Best Orbital Sander under $50


For a while, I’ve been doing woodworking and thought about investing in an orbital sander to cut down on how long it takes to get a really nice surface on my woodworking projects. 

I wasn’t sure exactly how much better the more expensive orbital sanders are compared to cheaper ones. So, I did a ton of research and put together this article to explain what I found.

The best orbital sander for the money is the Black and Decker Random Orbit Sander. It has over 4,500 positive reviews on Amazon, with an average review rating of 9.2/10. It is also incredibly cheap at under $50.00 for the complete unit.

Some orbital sanders are at a similar price point and have a similar review rating. Some also have a higher rating, but they are a bit more pricey. So, below I’ll give you a list of the best orbital sanders for the money so you can see why I chose the Black and Decker model as the best.

How I chose the best orbital sanders for the money

When I put together this list of the best orbital sanders for the money, I evaluated each one based on strict criteria. I looked at:

1. The average review rating

2. The amount of reviews

3. What it comes with (is it missing anything)

4. Price (how it compares)

5. Summary of customer feedback (written reviews)

1. The average review rating

I looked at the average review rating and sorted each of them based on how good the average rating is. Certain orbital sanders have a low average rating, like around a 3 out of 5. And these were removed from the list. 

I decided not to consider any orbital sanders that had an average rating of less than a 4 out of 5.

2. The amount of reviews

I thought the number of reviews was a solid metric to look at because it is a good indication of how many units have sold. Amazon has said that on average, 10% to 20% of customers give reviews.

When a certain orbital sander has sold it a lot, it’s usually because people have recommended it to their friends. And the company has a good marketing team, which means they are a successful company. So, I used this as one of my evaluation criteria.

3. What it comes with (is it missing anything)

Certain accessories come with an orbital sander. Sander Pads, whether it has a dust filter, a connection for a vacuum, the handles it has, and whether the handle is retractable. 

As you may be aware, an orbital sander produces very fine dust, which is harmful to the lungs, so if an orbital sander had a better extraction system, it moved it up the list. Also, a retractable handle is handy if you are sanding inside cabinets. 

Ideally, you want to sand each of the boards before you put it together, but you might have left a rogue pencil mark. So, being able to fit your orbital sander into the tight corners was a big plus. And how easy it is overall to use.

4. Summary of customer feedback (written reviews)

I took a read through the customer feedback and looked at common complaints customers had about it, and also the common things they liked about it. 

That way I could summarise what most people thought of it, to give you a better idea of what to expect if you decide to purchase a particular model.

5. Price (how it compares)

Orbital sanders come in a price range. Anywhere from around $30 up to a few hundred dollars. So, after looking at all the features, I determined whether the features justified the price, or if it was slightly cheaper or more expensive compared to the other quality models.

With all that said, here’s the full rundown of all the best orbital sanders for the money.

1. Black and Decker Random Orbit Sander

The average review rating

4.6 out of 5. Very solid and the same as 9.2/10, which is very high. This isn’t the highest rating of all the orbital sanders on this list. But, what it lacks in a few points it makes up in other areas.

The amount of reviews

It has over 4,500 reviews. This is a huge amount of reviews and shows that it is very popular. It also means that the review rating is very accurate. As you may be aware, the more reviews it gets, the more accurate the average rating is – one of the only things I remember from a statistics class.

What it comes with (is it missing anything)

It has one handle on the top and no side handle. This means it is a bit harder to use when using it for prolonged periods of time. 

When it has another handle, you have a bit more leverage, and the position of your arms means you can swap hands after a while to give your dominant hand a rest.

It comes with one piece of sandpaper, which is not bad. I think they assumed that people would get the sandpaper ideal for their project as each project is unique. And some people will use them on their fiberglass boats and whatnot.

It also has a dust bag, and a shop vacuum can be attached to it. This is a huge plus, and many people prefer using a vacuum to it. You can use it for long before you need to empty the vacuum bag. Because it’s bigger than the dust bag that comes with orbital sanders

Price (how it compares)

It cost under $50.00, which is on the low end for orbital sanders. The Black and Decker Random Orbit Sander is an outstanding value for money based on what you get.

Summary of customer feedback (written reviews)

Overall, people have said that they have used it regularly for over 1 year, and some have even said that they have used it for over 2 years and it hasn’t broken down or needed repair, which is very impressive. 

Others have said that it is quieter than other models of orbital sanders they have.

I recommend this orbital sander as one of the best for the money. (Check Current Price on AmazonOpens in a new tab.)

2. CRAFTSMAN Random Orbit Sander

The average review rating

The Craftsman Random Orbit Sander has an average review rating of 4.7 out of 5. This is very high, and when you convert it to a score out of 10, it gets a 9.4 out of 10. This the highest rating on this list so far.

The amount of reviews

This orbital sander has over 600 reviews. Which, compared to some of the other models, isn’t nearly as many. But, it’s still a big enough amount that the average review rating is accurate. 

In my opinion, the average review rating might lower a bit once it has a lot more reviews, say around 2000. This is the general trend I see when looking at the reviews and the review rating on Amazon.

What it comes with (is it missing anything)

It has everything for it to work. It comes with one piece of sample sandpaper so that you can get sanding right away. And as with the other models, the manufacturers will generally assume you’ll want to buy the right sandpaper for the job. This is exactly what comes with my number 1 rated orbital sander for the money. 

So, you get tired sooner. With a handle, you can adjust your hand position and swap hands, which is a big plus with the Craftsman. 

It does only have one speed. Some other models of orbital sander have multiple speeds. But, the main thing is that it sands, and sand well. So, I don’t see this as a significant drawback; however, if you’ve used orbital sanders in the past and like this feature, I would skip this model.

Price (how it compares)

It just about $50, which is slightly more expensive than my number one recommendation for the best orbital sander for the money. But it’s still on the lower end. It’s is excellent value for money in my opinion.

Summary of customer feedback (written reviews)

Customers who have bought it have said that it doesn’t vibrate, so it is very comfortable to use. They also reported that the dust suction works well. Based on reading through all the reviews, everyone says that they find it very easy to use, comfortable and that it works really well. But, there was a clear flaw. However, it was pretty easy to fix.

Serious vacuum attachment issue

Some customers have reported that it needs another attachment to connect a vacuum hose to it, difficult to find. This is generally the case with orbital sanders, and you may need to use some duct tape if you can’t find an exact fit. 

I, too, think this is a bit of a pain. However, I don’t think this is too different from other orbital sanders you will buy, and your vacuum parts are notoriously hard to source. Some people have recommended going with a soft plastic reducer sleeve. 

Or getting a universal power tool kit with 10 different connection sizes, and it is a solid pick up to have around your woodshop. Or in your miscellaneous carpentry tools. (Check out its current price on Amazon herOpens in a new tab.eOpens in a new tab.). Overall, this orbital sander is very cheaply priced and works as well as more expensive models. I thoroughly recommend it.

I recommend this orbital sander as one of the best for the money. (Check this sander out on Amazon HereOpens in a new tab.)

3. Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander

The average review rating

The Bosch palm sander has an average review rating of 4.7 out of 5, which is very high. This shows that customers are delighted with it. It rivals my number 2 choice for the best orbital sander for the money, but it has much more reviews

The amount of reviews

It has over 1600 reviews compared to the 600 reviews which the Craftsman has. So, the average review rating is very accurate. It also shows that it has sold many more units, so it is more popular than the Craftsmen but not as popular as my #2 choice.

What it comes with (is it missing anything)

It has a dust bag like the previous models. But it also comes with a vacuum hose adapter, which is very helpful, so you don’t need to buy one separately. 

It has variable speed control, unlike the other models. This means you can adjust the speed based on how you like it. I would say most people would crank up to full to sand the fastest. 

But if you’re doing intricate sanding and want to go very slowly, being able to turn the speed down is very handy. Otherwise, you would have to swap out the sandpaper, which requires more time and effort.

It isn’t missing anything significant, but it has the standard handle on it, which is more labor-intensive to use than one that has two handles. You can alternative your hands. When you use both hands on top of an orbital sander that doesn’t have a handle, it uses the same muscles. 

With this model you because of the shape of the handle, you can hold one hand on the one end and then the other on the front. So, it has some of the benefits of an orbital sander that has another handle on it.

Price (how it compares)

It is quite a bit more expensive than the other models on this list, coming in at $69.00. That’s why I moved it down the list. You are paying more because you can vary the speed. Some people really like it, and it is more efficient for doing exact work because you don’t have to switch between pads as often.

Summary of customer feedback (written reviews)

Customers have said that they found the dust bag to work incredibly well, compared to other orbital sanders they’ve used. One customer said he liked the extra features on the bag, a pad alignment tool, and compartments for extra tools. 

People also said that velcro pads are very strong and hold onto the sandpaper extremely well. And that you can use it for 2-3 hours without it getting hot. 

Issues customers had with it

One customer recorded a video of how it performs when sanding on the edges of boards. For some reason, it was tough to hold still on the edges when compared to another model.

It didn’t seem to be a problem other customers reported, though, and overall almost everyone who bought it was thrilled with it.

I recommend this orbital sander as one of the best for the money. (Check out this sander on Amazon HereOpens in a new tab.)

Conclusion

The best orbital for the money is the Black and Decker model because it has all the other sanders’ benefits but is a lot cheaper. The only drawback was that it doesn’t have a variable speed. I thought the orbital sander was the 3rd best (the Bosch) has a variable speed function. But, it is almost double the price of the other models.

Sources

Recent Posts