I’ve found random orbit sanders to be essential tools in our window restoration work. For years I’ve been using the Makita BO5010 with good results. So when it came time to acquire another sander, instead of trying the retooled Makita (the BO5030), I decided to try the Milwaukee.
One attractive thing about the old Makita is its shape. It has a low center of gravity, something that changed in the new version, and the Milwaukee looks similar to the old Makita.
First, let me say both of these tools are excellent sanders. They are solid, well-built machines that are a pleasure to use. But while the Milwaukee is like a Lexus, the Makita is like a Ferrari.
The Makita seems to spin faster making for a more aggressive, productive experience.
The Milwaukee functions with almost so vibration – it almost sands without you having to hold it.
I haven’t figured out how to use the variable speed function yet, so I just leave it on high. Perhaps a slower speed would create less heat and generate less clogging (when sanding paint or pine, for instance,) but this would require a lot of experimentation.
The Milwaukee has better dust collection, the spring inside the dust bag keeps it fully expanded and the twist on and off is very high tech. It also connects to my dust collection system better than the Makita. (I have to use masking tape to hold an adapter onto the Makita.)
The Milwaukee also comes with a great carrying case.
The bag style dust collection and case would seem to make this machine more suitable for field use. But I think due to the Makita’s increased productivity, I’d be more inclined to use it in the field. (the Makita does fit in the Milwaukee case, although it isn’t an exact fit.)
Perhaps the Milwaukee would be better suited for furniture production.
The bottom line with with sanding though is you want speed, and despite Milwaukee’s rock-solid operation, the Makita would have to come out on top.