best random orbital sander under 100

So you're ready to step up from hand-sanding your work to using a random orbital sander.

The benefits are clear - it's faster, gives you a smoother finish, and you'll end up with a lot less dust.

But which one should you buy?

You head to your local big box store and there are 10 different models on the shelf, all around the same price. 

Do you just pick your favorite color? 

Go with the cheapest or most expensive?

Our recommendation after using all of them is neither. There's a clear winner from our testing and you may be surprised to find out which one came out on top.

For the purposes of this test, we bought every random orbital sander available at Home Depot and Lowes for under $100. 

We also tested exclusively corded models since battery model compatibility is a primary factor when choosing a cordless sander.

Our criteria were the following:

  • Value - What is the price?
  • Features - Does it come with a case? Variable speed control?
  • Dust Collection - How effective is it? How well does it adapt to a vacuum hose?
  • Noise - How loud is it?
  • Vibration - How much does it vibrate?

We ranked each sander in each category from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) and added them up to give each a Serious Score™.

So what did we find? Let's get into it...

bosch sander review

1st Place - Bosch ROS20VSC

The $79 Bosch ROS20VSC sander was the real standout from our testing for a variety of reasons. First off, at 84 dB it's the quietest by a large margin and it wasn't even close. Secondly, it's also the smoothest which makes a significant difference during a long sanding session. Lastly, it has the best dust collection of the group. While most have a soft dust collection bag that can be difficult to clean, the Bosch has a hard plastic dust collection case that includes a paper filter. This means it's much easier to clean and maintain efficiency. It also adapts nicely to many shop vac hoses and includes one adapter in the box so you can remove the dust collection box and hook it up to your vacuum or dust extractor.

So what is the best 5-inch random orbital sander for under $100? 

Based on our testing, it is hands-down the Bosch ROS20VSC sander.


makita sander review

2nd Place - Makita BO5030K

The $79 Makita BO5030K came in second place out of six in our testing. It is one of the smoother sanders we tested and is also a bit quieter than most at 86 dB which makes using the sander a bit more pleasant than the rest. It's also the only one that comes with a hard case which is a nice bonus vs the others that came with soft cases or none at all. Dust collection is okay, but it's a soft bag that can be hard to clean and the dust collection port is quite small so you'll need an adapter to hook it up to a vacuum. Another drawback is the lack of a variable speed control which can make delicate work tougher. If you need the variable speed control, Home Depot also carries the Makita BO5041, which runs $99.


ryobi sander review

3rd Place - Ryobi RS290G

  • Value: 5
  • Features: 2
  • Dust Collection: 3
  • Noise: 3
  • Vibration: 3
  • Serious Score: 16

  • Purchase at your local Home Depot

The Ryobi RS290G was a bit of a surprise to end up in 3rd place in our testing. While it doesn't have too many notable strengths, it's on par or better than the rest of the sanders below and comes in at a lower price point which puts it ahead of them. At $69, it doesn't come with a bag, has no variable speed control, but dust collection was on par with the rest, noise level was equal to many of the others, and it was actually a bit smoother than the Craftsman and the Ridgid. So by virtue of being equally or less lousy than the others AND cheaper, it gets 3rd place. Yay?


dewalt sander review

4th Place - Dewalt DWE6423

The Dewalt DWE6423 came in middle-of-the-pack in our testing. While better than the Ryobi in some ways (vibrations + variable speed control), it's the most expensive sander of the group at $89 and that knocked it down a peg. The Dewalt is a very popular sander and it's not a bad choice if value isn't a consideration. It was actually about as smooth as the Makita, has variable speed, and the noise level was on par with many others. While we can't speak to build quality or longevity, Dewalt is generally a well-respected brand.


craftsman sander review

5th Place - Craftsman CMEW231

As we get toward the bottom of our rankings, we reach the Craftsman CMEW231 whose only redeeming quality may be its low price of $59. It comes with no case, no variable speed control, the dust collection isn't great, and it had more vibrations than any other sander in the test. So unless you love the color red and only want red tools, we'd recommend avoiding this sander.


ridgid sander view

6th Place - Ridgid R26011

  • Value: 3
  • Features: 3
  • Dust Collection: 2
  • Noise: 1
  • Vibration: 1
  • Serious Score: 10

  • Purchase at your local Home Depot

Last (and least) we reach the Ridgid R26011. While it does come with a soft case and it does have variable speed control, this sander is unbelievably loud, has more vibrations than most, and at $79 it is not cheap. And not only is it loud, but it's an extremely annoying sound that can only be compared to a cross between a lunchbox planer and an Aztec death whistle. We'd avoid this sander at all costs.

To Sum Up...

So that concludes our review of the top sanders from the big box stores under $100. We strongly recommend the Bosch ROS20VSC if you can find it locally but the Makita is a good second best if the Bosch is unavailable.

If you already have one of the other sanders, maybe it's time to treat yourself to an upgrade before your next long sanding session?

And as always, be sure to stock up on our 5" 8 hole hook and loop discs which are compatible with every sander on this list. Serious Grit film discs last longer, clog less, and leave you with a better finish on your work. 

Happy sanding!


*Note that we may receive commissions on sales from purchases of the products featured in this post. 

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Tool Reviews


I need a 5" hyper tough 2.5 hook and loop replacement 8 hole pad. Please help me. The sander is great. Thank you!

Donny Boles on Jul 09, 2024

Hi Rai – good point! We missed a few of them in this post but we have them all in our Instagram post here: I’ve also included them below:
1. Bosch – 84 dB
2. Makita – 86 dB
3. Ryobi – 87 dB
4. Dewalt – 87 dB
5. Ridgid – 88 dB

Serious Grit on Jun 05, 2023

In my mind when anyone wrights an article about whatever , I think that it should show all the scores on each tool
Why you didn’t add the noise db on all units tested ?

Rai on Jun 05, 2023

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