Top critical review
Good if you can get a non-defective one
January 14, 2015
Not worth the time or money.
I purchased this prior to Christmas when the price was right and after having read reviews on amazon.com. This is where my journey began.
I put the sander to some use sanding some pine with 120 grit (Bosch) sandpaper. It seemed to work okay, but I noticed swirl marks in the wood and with barely any pressure the motor almost seemed to stall (speed setting 4) at times. I looked at the sanding pad and only the exterior of the pad was doing any sanding. After holding up a straight edge to the bottom of the sander I found out why. The pad had a large cup in it. Pushing harder on the sander made no difference.
I contacted amazon and they promptly sent a replacement.
When I received the second sander I checked out the bottom. It too had a cup, but less so. After sanding with it for a little while the motor did not have the same problems as the first. This one maintained had noticeably more power (comparing same speed setting) and maintained its speed, but had a unusual sound to it like a bearing was bad.
At this point I didn't want to fool around trying to get replacements from amazon. Fed up I went to my nearest Lowes which carried the same model sander and checked the bottom. All orbital sanders on the shelf had a flat bottom except the Bosch. What good is a 5" sander if you only use a very small portion of the pad? You end up with uneven pad wear and swirl marks in the wood. Not to mention all the problems they seem to have with the motor. My advice is to put your money to a different orbital sander.
The second sander will be going back to.
- dust collection was excellent
- comfortable grip
- variable speed
- quality cord
- nice case
- high defect rate
- dust canister can be hard to open and close
- case is overly bulky
Edit (15/1/2015): I called Bosch as was recommended by the Lowes HW employee who said their customer service is great. I was immediately connected with a person who confirmed cupping of the pad was not normal. I didn't ask about any of the other issues as I'll just hold onto the unit with the better motor (I've still got the 2 right now). He's sending a new pad as a "good will gesture" which hopefully resolves the problem. I'm going to hold onto the a unit until then so I can test out the new pad before making my final decision.
Amazon customer service is also superb as usual. I spoke over the chat, as my preference is to speak with someone regarding the issue, and they were quick to issue a return slip. I feel bad returning things to Amazon due to the shipping (which is why I went to Lowes to compare sanders), so hopefully this new pad solves the problem and I don't have to return the second sander.
Edit (20/1/2015): I received the replacement pad and it's cupped worse than the others. I called Bosch again and they said they're aware of the problems but are unable to guarantee I receive the correct one. Because I'm in Canada the pad comes from the warehouse in Canada. She could only guarantee a non-defective pad if it came from their main warehouse in the US. She's having another one sent in hopes that it corrects the problem.
Edit (23/1/2015): I received the second replacement pad and this one is actually flat. The part number is the same as the others but the construction is noticeably different. The foam is quite a bit softer and the velcro also seems different/more grabby. With the new pad the sander sands more evenly. I'm keeping the sander as it appears to be the best in its price range (when you get a non-defective one) and I can't justify spending another $150+ for a professional grade one.