into a one-hand grip. Our testers used it for extended periods of time, wondering if it would be taxing after a while. Luckily, no one reported any discomfort—even on more difficult jobs that required intense work. We found this to be a huge advantage because the last thing we want to do is suggest a product that creates hand fatigue with normal- to intense-work. We want a product to be well-built enough that its manufacturers anticipated more difficult jobs and long-term use.
We also liked the Jetstream feature built into the Festool. It managed to clear away all debris quickly and easily when hooked up to our shop vacuum. Clean-up definitely was a concern of ours. Sanders are typically known for having a lot of messy sawdust. The hose system this can be hooked up to allows for most of the dust to be cleared away immediately, with minimum residual dust. In fact, the only amount we had left post-work was a light coating of dust on the actual product we were sanding.
Another feature we liked with the Festool was its pad brake that helped to avoid any scratching to our wood. Anyone who has sanded knows that disasters can happen with bad braking systems or putting the sander down quickly on a piece of wood. Festool accounted for this by making the brake reactive to this. You won’t have to worry about any damage, which is always a great thing. We love built-in features that can improve, or in this case protect, the finished result.
The Festool has other things we liked too: completely detachable power cord, stepless electronic speed control, encapsulated bearings for longer life of the machine and turbo dust extracting power. When we review items, we always look for those that have numerous features that will help with the ending result—whether that is the actual product, or the lifespan of the machine, or the convenience of the user. Our goal is to find products that have a huge benefit to the buyer. This Festool orbital sander definitely fit the bill. It also has a removable power cord that fits with any of the other products in its line of tools. We really like how Festool integrates its products so they can be used more efficiently with each other.
Finally, what set us over the top with the Festool is its design. It weighs just 7.6-pounds and its dimensions are 15.5-inches by 11.6-inches by 6.5-inches. Its one-handed design is no problem because it was built so sturdily and built for performance. Its finest sanding stroke is 5/64-ths inch. This means that it can be used for sanding, finishing or pre-sanding of objects. It can easily make it smooth to the touch and give you a great work surface ready for polyurethane or painting.
The full package with the Festool ETS125 includes the sander, a sample abrasive disc, StickFix sanding pad and a T-LOC systainer #2 container for storage. If you are looking for a fantastic one-handed sander, this is definitely one to look at. You will love all of its features including power, ergonomic hold and quick clean-up ability. Test it out for yourself and you’ll likely love it.
#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): PORTER-CABLE 7346SP 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander
View it on Amazon for $129.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Rounding out our top three picks is the Porter-Cable 7346SP 6-inch random orbit sander with polishing pad. We particularly liked the ease of control with this sander. On top of that though, we liked the results we got every time and the manufacturer warranty to support customer need long-term. Here are the details on why we placed this product in the bronze slot on our list.
We liked this model a lot because of its design. It is another swirl-free option that will easily protect your finished product. When holding it, you can grip the base of the machine and use your free hand on the firm-grip handle. The two-handed styling of this machine made it extremely easy to direct. We tested it on small jobs that were delicate and required a lot of control; we tested it on large projects that didn’t necessitate fine results, but provided a lot of surface area to cover. The easy hold of the design made it simple to get into all the nooks and crannies of our wood projects. This machines comes from manufacturers with a 6-inch proprietary counter balance feature. It definitely made a difference with use—in particular long-term.
On top of the design, we also liked the Porter-Cable’s ability to move in a specific pattern. This helped with keeping surface completely swirl-free. For a fine finish that is professional quality, this orbit sander performed well. It gave us the results we wanted every time plus it made our wood’s surface completely ready for final finishing.
This is one of the products that a newer sander can easily get accustomed to. It has enough features that make it compensate for any lack of know-how with working. For example, if you tend to press harder on certain areas, this sander has a built-in gearing system that will maintain a consistent speed even when pressure is applied. Porter-Cable built this for use by a wide variety of people and that’s what played well to use as reviewers.
The Porter-Cable orbit sander has 120volts and 4.5-amps. It has a variable speed of 2,500 to 6,800 OPM. You can remove the side handle or position it right- or left-handed. This is a highly advantageous tool because it means that regardless of what hand you work with, it can accommodate. The sander has a 6-inch polishing pad that is ideal for large and small jobs. It also has the swirl-free feature of our other sanders that promises to give you a great ending result. We loved the fact that manufacturers are going a step-beyond by creating features like this that directly affect the outcomes of projects. Whether you are used to sanding or not, there are enough features that can help you along with any job you take on.
This orbit sander weighs 6-pounds and its dimensions are 11.5-inches by 10.5-inches by 6-inches. As stated, it can be modified via the side handle for ease of use, or if you have to get into a particularly small area to sand. It accepts 5/16 to 24 spindle thread accessories and an electronic variable system dial that can let you move from lower to higher orbits easily and quickly. This allows you to maximize your time on the job and make the most of your work efficiently. In the box you will find your orbit sander, PSA pad, polishing pad, side handle, wrench and a sanding disc. Again- they give you everything you’ll need to get up and running quickly.
This is another machine too that manufacturers stand behind. Porter-Cable offers a one-year free service warranty. Should anything go wrong with the machine, they will take care of it. We love when manufacturers are willing to stand behind their products—it makes us want to stand behind them. This Porter-Cable is another fantastic orbit sander to add to their already impressive roster of products. It also has a three-year limited warranty to it. So even beyond service, the company offers long-term support.
For fantastic control, support and results, test out the Porter-Cable 7346SP orbit sander. If you’re new to sanding or an old pro, this sander will offer you a lot of value. We are proud to incorporate it into our list at number three and we’re sure you’ll love it too after a few uses.
#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Black & Decker BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander
View it on Amazon for $24.48*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
As usual we picked our top three, but then went back to get one final pick as our budget product. This is the product that has a lower price point and usually lesser amount of features, but still held up well to our testing. In this case, we chose the Black & Decker BDERO100 as our budget product.
The BDERO100 is another sander that offers a high-quality and fine finish for wood projects. This one is 3.2-pounds and its dimensions are 7-inches by 5-inches by 6-inches. It’s one of the smaller items we reviewed, but we were immediately struck by its power. Despite the small case, it works with 5amps of power and brings professional quality results to any project. Even if you aren’t a professional, we can see this sander being a great place to start your job.
The BDERO100 works very close to the work surface of wood to ensure a fine-finish. It also has a hook and loop system for changing paper, which means it can be done quickly and efficiently. We love products that require minimum, or little, maintenance. It means that the users can work with them and do what needs to be done to maintain them, and get back on the job. We look for products that make jobs easier and more efficient. Remember—time is money and if we can help our readers save time, we consider it a good day.
With the BDERO100, you are going to be able to save a lot of time. It has a 5-inch sander that is great for working on tight-spaces. Its power still gives you the ability to wear away unevenness though. We particularly liked its vacuum system for debris. It has a dust-seal switch that managed to keep all dust away. This not only was a convenience feature, but it also helps to extend the life of the product. It already comes in at a great price, so the fact that its manufacturer gave even more value to it, is a great thing. It also has an ergonomic design to it and we found that maneuvering it was very easy. This helps with users who are newer to the world of sanding and need a lot of ease-of-control.
Speaking of value, the BDERO100 comes with a 2-year limited warranty. Again- we always love when a manufacturer knows they hit a homerun and are willing to stand behind it. This model of sander doesn’t have all the features of other models, but for its price it is packed with returns. That’s why it made it to our budget buy on this list.
If you need a sander, but aren’t necessarily going to need it any time soon, the BDERO100 is a great choice. It has the power, control, and design to get the job done quickly and efficiently. With a budget product, what more can you ask for?
Will the speed work for me? Is it powerful enough? Is it too powerful? What about clean-up? What about grip and ease of moving the machine? We decided on our considerations early-on and pretty much stuck to the original ones as we moved through testing. We wanted to be sure that each machine was a full-package machine—meaning it wasn’t lacking in any one aspect of service. Here are the details on how we broke down each one of our considerations.
Ease of use
For us, ease of use was a big consideration. Sure there are small sanding jobs that will take 30-minutes and little effort by the worker. What about the bigger jobs though? What about the jobs that take days to complete? We wanted to be sure that they were taken into account.
We demanded that all of our machines were easy to direct and work with. We wanted them to be easily maintained and easily held during work. Because of this we tested them on different projects, different types of wood and in different settings. Our final list of the top three and our budget pick all stood up to our rigors and we’re happy to say that they are some of the easiest to use orbital sanders on the market today.
We also looked at the design of our sanders in question. We wanted to take into consideration those multiple-day jobs. If a carpenter or worker was using a sander for a long time, would his or her hand or arm suffer from too much fatigue to finish the job comfortably? We wanted to be sure that the designs were conducive to long-lasting jobs. We looked for things like ergonomic design with soft-grip handles. If the sander was a one-hand design, we looked to make sure that it was designed well to fit into one hand for extended periods of time.
On top of comfort in design, we looked for a design that supported an outstanding result. We tested the ease of transitioning from a lower power to a higher power. We wanted the variable speed knots to be easy to transition between from a convenient location on the machine. Again, all of our machines were perfect with this. They had clearly seen and easily adjustable speeds.
We also wanted the design aspect to cover the vacuum option. Sanding is known to be one of the more messy jobs in a workshop. We didn’t want to add to this with a non-efficient machine. We wanted the orbital sanders with a built-in take-away and connectors so a shop vacuum could easily be used to clear away most of the debris.
We also considered the motor power. As with any power tool we review, we look at the motor power and what it brings to the table. We do this because we want to choose products that can handle little intricate jobs, but also the big commercial jobs. We want products that will stand up to the large project and perform better than average every time. A lot of this comes directly from the motor power that is housed in the tool.
We look for amperage, OPM and variable speeds with orbit sanders. We switched speeds to ensure that they were easily altered to fit whatever needs we had at the time. We also worked with different types of wood—soft woods and hard woods—to ensure that the motor power was adequate to produce outstanding results in every case. Each one of our final four orbit sanders had motors that could handle long-term use and still produce outstanding results.
In terms of extras, we added points to the models of orbit sander that had special ones. One thing we really liked was the no-swirl feature some of our sanders had. This helps because it gives that fine, smooth result that carpenters and customers want. Even if you aren’t a pro at sanding, the machine will do all it can to work with you and help you get the pro-quality ending result.
We also looked at things like removable handles for added control. This was helpful for right-handers and left-handers, but it also helped if users prefer working without a handle at all. Some people would rather have a one-hand machine. If this is your specialty, some of our chosen models play well to that preference. We loved that the features on all of our machines are there for added convenience and higher quality.
We also looked at the machines with extra outlets for dust. Again- sanding can leave a mess. Who wants a product that leaves them with a big clean-up job after their project is finished? No one. This is why we demanded that all of our chosen products had a feature that took dust into consideration. Whether it was a direct hook up to a shop vacuum or a more efficient hose to take away debris, we wanted to know that manufacturers accounted for it and were prepared.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
In the end, the best orbital sanders are durable, powerful, easy-to-use and have added features that will help to get the job done more efficiently. We thoroughly vetted our contenders to come up with the best of the best. Our list of the top four products is the result of hours of testing and we’re happy with our results. If you need a new orbit sander, look at these. You likely will find the perfect product for your needs on our handy and helpful list.
Discussion and comments
We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?
Do you know of an even better product?
- Bosch 1250DEVS 6.5 Amp 6in Orbit Sander with Vacuum. Biglemons.com
- Festool ETS 125EQ Random Orbit Sander. JamesTownDistributors.com.
- ETS 125 EQ Random Orbital Sander. AcmeTools.com.
- Porter-cable 7346SP-6” Right Angle Random Orbit Sander with Polishing Accessory. Grizzly.com.
- 6” 4.5amp Variable-Speed Random Orbit Sander with Polishing Pad. Toolbarn.com.
- 5-in. Random Orbit Sander. BlackandDecker.com.
- Stuart. Black & Decker Sanders- 4 New Models. October 28, 2014. ToolGuyd.com.
- George Vondriska. Choosing a Random-orbit Sander for your Workshop. Rockler.com. August 1, 2008.