No matter how big or small the project, having the right tool on hand makes the process easier. Angle grinders are ideal for removing rust from metal, cutting through tough material, polishing painted surfaces and more. Like any other tool in your workshop, an angle grinder is an investment that every at-home handyman should make.
What Is an Angle Grinder?
The way an angle grinder works is simple. Each one is equipped with a switch or a trigger, which engages the tool’s power source. Once the grinder is powered on, the gears inside of it turn the tool’s 90-degree-angled head to spin the wheel. To control its movements, hold the body with one hand and the side handle with the other.
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How Are These Tools Powered?
Angle grinders are available in several setups. Some run on compressed air while others require gasoline. It’s common to find compressed air angle grinders in places like body shops because they usually have an air compressor on site. On the other hand, gasoline-powered angle grinders are better suited for outdoor projects such as those that involve masonry.
There are also angle grinders that are powered by an electric motor, which may be corded or cordless depending on the model. These tools are great for a wide range of uses, and they are perfect for the weekend DIYer.
Should I Buy a Corded or Cordless Angle Grinder?
Choosing between a corded and a cordless angle grinder is a difficult decision since both have their own merits. With a corded model, you don’t have to worry about the battery lasting throughout your project, which is sometimes a real issue due to frequent starts and their accompanying power surges.
A power cord on any tool is an instant trip hazard, especially if your project necessitates a lot of walking, and a cord puts a limit on your working range. If you do decide to go the battery route, make sure you purchase a spare, so you won’t have to wait while the battery recharges.
What Safety Measures Should I Take Into Consideration?
Even though angle grinders are not hard to operate, don’t let their user-friendly nature let your guard down when it comes to safety. Wear safety goggles to prevent stray metal particles from lodging in your eyes and heavy-duty gloves to reduce the likelihood of cuts. You should also don a dust mask and ventilate the work area.
Before you power on an angle grinder, make a firm grip in preparation for kickbacks. If it’s your first time using an angle grinder or you’re breaking in a new one, start at a low speed and work upward from there in order to get comfortable with the tool.
Also, be sure to use an intact disc with a maximum speed that surpasses that of the grinder. Otherwise, you risk causing the disc to overheat and subsequently shatter.
How Much Maintenance Does an Angle Grinder Require?
Typically, angle grinders are low-maintenance power tools. To keep yours in working order, remove all the dust and debris from the grinder after each work session. If the angle grinder is of the corded variety, check the tool’s power cord periodically for any damage.
Top 5 Angle Grinders
5) Bosch 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder (1375A)
This professional-grade Bosch 1375A angle grinder is well-suited for a multitude of purposes, including pipe cutting and metal fabrication. It boasts a 6.0-amp, 1-horsepower motor that spins the 4.5-inch wheel at a no-load speed of 11,000 revolutions per minute. Despite its raw power, the angle grinder is surprisingly lightweight at just 3.75 pounds.
You’ll also find the 10.4-inch-long tool comfortable to hold and use thanks to its textured side handle and locking switch, which you can adjust to one of two positions. When you need to change the wheel, you can easily lock the 5/8-11 spindle thread. Bosch even designed this angle grinder to stop rotating if it requires routine maintenance.
Read our in-depth Bosch 1375A 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder Review
Its 8-foot power cord allows you to move within a wide working range, allowing you to tackle a large number of projects without difficulty in terms of maneuverability. For your protection, the grinder is equipped with a plastic guard. Plus, the switch and the motor are sealed, keeping dust from shortening the tool’s lifespan.
4) PORTER-CABLE 7.0 AMP 4-1/2 In. Angle Grinder/Cut Off Tool (PC60TPAG)
PORTER-CABLE made this workhorse of an angle grinder a breeze to customize. The ergonomic side handle can be put in three positions, so you can maximize your control over the tool. It also comes with a wrench that you can use to switch between the cut-off wheel and the grinding wheel after you lock the 5/8-by-11-inch spindle.
Inside of this 4.1-pound angle grinder, there is an impressive 7-amp motor. At its top speed, the motor can rotate the 4.5-inch wheel at a rate of 11,000 rpm to help you finish your project fast. With PORTER-CABLE’s inclusion of a paddle switch, controlling the power to the angle grinder is easy.
Read our in-depth PORTER-CABLE PC60TPAG Angle Grinder Review
No matter how often you put this tool to work, it won’t let you down. The gears are protected by cast metal, giving the grinder the durability to remain strong through heavy-duty tasks. You’ll also appreciate that you won’t need any tools to adjust the two guards on this corded angle grinder.
3) Makita 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder With Aluminum Case (9557PBX1)
Here’s a great angle grinder for cutting tile and stone. The Makita 9557PBX1 Angle Grinder comes with a 4.5-inch diamond blade and five 4.5-inch grit grinding wheels. Its spindle locks for speedy disc changes and the wheel guard protects you from sparks and cuts.
To fire up the 7.5-amp motor, press the wide paddle switch, which locks for times when you need to run the angle grinder for extended periods. The 10.75-inch-long tool’s weight is more than manageable at 4.5 pounds, and the barrel handle’s 2.5-inch-wide grip makes it an excellent fit for hands of all sizes.
Read our in-depth Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder Review
You get nothing but the best when it comes to durability. The gears of the corded angle grinder are housed in metal, and there are no entry points that let dust come into contact with the all-ball bearings and motor. As a bonus, Makita throws in an aluminum case to keep your angle grinder safe and sound when not in use.
2) DeWalt 4-1/2-Inch Small Angle Grinder (DWE402)
This angle grinder from DeWalt makes easy work out of any at-home project. It contains a 10-amp, 1.8-hp motor that generates 1,400 watts of power. The motor of the DeWalt DWE402 Angle Grinder is able to spin the 4.5-inch-wide wheel at 11,000 rpm, and you can change discs without using any tools.
A dedicated button allows you to lock the angle grinder’s 5/8-11-inch spindle, so you can make deep cuts and fast wheel changes. For your safety, you can lock the paddle switch to prevent accidental starts. Thanks to the guard’s ability to rotate 360 degrees with just one touch, you get the most protection possible as soon as you need it.
Read our in-depth DEWALT DWE402 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder Review
The corded, 12-inch-long grinder has a textured side grip that you can set to one of two positions. No matter what position you choose, the tool’s weight of 4.6 pounds makes it feel almost featherlight in your hands. In order to keep dust infiltration at bay, DeWalt integrated its proprietary Dust Ejection System into the angle grinder’s design.
1) Hitachi 4-1/2-In 6.2-Amp Corded Angle Grinder (G12SR4)
Cutting, grinding, finishing – You name it, and this Hitachi G12SR4 angle grinder can do it. The 6.2-amp motor pushes out 980 watts of power, turning the 4.5-inch wheel at a rapid rate of 10,000 rpm. Thanks to the angle grinder’s spindle lock, changing the disc is a painless process.
With its 4-inch-wide gear case and 4 pounds of weight, the angle grinder is easy to maneuver into narrow areas and hold for long periods. The sliding switch locks on demand whenever non-stop power is needed. Due to its left-sided position, you can shut off the corded tool almost instantly.
Read our in-depth Hitachi G12SR4 6.2-Amp 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder Review
Regardless of whether you’re left or right-handed, your hand won’t tire from holding the forward-tilted, side-switching handle. This angle grinder comes with five depressed wheels that work great for cutting projects. Plus, you get hard storage case with a built-in handle.
An angle grinder is not a tool that you should purchase blindly. To get one that gives you the best and most reliable performance possible, you need to know how to pick out a high-quality model. If you are shopping for an angle grinder and feel overwhelmed by the plethora of choices on the market, this guide can point you in the right direction.
Since the motor determines the angle grinder’s power and speed, always look at this feature first. Depending on the manufacturer and the model, you may see a rating for horsepower, amps or both. To get sufficient power, you need a grinder with at least a 6-amp motor.
Also, pay attention to the angle grinder’s rpm, or revolutions per minute. Often, small grinders are faster than large ones. While the grinder’s speed may not be important for every job, a fast one can reduce the time it takes to complete a project.
If you need an angle grinder for big-time projects, a wheel size of 9 inches is ideal. However, 4.5-inch-wide grinders are more suitable for at-home use, and these grinders are not as difficult to control. To make disc changes less time consuming, many models have a spindle that locks.
The Side Handle
Every angle grinder has a side handle. However, not all of them are comfortable. To get the best grip possible, you’ll want the handle to be slim and textured. Many models allow you to change the position of the handle’s tilt to maximize your comfort. There are even angle grinders with a handle that you can attach to the left or the right of the tool to accommodate your dominant hand.
The tool’s weight also determines its usability. Obviously, you don’t want the angle grinder to be bulky, especially if you’re only using it for weekend projects. However, a grinder that’s too light won’t outlast tough use year after year. Therefore, stick to an angle grinder that weighs at least 3 pounds but no more than 10 pounds.
Power tool manufacturers generally put a great deal of their attention toward safety features. At a bare minimum, the angle grinder you choose should be equipped with a durable guard, which may or may not require a tool to adjust. For added safety, some manufacturers design the power switch to lock, so you won’t start it up accidentally.
Before you pull out your wallet, examine the materials used to build the angle grinder’s housing and gears. Ideally, these components should be constructed from metal. However, you can still get by with a grinder that has gears made of plastic or nylon if you don’t plan to use the tool frequently.
Dust is the Achilles heel of all appliances, power tools and electronic devices. Any angle grinder that addresses this problem is worth your consideration. In order to ensure that dirt and dust stay away from the tool’s motor and gears, many angle grinders are built in a way that seals the motor from destructive dust.
There are also some angle grinders that are equipped with technology that expels these particles, so they can’t settle inside of the tool and accumulate over time.
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