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10 Best Dual-Action Sanders of 2021 – Top Picks & Reviews

man using PORTER-CABLE 7424XP Polisher

When it comes to finish work, you want a reliable, effective, efficient tool that will make your job easier. However, with all of the options out there for dual-action sanders, selecting the right equipment can get a little gritty.

That’s where we come in. We’ve smoothed out the landscape by creating a top ten list of reviews for your perusal.

We’ve taken the unevenness out of the buying process by comparing the ten best models out there, and we’ve thrown in a buyer’s guide to help with your selection.

Read on to discover your next favorite dual-action sander.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Ingersoll Rand 311A Air Dual-Action Sander Ingersoll Rand 311A Air Dual-Action Sander
  • 12,000 rpm
  • Adjustable speed
  • Balanced and comfortable
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Gedu 5-inch DA Sander Gedu 5-inch DA Sander
  • 12,000 rpm
  • Adjustable speed
  • Low profile
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    PORTER-CABLE 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher PORTER-CABLE 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher
  • 5-amp motor
  • 2-position side arm
  • Variable speed dial
  • Valianto Air Random Orbital Palm Sander Valianto Air Random Orbital Palm Sander
  • 12,000 rpm
  • Small and easy to handle
  • Goplus 6 Inch Variable Speed Sander Goplus 6 Inch Variable Speed Sander
  • Adjustable speed
  • Locking trigger
  • Two handle options
  • The 10 Best Dual-Action Sanders – Reviews 2021

    1. Ingersoll Rand 311A Air Dual-Action Sander – Best Overall

    Ingersoll Rand tops our list with their 311A Air Dual-Action Sander. It offers a comfortable, effective tool that will leave you with a clean, swirl-free finish. It’s also high speed and well-balanced.

    The tool is pneumatic, so it runs from an air compressor. It has a maximum free speed of 12,000 rotations per minute (rpm). It’s also adjustable speed so you have ultimate control over the precision of the finish. This offers plenty of power for finish work, including smoothing body filler during autobody work.

    It is built for comfort. The lever throttle takes the pressure off your palm to relieve strain on your hand and arm during prolonged sanding. Balanced ball bearing construction results in better handling, while low vibration also helps stave off fatigue.

    It’s also designed to create less noise. A built-in muffler limits noise to 85.6 decibels.

    In addition to being comfortable and quiet, it’s compact compared to other similar sanders. The total weight is 4.2 pounds. The dimensions are 4.3 x 10.5 x 6.4 inches.

    The downside of the fact that this is a pneumatic tool is that it uses a lot of air. The specifications say it uses 17 cubic feet per minute (cfm) at free speed. During our tests, it became clear that this tool requires a sizeable compressor to run it all day.

    Pros
    • 12,000 rpm
    • Adjustable speed
    • Balanced and comfortable
    • Built-in muffler
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Uses a lot of air

    2. Gedu 5-inch DA Sander – Best Value

    Gedu 5-inch DA Sander

    Gedu makes the best dual-action sander for the money. With plenty of power, comfort, and control for a reasonable price, this is a great choice for a handyman on a budget.

    This air-powered sander is fast. Its free speed is 12,000 rpm. The activation lever on the top of the unit offers delicate speed control.

    It’s also designed for lower vibrations and noise. The ball bearing construction helps with vibration while the built-in muffler decreases noise levels. This allows for greater comfort while sanding.

    It’s also extremely low profile. It weighs in at 2.69 pounds. Its dimensions are 8” x 6.12” x 5”.

    There are two negative features with this tool, both having to do with air. The first is that the speed adjustment lever is very touchy and in an awkward spot, so it’s easy to inadvertently change speeds at a moment’s notice. There’s also no dust collection on the unit.

    Pros
    • 12,000 rpm
    • Adjustable speed
    • Low profile
    • Low vibration
    • Quiet
    Cons
    • Touchy speed control
    • No dust collection

    3. PORTER-CABLE 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher – Premium Choice

    Porter-Cable 7424XP

    Porter-Cable is known for making great tools, and this one is no exception. It’s powerful, comfortable to use, and effective.

    The sander offers solid power. Its driven by a 4.5-amp motor which helps to protect the device from overload. It runs at 2,500 to 6,800 orbits per minute. A variable-speed dial offers the user more control over the finish. All of that provides plenty of polishing and sanding potential.

    It also features a removable side arm for additional control. It can be attached on either side of the unit in order to be used by either right-handed or left-handed users.

    The Porter-Cable is reasonably compact, though larger than the previous model. It’s one pound heavier at 5.75 pounds. Its total dimensions are 11.5” x 10.5” x 6”.

    There are a couple of down sides to this machine. The first is that it’s tricky to control at low speeds. It’s not a huge problem, but it is an annoyance when you’re getting used to the tool. The other is that, as sold, it requires a wrench to change pads. Another option is to purchase a hook and loop attachment and change pads using that instead.

    Pros
    • 5-amp motor
    • 2-position side arm
    • Variable speed dial
    • Compact
    Cons
    • Tricky to control at low speeds
    • Requires wrench to change pads

    4. Valianto Air Random Orbital Palm Sander

    Valianto Air Random Orbital Palm Sander

    Valianto’s air sander is another solid option. It offers high speeds and low vibration, along with muffled sound and one-handed control.

    This sander has similar speeds to others on this list. Its free speed is 12,000 rpm. A lever on the top allows for speed adjustments while in use.

    It’s also engineered for smooth, comfortable operation. Part of this is its size. It weighs only 2.86 pounds. Its dimensions are 4.8” x 4.8” x 3.78”. The motor is precision-balanced to allow for low-vibration utilization.

    This sander has two problems. The first is that the air speed lever is touchy. Because it’s located on the top of the sander, it’s extremely easy to push it all the way down, which results in the sander running at full speed the entire time. The second issue is that it uses a lot of air (16 cfm), so you’ll need a big compressor to keep up with the demand.

    Pros
    • 12,000 rpm
    • Small and easy to handle
    Cons
    • Touchy speed lever
    • Uses a lot of air

    5. Goplus 6 Inch Variable Speed Sander

    Goplus 6 Inch Variable Speed Sander

    The Goplus sander has a number of useful features that land it on this list. Among them are variable speeds and multiple handle settings.

    The sander runs at 2,000 to 4,800 rpm. This allows for greater control of the finish on your projects. Polishing requires lower speeds, while material removal requires higher ones. The trigger also locks in place so you don’t have to hold it throughout your project.

    It comes with two handles. One of them is an overhead handle. The other is a side handle that can be mounted to either side to suit either left-handed or right-handed users.

    This is a larger sander than some others on this list. Its weight is 7.93 pounds. Its dimensions are 21.3” x 7” x 7”. The size can result in decreased control and increased fatigue.

    There are two big problems with this sander. The first is that it gets very hot very fast. After about fifteen minutes of sanding, it was fast enough to melt the plastic backing on the sanding disc. Secondly, the speed is inconsistent, even when it’s locked. This can result in an uneven finish.

    Pros
    • Adjustable speed
    • Locking trigger
    • Two handle options
    Cons
    • Gets hot fast
    • Inconsistent speed

    6. Makita PO5000CX1 Dual Action Random Orbit Polisher

    Makita PO5000CX1 Dual Action Random Orbit Polisher

    Makita makes another powerful dual action sander. It’s a workhorse of a tool, stripped down to bare essentials to be exactly what’s needed for the job.

    The Makita sander has an adjustable speed dial. It runs from 1,600 to 6,800 rpm. This allows you to select the appropriate speed for your particular finishing application.

    It also has a selector switch that lets you choose between gear-driven active rotation and passive orbital buffing. This allows for even more customizable control when finishing.

    This tool is bigger and heavier than some others. Its total weight is 11.2 pounds. The dimensions are 14” x 7” x 4”. It’s also hard to control in direct drive.

    Pros
    • Adjustable speed
    • Selector for direct drive and passive orbital buffing
    Cons
    • Big and heavy
    • Hard to control in direct drive mode

    7. Chicago Pneumatic CP870 Dual Action Sander

    Chicago Pneumatic CP870 Dual Action Sander

    Chicago Pneumatic makes another air-powered dual-action sander. It offers high speeds and adjustable air flow in a fairly compact format.

    This model runs on a 0.5-horsepower motor. This gives it a free speed of 10,000 rpm. It also has a variable speed control level. This lets you gauge the speed to the specific finishing job you’re doing. Lower speeds are appropriate for buffing and polishing while higher speeds are better for material removal.

    Like other dual action models, this sander works on both rotary and orbital motion. This not only removes more material when that’s the object, but prevents patterns from showing up on the substrate while you work. The result is a smooth, even finish.

    It also has a lock-off throttle. This prevents the unit from inadvertently starting up.

    It’s also designed for some level of comfort. There’s an insulated handle and the unit is low-vibration overall.

    The unit is lighter than others on this list, but a little bulky. The weight is just 4.81 pounds. The dimensions are 10.12” x 6.5” x 4.49”.

    There are three big issues with this model. The first is that it uses a lot of air. You’ll need a very large compressor to keep it running continuously. It also noticeably slows down when pressure is applied during sanding. Finally, the handle is awkward to operate. It feels out of balance and it’s easy to over-trigger the pressure lever.

    Pros
    • 10,000 rpm
    • Variable speed control
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Uses a lot of air
    • Slows down under pressure
    • Awkward handle
    • Bulky for the weight

    8. TCP Dual-Action Random Orbit Air Palm Sander

    TCP Dual-Action Random Orbit Air Palm Sander

    The TCP dual action random orbit sander is another potential option for your needs. It’s lightweight, high speed, and solid horsepower, and would make a good addition to your tool collection.

    This sander has medium power and high speed. It runs on a 2-horsepower motor. That produces a free speed of 12,000 rpm.

    This sander is very lightweight and low profile. Its weight is 2.7 pounds, which puts it near the bottom for sanders on this list. Its dimensions are 7.1” x 6” x 4.8”. That puts it in the lower category for size as well. The low size and weight help with easy handling and decrease fatigue during prolonged use.

    One of the things that makes this sander unique is the thumb-controlled throttle. It’s located away from the on-off lever on the top of the sander, which allows for separate speed control. This is a bonus because it prevents accidental activation of additional airflow. This will keep your finish nice and even.

    There are some downfalls with this sander. The first is that it’s extremely noisy. You wouldn’t expect the level of noise for its size. It also uses a lot of air. Even on a 20-gallon tank, there were moments when we had to wait for the air to refill in order to continue use. The adjustment knob gets in the way when you’re sanding. It’s easy to change the setting on accident.

    Pros
    • Separate speed control
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Noisy
    • Uses a lot of air
    • Awkward adjustment knob

    9. Shurhold 3100 Random Dual Action Buffer

    Shurhold 3100 Random Dual Action Buffer

    The Shurhold dual action buffer is another option for your sander needs. It offers variable speed, an ergonomic design, and ease of operation.

    It has a powerful motor. It can run 2,500 to 6,500 rpm. It has a 6-speed dial that allows for that range.

    The body is rubberized. This includes the body of the sander itself. It also includes the handle. All of this rubberization makes for a very comfortable feel while sanding.

    It’s also designed to rest on its back. There’s no secret trigger that will set the sander in motion when you set it to the side. This is a huge advantage as it allows you to take a break without the risk of unintended consequences.

    This unit comes with some problems. The first is that the carbon motor brushes require replacement relatively frequently. The unit comes with only one replacement included. The buffer can speed up with no trigger, resulting in an incomplete or undesirable finish. It also doesn’t maintain speed under pressure. It slows down. Again, it can create an undesirable finish. The six-speed dial also doesn’t allow for the kind of dial-down speed regulation you’d prefer.

    Pros
    • Powerful motor
    • Variable speed
    • Rubberized body and handle
    Cons
    • Carbon motor brushes wear out
    • Speeds up with no input
    • Doesn’t maintain speed under pressure
    • Poor speed regulation

    10. DEWALT DWMT70780 Dual Action Sander

    DEWALT DWMT70780 Dual Action Sander

    The Dewalt sander is surprising because it doesn’t make it to the top of the list. Dewalt is famous for durable, effective tools. This one probably isn’t their favorite child.

    It’s got a solid motor. It runs at 11,000 rpm. The speed control lever is on the handle of the unit. This is lucky, because the handle is ergonomically designed for comfort. It sometimes allows for accidental air trigger, but all in all, it’s okay.

    There’s a speed dial on the bottom side of the handle. It allows for control over your finish, whether it’s material removal or polishing. Just be careful. It’s easy to trigger the dial when you’re sanding.

    There are multiple problems with this sander. One is that the sanding pad is fragile. It breaks off under ordinary use. The motor also slows under pressure, which means unfortunate marks on your finishing project. It also uses a lot of air. You’ll need a big compressor to use this tool.

    Pros
    • 11,000 rpm
    • Speed control trigger
    • Speed dial
    Cons
    • Fragile sanding pad
    • Motor slows under pressure
    • Uses a lot of air

    Buyer’s Guide

    There’s a secret to purchasing a dual-action sander. It’s paying attention to the details. Even with a tool as simple as this one, there are plenty of options to consider. This buyer’s guide will help you understand what to pay attention to when you’re selecting a new dual-action sander.

    Speed

    A sander’s maximum speed determines the maximum work it can do. Faster speeds correspond to greater material removal. Look for sanders that can do better than 6,000 rotations per minute if you need one that removes material.


    Speed Control

    Different applications require different speeds. Polishing requires a very low speed around 2,000 rotations per minute. Material removal requires upwards of 5,000 rotations per minute. It’s important that any unit you purchase is able to handle any of these applications. So, look for a speed adjustment lever, dial, or other speed determining device.

    close up using Goplus 6 Inch Variable Speed Sander

    Power

    Regardless of speed, power is important. It won’t do for your sander to slow down under pressure. That’s where motor power comes in. In this case, it’s the higher the better. Look for the most powerful motor you can find.


    Size and Weight

    Size and weight are critical when considering a dual action sander. A larger, heavier unit will create a sense of fatigue, while lighter equipment will allow you to work all the live long day. It’s an important element to pay heed to, as it may mean the difference between 4 and 8 hours of work.

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    Conclusion

    The Ingersoll Rand 311A Air Dual-action Sander is the top of the line for your buffing and finishing needs. It’s got solid power, high speed, and variable velocity, making it a solid choice for your project. If you want a very lightweight, effective tool for a bargain price, choose the Gedu 5-inch DA sander.

    Selecting an appropriate dual-action sander is a beast of a problem. Luckily, there are a number of beasts on this list. After considering the individual qualities according to the buyers’ guide, look through the various listings in the reviews to discover your new perfect dual action sander.

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