One of the more common tools is the Random DA (Dual Action) sander.
A DA spins and moves about sanding off paint or rouging in Bondo on a car or truck body.
Most professionals will use only air tools, but electric units can also be used for home DIYers.
There are many good units available, with some of our favorite picks below.
As always, be sure to read the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to be sure a unit is a good fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Our Picks for Best Orbital Sander for Auto Body Work
- Ingersoll-Rand 4151
- BLACK+DECKER BDERO100
- ATD Tools 2088
- Bosch ROS20VSC
- Metabo SXE 450
Ingersoll-Rand makes this small hand orbital sander that is air powered.
A 6 inch round DA sandpaper easily sticks to the pad and can be removed quickly.
It uses 8 CFM air which makes it work with low-powered air compressors along with a 1/4 inch hose inlet.
The Ingersoll-Rand 4151 is a nice orbital that is smooth and, with its adjustable speed, is a good dependable unit.
I have used this unit, and after many hours of sanding, it runs very well and fits into your hand almost ergonomically.
The low vibration of the unit won’t leave your hand tingling from vibrations after using it for many hours.
It is a low-to-mid-range unit that is perfect for the DIY home user or as a backup in a professional shop.
Black & Decker is a well-known brand and makes many tools, including this budget unit.
It is built for part-time user and will not last long in a professional setting.
Even though it is not the best unit around, it would be good in some scenarios; don’t expect too much from it.
For those on a budget, the ATD Tools 2088 is a good low-cost option.
It uses air to operate and a 6-inch pad with a 1/4 inch hose attachment.
Variable speed control is built-in, which can spin up to 10,000 RPMs.
At 1.65 pounds, it is also light and easy to move about.
The ATD Tools 2088 is a low-cost unit that is good for the home DIYer or part-time user.
This unit from Bosch has a 2.5 amp motor with variable speeds.
It fits into the palm of your hand and has a dust bag collector that can be attached.
The Bosch ROS20VSC is a good mid-range unit that will sand a car’s paint and other bodywork.
The Metabo SXE 450 is a high powered sander that has RPMs from 8400-22000.
It is an electric unit powered by 110 Volts AC.
A professional will not use an electric unit to sand and do bodywork, but if you have no compressor and need to use electricity, the Metabo SXE 450 with its variable speed is a good unit.
Electric vs. Air Powered Orbital Sander for Auto Body Work
Air-powered orbital sanders, also called Pneumatic, are the most used sanding tools, especially in large auto body shops.
Of course, air tools require an air compressor to keep them running, which depends on your setup and what is available.
Electric-powered orbital sanders have the benefit of not needing an air compressor, but since they use a motor can get hot and may need a short break occasionally to not burn up the motor.
Personally, I prefer air tools as they are quieter, powerful, have adjustable speeds, and last a long time.
Pros of Air Tools
- More power
- Usually Lighter
- Usually cheaper
- Needs a compressor
- Has an air line attached
- Not portable
- Highly portable
- Easy to plug in and get started quickly
- No air compressor needed
- Get hot from constant use
- Do not generally last as long
- May not have variably speed
Cons of Air Tools
Pros of Electric
Cons of Electric
There are many good DA sand tools available for autobody work.
Using an air-powered variable speed unit is best and what is used in a professional shop.
An air-powered unit will require an air compressor which will add to the cost.
Choosing the right DA, like any tool, needs to fit your other equipment, such as an air compressor.
If you do not have an air compressor, then depending on how big the job is, you may want to invest in one.
Electric units can also be used but mainly for weekend warrior DIY jobs.
Electric units are not used much since they are harder to control, while air-powered DA speeds are easily adjustable.