Testing the Best Angle Grinders for the Workshop

Rely on a quality angle grinder for cutting, grinding, carving, and a host of other tasks.

Best Overall

Makita XAG04Z 18-Volt 5-Inch Brushless Cordless Angle Grinder on a white background

Makita 18V LXT Cordless Cut-Off/Angle Grinder

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Best Bang For The Buck

Metabo HPT 4.5-in 6.2-Amp Angle Grinder and carry case on a white background

Metabo HPT 4.5-Inch 6.2-Amp Angle Grinder Kit

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Upgrade Pick

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off Grinder on a white background

DeWalt DCG413B 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off/Grinder

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Angle grinders are versatile power tools that can handle a variety of projects, such as cutting screws and iron pipe to replace a faulty valve, carving wood to craft furniture, cutting tile for a backsplash, and removing grout from between tiles. 

After hands-on testing, we selected the Makita 18v LXT Cordless Cut-Off/Angle Grinder as our best overall angle grinder for its easy-to-use automatic speed and torque adjustment, lock-on switch, and a top speed of 8,500 rpms. We included many other viable options on our list of top picks including the heavy-duty DeWalt 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off/Grinder for its high 9,000 rpm torque and the Kimo 20V Cordless Angle Grinder for its convenient cordless construction. All of the hands-on tested products/models on this list were thoroughly vetted for effectiveness and reliability. 

If you’re ready to add this tool to your collection, read on for more on its capabilities and what to look for in the best angle grinders that Bob Vila staff researched and hands-on tested.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Makita 18V LXT Cordless Cut-Off/Angle Grinder
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  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Metabo HPT 4.5-Inch 6.2-Amp Angle Grinder Kit
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  3. UPGRADE PICK: DeWalt DCG413B 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off/Grinder
    Jump to Review
  4. BEST CORDLESS: Kimo 20V Cordless Angle Grinder
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  5. BEST CORDED: Porter-Cable 7.5-Amp Small Angle Grinder Tool
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  6. BEST LIGHT-DUTY: Black+Decker 4.5-Inch Angle Grinder Tool
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  7. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: DeWalt DWE402 4.5-Inch Small Angle Grinder Tool
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The Best Angle Grinder Options
Photo: Tom Scalisi for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Angle Grinder

Sometimes, I have the best job in the world. I’ve had a project on my plate for months now (building a welding cart), and it just so happened to be the ideal project to test these top angle grinders. I used the same set of cutting and grinding wheels for each model to make apples-to-apples comparisons.

I used each grinder to cut through angle iron, switching grinders between each cut until I felt comfortable with the strengths and weaknesses of each model. I recorded myself cutting all the pieces for the welding cart in order to determine how long each cut took and how easy it was to use. After cutting all the pieces, I welded the cart together (rather heavy-handedly, I admit, as it’s been a few years since I last welded).

With those big, burly welds to address, I used each grinder to knock them down to flush. Again, I noted ease of use and handling. In the end, I had all I needed for these honest angle grinder reviews—as well as a cart for my new welder. 

Testing Stats
Products tested 7
Time spent testing 8 hours
Tests performed2 to 3
Price range$30 to $300

Our Top Picks

When researching for a new power tool, there’s really no substitute to the reliability of hands-on testing. Tom, a Bob Vila staff writer, had the pleasure of personally putting all the following angle grinders through their paces during a recent metalworking project. 

Each of the models reviewed passed our tests and met our standards, though Tom found some models better for specific tasks than others. Note that all of the following models feature movable guards and screw-in handles.

Best Overall

Makita 18V LXT Cordless Cut-Off/Angle Grinder

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4/5; Performance 5/5; Maneuverability 5/5; Handle Comfort 5/5; Value 5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Disc Size: 5-inch
  • RPMs: 8,500
  • Power Source: 18-volt lithium-ion battery

Pros

  • User can lock the switch in the “on” position when grinding; limited tweaks required when using to reduce hand fatigue 
  • Automatically adjusts speed and torque settings to maintain speed hands-free during use 
  • Slow start keeps the tool from jumping when being started or used for relaxed control 
  • Very little noticeable vibration due to the over-molded rubber grip in the handle

Cons

  • No angle grinder battery or charger included with purchase; must be bought separately
  • Guard is a bit finicky; may require some trial and error for first-timers 

Read our full review: Makita Angle Grinder Review 

The Makita XAG04Z is worth checking out by anyone looking for the best cordless angle grinder performance. This top-rated angle grinder features an 8,500 rpm top speed thanks to its brushless motor and the 18-volt lithium-ion battery. It can handle 4.5- and 5-inch discs.

We found the XAG04Z excellent to work with. While it doesn’t boast the highest top speed, the automatic speed adjustment enabled it to maintain speed during tough cuts and grinds. We noticed very little vibration thanks to the rubber over-molded grip and handle, and the lock-on switch proved to be a huge plus. The only downsides I see: Assembling the two-piece handguard was a little awkward, and it would be nice if the tool came with a battery and a charger.

Get the Makita angle grinder at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or The Home Depot.

Best Bang For The Buck

Metabo HPT 4.5-Inch 6.2-Amp Angle Grinder Kit

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 3/5; Performance 3/5; Maneuverability 3/5; Handle Comfort 4/5; Value 3/5

Product Specs 

  • Disc Size: 4.5-inch
  • RPMs: 10,000
  • Power Source: Corded

Pros

  • Lock-on switch keeps the power button in the “on” position for less adjustments while grinding 
  • Lightweight angle electric grinder (only 4 pounds) will prevent fatigue during grinding projects 
  • The most compact of all the grinders tested at 10 inches long by 5 inches wide 

Cons

  • A little lacking in power compared to other corded models
  • The 6.2-amp motor isn’t ideal for all-day use

When it comes to DIY projects and budgets, not everyone can afford top-of-the-line tools every time. So those hoping to save cash and still get a quality grinder may want to give this corded model from Metabo HPT a look. This handheld grinder uses 4.5-inch discs, has a 6.2-amp motor, and spins at up to 10,000 rpm. 
This is one of the best 4.5 inch angle grinder options for the money, and the Metabo HPT’s usefulness was somewhat of a surprise. I enjoyed how compact and lightweight it was in my hand at 10 inches long by 5 inches wide. The location of the power switch is very convenient, especially during cutting. The lock-on feature allowed me to kick it on and leave it on—very helpful in my project. My only complaint is that the Metabo HPT mini angle grinder is that it lacks the power of other corded models, and the 6.2-amp motor seemed like it could overheat during all-day use.

Get the Metabo angle grinder at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Upgrade Pick

DeWalt DCG413B 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off/Grinder

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4/5; Performance 4/5; Maneuverability 4/5; Handle Comfort 5/5; Value 4/5

Product Specs 

  • Disc Size: 4.5-inch
  • RPMs: 9,000
  • Power Source: 20-volt lithium-ion battery

Pros

  • Delivers plenty of power with a 20-volt battery and takes on discs as large as 4.5 inches in diameter 
  • Safety includes two-stage trigger, electronic brake, and kickback brake for safety 
  • Excellent ergonomics and anti-vibration construction; cordless for maneuverability 
  • Gripped handle reduces vibration and fatigue during long-term projects 

Cons

  • Pretty pricey compared to other options but it is an upgrade pick

DeWalt’s 20V Max XR Brushless Cut-Off/Grinder cordless angle grinder could be the ultimate upgrade for pros and DIYers who take their tools seriously. This cordless model utilizes the brand’s 20-volt Max XR lineup, and its brushless motor spins 4.5-inch discs up to 9,000 rpm.

My experience with this DeWalt model was just as I expected: great portability and truly outstanding power. It made short work of cutting and grinding, without a cord to get in the way. The grip and handle both feature thick rubber, keeping vibration and fatigue to a minimum. And the safety features are certainly a plus: The electronic brake stopped the disc within 2 seconds (other models can take up to 10 seconds), and simply knowing that there is a kickback brake instilled confidence.

Get the DeWalt DCG413B angle grinder at Amazon, The Home Depot (tool only), or Walmart (tool only).

Best Cordless

Kimo 20V Cordless Angle Grinder

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4/5; Performance 4/5; Maneuverability 4/5; Handle Comfort 4/5; Value 4/5

Product Specs  

  • Disc Size: 4.5-inch
  • RPMs: 9,000
  • Power Source: 20-volt lithium-ion battery

Pros

  • Fully stocked kit comes with five cutting and grinding wheels, 10 sanding wheels, a battery and charger, and a carrying case 
  • Delivers plenty of power with a 20-volt battery that provides 9,000 rpms 
  • Affordable price point compared to some other models on the market 
  • Terrific slow start mechanism provides little kickback for safety 

Cons

  • Lesser-known brand and customer service than bigger manufacturers

Kimo’s 20V Cordless Angle Grinder might impress even the most brand-loyal DIYers out there. Between its 20-volt lithium-ion battery, its 9,000 rpm top speed, and the fully stocked kit (which includes grinding, cutting, and sanding 4.5-inch discs), it has just about everything necessary to start grinding.

I didn’t have high expectations for the Kimo, but it truly surprised me. First, it had the best slow-start mechanism of any of the models I tested—and not because it lacks power; in fact, it’s on par with the Makita and the DeWalt cordless models. Between the affordable price and the loaded accessory kit, I was blown away before I even charged the battery. My only concern is that it’s from a lesser-known manufacturer, so there’s a bit of an unknown in terms of the brand and customer service.

Get the Kimo angle grinder at Amazon.

Best Corded

Porter-Cable 7.5-Amp Small Angle Grinder Tool

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4/5; Performance 4/5; Maneuverability 4/5; Handle Comfort 3/5; Value 4/5 

Product Specs  

  • Disc Size: 4.5-inch
  • RPMs: 10,000
  • Power Source: Corded

Pros

  • Top-mounted handle position provides control and precision while grinding 
  • Comfortable trigger switch can be adjusted easily; oversized design can be controlled by gloved hands 
  • The 7.5-amp motor has plenty of power for medium- to heavy-duty projects 

Cons 

  • Vibration control is so-so; may cause some hand fatigue with some extended use 

This Porter-Cable product is one of the top corded angle grinder options for dependable power. This model features a heavy-duty 7.5-amp motor that spins a 4.5-inch disc at speeds up to 10,000 rpm, providing plenty of speed and power for workshop use.

The Porter-Cable electric grinder felt truly in its element on my metalworking project, handling cuts and grinds nicely. While it doesn’t have the most power compared to others on our list, it’s pretty close. It’s also one of the only grinders to feature a traditional trigger switch, which I felt was easy to use and more intuitive than most. I also really liked the top-mount position for the handle attachment, as it can make cutting much more manageable. The one negative worth mentioning is that vibration control isn’t top-tier, so although it can take all-day use, the user’s hands and wrists might tire.

Get the Porter-Cable angle grinder at Amazon, Lowe’s, Tractor Supply Co., or Acme Tools.

Best Light-Duty

Black+Decker 4.5-Inch Angle Grinder Tool

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4/5; Performance 2/5; Maneuverability 4/5; Handle Comfort 3/5; Value 3/5

Product Specs 

  • Disc Size: 4.5-inch
  • RPMs: 10,000
  • Power Source: Corded

Pros

  • Three-position handle, including top-mount, for excellent performance and precision
  • Trigger locks into position for limited adjustments when in use; keeps the machine in the “on” position 
  • Versatile construction is a good angle grinder for wood carving, sanding, grout removal, and more
  • Plenty of capability for the price; delivers over 10,000 rpms 

Cons

  • 6-amp motor is only suitable for light-duty work 

If you’re searching for the best angle grinder for wood carving, sanding, grout removal, and other light-duty projects, Black+Decker’s Angle Grinder Tool might be a wise choice. This affordable model features a 6-amp motor that produces up to 10,000 rpm of speed, and it’s compatible with 4.5-inch grinding and cutting wheels.

Black+Decker markets this model at light-duty, DIY-type users, and that’s where it excels. This very affordable model is easy to use, thanks in part to its lock-on trigger. The three-position handle mounting system works for plenty of scenarios, such as cutting and grinding at unusual angles. Just don’t expect the Black+Decker to handle heavy-duty jobs like large metalworking projects for any length of time, as it only has a 6-amp motor.

Get the Black & Decker angle grinder at Amazon, or Acme Tools.

Best Heavy-Duty

DeWalt DWE402 4.5-Inch Small Angle Grinder Tool

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Our Ratings: Ease of Use 4/5; Performance 5/5; Maneuverability 4/5; Handle Comfort 3/5; Value 4/5

Product Specs 

  • Disc Size: 4.5-inch
  • RPMs: Up to 11,000 rpm
  • Power Source: Corded

Pros

  • Pro-grade capability is suitable for use on job sites and in commercial spaces
  • Very fast and powerful construction delivers 11,000 rpms with an 11-amp motor 
  • Speed-boosting button on the handle allows for increased speed and power when making deep or tough grinds 

Cons

  • Not much vibration control; may cause some hand fatigue with extended use 

Heavy-duty projects like production welding and cutting require a grinder that can keep up, and DeWalt’s DWE402 can handle the job. This burly machine features an 11-amp motor and spins 4.5-inch grinding and cutting wheels at speeds up to 11,000 rpm.

I found the DWE402 to be the ideal cutting and welding grinder for my work, though not everyone will need its power and high-speed capabilities. It cut through angle iron faster than any other grinder, and it made short work of my large, lumpy, amateur-grade welds (though it’s definitely a pro-grade tool, and the speed-boosting button on the handle base helped a lot). While this is one of the best variable speed angle grinders, neither the DWE402’s vibration control nor its grip got much attention on the drawing board. 

Get the DeWalt DWE402 angle grinder at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing an Angle Grinder

There are a few things to understand before clicking “add to cart” on just any old angle grinder. The best angle grinders may have unique features, different power sources, and some might simply be better suited to particulars.

Many models come with interchangeable rotating discs—some made for cutting and others with an abrasive edge for grinding—can be swapped out based on the application. For safety, a guard sits between the disc and the handle to protect the operator. The following are more points worth considering when shopping for a good quality grinder.

Attachments

According to Matthew Consolo, the CEO and owner of Dreamscape Construction in Miami, Florida, “I look at an angle grinder as the ultimate multi tool. You can use it for so many jobs with the right attachments.” Here are a few of his favorites:

Wire disks – “Wire disks make removing paint, rust, and coating from hard surfaces easy. It really saves so much time.”

Diamond discs – “These handle the tough jobs, cutting through granite, marble, and concrete. The great thing about diamond blades is you don’t need to wet the blade first.”

Wire wheel brush – “These are excellent for strong metals. If you’re working on old iron gates or fences and want to get them prepped like new, a wire wheel brush is essential.”

Disc Size

Angle grinders come in sizes, denoted by a number that refers to the maximum diameter of the grinding wheel or disc it will handle. For most DIY projects, a 4-, 4.5-, or 5-inch disc will suffice. In fact, these compact sizes and weights are ideal for DIYers, as larger discs can become unwieldy or tedious to work with.

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 translates to a heavier tool that’s likely to cause hand fatigue sooner than using a small angle grinder. 

Motor Type and Power Source

Angle grinders are available as corded models (which plug into an electrical outlet) and cordless (which use a battery). 

  • Corded angle grinders typically generate more power at a consistent level due to the direct connection to the outlet. Many of these models provide 10,000 to 11,000 rpms. But corded models restrict the user to a physical location, limiting range without an extension cord. The cords can also be a tripping hazard and, therefore, a nuisance while working on a project. 
  • Typically, cordless angle grinders lack the sheer power of their corded counterparts. Functionality depends on battery capacity, so a dead battery could mean downtime in the middle of the project. On the plus side, cordless angle grinders offer hassle-free mobility and are better for use in tight spaces. These models deliver 8,500 to 9,000 rpms, which can work effectively for a wide range of grinding applications. 

The Bob Vila staff recommends models with brushless motors if available, as this variety allows for more effective, efficient, and long-term operation. Users should also look for models with 3 horsepower motors or more for light- and medium-duty projects and 5 horsepower for heavy-duty use. 

Speed

Angle grinder speed is measured 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. Keep in mind, however, that the rpm rating is under “no-load” conditions, meaning that the disc isn’t cutting or grinding anything, just spinning in the air. Once the disc is cutting or grinding, that speed will lower considerably.

Obviously, the higher the rpm, the easier and more quickly the tool can cut through the target material. But the disc also becomes hotter at higher speeds 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 running faster 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-volt or 20-volt batteries and outliers ranging from 7.5 volts to 24 volts. The “magic number” in most cordless grinder power tools is 18 volts to 20 volts, offering the best mix of affordability and functionality.

Voltage readings on corded angle grinders only indicate whether they can be used with 120-volt or 220-volt power outlets. Shoppers can assess the power output potential of corded models by checking amperage, which ranges from 5 amps to 15 amps. Larger discs will require a larger output, so for a 7- or 9-inch grinder, expect it to have a higher power output potential. 

Hand Guard

Since these are dangerous power tools, the hand guard on an angle grinder is a crucial safety measure that covers half the disc. Its purpose is to protect the user’s hands, by preventing sparks and debris from flying toward the user, and to protect surfaces from damage when using the grinder in tight spaces. 

Some angle grinders have a movable guard, and others have a fixed guard. The movable option is more popular as it allows for left-handed or right-handed use and can adjust to better protect the user from flying debris. If left untightened, however, a movable guard can fall off the unit. Fixed guards are more robust, and there’s no risk of them coming off a grinder. 

Soft Start

Because angle grinders are fast power tools, they can recoil a bit upon power-up. This is particularly true if the grinding wheel is large and heavy. The recoil from the motor can result in the angle grinder jumping in the user’s hands, potentially causing serious injury. 

To combat recoil, 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 prevents an angle grinder from recoiling during start-up, increasing safety while also reducing the jolt to the user’s arms and wrists.

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 or pipe, metalworking, or removing grout and mortar—rarely require more than a 4.5-inch 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 the user’s fingers, 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 hands from ongoing vibration.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including safety glasses/goggles, hearing protection, and respiratory protection when grinding. 
  • Check the model before use to ensure the disc and guard are properly attached and tightened. Discs and guards can become loose between angle grinder uses. Tighten them before connecting the power to the angle grinder.

FAQs 

Even with ample background on the best angle grinders, you might have some additional questions. Here, we answer some of the most common queries about angle grinders, so check for the info you need below.

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

The most common uses for angle grinders are metal grinding and cutting, such as steel for welding or metal piping. However, they’re also useful for wood carving, refinishing, and other projects. Some farriers even use them to trim hooves.

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 completely before placing it in a safe location, keeping in mind that the disc is still hot due to the friction caused during operation. Unplug the power cord or detach the battery and allow the tool to cool down. 

Q. How much does an angle grinder cost?

An angle grinder can range in price from just $30 to over $200, though it’s more common for these tools to cost about $80 to $100. Cordless angle grinders may come with additional costs if the battery and/or charger is not included with the purchase of the tool itself.

Q. How do you cut metal with an angle grinder?

Use a metal cutting disc on an angle grinder to cut through lead, iron, copper, and other metals without a problem. The rotating blade slices easily through metal, but it’s important to wear safety glasses and gloves because a significant amount of sparks are produced during the grinding process.

Q. How do you cut pavers with an angle grinder?

Angle grinder equipped with masonry discs can be used to cut through paving stones without much difficulty. Measure and mark where you want to cut the paver, then position it on a workbench like a bench grinder. Turn the grinder on and start to slowly cut into the paving stone. Once you have started the cut it will be easier to accurately finish cutting through the paver.

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

First, unplug the grinder or remove the battery. Then remove the nut that holds the disc in place, using the factory spanner included with the angle grinder. Replace the disc and tighten the nut bolt using the factory spanner.

Q. How can I remove the disc with vise grips?

Grinder discs are secured with a specialized nut that is usually tightened or removed with an included spanner. However, if you lose the spanner the nut can still be removed with a set of vise grips. Simply tighten the vice on the grinder blade, locking it in position, then use your hand or a screwdriver to turn and remove the locking nut.

Q. How do you properly recycle an old angle grinder?

Instead of tossing your old angle grinder in the trash, take it to a local electronics recycling location. Typically, the municipality or town will have a program for recycling electronic tools and other devices, though some home improvement stores, like Home Depot, also offer tool recycling programs.

Meet the Tester 

Tom Scalisi is a freelance writer specializing in the home design, construction, tools, and automotive industries. He has been involved in the trades for over 15 years as both a contractor and a commercial building mechanic. His work has been featured on This Old House, Family Handyman, and Forbes as well as his own pest control blog. As a lover of all things tools, construction, and DIY, he’s always looking for new tools and techniques while also sharing his knowledge with the DIY world. 

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Timothy Dale

Contributing Writer

Timothy Dale is a home improvement writer who has been in the industry for several years. In his work for BobVila.com, he has written a number of how-to articles related to yard maintenance, vehicle repair, and home renovation, not to mention a wide variety of buying guides and articles on DIY projects. He always ensures readers get the information they need to tackle their next project.

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