The first time I used a random orbit sander power tool it was an air-powered model and I loved it. The tool was small, light and amazingly powerful. It also had a low profile, which made it especially easy to hold and control. A few years later, in the early ‘90s, the first electric random orbits came along. They offered the convenience of running without a compressor, but there’s been a universal flaw until now. They’ve all been too tall.
That’s why the extremely low profile of the new Porter-Cable 390 caught my eye. It’s not quite as light and compact as a pneumatic random orbit, but it’s better than any other 5-inch electric model I’ve used. And not just because it’s easier to hold and wrap your fingers over top.
Exceptionally smooth results are another virtue of the 390. Not all random orbit sanders deliver equal results, and the differences have to do with the amount of orbit the round pad travels in. The 390 creates noticeably fewer swirls than some other sanders I’ve used, and it works more steadily under your hand, too. Dust collection into the porous, rigid plastic canister is better than average. All in all, a legitimate advance in sander design, and my favourite 5-inch model at the moment.