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Thread: 5" vs. 6" ROS advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    5" vs. 6" ROS advice

    Looking for some insight as I try to upgrade my sander game. Read through some old threads, but just wanted to see current thoughts.

    I currently use a Bosch 5" ROS for most of my work. I'm just a hobbyist, so not doing anything for production. Mostly smaller projects, but occasionally some small cabinets or tables.

    I've been thinking about getting one of the Bosch dual-mode sanders (GET75N) in either the 5" or 6" version. The aggressive mode would be useful sometimes to hog of material for some of the things that I do. I'd consider one of the Festools (ETS 125 vs. 150), but a bit out of my price range.

    My main question is whether the 5" vs. 6" really makes a difference. Obviously it could speed things up, but given I'm not high throughout and not doing large pieces regularly, thinking the benefit may be minimal. It would also mean stocking another range of 6" sanding discs. Instant gratification also getting the best of me, as the 6" is on 2 month wait from Amazon (where I have existing gift cards).I'd also be open to hear other better options to consider.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Ogden, UT
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    973
    I have that Bosch model... a few years older model.

    Sometimes, I think it's too powerful personally. Likes to get away from me if I'm not paying really close attention. I've said this before, but I've used a pneumatic paddle sander at another shop (Mirka) and it was a dream. Much preferred.

  3. #3
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    I also have that 6" Bosch. It's a beast, and I call what they call Turbo Mode, BEAST MODE. You need to be ready to go to work using it with 80 grit in Beast Mode. 5" ones don't get used much any more.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    60,857
    My "round" sanders are both 150mm (6") and I can only think of a very few number of times I would have preferred a 125mm/5" format over the years.

    One caution about the dual-mode sanders, regardless of brand...they really prefer to be used two handed in many situations which can be uncomfortable. I rarely pull out my Rotex for that reason...only when I really need that extra removal capability that rotary mode brings. Otherwise, it's ROS all the way with the 150/3.

    BTW, one specific version of the 125mm Festool can also take a 150mm pad, meaning it can be used with both sizes of abrasive media, depending on one's needs. That could be a good option for someone that really wants/needs both. I forget the specific model at the moment, but it's been mentioned previously, both here and in the Festool owner's group discussions.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    I use a Bosch ROS65VC, not a dual mode machine. I have both the 6" and 5" pads for it. I use the 6" pad 95% of the time because it works faster and feels more stable, but some sanding media only are available in 5" format, ergo both pads. I would look to see if both 5 and 6" pads are available for the sander you are considering. If so, you can change as needed.

    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Smyrna Mills, Maine
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    I use a 5" Mirka and I love it. It's a pneumatic model with dust collection and the thing does a great job. I do have a 6" RO in the shop but find I only use it on larger projects because of the size and weight. I primarily build cabinets and find the 5" gets in about any spot and causes less fatigue if finish sanding a stack of doors or drawers.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    N.E, Ohio
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    If you are going to keep and use the 5 inch standardize on one size disk, lower investment in sandpaper.
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
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    It was probably said in earlier threads you may have seen. What are you making? Large flat surfaces like table tops? Yeah a 6" is good. Smaller pieces with edges and a variety of surfaces - 5". Most of my use is on smaller stuff, and my 6" ROS requires two hands for steady operations, whereas I can maneuver a 5" one-handed while manipulating the workpiece.
    Hobbyist

  9. #9
    I use and like my Bosch devs1250 - an earlier version of the sander you are looking at. Mine has a 6 inch pad. I recently got a Milwaukee 5 inch battery operated sander for when I do not need the rapid removal of the Bosch. Most of the time I want the Bosch - I want to minimize my time sanding. I have mostly 6 inch sanding discs, I keep a few for the Milwaukee. I use my Bosch one handed but it is a hand full. I have used it this way with 40 grit paper in turbo mode but it is not really comfortable. But with finer paper (150 or finer) it is not bad. You have to be careful especially one handed with the speed of removal on the side with the motor. The greater weight makes it take off material quicker on that side. When you have two hands on it, it is easier to keep it flat to the work so removal is more consistent. I don't really use my 3x21 belt sander any more, the Bosch removes material about as fast.

    I wear extra large gloves, it may help with one handed use of this admittedly large sander. I almost never use the speed control but it has it and it might help if you find it getting away from you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    MT
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    507
    I just drank the Kool-Aid and bought the Festool 5" ETS EC 125/3 sander. I went with the 5" over the 6" because I thought it would be easier to handle.
    Regards,

    Kris

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
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    3,024
    I loved my Bosch 1250 DEVS right up until it died with no replacement parts available. It was ny only sander for a long time (well, not counting the PC330 that I keep around for old times sake) Current sanders are a 6" Mirka Deros (5mm orbit) and Festool ETS EC150/3 and a Grex pneumatic with a 2" pad. I use the Deros 90% of the time, the Festool is mostly a backup and way to quickly alternate between grits for certain tasks. I've never felt any need or desire for a 5" sander-- too small for big jobs, too big for small jobs. I'd love to have an electric RO sander about the size of the Grex with 1 to 3" disks for both small pieces and turnings-- the alternative being several kilobucks for a bigger compressor.

  12. #12
    I will also add that the size of the pad is only one factor. The "turbo" mode of the Bosch is very important to me as is the larger orbit. I have a 6 inch DeWalt in the "almost never use" drawer because it sands so slowly. No turbo and small orbit. I would take a 5 inch with the larger orbit and turbo mode any day over a plain little orbit 6 inch sander.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
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    6,478
    Im in the market for a dual mode sander and it will likely be a Bosch 6. Half the price of the Festool and by all accounts the same or better performance.

  14. #14
    I have 4 ROS sanders, 2 electric and 2 pneumatic. All now are 5" as I replaced the pad on one from 6" to 5". Other than the suction holes in the pads, they're hook and loop and work well.
    I'd say if you standardize on one size, so much the better.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    144
    Thanks everyone.

    On the question of projects, as I mentioned, it's only occasionally large pieces/panels. But I was wondering if I'd miss the larger sander on those few occasions.

    I do think having the option for more aggressive removal is important. With the feedback on 6" may just go that route and standardize on 6" with a smaller detail sander as well. While I'd love a 3" pneumatic, it would also require a new compressor (for which I have neither the space or money).

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