I honestly do not know why it has taken SO LONG for tool manufacturers to come out with cordless sanders. I have been asking for these for years and years, and finally, only in the last several months have they been coming to the market, and to prove I was correct about their popularity, they have been somewhat hard to get hold of, but I finally put in my order and my cordless sander has arrived.

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What made my purchase somewhat more urgent recently was that I noticed the pad on my old Bosch sander, which has served me extremely well for 12 or so years, once again needs replacing, so now is a perfect time to upgrade to a new cordless sander ... 

 I opted to purchase the Makita 18volt, Random Orbital version because I already had a couple of tools that use those batteries, and I happened to see one of the retail stores I deal with had these on a fall sale promotion, so that's what made the decision for me.

I was able to purchase the "tool only" (no batteries or charger) because I already had a couple of chargers and 4 batteries that I can interchange between the tools. 

Makita 18V Sander

The Sander only comes with a dust collection bag and one sanding disc. I guess for those people who pick up the sander in a box, and don't think about sanding discs, get home and figure out they forgot to get sanding discs ... at least they will have one, and of course, it comes with a manual and warranty info.

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The sander has 2 switches, an On/Off switch and another speed switch, labeled 1 2 3 for the different speeds the sander will operate at. I already knew that the sender was a 3 speed because I had looked at it previously. I also looked at another brand that was also cordless but had a wheel to control the speed. I wasn't sure if I would like the 3 fixed speeds, but as it turns out, I am happier with the 2 speeds than the wheel. The sander when it starts up starts at the highest speed, which is generally what you should be using to sand at. The lowest speed is more for polishing (but you can also sand at a low speed if there is a reason to) and the middle speed is what I would use for a little bit less aggressive sanding speed such as when I was lightly sanding something like Oak Plywood and don't want to sand through that paper thin top layer of Oak.

The sander also comes with a little sand bag, which is just that, a sand bag, no baffles to get clogged ... nothing fancy. It will be easy to clean and hopefully it will work well too. I do all of my sandings outside in a breeze-way to help reduce any dust in my shop, especially the fine dust, and that works well, but I still like to collect the dust from the tool at the time of sanding. 

This particular sander is what is called a 5 inch which simply means 5 inches in diameter. There are on the market both 5 inches and 6-inch sanders are corded versions, but I have yet to see one (at this writing) in 6 inches. I would probably stick with 5 inches, even if 6 was available because I like the fact that the smaller disc can fit into more confined spaces which is more important to me than sanding bit areas a somewhat quicker.

Sanding Discs

When using the sander with the 4 Amp-hour 18-volt battery, I felt the sander was a little bit heavy in the rear, which wouldn't be surprising. I don't have a smaller battery pack for it, but that might be something to look at and of course there are pros and cons to smaller batteries ... they also mean less sanding time, but if you have a couple of batteries, it is possible that one could be charging while the other is in use, so even if you do run one battery down, the other is already charged ... it would at least be close. 


Makita XOB01Z / DBO180Z

I am looking forward to using this sander because where the plugin for my corded sander is, happens to be in a very inconvenient location which makes sanding, which I already dislike, even more of a chore, so hopefully this cordless sander will take my sanding from sad to glad ... well, here's hoping.

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Copyright Colin Knecht

Makita 18V Cordless Random Orbital Sander XOB01Z / DBO180Z