Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Sander and Grinder Reviews

We do reviews of corded grinders and sanders, including belt and orbital models and also portable and bench top tools. Our grinder reviews include corded tools from 4.5″ cut off models to larger products with 9-inch wheels. For sanders, we cover products from the small Festool Rotex sander to larger belt and orbital sanders. We turned our Pros on the Makita GA5042C 5 in. grinder and also the Bosch OS50VC 1/2-sheet orbital finishing sander. The results gave us good impressions of what these tools could do in the field. Sanders and Grinder Reviews In comparing various sanders we attempt to level the playing field by using the same consumables. For grinder reviews we use the same grinding and cutting wheels. Random orbital patterns vary, and grinders have various features like active and passive braking for better safety. We test our grinders using proven methods and time cutting and grinding tasks to see which models excel. Even drywall sanders make for interesting testing.

DeWalt DWE4011 4-1/2" Small Angle Grinder Preview

DeWalt DWE4011 4-1/2″ Small Angle Grinder Preview

DeWalt has launched a bunch of new tools this year, but I don’t recall their angle grinders getting any attention in some time. Now, a new 4-1/2″ Small Angle Grinder has been deployed whose claim to fame (newest feature) is a One-Touch Guard that allows the user to simply turn the guard by hand to adjust its position into any of eight durable detents. There is no button to push and the process is completely tool-less. DeWalt observed a need for users to continually move the guard depending on the application, while in manufacturing shops and on jobsites. We’d have to agree, and this feature seems to address a pretty common problem, while at the same time encouraging the use of the guard in more applications. In addition to easy adjustability, the guard also pops on and off with a quick press of the release button.

Bosch ROS65VC Random Orbit Sander

Bosch ROS65VC 6″ Random Orbit Sander Review

We first got our hands on the new Bosch ROS65VC-6 6″ Random Orbit Sander with Vibration Control at their 2011 Media Event. Since then, we pretty much have been unable to take our hands off it. What fascinated us about the tool is that, when used side-by-side with other sanders, it truly did significantly reduce vibration. This yielded better control and, perhaps more importantly, less fatigue on the hands during use. We’ve used a lot of orbital sanders in our day and having a product that cuts out the vibration to this extent is worth its weight in gold – which is good, because this new sander from Bosch will cost you nearly that much.

Porter-Cable PC60TPAG Angle Grinder Cut-Off Tool Preview

Porter-Cable PC60TPAG Angle Grinder Cut-Off Tool Preview

This week Porter-Cable announced a couple of new products due out in October of this year (next month), including their new PC60TPAG 7-amp 4-1/2″ Small Angle Grinder and Cut-off Tool. The new Angle Grinder really seems to benefit form some of the advances the company has made with its cordless tools. In particular, the tool is lighter and more agile than its predecessors and it delivers excellent performance while still maintaining an ergonomic form factor.

Porter Cable PC60TCTAG 4-1/2 Inch Cut-Off Tool and Angle Grinder Kit Review

Porter Cable PC60TCTAG 4-1/2 Inch Cut-Off Tool and Angle Grinder Kit Review

The Porter Cable PC60TCTAG 4-1/2 Inch Cut-Off Tool and Angle Grinder Kit comes equipped to tackle just about any grinding or metal cutting project you can throw at it. Given that two different blade guards are included, one that is optimized for grinding and the other one for cutting, you can be sure that not only can to complete the task at hand but also do it safely. Just to sweetened the deal and get you started on your projects they threw in 5 general purpose grinding wheels and 5 cut off wheels in the box! With 6 amps of power, a compact size and a rock bottom price, we are pretty sure that this is angle grinder combo pack is a winner.

Rockwell Model 4420 Type 2 Finishing Sander Circa 1971

In continuing our “Old Tools” mini-series, we wanted to follow up on our last installment and cover a Rockwell 4420 (96) Type 2 1/3rd sheet Finishing Sander that was purchased for a penny back in 1971 and has been in use ever since. It was purchased alongside a Black & Decker 7301 Circular Saw and a corded drill for $19.99 (for the pair). When you purchased the two Black & Decker tools you received your choice of another tool for just a penny. Needless to say this was a good deal at the time – in 2011 dollars that would equate to around $120 for three tools – and this was before the advent of Chinese manufacturing and cheap parts and materials. Add to this the fact that both the Black & Decker Circular Saw and the Rockwell Finishing Sander are still in usable operation and you really have a great deal!

Makita GA4534 4-1/2" Paddle Switch Angle Grinder Preview

Makita GA4534 4-1/2″ Paddle Switch Angle Grinder Preview

Makita announced the new GA4534, engineered with non-protruding brush holders and an innovative motor housing that reduce the barrel diameter to a scant 2-3/16″. In addition, the GA4534 has an ergonomic grip for added comfort, and weighs only 4.2 lbs. for reduced operator fatigue. The side handle is positioned at an increased 20-degree angle for added comfort and control, and the paddle switch has a no lock-on mode for added user preference.

Skil Octo Sander 7302 Preview

Skil Octo Sander 7302 Preview

Skil Power Tools recently launched its new 7302 Octo Multi-Finishing Sander. The novel thing about this particular sander is the presence and inclusion of eight assorted attachments. The options make it uniquely suited to sand hard-to-reach areas and multi-task by hitting multiple surfaces at once, or more effectively sanding particular, or hard-to-reach places. Skil also added something it calls Pressure Control Technology to the 7302. The technology involves a series of pressure control lights that indicate when the user is pressing too hard, too light or just right. It’s a neat idea that is meant to help keep scars and marks off the wood and ensures optimal surface smoothness.

Makita BO5041K 5-inch Random Orbit Sander Quick Look

Makita BO5041K 5-inch Random Orbit Sander Preview

The Makita model BO5041K 5″ Random Orbit Sander is engineered for cabinetry, furniture, wood boats, decks, and general carpentry, and is ideal for carpenters and general contractors seeking a best in class random orbit sander. Model BO5041K includes abrasive paper, dust bag, and tool case (Makita offers a variety of hoses and adapters – sold separately – for attachment to vacuum systems).

Porter-Cable 343VSK 5-Inch Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander Review

Porter-Cable 343VSK Random Orbit Sander Review

When building fine wood work, one of the most critical aspects of the project is the sanding and finishing. Without that perfect finish, the whole project loses its polish. To achieve that ideal finish there are several key factors and one of these has to do with the way it was sanded. To help woodworkers of all levels of craftsmanship achieve a better final product, Porter Cable has come out with a new 5-Inch Variable Speed Random Orbit Sander.

SKIL 5-inch Random Orbital Sander 7492-01 Review

Skil 5 inch Random Orbit Sander 7492-01 Review

Skil has upped the technology of their new 5-inch Random Orbit(al) Sander by adding a microfiltration dust collector and a pressure sensor that tells you when you’re bogging down the motor for too long. It’s a decent machine that seems to borrow a few things from its more expensive cousin, the Bosch ROS10 Palm-Grip Sander while providing most of those features at a much lower cost to the consumer.