This past summer I needed to do some sanding work but I didn’t want to spend a lot. I ended up spending $30 on a 5-inch Black and Decker random orbital sander, model BDERO100.
Here are my thoughts after using it for about half a year.
Sander Video Demonstration
Here is a quick video of the sander in action. I was cleaning up some 3/4″ plywood that I was using to build a cabinet.
Using the Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander
This is a simple product that is almost devoid of frills. This is a palm sander with a 5-inch round base that uses hook and loop (a fancy name for velcro) sandpaper sheets.
The BDERO100 operates at 12,000 orbits per minute (OPM) and does not have any speed controls, so that’s the only setting you have available to you. The only control on the device is an on/off switch. In other words, this thing is as simple as it gets.
For me, and many other handyman and handywomen who don’t consider themselves to be woodworkers, that’s more than enough. In fact the simplicity of the sander is a strength, not a weakness.
The BDERO100 has a rubberized grip that makes it relatively comfortable to hold, though the vibrations will start to bother you eventually — there is no way around that when something is operating at these speeds. The sander isn’t really shake or rattle much, which is good, though the orbital sanding motion isn’t particularly strong so if you apply too much pressure can easily lower the OPM number (and sanding effectiveness) greatly.
At the end of the day, this sander does it’s job well enough. You get your piece of wood, you slap on a piece of sandpaper — only one comes with the sander so you’ll need to buy more — and then you turn it on and do the job. Don’t pressure down too hard on the sander and everything will be OK.
When using the B+D BDERO100 sander I’ve noticed that there are some downsides. First, the sander is louder than it needs to be. This is true of most low-end product, and Black and Decker is commonly guilty of it. I like using ear protection when using this sander, and would recommend others do the same.
Secondly, the BDERO100 is underpowered. This is a 2.0 amp sander that is rather light duty. A nice Dewalt alternative, the DWE6423, is 5 amps and it’s variable speed. Sure, the Dewalt bumps the price up to over $60, so you get what you pay for. Either way, 2 amps will get the job done, but it’s slow.
Lastly, the B+D’s dust collector is not good. The piece is flimsy, it clogs, and the collector sack is made of a lightweight polyester-type material that starts to breakdown and fray as soon as you start using this sander. It works better than not having a dust collector at all, but it’s not good, so I try to use this sander outsider, and always with a mask on.
It probably won’t come as a shock that the $30 Black and Decker DWE6423 orbital sander gets the job done, but it doesn’t do it particularly well. I’ve used this sander for over half a year and it’s holding up fine, but you get what you pay for and it was nice to get something in the garage for so cheap, but I’m wishing I had just spent a bit more on a Dewalt or Bosch.