Flex Random Orbit Sander -You’ll Wonder Where the Vibration Went!

Aimed at:- Pros in a number of trades– woodworkers, decorators, shopfitters, carpenters etc.

Pros:- Quiet with less vibration and very good dust collection system. An up to the minute product.

I am a great fan of random orbit sanders because they save me a lot of time. I do a lot of furniture making, general woodwork and decorating and the random orbit sander will cope with all of these various working conditions with the right speed settings and the right abrasive papers. Inevitably I have a few favourite sanders that I use constantly, and I have even been through a couple of them over the years. So, I wasn’t expecting to be impressed or surprised when the Flex ORE 150-5 landed on my doorstep – I thought it might be “just another random orbit sander.”

The Flex arrived in what now seems to be customary stackable Lboxx – not a criticism at all. I think the judicious use of quality kit boxes can help tradespeople be more organized and more secure, and as it happens, this particular Lboxx is one of the best. It has a custom space for the tool and accessories as well as for the long cord and all the inevitable bits and pieces, like sanding discs that collect with a tool.

Some might say I am being fussy, but another small point that I liked with this and most other Flex power tools is that the instruction books have dedicated pages to each language with all the good quality pictures and diagrams clearly marked with the language section. No need for that frustrating flip backwards and forwards between the diagrams and the instructions.

The tool itself follows the standard layout of a random orbit sander. The motor is placed vertically above the sanding platen with a nicely placed bit of black rubberized overmould where the sander can be guided right above its centre of gravity. A longer handle containing the switch trigger is at right angles and it also has a grippy bit on top. I am pleased to say that the trigger switch and lock-on button are very simple to operate because that is what is needed on a sander that is used continuously and switched on and off regularly.  

While the main body and motor housing is made of Flex Red plastic, the orbit housing is a solid alloy casting followed by a robust plastic skirt that holds the fan and dust extraction mechanism and port. The machine looks slimline and sleek and weighs about 1.8 Kgs – just enough to make it comfortable to use on walls and ceilings without too much hassle, but heavy enough so that you don’t have to push down on any horizontal surface being sanded.

Finally, the hook and loop covered sanding plate is of as good quality as I have seen anywhere, but has the added advantage of having a number of perforation patterns all over the base. This means that the Flex can be used with just about any brand of sanding disc as well as the multi-holed and mesh based discs on the market. A time and money saver for me – I like the flexibility of having a wide range of discs to choose from because I sand a wide range of surfaces.

Flex make two different versions of this sander – the 150-3 has a 3mm orbit and the 150-5 has a 5mm orbit and you can spot the difference because on the top of the handle there is a 3 or a 5 included in the overmould. The bigger orbit version will speed up sanding and I find that I don’t really need the 3mm orbit version for what I do – I simply adjust via the speed wheel and the grit of the sanding discs I use.

The milled wheel switch at the back of the top handle controls the orbit speed – a very useful range of 11,600 to 20,000 no load oscillations per minute, so you can be sure that work proceeds quickly.

Compared to yesteryear, dust collection on sanders is so much better now. Obviously, manufacturers have worked on this because we have discovered just how dangerous dust inhalation is. Flex’s solution is to use a clear plastic box holding a pleated microfilter that fits onto the nicely ribbed dust port underneath the main handle. This is as at least as efficient as any other good random orbit sander I have used, and is better than many. For most jobs this system will be good enough so that only the minimum of dust escapes. Of course users should always use a good dust mask when sanding, whether indoors or out.

However, connect the sander dust port to a vacuum extractor and the results for escaping dust are really excellent. Just remember to set the extractor so that the vacuum created doesn’t pull the platen too hard down onto the sanded surface.

Efficient sanding, good dust collection and easy handling are two boxes I would expect to check on any good quality sander I might use, but what makes a sander go from being one of the crowd to one that sort of becomes the one you choose to use every day – a sort of “go-to” tool?

We are now in the area of personal preference, but the one thing that stood out for me is that the Flex 150-5 is very well mannered. The motor noise is well controlled. I could easily use it in my back garden without annoying my neighbours over the hedge, about 20m away.

Secondly, the vibration transmitted to the hand is minimal so that I found that I could comfortably use it for longer. Now, there has to be some vibration because it is a random orbit sander – but lower noise and vibration levels make for a machine that feels modern and efficient – becoming a “go-to” tool?

Overall, there is a great deal to like about the Flex 150-5. It is unashamedly a professionally rated machine with a price tag that reflects this. There are no cut corners – it feels like a pro machine when you use it. From the 4m long power cord to the efficient dust collection options, it feels like a machine that will stand hard work every day. In my view a very welcome addition to the echelons of high quality random orbit sanding machines.

Aimed at:- Pros in a number of trades– woodworkers, decorators, shopfitters, carpenters etc.

Pros:- Quiet with less vibration and very good dust collection system. An up to the minute product.

For more information, please visit https://www.flex-tools.com

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