Power sanders are simple power tools that may be used for a variety of tasks around the house. While they’re most commonly used to give a new table or bookcase a nice finish, they can be used for a lot more.
You can use them to abrade a painted surface to help the following layer of paint adhere better. A sander also removes mild rust, smooths drywall, deburrs the edge of metal you’ve just cut to length, rounds the corner of a wood post or railing, and smooths body filler on your classic car restoration.
You can even use them to polish the bottom of your kayak if it’s becoming a little scuffed up.
Porter-Cable sanders are among the top names you can find in power tools. Here, in our in-depth review, we look at the best offerings from the company and pit them against each other.
By the end of this guide, you’ll see which is the best powerful random orbit sander to meet your needs and suit your budget. (Find the Best Belt Sanders)
Why You Need a Good Porter Cable Random Orbit Sanders?
The sanders in this test are all a random orbital sander and have a fitted random orbit pad that measures around five or six inches across.
The sanding pads spin and oscillate in a random motion rather than just in a circular motion. With a random orbital sander, you get less of the swirl marks showing on your workpiece. Also, with a controllable pad speed, you can get the finest finish possible as you move the sander across the grain or body filler.
The sanding tools may offer a slower maximum sanding speed than other sanders, yet they can be more flexible using the hook and loop system to connect the sanding pads onto the base of the sander.
We initially questioned whether cordless sanders would be viable for most operations, assuming that their batteries would not give enough charge to complete the task and that the tools would be too cumbersome.
However, we discovered that cordless sanders perform admirably and work several advantages over their corded counterparts.
When you need a great finish or need to get rid of sharp plastic edges on something you’ve just cut, then a powerful sander in this range can suit you. (Find the Best Random Orbital Sander for Woodworking)
Porter-Cable is among the most reliable you can find when you want a sander compared to other brands. They carry out a decent job and can be better on the wallet than the likes of a Bosch Orbital sander or more durable than a Makita random orbit sander.
Top Porter Cable Random Orbit Sanders Reviews
1. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Random Orbital Sander, Cordless, 5-Inch
Any toolbox would benefit from having this Porter-Cable 20V Max Random Orbit Sander Model PCCW205B, which is part of Porter Cable’s line of low-cost cordless sanders. The cordless Porter Cable random orbital sander comes with a port adaptor for dust collection. It can accommodate vacuum hoses of different diameters, or you can stick with the dust collection bag for ease of movement.
You will also find the dust-sealed switch a gift as it prevents dust ingestion into the insides of this particular sander.
The best orbital sander is powered by the 20 V battery, offering 12,000 OPM, which makes it distinctive from the competitors sanding tools. Most other cordless random orbital sanders only offer 18 V on average.
The 20V Max Random Orbit Sander offers a single-speed setting, yet this is more than ideal for any sanding job. The device is lightweight and uses a 5-inch hook and loop sandpaper to get into smaller spaces than other larger sanders.
- Excellent ergonomics and lightweight
- Uses a detachable dust collection bag for effective dust collection
- Presents tiny vibration.
- Can be used as a bench-top sander.
- No variable speed level.
- More suited to large-handed people.
With a guide price of just under $40, this sander fits the bill and is perfect as it minimizes gouging you could get from some heavier sanders. The PCCW205B comes with a three-year limited warranty and a one-year service guarantee, and a 90-day money-back guarantee compared to other more expensive units from a different brand.
2. PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch
The Porter-Cable 382 is a high-quality random orbital sander full of great features. You’ll find this power tool from Porter-Cable, a true contender against the likes of DeWalt.
The Porter-Cable orbit sander has a full ball bearing design and dust-sealed power switch to keep the machine free of dust. It lacks in the design department, yet it is the highest quality random orbital sander for many tasks.
The Porter-Cable handheld orbit sander has an automatic speed system that allows the sander to speed up as you start sanding and slow down as you remove the sander from the surface. With this, you can minimize surface gouge marks and scuffs.
A dual-plane counter-balanced fan is included with the random orbit sander to help reduce vibration, which helps with fatigue in the hands. The sander has a built-in 1.9 amp motor and spins at 12,000 OPM.
The Porter-Cable random orbit sander comes with the standard 8-hole pattern hook and loop paper attachment system used on a Bosch sander or other brands.
- Durable construction
- 100% ball-bearing construction
- Dust collection with dust bag
- 3-year warranty
- No manual variable speed control
- Dust collector faces toward you
The hand sander has a guide price of just under $60. It costs a few dollars more than other models, yet it is more than worth it with the soft start making sure your work surface is protected.
You have full protection with a three-year limited warranty, a one-year service guarantee, and a 90-day money-back guarantee compared to Makita or DeWalt woodworking tools.
3. PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander with Polishing Pad, 6-Inch
It’s no surprise that many people, including woodworking professionals and DIY enthusiasts, like Porter-Cable 7346SP because the supplied polishing pad may be used for sanding and polishing.
Because it comes with a polishing pad beside the 6-inch sanding disc, the Porter-Cable 7346SP offers good versatility in that it can be used not just on wood but also on automotive and marine projects. You have variable speed from the start-up at 2,500 to 6,800 orbits per minute from the 4.5-amp motor to get the best finish.
This sander incorporates an adjustable side handle besides the polishing pad for enhanced comfort and control. Unfortunately, the sander lacks any dust control, which can be key factors in using this orbital action sander.
Although the Porter-Cable model can be used for other woodworking projects or wet sanding and paint prep, buffing cars appears to be its strongest suit. The variable speed is ideal for removing scratches and swirls and restoring a clear coat to look its best.
- Adjustable handle
- It comes with a sanding disc and polishing pad
- Variable speeds
- 3-year warranty
- No dust control
The Porter-Cable 7346SP isn’t a new model but keeps going even with a guide price of just under $130. It comes with the same three-year limited warranty covering defects from faulty materials or workmanship and the one-year free service contract. Porter-Cable will maintain the tool and replace worn parts from normal use.
4. PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander, 6-Inch
The random orbit sander from Porter-Cable is a substantial addition to heavy-duty work. It can be used as a polisher or a sander, although you need to purchase the polishing pad or other accessories. The motor draws 4.5 amps, which is more powerful than other brands for random orbit sanders.
The motor spins at a variable rate of 2,500 to 6,800 times per minute, and with a variable speed dial, you can adjust for the tasks you are doing.
The unit has a full ball and roller bearings construction for durability, and you can change the handle for right-handed or left-handed operation. The unit’s size is a drawback as it weighs six pounds and 11.5” x 10.5” x 6” in size.
- It uses a powerful 5-amp motor
- Variable speed control
- Two-position adjustable handle
- 3-year warranty
- No hook and loop pad attachment
With a guide price of just over $180, it is among the more expensive options. For many tasks, the lack of dust collection can be a significant limitation on the number of tasks or areas to use one of the best random orbital sanders for polishing.
Best Porter Cable Random Orbit Sander Buying Guide
It’s a good idea to consider your needs before beginning your search for a Porter cable orbital sander. There are various random orbital hand sanders available, and while one sander is suited to one type of work, another may be suited to another. (Read Polishing Concrete Countertops with Orbital Sander)
To pick the best palm sander, ask the following questions:
What do you need the random orbit sander for? If you have a one-time job, a low-powered orbital sander is better suited. A more robust sander, or portable cordless sander, may be required if you have more work.
What are the surfaces you’re sanding? If you’re sanding drywall plastered wall, a low-powered sander is maybe enough; but, if sanding a large piece of woodwork or polishing a car, then a more powerful sander is to be required.
How frequently will you use the sander? If you are planning on doing lots of sanding or using the sander occasionally? Evaluating orbital sander costs and characteristics is important.
RPM vs. OPM sanding pad speed
When comparing random orbit sanders, the speed at which the sanding pad spins is the first consideration.
- RPM – RPM means the rotations per minute of the random orbit sander.
- OPM (orbits per minute) are measurements other than RPM. Random orbit sanders are typically measured in OPM, and ones with an RPM rating are hard to compare to those with an OPM rating.
Some orbit sanders can spin on a fixed axis, and you can measure these orbit sanders using the RPM figure.
The motor Amp rating typically determines an orbit sander’s power rating. Most orbital sanders have a motor Amp rating ranging from 2.5 to 3.3 amps or more, although battery-powered variants appear. There are sanders with a more powerful motor, although some sanders with a lower spinning speed (OPM) can be more powerful than sanders with a faster spinning speed.
When shopping for an orbital sander, the sander’s dust collection should be an important priority. The ability of an orbital sander to collect dust is perhaps the most talked-about function. While most orbital sanders on the market today contain a dust collection unit, not all of them are created equal.
For dust collection, the following are the key features to look for:
- The size of the dust collection unit varies between sander models.
- How simple are the dust collection methods to empty?
- The efficiency of dust collection. Many collect dust in a bag, while some also allow you to connect a hose for total dust removal as you work.
A random orbit sander’s warranty usually spans one and three years. This makes a difference, especially when you look at the size of the sander and how much you will use it.
In addition to the regular warranty, Porter Cable orbital sanders offer a significant warranty and customer support, no matter how you use your sander.
The PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Random Orbital Sander, Cordless, 5-Inch is a great tool and can be used by almost anyone.
It offers an ergonomic design with a soft grip to prevent hand fatigue. Besides this, the motor throws out more than enough power to cut through the most demanding jobs. (Learn Sockets Sizes in Order)
The 20V MAX fits in with other tools from the range, so battery backup is never an issue. When you need something to sand quickly and efficiently for anyone’s budget, the PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Random Orbital Sander is among the best sanders you can get.