Tool Tests and Reviews

  • Update: 5-Inch Random Orbit Sanders

    7 of the 9 tools in this 2010 test are still available.

  • Bosch ROS65VC-5 Random-Orbit Sander

    This rear handle 5-inch has effective onboard dust collection and a suspension system that nearly eliminates vibration.

  • Festool Rotex RO125 FEQ Sander

    This dual-mode machine can be used for fine sanding but is best suited to heavy stock removal.

  • Makita BO5041K Random Orbital Sander

    This lightweight tool is easy to hold and produces a very good finish.

  • Porter-Cable 97455 Random Orbital Sander

    This right-angle model can finish sand but is best suited to heavy stock removal.

  • Bosch 3725DEVS Random Orbital Sander

    Good performance and competitive price and features allow this legacy model to keep going strong.

  • 5-inch Random-Orbital Sanders

    Spin control: five rear handle and right angle models go head to head in this tool test.

  • A push-button switch starts the tool and toggles through high, medium, and low speeds (the other button stops the tool). The sander takes 5-inch 8-hole hook-and-loop disks.

    Makita LXOB01 Cordless Sander

    This 18-volt tool is about a half-pound heavier than comparable corded models, but it feels similar in use.

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    DeWalt DWV012 Dust Extractor

    This self-cleaning HEPA vacuum is designed to collect the fine dust produced by sanding drywall, demolishing plaster, and cutting, grinding, and drilling concrete.

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    FirstTest: Two-Handed Sanding

    Just after we completed our 5-inch random-orbit-sander tool test for the Winter issue, Makita announced the release of an updated model.

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    Tool Test: 5-inch Random-Orbit Sanders

    The workhorse sander for most tradesmen is the 5-inch-diameter random-orbit sander. Thanks to its ability to hog off stock with a coarse grit disk and leave a smooth, finished surface with a fine grit, this single tool has replaced the old progression of belt sander to half-sheet finish sander for...

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    2010 Editor's Choice: Ridgid R1005 Angle Grinder

    When we saw Ridgid's new R1005 angle grinder, it immediately struck us as an ergonomic solution to this category's age-old problem.

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    Stanley Sweetheart Socket Chisels and #92 Shoulder Plane

    Stanley is reviving its old Sweetheart branding yet again, this time for a line of bench chisels.

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    Lee Valley Tools Veritax Skew Block Plane

    Lee Valley Tools comes up with a lot of thoughtful designs, and its Veritas brand Skew Block Plane ($189) is no exception.

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    Kunz 5 Plus Jack Plane

    Kunz has a new premium plane line.

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    FirstTest: Lee Valley Plane Irons

    As with any edge tool, a hand plane's blade, or iron, is the key to its performance. Yet many people try to make due with their irons poorly tuned and sharpened. The irons on common planes usually need a significant amount of work before they will cut suitably, and then even more to cut really well.

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    First Test: Porter-Cable's High-Tech Sander

    Porter-Cable's new 390K 5-inch random orbit sander looks different because it is different. It is built around a new type of DC motor that Porter-Cable calls the EnduraTech. Besides not having brushes to replace, the motor has 71% fewer wear components, which should result in much longer tool life...

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    First Test: Metabo SE 12-115 Burnisher

    Metabo's SE 12-115 burnisher basically is a slow, variable-speed angle grinder with an extended spindle that fits accessory wheels up to 4-inches wide and 4 1/2-inches in diameter. A key on the spindle fits a groove in the wheels to provide a positive mechanical drive, and spacers of different...

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    Portable Thickness Planers

    Whether you are setting up a woodworking shop or just need to dimension trim on a jobsite, a thickness planer is one of the first tools you should buy. Planers come in many sizes, however; the 24-inch width model we use in our shop weighs close to 700 pounds–not a real portable tool. Smaller 12- to...

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    First Test: T-Drill T-35 Tee-Forming Tool

    A T-Drill is a unique, incredible plumber's tool that I've relied on to give me a competitive edge for nearly a decade, yet most people–including many plumbers–have never heard of it. So when I was asked to review the new T-35, I was eager to see what kind of improvements they made to this amazing...

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