A dual action sander is a tool that allows the operator to use their ability to get rid of surface defects and get consistent finishes. The term dual-action implies that the sender can operate in two motions, the first motion is moving forward and backward, and the second one is moving in an orbital motion.
The best DA sanders can be used on various surfaces such as wood, metal plastic, or plastic to get a clear, smooth finish. The three popular types of dual-action sanders are pneumatic, electric, and hand sanders.
You may need to select the right dual action sander depending on the type of task you want to fulfill. There are different bit profiles to achieve the level of smoothness you aim at.
Quick Comparison: Best DA Sanders
Top 10 Best Dual Action Sander Reviews:
1. TCP Global Professional Heavy Duty 6" DA Sander for Auto Body Work
We love seeing the phrase ‘heavy duty’ on a product since we get to test the claims and see if it actually is heavy-duty. Fortunately, this one passed the tests with flying colors.
Let's start with how easy to use and hold this sander is. The comfortable and rubberized grip allows you to grab onto the thing with little effort, and you won't even feel fatigued with prolonged use either.
You can adjust the air regulation when the sander is operating as well. Thanks to the lever that’s located right near your thumb, adjusting the sanding pad speed is a breeze.
What about power then? It has that department taken care of as well. It’s a very high-performance DA sander. You get 6-inch backing plates, thus the name. There are two different styles of the backing plate as well. One backing plate is for Hook and Loop, and one is for Pre-Stuck Adhesive (PSA).
Obviously, everyone would want their sander to be as durable as possible. Besides, since it shows off a durable built-quality, you can keep up with it for years to come.
The moment you pick this competent beast with your hand, you immediately know its quality. Heavy-duty ball-bearing makes sure there is as little vibration as possible.
That means you don't feel uncomfortable when using it, and it won’t damage itself either. And the components are made from heat-treated steel. If you know anything about tools and sanders, this makes it quite a durable kit.
Speaking of kits, you get quite a lot of things in the package too. There is lubrication oil, coupler plug, instruction manual, wrench, and of course, the sander itself.
With an impressive list of specs like 12,000 RPM and 90 PSI of operating air pressure, this sander looks equipped to get almost any task you throw at it done without breaking a sweat. You can use it on different surfaces like metal, wood, composites, and also fiberglass.
If you're a woodworker or work in an automotive shop, this one is a perfect choice. And since it doesn't leave many swirls, it’s the right DA sander for auto body work.
Compact, lightweight, and powerful. What else do you want? Just keep in mind that a 2-horsepower air compressor is suggested.
2. Ingersoll Rand 311A Best DA Sander for Auto Body Work
Another 6-inch pneumatic sander that does what it says on the specs list and does it well. We put this one at 2nd place of our DA sander reviews because it balances power, ease of use, and durability just as good as the previous one, if not better.
Want some peace and quiet in your working space? Thanks to the built-in muffler, this sander will drown out the loud noise a bit while you're working away. This is one of those features which you don't realize you missed till you actually try it.
Those who want a professional finish can also opt for this one. It will give you practically swirl-free finishes, which not only look really clean but are great for doing things like metal preparation and feather edging.
The speed is also the same as the previous one. It can go up to 12,000 RPM, and keep in mind the low noise, and low vibrations feature as well. All of these together make for a pretty cool little machine that you can handle and use easily.
Speaking of which, it's a fairly easy-to-use tool as well. It's lightweight and compact, which means if there is a need to take it with you on the road, you can.
You can easily control the speed with the lever throttle. This makes using this sander less painful and won’t fatigue you as quickly as some other options in the market. Overall, you will be quite happy with this one.
The build quality is top-notch, which isn't surprising to see. Ingersoll Rand is a reputed brand, and quality construction is a given with their products. The balanced ball-bearing construction will last you a long time while giving you a very smooth operation as well.
The package isn’t quite as full-featured as the other one. You just get the sander itself and an instruction manual. But for what it is, this one is of great value and definitely deserves a spot in our review.
3. Valianto 6" Heavy Duty Random Orbital Dual Action Pneumatic Sander
How about a sander that looks pretty cool, all while not sacrificing features and power? That’s essentially what this 6-inch sander is from the guys over at Valianto.
We have to say we love the bright colors with some stealthy black parts of this one. The pad is bright yellow, while the rest of the body is black and grey. It gives you quite an attractive contrast. One additional benefit of the bright color is it’s very easy to spot.
You don’t have to worry about searching for this sander in the sea of tools in your workshop. And that’s something we are sure everyone can appreciate. It isn’t just a pretty boy without anything else going for it, though. Quite contrary. This sander is packed with features.
Perhaps one of the coolest things about it is how easy it's to control. The built-in regulator lets you make adjustments on the fly and you can control the speed very easily. Those who are wondering, it's a 12,000 RPM sander.
Use one hand or two, the choice is yours. It’s fairly lightweight, so your hands won’t get tired due to prolonged usage. And with 90 PSI of power, you can make quick work of almost all jobs.
A sander really isn’t worth the money if it doesn’t do its core job perfectly. Well, with Double Rotation technology, this one polishes like no one’s business. You get a very uniform and smooth finish.
Versatility is the name of the game here. You can use Valianto’s sander for lots of different tasks and applications. Whether you’re working in an automobile shop, or with metal, this one is sure to be one of your prized tools. Even if you're a wood worker, you will be impressed.
And of course, it’s low vibration as well, which is a must-have feature. It makes the sander much easier to use and creates little sound too.
4. Hutchins 4500 6-Inch DA Super Sander
How about we break off from the same old design of DA sanders? Enter the Hutchins 4500 Sander. When rounding up the professional dual action sander, we can’t leave out this masterpiece.
The design is quite unique and we love it for that. And the best part is it won’t cost a fortune either. If you’re looking for a top-quality sander that doesn’t skimp on important features, this one surely checks all those boxes.
Comfort is one of the more important features to look for in a sander. If you’re using the equipment for long periods of time, having a comfy sander is something you won’t regret. This has a rubberized grip, and thanks to the flex cover, your fingers won’t get stiff after use.
Adding to that is the cool custom handle. The handle allows you to work with the sander from different angles. So, no matter how complex the job is, it will be up for the task.
We aren’t done just yet. The motor reduces vibrations, and operation is exceptionally steady.
Another thing that makes this sander so good is just how efficient it is. A mark of a quality sander is how well it can work with air. Hutchins' 4500 sanders will give you more power on less air compared to other poor-quality models in the market. So, you get more done with less air, and that’s always a win-win.
Another problem with bad sanders is pad wobble. This can lead to the polish looking unprofessional since it won't make full contact. Hutchins went ahead and made the drive head oversized with this one.
That gives you exceptional contact with whatever you’re polishing since the pad won’t wobble as much and allows for full contact. And of course, we also like how well built it is. It might be on the more affordable side, but it doesn't have a cheap construction.
5. Sunex SX203N 6-Inch Quiet Dual Action Sander for Auto Body Work
All of the sanders we have seen so far are pretty quiet. But if you want the high quality dual action sander in terms of low operating noise, this one is hard to beat. It isn’t a one-trick pony either. Apart from the impressive low noise levels, it’s powerful and easy to use too!
What makes it so quiet though? Well, there is a clever bit of engineering that’s going on here. The motor is in an insulated housing that gives you very low noise operation. This is perfect for using this sander at home or at a workshop that prefers working with low noise tools.
That isn’t all. There is a built-in regulator as well. This lets you control the speed easily so you don’t have to do any sort of hand gymnastics to adjust it. And since it's a dual-action orbital sander, what you get is very high quality and fine finish on your work.
The ball-bearing construction also has the benefit of it being practically vibration-free. You will surely feel some vibrations for sure. But it certainly isn't unbearable or too uncomfortable.
And since you can choose the speed with the variable throttle, you can turn it down if you need to feel even fewer vibrations.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s a straightforward sander that does a few things. But it does them exceptionally well. This one gets an easy recommendation from us.
6. Chicago Pneumatic CP870 Non-Vacuum Dual Action Air Powered Sander
You know those brands that just have such a history of proven track record that you just don't need to introduce them to people? That's what this brand is known for. Their products are very high-quality, and the CP870 is no different.
The design of this sander is a classic one, to say the least. It isn't too flashy, and some might say it's a bit dated. But it sure is timeless. The handle is a horizontal one that lets you grip the thing easily, and you can put enough pressure when you're working with it.
The red finish also makes it stand out quite a lot. So, you won’t be fishing for it in your tools shed when you need it. Design aside, the build quality is also solid. It’s made from durable metal, which makes its chassis very rigid and strong.
One thing is for sure, this sander will be an investment in every sense of the word and will last you a long time as well. A lot of sanders that have a metal build quality sometimes skimp of minor details like clean lines or an attractive design. They look boxy and are hard to use. Not this one, though. It’s sleek and attractive.
Power is ample too. Although the free speed isn’t as high as some of the others, we have seen on here. Many sanders on this list will give you 12,000 RPM. This one is just a little bit shy of that number and can spin at 10,000 RPM.
Which honestly isn’t too bad. And we have included 10,000 RPM sanders on this list, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
Then comes control and comfort – both of which this sander nails. There is a power regulator which gives you precise control. You can be sure that whatever work you do with it, it will come out looking absolutely great.
Speaking of which, you can do some pretty fantastic pre-paint prep, blending, edging, and smoothing jobs.
And as for comfort, the grips are very comfortable to hold and won’t even tire your hands all that quickly either. If we had one complaint, it would have been better if the grips were rubberized. That would have just been the cherry on top.
What it may lack in the grip department it makes up for it by including a throttle lock, so it doesn't accidentally startup.
7. Aircat 6310-6" Composite Dual Action Sander for Auto Body Work
For auto body work, this one has a cool red coating as well, but with a much more modern design and some cool features too. One of the standout things about it is just how lightweight it is. But don’t be fooled, it still packs a punch.
The handle mount is the same as the previous one. You hold it sort of like a hammer. It’s a long handle, though. So, don’t worry about comfort. There is a cool little benefit you get from the handle.
Let’s get the first thing out of the way. Yes, it’s ergonomic, and your hands won’t fatigue. But that’s true for most of the sanders here. What makes this one unique is the long handle gives you a bit more reach.
Vibrations are also kept at a minimum thanks to the isolated motor. Or you won’t feel it as much, to be more precise. Plus, this one is quite a lightweight sander too! We don’t have complaints in that department.
The overall usability is pretty nice. Ease of use? Check. What about power? Aircat didn’t leave any power on the table with this one. And that’s good for you, the user.
Although it still runs at a max free speed or 10,000 RPMs, the low weight and low air consumption mean it's very efficient. All that power is kept quiet too.
The motor uses an isolated design so you won’t disturb others around you when you’re using the thing. But do keep in mind, it’s still a sander at the end of the day.So, don’t expect it to be whisper quiet.
One of the more innovative things about it, though is the super cool lubrication-free motor. The sealed case also means dirt and debris aren't making it in there either.
8. Presa Turbine 6" All-in-One Dual Action DA Sander
How about a powerful sander that will get you a finish as good as hand polishing? Well, the Presa Turbine is basically that and then some. This is the best electric DA sander you can get right now.
Alright, an electric sander comes with a cord, duh. That might be something some would scoff at. But bear with us for a bit. The cord is quite long. It’s 19.6 ft, to be precise.
That means you can walk around your shop without much worry of running out of cord. It's one of the perfect tools to have in an auto shop, thanks to this long cord. Speaking of having it in an auto shop, as we already mentioned, the polishing quality is phenomenal.
It will give you a clean and professional-looking shine that makes it look like it has been hand polished without the pain that comes with rigorous hand polishing. So, you get all the benefits and none of the disadvantages. And that’s a win in our books.
It will also give you superior control over it. The speed is adjustable, and you can tweak it perfectly to the job at hand. You certainly don’t want it running at full blast when you’re working on something delicate.
While it isn’t as light as the previous one, the handle is pretty comfortable to hold. It’s a customizable handle with 3 positions and also a side grip. So, whichever position works best for you, it can be adjusted to just that.
This is also a pretty solid choice for those who want a sander for their auto workshop. It will work with most car wash detergents. What's even cooler is the bearings. They are counterbalanced. What does that do? Well, they essentially help the polish last longer.
Moreover, the speed and power are pretty impressive. The range is 1500 to 6800 OPM. Keep in mind that’s OPM, orbits per minute, and not RPM.
9. ZFE Pneumatic DA Palm Sander
This one is perhaps the dual action sander for beginners. It’s very easy to use. You just hold the thing with your palm and work away. Of course, there is more to it than meets the eye.
Comfort and ease are one thing. But a good sander will balance all of its features like power, accessories, and design. Fortunately, it does well in all these departments.
This is a high horsepower and high-performance tool that’s friendly for beginners but won’t feel like an incompetent piece of kit either. A lot of beginner-friendly sanders do this.
They make a sander that's accessible but doesn't load it up with meaningful features. Not this one, though. The motor can go up to 10,000 RPMs. That's just as high as other professional-grade sanders on this list. So, you can be sure that you can get some serious work done.
Durability is taken care of by the incredibly solid materials ZFE used to build this thing. It's an all-metal build. Made from stainless steel, not only does it feel robust in hand, but it will also deal with wear and tear like a champ. The cylinders are also made from steel. And the balance of this sander is great too.
While we stand by our budget choice, this sander can give that a run for its money. The value proposition is quite strong. It doesn’t cost that much to start with and then there are all the included accessories.
In the bag, you get 2 backing plates. Dust collection bag, 3 sponge pads, 24 sandpapers, and 2 microfiber cloths. That’s what we call a full-featured kit right there.
For a sander that's so beginner-friendly yet comes packed with features, this one is a great buy whether it’s your first time buying a dual-action sander or not.
10. Gedu Professional DA Pneumatic Sander
Light, compact and powerful. That’s how we would describe this sander from Gedu. If you want a small sander that packs a punch, you won’t regret buying this one.
We have seen a lot of 10,000 RPM sanders in this list. This one takes things up a notch. It can go up to 12,000 RPM, just like some of the higher-end models we have reviewed.
And there is also the quality regulator. It lets you precisely control the thing and make sure you get just the amount of power you need. Also, we love the design of this. It's a pretty attractive design and a tad bit whimsical. The bright yellow and red color scheme with a touch of black makes it look quite good, actually.
It isn’t just designed well, though. The build quality is fantastic as well. Made from stainless steel, you can be sure this one will easily hold its own through abuse. But of course, treat it well. You can’t expect any sander to last if you treat the thing like junk.
A cool feature of this one is the light motor assembly. So, if you need to do some vertical sanding, it’s practically perfect for that. This version which we have is the newer upgraded model.
It’s better built and has higher strength in every way. So, if you buy it, make sure to check that you are indeed getting the right one we reviewed. The only gripe we have with this one is that the speed switch is very easy to hit accidentally with your fingers. You need to be careful about that.
Things to Consider before Buying DA Sanders
Picking a product from a list is easy. We rounded up affordable and best dual action sanders in the market, so you can pick one without any hassle. But if you know what exactly to look for, you can make a more informed decision.
The first thing you should consider is the type of sander you want. This part is important, and most DA sander reviews will tell you to consider the type you get first.
We listed two types – electric and pneumatic sanders. If you want to get a sander for household or DIY tasks, an electric sander will get the job done. But you need to be tied to a constant electric source.
Pneumatic sanders are great for more professional-level jobs. Auto shops and other heavy uses can use a pneumatic sander to its full potential.
Then there is the pad size or the orbit diameter. Large pad size is great for working with larger surfaces. It makes quick work of them when smoothing or sanding. But keep in mind that the larger the pad size, the tougher it will be working corners. 6 inches is a good middle-ground for most people.
If your sander lacks enough power you will end up regretting the purchase. It will practically become a useless paperweight. While the power and speed will depend on the type of projects you want to take on, at least 10,000 RPM should be the minimum.
Ease of Use
Unless you want your hands to be very tired just after a couple of minutes of use, it's always a good idea to get a sander that’s comfortable and easy to use. Look for power regulators that let you control the speed easily and a rubberized grip. Also, a lightweight sander doesn’t hurt either.
Speaking of comfort and not getting tired quickly, a sander with some way of dealing with vibrations will allow you to work for longer periods of time. An insulated motor or any kind of low vibration feature is the best in this case.
The last thing you want is your sander to kick the bucket just after a couple of weeks of use. To avoid this, get one that’s built well and has durable components and quality ball bearings. Look for metal construction.
Price and Brand
Lastly, you have price and brand. Settling on a price point is just a matter of deciding your budget and picking one that fits in that budget. But do keep in mind the previous features we mentioned.
As for the brand, all the ones we have reviewed here are all reputed brand names and make great quality products. You can pick one that works for you and call it a day.
What Is a DA Sander?
You have probably noticed that in some places, we referred to these sanders as DA sanders. DA is the abbreviated form of Dual Action. It essentially means that it has two motions.
One motion is where it moves backward and forward continuously, and the other is a rotary motion. This motion helps you get the best results when it comes to smoothing, sanding, or buffing.
You can use it on different surfaces like wood or metal. Even auto shops also use DA sanders to give the cars a nice and professional-looking polish. High-quality DA sanders won't give you that swirl effect either. So, that’s another benefit.
Step by Step Process of Using a DA Sander
For any task that requires the use of a dual-action sander, you will need to find the correct types of materials for sanding.
Tools you will require to work with a dual-action sander
- A dual-action sander machine
- Source of power
- Sandpaper discs
- Dry cloth
- Finish or primer
Step 1: Pick your paper
take your time to decide on what type of sandpaper is good for you. For starters, you can start with a coarse grit with fewer sand particles per square centimeters as you work towards finer sandpapers. To arrive at this decision, you will analyze the condition and type of surface you want to work on.
For a rough material surface, a rough 60 grit paper will do the work. Then switch up to a medium grit or fine grit, depending on the level of smoothness you are aiming at. Consequently, if your surface is in good shape and you seek a smoother detail, then there is no need to go through the hustle. Just get a fine paper with 200 grit, and it will do the magic.
Step 2: Measure and attach your sanding disc.
Once you are settled on the grit, please measure the size of your sander. Then select the correct size of paper to attach to it. All sanding discs come with a self-stick adhesive on the back that means you can easily stick or remove. If one disc wears out or completes its purpose, make sure it is removed because it is not advisable to use one disk on top of another.
Step 3: Clean your working surface
cleaning surfaces is an essential procedure when carrying out any task involving surfaces. This process is suitable for the sander and your safety. Using your dual-action sander on a dirty surface may develop scratches or dirt marks on your surface. It may also cause wear to the surface of the sandpaper.
To check for dirt, you can directly look at the surface and see what is wrong. You may also need to run your palms across the surface and feel for any bumpy obstacles or indentations. It would be best if you then got a wet cloth to wipe off any removable dirt. You will have to obtain a container filled with water, a scrubbing tool, and some detergent for tough stains. Wash thoroughly until the surface remains clean, then allow to dry.
Step 3: Wear safety gear
The sanding process involves a lot of debris production, and some of these particles are harmful when they come into contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth. You will need a mask, a pair of goggles, an apron or overall and a pair of gloves. Also, make sure your feet are protected by wearing heavy shoes.
Some of these particles may cause terminal damage to your body if you use this machine in your day-to-day activities. Especially inhaled dust particles or paint particles that make their way into your throat then end up in your lungs.
Step 4: Restrict the area that needs sanding
You could be sanding a whole piece of wood or just a particular spot that needs to be leveled. In many cases, it is vital to have boundaries on the exact location that you will need to work on to avoid sanding into other segments that may increase your workload.
Step 5: Start sanding
Select the material you want to sand and follow the provided marks to know the exact points required to be worked on. Ensure that your machine is well set up and the pad in perfect position following the arrow directions provided at the back. Start your device at a moderately high speed, then place it vertically on the surface.
Move along in a forward and backward motion or a circular motion depending on the type of surface and level of smoothness you want to achieve. Make sure your strokes are evenly distributed.
You may also want to adjust your speed appropriately; If you notice that the surface is too hard for the sander to go through, you can try higher rates. If the results are still similar, you can replace the sanding disk and use a coarse one to penetrate easily. Once your surface has taken shape, stop the machine to avoid damages or scratch marks.
Step 6: Finishing touches
Turn off your sanding machine and replace the sandpaper, this time aiming for a finer grit as required for fine finishing. Turn on the device and proceed with sanding until you are satisfied with the work done. Wipe off excess dust particles using a dry piece of clothing to confirm whether the result is satisfactory.
If you are okay with the appearance of the wood, you can use an excellent finish to protect against dust and weathering. You also can use wood varnish and wood oils if you want the wood to be exposed.
Essential tips to remember when using a dA sander
- Start the sander on the work surface to avoid the machine digging into the work surface.
- Stop off to prevent the machine from sliding across the surface, causing wild scratches, allowing you complete control.
- Please do not place the machine at an angle because it will cause hard to remove gouges.
- Avoid placing excessive pressure that interferes with the consistency of the finish.
- Use the correct size of the grit. Low number grits are suitable for wood, plastic, paint, and many more. Grits above 100 are ideal for breaking edges and significant repairs.
- Maintain your sander by using an automated lubricator that applies equal amounts of oil in different environments.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is an orbital sander called a DA?
The reason an orbital sander is called a DA sander is because of the two motions it uses for sanding. These sanders will move forward and backward continuously. And also have some kind of rotary motion. These two motions work in tandem to give you the best results possible.
2. Can you buff with an orbital sander?
You most definitely can. DA sanders can be used to buff paint and not just that. The finish you get is also pretty good. One of the best things about it is they are easy to use.
So, if there is a DIY project you want to take on which involves some buffing or polishing, you can rely on a high-quality dual-action sander to get the job done.
3. What is the difference between a sander and a polisher?
The main difference is the spin speed. A controlled speed is good for protecting the paint finish. Being too aggressive can cause the paint to come off, especially around the edges.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t polish with a sander. Some DA sanders will have regulators that allow you to control the speed. Those can be used to polish paint as well.
4. When do you know that you should replace your sanding pad?
No matter how high-quality your sander is, you will inevitably need to replace the pad. There are some telltale signs you can keep an eye out for to know when is the right time to replace it.
One of the most common ones is when the sanding pad slips from the center. In other words, it isn't aligned correctly anymore. When this happens, you will feel it grab onto the surface or the project you're working on.
And if you notice that there is a lack of consistency, then it’s probably due for a change. You will see that the grit isn’t there anymore. Lastly, you can check for worn-out spots on the pad.
Continuing to use a worn-out pad is a bad idea and is simply isn't worth it. There is a risk of ruining your project. So, make sure you replace it when needed.
So, what's the Best DA Sander?
Whether you had used a dual-action sander before or tried another type of sander, you need to understand that the procedures are not much other than how you would operate a machine of the same kind. Every step provided is necessary to ensure you get the best results.
The elliptical path that dual-action sanders make sanding much faster; the back-and-forth options are suitable for giving the finest and smoothest finishes as you move it across the wood surface.
When using dual-action sanders, many people make the mistake of applying downward pressure because they believe this helps the machine perform better. On the contrary, it causes that pad to slow down hence overheating the motor. Such overheating may lead to damage.
When using a dual-action sander, apply a reasonable amount of pressure to keep the sanding disc in good contact with the work surface at all times to ensure proper consistency.
So, which one is the best? If you want a hassle-free experience and a sander with adequate power, durability and is also easy to use, you can’t go wrong with the TCP Global Heavy Duty 6" DA Palm Sander.
It’s a straightforward sander that checks all the boxes and is certainly the best dual action sander you can buy right now. That doesn’t mean you have to buy this one. As we mentioned, pick one that suits your specific needs. That way you will end up with just the one that works for you.