Bosch 5" Variable Speed Orbital Sander

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Review by PaulLL posted 02-27-2014 05:02 AM 5386 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bosch 5" Variable Speed Orbital Sander Bosch 5" Variable Speed Orbital Sander Bosch 5" Variable Speed Orbital Sander Click the pictures to enlarge them

I got a side job refinishing the slabs in the picture. They are stair treads going on a steel staircase that I built at my day job. 16 of them that our original finisher messed up with a crappy faux finish white wash, instead of the faux limed oak look that it was supposed to have. I was using my 5” King orbital to sand off the white but “unfortunately” is took a spill off my bench. So I checked my Popular Mechanic stack, remembering there was a sander ranking in one of them and the Bosch won.

This is where I was first impressed with the Bosch, when first turned on, even at it’s highest speed there is very little vibration and it is half as loud as my King. The handle is very comfortable and fits nicely into my hand, with easy access to the on/off switch.

It was taking me about 40 minutes to sand off each slab with the King, the Bosch, 20 min! It works amazing fast, removing paint quickly and with very little effort.

The dust collection also worked a lot better then I was expecting. My King didn’t catch anything, But as you can see in the empty canister, which removes very easily with a twist and pull, this thing catches a lot. That picture is after only 1 side of a slab!

The only thing that made me give this a 4 instead of 5 stars is that the lid to the canister is a little difficult to remove, so it is easy to pull it off with a too much force and throw sawdust everywhere. You have to squeeze the side and lift up on small tabs at the back. I haven’t quite figured out how to do it smoothly, but this one complaint could actually be a positive, because maybe the opposite is the lid pops off all the time.

I think that’s about it, after my first night of use. I have a few more nights worth so maybe I’ll have more to add after that.


View PaulLL's profile


163 posts in 2981 days

15 comments so far

View dahenley's profile


136 posts in 3098 days

#1 posted 02-27-2014 05:35 AM

is that the variable speed model, or the constant one?
(i have been looking at theseā€¦.. and might have to look further into them haha)

-- David Henley

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20239 posts in 4680 days

#2 posted 02-27-2014 06:59 AM

Thanks for the review. I think I’m sold ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View AspiringWoodworker's profile


72 posts in 3310 days

#3 posted 02-27-2014 11:49 AM

I have the same sander and love how it works. However I have the same problem opening the dust container.

-- Jeff W., Boston, MA area,

View waho6o9's profile


8995 posts in 3581 days

#4 posted 02-27-2014 04:24 PM

Good review and the sander looks comfortable to use.

Maybe hook up a shop vac to it?

View pintodeluxe's profile


6312 posts in 3818 days

#5 posted 02-27-2014 05:06 PM

I have that sander as well, and at first I was quite impressed with the paper filter. I thought perhaps I could avoid using a shop vacuum while sanding. As you mention, you have to twist / pry the canister off, which quickly leads to failure of the O-ring. Once the O-ring is damaged, dust spews everywhere. I would replace it, but it only took about a month of occasional sanding to fail. This part of the sander needs to be redesigned.

As far as power, I find it good for light sanding with 120 grit or finer. It has much less power and less amperage than other random orbit sanders, which does mean less vibration. It is variable speed.

Sadly, I have gone back to my Dewalt + shop vac setup, but either sander works well when attached to a shop vac. The WoodRiver crush-proof hose fits both sanders perfectly. The I-socket from Rockler is a must-have accessory!

Thanks for the nice review.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CharlesA's profile


3462 posts in 2802 days

#6 posted 02-27-2014 05:15 PM

Mine is the model before this one—I’m very happy with it.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View gawthrrw's profile


207 posts in 3451 days

#7 posted 02-27-2014 07:47 PM

I have the same one and also bought the Bosch dust extractor to pair with it. Works great!

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View PaulLL's profile


163 posts in 2981 days

#8 posted 02-28-2014 02:50 AM

David, please see title, its the variable, ha.

waho6o9, That’s the one thing I forgot to mention! It comes with an adapter to hook to a vac, only issue is it fits a 1 1/2” hose and of course my shopvac has a 2” hose though, so I’ll have to make a duct tape adapter, Red Green would be proud.

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3253 days

#9 posted 02-28-2014 01:22 PM

I also have this sander. I don’t like it at all. It’s very under powered. Hooked up to a shop vac or dust collector the pad won’t orbit – only vibrate. It doesn’t have enough power to overcome the suction.

It’s also really light.I prefer a heavier sander.


View CharlesA's profile


3462 posts in 2802 days

#10 posted 02-28-2014 01:25 PM

That’s weird, Joe. Do you press down hard when you use it?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View RobynHoodridge's profile


127 posts in 3334 days

#11 posted 02-28-2014 05:17 PM

than i was expecting”. than.
~twitch~ :)

-- Never is longer than forever.

View Ken90712's profile


17972 posts in 4193 days

#12 posted 03-04-2014 12:25 PM

Nice review I have been abusing mine for many yrs. It has always been very dependable.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Bobsboxes's profile


1543 posts in 3668 days

#13 posted 03-04-2014 03:31 PM

I have 3 or 4 of these, great sanders. I have dust collecting hoses for mine. I have these hooked to vac, with the mini cyclone. The dust bin on the sanders works but it is a pain to empty.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View TechTeacher04's profile


459 posts in 2536 days

#14 posted 03-17-2014 05:26 PM

I have this sander as well, I made an adapter to all me to use my Dewalt Dust Extractor with the Bosch. A little electrical tape and a slightly modified female sump pump fitting and I am dust free. I can post a picture if anyone is interested.

View Keyser_Soze's profile


68 posts in 2576 days

#15 posted 06-02-2014 07:40 PM

Also have this sander, would probably give it 3.5/5. Had the opportunity to use a Festool ROS, and while I think most of their tools are ridiculously priced unless it’s your career, if I were ever to begrudgingly buy one, that sander would be it. Easily 2x the power, though louder. The Bosch is overall wonderful if slightly underpowered.

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