DA Sander vs. Random Orbital – Which Is Better?

Whenever you think of smoothing, cleaning, or polishing anything made of plastic, metal, or wood, you may think of a sander. Anyway, you can have various types of sanders while working with them.

DA sander and random orbital sanders are the most used ones, and it depends on you which one you will use. However, the DA sander vs. Random orbital debate is one of the most common things you will see on the internet.

Anyway, this article will let you know about both types of sanders, their characteristics, differences, common things, etc. Thus, you can make the right choice among them and use both when it’s necessary.

DA Sander vs. Random Orbital

What Is a DA Sander?

What Is a DA Sander

The abbreviation DC stands for dual action, and the DA sander is specialized for dual actions. Do you know why a DA sander is so popular?

The main reason is that the sander works on the surface in a controlled way, and it can work from two different directions. As it can work on two spots at a time, that’s why it is called a dual-action sander. Please remember that it’s a sub-category of the random orbital.

You may want to know when it’s appropriate to use a DA sander on your workpiece. You should know that it’s better to use on a hard surface, such as wood or metal.

Moreover, the sander is also good to apply multiple coats of paint, not the primers or sealing reagents. You can see some pictures of painting with a DA sander on the internet to know how they look.

There is a taboo that DA sanders are pretty easy to handle, and you don’t need to be trained to operate one. Please don’t believe them and learn everything, including the techniques; otherwise, you will have problems working.

What Is a Random Orbital Sander?

What Is a Random Orbital Sander

A random orbital sander is also one of the essential gadgets for people working in sanding or painting on any strong object. Anyway, the name orbital clarifies that it has a center with a disc connected and moves around.

You may also see blades or small cleaning items like a brush attached to the disc, but there is a twist. The random orbital can move back and forth, making it a better version of orbital sanders.

You can sand any surface layer from different angles if you have this sander in your hands. You can also include some of them as palm sanders that are small-sized, and that’s the main reason for its popularity.

No matter what budget you have, you can choose any random orbital as your preference from any branded store, but you have to check the product details.

What Are Both DA and Random Orbital Sanders Used for?

What Are Both DA and Random Orbital Sanders Used for

Different machines have feature varieties and specialization; that’s why it is necessary to have all types of gadgets in your collection. Let’s see what task they both can accomplish:

DA Sander Uses

DA Sander Uses

A DA sander is a multipurpose tool that one can use, but there are some significant uses:

  • The first notable use of a DA sander is its polishing skill; you can polish anything using a dual-action sander. But don’t mistake that it would be suitable for your shoe polish as well!
  • The shoe fibers may not be compatible with the attachments, but you can make any strong, old surface shiny with it. You can use it upon plastic, porcelain, wood, or metal to polish them.
  • Dual-action sanders are highly recommended for auto-bodies or automobile items, such as a car. If your car has a stain that is hard to clean or it got scratched somehow, you shouldn’t worry about it.
  • You can easily bring a DA according to your choice and the scratched or damaged area of your car within a short time.
  • As it has both locked and unlocked pads to the disc, you can choose it for using a tool at your ease. This handheld machine would be a good choice for beginners and want to learn metal and wood sanding work.
  • You will have to follow the manufacturer manual only to operate this machine, and you can purchase them for practice purposes.
  • This machine (DA sander) is also known for being comfortable on bare metals. We cannot even think of repainting or varnishing a metal area or furniture without priming it.
  • On the other hand, this item comes and solves our problem. Suppose you’re in a hurry and don’t have enough time to rub a lot or prime. You must think of a DA sander that can quickly remove the stains or cracks.
  • Another great use of DA sander is on a smooth surface; an area that is already smooth enough and seems not to have any flaws can have pores. That’s when you will count on it and use the sander to make the place even better.

Random Orbital Uses

Random Orbital Uses

A random orbital also has versatile uses, and that’s why you will see most workers are frequently using them. Let’s make a list of things that you can do with a random orbital:

  • The best thing about a random orbital is, it doesn’t leave any sands or marks on the workpiece like other sanders. It is used when you need a clear finishing rapidly because it brings out every small particle with its vibration.
  • Thus, random orbital usability is how quickly it socks off the dirt your old sander may have left.
  • Another significant use of a random orbital is on a strong surface with difficult corners and angles. It is because of the versatile movement of the gadget, and you can control the movement per your necessity.
  • You may have to change the speed while working on the surface at a difficult angle. Anyway, you should be slightly careful while using it in an angular way.
  • If you want to repaint a whole thing differently, you must rely upon a random orbital. You can quickly rip off the old paint from a surface, furniture, or a small thing and paint it again with this sander.
  • Sometimes, you may need to apply coats of sealer, primer, or others between paintings. That’s when you will need a random orbit sander because it easily spins or moves between paints without scratching.
  • The finishing of coats will be good, but you can also give a nice pattern to the paint by using this type of machine.
  • Suppose you have a task of repairing only the countertop of an item or a congested area made of metal. You have to get a random orbital then and start working on your workpiece without doubting anything.
  • As I said, each thing has its uses, like a DA sander and a random orbital has; you will have no problems once you identify their uses. Once you know their uses, you can pick the right thing at the right moment.

The Differences Between a DA Sander and a Random Orbital

The Differences Between a DA Sander and a Random Orbital

Though the dual action sander is included in the random orbital category, eventually, they are pretty different from each other. Anyway, you must know first the criteria on which you will base the differentiations.

Please remember that the differences between DA and random orbital sanders are pretty minor; let’s find out what factors make DA sander vs. random orbital difference.

Size and Handle Size

Size and Handle Size

The sizes of DA and random orbital are different, so are their handles. The first one is smaller than the latter one, and they are more lightweight. Please remember that most ROs are available in a compact size.

However, the handle of DA sanders is longer than random orbitals because their size is smaller than RO. In this case, you can keep the random orbital sanders ahead.



If you want to compare both of them according to the professional uses, you should know that ROs are best for basic works. That’s why the experts suggest the beginners start working with a random orbital.

On the other hand, a DA sander is more appropriate for professional uses and industrial purposes because these are more sophisticated. Anyway, you can choose a RO if you’re learning and a DA when you are a professional.



If you want to save money or look for a budget-friendly sander, you must count on the DA sanders because they have different cost ranges.

The cheapest one starts at $30, and the highest price is not more than $450; Whereas the price range of a random orbital starts with $650, which may feel excessive to people with a limited budget.



Whenever you choose a tool for yourself, you look for the thing you can operate easily because a tool with difficult systems can create problems. A compact-sized tool comes with small attachments and a countertop, making it easily operable.

That’s why you can say that RO sanders get an extra point due to their size and easy operating system with movement.



Both sanders have circular or oval movements, and their speed is counted in rounds per minute or RPM.

A DA sander is popular due to its variety of speed range; it can move fast and slow. The speed range is between 2000-10,000 rpm in a DA sander.

On the contrary, a random orbital is known for its high speed; the speed of a RO is nearly 12,000 rpm when it has 100% working capacity.

Sanding Path

Sanding Path

A sanding path of any sander indicates the tool’s way or pattern while working on a surface. Here, the DA sander has a definite pathway of sanding; no matter how many times you run it, it will pass through the same direction.

However, if you want to contrast the pattern, then comes a random orbital sander. It has no fixed direction, and the disc spins randomly; that’s why we call it a random orbital sander.



Aggressiveness refers to how quickly the grits or blades can clean a surface or remove the old paint. This is another quality that you should look for while buying a sander for working.

You will find the DA sanders more aggressive than a random orbital, and you will get a better result shortly. But you don’t need to underestimate the ROs, and they are aggressive while working too.

Smooth Finish

Smooth Finish

You will always want a tool while sanding that can provide you the smoothest finishing. I must say that both of the sanders perform quite well, but DA sanders are especially known for the smooth and clean finishing they provide.

You can’t find any flaw in the object after repairing or painting with a DA sander, but the worker has to be an expert as well. Now that you know what makes random orbital and DA sander different, you can understand when you need to choose the tools accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Random Orbitals the Same as DA Sanders?

As they have many things in common and dual actions are also random orbital, many people consider them to be the same. But the fact is random orbital, and DA sanders are slightly different.

Are Random Orbitals Better than DA Sanders?

You must agree that a random orbital has many advantages, but better depends on different aspects. Some things make DA sanders better, and sometimes you may find the ROs better than the DA.

Can I Use a Sander for Polishing?

Yes, you can use a sander for polishing anything, such as woodwork, plastic, or metal items. Sanders can rub off a surface and make it even smoother, making it good for polishing.

Final Verdict

You cannot deny that both DA and RO sanders are necessary for workers in the polishing, cleaning, or repairing sectors. The DA sander vs. random orbital debate may never end, but you can use both when necessary.

Please ensure that you have received training for both sanders; no matter what model you have purchased, you will make the best use of it. You will get the desired result if you know the proper use.

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