Orbital Sander Vs Palm Sander Comparisons

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

Sanding your finished products is the final step in any woodworking project, and since errors at the end can compromise the entire project so easily, you want to do every single bit perfectly.

That requires having the right tool for the job. The challenge at this point is that unlike other types of tools that are easy and direct to pick, there are two types of sanders for finishing: the orbital sander and the palm sander.

If you are new to woodworking, selecting the ideal piece can be a huge challenge. Well, we experienced that too. But this will not be a challenge for you after reading this orbital sander vs palm sander comparison.

Keep reading to know their difference, strengths, performance, features, and associated Pros & cons.

We loved the DEWALT DWE6411K 1/4 Sheet Palm Grip Sander Kit for its compact design and futuristic features. You can easily sand even the tight sections of your workpiece.

Our Top Palm Sanders Are:

ProductDetails
1. DEWALT DWE6411K 1/4 Sheet Palm Grip Sander Kit

  • 4.6 pounds
  • 7 x 6 x 10 inches
  • Corded electric
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2. Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander

  • 3.5 pounds
  • 9 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Corded electric
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3. Makita BO4556K Palm-Sander

  • 2.5 pounds
  • 5.2 x 4.4 x 5.5 inches
  • Corded-electric
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1. DEWALT DWE6411K 1/4 Sheet Palm Grip Sander Kit — Top Pick

The DEWALT DWE6411K 1/4 Sheet Palm Grip Sander Kit is our top palm sander. With its powerful motor, and design, you are sure of getting a professional finish on your projects in no time. And you know what? We were not surprised by this performance because DEWALT has all along worked extra hard to make its products unique with innovative features.

The most outstanding thing about this palm sander is its performance. Powered by a strong 2.3 AMP that generates a maximum of 14,000 orbits per minute (OPM), this sander will complete all your sanding tasks easily. Furthermore, the sander is designed with an easy to use paper clamp that holds and retains your sandpaper firmly when working.

The dust collection system of this palm sander is also outstanding. It comes with a dust-port system that allows you to easily fit and lock a vacuum for a mess-free sanding experience. And that is not all — the sander uses a rubber dust boot over the switch to help protect against dust ingestion and damage.

Specs

  • 4.6 pounds
  • 7 x 6 x 10 inches
  • Corded electric

Pros

  • Short to allow you get closer to the workpiece
  • Light and compact
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Cannot be used if you do not have electricity

Rating: 4.8 stars

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2. Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander

Coming a close second to our top pick in this category is the Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander. Like DEWALT, Bosh has made a name for its relentless commitment to designing durable products. Well, this tough and unbeatable sander is a testimony to this commitment.

The Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander comes with a unique design aimed at making sanding tasks easy, fast, and highly effective. It has a powerful motor of 2.5 AMP and allows you to control OPM depending on the task at hand. This is very useful because you can use the sander on a wide range of projects.

To make finishing more effective, Bosch engineers knew one thing; the sander should have little to no vibrations. This is why they incorporated the pad dampening system. Further, the machine uses a low vibration operation system that helps to make operation smooth, eliminate swirl marks, and reduce wrist fatigue.

Specs

  • 3.5 pounds
  • 9 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Corded electric

Pros

  • Ergonomic handle
  • Can be used on a wide range of sanding tasks
  • Light and easy to use
  • An efficient dust collection system

Cons

  • Expensive

Rating: 4.6/ 5.0

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3. Makita BO4556K Palm-Sander

The Makita BO4556K Palm-Sander is another powerhouse that never says no to sanding tasks, no matter how tough they are. It delivers a maximum of 14,000 OPM and rocks a comfortable design that allows you to sand more without getting tired easily. Although pricey, this is one sander that will be a great addition to your workshop tools arsenal.

On design, Makita went on an overdrive to make this power tool fun and easy to use. It is a clever one, with a conveniently positioned on/off switch, you can easily deactivate the sander with ease. Further, the sander has a contoured and rubberized grip that helps to improve user comfort and control.

Unlike most sanders out there, you can say goodbye to disturbing noise and vibrations with this sander. It is designed with an all-ball bearing system that keeps vibrations and noise low. Besides, changing your sanding paper is also easy — you will not incur significant downtime.

Specs

  • 2.5 pounds
  • 5.2 x 4.4 x 5.5 inches
  • Corded-electric

Pros

  • Ergonomic design that makes it easy to work for longer without fatigue
  • Can be used to work on tough sanding tasks
  • Large paper clamps for easy sandpaper installation

Cons

  • Some clients complain of clamp not being so secure

Rating: 4.2/5

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The DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander is a perfect choice for its strength and tough design that makes it easy to sand even the toughest surfaces.

Our Top Orbital Sanders Are:

ProductDetails
1. DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander

  • Heavy
  • 10.4 x 7.2 x 6.2 inches
  • Corded-electric
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2. PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander

  • 6 pounds
  • 11.5 x 10.5 x 6 inches
  • Corded-electric
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3. BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random Orbital Sander

  • 3.16 pounds
  • 7 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Corded-electric
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1. DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander — Top Pick

In the orbital sander category, the DWE6423K random orbit sander is our top pick. It is powerful, has features to prevent you from getting fatigued easily, and does a great job collecting the dust. Well, this sander packs all the features that you can dream of in a great machine.

The most conspicuous thing about the sander is its strong 3.0 AMP motor. Indeed, this is one of the strongest motors of the sanders, both orbital and palm models, we have compared in this post. The motor generates a maximum of 12,000 OPM, which is enough for most sanding tasks.

The design of this sander is meant to help you not just complete the task, but enjoy every bit. First, the tool is short so that you can get closer to the workpiece. Besides, the sander has a balanced design and rubberized handle that guarantees you extra comfort even when working for long periods.

Specs

  • Heavy
  • 10.4 x 7.2 x 6.2 inches
  • Corded-electric

Pros

  • An efficient dust collection system
  • Built to task
  • Suitable for diverse sanding tasks

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Pricey

Rating: 4.7 stars

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2. PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander

This PORTER-CABLE random orbit sander delivers a lot of power and versatility in a compact unit so that you can sand even the tight areas of a workpiece. One unique thing about the sander is that it allows you to work with both hands. This means you exert more pressure if needed, especially when sanding the tough workpieces.

The sander is powered by a strong 4.5 AMP motor that delivers a maximum of 2,500 to 6,800 OPM. While this speed is relatively low compared to others, it comes with the advantage of being gentle and powerful when sanding. This makes it very effective when targeting a professionally smooth outlook.

To help you complete sanding tasks faster, this sander uses large sanding pads of six inches. Further, the sander has a uniquely positioned control switch that allows you to quickly stop and start the tool when working. Note that if you are sanding tight to reach areas, you can remove the side handle.

Specs

  • 6 pounds
  • 11.5 x 10.5 x 6 inches
  • Corded-electric

Pros

  • Good for tough sanding
  • Allows you to control the speed based on the project at hand
  • Effective vibration dampening system
  • Designed to last

Cons

  • Heavy

Rating: 4.5/ stars

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3. BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random Orbital Sander

Are you looking forward to buying a sander on a budget? Well, Black+Decker BDERO100 could be the best choice for you. With its design and top features, this sander would indeed fit a bigger budget effectively.

Measuring only 7 x 5 x 6 inches and weighing 3.16 pounds, this sander is really small, and a perfect option to work even in compact areas. What is amazing about it is that it uses random orbital action that guarantees a high removal rate and a perfect finish.

Although the sander is mainly recommended for DIY (do it yourself) tasks, we also found it strong enough for medium-duty professional work.

Whether you are using this sander for a home project or in the workshop, it is pretty simple even for newbies. First, changing the sandpaper using the hook and loop system is easy and fast.

Further, the sander has an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to comfortably sand with a single hand. If the surface is tough and you need more pressure, one hand can grip the tool on the handle and the other on its neck.

Specs

  • 3.16 pounds
  • 7 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Corded-electric

Pros

  • Light and compact
  • Easy to use even for newbies
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not ideal for heavy-duty sanding

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Buying Guide

We have highlighted the best orbital and palm sanders on the market, but you might be wondering, ‘What is the difference?’

Here is our guide that will help you to identify the best option for your situation.

Orbital vs Palm Sander: What is the Difference?

The primary difference between the orbital and palm sanders is the materials that they can remove, sanding pad shape, and movement direction. Orbital sanders are bigger, compared to palm sanders, and use round pads that rotate and move back and forth.

This sanding pattern helps to reduce swirl marks. They use more powerful motors and are designed for heavy-duty sanding. The sanders are also known as random orbital sanders.

Palm sanders are the smaller versions of the orbital sanders. However, they differ slightly in that their sanding pads are rectangular.

Further, they have less powerful motors and are recommended for lighter sanding tasks, especially when targeting hard-to-reach sections of your project.

Factors to Consider when Buying an Orbital or Palm Sander

Now that you know the differences between orbital and palm sanders, it is time to go deeper into the factors to consider when selecting the piece ideal for your sanding tasks:

The Brand

If you want to get the best palm or orbital sander, it is advisable to stick with the top brands in the market. These are companies that have demonstrated their relentless commitment to quality. Good examples in the market today include Makita, Bosch, DeWalt, and Black+Decker.

Motor

For people who have a lot of sanding tasks, it is advisable to go for the sander with a more powerful motor and high OPM.

However, if you target occasional sanding tasks such as DIY projects on weekends, a light-duty sander with a motor of about 2 AMP should be okay.

Dust Management

There is no doubt that sanding tasks generate a lot of dust. Therefore, you should always select a model that has a good dust management system. Where possible, it should be easy to connect to a vacuum for more dust evacuation.

Final Thoughts

From this orbital sander vs palm sander comparison, both types of sanders came out to be very effective for giving your workpieces smooth and professional finishing. Orbital sanders are more powerful, rugged, and rock stronger motors that make them ideal for more tough sanding tasks.

On the other hand, palm sanders are lighter and more ideal to reach even the sections that would otherwise have been left alone.

For a professional with a lot of work to do in the workshop, a great orbital sander such as DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander would be a great choice. But if you only have light duty finishing tasks, a palm sander such as the DEWALT DWE6411K 1/4 Sheet Palm Grip Sander Kit would be the better option.

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