If you’ve got a DIY, home renovation, repair, or arts & crafts project coming up, then chances are you’ll be in the market for a new sander.
Latest review: I should have brought one of these the first time. The rotex 150 is an awesome sander it has cut my sanding time in half highly recommend it to
Price (RRP) $975.00 to $1,039.00
- Build Quality5.0 (2)
- Value for Money4.5 (2)
- Ease of Use5.0 (2)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 5.0 (2)
- Safety5.0 (2)
- Noise Level4.0 (2)
- Variable Speed
- Dust Collection
- RPM (speed)600 RPM to 6,800 RPM
- Sanding Plate Diameter125 mm and 150 mm
- Power500 W and 720 W
- Colour / FinishBlack
The Bosch Random Orbit Sander’s variable power control gives it the power and guts to do a variety of jobs, but opinions are mixed on the effectiveness of some of its other features.
Price (RRP) $95.00 to $160.00
Completes large jobs efficiently
Easy to control
Wide range of speed control
Can throw discs before they're worn out
Ineffective dust collection system
- Cordless and Dust Collection
- Dust Collection and Variable Speed
- RPM (speed)10,600 RPM to 12,000 RPM
- Sanding Plate Diameter125 mm
- Power270 W and 370 W
- Colour / FinishGreen
For those in the market for a cordless sanding tool with a high power output, the Ryobi EBS800V Belt Sander may be what you’re after.
Price (RRP) $139.00
Great battery life
High power output
Sanding sheets often move sideways
- FeaturesDust Collection and Dust Port
With variable speed control, dust extraction, and the ability to sand in different directions, the Festool ETS EC 150 EQ Random Orbital Sander Plus is a go-to for fine finishes.
Price (RRP) $1,025.00
The Makita 9924DB can sand wood, plastic, metal, and painted surfaces - its features and versatility make it a reliable unit for many of your sanding needs.
Price (RRP) $389.00
Latest review: As a painter and decorator I brought the planex to sand down my ceilings and walls its amazing for repaints and new work removing all imperfections it glides over like a hovercraft making light work
Price (RRP) $1,499.00
Latest review: I purchased a Makita Cordless Random Orbit Sander close to a year ago, and it has become one of my go-to tools. I won't go into the design specifics (that's Makita's domain) but it essentially
Price (RRP) $199.00
Latest review: I had a Bosch sander for many years - an industrial model. It failed after many years of hard work. I saw a Ryobi and bought that on the guy from Bunnings recommendation. Wrong. The first one
Price (RRP) $419.00
Latest review: Sands in an orbital manner. I bought to do a couple of garden benched that have seen better days and the wife is not as keen as hand sanding internal for painting walls as she once was (and she
Latest review: 1.56HP has plenty of grunt. Invaluable when working metal and belts are relatively inexpensive. Belts are a challenge to change as the guiding is extensive. Can be used with or without the tool rest
Latest review: We absolutely love our new sander. It seems to be being used on every job we attend and my guys argue over who will do the sanding which never used to happen. A must in every painters
Price (RRP) $999.00
Latest review: I had a filing sander. These are the little belt sanders which use a very narrow belt: anyway, the one I had broke down and I though I'd replace it with a Makita, as I've used lots of Makita power
Price (RRP) $349.00
Latest review: Dial up electronic variable speed control. Hook and loop with large lever clamp paper fastening system. 330W Motor provides 10,000opm. Half sheet sanders obviously save time when working on larger
Price (RRP) $349.00
Latest review: If you are a DIY person having a go at plasterboarding thennsanding is the worst job but this tool makes the job quicker and easier with considerably less dust. I gave it 5 stars, not because it is
Latest review: This sander is light & easy to use, gives a good finish and the dust collection works better expected. Haven't had any issues with pads coming off yet although still relatively new It isn't that
Price (RRP) $82.00
Latest review: A whopping 940W sander that makes the lights dim when you turn it on. This is the Makita MT series which I think is their budget range. At half the price I'll be happy if it lasts as long. I'm not a
Price (RRP) $169.00
Latest review: Bought this sander in late 2018. At 2.5 years old the motor burnt out after moderate use (timber work only). This sander was almost double the price of any others available, yet it has the shortest
Price (RRP) $209.00
Latest review: I bought a Makita Orbital Sander about 35 years ago; when I finished the job, I took it outside, and smashed it with a sledge hammer. It was a most frustrating tool, and that simply because paper
Price (RRP) $129.00
Latest review: I purchased this Ryobie Random Orbital Sander 18V R18ROS. I also have a Ryobi One+ Garden Trimmer so already had the battery & charger. I love that the same batteries & charger are used for
Price (RRP) $99.98
Latest review: I have an Ozito multi-tool that seems to do what this thing is aimed at anyway, save obviously smaller coverage in a given time. I just wanted a little more flexibility/spare/something to also use
Types of sanders
A sander is a power tool that’s used to smooth surfaces by abrasion with sandpaper. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including removing paint, upcycling pieces, and smoothing the surface and applying finishing touches to a range of materials.
Power sanders have helped us do away with the tedious chore of manually scrubbing away at a plank of wood with a piece of sandpaper. They can help you complete a sanding job that would have taken hours by hand in minutes - however sanding by hand is still a crucial part of many jobs today.
Here’s a list of some commonly used sanders.
A manual sander, or hand sander, is the least expensive sanding tool you can buy. They’re easy to use, and as the name suggests, require manual labour to operate and achieve a smooth, even finish.
They’re suitable for small projects where the wood is already in good shape or has already been sanded - you can then come in with the manual sander for touch-ups.
Even if you’re thinking of buying a power sander, a manual sander can be a good tool to have around to complement your electric sanding.
An orbital sander has a rotating base (called a platen) that moves circularly or orbitally. They’re used for general jobs, and are a great option to remove fine layers of material, such as paint or varnish.
They’re easily used on both plaster and timber.
Suitable sandpaper: An orbital sander takes standard sandpaper sheets, hook-and-loop sanding pads or special self-adhesive sanding pads.
- Easy to use. They're lightweight, making them easy to manoeuvre across your working surface.
- Allow for maximum control. They often have features like vibration control that make them easy to manoeuvre.
- Won't damage the surface you're sanding. Because they make quite gentle movements, you won’t ruin your work surface with proper use of an orbital sander.
- Not heavy duty. This makes it incapable of removing thick layers of material quickly.
A detail sander is a triangular orbital sander. It’s a great option for sanding furniture, corners, and other hard to reach places.
Random orbital sanders
A random orbital sander has a round, vibrating sanding pad that also spins in a circle - it’s probably the most common power sander in Australian tool sheds.
It’s particularly useful for achieving a fine finish, and can be a suitable option if you’re planning on staining or painting the finished product.
Suitable sandpaper: A random orbital sander suits round self-adhesive or hook-and-loop sanding pads.
- Heavy duty. They’re more heavy duty than an orbital sander and are capable of removing significant amounts of excess material.
- Achieves exceptionally smooth finish. They can achieve a super fine finish, making them great for polishing a woodwork piece.
- Versatile. They can be used on a variety of surfaces (such as wood, plastic, or metal) and most offer variable speed control - so you can take a more delicate approach to your work or go faster and more agressively.
- Relatively quiet. For the work it does, a random orbital sander doesn’t make much noise.
- Slower to use on larger jobs. They're slower to perform heavy duty jobs than belt sanders.
- Unsuitable for corners. Its circular shape makes it unable to sand the nooks and crannies of any surface you want to sand.
A belt sander has two drums over which a sand belt moves around quickly. They’re great for sanding large, flat surfaces, such as floorboards, and are most commonly used to remove large amounts of material quickly.
To avoid damaging your working surface, use a belt sander with the grain of the wood. Also ensure you’re applying adequate pressure to the tool as it may “run away” from you if you don’t.
Suitable sandpaper: A belt sander requires cloth sanding belts - ensure you get them in the correct size for your sander.
- Effective at removing large amounts of material. This makes them suitable to use on medium to large-sized work surfaces.
- Powerful. Generally speaking, belt sanders are quite powerful, meaning you can work on heavy duty tasks.
- Easy to use. They're usually quite easy to use - you just need to move the sander over your work surface in even strokes.
- Only suitable for flat surfaces. They aren’t suitable for curved surfaces, so you may have to buy an additional sander if you expect to be working with angles.
- Can damage work surface. The high torque of belt sanders can also be a drawback if you’re not gentle with more delicate surfaces, as you can damage your work material.
- Doesn't leave as smooth a finish as other sanders. They don’t leave a particularly smooth finish, so you may have to go in with another sander, such as a finishing sander, which is used to touch up your piece.
Other types of sanders
There are also specialty sanders on the market that may be more suitable if you have more specific jobs or require some detailed work to be done.
- Sander polishers: A sander polisher can both sand and polish the piece you’re working on - they’re usually best for sanding timber and for polishing painted surfaces. You can also usually polish with some a random orbital sander.
- Drum sanders: A drum sander spins a sandpaper tube around a motorised drum. They’re useful for sanding curved surfaces and large surfaces such as floors. Some come in smaller sizes, like drill bit sanders or those designed for rotary tools.
- Belt-disc sanders: A belt-and-disc sander is a belt sander and a disc sander combined into a single tool - these are bench sanders rather than handheld sanders.
- File sanders: A file sander has a handle and a finger-like belt that makes it easy to reach into and sand tight spaces. It can get into even smaller crevices than a detail sander.
- Drywall sanders: A drywall sander is used to sand plastered walls, ceilings, and walls. It can also be used to remove paper residue, paint, adhesive residue and, although mostly used as a wall sander or plaster sander, can also be used to sand the floor.
- Spindle sanders: A spindle sander is a tool that helps you achieve a smooth finish on wood pieces, particularly detailed pieces or ones that have curved edges.
- Disc sanders: A disc sander has a disc-shaped abrasive - this means that for instance, random orbital sanders are disc sanders, however not all disc sanders are capable of random orbital motion. They're are generally suited for rougher work where a lot of material needs to be removed quickly.
Factors to consider when choosing a sander
- Dust extraction: Some models have dust extraction systems which suck sanding dust directly into a box or bag at the rear of the sander, saving you the hassle of a clean up, and helping better protect your eyes from nuisance dust.
- Vibration control: A vibration control suspension system minimises the vibration that the user feels through their hands, making it more comfortable to use. Most tools will have this feature, but will have varying degrees of control.
- Variable speed control: Variable speed control lets you change the operating speed to suit the material of the surface you’re sanding. Getting a sander with a wide range of speeds can help you tackle anything from a plywood veneer to solid wood.
- Soft-start option: A soft-start option lets your tool ramp up slowly to its full power, which can help you protect more delicate work surfaces, and can also help you gauge the power needed for your surface.
Sanders can be corded or cordless - you can generally expect corded models to be more powerful. Cordless models are useful when mains power isn’t available or if a cord would be too fiddly or hazardous in your workspace.
If you’re looking for a cordless sander, look for a battery charge level indicator so you know how much work you can realistically do before you start sanding.
Ease of use
How easy a sander is to use depends on the surface you’re working with - choosing a sander that’s suitable for your purposes, and has features like vibration control and dust extraction, should put you on the right track towards making light work of your sanding projects.
An ergonomic design is also paramount when choosing a sander machine, whether you’re working with a benchtop sander or a handheld sander.
Before buying a power sander, ensure you know what kind of sandpaper you need to buy for it and check whether it’s easily accessible for you.
Some power sander manufacturers will recommend you only use sander paper of the same brand, and while you may technically be able to use sandpaper of a different brand with your power tool, sometimes doing so can void your warranty if something goes wrong.
Power sanders can set you back anywhere from $50 to upwards of $1000, but the majority of models are in the $100 to $300 range. Some specialty tools - such as detail sanders - can cost as little as $30.
Ensure you’re also factoring in how much the sandpaper will cost - if you’re planning on using your sander often, you’ll probably find yourself forking out quite a bit on replacing some parts of your tool.
Which type of sander should I buy?
That depends on what you'll be using your sander for.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
- What kind of materials will I be sanding?
- What are the sizes and shapes of the surfaces that I will be sanding?
- What type of surface quality am I hoping to achieve?
- Are the compatible sandpapers and backing pads easy to find?
- How much am I willing to spend?
Your answers to these should help you go home with a sander that’s suitable for your purposes and lets you easily complete the home, repair, or arts and crafts projects you want to do.