It’s hard to tell if you’ve sanded a board smooth when you can’t feel your fingers. That’s the dilemma with random-orbit sanders, which work the wood’s surface using a round pad that not only spins but also slides from side to side randomly in all directions—in effect orbiting the center of the device. That shaking motion is great for removing material without gouging the wood. Unfortunately, it also rattles your hands, causing numbness and even lasting nerve and circulatory damage.

Two Grit: Dual abrasive pads move in opposite directions. Sawdust is sucked up through the gap between the pads

Craftsman’s new VibraFree sander instead has two pads—an inner and an outer ring. Both still orbit randomly but do so in precisely opposite directions, so the pads counterbalance each other to cancel out vibration. The difference is easy to feel: A little time in the shop proved the VibraFree to be a smoother operator than any competitors.

Craftsman VibraFree Sander

Weight: 3.3 lbs.
Pad Type: 5-in., Velcro-attached
Motor: 2.7-amp
Orbits per minute: 12,000
Price: $100
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