Best DA Sanders of 2021 – Comparison Line-up

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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There are many sanders for different woodworking tasks.

In the article below, we'll discuss the dual-action sander, a common type of sander that most hobbyists and professional carpenters use. We'll also show you some of our favorites. 

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best DA sanders

  1. Ingersoll Rand 300G
  2. Chicago Pneumatic CP870
  3. Gedu Orbital Air Sander

Comparison Chart of the Best Dual Action Sanders

Product

Main Features

Price

Ingersoll Rand 300G

  • 360-degree swivel adapter
  • Gas powered
  • Low-vibration grip

Chicago Pneumatic CP870

  • Provides 10,000 RPM
  • Lock-off throttle
  • Air-powered

Gedu Orbital Air Sander

  • Low-vibration handle
  • 12,000 RPM
  • Lightweight material design

3M 28516

  • Best DA Sander for Auto Body Work
  • Maximum 10,000 RPM
  • Vacuum bag attached

Ingersoll Rand 311A

  • Air powered
  • Anti-vibration handle
  • Adjustable speed controls

What is a DA Sander?

A dual-action sander is a common sanding tool for the hobbyist or professional carpenters. Most experts describe it as a hybrid between a belt sander and a random orbital sander. 

Some models will have a rectangular pad that moves back and forward with a slight rotary motion. Other DA sanders might have a disc pad that makes a rotary motion. 

The DA sander is more of a finishing sander that helps shape and create fine details. They're also useful for minimizing scratches, a common issue with sanders. 

How to Choose DA Sander 

Like most tools, there will be thousands with different features and characteristics; some make sense, others are completely useless. Below are a few standard features that make a high-quality dual-action sander. 

Variable Speed

Speed plays a huge role in how fast you get the job done. The faster the speed, the quicker the job is completed. 

However, different tasks within woodworking projects might require lower speeds, which means it's always useful to have the option of adjusting the speed of your sander. 

Comfortable Control

Sanding takes some time, and if you're gripping the sander for more than 10-minutes, it can become uncomfortable. 

An ergonomic grip is essential to your productivity as you don't want to be continually resting your hand from cramp. 

Dust Collector 

Additional features like a dust collector would greatly benefit your health and the time it takes to complete tasks. 

Dust from sanding can mean harmful microparticles enter your lungs; using a dust collector and mask greatly minimizes this risk. 

It also means you'll not need to clean up constantly; vacuum attachments are a lot better than using a dust bag/box as it won't need to be emptied continuously. 

Review of the Best Dual Action Sanders

There are thousands of DIY tool brands out there that have their DA sanders; sifting through them all can become hard work, so we've done the hard part for you; below is a list of our favorite high-quality DA sanders. 

Best Overall
Ingersoll Rand 300G

PROS

  • Covers an area of 6-inches
  • Lightweight and low vibration design
  • The grip has been molded for comfort
  • Great flexibility with 360-degree swivel vacuum attachment

CONS

  • The gas power source is more expensive

Our Review

If you're ever finishing a piece of wood, a stiff vacuum hose can soon become a problem; the Ingersoll Rand 300G has a 360-degree swivel vacuum attachment, meaning you'll have complete control and added flexibility when sanding. 

The sander is relatively lightweight at just 2.75lbs, and the design prioritizes comfort with it's molded handle and minimizes the effect of vibration. 

The sanding pad spans a 6-inch area, which is a decent coverage. The only downside is that this sander operates through gas power, which can be expensive. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The swivel vacuum attachment is the best feature for this sander. If you didn't have the 360-degree flexibility, you'd constantly be fighting the tension that's created when you're moving a stiff hose around a piece of wood. Ultimately, the swivel attachment is what adds to your comfortability. 

Runner-up
Chicago Pneumatic CP870

PROS

  • Can provide up to 10,000 RPM
  • Made from a durable metal material
  • Molded handle grip for better maneuverability
  • The speed can be adjusted to the particular task

CONS

  • No dust collector option
  • Handle placement strains the wrist

Our Review

A strong contender for overall best but misses out. The Chicago Pneumatic DA sander provides up to 10,000 RPM but can adjust the speed to suit the task at hand.

A great feature is the molded handle grip, which allows you better control over the sander and maximizes maneuverability.

If you're working in an industrial setting, you'll also benefit from the robust metal material casing that protects the internal components. 

There are a few downsides to this product, the first being it doesn't have a dust collector option. The second being that the handle placement puts a strain on the wrist. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The handle is the feature that's different from other sanders. The elongated handle is designed so that your hand comfortably wraps around it. It also gives you far better flexibility and guidance than a typical handle placed on the top.  

Best for the Money
Gedu Orbital Air Sander

PROS

  • Stainless steel body
  • Lightweight plastic handle
  • 12,000 RPM, which can be adjusted
  • Hook and loop system lasts longer than most

CONS

  • The plastic handle isn't comfortable

Our Review

The impressive 12,000 RPM sander is one of the most powerful features; the best part is that this can be adjusted to suit particular tasks' needs. 

Weighing at just 2.69lbs, it's relatively easy to carry around; this might be due to the lightweight plastic handle used. 

If you're working on a worksite, you understand how easy it is to break things, but with the stainless steel body of the Gedu sander, you'll not have to worry. 

The only downside is that the plastic handle isn't as comfortable as other handle materials such as rubber. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

You get the same quality as other dual-action sanders but for less the price. There's always a myth that cheaper means lower-quality; this isn't the case with this product. 

You get all of the same features; the only improvement could be a more comfortable handle. Regardless, it's still useful and does the job. 

Best DA Sander for Auto Body Work    
3M 28516

PROS

  • Anti-vibration design
  • Comfortable soft-rubber handle
  • Durable body design made from aluminum
  • Self-generated vacuum with detachable bag

CONS

  • The vacuum bag fills up fast

Our Review

This small sander can operate at an impressive 10,000 RPM, plenty of power to sand wood or metal. With great power comes plenty of vibration, but with this product, the rubber handle design significantly reduces the vibration created, giving it such a high comfort factor. 

The sander has a self-generated vacuum with a detachable bag; the only downside is that the bag tends to fill up quite fast. You'll also benefit from the protective aluminum body casing, which will be more than enough protection for those accidental drops.

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

This sander doesn't just work on wood but can also be used on metal, making it an excellent auto bodywork tool

The 10,000 RPM would also be another reason for you to use it in a body shop. The wrist support provides you with more control and the ability to guide the tool more accurately. 

Editor's Pick
Ingersoll Rand 311A

PROS

  • You can adjust the speed
  • Has a built-in noise muffler
  • Lever throttle provides more comfort
  • Balanced ball-bearing helps improve control

CONS

  • Requires 17 CFM to operate effectively

Our Review

An impressive lightweight sander, the Ingersoll Rand 311A, is a 4lb sander with a noise muffler making it super quiet when in use. 

Comfort is also an impressive characteristic of this sander as it has a balanced ball-bearing on the inside, which provides a lot more control and stability. 

Comfort is a key feature here; thankfully, it also has a lever throttle, which reduces the strain on your hand or wrist. 

The adjustable speed ranges from 0 - 12,000 RPM. The only downside is that it requires a minimum of 17 CFM to operate correctly. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The unique feature with this particular sander is the amount of comfort provided, not just for your hand but the lack of noise also provides you with a quieter environment. 

The balanced ball-bearing and the lever throttle are great additions to retain comfort over long periods of use. It's also not common to have a noise muffler in your sander, but it's a welcomed addition. 

Comparison Overview 

There are so many types of sander out there that you don't know which one is best for different jobs. Below is a quick comparison of some sanders compared with the dual-action sander. 

Random Orbital vs Dual Action Sander 

A dual-action sander has two main modes, one spins the sanding pad in place, and the other mode shakes the pad around; this creates less friction. 

The first mode tends to remove more material and faster, whereas the second mode tends to create a more detailed, smooth finish. 

The random orbital sander only has one mode; this is when the disc pad spins but creates a circular motion. You can compare this to the way the earth rotates around the sun. This sander won't leave swirl marks. 

DA Sander vs Orbital 

Orbital sanders are mainly square or rectangular; they're used for smoothing tight corners or hard to reach angles. 

They work by moving in small circles. They're not used for removing large quantities of material; they're more of a finishing tool for shaping or fine detail. 

Dual-action sanders are usually in a circular disc and have two modes to use. They're also considered a finishing tool like the orbital sander. However, they're not used for tight corners. 

When Would a DA Sander Come in Handy? 

There are a few times when a dual-action sander would be useful. Below are some of the most common. 

Construction

Similar use-case as the auto body repairs, you'd use the DA sander in construction to smooth or remove sharp edges from metal or general shaping of metal. Of course, you also use wood in construction so they can be used for smoothing out wooden planks. 

Woodwork

An obvious time when a sander comes in handy is when carrying out some woodwork. They're great for finishing projects as well as not leaving any marks. DA sanders are typically used for shaping and fine detail work. 

Auto bodywork

Auto body repair is common for dual-action sanders; they're great for stripping paint off cars. They're also known to be used to buff vehicles. If you're ever using putty on a car, it can also be used to smooth down the repair putty. 

How to Use a DA Sander 

Using a DA sander can be scary at first, but you'll soon get the hang of it. Below is a simple guide on the basics of using your DA sander.

  • Depending on the power source, make sure it's connected; if you've got a vacuum hose or dust bag, ensure it's attached properly

  • Attach the required grit to the sanding pad

  • Start the sander up and begin sanding as flat as possible; ensure you're applying light pressure

  • Once you're operating the sander, start moving in a circular motion, with the grain of the wood, this will make it look even

  • Once you've sanded over the required area, you're good to turn the sander off 

Conclusion 

Dual-action sanders can be used on various tasks and are probably the most common sander out there. We've provided you with everything you need to know to make an informed decision. 

People Also Ask

Understandably there's always going to be plenty of questions when talking about such a complex topic; we've compiled and answered some of the most commonly asked questions regarding dual-action sanders. 

What Air Compressor Used For DA Sander?

One that can provide around 15 CFM and 90 PSI, these are the minimum requirements that most experts recommend following. 

How Many CFM Are Needed To Run A DA Sander

On this list, the maximum was 17 CFM. The average CFM requirement for a dual-action sander is around 15 CFM, which is a lot of airflow for one tool. 

How Heavy Is A DA Sander?

It depends on the material and features it has but most range between 2lbs and 7lbs. 

How Much Does DA Sander Cost? 

A quality dual action sander like those we featured today can cost between $50 and $170. That doesn't mean you can't find a good quality sander for cheaper. 

Cody

My name is Cody and I've been a writer for Tool Tango for quite some time now. I've always had a knack for building things with my hands and creative writing, so being able to combine the two has been great. I love being able to give back to the DIY-community, while also learning a thing or two along the way. When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching Netflix with my girlfriend, fishing, and working in the shop.