Porter-Cable have been manufacturing quality tools for over 100 years. The Porter-Cable 382 is a random orbital sander set at an extremely reasonable price. The sander is not particularly noteworthy for any specific aspect; besides the no-frills experience it provides at a price that makes it affordable to almost anyone requiring such a tool.
Dust & Abrasives
The Porter-Cable 382 is a 5” random orbital sander. The backing pad provided supports hook and loop abrasive discs and is compatible with the standard 8-hole dust port varieties. All the dust is collected in the provided cloth bag. The bag can be easily removed by twisting and pulling.
The bag is reusable and dust can be shaken out of the bag. Several customers have noted that the bag tends to fall off while using the product. This does not seem consistent across all users of the tool though, with some commenting that a bit of extra force is required to get the bag to properly clip in.
If you have your own vacuum dust extraction setup, it is possible to connect this to the 382, although an additional part may be required. To protect the device itself against dust, it is built with a sealed ball-bearing setup to ensure a longer life. Likewise, the power switch is sealed to prevent dust ingestion, ensuring continued use.
Power & Speed
One aspect of the sander that may worry some is its lack of direct speed control. The dust-sealed switch has only an on and off position and no further way to adjust the speed. With a motor that draws 1.9A at 110V, the output is an OPM speed of 12,000.
Although that might concern some who wish to finish materials at a lower speed, the Porter-Cable 382 does implement their controlled finishing system. This system maintains a controllable pad speed, which minimizes gouging when initially making contact with a material, and results in an extra smooth surface.
Size & Ergonomics
While not the lightest orbital sander we’ve reviewed, coming in at only 3lb, it is not a heavyweight. This means the tool is easy to use, and is just one aspect that helps reduce fatigue associated with extended use. This is all packaged into a device that is less than 9” long and 8” high (dust bag excluded).
Although we’ve seen larger palm rests for holding random orbital sanders, the Porter-Cable does an acceptable job with their plain plastic top. We would have preferred a rubberized surface to improve comfort levels. However, you can also either support the movement of the tool with another hand or use it completely by grabbing the neck of the sander with your hand. This can provide a more comfortable grip, or just allow for alternating when working for long times on the same piece of material. To help reduce fatigue, the motor makes use of a dual-plane counter balanced fan. This reduces the overall vibration in the tool
We mentioned it earlier that the Porter-Cable 382 is not particularly noteworthy. It is not the most powerful, or feature-rich product. But what it does, it does well. If you’re happy to forgo speed control on your random orbital sander it does a good job. Besides that, it has all that you need. If you’re looking for a tool for your home workshop this is definitely the tool for you. It can even be used for light work in a business environment.
The price is extremely cheap for what you’re getting, and is guaranteed to keep working. This is supported by Porter-Cable’s 90-day money back return policy, one-year free service contract and three-year product warranty.