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MSRP: $129 (bare tool)
Bosch recently introduced new 12V and 18V brushless cordless random orbit sanders. In addition to the latest brushless motor technology, Bosch paid special attention to lowering the center of gravity of the tool, allowing your hand to be closer to the material. We tested the 18v version and found it to be a great all-around sander.
Turning on the sander for the first time, I was concerned there might be something wrong- it was so quiet and vibration-free, I could only assume it wasn’t moving at the correct rpm. I quickly realized those were just benefits of the brushless design and the vibration-dampening element build into the tool. Putting the sander to wood showed that it had more than adequate power and material-removing ability.
Ergonomically, the low-profile design pays off when it comes to tool control as well as comfort. I’ve put in a decent amount of time using it over the past few weeks, and never had any discomfort or phantom vibrations after use. The power switch and speed adjuster are ideally located by your index finger and thumb respectively (assuming you’re right-handed that is) and are easy to use.
If there’s one complaint I have, it would be with the location of the dust collection port. In order to achieve the low-profile design and integrate the battery pack, the port exits on the right-hand side of the tool, instead of from the back, which is more common. If you’re using the included dust bag, that’s just fine, but if you attach a dust collection hose, the extra weight can make the sander feel unbalanced. It’s not a deal-breaker though.
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