Tool Comparison Test 07-2004

Ryobi RS280VS 5-inch Random Orbit Palm Sander

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We found the Ryobi to be harder to control than the majority of the others (about the same as the Craftsman). It has excellent dust collection efficiency, and the dust bag is strong and solidly built. The through-body sealed slide switch is the best design we've seen (same design as on the Craftsman 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 Ridgid Craftsman). We also found the power brake took a while to completely stop the tool.

We found the Ryobi palm sander to be virtually identical to the Craftsman we studied in terms of body design. The main exception was that the Ryobi has no padded grips, the dust collection bag is located straight off the back of the unit, and it only accommodates a 1-1/4-inch vacuum hose. See the Craftsman palm sander review for more information.

Test checklist:
Retail price: Around $50.00
Specifications: 120-volts, 2.8-amps, 3/32-inch orbit diameter, 7,000 – 12,000 opm
Weight of sander (fully loaded):
3.5 lbs.
Variable speed: Variable speed. Ratchets between 6 main speed selections designated with letters "A" through "F" for a total of 28 settings.
Dust collection/ vacuum attachment capabilities: Sander uses 'through-pad' dust collection. The dust bag has no lock, and just slips onto the exhaust port -- and 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. When covered in sawdust, this seal may be hard to make airtight once the bag has been emptied. The shape of the unit's exhaust port is ready to accommodate a standard 1-1/4-inch vacuum hose.
Comfort of grip: Nice, ergonimic grip. 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 but has no padded grip material for comfort.
Sanding disk attachment: Accommodates both hook-and-loop or adhesive-backed sanding 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: 2-year limited warranty; 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
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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