Ridgid - 6" Variable Speed Orbital Sander (Rating: 2)

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.