PORTER-CABLE 382 Random Orbit Sander Review

PORTER-CABLE 382 Random Orbit Sander Review

Carpenters and woodworkers know that there are few finishing tools as useful and practical as a random orbit sander. Whether you are stripping off ancient dried out coats of paint or removing a badly set finish, sometimes you need a sander that can handle tough spot work and leave the surface of the wood or building material intact. Porter-Cable offers the exceptional 382 Model Random Orbit Sander for just these kinds of jobs, and like all Porter Cable products it is an exceptionally well designed and well-built tool that performs its function beautifully. Here are some reasons you should get a Porter-Cable 382 for your toolkit or workshop.

PORTER-CABLE 382 Random Orbit Sander

Who is it made for?

Primarily, random orbit sanders are built for anyone that needs to do fine detail work or putting a satiny-smooth surface on hardwoods or other surface materials. They excel at taking paint off of wood, metal, and other hard surfaces, and can even be used to strip away varnishes and finishes from furniture and fixtures.

Porter Cable 382 Random Orbit Sander Features

Variable Speed Pad Control

When working with any sander, the ability to prevent gouging and sanding too deep is absolutely essential. Fortunately, the Porter-Cable 382 has built in pad speed control to prevent damage to your projects and leave an extra-smooth finish when you are done. This is especially useful when you are working with seams between pieces or preparing an existing stain for refinishing. It also helps to keep finish consistent over the entire surface of a project, allowing you to create professional quality finished surfaces.

Sealed Ball Bearing Construction

One of the most important components of any power tool is the actual mechanism that is responsible for directly operating the tool’s function. In the case of the model 382, the entire powertrain is a dust sealed ball bearing assembly that can provide thousands of hours of maintenance free operation without the need for additional lubricant or cleaning. It also generates less heat and noise when you work, making it a much more attractive option for working indoors.

Dual Plane Counter

The control angle of the sander pad itself is dual plane to allow for better control at speed moving in either direction. This is very important when you are working the same area with multiple passes as it makes moving the sander back and forth much easier, which reduces overall user fatigue as well. The dual plane design also allows users to move the sander in counter circles as they work, allowing for ultra-fine detail work that would not be possible otherwise.

Covered Long-Life Switch

Due to the nature of its operation, a sanders switch tends to wear out rather quickly in most cases. Fortunately, the model 382 does not fall into the “most cases” category. A plastic membrane protects the switch from dust, dirt, and debris, making sure that it functions smoothly at all times for every single operation. Smart carpenters and woodworkers know the true value of practical features such as a sealed switch, and the savings in time and maintenance make a big difference in how much and how frequently you use your sander.

Rugged Design Built to Last

Porter-Cable has an excellent reputation for building tools that last a lifetime, and the model 382 is no exception. The rugged plastic exterior and large grip ensure that this sander can take more than just the average inevitable knocks and bruises from dropping or knocking the sander off of your workbench. It also handles extended use with passable vibration control, and performance in terms of durability is consistently rated high by consumers and professional users alike.


  • Good sanding quality with higher grit pads
  • Dust collection is efficient
  • Ergonomic design is comfortable to use for extended time periods
  • Counter-balanced for lower vibration sanding
  • Quicker cleanup with vacuum hose adapter


  • single speed
  • Not powerful enough for heavy sanding
  • Power switch feels “mushy”
  • Heats up significantly after about 5 minutes of continuous use

Highlighted Features

  • Pad speed control prevents gouging on startup
  • Dual-plane design for easier movement while in operation
  • Dust collection bag with shop-vac hose adapter

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Does this sander use 5 or 8 hole sanding pads?

Q:Can this be adapted as an automotive buffer?

Q: How long should the average sanding pad last?


For finish sanding work, it doesn’t get any better than the Porter-Cable 382. It leaves surfaces silky-smooth with minimal effort and easy operation, and the dust collection system alone makes this sander well worth the purchase price. Get a Porter-Cable 382 for your garage or workshop, and rest easy in the knowledge that you’ve got one of the best small project random orbit sanders on the market that can get the job done well every time.

About the Author Darrell Webster

I believe there is a handyman in all of us as long as you have the right tools. I started this blog to help anyone who is interested in fixing things to learn their way around the different tools and to know how to perform different DIY tasks. I have been doing this for years and believe I am a master of this art.

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