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.

SKIL 5-inch Random Orbital Sander 7492-01 Review

The Skil 7492-01 5-inch Random Orbit(al) Sander is an entry-level random orbital sander that is designed for home project users who want an inexpensive orbital sander that can get the job done. Rather than leave this orbital sander alone, Skil opted to spice it up a bit with some interesting features. First, Skil 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. Second, they went with a clear dust canister so that you don’t have to guess when to empty it. 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.


Build Quality & Use

The Skil 7492-01 5-inch Random Orbit(al) Sander isn’t blessed with a carrying case or many frills. What it does have is a nice rubber overmold grip and ABS plastic housing that offer durability as well as an easy-to-grip palm rest. Gripping the palm rest with your hand, you’ll find the On/Off switch easily accessible with your fingertips and the sander maneuvers with very little difficulty. On the sander’s backside is the twist-off dust canister with integrated microfiltration filter. This canister collects the dust blown through the 8 holes of the sanding pad by the integrated impeller.

Skil 5 inch Random Orbit Sander discsChanging sanding pads was a breeze and we were able to locate standard 5-inch, 8-hole sanding  discs which we easily applied to the sander. These are available in almost any grit imaginable, though for a sander like this you’ll want to stay with 220 and below for best effectiveness. It’s important to line up the holes in the pads with the holes in the backing pad in order for the impeller to be able to suck the dust into the collector. We found the system to be extremely good at pulling dust into the collector and the microfiltration captured most of the fine particles. It will be important for users to ensure that the filtration system never gets wet as it will hasten the deterioration of the unit. Skil also doesn’t appear to sell the microfiltration canisters separately (the filter cannot be separated from the canister, so the whole assembly must be purchased).

Skil 5 inch Random Orbit Sander microfiltration

Skil 5 inch Random Orbit Sander 7492-01 ReviewThere was a brief ramp-up time until the sander as running at maximum power. Since there is no variable speed control, this orbital sander relies on pressure in order to control the sanding process. To avoid over-pressure, the Skil 7492-01 employs a Pressure Control technology to alert the user when excessive pressure is applied. The strange part of this feature was that it didn’t measure pressure so much as extended motor wear. Pushing down hard on the sander didn’t evoke any sort of variance in the readout (which is made up of two green bars, a yellow bar, and one red). The twin green bars stayed lit most of the time, and additional bars only lit up under extended abusive use of the sander under high pressure. It seemed more like a common sense display than a pressure sensor. Activation of the yellow and red lights would only occur long after you already knew you were abusing the motor through excessive force.

Among other things, we used the Skil Random Orbital Sander to take a layer off of old heart pine flooring material that we were using as replacement boards in a 1920’s home. The sander did an adequate job. It wasn’t as fast as a belt sander, but we didn’t expect it to be, either. Tilting the Orbit sander allowed us to do detail work and remove hard-to-reach spots and generate a nice, smooth surface free of defects. We started the project with 60 grit discs and then moved on to 120 grit to provide a smoother finish. The Skil 7492 left no marks and didn’t produce a pattern on the wood – everything was clean as a whistle when we wrapped up the job. Our test sander weighed in at just over 3 lbs and was very easy to maneuver on most materials. Noise was fairly low with no load (84 dB SPL) and ramped up to 96 dB SPL when we began to work on hardwood material.

Conclusion

There is nothing fancy about the Skil 7492-01 Random Orbit sander, but there doesn’t have to be. It’s a simple tool that gets most basic jobs done. For any heavy-duty work you’ll need to step up to a belt sander, and there are several random orbital sanders that have more power and will bog down less when pushed to their limits. For this reason we gave it a 6/10 overall performance rating. For most casual users, however, the Skil will provide an excellent solution. And for a street price under $40 it’s going to be very hard to beat – thus earning its 8/10 value rating.


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