Expertpickhub Tools Sanders Best DA Sander for Auto Body Work
5/51 rating

When it comes to power tools, few are as versatile as a DA sander. With the ability to strip paint off the furniture, smooth out woodworking projects, or polish metal surfaces, such a tool can get the job done quickly and easily, making it essential for any workshop. But, more importantly, for those who want to finish the car’s exterior smoothly without leaving swirl marks on the paint, a DA sander is a must-have!

But with so many different models on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? There is a wide range of DA sanders available online, and although they may look similar at first glance, they are not created equal!

That’s where this article comes in. Here, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the best DA sanders on today’s market – I carefully assessed them based on their performance, specs, durability, brand trust, buyer reviews, and price. I’ll also give you some tips on choosing the right model for your projects. So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, check out the following reviews and the buyer’s guide to save yourself the headache of making a crappy choice!

Our pick
best DA sander
Ingersoll Rand 311A
Best DA sander
This quality air sander features a 6-inch pad that’s great for feather edging, metal preparation, and finish work on body filler.
Name Speeds Orbit diameter, inch Abrasive disc size, inch Review
Ingersoll Rand 311Abest overall 12000 RPM 3/16 inch 6 Inch Review
DEWALT DWMT70780budget choice 11000 RPM 3/16 inch 6 Inch Review
Hutchins 4500premium 10000 RPM 3/32 inch 6 Inch Review
Ingersoll Rand 311Galso a great choice 10000 RPM 3/16 inch 6 Inch Review

Best DA sander reviews

Ingersoll Rand 311A – best overall

Ingersoll Rand 311A

For nearly a century, Ingersoll Rand has been at the forefront of innovative industrial solutions. This brand offers high-quality, reliable, durable, high-performance, and eco-friendly instruments. So, no wonder I’ve included two models by Ingersol Rand on my list!

Ingersoll Rand 311A is a compact, portable, and long-lasting DA sander that any user will love! Starting off, the 6’’ dual-action pad creates swirl-free finishes, making the tool great for feather edging, metal preparation, and finish work on body filler. Next, it features a solid, well-balanced ball-bearing mechanism for improved handling & control. At the same time, the silencer and low vibration design allow using the sand with maximum comfort, even for extended periods of time. The lower vibration, the more control, and contact on the sanding!

The instrument’s RPM range can be increased up to 12000 RPM with suction pressure of 90 psi and a maximum free speed of 17 CFM (much more than the typical 10-12CFM) for optimum precision. Due to its adjustable speed control and high precision capabilities, this sander is sure to help you get the job done right!

Ingersoll Rand 311A photo

To tell the truth, I love both Ingersoll Rand siblings from my list – 311A and 311G. Nevertheless, 311A is definitely a winner – this workhorse features speed control, is versatile and suitable for both pros and newbies.

Ingersoll Rand 311A is the overall best DA sander on today’s market! It boasts a killing combination of top-quality, durability, comfort, and reasonable price, putting this model above all the competitors’ lists!

Key specs

  • Speeds, RPM: 12000
  • Motor power, hp: 0.25
  • Orbit diameter, inch: 3/16
  • Abrasive disc size, inch: 6
  • Weight, lbs/kg: 4.2/1.91
  • Average air consumption, cfm: 4

Pros

  • Will serve you for a lifetime.
  • Versatile – can handle almost any type of sanding or grinding.
  • Powerful and smooth
  • Perfect for tight spots
  • Features speed control
  • Very quiet

Cons

  • Employs adhesive-backed sanding discs, which are not suitable for some users
  • Not exactly a downside, but this sander needs a larger compressor to keep up with it.

DEWALT DWMT70780 – budget choice

DEWALT DWMT70780

Many professionals prefer Dewalt for their heavy-duty, quality jobsite solutions. This brand has been in business since 1922, and it keeps on engineering and optimizing various instruments, accessories, and services to the present day. You are going to get Dewalt’s trusted craftsmanship in their DWMT70780!

There are several reasons why DWMT70780 is the best DA sander for auto bodywork in its price region. First, its aluminum body makes it both durable and lightweight, so it’s easy to maneuver – this tool works excellent with metal or if you need to stand overhead. Second, the touch control trigger allows you to easily adjust the power output, making it suitable for many projects (however, note that it works better with lighter tasks).

DEWALT DWMT70780 photo

Third, the ergonomic cushion rubber handle provides a comfortable grip that won’t cause hand fatigue, even during long projects – that’s what I really love about this model! And finally, the max free speed of 11000 RPMs makes it rival other powerful aka more expensive sanders.

While the DWMT70780 doesn’t have the versatility and efficient speed control of our champion Ingersoll Rand 311A, it’s just as durable and easy to use; moreover, this model won’t wreck your budget. So, if you are looking for an affordable yet reliable and high-performing DA sander, look no further than the DEWALT DWMT70780!

Key specs

  • Speeds, RPM: 11000
  • Orbit diameter, inch: 3/16
  • Abrasive disc size, inch: 6
  • Weight, lbs/kg: 4.3/1.95
  • Average air consumption, cfm: 2.7

Pros

  • Reliable brand
  • Powerful
  • Easy to handle
  • Straightforward pad change
  • Perfect for beginners

Cons

  • May be too noisy for some users
  • Is not vibration-free

Hutchins 4500 – premium

Hutchins 4500

Hutchins is an American globally recognized brand specializing in manufacturing high-end sanders of all types. With the 4500 DA sander by Hutchins, we’re moving to the premium segment. This top-class sander boasts a host of valuable features that will make the laborious process of sanding a pleasure!

The technology of the 4500 DA sander is far more effective than that of any other compressed air-based tool. Even though this model delivers less RPM than, for instance, Ingersoll Rand 311A (only 4,500 RPM), it features four unique bearings that help generate more power while consuming less air. It, in turn, lowers the air compressor’s power usage.

A custom handle is another innovation that auto mechanics will definitely appreciate since it provides 100% control over the sanding tasks. There are also curve covers that come with exceptionally comfortable grips.

Next, this sander is relatively quiet and dampens vibrations effectively. If you sand multiple cars a day, you understand how important it is – these features significantly reduce fatigue throughout an entire workday.

Hutchins 4500 photo

If the 4500 is such a fantastic sander, you may wonder why it’s not at the top of my list? There are a few reasons for that. First, this beauty is quite an investment; second, it’s engineered for pro auto mechanics who have to deal with a diversity of sanding tasks – those who don’t use a sander for industrial purposes may not need all those premium features. That’s why Ingersoll Rand 311A is the best in terms of price/quality ratio, while Hutchins 4500 is the best premium DA sander for bodywork.

If you are a professional ready to invest in a premium-quality instrument with all kinds of bells and whistles, you can’t go wrong with Hutchins 4500!

Key specs

  • Speeds, RPM: 10000
  • Orbit diameter, inch: 3/32
  • Abrasive disc size, inch: 6
  • Weight, lbs/kg: 3.95/1.79
  • Average air consumption, cfm: 9.8

Pros

  • Well-built and balanced
  • Extremely efficient due to its ergonomic design, handle, and power
  • Provides full-contact sanding
  • Quiet and vibration-free
  • Less power consumption

Cons

  • May be heavy for some users
  • Expensive

Ingersoll Rand 311G – also a great choice

Ingersoll Rand 311G

Here is another great DA sander by Ingersoll Rand. Both 311A and 311G are of the highest quality, but they serve a bit different purposes – while the former handles heavy-duty tasks better, the latter is more lightweight in actual weight and in the sort of work you can use it for. The 311G provides an even finish perfect for painting – actually, it’s ideally used in tandem with a heavier-duty sander to get that flawless surface. However, let’s take a closer look at the 311G’s features!

This model has a balanced ball-bearing construction that effectively reduces vibrations and provides smooth, effortless operation. Plus, with its front exhaust design, the sander is great for maneuvering in tight spaces.

Ingersoll Rand 311G photo

Furthermore, the power regulator allows you to control the speed of the sanding process according to your needs, making this instrument perfect for delicate projects or those with specific needs. Finally, the 10,000 RPM and 17 CFM at load ensure results in no time.

I would recommend Ingersoll Rand to anyone who is looking for a great electric dual-action sander. Its efficient dual-action 6-inch pad delivers a swirl-free finish, while compact & lightweight yet sturdy construction allows you to use it for a longer time comfortably.

Key specs

  • Speeds, RPM: 10000
  • Motor power, hp: 0.25
  • Orbit diameter, inch: 3/16
  • Abrasive disc size, inch: 6
  • Weight, lbs/kg: 4.2/1.9
  • Average air consumption, cfm: 4

Pros

  • Durable
  • Vibrating dampening feature
  • Comfortable rubber grips – easy to handle
  • Straightforward to swap pads
  • Fair price

Cons

  • No variable speed control; however, you can add an inline controller to manage the tool better.
  • Is not ideal for rough surfaces
  • Poor manual

Chicago Pneumatic CP870

Chicago Pneumatic CP870

The Chicago Pneumatic CP870 is a powerful DA sander that can be used for a variety of applications – in fact, it can perform as a straight sander or an orbital one.

Designed to provide outstanding results on a variety of surfaces, this sander features both rotary and random orbital options for maximum versatility. Its power regulator gives you precise control over the speed, while its insulated grip helps prevent unexpected start-ups. Plus, with a free speed of 10,000 RPM powered by the 0.5 HP engine, it’s perfect for integrating and grinding filler, feather edging, and pre-paint preparation.

Chicago Pneumatic CP870

The CP870 is considered a low cfm DA sander, though I think it needs a bigger compressor. When I tested this model, I used a 5′-tall Craftsman compressor and it was working hard the entire time I was doing my vehicle. So, remember this before making a purchase!

Chicago Pneumatic CP870 is an excellent entry-level product – actually, it’s a fantastic all-around choice if you’re on a bit of a budget. This tool has the speed and power you need to get the job done quickly and easily. So, just give it a go!

Key specs

  • Speeds, RPM: 10000
  • Motor power, hp: 0.25
  • Orbit diameter, inch: 3/16
  • Abrasive disc size, inch: 6
  • Weight, lbs/kg: 4.2/1.9
  • Average air consumption, cfm: 4

Pros

  • Easy to control
  • Minor vibration
  • Great ergonomic handle
  • Efficient torque and good throttling action
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • A bit heavy
  • Is better for DIYers than for professionals

Dual action sanders buying guide

When looking for a DA sander, there are a few factors you’ll want to consider. Here are the most important of them:

Speeds RPM

You should check the motor’s RPM – it stands for Revolutions Per Minute and indicates the pace at which a motor rotates. Typically, higher-end engines will spin up to 12,000 RPM, while lower-end engines will spin between 2000 and 2500 RPM. Anything in the middle serves a specific role. For example, if you sand a coarse, rusted surface, use an instrument with a higher RPM. On the other hand, lower RPM will suffice if it’s only gentle preparation for a paint job or something similar.

Sanding pad size

Which sanding pad size to choose depends on your needs and tasks. If you have to process a large surface area, a bigger pad may be the right pick for you since it allows you to do more in one go and get an even finish. At the same time, a smaller pad is better for precise work and tight spaces, plus, it doesn’t clog up so quickly.

Comfortable using

You should also opt for a device that is straightforward to control and requires less manual labor. It means that your DA sander must come with a comfortable grip. Even with a sweaty palm, a good sander’s handle will provide absolute contact. If you want to take it a step further, look for a palm sander that doesn’t have any handles at all.

FAQ

What does DA mean in a sander?

“DA” stands for “dual-action.” Dual-action sanders have two planes of motion – they spin in a circle, and they also vibrate. This motion makes them ideal for removing paint or varnish from wood surfaces without damaging the wood grain.

How many CFM do I need to run a DA sander?

You’ll need a minimum of 4 CFM to run a DA sander. If you’re working with particularly hardwoods or large surfaces, you may need more CFM. You can always check with the manufacturer of your sander to be sure.

Is there any difference between DA and orbital sander?

There is a difference between DA and orbital sanders. DA sanders are designed to operate in one direction while orbital sanders move in small circles. This means that DA sanders can be used for tasks such as finishing and polishing, while orbital sanders are better suited for tasks such as removing paint or varnish.

Can you buff a car with a DA sander?

Yes, you can buff a car with a DA sander. However, orbital sanders are better suited for this task since they move in small circles and can cover a larger area more quickly.

How do you use a DA sander on a car?

To use a DA sander on a car, you will need to first attach the sandpaper to the sander. Once the sandpaper is attached, you can begin moving the sander back and forth over the surface of the car. Be sure to move slowly and evenly to avoid damaging the paint.

Can I use a dual action polisher as a sander?

Technically, you can use a dual-action polisher as a sander. However, they are not designed for this purpose, and it will be very difficult to control the polisher while sanding. It is much better to use an orbital sander for any sanding tasks.