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Random-Orbit Sander vs. Orbital Finishing Sanders

What's the difference? One saves you time, the other saves you money.

We reduced 2 cubic feet of poplar to dust -- literally -- to find the top-performing abrasives for your random-orbit sander.

For flattening and smoothing wide panels, as well as reducing stock thickness without grain tear-out, you just can't--ahem--beat a drum sander.

These machines, priced from $400 to $800, tackle a range of sanding tasks with both power and finesse. And though they look similar, we found big performance differences among the tested models.

Nothing beats a spindle sander for smoothing curved edges. Because the spindle oscillates up and down as it spins, it sands efficiently with greater stock removal, less burning, and longer abrasive life than you get with a non-oscillating drum.

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