Random Orbital Sander VS Belt Sander

Woodworking tasks can be done quickly and well by using the right tools and the right sandpaper. With so many different power tools for smoothing a rough surface, it is important that you choose the right wood sander for your job. Some of the popular wood sanders on the market are the belt sander, orbit sander, and random orbital sander.

In order to select the best wood sander for your job, you need to know what you intend to do with it and the features that you want. In this Random Orbit Sanders VS Belt Sander post, we will help you choose between the random orbital sander and belt sander. These are some of the most popular wood sanders on the market and they are very effective in performance.

Since belt and random orbital sanders are electric sanders, they will get the job done quickly, easily, and in the best way possible to sand wood smooth. We’ve outlined everything that you need to know about belt sander and random orbital sander so that you can choose a wood sander that fits your demands. This includes how they work, sanding aggressiveness, and when to use which sander for what task.

To make an informed choice, continue reading this Random Orbital Sander VS Belt Sander review to the end.

Features Details: Random Orbital Sander VS Belt Sander

Feature Random Orbital Sander Belt Sander
Purpose: Finish and detail sanding Rapid material removal
Sanding Motion: Random orbital Continuous linear
Disc/Pad Size: 5-6 inches (125-150mm) Various, typically 3×18-4×24 inches
Item Weight: 2.87 pounds 16 pounds
Amperage: 3.0-amp motor 2.3-amp motor
Disc Speed: up to 25, 000 RPM up to 3,450 RPM
Aggressiveness: Low to medium High
Dust Collection: Built-in, usually efficient Built-in, varies in efficiency
Surface Finish Quality: Smooth, swirl-free Linear scratches, may need follow-up
Ease of Use: Easy, minimal user fatigue Moderate, requires skill
Material Compatibility: Wood, metal, plastic Primarily wood
Best For: Detail work, refinishing Stripping, leveling, shaping
Noise Level: Moderate Moderate to loud

Summary of Contents

Random Orbital Sander

The Random orbital sander is also referred to as a random orbit sander or a dual action sander. This wood sander produces a near swirl free finish by spinning a sanding disk at high speeds of up to 25, 000 RPM and simultaneously moving it in an elliptical orbit such that no single abrasive piece travels the same path twice.

One of the biggest differences between the random orbital sander and the belt sander is that unlike the belt sander, the random orbital sander doesn’t remove materials as aggressively as the belt sander does. After sanding, it leaves behind some scratches in the surface and thus it is not as smooth as a surface sanded by a belt sander. But one of its greatest advantages over the belt sander is that it can sand two pieces of wood that joint at a right angle without leaving behind cross-grain swirl marks.

In most cases, the random orbital sander is used after the primary surface smoothing has been done by a belt sander. It takes over the role of removing the sanding marks left behind by the belt sander, then followed by final smoothing utilizing progressively finer sanding grits.

Belt Sander

A belt sander is usually ideal for smoothing large, flat surfaces, more so the extremely rough ones. It has a high-speed and great strength that perfectly smoothes wood. The belt sander accepts sanding belts, which are usually continuous loops of reinforced abrasive cloth that fit more than two cylindrical drums. It utilizes abrasive coated belts that revolve around two metal rollers with a flat metal plate.

The sander functions by the motor driving the rear drum while the front drum spins freely. Thereafter, a tension-release lever allows you to easily slip the belt onto the drums. Most sanders come with a tracking adjustment knob that you can turn to center the belt and this normally keeps the belt running as required.

In case of smoothing flat boards, ensure to sand parallel with the wood grain in order to avoid scratches, and keep the sander moving at all times so that you don’t sand a depression. Furthermore, belt sanders are also suitable for smoothing the narrow edges of the boards. Nevertheless, it’s great to clamp different boards together and sand all the edges at the same time. This skill is referred to as gang sanding, and it saves time and helps to create better outcomes because you’re not attempting to balance the wide sanding belt on the narrow edge of a single board.

In most cases, a belt sander is the first power tool to utilize when smoothing rough surfaces. When this is done, other tools such as orbital sanders or sheet sanders can be used to complete the task. Belt sanders work well for other duties such as removing an old finish from a wooden floor, rounding corners of a board or flattening a glued up panel.

Which is better? Random Orbit Sander or Belt Sander?

Depending on what you want to do, you will find one of these tools to be ideal for you. A belt sander is much more powerful and aggressive than a random orbital sander. This allows for a quicker material removal but the disadvantage is that the belt sander is more difficult to control and can easily ruin your surface if you are not keen. Additionally, a belt sander is more dangerous than a random orbital sander more so if a very coarse sanding belt is used.

Since a belt sander will leave behind sanding marks in the wood, it helps to sand with grain as much as possible to reduce the amount of cleanup needed later. And that’s where a random orbital sander comes in to remove the deep sanding scratches and make the surface smoother.

Still, have any questions in this Random Orbital Sander VS Belt Sander Review? Comment below.

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