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Da Sander Vs Random Orbital: 27 Property [Explained]

Da Sander Vs Random Orbital

Last Updated on March 18, 2023

Sanding is an important part of any woodworking or home improvement project. When choosing the right sander for your sanding projects, two of the most popular sander styles are dual-action (DA) sanders and random orbit sanders. But what’s the difference between them?

The main difference between a dual-action sander and a random orbital sander is the motion of the sanding pad. A dual-action sander moves the sanding pad in both a circular motion and an oscillating motion, while a random orbital sander only moves the sanding pad in a circular motion.

Whether you’re looking for power and speed or ease of use without compromising results, this blog post will provide the tools necessary to make the right decision.

Da Sander Vs Random Orbital: Explained

Da Sander Vs Random Orbital

Property 01: Color and Style

There are many color and style options available for sanders, including standard colors like black, grey, and orange, as well as earthy tones like browns and tans.

In terms of style, there is a wide range of designs ranging from industrial to modern with varying features and attachments depending on the brand or model chosen.

Custom designs may also be available for those seeking something truly unique, such as logos or graphics customized onto the surface of the sander. Similarly, special finishes like wood grain looks or metallics can be requested for an even more personalized touch.

Additionally, some sanders have interchangeable accessories that allow users to add certain attachments to extend the range of uses usually associated with their device.

Color and Style

For those looking for something really special, custom paint jobs could be done using specialized paints designed specifically for use on sanders which would allow customers to get creative and give their sander a one-of-a-kind look.

Property 02: Materials

The Dual-Action (DA) Sander is commonly made of lightweight plastic material for the housing, handles, and other parts of the tool. Random Orbital Sanders are usually composed of metal or another durable material for the housing but may also incorporate plastic in some components.

All parts of the sander should be corrosion-resistant and hard-wearing to ensure long-lasting performance. Both types of sanders should feature easy-to-grip handles that are comfortable and provide a secure hold for safety purposes.

Property 03: Build quality

The overall build quality of the Dual-Action (DA) Sander typically features a plastic housing and handles, making it lightweight and easy to maneuver.

Random Orbital Sanders usually feature metal housings and handles that are more resistant to wear and tear, ensuring longer lifespans for the tool.

Both types of sanders should include reinforced housings for stability and dust-sealed bearings to protect them against damage caused by dust accumulation. Additionally, both tools should have safety measures to ensure user protection while operating the sander.

Property 04: Ease of Maintenance

Ease of Maintenance

The Dual-Action (DA) Sander tends to be typically easy to maintain due to its lightweight plastic construction and accessible internal parts.

Random Orbital Sanders generally require more maintenance due to their metal construction but are designed for easy access to the internal components for cleaning and servicing.

Both types of sanders should also feature dust-sealed bearings that provide protection from dust and debris buildup, as well as tool-free sandpaper change mechanisms that make changing paper a breeze.

Property 05: Speed Settings

Dual-Action Sanders have fewer speed settings than Random Orbital Sanders, typically 4 RPM and 6 RPM. Random Orbital Sanders have a greater range of speed settings between 6 RPM and 10 RPM.

Dual-Action Sanders is equipped with electronic speed control that allows for manual adjustment of the sanding pad’s rotation rate.

DA Sander

Random Orbital Sanders come equipped with variable speed dials, which provide more precise control over how fast or slow the sanding pad spins when in operation.

Both types of sanders also have overload protection features which help protect them from any possible damage due to pressure being applied too quickly or too heavily during use.

Property 06: Vibration levels

Dual-Action Sanders usually produce a higher level of vibration due to their dual-platen construction, but most models come with built-in vibration-dampening pads and anti-vibration handles to reduce this.

Random Orbital Sanders typically have lower levels of vibration, thanks to the circular motion they use during operation, however, some models also have built-in dampening features such as counterweighted handles for extra comfort.

Property 07: Weight

Dual-Action Sanders are generally heavier than Random Orbital Sanders and can include additional attachments such as an edge guide or a sanding pad. Most models also have counterweights, or anti-vibration handles to help reduce the strain on your arms while in use.

Random Orbital Sanders usually weigh less than Dual-Action Sanders and may have ergonomic handles that make them easier to control, as well as provide greater comfort when in use.

Property 08: Dust Extraction

Dust Extraction

Dual-Action Sanders generally have higher efficiency dust extraction systems than Random Orbital Sanders, often including a built-in dust bag that can be easily removed and emptied. Some models also come with onboard HEPA filters to improve the system’s effectiveness.

Random Orbital Sanders typically has built-in port connections that allow you to attach an external vacuum cleaner for efficient dust removal. However, some models may not include a built-in dust bag or HEPA filter.

Property 09: Anti-slip grip

Dual-Action Sanders typically have rubberized handles or textured grips to help improve grip and control, as well as improved stability during use. Additionally, some models may feature adjustable or padded handles, which can help reduce fatigue and strain from extended use.

Random Orbital Sanders also typically have textured or rubberized handle grips for better grip and control but typically lack any additional features to improve comfort or reduce fatigue.

Property 10: Size and weight

Dual-Action Sanders typically have a length of 6 to 8 inches, a width of 5 to 6 inches, and a height of 5 to 7 inches. The main body weight ranges from 3 to 4 pounds, with additional attachments potentially adding extra weight.

Random Orbital Sander

Random Orbital Sanders typically range in length from 5 to 7 inches, width from 4 to 6 inches, and height from 4 to 5 inches. The main body weight is usually around 2 pounds, and additional attachments can add extra weight.

Property 11: Sanding action

Dual-Action Sanders are ideal for sanding curved surfaces, as the oscillation and rotation of the sandpaper provide more control and a superior finish. However, it is possible that the two motions may cause the sander to work harder and create a lot of vibrations.

Random Orbital Sanders are best used on flat surfaces as they provide a very smooth finish without deep scratches or gouges. The circular motion of the sander also reduces fatigue and vibration due to its much gentler action than dual-action sanders.

Property 12: Finishes


Dual-Action Sanders is capable of creating a smooth and uniform finish on curved surfaces. The oscillating motion of the sander helps to prevent deep scratches or gouges, but it can leave swirl marks due to the two motions coming together.

Random Orbital Sanders are highly effective at producing a matte or glossy finish with minimal swirl marks on flat surfaces.

This type of sander is also able to achieve very consistent and uniform results as the sandpaper moves in a circular pattern, making it ideal for large swaths of woodwork or “filling in” with finer grits.

Property 13: Power and speed

Dual-Action Sanders typically uses an electric motor that is capable of generating higher speeds and greater torque. This type of sander is able to rotate between 0-8000 revolutions per minute (RPM), allowing for a wide range of sanding projects.

Random Orbital Sanders also uses an electric motor, but the maximum RPM is lower at around 6000 RPM. The slower speed means that the sander has better control over the surface being sanded, preventing any deep scratches or gouges.

Some models of Random Orbital Sander may have adjustable speed settings, while Dual-Action Sanders usually operate at a fixed RPM.

Property 14: Dust collection

Dual-Action Sanders usually has dust collection systems built into the sander, with an integrated dust bag to catch and collect any excess dust. These dust bags are usually disposable, so they must be changed regularly in order to maximize efficiency.

Random Orbital Sanders tend to require an external system for dust collection, such as a vacuum hose or dust bag that is connected to the sander. This provides better efficiency and convenience as the user does not have to switch out the integrated dust bag constantly.

Property 15: Price and availability

The price of the sanders can vary greatly depending on the brand, features, and materials used. Generally speaking, Dual-Action Sanders are more expensive than Random Orbital Sanders because of their higher speeds and greater torque.

Dual-Action Sanders are also more likely to be sold in specialty stores and hardware stores, while Random Orbital Sanders may be available in more general retailers such as department stores or online.

Property 16: Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Dual-Action Sanders tend to be larger and more powerful than Random Orbital Sanders, making them more difficult to use in tight spaces. The grips are also wider and thicker than those of Random Orbital Sanders, which can make them less comfortable to hold.

Random Orbital Sanders are usually smaller and lighter, making them easier to maneuver and less fatiguing to work with. Additionally, it is usually simpler to change the sandpaper on a Random Orbital Sander due to its simpler construction.

Both types of sanders may have additional features, such as variable speed settings or dust collection systems, that can improve usability and user-friendliness.

Property 17: Noise level

The noise levels of the two types of sanders vary depending on the capability of the motor and any additional features that might reduce noise. Generally, Dual-Action Sanders have higher decibel levels due to their more powerful motors.

Random Orbital Sanders produces less noise because they often have lower-power motors or mufflers installed to reduce sound. Additionally, many Random Orbital Sanders are equipped with vibration dampeners that help reduce noise even further.

Property 18: Vibration

Dual-Action Sanders tends to produce more vibration than Random Orbital Sanders due to the powerful motors they use. As a result, they usually come equipped with features such as soft-grip handles and vibration-dampening pads that help reduce or absorb vibrations.

Meanwhile, Random Orbital Sanders typically has lower power motors that generate less vibration in the first place but may also be equipped with soft-grip handles and dampening pads for further comfort.

Property 19: Power source

Both Dual-Action Sanders and Random Orbital Sanders can be corded or cordless, with the corded models being more powerful. Cordless models typically use lithium-ion batteries for extended runtime and cordless operations.

Cordless sanders are also generally easier to handle and provide greater convenience in certain applications. The runtime of a battery will vary depending on the power of the motor, but it is usually enough for most jobs without needing to be recharged.

Property 20: Ergonomics


Dual-Action Sanders usually have a larger handle shape and size, which can provide more stability and better control. They may also feature adjustable handles to help customize the fit for different users.

Random Orbital Sanders tend to be smaller in size, but their handles are still ergonomic and designed for comfortable use over extended periods of time. Both types of sanders often feature padded grips or other additional features that improve comfort during use.

Property 21: Durability

Dual-Action Sanders are usually more durable and have longer lifespans due to their reinforced housings and larger size. They also typically feature dust-sealed bearings that improve the tool’s resistance to deterioration.

Random Orbital Sanders often feature less robust construction and components, which can limit their lifespan and durability compared to dual-action sanders.

Property 22: Versatility

Dual-Action Sanders are generally more versatile than Random Orbital Sanders, as they can accommodate a wider range of sandpaper grits and work with a variety of materials.

They may also include additional attachments or accessories, such as polishing discs or buffing pads, making them even more versatile.

Random Orbital Sanders tend to have fewer options in terms of available attachments, but they can still work with different sandpaper grits and be used on various materials.

Property 23: Flat surfaces

Dual-Action Sanders are typically more effective and efficient for sanding flat surfaces, thanks to their larger sanding pads and powerful motors. They can also easily handle heavier workloads, ensuring consistent results.

Random Orbital Sanders offers good results when sanding flat surfaces, but they may require more time and effort due to their smaller pads and lower power output.

Property 24: Edges

Random Orbital Sanders are usually the better choice for sanding edges and corners due to their compact size and lightweight design, which makes them easier to maneuver in tight spaces. They also excel in precision tasks thanks to their ability to accommodate fine-grit sandpaper.

Dual-Action Sanders are still suitable for sanding edges and corners, but they may not be as precise or maneuverable as Random Orbital Sanders due to their larger size and weight.

Property 25: Corners

Random Orbital Sanders are generally the best choice for sanding tight corners, as they have smaller sanding pads that allow them to access hard-to-reach areas.

They also offer adjustable angles and variable speeds, allowing users to adjust the settings for a more precise finish.

Dual-Action Sanders can still be used for sanding tight corners, but their larger sanding pads may make it difficult to reach certain areas.

Property 26: Large surfaces

Large surfaces

Dual-Action Sanders are typically the better choice for sanding large surfaces, thanks to their wide sanding pads and high-speed settings, which allow them to cover more area in less time.

Random Orbital Sanders can also be used on large surfaces, but they might not be as efficient or effective due to their smaller sanding pads and lower speed settings.

Property 27: Detailing

Random Orbital Sanders are often the best choice for producing fine finishes and detailed work, as they offer adjustable speed settings and the ability to use finer grit sandpaper to achieve a smoother finish.

Dual-Action Sanders remain useful for this purpose, but their higher speed settings and larger sanding pads may lead to less precise results.

To get the most accurate finish possible, it’s recommended that you use a Random Orbital Sander with fine-grit sandpaper and adjustable speed settings.

Why is it Called DA Sander?

The term “DA sander” stands for dual-action sander because it has two distinct motion types, orbital and vibrating. This allows the sanding pad to move in circles and also back and forth at the same time, allowing for a smoother finish with less effort than conventional sanders.

Combining these two motions also creates more consistent surface finishes when compared to using a single-motion sander. Additionally, Dual Action Sanders is able to handle heavier materials better than single-motion ones, making them an ideal choice for professional woodworking projects.

Is Random Orbit the Same as Dual-Action?

No, random orbit and dual-action sanders are not the same. While both involve two types of motion (orbital and vibrating/oscillating), they achieve this in different ways.

Random orbit sanders move the sanding pad in a truly random pattern, allowing for more aggressive removal of material, while dual-action sanders are designed to provide an even finish with minimal effort.

Additionally, dual-action sanders typically have higher RPMs than random orbit models, making them suitable for sanding heavier materials or project surfaces with greater accuracy.

Can You Wet Sand with a DA Sander?

Yes, you can use a dual-action sander to wet sand. However, it is important to note that the sander should only be used in the wet sanding mode with the appropriate type of sandpaper (generally labeled as “wet or dry sandpaper”).

Additionally, it is important to ensure that all parts of the sander are properly sealed and lubricated in order to reduce any risk of water damage.

When wet sanding with a dual-action sander, take extra care due to the higher RPMs generated by this type of tool, which can make it easier for water or grit to penetrate surfaces more quickly.

Which Sander is Best for Beginners?

Which Sander is Best for Beginners

A random orbit sander is a great choice for beginners. This type of tool is comparatively easier to use than other sanding tools and produces even results without the need to press down as hard. Random orbit sanders generate less dust, meaning any mess created can easily be cleaned up.

On the downside, this type of sander is not ideal for heavy-duty sanding projects or surfaces with large areas of material to remove. Its versatility and ease of use make it a great choice for basic DIY jobs and light woodworking projects.

Which Sander is Best for Professionals?

For professionals, the belt sander is often the preferred tool of choice. Belt sanders offer more power and quicker sanding action than most other types of sanders, making them highly efficient.

The abrasive belt also allows surfaces to be worked much faster than when using a random orbit sander. Some belt sanders come equipped with dust extraction systems which can be beneficial for reducing clean-up time.

On the downside, due to their aggressive nature, belt sanders should only be used by experienced users and require extra care in order to avoid damaging surfaces or creating an uneven finish.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, there really isn’t a clear-cut answer as to whether or not you should use a DA Sander or a Random Orbital sander for your projects. The choice ultimately boils down to personal preference as well as what kind of job you’re working on.

Both tools offer great features that are beneficial when it comes to getting jobs done quickly and effectively, but they also have some drawbacks that should be taken into consideration when making your decision.

Consider everything from color and style options to ease of maintenance before making a final decision on which tool is right for you. With all this information in mind, you can make an informed decision that will help ensure your projects are completed successfully, no matter what type of sander you choose.

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