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 In Tool Reviews

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Tool: 18V ONE+™ 5″ Random Orbit Sander PCL406B Shop Now  

Manufacturer: Ryobi

MSRP: $59 (bare tool with 3 sheets of sandpaper)

Usually, the first steps of reviewing a tool are taking it out of the box, charging the batteries, then photographing the tool while it’s still in pristine condition. However, the new Ryobi 18V ONE+ Random Orbit Sander didn’t get quite that type of treatment. It showed up right as I was undertaking a handful of outdoor projects, like refinishing a neglected chaise lounge on the backyard patio. I had forgotten to charge the batteries for my other cordless sander, and I had no desire to run extension cords, so I grabbed a fresh Ryobi battery off the charger (it’s also sold with a battery and charger under the model #PCL406K1) and immediately went to work.

The original, pristine appearance is demonstrated in this photo from Ryobi.

While this meant I had to skip the usual photo session, it a was great opportunity to get a bunch of real-world use right off the bat. I was able to use the sander in a variety of situations, holding it a different angles and with different grits of sandpaper. Over the course of the weekend, I found several strengths and two weaknesses. In the positive column, the sander is comfortable to hold, very well-balanced, and a 4ah battery lasts for quite a while under constant usage. Ryobi claims 40% reduced vibrations, and even after using it for long stretches of time, I didn’t notice any phantom vibrations or discomfort. I had no complaints with the evenness of the sanding, or how quickly the material was being removed. The fixed 10,000 OPM speed sits right in the middle range for most random orbit sanders, and I never felt the need to change it for the tasks I was working on.

That being said, I still need to put the lack of speed control in the negative column. Some other sanders at this price point have that feature, and it’s nice to have when the need arises. The other annoyance I had was that the dust collection bag would sometimes fly off unexpectedly. The sander actually did a great job of sucking up the dust, so every time the bag was launched it was accompanied by a large cloud of fine particulate. I can’t seem to find anyone else with this issue, so it could just be an unfortunate manufacturing defect of my tool. 

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