Best Angle Grinder Reviews and Buying Guide 2020
Whether you’re a craftsman or a construction worker, a metalworker or an auto shop owner, the best angle grinder is an invaluable power tool.
In today’s best angle grinder reviews, we’ll break down 5 of the leading grinders at your disposal so you can make a smart choice saving yourself some precious time and money.
Known by a number of names, from disc grinders and side grinders through to the more familiar angle grinder, the functionality of these compact powerhouses extends far beyond mere grinding.
Undeniably, grinding is their core purpose. They’ll help you to smooth off rough edges and remove surplus material without a bead of sweat or any real effort. Beyond that, with the right wheel in place, you’ll be able to sharpen your tools or cut through concrete, remove rust or slice through tiling… The list goes on.
We’ll look first at the various types of angle grinder you can choose from. After that, we’ll walk you through a detailed breakdown of 5 of the very best grinders up for grabs. Once you have a solid idea of what kind of angle grinder would make the best for you, we’ll move on to a thorough buying guide leading you every step of the way toward purchase.
Although today we’ll be dealing only with electric angle grinders, we’ll take a very brief glimpse now at the 3 main types of angle grinder so you can see which power plant would work best for you…
- 11-amp motor
- 1,000 RPM
- Dust ejection system
By far the most frequently used type of angle grinder, electric models can be powered directly from an outlet, using batteries or a transformer offering you a wide range of options.
For the purposes of home DIY or light to medium duties on site, an electric disc grinder is by far the cleanest, easiest option. For this reason, our primary focus today is on this type of tool.
If you work full-time on a construction site or you’re a workshop owner, there’s little substitute for a gas-powered angle grinder.
Much more expensive, in return you’ll be rewarded with a great deal of power and the ability to slice your way with consummate ease through bricks and blocks, steel and other harder materials.
Using a gas grinder is a little more complex too so, for the casual home woodworker or DIY enthusiast, we’d advise you give this kind of angle grinder a swerve.
Ramping things right up, auto shops with hardcore requirements routinely use angle grinders powered by compressed air.
An inbuilt advantage of compressed air grinders is the way in which they work well for precision jobs. You can retain the power you need without being weighed down.
That said, this type of angle grinder is unnecessary if you plan to carry out a few jobs in the home workshop but for a seasoned professional it’s the wisest bet offering first-rate power and performance under even the most demanding conditions without being weighed down.
The Best Angle Grinder Reviews - Comparison Table
There’s a considerable array of angle grinder glutting the market and it can be confusing when confronted with so many options. Fortunately, we’re here to guide you and simplify this buying decision.
Check out this snapshot of the 5 best angle grinders for your money…
DeWalt DWE402K Angle Grinder Kit (4 ½-inch, 11-amp)
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Makita 9557PBX1 Angle Grinder with Case
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Ryobi P421 Cordless Angle Grinder (4 ½-inch, 18-volt)
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PORTER-CABLE Angle Grinder and Cut Off Tool
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Metabo WE15-150 Angle Grinder (6-inch, 13 ½-amp)
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We’ll launch directly into our reviews right now showcasing 5 of the best disc grinders up for grabs today…
Detailed Angle Grinder Reviews
First up in our best angle grinder reviews is a powerful little unit from the legendary DeWalt. Home hobbyists and contractors alike are consistently drawn to the signature black and yellow tools offering fantastic functionality at a highly attractive price point.
You can choose from several packages depending on whether or not you want the durable kit box and the No Lock-On paddle that eliminates the chance of accidental start-up. DeWalt even cater for contractors needing grounded tools so roll with the bundle that best fits your requirements.
Take a glance at the core features of this multi-purpose grinder then we’ll drill down on it in more detail…
Best 4.5″ grinder Dewalt makes. I just ordered 3 more of these grinders. I LOVE the one touch guard! You just bump it against the welding table to rotate it to any position you need. I’m quickly replacing all my grinders with these Dewalts.
Although it’s a compact angle grinder with a 4 ½-inch blade, don’t think for a moment the DeWalt is lacking on the power front. The 11-amp motor generates an outstanding 11,000 RPM and is more than able enough for most reasonable purposes. Whether you want to grind away excess material or cut through stone, simply attach the requisite wheel and you’ll be slicing through whatever you throw its way.
Convenience is at the forefront of this compact angle grinder. You’ll be able to change the wheels without needing to reach for your tool kit. There’s a button on top that unlocks the disc. Turn the disc manually and loosen the spindle nut then swap your wheel for whatever you need for the job at hand.
The One-Touch Guard is another great time-saving device. Just knock it against your workbench and you can rotate it to the position you need in a single action. It moves through a full 360 degrees.
The DWE402K is a new and improve model with some small but important tweaks made to extend an already enviable lifespan. The older D28402 had smaller brushes and the new oversized versions increase durability at the same time as enhancing performance. The bulky bevel gear means the transmission won’t let you down in a hurry either.
Angle grinders kick up a significant amount of debris. These finer particles can work their way inside your tool clogging it up and reducing its lifespan. With the DeWalt, the efficient dust ejection system in place puts paid to this and keeps all rogue matter safely away from the air vents on your disc grinder.
The wheel flanges are designed so the DeWalt will easily accommodate all mainstream attachments and accessories. One of the leading advantages of an angle grinder is the breadth of applications you can take on by using assorted discs and attachments. Whether you need a diamond cutter for stone or a silicon carbide disc for metal work, you’re spoiled for choice with this awesome angle grinder with everything fitting snugly to lessen the chance of a poorly housed disc becoming a lethal missile in the workshop.
Although this angle grinder is designed with the home enthusiast in mind, it won’t be out of place on the jobsite or in a workshop either. It’s clearly not cut off for sustained and heavy punishment but it will certainly serve a turn in a commercial setting as long as you keep your expectations reasonable.
DeWalt always deliver in terms of guarantees. You’ll get a limited 3-year warranty taking the headache out of your purchase and protecting you against crushing repair bills for the first thousand days. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Take a glimpse now at the chief advantages and very minor drawback with this strong candidate for the best angle grinder in its class before we serve up our verdict and you decide whether it gels with your needs…
- Highly flexible 11-amp motor serves up more than enough power to rapidly remove all kinds of material depending on the type of 4 ½-inch disc used
- Disc rotates at an impressive 11,000 RPM for a combination of speed and precision under load
- Dust ejection system keeps all damaging particles away from the air vents of your grinder prolonging its lifespan
- Swap out the wheels tool-free thanks to Quick-Change wheel release
- Kiss goodbye to accidentally firing up your angle grinder with neat safety lock in place
- All standard attachments and accessories fit the DeWalt meaning you get a real multi-tasking tool
- Guard rotates through a full 360 degrees with One-Touch functionality
- Side handle, hard case and wrench thrown in
- Solid 3-year limited warranty offers peace of mind against unexpected repair bills
- Positioning of the side handle is not to everyone’s liking so you might want to consider road-testing the tool before committing to purchase
If you’re looking for a dependable and rugged angle grinder that performs admirably for a smaller electric 4 ½-inch model, the DeWalt DWE402K warrants a place on any shortlist.
Not everyone wants or needs a colossus of an angle grinder and if you’re on the trail of a neat little unit that packs a considerable punch, the DeWalt is just about as good as 4 ½-inch angle grinders get.
Smooth and easy to use and weighing in at a mere 4 pounds, it has a small footprint and a low-slung gear case so you can get into awkward spots without contorting yourself.
Considering the relatively low price tag, there’s not much more we could ask for from the DeWalt DWE402K. Put simply, it’s one of the strongest small angle grinders in this highly competitive class.
Check one out at your earliest convenience!
Makita has a pretty unassailable reputation founded on providing top-tier tools without forcing you to spend a fortune for the privilege.
They say good things come in small packages and this mini 4 ½-inch angle grinder illustrates this perfectly. While you might think a 7 ½-amp motor is unfit for purpose in an angle grinder, nothing could be further from the truth. While it might lack the variable speed available on some Makita models, this is an unimprovable angle grinder in its price range.
Check out the features at a glance before we explore this highly effective angle grinder in depth…
Wow what can I say! This makes my 20th Makita small tool purchase dating back to 1980 when Rockwell circular saws went out of business. I have never known ANY problems with my Makita tools, like so many claim to have.
By Amazon Customer
Although it’s a single speed angle grinder, the 7 ½-amp motor on the Makita spins its disc at 10,000 RPM which makes it ideal for even demanding applications. This grinder is a textbook example of why it’s not always wise to obsess purely on performance figures at the expense of overall experience.
One thing that puts many people off angle grinders before they try one out is the idea they’re massive, unwieldy tools that are tiring to use. Weighing not much over 4 pounds, the ultra-compact Makita means you’ll be able to beaver away for hours without fatigue setting in. Also, if you need to keep at it for prolonged periods, the lock on/off feature lets you keep the grinder rotating without needing to keep the trigger depressed, a very worthwhile extra for contractors.
The grip is also manufactured so that it’s particularly easy to grab hold of. It’s especially small meaning you can wield the grinder for hours without your wrist feeling the strain. The paddle switch, on the other hand, is much bigger for ease of use.
Angle grinders kick up a high volume of dust and debris. That comes with the territory and there’s nothing much you can do beyond installing suitable dust management systems in your workshop. Beyond that, Makita has your back by protecting the angle grinder itself in a couple of ways…
Varnish is applied in a zig-zag fashion designed expressly to safeguard the inside of your grinder. Dust working its way in can dramatically reduce the lifespan of your power tools. The motor and bearing also come fully sealed so that they’ll also be protected from rogue particles that can wreak havoc if allowed unwanted entry. Not only will your angle grinder work more effectively, it’ll last much longer as well. Combined with a durable build, you can expect your Makita to keep going for years with the very minimum of maintenance.
The gear housing will rotate through 90 degrees making the Makita the ideal grinder for an array of applications. You’ll be able easily wriggle your way in to places where less agile angle grinders would seriously struggle.
Thinking of variety, there’s a diamond disc included which will get you up and running nicely. As with any angle grinder, it’s all about the wheel and the Makita will easily accommodate any discs of the correct size you need to press into commission. There’s a spindle lock to facilitate swift wheel changes so you won’t need to fumble around for extra tools when you want to swap out the disc.
Always remember to use the right discs and attachments. Poorly fitting attachments can become dangerous flying projectiles if they come adrift so take extreme care in this area.
Variable power supplies can trip you up if you have a power tool that’s limited. The Makita has a nifty AC/DC switch up above the motor housing offering you total flexibility, something all too rare with tools in this price range.
Have a quick look now at the leading advantages of the Makita and the couple of minor places where it stumbles…
- 7 ½-amp motor is deceptively powerful maxing out at 10,000 RPM and more than sufficient for most applications
- Weighs just 4 ½ pounds so you’ll be able to work for long spells without feeling the strain
- Continuous on feature means no more clawed hands from constantly depressing the trigger on longer jobs
- Innovative varnish protects the innards of your tool from damaging debris
- Motor and bearings fully sealed so no particles will work their way inside
- Oversized paddle switch designed with your comfort firmly in mind
- Size and shape of grip ideal for extended use
- Diamond wheel thrown in so get going straight out the box
- Gear housing rotates through 90 degrees catering for all applications
- 1-year warranty is a slight disappointment
- No variable speed as with many budget angle grinders
It’s no accident that Makita are the go-to tools for home woodworkers, craftsmen and contractors alike. You’re always guaranteed of excellent build quality, power and precision combined and all this at a perfectly reasonable price point.
If you have a range of lighter duties planned out for your angle grinder, this small but capable 4 ½-incher from Makita merits your further investigation. While it won’t stand up to relentless heavy work in a commercial setting, you wouldn’t expect that at this price point. For home use or an occasional professional project, though, the Makita takes some beating.
While the warranty could be lengthier and the lack of variable speed will irk some, overall the Makita is a rock-solid compact angle grinder deserving its place on any list of the best disc grinders. Road test one today and we can’t imagine you’ll be disappointed.
As we hit the mid-point of our best angle grinder reviews, something you might not be expecting…
A cordless disc grinder from Ryobi, pioneers of cord-free tools with a stellar reputation for providing woodworkers and craftsmen the world over with the total versatility of cordless tools without any noticeable reduction in quality.
Glance first at the main features then we’ll run down why the Ryobi P421 makes sense for anyone seeking out a capable and total flexible angle grinder at a very keen price…
Great tool! This is a great add to my Ryobi tool chest. Sharpening blades from lawn mower to bush hog, spot sanding or carving on wood or metal projects for construction or painting; don’t know why I waiting so long to buy it. It does use batteries pretty quick and take a little getting use to handling for best results. Does NOT include battery. Comes with one 4″ 1/4″ thick grinding wheel.
It’s common knowledge that corded power tools deliver generally superior performance. This is no surprise. What might come as a surprise, though, is just how effective this neat little cordless grinder from Ryobi is when set against comparable corded models.
First thing’s first, this disc grinder is part of Ryobi’s ever-growing ONE+ range and is sold as a bare tool. When you’re budgeting, factor the battery and charger into the equation if you don’t already have them in your collection. Bottom line, this makes the grinder a reasonably expensive proposition. On the flip side, if like many woodworkers you are already invested in this neat system, you’ll be able to make considerable savings buying the tools and using your battery between them.
As well as the standard 18-volt lithium-ion batteries, you’ll also be able to accommodate the older nickel-cadmium batteries if you have any you need to find a home for so the Ryobi is a very forgiving beast in terms of compatibility.
While the 18-volt lithium ion battery only rotates the wheel at 6500 RPM, the power you’ll get from the Ryobi is more than fit for purpose. As with the Makita, it’s a sound example of why you should examine the overall package rather than focusing narrowly on a single number.
Comfort is everything with tools. The grip is notched and rubberized meaning you won’t find your grinder slip from your grasp even if you have oily or greasy hands. With the grip turning through 90 degrees and the side handle itself packing three position settings, you’ll be able to work in comfort while also positioning your tool wherever you need it to go.
This angle grinder tips the scales at just over 5 pounds so, while it’s not as lightweight as some of its competitors, it’s certainly not unwieldy enough to feel uncomfy. It has an attractively small footprint measuring in at 8 x 12 x 8 inches so storage won’t be an issue.
The tool-free guard makes sure that safety is front and center and this is super-simple to position as you see fit.
The disc changing is not tool-free but all you’ll need is a pin wrench which Ryobi throw in. This is stored onboard so you won’t need to worry about misplacing it or breaking your workflow to find it when you want to switch applications.
A regulation 4 ½-inch grinding disc comes included so, as long as you have the battery issue in hand, you’ll be up and running as soon as your package lands.
Whether you want to cut tile or clean rust, grind back surplus metal or fix some grout, the Ryobi P421 will make a fine and free-ranging addition to your toolkit. Have a quick look at the main pros and cons of this outstanding little angle grinder before we give you our verdict and edge onwards with our reviews…
- Enjoy the complete freedom of movement that comes with cordless tools while also having more than ample power on tap
- You’ll need a pin wrench to change discs but it’s a shotgun procedure with the tool is provided stored onboard for easy access at all times
- Comfy side handle moves through 3 positions offering great adaptability
- Rotate the grip through a full 90 degrees further enhancing your ability to work in any position without cramping yourself up
- Save money by using the lithium-ion battery from your ONE+ tools allowing you to pick up the bare tool at a cutthroat price
- Backwards compatible with older nickel-cadmium batteries if you have any on hand and you’re operating on a budget
- Grinding disc chucked in so get working directly out the box
- Tool-free guard for safe and simple positioning
- Trigger switch is a pleasure to use even if you work for long and unbroken spells
- Considerable added expense if you need to buy the battery and charger so think twice if you don’t own these already
- No-load speed is slightly underwhelming
As with any power tool, it’s all about horses for courses…
If you’re looking for a really heavyweight piece of kit for demanding and challenging applications, a compact cordless is obviously not for you. We’d suggest one of the beefier models we reviewed here or a gas-powered alternative.
If, on the other hand, you need a truly compact unit with all the freedom of movement a cordless tool serves up, there’s little doubt that the Ryobi P421 will be the best investment you could make this year. Suitable for a range of grinding, polishing and cutting work depending on the disc you choose, this angle grinder is nimble, flexible and surprisingly adept on the power front.
Give the Ryobi a shot and you’re extremely likely to become a lifelong convert to the multi-tasking ONE+ range of tools. An initial investment in the battery and charger pays dividends time after time as you build on your tool collection without needing extra power plants each time. What have you got to lose?
PORTER-CABLE has more than a century in the power tool trenches to call upon and this expertise comes fully to the fore with this 4 ½-inch angle grinder and cut-off tool.
The company specializes in producing both corded and cordless tools that hit the quality bar for home woodworkers and tradesmen alike without demanding a king’s ransom.
While this angle grinder is easy to handle and ideal for a home set-up, the build quality alongside its admirable performance mean it’s equally cut out for use in a commercial setting. Whether you’re a construction worker or a welder, whether you work with wood, metal or stone, read on to see if the PORTER-CABLE disc grinder deserves a place in your tool kit.
Bought this to replace a failed Harbor Freight grinder. What a difference ! Powerful and has a nice paddle switch to control it. Comes with two easy to change (tool less) guards and a cut off and grinding wheel.
By Amazon Customer
Although it’s pitched at contractors, masons, auto enthusiasts and other pros in need of a disc grinder, the PORTER-CABLE also makes a neat addition to any home workshop.
It’d dual use as a grinder and cut-off tool – both wheels are provided – means this outstanding little tool also finds favor with fabricators and welders who routinely need to cut and polish metal with an uncompromising grinder. To this end, a pair of guards are also provided along with the brace of wheels. Whether grinding or cutting, safety remains the highest priority and PORTER-CABLE has your back without you needing to dig deeper into your pocket.
The 7-amp motor spins the disc at a pacey 11,000 RPM so the grinder will keep up with even rigorous demands at home or in the workplace.
Considering its speed and overall performance, you might be expecting something that feels like a lead weight. On the contrary, this compact angle grinder comes in at under 4 pounds so you’ll be happy holding it for hours on end without fatigue kicking in.
Since it’s designed with commercial users in mind, build quality is first rate. The cast metal gear housing keeps heat from becoming a problem under heavy use. There’s an automatic shut-off on the paddle switch so if you drop your angle grinder it won’t transform itself into a lethal weapon.
As with any decent angle grinder, you’ll be able to tweak the position of the handle in line with the work at hand. There are 3 position settings although a few users complain about the actual placement of the side handle. This is fairly subjective so we’ll leave you to make up your own mind about that.
Changing the wheels is a simple affair and you’ll just need the wrench included to swap the discs out while barely breaking your stride. As mentioned, you’ll be gifted with a wheel for each of the grinder’s main applications which is difficult to believe when you consider the price of this angle grinder.
As if this litany of plus-points was not enough, you’ll be covered by a class-leading 3-year limited warranty. This demonstrates clearly how the manufacturer takes pride in the longevity of its power tools. After all, no company doles out a guarantee expecting to lose out on the deal which can only be good news for potential customers.
Take a tour of the shower of benefits the PORTER-CABLE will bring your way before reading our verdict and checking out our final angle grinder review for today…
- Ultra-light at just 4 pounds which is incredible given the outstanding grinding and cutting power on tap
- Extremely potent 7-amp motor generates a rapid 11,000 RPM disc speed making this grinder a weapon on any job site
- Grinding and cutting guards both tool-free so you can save time and money with seamless adjustments
- Cutting wheel and grinding wheel included which represents exceptional value given the low cost of this disc grinder
- Spindle lock allows you to change the wheel with the wrench provided fuss-free
- Gear housing fashioned from cast metal which helps get rid of heat and ensures it can withstand plenty of punishment
- 3 positions on the handle gives you the scope to customize the feel of your grinder
- Will serve you well even under heavy use on the work site
- 1-year service contract allows you to buy this angle grinder without fearing stiff repair bills
- Some users express a dislike for the angle of the handle
A significant body of user reviews shows clearly that PORTER-CABLE angle grinders are built to stay the course. This video, for example, showcases a 7-year old model that’s still going strong and refusing to give up the ghost!
As they continue to develop their cordless tools, the advances made by this innovative power tool titan spill over into the corded models. This angle grinder is a beneficiary of that weighing less than 4 pounds but still packing a considerable punch.
For the committed home hobbyist or the demanding contractor, this PORTER-CABLE 4 ½-inch angle grinder is an essential piece of kit. The only thing you’ll be left questioning is how you put off buying one for so long when you clap eyes on the price tag and then experience the grinding power at your immediate disposal. Check out this disc grinder and cut-off tool at your earliest convenience.
To round out our best angle grinder reviews, we’ll tail off with something slightly different…
We have deliberately lasered in on 4 ½-inch grinders for the most part since the average home user wants something small and, ideally, affordable. That said, we want to cover as wide a spectrum as possible so we’re ramping things up in terms of size and output here and looking at a 6-inch disc grinder from Metabo for those with slightly more ambitious requirements.
Wow this thing is a beast ! You get what you pay for. This thing has some power if your not holding on when you turn it on…it could jump out of your hands. It does an amazing job on grinding down my welding jobs without any bogging down.
Although the Metabo is much more expensive than the 4 ½-inch angle grinders above, it’s unfair to level a price comparison as it occupies a different range of functionality and comes packing a number of electronic goodies…
The core purpose of this grinder is enabling you to carry out really taxing and sustained grinding and cutting projects whether at home or out on site. Kicking off with the 13 ½-amp motor, you’ll be rewarded as soon as you fire up the Metabo with an extremely torquey powerplant. You’ll notice the difference in output over a smaller grinder as soon as you see the rate of removal and you’ll appreciate instantly where that extra money went.
If you’re working all day every day with an angle grinder, you’ll understand that maintaining a consistent speed can be a challenge. Metabo throws in Electronic Speed Stabilization so all the guesswork is spirited away. Even if you’re dealing with a tough project, you’ll watch your productivity soar without sacrificing precision.
Another must if you’re wielding your angle grinder for lengthy patches is that it’s too rough on the arms. Although it’s a hard-hitter, the Metabo weighs a mere 6 pounds and change so you won’t end up tired on the job. The ergonomic handle is made in such a way as to reduce vibration while also feeling a pleasure to use.
For anyone working on site or in a workshop where time is money, swift and simple disc changes are essential. All you need to do is hit the button and you’ll be able to exchange the disc for a replacement without interrupting your workflow or damaging your productivity.
All of the electronic features combine to seriously reduce the likelihood of your angle grinder overheating or becoming overloaded under strain. When you think about the functionality offered along with the research and development costs needed to develop it, perhaps you won’t be as reluctant to dig a little further financially for the Metabo.
Since you’ll likely want to undertake both grinding and cutting jobs, you’ll get 2 guards included and you’ll be able to easily flick between the 2 applications.
The proprietary S-automatic clutch is designed expressly to mitigate kickback. If the attachment in place snarls up, you’ll be much more likely to stay in control thanks to the safety slip clutch and potentially saving yourself a flying disc smashing into your face or body.
Before reading our summary and moving on to the buying guide, here’s the lowdown on what the Metabo excels at along with a minor gripe…
- Extremely torquey 13 ½-amp motor promotes swifter removal of waste material while also protecting the grinder against overload
- High rotation speed of 9600 RPM makes the Metabo a solid choice for hardcore grinding endeavors
- Safety slip clutch in place is a superb aid against the menace of dangerous kickback
- Change discs tool-free by simply hitting a button to simplify your life a treat
- No danger of grinder overheating even under harder use thanks to electronic overload protection in place
- Speed stabilizing system ensures that the rotation speed is matched to the application to enhance productivity while minimizing the chance of burnout
- Non-slip handle also serves to tamp down the vibration for a safe and comfortable working experience
- Type 27 guard included along with a clip-on Type 1 guard allowing for brisk changes from cutting to grinding as required
- Weighing just over 6 pounds, this high-performing angle grinder is surprisingly light and compact
- Expensive although still sound value
If you feel a 4 ½-inch grinder lacks a little oomph, this Metabo 6-incher is the perfect solution.
As you’ll see from the way the advantages stack up against the single notable downside of its price tag, the Metabo is a contractor’s favorite with just cause. Whatever your grinding or cutting requirements, the torque-packed motor, full suite of electronics and lightweight nature all combine to render this disc grinder exceptional overall value even though it’s not the cheapest grinder on the block.
If you’re on the trail of a pokier angle grinder but you don’t want a gas-powered behemoth with all that entails, give the Metabo 6-incher a trial instead and you won’t look back in a hurry. This grinder exemplifies craftsmanship with a focus on the end user so check one out today and give added weight to your grinding capabilities.
Now we’ve revealed the 5 best angle grinders in their class, it’s time to explore why you need one in the first place and what to look out for when you’re buying one of these awesome tools…
Who Needs Angle Grinders?
Despite the single-purpose name, angle grinders are indispensable for a range of applications beyond basic grinding duty.
A more accurate question might be, “Who doesn’t need angle grinders?”
From home craftsmen to mechanics in an auto shop, construction workers out on site or anyone working as a handyman, a solid angle grinder can be worth its weight in gold.
The most common usage for an angle grinder, as the name hints, is to grind and smoothly remove any excess material. Using a disc suited to the application you have in mind, you can swiftly make notches or cuts in your chosen material too.
Despite this broad spread of possible usage – more on that shortly – don’t for a second overlook an angle grinder if you’re a committed woodworker. By harnessing an aluminum oxide wheel, angle grinders are great power tools for effortlessly buffing and polishing.
Buying any power tool should never be a whim decision. You should always focus on picking up the best equipment you can afford that’s precisely in line with your intended usage.
Once you’ve decided on your budget, your options will be narrowed down naturally. Never spend more than you can afford but never resent spending good money on tools that can last a lifetime if properly maintained.
If you’re honest about your needs and the way in which you plan to use your angle grinder, there’s no reason buying one should be overwhelming.
User reviews give you a sound overview of what a body of woodworkers and craftsmen think about the tool you have in mind. Pay close attention in particular to any flaw that repeatedly rates a mention. Rarely is there smoke without fire.
Beyond that, check out these handy pointers as we move on to our angle grinder buying guide. You can see at a glance what you should look out to maximize your chances of getting the best angle grinder for your personal requirements.
What To Consider When Buying a Angle Grinder
The wheel or disc on the angle grinder is what dictates its designated size along with the range of duties it can perform. Since this site has the home woodworker and hobbyist handyman firmly in mind, 4 of the 5 angle grinders we reviewed here are the 4-½ inch size best suited for a smaller scope of work. We also throw in a 6-inch model for anyone with slightly more ambitious projects up their sleeve. Beyond this, you can also get 7-inch and 9-inch but they fall outside the remit of this article.
Speed Rating (RPM)
The speed at which the disc on the angle grinder spins is rated in terms of rotations per minute (RPM). If you’ve never used a disc grinder before, you’ll be amazed by the amount of power on tap. These various wheels can rotate at anywhere from around 5000 RPM right on through 11,000 RPM for a pretty devastating blast of performance. Don’t obsess over this speed rating but take it into account and relate it to the type of work you’ll be expecting your angle grinder to perform so you can get the best fit.
First up, make certain you choose the correct voltage so you don’t end up stiffed with a 230V model when you’re running on 110V. Wattage varies considerably from 500 watts at the lower end of the spectrum up to well in excess of 2000 watts for higher end angle grinders. Amperage ranges from 4 amps through 15 amps. With all elements of the motor’s performance, tie it closely to your intended usage… If you plan to carry out only a few lighter grinding jobs at home, you’ll need a far less able performer than a professional requiring a tool fit for unbroken daily use on challenging applications.
Ergonomics and Comfort
The most capable angle grinder is useless if it doesn’t feel right and ends up too heavy to handle or too uncomfy to use in the way you want. Aside from a nicely contoured anti-vibration handle, the principal factors affecting comfort are the size and weight of your disc grinder. If you’re working predominantly in the home workshop or around the house, a compact and lightweight angle grinder is ideal. It’s only when you step up to contracting work or professional projects in a metal or auto shop that you need to ramp up the size and weight. Even then, always make sure your angle grinder feels right or it might just end up as an expensive ornament.
Wheels and Attachments
One of the chief selling points of an angle grinder is its remarkable adaptability. By swapping out the wheels, you can switch from grinding to polishing, from woodworking to metalworking as well as being able to sharpen your tools, smash through concrete or stone and a shower of other projects at home or on the job site. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to throw a circular saw blade into your angle grinder. Always make sure that the discs or attachments you use fit snugly and show no signs of wear. Be fully aware that by simply exchanging these discs, you can do far more than just grind off edges with the best angle grinder.
Safety should be absolutely central when you’re operating any kind of power tool and angle grinders are no exception to this. The most commonly experienced injuries with disc grinders are from attachments that break off becoming potentially lethal projectiles. Follow the above guidelines to ensure that the risk here is minimized. Kickback is also a thorny issue so look for a disc grinder with an anti-kickback clutch. Soft-start handles that tamp down vibration, discs that make less noise and restart protection are all features worth looking out for in the best disc grinder.
Linked closely to safety in general is the specific problem of dust. Many of the best disc grinders have some form of dust ejection system in place so that the shards and debris kicked up is kept to a bare minimum. There’s still no substitute for a first-rate dust collection system in your workshop but seeking out an angle grinder with at least some dust management is a great way to make your life easier and to keep your working environment safe and comfortable.
Price should always play a part in any power tool purchase but should never, ever be the driving force behind your decision. This is not to say you should overspend. You shouldn’t. Before anything else at all, work out the most you can comfortably spend to get the tool you need and under no circumstances breach this budget. Far more important that the raw bottom line is to choose an angle grinder that represents overall value while giving you all that you demand, nothing more and nothing less.
Usage and Maintenance Tips
Most electric angle grinders operate in roughly similar fashion. Fire it up, depress a switch and as soon as this is released, the grinder powers down. Often called the dead man’s switch, this protective feature helps lessen any chance of injury.
Although there are myriad different uses for a disc grinder, we can cleave them into 3 broad categories:
- Grinding and Cutting: Whether it’s grinding away surplus stone, metal or mortar, grinding is the primary purpose which is no surprise considering the name of the tool. You’ll also be able to make accurate cuts or notches in material and shape hard material like stone with absolute ease
- Sharpening Blades: Your various home and garden tools need regular sharpening so they remain effective and efficient weapons in your arsenal. From axes to lawn mower blades, shovels to ice picks, anything that needs an edge honing is fair game for your angle grinder. Use a flapper attachment for sharpening
- Removing Mortar: Do you wish you could get rid of the mortar between bricks without needing recourse to a hammer and chisel? With an angle grinder, you can! As with many of the angle grinder’s diverse applications, it’s all about using the appropriate disc, in this case a tuckpointing wheel.
Aluminum oxide wheels are ideal for woodworking, general polishing or buffing.
If you want to cut concrete or stone, use a diamond disc.
Rust removal is simplified using an angle grinder with a fiber wheel. For rounding or cleaning metal, a silicon carbide disc works wonders while a wire disc or brush disc helps you to remove paint or rust and is a great way to clean metal.
Safety should be your prime concern when operating an angle grinder. The chance of injury is disturbingly high if you don’t follow some basic precautions. Wear a facemask, eye protection and some heavy-duty gloves at all times. Ensure that anyone in the vicinity is extremely aware while the grinder is in operation. Be vigilant for kickback and make sure the angle grinder is stored away safely after use.
As with any power tool, always keep your angle grinder clean and make sure there’s no debris or fine particles that can work their way inside. That aside, always check the discs before you fire up your grinder and you should be all set. Angle grinders are pretty low maintenance which is always a bonus with power tools!
We trust you’ve found this exploration of the best angle grinders useful and packed with pointers to make your buying decision super-simple.
Once you’ve doubled down on what you aim to use your angle grinder for and thought about the different types of wheels you can press into action, getting the best disc grinder is a straightforward job.
Drop us a line any time at all if you have any questions or feedback. We’re highly responsive and we’ll get back to you promptly.
Before we round out, we’ve collected together 10 of the most frequently asked questions about angle grinders. Take a glimpse at these before you leave us for today and make sure to come back soon!
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1) IF YOU HAVE A 4 ½-INCH GRINDER, IS IT POSSIBLE TO REMOVE THE GUARD AND USE A LARGER WHEEL?
Absolutely not! Never use a disc that’s larger than the machine it’s cut out for. Not only does removing the guard expose you to the risk of sparks, the disc is highly likely to come loose and become a dangerous projectile.
2) WHAT ARE FLAP DISCS?
These disc are designed to give a longer lifespan. They can generally be safely used all the way down to their backing. They are used with right-angle grinders. Conical flap discs are a smart bet if you need rapid, aggressive stock removal.
3) CAN YOU USE METAL CUTTING WHEELS ON STONE AND CONCRETE?
It’s not advisable, no. Most wheels designed to slice through metal are aluminum oxide while silicon carbide is the optimal grain for carving through masonry. Stick to the designated wheel for best results.
4) HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THE INEVITABLE FLYING SPARKS WHEN USING AN ANGLE GRINDER?
Firstly and crucially, make sure the angle grinder has an effective guard and you leave it in place at all times. Beyond that, make sure you wear gauntlet style gloves along with suitable eye protection and you can operate safely.
5) HOW CAN YOU BE ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT A NEW WHEEL HAS NO DEFECTS?
It’s always sound practice to run a new disc for a minute or so in a protected area just to make sure everything is OK. Don’t stint on 60 seconds for the sake of safety.
6) WHAT’S THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHEAP ANGLE GRINDERS AND EXPENSIVE ANGLE GRINDERS?
More than performance, the key difference lies in durability. The spinning bearings and slightly more powerful motors on pricier disc grinders are tailor-made for prolonged commercial use. Entry-level angle grinders are expected to be used at less than full clip on a more occasional basis.
7) WHY DON’T ANGLE GRINDERS WORK WELL FOR CUTTING WOOD?
The high speed at which they rotate – averaging 10,000 RPM – means they’re too quick to use for cutting wood. Most wood cutting saws spin at somewhere around 4000 RPM.
8) CAN AN ANGLE GRINDER BE USED FOR SANDING?
Some of them can, yes. Depending on the speed range and appropriate disc, look out for a grinder designed for this application if it’s something you plan on undertaking.
9) WHAT BLADE SHOULD YOU USE FOR CUT-OFF PROJECTS?
A diamond blade works best for this.
10) WHAT IS A TUCKPOINTING WHEEL?
This is what you need for removing mortar.