The best orbital sander: Is Bosch or DeWalt the winner ?

There are some jobs that call for an orbital sander, something small and hand held for applications that require fine sanding rather than coarse.

The Bosch ROS20VSK 120-Volt Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander Kit and the DEWALT D26451K Corded 3 Amp 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander with Cloth Dust Bag are both very popular with consumers, from professionals who depend on their tools to make a living to Weekend Warriors who like nothing better than projects around the hearth and home.

Which orbit sander is the best ?

But, which one is superior? The Bosch ROS20VSK or the DEWALT D26451K? Which of these orbital sanders would provide you with dependable service and the best quality for the price? When you start shopping around and comparing products, trying to determine which would best fit your needs, it can be a little overwhelming. It sometimes proves immensely helpful to be able to see a summary of the key points and features about the two products that have made it to your short list; all laid out neatly to let you see at a glance which one has more of what you want.

That is what we are going to do with the Bosch ROS20VSK 120-Volt and the DEWALT D26451K: give a detailed review of features and important selling points.

Why Not Buy a No-Name Orbit Sander?

You may have seen some cheap orbital sanders that weren’t made by a brand you recognized, but were significantly lower priced than one of the famous names, and wondered if the brand name was worth paying more to get.

Guess what? Yes, it is. The brand name orbital sanders and other power tools do come with a higher price tag than the generic ones, but they are worth every penny of it.

Look at it this way: You might find a mass produced orbital sander at half the price of a Bosch or a DEWALT, but that low price could cost you a lot more in the long run simply because it could ruin expensive materials. As a rule of thumb, the super cheap power tools are not held to any exacting standards of quality like the well known brands are. The materials and the workmanship are inferior and cut rate. Plus, they usually self destruct quickly, if they work when you take them out of the box. Warranty? It’s doubtful a no-name power tool will have much of a warranty but even if it does, you can probably count on paying exorbitant shipping fees to send it back to where it came from, besides a lengthy wait to get a replacement or a refund.

So, by the time you buy a couple of low end orbital sanders, trying to get one that will actually do the job, you could have invested in a high quality product from a reputable brand name that would stand behind it all the way with a reasonable warranty.

Sometimes it is better to pay a little more up front and get a good product than to keep throwing good money after bad with a succession of crummy ones.

Let’s move ahead now and look at the table below, which shows some of the major points of the Bosch and the DEWALT.
[ultimatetables 21 /]

It’s easy to see that there are some differences between these two orbital sanders. We’ll look at each main feature and compare the Bosch to the DEWALT.

Motor

The DEWALT is our winner as far as horsepower, with 3 amps where the Bosch has 2.2. Still, this isn’t a huge difference and it might not even be enough of a difference to affect your opinion of the lower amped Bosch.

To be scrupulously fair, even if you never need that other .8 of an amp—the DEWALT takes first place in the power of the motor.

Speed

The DEWALT come through with an impressive 12,000 opm, considered to be the optimal sanding speed. The unique DEWALT Controlled Finishing System (CFS) serves a dual purpose: it controls the pad speed while minimizing gouging your material while starting up. The Bosch 120-Volt Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander Kit also has variable speed and a smooth start up, instrumental in eliminating gouges.

As far as speed is concerned, we’ll have to call this one a tie between the DEWALT orbital sander and the Bosch.

Finish

Perhaps one of the most critical things about an orbital sander is the finish you can get with it. If you have ever seen a surface that was badly finished with all manner of gouges, dips and swirls….you will understand why this is so. The Controlled Finishing System of the DEWALT orbital sander mentioned above plays a big part in delivering a smooth, uniform and consistent surface. The Bosch, too, provides you with a great, smooth finish. The Bosch integral pad dampening system, along with its pad braking system, team up to provide a flawless finish.

A closeup up Bosch's pads

In this area, the D26451K and the ROS20VSK seem to be evenly matched.

User Friendliness

When you are talking about a power tool that is hand held, it needs to be ergonomically designed for comfort and to reduce operator fatigue. The Bosch orbital sander is relatively lightweight, which is a decided bonus as a clunky, heavy model would tire you out in record time. Besides the discomfort involved, when you get tired it is harder to control the sander and your finish suffers for it, too. The vibration is minimal, another plus for the Bosch. It has a comfy soft grip top and body, as well as multiple grip positions to help reduce fatigue during use. The DEWALT orbital sander offers an anti-slip top as well as body grip for maximum comfort and control. It doesn’t have a lot of vibration. Another feature designed for user friendliness is its dual plane fan that is counter balanced and affords all of the control you need. Both sanders are basically lightweight, another pro for being user friendly.

All in all, we’ll have to declare it a tie in the user friendly department.

Dust Collection

Dust collection is a big deal when you are using a sander. The last thing you want is sawdust fogging up your entire work area and the surface of your material. Again, the Bosch ROS20VSK 120-Volt Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander Kit and the DEWALT D26451K Corded 3 Amp 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander with Cloth Dust Bag are both contenders for first place in the dust collection feature. The Bosch random orbital sander gets rave reviews for its on-board dust collection system that seals tightly and does an excellent job of keeping the dust inside. It also has a vacuum attachment that you can connect to a vacuum. The dust container twists on and off easily, but is considered by some to be too small, so using the vacuum attachment might be advisable for big jobs. The DEWALT sander also scores high points for its dust collection. Most users really like the attached dust bag, although some recommend attaching the sander to a vacuum for large jobs with lots of dust.

We have a tie again!

The Bottom Line

The Bosch Random Orbit Sander Kit and the DEWALT Random Orbit Sander are very similar. Which one you decide to purchase will largely be based on personal or brand preference more than any significant differences between the two products. The DEWALT has a slightly more powerful motor, but not enough to make that much difference, especially for smaller jobs and home use.

In all other areas, there isn’t a hairs width of difference between them. Of course, there is the matter of the warranty, with DEWALT a clear winner there because of its three year warranty as opposed to the one year warranty offered by the Bosch.

Which of these orbital sanders is better? The Bosch ROS20VSK or the DEWALT D26451K?

I prefer the dewalt. We’ve seen a close fight, but even if the dewalt only wins by a tiny margin…- it is still the better product!

Order the Champion! (DeWalt)

or

Go for the “second winner” (Bosch)

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