While the original, square-faced orbital sanders are often tricky to operate and didn’t always deliver the best results, the latest evolution of this tool, the random orbital sander, has a cleverly designed oscillating disc that enables you to easily create a smooth, scratch-free surface. Orbital sanders generally come in three different types – electric powered, air powered, and orbital floor sanders – but the one you’re most likely to have in your toolkit is an electric orbital sander.
Orbital sanders safety
If you’re going to be working with an orbital sander, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure that you get the job done right.
- Make sure you buy your orbital sander from a reputable dealer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- It’s important to register a new orbital sander with the manufacturer so that you can be contacted if a safety notice or recall is required. It also makes it easier for you to return a faulty product or order a repair. To register any of your appliances, regardless of age, visit Register My Appliance.
- Use our free online checker to see if you have any recalled electrical items.
- Check that your appliance has a UK plug; if it doesn’t, don’t try to use a UK travel adaptor. Get in touch with the retailer and ask them to fit a UK plug.
- Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling) or if it feels too hot to touch. If you have fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping then contact a registered electrician to investigate.
- Any socket you plan to use to plug in an orbital sander should have RCD (residual current device) Protection. An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. If you don’t have RCD protection in your fuse box for your sockets, consider using an RCD plug to protect you and your property from serious appliance faults.
- Before you start work, ensure that the cord is long enough to easily reach the area you’re working in – if it isn’t, plug the orbital sander into a fully-unwound extension lead to extend your reach.
Using your orbital sander safely
- Always wear eye protection and a sanding mask.
- Make sure that the tool is switched off or disconnected from the power supply before you attach the sandpaper.
- The item you’re sanding should be properly secured before you begin.
- Ensure you have a firm grip on the handle of the sander before turning it on.
- The sander should be kept flat and should be constantly moving as you work.
- Any ventilation slots of the sander should be kept clear of dust and debris.
- Don’t press down when sanding.
- When you’ve finished, life the sander off the wood, turn it off, and wait for it to stop spinning before storing it away.
- Clean your sander after use.
- Always unplug your sander when it’s not in use, and store it somewhere dry and frost-free.