Specs are provided by each manufacturer and are not verified by Tools of the Trade.
THIRD PLACE
BoschAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE
ROS20VSK2.27,500-12,0003/32 inch3.5 pounds$79
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StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
2
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
Our third-place tool is very comfortable and smooth in operation and has high- quality features, like the most efficient dust collector. A fine finishing sander all around and priced much lower than our top two picks.
Ergonomics
Switch: Rocker switch with dust boot, easy action.
Grip: Elongated handle, very comfortable in top grip and body grip positions.
Vibration: Excellent
Control
Lands on work: Excellent
Tracking: Very good
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 6.7 grams
Placement order: 7th
Dust Collection
Dust container: Two-piece plastic box with pleated filter, very effective and easy to use.
Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 86.6%
Placement order: 1st
Vacuum: Fits 36mm and 1-1/4-inch hose ends securely.
Features
Optional PSA and other hook-and-loop pads available.
Contact
Bosch
877-267-2499
www.boschtools.com
Craftsman ProAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE
276733.05,000-12,0001/8 inch3.1 pounds$70
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StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
3
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
This tool proved a bit too aggressive and hard to control when sanding. That and a few rough features put it well behind the other models tested.
Ergonomics
Switch: Rocker switch with dust boot, easy action.
Grip: Wide teardrop-shape handle, sharp ridges on the top handle, and protruding screw boss on the body dig into fingers with either grip position.
Vibration: Fair
Control
Lands on work: Fair
Tracking: Poor
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 9.6 grams
Placement order: 2nd
Dust Collection
Dust container: Plastic cyclonic separator with no filter, blows dust out forcibly when tilted or inverted.
Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 65.6%
Placement order: 5th
Vacuum: Fits 1-1/4- and 2-1/4-inch hose ends with included adapter.
Features
The only tool in the test without a protective case.
Contact
Craftsman Professional
800-932-3188
www.craftsman.com
DeWaltAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE
D264533.07,000-12,0003/32 inch3.5 pounds$89
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StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
4
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
This sander is solid and serviceable, but it performed a bit timidly and didn't really stand out in performance and features, including dust collection.
Ergonomics
Switch: Rocker switch with dust boot, easy action.
Grip: Narrow teardrop-shape handle, somewhat slippery on top without rubberized fingertip padding. Comfortable body grip.
Vibration: Good
Control
Lands on work: Good
Tracking: Good
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 7.2 grams
Placement order: 6th
Dust Collection
Dust container: Wide-mouth fabric bag with coil spring to hold the bag's shape. Twists off tool and dumps easily, but spring can fall out.
Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 48.6%
Placement order: 9th (last)
Vacuum: Fits 36mm hose end but needs tape to hold it on.
Features
Optional PSA pad available.
Contact
DeWalt Industrial Tools
800-337-8600
www.dewalt.com
SECOND PLACE
FestoolAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE
ETS125EQ1.76,000-14,0005/64 inch2.4 pounds$170
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StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
5
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
A real finesse sander, this highly refined tool excels at fine finishing, but is not ideal for rougher prep work due to its slow rate of stock removal. Very light and maneuverable; the best for such delicate operations as rounding over board edges with precise control.
Ergonomics
Switch: Large, bare rocker switch, easy action.
Grip: Elongated handle, very comfortable and easy to hold despite the lack of any rubberized grip surfaces.
Vibration: Excellent
Control
Lands on work: Excellent
Tracking: Excellent
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 4.5 grams
Placement order: 8th (last)
Dust Collection
Dust container: Disposable paper bag that is fussy to use.
Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 62.2%
Placement order: 7th
Vacuum: Fits 36mm and 1-1/4-inch hose ends securely.
Features
Removable power cord. Other hook-and-loop pads available. The dust-collection holes on the pad have nonstandard spacing and require using Festool disks. (We punched custom holes in our test disks for continuity.)
Contact
Festool USA
888-337-8600
www.festoolusa.com
HitachiAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE
SV13YA2.47,000-12,0001/8 inch3.1 pounds$80
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StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
6
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
This sander has a very aggressive yet controlled feel and is hard to slow down. It was one we grabbed to remove a lot of stock. A comfortable mid-tier tool, its dust collection is very good, but its tiny slider switch proved frustratingly hard to operate.
Ergonomics
Switch: Small slider switch is slippery, very difficult to use.
Grip: Elongated handle, comfortable but a bit thick at the back for lifting with rear fingers. Very nice body grip.
Vibration: Fair
Control
Lands on work: Fair
Tracking: Fair
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 9.5 grams
Placement order: 3rd
Dust Collection
Dust container: Fabric bag that must be unzipped to empty. Blows dust out its sides or falls off if not secured very tightly.
Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 67.4%
Placement order: 3rd
Vacuum: There is no provision for vacuum dust collection with this sander.
Features
Optional PSA and other hook-and-loop pads available.
Contact
Hitachi Power Tools
800-829-4752
www.hitachipowertools.com
MakitaAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE
BO5031K3.04,000-12,0001/8 inch2.8 pounds $80
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StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
7
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
Just behind our top three, this sander balances good all-around performance and a very comfortable feel.
Ergonomics
Switch: Rocker switch with dust boot, easy action.
Grip: Narrow teardrop-shape handle and narrow body, very comfortable in either grip position.
Vibration: Good
Control
Lands on work: Good
Tracking: Good
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 8.7 grams
Placement order: 5th (tie)
Dust Collection
Dust container: Wide-mouth fabric bag that twists off its plastic adapter for emptying.
Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 66.7%
Placement order: 4th
Vacuum: Fits 2-1/4-inch hose end but needs tape to hold it on. With the optional vac adapter accessory taped on, a 36mm hose end can be made to fit, but with great difficulty. Hard to use with vacuum dust collection overall.
Features
Optional PSA pad available.
Contact
Makita U.S.A.
800-462-5482
www.makitatools.com
MilwaukeeAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE
6021-213.07,000-12,0003/32 inch3.3 pounds$69
Image
Large Image
StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
8
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
A very smooth-running tool with a nice combination of strength and finesse, and at a low price.
Ergonomics
Switch: Rocker switch with stiff dust boot gives difficult action; best labeling.
Grip: Widest teardrop-shape handle feels a bit bulky. Decent body grip but impaired by large dust port.
Vibration: Very good
Control
Lands on work: Very good
Tracking: Very good
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 9.4 grams
Placement order: 4th
Dust Collection
Dust container: Wide-mouth fabric bag with captive coil spring to hold the bag's shape. Twists off tool and empties very easily. Large dust port and container held off to the side move the balance away from the center of the tool.
Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 59.6%
Placement order: 8th
Vacuum: Fits 36mm and 1-1/4-inch hose ends.
Features
Soft-start motor. Optional PSA pad available.
Contact
Milwaukee Electric Tool
800-729-3878
www.milwaukeetool.com
WINNER
Porter-CableAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE

390K

3.57,000-12,0003/32 inch3.0 pounds$129
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Larger images
StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
9
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
Superior sanding results and a powerful motor we couldn't slow down made this tool our winner. The most efficient sander tested, it removed stock the quickest and left the nicest finish. Handling its unusual shape took some getting used to, but eventually its effectiveness won us over.
Ergonomics
Switch: Bare rocker switch, easy action, well labeled.
Grip: Wide teardrop-shape handle with minimal recess for fingertip gripping is bulky but has low and stable feel; no body-grip option.
Vibration: Excellent
Control
Lands on work: Very good
Tracking: Excellent
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 10 grams
Placement order: 1st
Dust Collection
Dust container: Wide-mouth porous plastic canister is easy to twist off tool and empty. Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 65%
Placement order: 6th
Vacuum: Fits 36mm hose end but needs tape to hold it on.
Features
High-torque brushless motor with soft-start feature, constant-speed electronic controls, and a motor brake. Optional PSA pad available.
Contact
Porter-Cable
888-848-5175
www.deltaportercable.com
RidgidAMP RATINGORBITS PER MINUTE (OPM) ORBIT SIZEWEIGHT STREET PRICE
R26013.07,000-12,0003/32 inch3.5 pounds$70
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Larger images
StoryID
1200315
ToolNumber
10
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628776
Comments
This capable tool performed adequately and has great dust collection, but it didn't do enough to set itself apart from the competition. The delayed soft-start feature was off-putting, and the switch was hard to use.
Ergonomics
Switch: Push-through body switch difficult to turn off.
Grip: Wide teardrop-shape handle and body grip are both decent, but the latter is impaired by large dust port.
Vibration: Fair
Control
Lands on work: Poor
Tracking: Fair
Stock Removal
Amount of material sanded off maple in 3-minute trials with 100-grit disk: 8.7 grams
Placement order: 5th (tie)
Dust Collection
Dust container: Wide-mouth fabric bag with captive coil spring to hold the bag's shape. Twists off tool and empties very easily. Large dust port and container held off to the side move the balance away from the center of the tool.
Efficiency of dust container collection in trials: 80.5%
Placement order: 2nd
Vacuum: Fits 36mm, 1-1/4-, and 2-1/4-inch hose ends.
Features
Soft-start motor. Lighted cord end. Optional PSA pad available.
Contact
Ridgid Power Tools
866-539-1710
www.ridgid.com