Journeymen woodworkers work with oscillating spindle sanders for their ability to sand tight, inner spaces other sanders with box-type form factors cannot. The oscillating spindle of these sanders abrade through the interiors of a project, smoothing out corners into curves. They’re the perfect tools to instill grace into a wooden, blocky material.
In this review we look at three oscillating spindle sanders from WEN, Triton, and Shop Fox. WEN has been in the power tools business since 1951 and their invention of the random orbit technology has given their products some pedigree among sanders.
Triton, on the other hand, is an Australian brand that is younger by 25 years than its American counterpart. However, many Aussies consider the Triton marquee a quality one known for their Superjaws products.
Shop Fox is a relatively new name, one that comes from China. It’s gaining quite a stellar reputation as of late since its tools perform as good or even better than other entrants in the power tools industry. The fact that the company doesn’t market itself outright and lets Woodstock International distribute and advertise its products gives it an air of mystery shoppers can’t seem to shake.
We’ve taken a look at various factors in our review but mainly we’ve looked at each sander’s performance, finish quality, design, and user-friendliness as our criteria. Let’s get into our review.
For those who don’t have the time to read all the way to the end, here’s a quick summary. If you’re a demanding journeyman and want products from only big name brands, the WEN 6510T gives the hallmarks of a WEN product meaning its quality is well proportioned to its pricing. It’s also relatively light and that makes it a good unit for home users.
The Triton TSPS450 serves up quite a polish with its ½ horsepower motor. It’s 2000 rotations per minute combined with the 58 oscillations per minute allow it to deliver superior shine without the band marks. This makes it a great product for more demanding woodworkers and craftsmen.
Beginners will like the simplicity of the Shop Fox W1831. It’s purely vanilla operation will perform sanding jobs as advertised without the complex operations you’ll see in other sander types.
WEN 6510T vs Triton TSPS450 vs Shop Fox W1831: What is the Best Oscillating Spindle Sander?
Despite going up to speeds of 2000 rotations and 58 oscillations per minute, the WEN 6510T works quietly and smoothly unlike most sander types. In case you’re working on a large project that will require you to use the sander for a prolonged period, we advise you wear hearing protection just to be safe.
For safety and stability during operations, users can use mounting holes at the base of the WEN 6510T to insert screws and set it in place. The oscillating spindle sander also comes with a bottom-heavy molding for better balance.
Users can find it difficult to keep their spindle drums and discs in one place. Good thing, buyers can keep these tools on the allocated slots and rods on the sides of the WEN 6510T to keep their workshop organized.
The WEN 6510T only weighs around 650 lbs so users can easily relocate to any work table in their workshop or to transport it outside if necessary. Despite the compact design, this sander maintains a level of durability because of its cast iron worktable.
What We Like
- This oscillating sander comes with six spindles of varying sizes for versatile sanding work.
- The spindle’s oscillating movements spread friction across the belt evenly to avoid burning and to maximize the use of the sandpaper.
- The 1.5-inch dust port allows users to connect a vacuum or dust extractor for better dust collection.
What We Don’t Like
- If you use the largest rubber drum, there’s a chance it will move or track upwards.
Users should just use the smallest spindle base to keep a tight lock on the large spindle.
The Triton TSPS450 ably works the harder sanding jobs like contouring the insides of projects like templates or finishing smaller wooden items like toys. It’s also an awesome tool at sanding wooden objects with interiors like bandsaw boxes.
Great Dust Protection
It’s a common vulnerability shared by sanders to potentially stop working if sawdust enters through tiny spaces between the buttons and the casing. Triton has provided the TSPS450 with dust covering to prevent this from happening and therefore increase the life of their product.
Easy Drum Change
Like other oscillating spindle sanders in the market, the Triton TSPS450 comes with 6 rubber drums and sleeves. But this sander makes drum changes fast and easy so it’s no problem shifting from one drum size to another so there’s very little pause during sanding work.
The TSPS450 weighs in around 34 lbs according to the manufacturer. While not as light as other oscillating sanders in the market, users can still easily transfer this from one workbench to another.
What We Like
- The movements of the spindle and the drum itself allows for a smooth, scratch-free professional finish.
- The mold of the sander’s base allows users to attach screws and mount the oscillating sander to the table for greater stability.
- A powerful motor capable of making 2000 rotations per minute, making sanding projects a lot faster.
What We Don’t Like
Dust collection needs a little more work since there’s still a lot of sawdust left after operations.
Attach a shop vacuum adapter and use the vac to boost dust collection.
The Shop Fox W1831’s no frills controls and its ½ horsepower motor’s solid performance makes it an ideal oscillating spindle sander for beginners or those who have yet to use a sander of this type.It’s also perfect for craftsmen who work with projects that require exotic hardwoods like zebrawood or pupinga.
The sander allows the use of spindle drums of varying sizes so craftsmen will be able to choose the right one to contour their projects with. Fox Shop provides around 5 spindle drums from ¾-inch to a 3-inch one so users have more options on the worktable.
Good Dust Collection
Dust collection is a common issue among sanders but it’s an area the Shop Fox W1831 is decent at. If you want little to no dust left in your workshop, you can attach a shop vac at this sander’s adapter at the back. It provides better plug and play with third party adapters than those from big name brands.
Tight Belt Operation
The sandpaper sleeves remain tight and taut on the spindle of this sander. Users only need to make slight adjustments from time to time by tightening the screws but otherwise the spindle drum or the sleeves do not track up.
What We Like:
- The Fox W1831 offers better security thanks to a power switch with a lock third party users cannot use without a key.
- This oscillating sander offers a belt-tightening mechanism through the screw on top of the spindle. Users just need to tighten it to keep the sandpaper from tracking upwards.
- Light form factor allows users to easily carry the sander across different workshops or project areas and keep it in storage when not in use.
What We Don’t Like:
- The spindle doesn’t oscillate to the top evenly so the bottom part of the sandpaper belt isn’t maximized.
Users will need to remove the spindle and flip it over so the bottom part goes to the top. This way users can also wear out the abrasives on that side of the sandpaper.
WEN 6510T vs Triton TSPS450 vs Shop Fox W1831: Which is Better?
The WEN 6510T’s oscillations are balanced, meaning it will wear out both the top and bottom parts of a sandpaper sleeve, maximizing the use of abrasives. One of its rivals do not do this evenly so users have to flip the spindle over from time to time. It’s a small caveat but it can get in the way of a sanding session.
Users on a budget will also gravitate towards the WEN 6510T because of its more competitive pricing than its bulkier rivals. All of these sanders perform well but the WEN 6510T rests on a lower pricing tier while stacking the same performance and features as the other two.
Before ordering one of these oscillating spindle sanders, we just want to be very clear that they all perform well and accomplish the job as advertised. The Shop Fox W1831 will please anyone who just wants to focus on sanding and contouring without having to worry about specs and controls.
Triton is a big and beefy Australian import and it delivers the polish the more experienced woodworkers want. Finally, you have the WEN 6510T which packs in features and performance at a cost-effective pricing. Any which way you invest your money, you’re getting value if you sink it into one of these three.