The Triton "TROS" Random Orbit
Sander is one of a number of new products to be released by
Triton under the new ownership of Global
Machinery Company (GMC). Given that Triton were previously well-known for innovative power tool products, and GMC were known for
lower-cost tools designed for the DIY or enthusiast user
(although they do also have a trade quality line), it will be
interesting to see the direction Triton as an entity itself will
go under the new leadership of GMC.
As mentioned, the TROS is a new product to be
released under the Triton label, along with several other new
products which we hope to review soon. So let's see what this
new random orbit sander (ROS) has to offer.
Out of the Box
If you decide to purchase the Triton TROS sander from a hardware
store, you should be able to find it easily as the box is bright
and eye catching. But usually, this is the first thing to go in the bin
after you get it home! Inside the box you will find another
box... well, a hardened plastic molded case at least, which
holds the TROS sander, attachments and manual.
The full-color manual provides all the
instructions you will need. Given that these sanders are fairly
basic feature-wise, the manual isn't a brick, rather, a brief
concise outline on operation, features and maintenance required
to keep your sanding working in optimum condition.
Now, with regard to the plastic
case, regular readers will know that I do like to retain these
cases and find them useful. They keep everything together and
make transporting the sander easy, and they provide that
additional bit of protection against bumps and scratches during
transportation, but if you don't like keeping cases, you can
find another use for it, or just throw it away. Your call.
Within the case you will find:
Triton TROS Random Orbit Sander
Dust Bag with attachment
Three hook and loop sanding discs
User manual (as described above)
Unlike some plastic cases, once
you take the tool out, you can never get it to fit back in! Not
a real problem with this case. There seems to be enough relief
to fit everything back in, stuff the power cord in and lower
and lock the lid without causing a world war between you and
your tool case.
Triton TROS Sander
The TROS sander is a 5" (125mm) random orbit sander. The
base takes standard 5" hook and loop sandpaper discs. These are
the velcro-attached type discs as opposed to the stick-on ones
which are difficult to remove (and rarely seen except on heavier
stationary sanding machines). Most ROSs use the hook and loop
type for quick and easy addition and removal of sanding discs.
The sander base and sanding discs have eight 10mm holes around
their circumference to aid in dust extraction. These are of a
standard size and configuration and designed to allow you to use
most 5" replacement sanding discs on the market, so sourcing
replacement sandpaper discs should pose no problem at all.
The TROS features a 275w motor to
spin the sanding discs. This is not the most powerful random
orbit sander available. You can readily find models with twice
as much power, however, these are not generally of the "palm"
holding type, having front and rear handles to better hold the
tool to handle the larger power on offer. At 275 watts however,
the TROS is comparable in motor size to many other palm grasp
random orbit sanders on the market. Actually, this sander will look very
familiar to those who have some of the DeWalt 5" ROSs. It's not
the same design, but they do look similar in shape and features.
These sanders are designed primarily as finish sanders rather
than sanders designed to remove a lot of material fast. If this
is what you are after, one of the 500w+ ROSs would be better
suited to the task. In saying that, however, you can remove
material relatively fast using the TROS sander with an
aggressive sanding pad fitted (60 grit or so). In fact, the
motor is powerful enough, you just have to be careful not to
apply too much pressure to the item you are sanding as the motor
can struggle under heavy load. However, proper use should
dictate that very little pressure should be applied anyway. You
should apply light pressure, really the weight of the sander
itself provides sufficient pressure, and allow the sandpaper to
do the work. For fast material removal use a coarser grit paper
with light pressure, not a finer grit with more pressure. You
can bog down the motor on the TROS with excessive pressure, but
as mentioned, this is not how to use a sander properly. If you
need to apply that much pressure to remove material you are
using the wrong type of sander... try a belt sander instead.
The TROS is best suited to finish
sanding or lighter-duty initial sanding of joints. It can be
used equally well for sanding flaking paint on a variety of
surfaces, including metal, but undertake precautions relevant to
the material you are sanding, i.e. you should not be
sanding materials with asbestos fibers or similar, and for
sanding metal surfaces, ensure there is no wood dust or other
combustible material in the collection bag before you begin. The
motor provides a no load speed of between 1200-1900 RPM. I find
the tool's power is suitable for all types of finish sanding of
wood joints and wood surfaces. I found I used it often for
sanding down pocket holes plugs or counter-bored plugs level
with the surrounding surface as this tool is light, easy to
grasp and works great for this task. It's also very handy for
pocket hole joint sanding. Although the pocket holes generally
create a flush joint on one face, often you need just that
slight bit of finish sanding to remove any visible dried glue or
to ensure the joint is perfectly flush. There are many other
uses for such a sander of course. The random orbit action
generally produces a nice smooth finish free of swirl marks or
cross-grain scratches that can occur with other sander types,
however, different wood species will display different results
in this regard, some worse than others. It worked fine for panel
sanding, general board sanding and edge sanding. In general I managed to
achieve a good finish on most wood types. The key is using the
appropriate grit sandpaper for the task, and then going through
the grit grades until all marks are no longer readily visible.
At a 600 grit finish, I noticed few problems.
The top of the TROS features a soft rubber grip
pad with three raised ridges. This grip surface fits the palm of
your hand and provides a slip-resistant surface in use. Your
fingers grasp around the edges of the sander's top rim. Some
fingers may cover the air hole slots that help cool the motor,
but if most slots remain unobstructed you will be fine. Just
find a grip that is comfortable. Unlike the more powerful ROSs
mentioned above, this sander is designed for one-handed
operation. At the front of the unit you will find the ON/OFF
power switch. The switches are actually separate, so one side
will turn the unit on, the other will turn it off. You push each
switch in to operate it and the switches themselves are
protected by a rubber "sleeve" which also protects the switch
On the left side
rim (if looking from behind) you will find the variable speed
control. Yes, you can alter the speed using this dial control to
change rotational speed from anywhere between 1200 - 1900 RPM. A
faster speed will provide faster material removal while a slower
speed provides slower material removal (if using the same grit
paper of course). The ability to alter rotational speed is handy
as you can control, to some degree, the rate of material removal
your task requires. The speed dial is labeled 1 through 6, 1
being the slowest speed setting, 6 being the fastest.
Moving down to the base of the sander, an
interesting feature of note is the rotate-able base and dust
collection port. You can actually rotate the dust port/base
through 360 degrees in relation to the top section of the tool.
There are 12 click-detent settings around the circumference
(every 30 degrees) which will lock the base into the detent to
hold it secure during use. The ability to rotate the dust port
is a welcome addition as it allows you to move it out of the way
if it is causing an obstruction for the task at hand. While
generally no problem with flat surface sanding, think about
sanding wooden stair balustrades... you may have to employ some
uncomfortable grip angles if the sander port gets in the way on
sanders where the base cannot rotate. With the TROS, you simply
rotate the base so the dust port does not obstruct the operation
of the unit while holding it in the most comfortable position
for the user. Neat feature!
The dust port itself has an outside diameter of
about 1" (25.4mm) so if you have a vacuum hose to fit this size
port you are in luck. Additionally, the dust bag adaptor which
attaches to this offers an extra outside diameter flange of 1
3/8" (35mm) to connect a vacuum hose. I have a
Festool CT Mini
extractor and the Festool hose nozzle fits securely to the inside of
this slightly larger connection ring. If you do not have a
vacuum extractor you can attach the provided dust bag
to the dust connector and use that to collect dust from the
sander, however, connecting a vacuum will provide a much more
efficient extraction system as the vacuum itself provides a
better airflow through the tool and dust port than just using
dust port/bag itself. The sander does provide a natural airflow that
encourages the dust produced to flow through to the collection
bag, but it is not as powerful as one provided by a connected
vacuum extractor. In use I found this to be true. With only the
dust bag connected, there was a fair amount of dust visible that
was not caught by the collection bag. With an extractor
attached there was considerably less dust left on the sanding
surface, or floating into the air (the worst kind of dust), but
this was to be expected.
Sanders are generally very hard to capture dust from, so if you
do not have a vacuum extractor you can hook up to the Triton TROS sander, be sure to wear a dust mask or respirator, and work
outdoors if possible. In fact, even if you do have a vacuum
connected, a dust mask is a good idea as you will never capture
all the dust sanders create, no matter how good your vacuum or
dust port is designed. It's just the nature of these tools that
they are difficult to capture all dust from (like circular
saws). Using a downdraft sanding table - another form of
extraction - would be ideal, but not many woodworkers have these
in their shops it seems.
That's about all
there is to the Triton TROS sander. Feature-wise it's on par
with many other similar sized sanders on the market. It does
have the distinct advantage over many with its rotating base/dust port which is a useful addition to the tool. Comfort-wise
its as comfortable as any similar sander I have used, and
vibration seems reasonable given the size and power of the
motor. It is easy to control in use, not like a belt sander that
can sometimes seem to control you! The TROS is manufactured in
China, but Triton have a long-standing reputation for producing
quality tools with innovative features, and I'm guessing the
manufacturing of the tool is done to quite high, monitored
standards. While the TROS is not as
rich in innovation as some other Triton tools, it is hard to add
any more features to the TROS given the type of tool it is and
the types of tasks it performs. What else could you add?
Since this is a newly released tool I cannot
provide any durability information as yet. I will endeavor to
update the review in 12 months time to see whether the tool does
indeed stand up to more prolonged use. However, given the
competitive purchase price of this tool in relation to the
competition (recommended retail price of AUD$99.95) I feel it
offers good value for money and delivers pretty good end results
too. Certainly beats hand sanding that's for sure!
For more information, or to find dealers
worldwide of Triton products, visit
Triton TROS Photos
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior
written permission prohibited
The Triton random orbit sander box
Inside the box is the plastic molded carry case
containing all the goodies...
Ready to plug in and go!
The power controls at the front of the unit are in easy
reach of your fingers.
Speed control dial located on the side of the unit.
The dust collection bag attached.
Velcro backed sanding discs are used on the TROS.
Attaching and removing sanding discs is easy.
Note here how the dust bag has been rotated away from
the operator during use.
Sanding a face frame joint flush.