Tool Comparison Test 07-2004

Craftsman Professional 27957 5-inch Random Orbit Palm Sander

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OUR FINDINGS:
This is a powerful tool, and we found it to be harder to control than most of the others (about the same as the Ryobi). Immediately upon activation, we found that there is a fraction of a second delay before the motor kicks in. It has excellent dust collection efficiency, and the dust bag is strong and solidly built; however, the dust bag fell off the tool about a minute into the tool test. The through-body sealed slide switch is the best design we've seen (same design as on the Ryobi and Ridgid sanders) and is easy to control with one hand while the tool is in use. The noise level was moderate (about the same as the DeWalt and Ryobi). We also found the power brake to be a bit sluggish.

It is our opinion that the Craftsman palm sander is virtually identical to the Ryobi we studied in terms of body design. The main exception was that the Craftsman has padded grips, the dust collection bag is set off to the side of the unit, and the tool can accommodate a 1-1/4-inch or 2-1/2-inch vacuum hose. See the Ryobi palm sander review for more information.

Test checklist:
Retail price: Around $80.00
Specifications: 120-volts, 3-amps, 3/32-inch orbit diameter, 7,000 – 12,000 opm
Weight of sander (fully loaded):
3.75 lbs.
Variable speed: Variable speed. Ratchets between 6 speed settings designated with letters "A" through "F" for a total of 28 settings. The spin-control function regulates the no-load speed, which helps prevent accidental marring or gouging of the worksurface.
Dust collection/ vacuum attachment capabilities: Sander uses 'through-pad' dust collection to dust bag, which is very similar to that of the Ryobi, but is located off to the right side of the unit. The dust bag has no lock, and just slips onto the exhaust port-- may pop of easily while tool is in use. A downside to this dust bag is that the fabric must be removed from its small plastic frame in order to be fully emptied. The intake hole is capable of accommodating both 1-1/4-inch and 2-1/2-inch vacuum hoses.
Comfort of grip: Nice and ergonimic grip. This sander has a comfortable, cushioned grip on top, which we noticed provides not only added comfort but a much firmer, more secure grip in the hand. We liked that the motor vents were relatively large, and hard to accidentally cover with the hands while working. The hand grip is nice and large-- 5" long by 3.25" wide and has no padded grip material for comfort.
Sanding disk attachment: Accommodates both hook-and-loop or adhesive-backed pads. Comes with the adhesive-ready rubber pad installed but includes a hook-and-loop conversion pad.
Length of power cord: 10 feet
Carrying case features: None included
Accessories included: Sander, dust collection bag, hook-and-loop conversion pad.
Relative noise level of tool while operating: Moderately loud
Warranty/ Guarantee: Full 1-year warranty
Features and notes:

* The bright yellow dust-sealed sliding power switch is located under the thumb and index finger, on opposite sides of the unit-- very easily accessible. The bright yellow speed selector dial is located beneath the wrist.

—Gabriel Vandervort
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