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Best Auto Body Orbital Electric Sanders of 2021


Are you in the market for a new random orbital sander and wondering whether to go with the electric or pneumatic? This article covers various aspects to consider in making this decision, beyond simply the cost of the units, including the technical aspects and how and where you’ll be using the sander(s). Continue reading for more information about whether to get an air or electric sander.

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Air Capacity in the Shop Vs Using a Sander On the Go 

When deciding whether a pneumatic or electric sander is right for you, it’s important to consider whether you’ll be primarily using the sander in the shop/plant or on the go. Furthermore, it’s essential to consider what your overall air capacity is and whether/how many other air based tools will be used simultaneously.  

Generally, if you are sanding on the go, such as in restoration or construction, electric sanders could be a better option, for both ease of transport and the ability to plug in to the available power source on site, versus having to bring a portable air compressor and also plug that in. 

However, when you are stationary in a shop or factory,  first note your overall air capacity and what/how many other tools will be run at the same time. Rupes’s Orbital sanders require 90 PSI to run optimally. Too much or too little air pressure can cause issues in sander speed, ultimately leading to poor sanding results and problems with the sander itself. 

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Cost – Short vs Long Term 

Would you rather save some money on the initial purchase, or over the long term? While, it may appear that investing in an electric sander will be more expensive, based solely on the cost of the units, it’s likely to cost less in the long term – since they are very efficient and will last a long time. For example, in a typical case, they’ll run for less than $.35 per day (based on 8-hours/day of usage)! 


Wrapping it up 

So you’re considering a new orbital sander, but you’re not sure whether electric or air is better for you? A few major considerations for this important decision include: the technical aspects of the machines, such as the RPMs and body style of the units; the air pressure capacity of your shop; the ways in which you’ll be using the sander and the location; what level of maintenance you’d like to do for your sander; and the price of the units at time of purchase versus the long-term cost of running and maintaining them.