Whether you’re constructing a steel building or restoring that classic car, you know the importance of having the right tools on hand. One that you’ll find indispensable is an angle grinder. It’s the perfect tool for deburring metal, removing rust and corrosion, or cutting through plate, round, and bar stock. It’s versatile enough to be used with a workbench and vise, or freeform. The real challenge here has nothing to do with realizing the utility, flexibility and value of an angle grinder, but finding the best angle grinder for your money. We’ve done all the legwork for you.
Below, you’ll find a list of the best angle grinders on the market in a convenient head-to-head list to help you make the right purchase decision. After that, we’ll dig into each model to see what it has to offer, and then we’ll wrap up with an angle grinder buying guide so you know exactly what to look for. Let’s get things started – here’s our list of the best angle grinders in 2020.
|Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder||7.5||Corded + AC/DC switch||11,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|DEWALT DWE402 4-1/2-Inch 11-Amp Paddle Switch Angle Grinder||11||Corded||11,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Milwaukee 2780-20 M18||Not listed||Battery||8,500 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|PORTER-CABLE PC60TPAG 7-Amp 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder/Cut Off Tool||7||Corded||11,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Makita GA5042C SJSII High Power Angle Grinder, 5″||12||Corded||11,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Makita GA7001L 7-inch Electric Angle Grinder||15||Corded + AC/DC switch||6,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|Bosch 1375A 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder||6||Corded||11,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|BLACK+DECKER BDEG400 6 Amp Angle Grinder, 4-1/2-Inch||6||Corded||10,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|DEWALT DCG413B 20V MAX Brushless Cut Off Tool/Grinder||Not listed||Battery||9,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
|SKIL 9296-01 7.5-Amp 4-1/2-Inch Paddle Switch Angle Grinder||7.5||Corded||11,000 no load||CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON|
As you can see, there are some very capable angle grinders out there, and they stack up to one another pretty well. Now that we’re done with the head-to-head comparison, let’s dive in and see what each of the above models brings to the jobsite.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Angle Grinder
- 2 Buying an Angle Grinder? Here’s What You Need to Consider
- 2.1 What Does an Angle Grinder Do?
- 2.2 What Safety Precautions Should Be Followed When Using an Angle Grinder?
- 2.3 Do You Need a Disc Guard?
- 2.4 Do You Need a Disc Brake?
- 2.5 Do You Need Lock On/Lock Off Functionality?
- 2.6 Why Do Amps and RPM Matter?
- 2.7 Is a Corded Grinder Better or Should You Buy a Battery-Powered Grinder?
- 3 In Conclusion
The Best Angle Grinder
The best angle grinder on our list, the Makita 9557PBX1 is both powerful and versatile. It offers 7.5 amps in a compact body that weighs in at under five pounds. While it has only a single speed, it does have a lock on/lock off switch that allows for continuous use without having to depress the switch at all times. The switch itself is an oversized paddle designed for more comfortable use, and the all-bearing, all-metal design ensures durability through years of hard use.
This grinder comes with four 4.5-inch grinding wheels, and a diamond wheel. It also includes a handy carrying case to keep the grinder stored away and protected when not in use. Last but not least, this grinder can operate on either AC or DC power at the flip of a switch.
The DeWalt DWE401 angle grinder offers more raw power than our top pick, and it is also pretty versatile. With 11,000 RPM (no load), you can cut and grind just about anything you might need to. The quick-change release lets you swap out grinding and cutting wheels quickly and easily, and the one-touch guard lets you adjust where your guard sits in a 360-degree arc.
The body of this particular grinder is a bit larger than the Makita we just reviewed, which is a drawback because it makes it more difficult to hold. However, the side handle (which is adjustable) and the narrowed hand grip do help with that issue. The dust ejection system is also a nice touch, as it helps remove debris quickly to prevent gumming up the works.
Milwaukee 2780-20 M18
One of only two battery-powered angle grinders on our list, the Milwaukee 2780-20 M18 is part of the company’s line of FUEL power tools. It offers the best portability on the market – just pop in a charged battery and go to work. Even if the jobsite doesn’t have power, this grinder ensures that you’re able to get things done.
The 2780-20 M18 can use 4.5 and 5-inch cutting and grinding discs. It also features a padded, ergonomically designed side handle and a narrow grip on the body to help ensure you’ve always got a handle on things.
However, there are a few shortcomings here, which is why it ranks third on our list, and not higher. First, the body is plastic while the head is metal. Second, it does not come with a battery. You’ll need to purchase one separately. Third, it does not come with a charger, which must also be purchased separately.
If you’re looking for a robust, high-performing angle grinder, the Porter-Cable PC60TPAG is a good option. It offers a 7-amp motor and a non-loaded top speed of 11,000 RPM. The gear case is made from cast metal for excellent durability, and the handle can be repositioned to any of the three available presets for better ergonomics and comfort while working.
This grinder offers a spindle-lock disc release system so you can eject and swap out quickly using just one wrench when changing jobs or when a disc wears out. It also offers a tool-free guard that can be adjusted to provide the best angle of protection quickly and easily.
In terms of cons, the disc release is not tool-free the way some other grinders are on our list. The amperage for the body size is also not as good as with some other models.
Makita GA5042C SJSII
Capable, compact, and powerful, the Makita GA5042C SJSII is a worthy addition to this best-of list. It offers one of the strongest motors out of the models we have reviewed, coming in at 12 amps. It is also the only variable speed angle grinder to make our list, with speeds ranging from a minimum of 2,800 all the way up to a maximum of 11,000 RPM. Adjusting the speed is simple with the built-in control knob.
This model also features an electronic controller that is designed to kick in for high-torque applications and to increase the lifespan of the grinder overall. Couple that with a leaf spring and cam gear design optimized to reduce vibration and improve ergonomics, and you have a worthy contender.
Looking for an all-metal angle grinder that will stand the test of time and hard use on the jobsite? The Makita GA7001L measures just 7 inches, but it delivers 15 amps of power. With a maximum unloaded speed of 6,000 RPM, it is a powerhouse that can be used for just about anything, from cutting through bar stock to detail grinding on welds.
This angle grinder also offers an adjustable side handle that can be removed and mounted on the opposite site for better usability. Note that it only has two positions, though (right and left). The body is made from cast metal for excellent durability, and the handle is ergonomically shaped to ensure a secure grip and decent comfort while using it. Finally, it also offers an AC/DC switch so you can change power sources on the fly.
Bosch is a well-known name in the power tools sector, and the company’s 1375A angle grinder is definitely worth including on our list. It’s the lightest option we selected, weighing in at just 3.75 pounds. It also offers a 6-amp motor capable of 11,000 RPM. The side handle can be positioned in two different locations for better comfort when using the grinder, and the body is coated with epoxy to help with durability.
Note that the motor on this grinder was intentionally designed to have a very small footprint in order to maximize cutting and grinding area. There is also a convenient damage prevention system built into the grinder that stops operation when maintenance is needed.
Black + Decker BDEG400
For those seeking a lightweight, portable, yet powerful angle grinder, consider the Black + Decker DBDG400. It features a 6-amp motor with a 10,000 RPM maximum (unloaded). It also incorporates a number of ergonomic and nice-to-have features that make it a standout in the market.
One of those is the three-position adjustability of the side handle. Simply move it to the most comfortable position for your usage needs. The spindle lock ensures that you can easily change discs and swap from cutting to grinding in seconds. The gear case is also made from metal to ensure good durability, while the plastic body ensures better portability. Finally, this grinder offers a one-touch release switch that rapidly shuts down the tool for safety.
The second battery-powered angle grinder on our list is the DeWalt DCG413B. This grinder does offer some notable features and benefits, including a 20-volt power system (18 volt nominal voltage). It also includes a blade brake to slow and stop the grinder when the paddle is disengaged.
The motor is brushless, which allows it to offer greater power and performance than brush motors. In fact, the company claims this results in 57% more runtime. However, the maximum speed is 9,000 RPM, which is slower than some other options on our list. Note that the battery and charger are both sold separately, which does increase the cost. However, the grinder is backed by a 3-year warranty, which provides peace of mind.
Last but certainly not least, we have the SKIL 9296-01. This compact grinder features a 7.5-amp motor capable of reaching 11,000 RPM (no load). It also offers a heavy-duty metal gear housing to help improve durability and wear resistance. The guard offers tool-less adjustment so you can easily move it to provide the protection necessary depending on the task being performed.
Note that this grinder does not feature lock on/lock off, which is touted as being preferred on many jobsites. The paddle must remain depressed in order to keep the grinder operating. However, the paddle is located in the most natural position to ensure continued pressure – on the bottom of the handle.
As you can see, each of the tools on our list brings something to the table worth considering. Whether you’re restoring that beloved classic car, working construction, or just need a tool for your hobby, you’ll discover the right option on our list of the best angle grinders on the market. With our detailed comparison out of the way, it’s time to take a look at what you should be considering when making a purchase decision. You’ll find our buying guide below.
Buying an Angle Grinder? Here’s What You Need to Consider
Before making a purchase, we recommend learning a bit more about angle grinders, what they are used for, and the features that make one model stand out from the others. Our buying guide will walk you through everything you need to know.
What Does an Angle Grinder Do?
Really, the name says it all. Angle grinders, well, grind things. Yes, that’s an oversimplification. They don’t just grind. They can also cut, score, smooth and polish depending on the type of attachment that you’re using. Really, an angle grinder is nothing more than an electric motor and a handle that can accommodate discs of various widths – 4.5 and 5 inches are the most common, at least for the angle grinders on our list. It’s a multipurpose tool that should be in just about everyone’s toolbox.
One of the most interesting things about angle grinders when compared to things like power drills with disc attachments is the fact that you can easily adjust the grinder to any angle necessary to get the job done, from full disc contact to contact with the merest edge of the disc. You can also do this securely, thanks to the two-handled design. That functionality allows you to do whatever it is that you need, whether you’re scoring tile for the bathroom remodel you’re starting, or grinding slag off that new weld.
What Safety Precautions Should Be Followed When Using an Angle Grinder?
Angle grinders combine immense power with speed. The results can be catastrophic if you are not careful and are not using the right safety gear or taking appropriate safety precautions. What sorts of precautions should you follow? What safety gear do you need?
- Safety glasses or face shield
- Work gloves
- Clothing capable of withstanding sparks/debris
- Always wear your safety gear when using an angle grinder.
- Always ensure that the side handle is firmly attached.
- Prevent others from approaching when the grinder is in use.
- Always unplug the grinder before you change discs.
- Adjust the guard to your usage situation.
- Always position the grinder so that the wheel spins against edges and the debris is ejected downward.
- Never use an angle grinder near anything flammable.
- Make sure your work area is secure and free of obstructions.
Do You Need a Disc Guard?
Simply put, yes, you need a guard. Ideally, you’ll buy an angle grinder with an adjustable guard that can be easily moved and re-locked to suit different usage needs. Adjustable guards also ensure that you do not have to remove it when you need to grind something at an awkward angle. As a note, never remove the guard completely.
Do You Need a Disc Brake?
A disc brake is responsible for slowing and stopping the disc when you let go of the paddle/trigger. This is an important safety feature and you should not purchase any angle grinder that lacks such a brake. Without a brake, the disc would simply spin on its own until gravity finally stopped it. Because angle grinders can reach very high speeds, they remain very dangerous even when the trigger/paddle is not depressed. A disc brake ensures that you do not inadvertently injure yourself or someone else.
Do You Need Lock On/Lock Off Functionality?
There is actually a great deal of controversy over the lock on/lock off feature offered by some angle grinders on the market. There is a case to be made for both models with and those without this feature.
What is lock on/lock off? Simply put, it’s a feature that allows you to lock the paddle in place so that you can use grinder without also having to depress the paddle. It’s designed for situations where you need constant use out of the grinder. You can probably already see some of the issues that may arise here if the user is not very careful. The lock off feature also allows the paddle to be locked when the grinder is not in use, increasing safety.
Models that lack the lock on/lock off feature operate solely based on the user pressing the paddle. If the user’s hand comes off the paddle during work, the grinder immediately slows as power is cut to the motor. For continuous use, the user must ensure that the paddle remains depressed at all times. This is not a big deal during short usage sessions, but it can cause fatigue during longer use sessions.
Really, this functionality is up to the individual user, at least in an at-home use situation. In professional settings, some worksites prefer lock on/lock off, and some actually require it. As a note, our list includes grinders with and without lock on/lock off capabilities.
Why Do Amps and RPM Matter?
When it comes to angle grinder power and performance, there are two metrics that matter – amps and RPM. Amps, or amplitude, refers to motor power and performance. RPM, or revolutions per minute, refers to disc speed. The head-to-head comparison list at the beginning of our discussion highlighted the maximum RPM for each model with no load.
So, why do either of those things matter? It’s actually a bit confusing, and both of them bear on one another. They also touch on torque, which as anyone who has ever shopped for a truck for towing knows, is a vital consideration for tough jobs. So, torque matters a lot in situations where you might be cutting through material, particularly thicker metal, as well as if you were grinding thick slag. It would matter less in situations where you were polishing or cleaning, though.
To clarify, let’s look at it this way. If you are comparing two angle grinders with the same amp rating, then the one that has the lowest RPM would have the most torque. The lowest RPM on our list was 6,000, but most had a rating around 11,000. To give you a better example, a grinder with 7 amps and 10,000 RPM would have more torque than a grinder with 7 amps and 12,000 RPM.
If you were comparing based on revolutions per minute, then the one with the higher amp rating would have the most torque. As an example, suppose you were comparing two grinders, both of which offered 11,000 RPM. However, one of them featured 7 amps, and the other featured 12 amps. The grinder with 12 amps would have more torque.
Is a Corded Grinder Better or Should You Buy a Battery-Powered Grinder?
Finally, we have to consider the power source for your angle grinder. There are both corded and cordless models on the market. We even included two battery powered grinders on our list. Are they all the same? Does it make a difference? Yes, your power source is an important consideration.
Generally speaking, those who need continual use from their grinder will be better served by a corded model. They are not dependent on having a charged battery handy, and can be used all day long. Those who do not need constant use may be better served by a battery-powered model. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both options, though.
Corded – Corded angle grinders are the most common on the market. They’re also the most affordable. You will find that they usually outperform battery-powered models in terms of amps and RPM, but that does not necessarily mean that they are the hands-down winners. There are some drawbacks. One of those is the fact that you must have a ready supply of electricity available. This means that remote worksites where power isn’t available will pose a problem. There’s also the fact that cords can be tough to deal with. They get tangled up and pose trip hazards.
Battery Powered – Battery-powered, or cordless angle grinders, are less common than corded models, but they are becoming increasingly available today. They embody some of the most advanced battery technology on the market, as well as other innovative features, such as brushless motor design to improve use life. They offer decent performance, and outstanding portability. For remote work where there is no readily available electricity, or hobby use where you do not need constant performance, battery-powered grinders can be good options. However, they usually cost more than comparable corded models, and most do not come with the battery or the charger.
AC/DC Switching – One option that combines elements of both types we’ve already covered is the ability to switch between AC and DC power. This allows grinders to be used with either direct current or alternating current, depending on the situation and the power supply available to you.
Ultimately, an angle grinder is an important tool that most people will find invaluable. From sharpening blades to cutting through concrete and steel, angle grinders help you do more, faster. Use our list of the best angle grinders on the market to find the ideal option for your specific needs.
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