Generally used for smoothing plaster or timber, or stripping paint, a random orbital sander is a really useful piece of kit. The term ‘random orbital’ refers to the sander’s pattern of movements – very small circular motions, as well as up and down. There are corded and battery-powered sanders, with prices starting from around £30.


What to look for when buying random orbital sander

Power ranges from around 170W upwards, and higher wattages generally mean the sander will remove more material more quickly. If you go for a cordless design, look out for models that use an interchangeable battery that’ll work with other power tools you might have frrom the same range. You’ll need to buy the sandpaper discs or sheets to fit the head of the sander. These are generally attached using hook and loop fastenings (Velcro) or some type of clamp system. A mixed pack of sandpaper is handy as it will contain a variety of different grit levels to suit different projects.

Other features to look out for include dust filters and low-vibration technology, which can make the sander easier to hold when you’re using it for long periods. Variable speed control is also a bonus.

In terms of maintenance, the main issue is the dust the sander produces, which can clog up the tool. So you’ll need to clean it out from time to time and change the filters. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to dismantle it safely.

How to use a random orbital sander

Best random orbital sanders to buy

Mac Allister 300W 220-240V corded random orbit sander

With a useful vacuum adaptor for dust collection, this corded 300W model will help to make sure your workspace stays clean and tidy

Erbauer ERO400 125mm electric random orbital sander

This 400W Erbauer ERO400 125mm electric random orbital sander uses hook and loop sandpaper, as well as a cyclonic dust collection system and anti-vibration technology for improved control

Makita BO5031/1 corded random orbital sander 300W

This Makita model has a heavy-duty motor and plenty of features, including dust collection and one-handed operation


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Lisa Hibberd is an experience freelance journalist specialising in interiors