The Best Angle Grinders for the Workshop

Turn to a quality angle grinder for cutting, grinding, carving, and a host of other tasks.

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The Best Angle Grinder Option

Photo: amazon.com

Angle grinders are versatile power tools that can be used for a variety of projects, such as cutting iron pipe to replacing a faulty valve, or from carving wood to crafting furniture, cutting tile for a backsplash, or for removing grout from between tiles. Interchangeable rotating discs—some made for cutting and others with an abrasive edge for grinding—are swapped out based on the application. For safety, a guard sits between the disc and the handle to protect the operator. If you’re ready to add an angle grinder to your power tool collection, read on to learn what they can do, what to look for in an ideal model, and how we selected recommendations for the best angle grinder.

  1. BEST OVERALL: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off/Grinder Tool
  2. BEST VALUE: Metabo HPT Angle Grinder
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Makita 18 Volt LXT Cordless Cut-Off/ Angle Grinder
  4. BEST FOR WOOD: Makita 18V LXT Paddle Cutoff/Angle Grinder
  5. BEST FOR METAL: Kimo 20V Brushless Cordless Angle Grinder
  6. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: DEWALT Angle Grinder Tool
The Best Angle Grinder Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Buying an Angle Grinder

Are you working with wood? Creating with concrete? Starting a DIY home renovation? To choose an angle grinder based on its features will be the most beneficial to match your abilities to your projects. So, keep the following considerations in mind.

Disc Size

Angle grinders are commonly measured by the maximum size disc they can use. For most DIY projects, a 4-, 4.5-, or 5-inch disc will suffice. Larger discs (up to 9 inches) are more commonly used in industrial situations by professionals cutting through thick pieces of material. As the disc gets larger, the grinder itself must be larger to handle the cutting strength. This means a heavier tool which is likely to cause hand fatigue sooner than using a smaller angle grinder.

Power Source

Angle grinders can be corded (relying on an electrical socket for power) or cordless (powered by a battery).

  • Corded grinders typically generate more power at a consistent level due to the direct connection to the outlet. But, corded models keep you tied to a physical location and can be a tripping hazard and therefore a nuisance while working on a project.
  • Cordless grinders lack the sheer power of their corded counterparts, and power may wane when the battery gets low. But, cordless angle grinders offer hassle-free mobility and are better for use in tight spaces.

Speed

Angle grinder speed is defined in revolutions per minute (RPM). Speeds typically range between 5,000 and 10,000 RPM, though some very robust grinders reach up to 12,000 RPM.

The higher the RPM, the easier and more quickly the tool can cut through the target material. The disc becomes hotter at higher speeds, however, and could be vulnerable to rupture—an injury risk. Be sure to use the correct disc for the task and note the maximum supported speed marked on the disc. For example, a disc rated at 7,500 RPM that is run at a faster speed can break under the force, sending shards of the grinder wheel flying.

Voltage/Amperage

Angle grinders measure power output potential in volts (V) and amperes (amps). Cordless angle grinders use volts to measure the power available from their battery, with most cordless models using 18 or 20V batteries and outliers ranging from 7.5V to 24V. Voltage readings on corded angle grinders only indicate whether they are rated for 120V or 220V power outlets. Their power output potential is measured in amperes and range from 5-amps to 15-amps, with most landing in the middle, at around 10-amps. Larger discs will require a larger output, so if you choose a 7- or 9-inch grinder, expect it to have a higher power output potential and a more powerful kick when it first begins cutting or grinding.

Dust Protection

Dust protection is important for long periods of use, as dust buildup can cause the gears to wear out faster, while clogged vents can cause overheating and the motor to burn out. Some angle grinders have dust protection features, like a dust seal or dust ejection system that keeps dust away from the vents and inner workings of the angle grinder’s motor. If you’ll frequently use an angle grinder in an environment with poor ventilation or for long periods at a time, choose a model with built-in dust protection to extend the tool’s lifespan.

Hand Guard

A guard on an angle grinder covers half the disc to protect your hands, keep sparks and debris from flying towards you, and protect surfaces from damage when using the grinder in tight spaces. Some angle grinders use a moveable guard and others a fixed guard. The moveable option is more popular as it allows for left-handed or right-handed use and can be adjusted to better protect you from flying debris. But, if left untightened, a moveable guard can fall off the unit. Fixed guards are more robust and there’s no risk of it coming off the grinder.

Soft Start

Because angle grinders are fast, powerful tools, they can recoil when turned on. The recoil from the motor can result in the angle grinder jumping in the user’s hands, potentially causing serious injury. Soft start technology reduces the power output to the motor at first, slowly increasing until the angle grinder is fully up to speed. This throttled control over the power output on the angle grinder prevents it from recoiling during start-up.

Tips for Buying and Using an Angle Grinder

Keep these tips in mind when choosing and using an angle grinder.

  • The most common DIY projects where an angle grinder will be of use—such as cutting tile and pipe or removing grout and mortar—can be completed with a 4.5- or 5-inch angle grinder.
  • The ongoing vibration of an angle grinder can cause what is known as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), with symptoms including pain and cold sensations in your digits, loss of grip strength, and a loss of sensation in the fingers and hands. An angle grinder with cushioned or vibration absorbent material on the grip can protect your hands from ongoing vibration.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including safety glasses/goggles, hearing protection, and respiratory protection when grinding.
  • Check the grinder before use to ensure the disk and guard are properly attached and tightened. Discs and guards can become loose between uses. Tighten them before connecting the power to the angle grinder.
  • Grinders from well-known brands commonly have a reliable warranty. Well-known manufacturers and sellers are the most likely to honor warranties and to have replacement parts or products in case your angle grinder stops working.

Our Top Picks

Check out the best angle grinders on the market today, chosen for the quality of features described above, as well as price, effectiveness, and manufacturer reputation.

The Best Angle Grinder Option: DeWalt 20V Max XR Angle Grinder

Photo: amazon.com

1. BEST OVERALL: DEWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off/Grinder Tool

A brushless motor for optimal operating efficiency, a paddle switch for easy on-off, and a safety lock to prevent accidental start-up are just a few of this cordless angle grinder’s quality features. The powerful 20V battery allows for speeds up to 9,000 RPMs and an adjustable guard protects your hands and work area. Also with safety in mind, there’s a blade brake system that automatically engages when the paddle switch is released, bringing the wheel to a stop in only two seconds. At just 3.75-pounds, this 4.5-inch grinder can be used extensively without significant hand fatigue. And a dust-ejection system keeps damaging dust and debris particles out of the inner components to extend the grinder’s lifespan.

The Best Angle Grinder Option: Metabo HPT Angle Grinder

Photo: amazon.com

2. BEST VALUE: Metabo HPT Angle Grinder

For value and quality, the 4.5-inch Metabo HPT Angle Grinder features an adjustable guard, includes five grinding wheels, and comes with a solid plastic case. This 4-pound, corded model has a 6.2-amp motor and, with up to 10,000 RPMs available, can cut through metal with ease. A quick-off braking system turns off the motor as soon as the trigger is released, and a removable handle makes for easy left- or right-handed adjustment.

The Best Angle Grinder Option: Makita XAG09Z 18V LXT Angle Grinder

Photo: amazon.com

3. UPGRADE PICK: Makita 18 Volt LXT Cordless Cut-Off/ Angle Grinder

The Makita 18 Volt LXT Cordless Cut-Off/ Angle Grinder features active feedback-sensing technology that stops the motor if the wheel is suddenly forced to stop during cutting or grinding. The 5.7-pound grinder uses an 18V battery to provide up to 8,500 RPMs of power to the grinding disc.  An adjustable guard blocks 180-degrees of the disc and can be rotated a full 360-degrees or removed for cleaning. Protective seals built into the body channel dust, debris, and water away from the internal components. The 4.5-inch angle grinder also features a lock-on switch that keeps the disc spinning during multiple cuts instead of stopping and starting repeatedly.

The Best Angle Grinder Option: Makita XAG20Z 18V LXT Angle Grinder

Photo: amazon.com

4. BEST FOR WOOD: Makita 18V LXT Paddle Cutoff/Angle Grinder

For wood finishing a piece of furniture or carving a design from a block of wood, reach for the Makita 18V LXT Paddle Cutoff/Angle Grinder. It’s ideal for wood carving due to a built-in dust seal that keeps the inner workings from clogging and overheating, and an adjustable guard that can be removed or adjusted for better visibility or maneuverability in tight spaces or with difficult angles. This 4.5-inch, 5.6-pound, 18V cordless grinder operates at up to 8,500 RPMs, and automatically adjusts disc speed and torque to provide optimal power output for wood carving. Safety features include automatic braking to stop the disc once the trigger is released and anti-restart capabilities that prevent the disc from spinning if the trigger is accidentally held while the battery is being replaced.

The Best Angle Grinder Option: Kimo 20V Angle Grinder

Photo: amazon.com

5. BEST FOR METAL: Kimo 20V Brushless Cordless Angle Grinder

Anyone constructing an outdoor fireplace or welding a frame for a coffee table will appreciate the Kimo 20V Brushless Cordless Angle Grinder. Whether cutting the metal to size, preparing metal for a clean weld, or cleaning up a finished weld with a quick polish, the grinder’s powerful 20V battery produces up to 9,000 RPMs of speed to get the job done. In terms of safety, it uses one of the sturdiest guards available and has a push switch function to help prevent accidental starts. At 5.3-pounds, it isn’t quickly fatiguing to your arms and hands and the rubberized, ergonomic grips also keep your hands safe from ongoing vibration. The 4.5-inch grinder comes with 26 accessories including five grinding wheels, five cutting wheels, 10 sanding discs, one wood cutting disc, and a carrying bag.

The Best Angle Grinder Option: DeWalt DWE402 11-Amp Angle Grinder

Photo: amazon.com

6. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: DEWALT Angle Grinder Tool

This heavy (7-pound) and heavy-duty corded angle grinder is a powerful choice with an 11 amp motor capable of producing enough force to cut through solid concrete or grind down stubs from hardened concrete. DEWALT’s dust-ejection system prevents dust and debris from clogging or overheating the motor, and a safety lock on the paddle switch prevents unwanted start-ups. The 11-amp motor has no problem running discs up to 11,000 RPMs, cutting through wood and metal with ease. In fact, the 4.5-inch angle grinder even tackles concrete with ease and can be adjusted for both left- and right-handed use. It also comes with a carrying case.

FAQs About Your New Angle Grinder

Don’t buy an angle grinder before reviewing the answers to a few common questions below.

Q. What kind of tasks can I use an angle grinder for?

Angle grinders are versatile tools that can be used for cutting pipe, smoothing metal, carving wood, removing grout, cutting tile, and many more applications.

Q. How are the discs on an angle grinder changed?

With the grinder unplugged or the battery removed, remove the drive bolt that holds the disc in place using the factory spanners included with the angle grinder. Replace the disc and tighten the drive bolt using the factory spanners.

Q. How does an angle grinder operate?

After attaching the correct disc for the job, hold the angle grinder in two hands for safety and security (the tool’s initial torque will cause it to jump). Push the trigger down or hit the power switch and the disc will start rotating. Move the grinder until the rotating disc contacts the material you want to cut or grind.

When finished, release the trigger or switch off the power button and wait for the disc to stop rotating before placing it in a safe location, keeping in mind that the disc is still hot due to the friction caused during the grinding or cutting. Unplug the power cord or detach the battery and allow the tool to cool down.