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Grinders Buying Guide

Grinders will help with countless tasks around your home. Yours will quickly become a go-to tool with many different uses, from polishing to cutting.

 
 

Gone are the days when you’d find angle grinders only in auto body shops or handled only by professional contractors. They’re now powerful and versatile DIY workshop staples that are invaluable workhorses used for countless grinding, cutting and sanding tasks in and around your home. Whether you choose a bench-top grinder or portable grinder, there are several sizes and many different useful features to understand before making your purchase.

Types of Grinders

A grinder will soon become one of your most-used power tools due primarily to its versatility. It’s important that you do the necessary research and find which style – bench-top or portable – suits your needs most. Then in no time you’ll be using your grinder to polish metal, buff, grind, sand, cut and notch.

Bench-Top Grinders

Bench-top grinders are your heavy-duty option for cleaning, polishing, grinding, sanding and sharpening tasks. You’ll find that they feature two wheels - one with a lower grit for coarse work and the other with a higher grit for finer, more detailed results. Their wheels typically range in diameter from 5" to 10". If most of your work is done at home just in your workroom (therefore making portability an unnecessary luxury), then a bench-top grinder may be best for you. In addition, it’s best to decide beforehand if you need the added power a bench-top grinder can provide.

Portable Angle Grinders

Portable/angle grinders perform pretty much the same tasks as their larger bench-top counterparts, but they are smaller and more portable. They also have only one wheel ranging from 2" to 7" in diameter. You may also see that some have a side handle, which will make them easier and safer to hold and control by providing two-handed support. If you’re an on-the-go DIYer and you have many tasks throughout your house or routinely help friends and family, a portable angle grinder may be best for your needs.

If you do a lot of grinding work, it may make sense to have a bench-top grinder in your workshop as well as a portable unit for smaller tasks around the home or on the jobsite.

Important features

Discs

The discs are what make an angle grinder so versatile, so when you know which disc is most effective for certain jobs, then achieving the right results is easier. You can use abrasive discs for metal cutting and grinding; abrasive cutting discs or diamond cutting discs for stone or masonry; and wire brush discs can rapidly remove rust, dirt or paint from a surface. Flap discs are ideal for sanding, while many grinding discs are available to grind welds, fibreglass and metal. Cut-off discs can be used on a variety of materials and for multiple applications.

Disc Guard

This protects you from debris that may fly off the piece you are working on. Find a grinder with an adjustable guard so that no matter what position you're grinding in, you’ll be protected.

Movable Side Handle

Repositioning the handle allows you to hold the tool in the most comfortable position for any given task. Some grinders may feature a D-handle that you can use for an overhead grip. The handle should be able to be moved forward or backward to accommodate cutting or grinding.

On/Off Switch

Ensure the on/off switch easy-to-reach in a convenient location and that it is sealed to protect it from dust and debris.

Power

Obviously, bigger jobs require more power. Anything from grinding away rust or paint, to sharpening lawnmower blades should be able to be handled by a 4 to 6-amp grinder. For grinding or the occasional metal-cutting job, go for a 7 to 9-amp grinder. And for heavy-duty use, choose a high-powered 10-amp or higher grinder. More amps means more power, and it’s important to keep in mind that grinders with slower speeds create less heat.

Spindle Lock

A spindle lock makes it easier to switch discs - a button prevents the spindle from turning when the disc-retaining nut is unscrewed or tightened.

Water Trays

A water tray provides a place to cool your metal work pieces down as you grind, which can be an invaluable help in preventing it from overheating.

Variable Speed

A variable-speed motor allows for speed adjustment, thus allowing you to grind at slower speeds to prevent built-up heat.

Vacuum Attachment

To ensure a clean workroom, look for a grinder with a vacuum attachment which will allow you to connect your grinder to a vacuum, which will eliminate much of the dust created.

External Brushes

Look for brushes that are located on the outside of your grinder, because they’re much easier to change/replace, which will reduce downtime and allow you to get back to work faster and complete the job quicker.

Lighting

A built-in light will provide added illumination of the work piece and area, increasing your accuracy.