Cordless RO Sander- Ryobi issues- Need Council

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Forum topic by JesusWasACarpenter posted 04-16-2018 12:54 PM 1747 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 820 days

04-16-2018 12:54 PM

Hello all, my first posting here. I started woodworking professionally, part-time, about 9 months ago. Originally a hobby, I started with my business from an existing Ryobi tool collection, developing along that collection as I have gone along, to stay in the same series/batteries. I’m also a bit partial to the brand, as I have always had a good experience with them, and prefer their design/egornomics over other big-box lines. I currently use their RO sander, with their largest 4AH battery. It’s a powerful combo, and sanding time is about 15-20 minutes on the one 4AH battery. I then have another 4AH on a Super Charger ready to throw on when the first dies. I typically don’t sand much longer than 30 minutes at a time, so it’s a good combo. Power is strong. But below are my issues: 

1. VIBRATION. It’s a rough sander on the hands. I have drummed for years, and so perhaps my hands are more sensitive due to prior abuse. 

2. Sander keeps breaking. Runs like a CHAMP for a month or two, then I get this metallic grinding sound as it runs, similar to a baseball card on a bicycle wheel, and I know it’s on it’s way (quickly) out. I then have another day or two, before it’s toast. I’m on my 5th one now. Fortunately, it’s a free swap, as they break before 3 months of (every day) use. Home Depot will swap it out in store if you have had it 3 months or less, with no additionally warranty purchase necessary. Essentially, they return the old one, and give me store credit to buy a new one. It’s so bad now, I set a calendar reminder from the date of the purchase, just so I can swap it out before 3 months is out. Last one broke 1.5 months in. I do this for convenience, being that the sander is awesome until it breaks, and sans the time needed to get a new one, its not costing me anything else. It’’s also got awesome dust collection, paired with a powerful vac. 

I pair the sander with a RIGID 6.5Hp Smart Cart. I found the vac to be a great purchase, and a middle-ground price between a standard shop vac and a dust-extractor. The vac port on the RYOBI sander matches up well with the Rigid pro-hose diameter (I wrap the Ryobi vac port with about 3-4 layers of painters tape to make the connection snug and then the hose won’t slip off). The vac paired with an RZ mask + a WEN air filtration system is a winning combo in terms of dust control. 

I don’t want to leave the Ryobi RO sander, but my hands are killing me due to the vibration + weight. I need the 4AH batteries for power, the compact ones are lighter but not enough power. 

I’ve thought of going pneumatic as I know the air RO sanders are lighter and easier on the hands, but been researching the specs for a compressor needed to run a pneumatic sander shoots the price above a reasonable means for my (still somewhat small) business. I don’t want to go FESTOOL yet. I”m just not ready, financially. 

Any thoughts? Anyone else run into the same issues with the Ryobi RO sander? I love the rest of the Ryobi tools, even for daily use! Bandsaw and Drill Press, especially, have been great. I’m hard on the tools, and they are stressed likely beyond their intended standard/hobby use. 

I have tried the corded model, but the combo of toting the cord and the vac hose around the perimeter of a larger piece like a table is a real hassle. The best combo I’ve had is the Ryobi cordless sander + the Smart Vac + (2) pro-hoses connected together (had to purchase a second hose to get the proper length for my shop). With that combo, I can get around my small shop 12×16 shop with ease. I use thick gloves to limit the vibration, and drum on a practice pad before and after to ease my hands. But, doing so puts me back at Home Depot every three months for a new sander. 

Open to any suggestions anyone may have. Maybe it’s worth it to purchase a second type of battery charger + batteries for a better model/brand cordless electric sander. But it would need to: (1) Be cordless and awesome like the Ryobi is (until it breaks); (2) Have excellent dust removal with a cylindrical dust port; (3) be low vibration; (4) not break.  

Pics below of my shop, to give an idea of space and operation. I build (mostly) farmhouse tables, barn doors, rustic pieces, etc… as this is the prime market currently in my area. Sorry for the long post, and thank you for any help you can give. -Daniel ( ;

-- Follow all of our newest client builds/projects @

8 replies so far

View OSU55's profile


2648 posts in 2769 days

#1 posted 04-16-2018 01:48 PM

Use hand planes instead of a sander – flatter surface and no vibration. A bit slower once sharpening is included, and sometimes a sander just makes more sense in a situation, but cuts sander use drastically..

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5290 posts in 4739 days

#2 posted 04-16-2018 02:24 PM

I don’t see how “awesome” as a descriptor fits when the tool craps out within 3 mos. and it vibrates like crazy.
There are no battery operated sanders in my shop. AC for me. Yessiree.

-- [email protected]

View ChefHDAN's profile


1659 posts in 3629 days

#3 posted 04-16-2018 03:09 PM

Congratulations on having the courage and ability to make the leap to earning money from your hobby. Respectfully, i think your trying to run a pro business with a hobbyist mentality using a cordless sander does not make any sense. I’ve had several Ryobi tools and some run better than others, but over the years I’ve replaced them with better tools and given the Ryobis away. I think I still have a big corded hammer drill in a box in the shop somewhere.
EVERY SINGLE wood project you do will require sanding, and it’s a mindless task that while not fun is necessary. I would suggest you look to invest in a dust collector and then run a hose drop over your assembly table along with a cord reel, so that you can easily circle the project with cords and tools.
Time and costs will be the two things that will be the biggest factors to determine profitability, “re-buying” tools, replacing batteries, and using small sanders for big projects will eat up your profits. I’ve got several sanders that all do a particular task quickly and well, all vibrate with the more expensive better built ones having less. My top user for 5” RO is a dewalt, that i’ll wear leather palm padded gloves for extended sanding. I try not to have hours of sanding and reduce much sanding with card scrapers and planes.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View CRAIGCLICK's profile


117 posts in 853 days

#4 posted 04-16-2018 03:54 PM

I am a hobbyist, myself. I can’t see myself earning a living from my woodworking because I’m not that good, so congrats to you for being able to do something you love and earn money at it.

Personally, outside of drills and a Paslode cordless impact brad nailer, you won’t see a battery operated tool in my shop. Corded tools are simply better in most applications for a couple of reasons.

1. Unless your power goes out, a corded tool won’t stop.

2. Batteries wear out and they are NOT cheap (I just paid 80 bucks for two Makita batteries, and that was a screaming deal).

I had a battery operated reciprocating saw and circular saw from Porter Cable. They lasted me a year and a half before both batteries quit taking a charge.

As for your hands, palm sanders are always hard on your hands. I would recommend one of the RO Sanders from Bosch with ergonomic handles such as the 3725DEVS they are way easier on the palms.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View Snipes's profile


459 posts in 3024 days

#5 posted 04-16-2018 06:41 PM

Your shop looks nice, other than them green tools;). I tried Ryobi once. I’m not sure what the question is, but battery operated sander and ryobi is the problem.
P.S. I thought jesus was more of a mason?

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View d38's profile


142 posts in 1041 days

#6 posted 04-16-2018 09:19 PM

Nice clean shop, and congrats on making it your profession.
If you want less vibration, consider a Bosch ROS65VC-5. I picked one up this winter, and its amazing how little it vibrates. The -6 model is 6 inch. But it will cost a bit over $200. The attached dust canister works great, and I’m sure it would be even better on a vacuum.
I’d agree with others above – transition to a corded sander. I’ve read that the lower priced Bosch models also generally vibrate less than their competition.
Like most things in life, define needs/wants then put a budget against it and buy the best bang for the buck.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3188 days

#7 posted 04-17-2018 02:19 AM

Get a corded sander. I have had a Dewalt sander for 18 years only repair ever was the dust collection bag and that was last month cost me $10 and was free shipping.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View RobHannon's profile


337 posts in 1310 days

#8 posted 04-17-2018 01:07 PM

I know folks that love pneumatic sanders, but unless you have other reasons to buy a big compressor it probably doesn’t make sense. I have a Ridgid RO and it is decent and has a long warrantee. Prior to that I had a Dewalt that lasted me a long time and had more than a couple hard workouts on fiberglass. I wouldn’t say either were vibration free, but neither were bad. If I were to splurge on a nicer one, the Bosch seems to have a lot of folks who swear by it. Festool I am sure is great, but so many other things could get upgraded for the extra money. A battery-operated sander doesn’t make sense to me for work done in the shop.
I recently toured the PRS Guitar factory. Most of the folks sanding were using pneumatic sanders, but where I noticed electric ones they were yellow Dewalts. For as much sanding as they do I am sure there is a reason for that choice.

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