Rotary tools are some of the most versatile tools. They can be used for heavy-duty jobs like cutting through thick steel beams or for precision work around car engines. Ultimately, it comes down to what type of rotary tool you’re using.
The two most common types of rotary tools are die grinders and angle grinders. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what either of these tools is, please continue reading. We’ll talk about what die grinders, and angle grinders are and what sets them apart. We’ll also give our two cents about which of the two would be more appropriate for certain jobs.
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What is a Die Grinder?
A die grinder is a tool that’s used for grinding almost every type of material imaginable. It comes with a small nose that uses small-diameter attachments for a number of different applications. The most common materials that a die grinder is used on include plastics, metals, and wood, though they have enough power to grind away at concrete and ceramic tiles.
Some noses on die grinder models can reach speeds of up to 30,000 RPM. Between electric and pneumatic die grinders, pneumatic models can reach quicker speeds, thus giving it better grinding power.
What can a Die Grinder do?
You can attach a wide range of different attachments to the nose of a die grinder to help you in whatever tasks you have at hand. The attachments are, at most about 1-19/32 inches in diameter, so they’re quite small and better for precision work. Here are just a few things you can do with a die grinder.
Cleaning and Polishing Metals
After welding two metal pieces together, your workpiece might be left with an unsightly bump that needs to be eradicated. In this scenario, you can turn to a die grinder to slowly grind away at the bump, giving your product a smooth, finished look. This can be done with a standard grinding wheel attachment, but you need to ensure that the wheel is designed for metal use and not just on wood. After the bump has been removed, swap out the grinding wheel for a polishing pad to give your piece a beautiful sheen.
Finishing Wood-Based Projects
Although belt sanders and drum sanders might be better for sanding large boards and blocks, a die grinder can also be a helpful tool to have during woodworking projects. If there are tiny blemishes or knots that you didn’t notice while preparing a full-sized board for building furniture, you can go over them with a die grinder to grind them flush with the rest of the surface area.
Most people use die grinders to eliminate rust from metal workpieces. With a standard grinding wheel attachment, simply dig into the rusted area until you’ve reached pure, clean metal. With a die grinder, you can restore metal to its former glory and not have to go out to purchase new conduits or bars.
What is an Angle Grinder?
An angle grinder is also a rotary tool used to cut through tough materials like wood, plastic, and metal. The main differences between an angle grinder and a die grinder are the size and orientation of the grinding attachment. A die grinder’s nose juts straight out of the top of the tool, whereas the blade on an angle grinder is parallel to the handle.
An angle grinder is considerably larger than a die grinder. It comes with a secondary handle near the head of the tool for extra gripping power and stability when in use. There’s also a blade guard that covers the bottom portion of the blade in order to protect your hand from accidentally making contact.
What can an Angle Grinder do?
An angle grinder can do many of the things that a die grinder can. For instance, an angle grinder can clean metal, sand and smooth wood and metal objects, and polish metal and plastic surfaces. However, there are some advantages that the angle grinder’s larger disc – between 4-1/2 inches and 9 inches – can offer.
When tuckpointing brick walls, you’ll need a long chisel or blade to chip away at the decaying mortar. An angle grinder’s larger blade allows you to reach further into the wall, scraping out more of the mortar in preparation for tuckpointing. Just make sure that the angle grinder is fitted with a blade safe for cutting through mortar and stone.
Sharpen Metal Tools
A shovel and lawn mower blade need to be sharpened frequently to support better digging and cutting abilities. You can resharpen these tools with an angle grinder. With the standard blade attachment, gently run the spinning blade over the edge of the metal tool at an angle. Continue doing this until the edge or point of the tool is razor sharp.
You can technically polish a car’s body with an angle grinder and polishing wheel but only if you want to spend the next thousand years doing so. To make quick work out of polishing your vehicle, you can get a polishing pad for your angle grinder. It’ll work similarly to an orbital sander with a polishing pad attachment but without the random vibrations.
Die Grinder vs Angle Grinder – Which is Better?
Between the two, there’s really no way to determine which of them would be the better overall tool to have. Some projects call for the use of a die grinder while others would be completed much quicker and more effectively with an angle grinder.
Even though they can perform many of the same tasks, they’re two different rotary tools that serve different purposes. In a nutshell, a die grinder’s tiny nose allows you to make fine details and etches while an angle grinder’s larger blade makes it better suited for larger projects.
Both die grinders, and angle grinders aren’t extremely expensive tools to own and operate. If you need a rotary tool for fine detailing and one for quick sanding/buffing/cutting, we recommend investing in both.