Angle Grinders are extremely powerful and versatile tools that are useful in a whole range of situations, so much so that for some people their grinder is the most important tool in their entire collection.
Check out our Angle Grinder Reviews for detailed information on what we believe to be among the top angle grinders on the market today, with detailed information on the standout features and shortcomings of each to allow you to make the best choice to suit your needs. Alternatively check out our Best Angle Grinders Comparison Guide to directly compare angle grinder specifications.
If you want a more general introduction to angle grinders in general then please read on!
Angle Grinder Review Highlights
Black & Decker KG901K-GB Review
A great all rounder from Black & Decker, the KG901K-GB sits somewhere in the middle in terms of power and performance, so it’s a great choice if you know you
need something powerful but you don’t want to invest too much. Despite being powerful, this is quite a compact tool, so it’s great for working in small spaces if you need to, whilst still being able to gnaw through anything from rusty bolts, to galvanised railings.
On the downside, the KG901K-GB feels a little unbalanced to some, but with any luck this is just a simple case of getting used to using it.
Ryobi EAG 2000RS Review
A really powerful all rounder from Ryobi, the EAG 2000S not only looks the business but also delivers it thanks to a powerful 2000 Watt motor.
This is the ideal tool of choice for serious projects such as cutting many paving slabs, or if you’ve turned your hand to fabricating custom gates or an art installation – who knows! Whatever you choose to use if for, a large part of its appeal comes from great user centred features such as a power indicator light and a swivelling handle to suit a range of working positions
Bosch PWS 700-115 Review
The ever reliable Bosch have developed the PWS 700-115, a great entry level grinder for domestic tasks, complete with a patented dust protection system to protect the bearings and ensure the continued performance and longevity of the tool. It’s a great long term investment, just be sure not to push it too hard.
What is an Angle Grinder?
For any application that requires the cutting, grinding and polishing of materials from ceramics to metal fabrications, angle grinders are more often than not the tool of choice. Angle grinders are so called because the spinning disc is positioned perpendicular to the body of the tool, as opposed to a straight grinder where the shaft is concentric with the body. One of the really appealing things about an angle grinder is in the ability to change the cutting or grinding disc to suit the task at hand, effectively giving you several tools in one. Discs may be composed of specially formulated grinding material, a wire brush, or soft polishing pad.
Grinders can be powered by petrol engines, compressed air, or electric motors, with the latter being most common, especially to non professional users. In terms of design, most grinders have the same basic characteristics: a geared head, an abrasive cutting or grinding disc (typically 100mm or so in diameter), a guard over the cutting disc, a side handle and rear handle, both of which may be adjustable to suit your own preferences.
A whole variety of different tradespeople use grinders on a daily basis, those involved in the building of ships, vehicles and other metal structures will often use a grinder to cut and polish metal structures, often to tidy up and dress surfaces after welding. On building sites grinders may be used to cut tiles and slabs, and in car garages they may be used to cut away corroded panelling or to polish repaired areas of bodywork. So as you can see their uses are far reaching, and varied, but crucially like all good tools they make life easier, speeding up otherwise laborious tasks and leaving more time for drinking tea!
Uses of Angle Grinders
Grinding and Sanding
The most common use of all is to grind or sand away unwanted material. For shaping and cutting stone or metal, an angle grinder is essential. It’s simply a case of fitting the cutting disc or blade to suit the application and off you go.
With a special ‘diamond tuck-pointing’ grinding wheel, old mortar can be effectively removed at a much quicker rate than you might otherwise be able to achieve with a hammer and chisel, and without any risk of causing damage to the brick work. From a health and safety perspective it’s important to make sure you wear adequate protection for your eyes as well as a dust mask – grinding stone and cement generates a hell of a lot of dust! You should also make sure the area is clear of other people, especially if they haven’t got personal protective equipment (PPE) of their own.
Besides cutting and removing material, an angle grinder can also be used to polish items, and by extension to sharpen them too. This is especially handy when it comes to sharpening tools such as lawn mower blades and axes. An important safety note, if you do choose to sharpen tools with a grinder, you must make sure they are properly secured to your work bench before proceeding, as it may be extremely dangerous if you do not do so.
Polishing and Buffing
With the correct grinding disc or resinoid cup wheel fitted an angle grinder can be a very affective polishing tool, particularly for metal panels. Polishing is effectively a form of sanding that uses a much less abrasive material to achieve a smooth or even mirror finish, so you might use a range of polishing discs to achieve the end result you desire. For reference, fine abrasive grade sanding discs range from between around 120 to 400 in grade, the higher the number the less abrasive the surface.
Using an Angle Grinder Safely
As described above, an angle grinder is typically a hand held tool with a rotating disc, with handles to control and stabilize it as you work. To operate the tool you must depress a power switch or ‘trigger’. Though this all seems simple enough, safety is absolutely paramount when using an angle grinder and there are various hazards to be aware of. The biggest threat is that metal shards or sparks will inevitably be thrown back in your direction as you work, so for this reason eye protection is absolute essential. It’s best to wear a full face shield as this will protect not only your eyes, but also you skin from flying debris which could cause cuts or burns, and if the grinding disc itself were to break then the results could be even more dangerous. Besides face protection, it’s also strongly recommended to wear gloves and long sleeved clothing to protect the rest of your skin, and because grinders can be very noisy in certain scenarios, ear protection is also very important. Last but not least, as mentioned above when working with masonry the need to wear a dust mask is particularly important, breathing in excess amounts of dust is never a good idea, and this applies even more so when generating large clouds of dust whilst grinding.
What Makes One Angle Grinder Better Than Another?
There are all sorts of different variations in quality among angle grinder, and it would be impossible to list every single possible nuance or quirk that makes one better or worse than another, however there are a few key things you can look for to determine the overall quality of a grinder.
Depending on the quality of the motor, and the design of the grinder in general, you’ll find that the motor may or may not burn out, it may burn out either if you are pushing the grinder too hard so that the coil or electromagnet in the motor burns out, or the brushes burn out. Brushes can be replaced relatively easily if you have the knowledge and patience, but when it comes to cheaper grinders it simply isn’t cost effective to do this, however they are the ones that are more likely to cause this problem! It’s better to spend a bit more and get a more expensive grinder that’s more resistant to faults like this.
One of the most common points of failure on any angle grinder is the bearing on the shaft the grinding disc attaches to. On some cheaper models this bearing is seriously cheaply made and will fall apart after just a few uses. On slightly better models the bearing might not fall apart, but it will certainly feel looser, making the whole unit feel cheaper and the disc spin in a sloppy fashion that ultimately isn’t conducive to fast and accurate results. The best angle grinders will have solid, high quality bearings, so you shouldn’t notice too much lateral movement in the shaft at all. Not only does this give better results but it also feels better, so you’ll be able to approach the task with greater confidence and enthusiasm.
Ergonomics and Weight
Angle Grinders are more demanding than most tools when it comes to operating them, they’re heavy, noisy and extremely powerful, and if you’re not careful they can cause both you and your environment unwanted damage. For this reason it’s definitely worth taking the time to look carefully at the design of a grinder to make sure it matches up with what you consider to be a comfortable working position. You’ll notice some grinders have a second handle next to the blade to achieve a firm grip, whereas others require you to grasp the main body of the unit instead. Similarly, the main rear handle rotates on some models to enable you to hold the grinder comfortably at different angles, so this is certaintly worth considering if you know you’ll be working in a variety of different positions and scenarios.
Likewise, when it comes to the weight, don’t just base your decision on what you’re able to lift and hold, but what you’re able to lift and hold for extended periods of time, whilst also being able to compensate for the resitive nature of the gyroscopic effect of the blade as it rotates, and should it arise, the kickback of the blade if you hit an unexpected obstruction.
Compatibility With Your Domestic Electrical Installation
When it comes to power, grinders tend to demand a lot of it, so whilst on paper you might automatically think bigger and more powerful is better, it’s worth checking you home circuits to make sure they are designed to take the huge surges in electrical load that a powerful grinder may demand. For example if your domestic supply is rated to a lower rating than your grinder then you may find find that you simply cannot get any use out of it if it continues to trip your circuit breakers. In this case it may prove wiser to opt for a less powerful machine instead.
Big Players in the Angle Grinder Market