Pleasantly surprised by the 93431 HF Random Orbit Sander

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Review by Tennessee posted 05-03-2012 06:54 PM 16759 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Pleasantly surprised by the 93431 HF Random Orbit Sander No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have to admit, I am a sucker for a good random orbit sander. We all started off many years ago with the square ones that always left swirl marks, and then one day there it was, the round, 5” random orbit sander. My first was a Porter-Cable with the stick-um pad, which soon got a hook and loop system and served me well until the wheel would just start spinning out of control as soon as you lifted it off the wood. They had come down so much in price I bought another, this time variable speed which I never used.
Then I found a Black and Decker on sale, the red one, which in my mind has too big an orbit and is good as long as you want to hog off a lot of wood. I only use it with 80 and 120 grit, then it gets put away.

Then one day in Harbor Freight, I see the 93431 for sale, $22 bucks. I just could not resist.
Lightweight, good hook and loop system, good off-on switch, nice thick pad, fairly efficient dust collection system, long cord, easy to hold, wheel doesn’t hardly spin at all when off the wood. No tendency to walk.
Motor stunk up a little the first two-three minutes, the cloth bag comes off (very rarely), dust collection system is relegated to the bag with a funny, oval hole, no way to hook on a small vac hose.

I don’t know who makes this, (Emerson?), but this thing hangs in with every other one I own, which is two P-C’s and a B&D, which I use the least.

I’ve probably got about ten hours of sanding on it now, and it performs well every time. If you ae in the market for a random orbit sander, and don’t have a central dust collection system, I’d recommend you go buy one for the lousy $22 bucks, they are still on sale as far as I know.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3360 days

11 comments so far

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 05-03-2012 07:12 PM

I have one also. I loved it! Then a month after I got it it started shooting sparks. I did use the hell out of it though, but I have a cheap Ryobi ROS that has held up much longer and is still going. I use it for 60 – 100 grit sanding. After that I get out the PC 330 speedbloc and clean up the scuff marks and finish sand.


View woodman88's profile


147 posts in 3494 days

#2 posted 05-04-2012 01:23 AM

I had 2 of them that my brother gave me after using one time.I used one of then twice and would not hold my Mirka hook and loop and when it did the swirl marks were terrible. Maybe you got lucky but my experience with most of HF stuff has not been too good

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3469 days

#3 posted 05-04-2012 01:38 AM

I have had one for over a year. I use it most every day. Works like a charm. I hit it once a week with a blast from the compressor. I am going to get one or two more soon. I can not imagine being without one. They are too valuable to be without.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View dustyal's profile


1320 posts in 4320 days

#4 posted 05-04-2012 03:20 AM

Can’t complain about mine… I bought one for one purpose only… to do a double car overhead garage door that was in really bad shape Thought I could use abuse this cheap $25 sander and simply throw it away. It’s was abused… but still working fine… I used plenty of 60 and 80 grit paper.

My Dewalt and Bosch sanders are better, more enjoyable to use… but not 3 or 4 times the price better. However, I would still use them for fine woodworking.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View abie's profile


916 posts in 4616 days

#5 posted 05-04-2012 03:45 AM

Our Shop here at the wrinkle farm bought two and have several others but the HF sander is still cranking along,,
the price was right and PC and DW are all made in China too.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View eccentrictinkerer's profile


38 posts in 3873 days

#6 posted 05-04-2012 04:49 AM

I hpe you haven’t trash-canned your Porter-Cable sander.

I had the same problem and found a mod kit from P-C.

If your ROS is fairly new you may just have a broken clutch belt.

Video here

Good luck!


View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3360 days

#7 posted 05-04-2012 05:59 PM

Hey, J.D., thanks for the tip! I still have that sander, exactly as shown in the pictures, and I know for certain that the clutch belt is NOT THERE anymore. Hard to tell where that thing went!
I’ll be looking into getting another belt and bringing that sander back online!

Thanks again!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3360 days

#8 posted 05-07-2012 03:31 PM

J.D., I took my old PC apart and sure enough, the belt was gone. Instead of going to a parts list, I remembered that I keep a full supply of O-rings in house, and some of them are larger. Got them out, one fit pretty good, and it runs like new! Don’t know how long the O-ring will last, but it is a .15 cent O-ring so I don’t care.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Nighttripper's profile


41 posts in 3013 days

#9 posted 08-29-2012 07:16 PM


I need a new ROS…I’m really thinking about picking up the HF for $20…..I just am concerned about the higher grits (220) ? I’m aiming for an elegant finish on a box I just made for my wife and I don’t want to mess it up by being cheap with a sander.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3093 days

#10 posted 08-29-2012 07:18 PM

The short time mine worked, it did a pretty good job. It does vibrate a lot more than other sanders I used, but I was able to get things smooth with no chatter or scratch marks.


View Workman's profile


1 post in 2493 days

#11 posted 11-21-2013 06:02 PM

Warning! My HF ROS Quickly wore out the damper, which keeps the pad from spinning out of control. HF refused to sell me the replacement part and now I need another ROS.

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