In this guide we’ll look at the best cordless orbital sanders for the UK market.
I’ve compared weight, performance, power and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is The Best Cordless Orbital Sander?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
The best cordless orbital sander for the UK market!
After testing out several of these random orbit sanders, I’m happy that they all get the job done, but the DeWalt DCW210N-XJ does it with style. It’s incredibly light weight, the grip is superb and it’s been designed from the ground up to be easy and convenient to use.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Cordless Orbital Sander Reviews
DeWalt DCW210N-XJ 18V XR BL Cordless Sander Review
The DeWalt DCW210N-XJ is probably the best cordless random orbit sander because it’s supremely comfortable to use, well balanced and has a powerful brushless motor. Honestly, it’s probably the best cordless sander I’ve tested out and as long as you’ve got your own DeWalt batteries you’ll think so too.
Starting with the body, you’ll be surprised how powerful this little beast is compared to its size and weight- it’s a comfortable grip in just one hand and weighing in at a mere 930 g without the battery, you could use it for hours without getting overly tired.
The build quality and grip ergonomics are what you’d expect from the best orbit sander, DeWalt have put a lot of thought into the design. The rubber overmoulding is exactly where it’s supposed to be to give you a solid grip and, crucially, dampen down vibration.
The on/off switch is right where you can reach it with one finger, and the speed control wheel is right next to it- it’s obviously been designed with the operator in mind. The brushless motor spins the head up to 8,000 – 12,000 oscillations per minute (opm) and the included dust bag is small but seems to work well.
To say that this cordless random orbit sander is small but mighty is an understatement. If you’ve already bought into DeWalt’s excellent 18 V XR battery system and need a quality “naked” sander, then look no further.
Makita DBO180Z Cordless 18 V Li-ion Random Orbit Sander Review
Whether you’re a professional builder or a weekend DIYer, the name Makita is hard to miss. The Japanese tool masters have created a huge range of high quality, innovative products, and the DBO180Z random orbit sander is a welcome addition to the brand.
Taking advantage of Makita’s excellent Lithium-ion Extreme Technology (LXT), they’ve put the power of 18V AC into a lightweight and sturdy little frame. It’s a bit heavier and bulkier than the DeWalt at 1.4 kg, but it’s still incredibly easy to handle thanks to the clever grip shape and balance that allows for precision control.
The controls are well-positioned on the top of the sander, with just two soft buttons that control the three variable speeds and power off. It’s not got quite the range of speeds as some of the competition, but 7,000, 9,500 and 11,000 opm are ideal for most sanding jobs anyway.
The build quality is what you’d expect from one of the best names in the business- it’s built to last a long time, it’s not too loud during operation and the vibrations have been kept to a happy minimum. It’s easily one of the best cordless random orbital sanders you can get, and if you’ve already invested in Makita 18V batteries, this “naked” sander is just the thing.
Milwaukee M18 BOS125-0 18V Random Orbital Sander Review
Milwaukee is probably the other biggest name in professional level power tools, and their M18 Fuel battery system powers up everything from drills and saws to one of the best cordless sanders I’ve had my hands on recently.
This sander screams “robust”- everything about it is chunky and well moulded- the power button has a positive feel, and the speed selector wheel is easy to control even if you’re wearing gloves. This chunkiness continues across the whole tool, the rubber overmoulding is thick and makes gripping it easy.
Milwaukee is serious about dust extraction as well- the dust collection box is filtered, and you can see inside to check for the dust level as well. They include a universal dust extraction adapter to connect to your shop vac, as well as an extension so you can fit one of Milwaukee’s biggest 5.0 Ah batteries to the sander.
It’s slightly heavier than the DeWalt or the Makita, but at 1.6 kg it’s still not heavy. Combine this with the 14,000 – 24,000 opm rate and you’re still getting an excellent power to weight ratio. And Milwaukee even throws in a couple of 125 mm sanding pads to get you going. You’ll still need a battery though.
Ryobi R18ROS-0 18V ONE+ Random Orbit Sander Review
Another big name in Japanese tools, Ryobi is aimed squarely at the DIY market, with their ONE+ system of battery sharing that means everything from your lawnmower to your air compressor runs on just one battery type.
In terms of build quality, the Ryobi might not be up there with the DeWalt, it definitely feels like more of a plastic tool, but it’s solid and should last for ages. The rubber grips have a pleasant texture to them, and they work quite well at keeping the vibrations down.
Power-wise, the sanding head spins at a fixed speed of 22,000 opm, a decent fast rate but for the price you don’t get the luxury of variable speed selection. Without a battery installed, the weight is kept down to just 1.1 kg and the little dust bag doesn’t get in the way and appears to do its job.
For Ryobi fans, this is one of the best random orbit sanders around, and they include three different grit pads to get you going. Just make sure you’ve got a higher Amp hour battery to hand if you want to sand for more than a few minutes.
Wesco 18V Cordless Random Orbital Sander, 125mm Review
One of the best budget cordless random orbital sanders I’ve tried out is the WESCO WS2323. It’s not exactly a professional-level tool built to last years of abuse on a building site, but if you’re a keen DIYer and you’re sick of trailing power cords, this is a solid little tool.
For the money, you get a rather sturdy little random orbit sander- the grip feels good and at 1.4 kg it’s light as well. The variable speed selector spins the sanding head from 3,000 – 11,000 opm which is a particularly wide range for all sorts of tasks.
What makes this an ideal starter random orbit sander kit is that it’s not a “naked” tool- Wesco have included a 2.0 Ah battery and handy charger as well as 12 sanding pads and a polishing pad too. You really can get working straight away with this set, and it doesn’t cost the earth.
It might be a bit louder than the competition, but it’s an honest bit of kit that should suit lighter use.
Bosch AdvancedOrbit 18 Cordless Orbital Sander Review
One of the biggest tool brands around, Germany’s Bosch have been producing quality professional and DIY-level tools for well over 100 years. The AdvancedOrbit 18 makes up part of Bosch’s “green” line of DIY tools, and it has several features that make it one of the best budget random orbit sander’s I’ve tried out so far.
The first thing you’ll notice about this sander is the big front handle- at only 1.4 kg it’s not there to deal with extra weight, but it works well if you want to use another hand to keep things rock steady. I’m not convinced it’s that necessary to be honest.
Using Bosch’s Power For All system, you can plug in a range of different batteries, but you’ll have to get rid of the dust extractor box if you want to fit a 6.0 Ah battery. The variable speed powers up the sander to a respectable 6,000 – 24,000 opm, and the previously mentioned filtered air box does a reasonable job.
Things to Know Before Buying a Cordless Orbital Sander
Sanding down wood, metal or plastic is a dirty and thankless job unless you get hold of one of the best cordless random orbital sanders. Quiet, easy to handle and with no pesky power cables to trip over, they help to make a tough job just that little bit easier.
Lithium-ion battery technology has gone a long way in making all sorts of power tools suitable for any building site, anywhere. But power hungry tools like sanders can make short work of low Amp hour batteries, so it’s necessary to strike the right balance between power and portability. The bigger the battery, the heavier it is, so make sure you pick the right mix of weight and power. I’d recommend using nothing less than a 4.0 Ah battery for a random orbit sander.
One of the biggest problems with sanding is trying to avoid scratches in the workpiece. Whether you’re sanding by hand with a block or using an electric belt or detail sander, there’s a good chance you’ll leave scratches that are a pain to remove.
In steps the random orbit sander- as it sounds, instead of moving in a predictable way that can lead to scratch marks, the path of the sanding pad is randomised with an offset cam that creates ellipses as well as standard rotations. Sounds complicated, but it’s basically a wobbly head that means you don’t get those irritating tiny looping scratches common to detail sanders.
Anyone who works with power tools for a living will instinctively know that getting a good grip is the key to drilling accurate holes, sawing straight lines and sanding down materials quickly and efficiently.
The bit where your hand goes on a random orbital sander is for more than just grip though, the best ones reduce the vibrations that travel up your arm and tire you out, especially when you’re sanding acres of timber or plastics.
Most of the best orbital sanders are single-handed machines, they’re light and nimble to use but still pack a punch when it comes to smoothing out surfaces. Try out a few different sanders before you find a grip that’s comfortable and lets you work for long periods of time without having to rest a shaken arm.
There’s no way around this- sanding is a dusty, dirty job. It’s not just messy, it’s harmful as well. Fine particles of dust in your lungs can be extremely bad for your health over time, so make sure you’re sucking as much out of the air as possible.
All the random orbit sanders I’ve featured on my list come with dust collection systems- either little bags or filtered boxed that promise to remove the dust from the air and stop the sanding pads from clogging up so quickly. They work, to a point, but it’s always a better idea to connect your sander to a shop vac if you can.
A standalone dust extraction system will help to keep the dust out of the air and away from your lungs and won’t fill up and need changing every ten minutes. The little dust extraction bags are great when there’s no alternative, but for the best results you should invest in a shop vac if you can afford it.
Most orbital sanders take 125 mm sanding discs, and they usually attach with a hook and loop system. Convenient and quick to change, you can go through the grits without needing special tools or much patience either. Just make sure you’re lining up the dust extraction holes on the pads.
You can almost always elevate an average power tool with premium accessories- an average drill with a professional drill bit can do a lot of good work, and the same can be said for sanding. You can save some of your hard earned money in the long run if you get hold of quality sanding pads. As they say, “you buy cheap, you buy twice.”
Orbital Sander FAQs
If you were to use normal rotational energy in a sander, it would remove material, but you would also create a lot of circular shaped scratches. In order to shake things up and create what’s known as an “eccentric pattern”, the best random orbital sanders use an offset cam to rotate the sanding disc and wobble it a bit to make sure the grit doesn’t move in the same direction for enough time to scratch the surface.
The most common way to use a random orbit sander is with discs of different grit sandpaper to smooth out and finish surfaces like wood or metal, ready for painting or varnishing. They’re great because they’re easy to handle and can remove a lot of material quickly, but they’re also effective at other tasks.
If you attach a polishing disc, you can use your random orbital sander to clean up paintwork, varnish or clear coat without using all that much elbow grease. The same random orbit that helps to avoid scratches in timber or plastic will work wonders on your car’s paintwork. Add a little polishing compound and you’ll buff things up to a deep shine in no time at all.
As with any power tool, practise makes perfect, but there’s a few techniques I use to get the most out of my sander:
Try to keep a firm, even pressure on the sanding pad to avoid creating ridges and get the most out of each sweep of your hand.
But don’t press too hard. A great mantra for using any piece of equipment is “let the tool do the work” Your sanding discs will last longer, and you won’t get nearly as tired.
Use a pencil and scribble across the work surface- this will help you keep track of where you’ve sanded, and once the pencil marks have disappeared, you’ll know you’ve sanded enough.
Use a variety of sanding grits- Usually the trick is to work up in numbers- start with a low grit to remove the bulk of the material and change for higher grits to create a smooth, glass-like finish.