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Makita Random Orbit Sander Review

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Matt is a professional painter who owns and operates his own painting business, specializing in interior and exterior house painting.

My Makita sander.

My Makita sander.

The Pros and Cons of the Makita Orbit Sander (Model BO5041)

My review is based on the corded Makita orbit sander, not the cordless model. I bought mine from my local Home Depot store. It can be used for various woodworking projects, decks, and furniture tops, but I use the sander mostly to prepare kitchen cabinets for paint.

On cabinets, this sander has performed really well, using the 5-inch Diablo sandpaper discs from Home Depot. I can usually sand three to four cabinet doors before having to change the discs. The dust collection holes on the Diablo discs match the holes on the bottom of the sander almost perfectly to help with dust collection. The discs adhere tightly to the Velcro-like material on the bottom of the sander and stay intact while sanding.

Dust Collection

The dust collection isn't the greatest compared to other sanders I have used, but it isn't horrible, either. The sander is very powerful, producing lots of dust that doesn't get sucked into the collection bag completely. When sanding vertical surfaces like cabinets, the surrounding area definitely needs to be protected with plastic to contain airborne dust. Wearing a dust mask or a respirator is also a must.

The collection bag is also fairly small and must be emptied quite often to prevent dust from discharging onto the surface. The bag itself unfastens very easily for quick emptying of dust.

Sanding Effectiveness

On cabinet doors, it sands very well, removing lacquer from the surface in a couple passes with minimal pressure. I have also used it to remove peeling stain from deck boards, but it isn't the best sander to use for that purpose.

For sanding interior wood surfaces in preparation for paint or stain, it sands really well and won't leave swirl marks with the proper sandpaper grit and speed setting.

Variable Speed

One of the reasons I chose this model is for the variable speed settings (4,000 to 12,000 OPM) that allow reduced speed for light sanding in between coats of paint.

Comfort of Use

Ergonomically, the rubberized handle is comfortable to work with, fitting in my hand perfectly without causing soreness after working with it all day. When sanding vertically, it's a little heavy, weighing close to four pounds. I would imagine using this sander vertically would be tiring after a few hours.

The cord is a little annoying when using it vertically. A battery-powered model is available, but I chose the corded model because my past experience with battery-powered tools (other than my drill) hasn't been good.

Makita Sander vs. Wagner Paint Eater

The Wagner Paint Eater is often advertised as a sander, but it's more like a paint remover than anything else. I own one and use it for projects like removing peeling paint from exterior door frames, porch railings, deck boards and siding, and it works really well for all of those.

For sanding, but not removal of coatings, the Makita palm sander is the best option. When used correctly, various substrates can be sanded without causing damage, or rounded corners. The Paint Eater discs are extremely coarse and damage wood very easily, and unfortunately, the machine only allows those discs to be used, not sandpaper. The discs are also pricey, selling for around $12 each, however, they do last a long time. I can buy a big pack of sanding discs for my Makita orbit sander for less than that.

There is also a big difference in quality between the two. In general, I'm not a big fan of Wagner products. The first Paint Eater I owned lasted almost five years before the motor failed, and I used it a lot for various paint removal projects. The unit I replaced it with fried out within two weeks of the purchase, but both worked great until they broke.

Is the Corded Makita Orbit Sander Worth the Money?

The model I bought from my local home improvement store (model BO5041) was $80, as of this review update. There is also the option to spend a little more and buy one that comes with a carrying case too. My experience with Makita tools has been very positive overall. The drill I purchased several years ago still works great, and I also own an impact driver that has held up over the years. The quality is definitely there.

Spending hundreds of dollars on a fancy sander is overkill for me. I'm a painter and use this tool mostly for occasional cabinet painting projects. The sander has worked great for me, but its one flaw is the mediocre dust collection. The dust collection could definitely be improved, but for the fair price, I definitely recommend the Makita orbit sander for any painter or carpenter. I've owned mine since 2017 and it still functions like the day I bought it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Matt G.