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Welcome!

 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

Best budget orbital sander according to a DIY blogger

Wondering what tools to buy when you're starting your DIY journey? Read this!

best budget orbital sander

If you're anything like me, you've googled best budget orbital sander and been overwhelmed by the choice, looked at a few products which all sounded brilliant and felt unsure how to choose as you can't actually try them out. I've written this post to help take away some of the stress of choosing this must-have DIY tool, as I've spent a lot of time sanding and as always I haven't been paid or sponsored to write this, so you can trust my honest review. 


How to choose an orbital sander


best budget orbital sander

To decide on the best budget orbital sander, there are a few factors you need to consider, namely performance and, of course, what your budget actually stretches to. If you are an occasional DIYer, you probably don't need the best orbital sander on the market and can, therefore, save a few pounds by opting for a middle-of-the-road product that will be more than able to meet your sanding requirements. If you are refinishing doors, upcycling furniture or sanding stairs before installing a DIY stair runner for example then you'll be very happy with the model I use as it's one of the best random orbital sanders available for the price. 


When it comes to the best budget orbital sanders, brands like Makita, Bosch, Erbauer, and Dewalt will pop up. These power tools boast features like variable speed control, excellent dust extraction systems with dust ports or bags, and ergonomic designs for better control and less hand fatigue during long periods of use.


Some models have brushless motors and adjustable speeds, offering power and versatility for various woodworking projects. Whether you're smoothing surfaces on a piece of furniture or tackling big projects, these sanders deliver the best results with smoother finishes and minimal swirl marks. 


Some orbital sanders come with a side handle, so consider whether this is a deal-breaking feature for you. I was happy to use the main handle to guide the sander when it was in action, but you might decide an extra handle is key for you.


Why buy an orbital sander?


mouse sander for diyers

For a really long time, I managed with my little mouse sander. It was cheap and easy to use and great for detail work and getting into tight spaces, but it was small and slow and made larger jobs like sanding a large family dining table take forever. In the end, I was tempted by an offer on the Bosch random orbital sander which brought it in at under £50 so I decided to give it a try and never looked back. The power and speed of the random orbital sander vs the mouse sander is like night and day. It works at much higher speeds and the round pad makes light work of creating smooth surfaces for your DIYs. 


Do I need a cordless orbital sander?


best budget orbital sander - green orbital sander

For those who prefer cordless convenience, cordless random orbital sanders are a great option, providing freedom of movement without the hassle of cords, but this convenience comes at a price, literally. Cordless sander models are generally more expensive and also require more forethought and management as you need to ensure you have charged the sander prior to use (something I'm terrible at!) and for a large job, you'll likely need to put it back on recharge or have a spare battery charged ready to swap in. I personally decided to buy a long extension lead to provide the freedom of being able to take the sander outside and away from a power outlet without the hassle of negotiating the battery life of cordless budget orbital sander. 


Key features of a random orbital sander?


I know power tools can seem complicated to use at first sight, so thought it'd be helpful to note the key features of the random orbital sander along with a few tips and tricks. As power tools go, a sander is one of the easier ones to get to grips with as aside from the power button, there aren't lots of buttons to navigate. 


Power button


orbital sander power switch

Press this on when you've connected the power lead to mains power source. This model doesn't have speed settings so it's either on or off. You can vary the grit of the sanding sheet to increase or reduce abrasion. 


Ergonomic Soft-Grip Handle

This is the part of the sander you hold, to guide the sanding disc and sheet over the work surface you're sanding. 


Dust bag / dust collector


orbital sander dust bag

This is where the dust collects while you use the random orbital sander, but I would recommend attaching to a vacuum if you can as I don't find the dust collection to be sufficient if using indoors. If you are outside, I recommend wearing a mask. 


Sanding disc


Orbital sander  sanding pad

This is the mechanism of the sander that orbits and vibrates, creating the random orbital motion.


Sanding sheet


The sanding sheets attach to the sanding disc via a hook and loop (velcro) system. They can be changed according to the sanding task at hand. 


This is the Bosch recommendation for which sanding sheet to use...

Source: Bosch random orbital sander manual.

orbital sander info from manual
Bosch orbital sander info

Best budget orbital sander, according to this DIY blogger


At around £50, I found the Bosch PEX 220A to be the best budget orbital sander. Representing the best value, it's a good choice for keen DIYers who have a lot of material to sand and who want an electric sander that provides a good finish. The only downside I have found is the dust extraction when you are using it indoors, but I'm very averse to dust as I live with an asthmatic, so I am probably more sensitive than many about this aspect. For ease of use, ergonomic design and lots of power this model is a win.    


If your budget can stretch further, then you could maybe investigate random orbit sander models that also offer great dust extraction for fine dust, and variable speeds could be a good enhancement, too - although I've found it totally manageable to work without these aspects, so it really is down to personal preference. 


Where next?

If you are looking for the best tools to buy, be sure to check out my post on the must-have DIY tools for beginners.


I've written a DIY dictionary guide to sanding terms and definitions which you might find useful.


Check out this handy tutorial on how to make a sanding stick from a paint stirrer and sandpaper.


There's a section dedicated to sanding in my online course - DIY and home styling for beginners


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