When it comes to shopping for an orbital sander, there are a lot of options on the market. Most major tool brands have their version, and a lot of the names have multiple versions in there line up. One of the best orbital sander brands though is Porter Cable.
Here in this article, we are going to look at two models that are fairly similar: Porter Cable 7346SP vs Porter Cable 7424XP. By the time you finish reading this article, you should have an idea which one is right for you between the two.
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What Is The Difference Between Porter Cable 7346SP vs 7424XP?
PORTER-CABLE 7346SP 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander with Polishing Pad
Now we can look at the Porter Cable 7346SP and see why a lot of users like it. To start with it comes ready to use out of the box, which is nice. It comes with a sanding disc and a polishing pad.
It also comes with a side handle attachment and wrench to change the pads. The side handle is handy because it gives you better control when using the sander and also helps it cause less wear on your body.
This particular orbital sander is nice and compact. Users love that it is only 11.5”x10.5”x6”. This makes it, so it is easy to put in a toolbox or carrying bag if you need to take it on a job. Also, at 6 pounds you won’t get tired using it. The motor that is in the porter cable 7346SP is sturdy and has variable speed ranging from 2500-6800 OPM or Orbits per minute.
Also, the build quality is exceptional. People love how durable it is, and porter stands behind there product offering a full one year warranty with a limited three year one. This means if any issues come about you shouldn’t have any problem getting them resolved. Some people have had issues with the bearings going bad in newer models. People fear that they may be starting to slack in quality, but it might just have been a bad batch.
Another thing about this random orbit sander is it is swirl free and can accept accessories that are 5/16-24 spindle thread. The handle mentioned earlier is also in two positions and offers an excellent counterbalance.
The Porter Cable 7346SP is run off of 4 amp AC at 120 volts meaning that you can use it anywhere. Some people might want a battery powered one so they can take it wherever they want without the hassle of a cord, but the good thing about it running with a cable is it will never be dead on you.
Users love this model for all the things it can do. If you need other pads besides the ones that it comes with they are easy to get. You can get a great result on cars paint according to some users and most also love how well this wet sands.
PORTER-CABLE 7424XP 6-Inch Variable-Speed Polisher
Now we will look at the Porter Cable 7424XP. It is similar to the porter cable 7346SP. The motor is of the same high quality, and it comes with the same warranty plan. The motor still runs off 120 volts and at a variable speed of 2500-6800 OPM.
It even comes with similar things out of the box such as the wrench, handles, and polishing pad. However, one thing it does not come with is a sanding pad. This means if you want to sand you will have to buy a sanding pad separately.
Like the 7346SP the 7424XP can take any pads and accessories that have a 5/16 – 24 spindle thread meaning that getting other pads isn’t an issue, but it is annoying that you can’t sand right out of the box.
This model is also easy to use and balanced well, especially when using the two position handle attachment. The size of this unit is very similar. It is lighter at 5.75 pounds, but it is longer measuring 14”x6.5”x6”. This extra length has made it harder for some people to stick it in there bag and take it on the go.
This still is a good variable speed orbital sander though. The pads still work just as well an is swirl free. The build quality is also just as good. Many users are happy with how long this model has lasted for them.
It is a workhorse and can do any sanding or polishing you need. The fact that you can use it without the handle attachment is helpful and cuts down some of the size and weight. If you like switching hands for different angles, then you probably won’t want to use the handle.
Also, the speed controls being a wheel makes it very easy to choose the speeds you want. This is handy because you don’t have to guess what rate you have it set too.
Which Should You Get?
Choosing between the two can be hard because they are so similar, but the porter cable 7424XP is the better option for most people.
The fact that it is lighter means that it is easier to control and also easier to take with you. On top of this, it is the more durable option. While the 7346SP is a good sander, it usually doesn’t last as long as the 7424XP. When buying a tool you want one that is top quality and can be a workhorse for you. The 7424XP is just that.
Also, when it comes to speed controls, the 7424XP is more comfortable to set.
Lastly, you are probably going to want to buy new pads anyways, so the fact that the 7424XP doesn’t come with a dedicated sander pad isn’t that big of a deal. The pads out of the box are cheap, and while they can work to get the best results and no swirls or marks left behind, you will want to get some better pads.
However, they will both do the same job, so you can choose the 7346SP because cuttingly it cost less and comes with a sanding pad.
Uses for Orbital Sander
After comparing the sanders though you should probably have a rough idea of the uses for one. Well, you can do all kinds of things with an orbital sander, and sanding is only one of those things.
They are suitable for sanding wood to get a smooth finish before staining or removing the old stain, but you can also use them on other surfaces besides timber. You can use them to sand down paint on your car for example if you want to repaint it or you can even smooth down other metal.
Outside of sanding you can also polish things with an orbital sander. The rapid circular motion with the right pad can brighten up metal services or even painted ones. With an orbital sander, you can get a bright shiny finish fast on things.
No matter if you are polishing or sanding an orbital sander will make the job quicker and also do it evenly where by hand it takes longer and may not end up even.
Now you know what is the difference between porter cable 7346sp vs 7424xp, and have a good idea of what to look for when buying one. Just look at the speeds, the size, and think about what you will use it for. Either of these Porter Cable ones will do excellent work and provide you with a job well done.