Bigger is not always better

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Review by Sawdust4Blood posted 03-12-2012 05:01 AM 4051 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bigger is not always better No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Sadly this is my one Ridgid tool that has turned out to be a disappointment. I confess that I hate sanding and the thought that a larger, more powerful ROS might get me done sanding sooner may have seduced me into choosing this sander about 18 months ago when my faithful 20 year old Porter Cable gave up the ghost.

Unfortunately, when it comes to ROSs, bigger is not always better. This sander is heavy and it’s size makes it cumbersome in many applications as well as being difficult to use with just one hand. However, the thing that I have come to hate the most is the trigger style power switch. I’m not sure when a person might use a sander this size for durations short enough for a trigger switch to make sense. I would much rather have a traditional on-off switch. To be fair, there is a trigger lock button but since I use the lock each and every time, a regular switch would just make more sense. To make matters worse, the trigger lock is located in a position that makes it difficult to engage but the lightest accidental touch of the trigger disengages the lock and shuts off the sander. Because the trigger switch is located inside the handle, this particular frustration occurs all too often. I do like that the dust collection port accepts both standard sizes of shop vac hoses but neither size hose likes to stay attached while you’re sanding even though I am also using Ridgid brand hoses. Finally, 6 inch disks are just harder to find than 5 inch disks.

It does remove material aggressively with coarse paper and produces a fine finish with high grit paper but not sufficiently better than other sanders to make up for all it’s limitations. Bottom line is that if someone made me an offer on this sander today, there would probably be a new 5 inch Bosch ROS in my garage before nightfall. Even without an offer, this tool may not last much longer in my shop.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


408 posts in 3828 days

10 comments so far

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3908 days

#1 posted 03-12-2012 07:23 AM

The latest Wood Magazine just said the exact same thing you did. Bigger is not better for all the reasons you stated: heavy, awkward, won’t get into tight spots and dust collection is no better on a 6” than a 5” ROS…......

-- mike...............

View rodneyh's profile


147 posts in 3470 days

#2 posted 03-12-2012 02:07 PM

I have the same sander, same complaint. I bought it, however, for a boat deck project that I needed to take off a lot of material in a hurry. It’s the best in the business for that, unless you want to step up significantly in price.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12217 posts in 4235 days

#3 posted 03-12-2012 02:56 PM

Thanks for the review. I’ll stick with the 5”.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3496 days

#4 posted 03-13-2012 01:38 AM

Thanks for posting this. I was considering one of these for the same reasons you bought yours. The switch would drive me nuts.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View PCM's profile


135 posts in 3851 days

#5 posted 03-13-2012 01:41 AM

For those of you who need a 6” ROS, get the Bosch ROS65VC. It can be switched to a 5 or 6 ” ROS. Has the best dust collection; so good you do no not need a vacuum and the canister is a snap to empty. Vibration is miniscule and you will no longer have those tingling hand after prolonged sanding. The sander is aggressive,but easy to control and leaves an excellent finish. I would like to also mention, that Abranet sanding discs are a great improvement over sand paper discs. They are more aggressive yet leave a smoother finish at each grit level compared to even good sand paper like Norton 3X and last 4-5 times longer. Their open mesh design does not clog and improves dust collection.

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3615 days

#6 posted 03-13-2012 01:50 AM

All you had to do was ask. Think bosch 3725. Around 140 bucks. Oh and make sure and get the 5 inch.

View grumpy749's profile


228 posts in 3183 days

#7 posted 03-13-2012 02:08 AM

Hell I build a lot of tables and this is the best sander i’ve owned. I don’t even use my belt sander anymore. True it is heavy and is not built for light intricate work but very little downward pressure is needed to get excellent results. You can get replacement discs in just about any grit at Lee Valley I couldn’t be without this sander in my shop. To each his own I guess.

-- Denis in Grande Prairie. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mistery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.....Pink !

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 3460 days

#8 posted 03-13-2012 09:20 PM

I tried this sander about 18 months ago and found it to be way underpowered and the motor housing got really hot to the touch when aggressively sanding. I did like the 1/8” or 1/4” orbital setting for aggressive or non aggressive sanding. I returned mine 3 days after purchasing it. I was afraid the motor was going to burn up.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Arvid's profile


17 posts in 3817 days

#9 posted 03-14-2012 08:12 PM

I have have one of these sanders for over a year and while I wouldn’t recommend it over a 5” sander (or as my only ROS) it does get the job done on large projects. I use it on larger projects and always with two hands. While the switch isn’t my favorite the abilty to cover larger areas faster, with a more agressive cut, great dust collection, and at a good price it was hard to pass up. I’ve also been luck to have all my grits available at the local box stores, so finding the paper hasn’t been that difficult. Like grumpy749, my belt sander hasn’t been used much after purchasing this gem.

-- Arvid, Washington DC

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4326 days

#10 posted 03-23-2012 07:35 PM

I own the earlier R2610 version of this unit reviewed above, the R2611, I assume (the dust-collection bag and hookup is different, and I think there are also a couple of other minor differences), and I love the daylights out of it.

Unlike the reviewer, I particularly love the on/off switch and power-lock feature. The advantage of such a switch is that it is fast and easy to shut it down should something go wrong, such as a disc flying apart or the workpiece jumping about. The heavy weight getting complaints is actually a performance advantage, in my opinion (although obviously it would be a problem if one were sanding a wall or ceiling) and makes the unit easier to use for typical workbench-style sanding. The early version also got some very positive comments during a sander faceoff in one of the woodworking magazines a while back, and I do not think the magazine reviewer had any complaints about the on/off switch.

I did a formal review of my unit on this site a while back, at:

Since the review I have done even more work and it continues to work fine. One thing I have discovered is that it is really not necessary to have a dust-collector hooked up to it at all. I work outdoors when sanding, and the unit scavenges dust just fine and blows it clear of the work area.

Different strokes for different folks.

PS: I think my older version was actually made in Germany and not in China. Rare, I think, these days.

Howard Ferstler

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