The Best Bench Grinder for Grinding, Shaping, and Polishing
A bench grinder is a device, powered by an electric motor, which is small enough to be mounted to a workshop bench. It is the smaller cousin of the pedestal grinder, which requires its own independent floor mount. The bench grinder is used to turn a variety of wheel-shaped tools at high speeds for the purpose of rough grinding, cleaning, polishing, sharpening, or otherwise shaping a variety of metal implements. Bench grinders are most commonly found in residential garage and basement workshops, with pedestal grinders and other, larger machines being more common to an industrial setting.
Generally, the bench grinder is used to perform rough grinding, as per the hand-sharpening of cutting tools. The rough grinding process smooths the surface of the metal by removing tiny bumps and protrusions, as well as surface impurities. It does this through the use of motor-driven wheels which spin at extremely high speeds. These wheels are usually made of two substances: a base material, often a clay or ceramic, and an abrasive material, such as an aluminum silicate. The precise abrasive used will differ depending upon the type of metal which is meant to be shaped, with the major difference being whether one is working with ferrous metals (iron and steel) versus softer, non-ferrous metals.
A bench grinder may also be used to shape metal prior to welding, as it can produce a metal part with very finely honed dimensions. Finally, in lieu of grinding wheels, wire-bristle wheels may also be attached to a bench grinder. This allows for the polishing of metals to a fine luster.
The two metals for which a bench grinder is most commonly utilized are steel and aluminum. This is mostly due to their common use in modern tools, and in other modern applications where metal is used. Specialized wheels may be purchased for the purpose of shaping and cleaning other metals. The main point of concern is whether the grinder is being used for iron or steel, or for softer materials.
Bench Grinder Protip
Never use grinding wheels are designed to shape steel for the grinding of aluminum or other, softer metals.
This may seem like common sense advice, but its disregard results in the injury of hundreds of people each year in the United States alone. A wheel which is designed to grind steel can and will break off bits of the softer metals and absorb them. Subsequently, during normal operation of the grinder, these small pieces of metal can heat and expand within the grinding wheels. This will dislodge pieces of the wheel's material during the high stress it experiences under standard operation. Not only will this destroy the wheel itself, but its extremely high speed can result in those dislodged pieces causing damage to the bench grinder – as well as personal injury.
Best Bench Grinder Reviews
We've reviewed a selection of some of the best bench grinders available on the market today. Our criteria for the reviews is based in part upon each bench grinder's efficiency with respect to its various functions. We've also taken into consideration a broad range of consumer feedback, and the cost of each model – but, more so than the cost, we've taken dollar value into consideration. If you feel that we're missing out on some important detail, or that we've neglected a particularly promising model of bench grinder in our assessment, please feel free to let us know; otherwise, we like to think that we've done much of the legwork for you. Feel free to look through the following selection, and to find a model that seems to suit your needs... or, you can scroll right to the end, and read our conclusions as to the best Bench Grinder on today's market.
Our Top Bench Grinders
Here are our favorite picks from what is currently available.
- Wen 4276 6-inch Bench Grinder: an affordable and reliable option for small projects and workspaces, best in residential garage and basement workshops.
- Dewalt DW758 8-inch Bench Grinder: a heavy-duty workhorse for larger projects, capable of tackling the shaping of ferrous metals and of grinding large pieces to precise dimensions.
- Craftsman 9-21154 Variable Speed 6-Inch Grinding Center: a flexible and widely applicable workstation, with variable speeds for different functions.
- Metabo DS 200 8-Inch Bench Grinder: a powerful and sturdy model, designed specifically to withstand the rigors and frequency of use in an industrial setting.
|Image||Model||Weight||Wheel Diameter||Load-Free RPM||Ratings||Price Range|
|WEN 4276 6-Inch Bench Grinder||16 lbs.||6”||3450||4.3 out of 5 stars165 reviews||$37 - $55
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|DEWALT DW758 8-Inch Bench Grinder||40.5 lbs..||8”||3600||4.3 out of 5 stars280 reviews||$127.99 - $136.93
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|Craftsman 9-21154 Grinding Center||30.3 lbs.||6”||2000 or 3450||4.9 out of 5 stars23 reviews||$122 - $159
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|Metabo DS 200 8-Inch Bench Grinder||39.8 lbs.||8”||3500||4.2 out of 5 stars42 reviews||$257 - $280
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Click here for a video tutorial on the proper use of a bench grinder.
Wen 4276 6-inch Bench Grinder
Though it comes in a small package, Wen's 6-inch 4276 model bench grinder (wheel measurements: 6” x 3/4”) presents its own advantages. It's small enough to mount in virtually any size environment that is otherwise suited for metalworking, and it comes with a mounted work light for maximum visibility – which equates to more finely tuned precision in your work.
Wen's 2.1-Amp motor provides enough power to rough grind small pieces for small projects. With a load-free RPM of 3450, it's best for polishing – a function at which it is comparable to larger, more powerful grinders – but its grinding and shaping ability is more than adequate to most household projects. A residential workbench being the most likely place for its mounting.
Worried about your electric bill? At 2.1 Amps, this bench grinder's motor draws about one-fifth the power of a typical household vacuum cleaner. Its standard retail price is about $80, but it can often be found on Amazon for less than half that amount.
Our thoughts on Wen's model are that it's more than adequate for most basic home project needs. It's good for cleaning off rust, and for sharpening edges, and it more than holds its own for polishing. At a top price of less than one hundred dollars, it will more than outlast its purchase value – with a four and a half star rating on Amazon, born of more than eighty reviews, maintaining its viability as a sound addition to your workbench. Its two-year manufacturer's warranty covers any likely repair or replacement scenario.
If you don't need anything especially heavy-duty or powerful, or if metal grinding isn't a part of your regular routine? You might not need anything bigger than this... in which case, there's no point in paying for more. However, if it's more power, more variety, and an applicability to larger projects that you're after, read on. Not every project's needs can be satisfied with the basics, right?
Dewalt DW758 8-inch Bench Grinder
With its 8-inch wheels (precise dimensions equate to 8” x 3/4” each), Dewalt's bench grinder is heavily touted as a premium choice for longer grinds and larger projects. Upon inspection, there are a number of prevalent features to the Dewalt which would seem to bear this assertion out, making its slightly more expensive price tag worth every dime.
To begin with, let's talk about the rugged sturdiness of this particular bench grinder. Dewalt's model DW758 features a tough and durable cast iron base and motor housing. Once it is secured in place, it's not going anywhere, and it can take a pounding from virtually anything that you have to throw at it. Its tool rests are precision ground from high-quality aluminum, allowing for the most accurate possible positioning of your metal parts, whether for grinding or for polishing.
Dewalt's 8-inch bench grinder is also made to accommodate larger projects. Its two wheels are spaced twelve and one-half inches apart, to allow for the most room possible to position parts for grinding or polishing. A three-quarter horsepower induction engine turns the wheels at 3600 RPM, which is enough to tackle even the shaping of ferrous metals (with the proper wheels). Given the right accessories, this is a truly multifunctional bench grinder – able to handle every type of work generally attributed to bench grinders, up to a respectable size.
This 8-inch bench grinder retails on Amazon for up to $238. However, its value is further enhanced by a three-year partial warranty. In addition, it comes with a one-year free service contract: Dewalt will maintain their tool, including providing for the replacement of parts worn down through standard use, at no cost to you. Coupled with regular discounts on Amazon at up to 50% off, what you end up with is an excellent tool – from a quality brand – at an almost unbeatable bargain. Treated well, this bench grinder will last you for far longer than three years. It stands at four and one-half stars on Amazon, with more than 250 reviews to date.
Craftsman 9-21154 Variable Speed 6-Inch Grinding Center
As of this writing, Craftsman is quickly approaching its 89th birthday. For all the decades of its existence, the brand has been synonymous with expectations of high quality and efficient performance. The 9-21154 variable speed 6-inch bench grinder is no exception; its toughness and flexibility lend due credit to the Craftsman name. While the model has yet to experience its first dramatic peak in sales on sites such as Amazon, it does enjoy a tremendously positive reception to date. Amazon reviews rate it at an almost perfect five stars, with only a few stubborn four-star ratings trailing the pack. It has received similar acclaim elsewhere.
While not as powerful as some other models, what makes the Craftsman 9-21154 bench grinder stand out is its flexibility. Its 6” x 1/2” grinding and buffing wheels (it comes with one of each) are spaced further apart than is the case with most six inch models, allowing for the device to be used to tackle larger projects. Its 2.5-Amp motor can be toggled to run the wheels at 2000 or 3450 rpm, which allows this Craftsman model to meet the ideal needs for a variety of grinding, shaping, and polishing jobs. Thanks to its over-sized cast iron base, it offers greater stability for fine shaping that some other, more lightweight models, as well as wide eye shields and spark guards for safety.
The slower speed of 2000 rpm is particularly well-suited for sharpening edged tools, without the frequent overheating factor which sometimes troubles other bench grinders – which often present only a single speed of between 3400 and 3600 rpm.
With different wheels attached (sold separately) this is an excellent grinder for a workshop which sees projects involving multiple varieties of metal.
The manufacturer's suggested retail for this device is around $135, but it can be found new on Amazon for as low as $89.99. It comes with a one-year manufacturer's warranty.
Metabo DS 200 8-Inch Bench Grinder
For a swing into the big leagues, let's take a look at this 8-inch bench grinder from Metabo, which is specifically designed for industrial use. While it could easily fit into most residential workshops, its price – which stands at $599.99 when it isn't on sale – makes that a daunting prospect, particularly with far more economically priced models on the market which meet the demands of most residential projects more than adequately. Metabo's DS 200 is designed for a level and a frequency of use which is typically reserved for the professional metalworker. As of this writing, it features on Amazon at four and a half stars with nearly forty reviews. Also current is a sale price of about $260 dollars, which can be further reduced through Amazon prime shipping deals.
Typical customer feedback remarks that Metabo's 8-inch bench grinder “works flawlessly.” Comments have specifically been directed to its full one horsepower motor. The power provided offers a wheel rotational speed of about 3500 rpm, but also allows it to tackle even the hardiest of metals and the most stubborn of shaping jobs. Dual exhaust ports positioned on the guards on either side allow for the connection of a shop vac.
This bench grinder weighs in at about forty pounds when fully equipped, including its corundum wheels. It is ideal for grinding and shaping hard, ferrous metals, such as raw iron and a variety of modern industrial steels. Its weight helps lend to its stability, making Metabo's model one of the most precise and least prone to shaking of Amazon's top-selling bench grinders today. Another regular point of emphasis: the Metabo is extremely quiet. Given the strength of its motor, one would expect its use to be loud and raucous, but even by modern bench grinder standards it is surprisingly mild.
The Metabo 8-inch bench grinder boasts tough and durable construction, with die-cast aluminum protective covers and a protective bayonet lock – changing the wheels out is a cinch. A one-year manufacturer's warranty comes standard with purchase, while a three-year warranty is available following online registration.
Our Choice for Best Bench Grinder
It merits a mention that each of the grinders in our review is a highly rated, high-quality product. Each was put forward by a brand name with years of recognition and a well-founded reputation for quality and efficiency. That being said, we do feel inclined to favor one above the rest. First, let's get to the runner up.
The Metabo DS 200 8-Inch Bench Grinder is one of the highest rated industrial bench grinder models available on today's market, and consumers report no frequent issues with its operation. It is capable of tackling most grinding tasks with unparalleled speed and efficiency, but its cost might put it out of reach for the casual metalworker. Also, its power level makes it relatively ill-suited for smaller tasks, and it can present difficulties with overheating while sharpening edged tools. Metabo's model might have made it to our top pick, but it's simply too exclusive to the industrial crowd.
And now, for the winner:
The Craftsman 9-21154 Variable Speed 6-Inch Grinding Center is our pick of the litter. It was a difficult choice to make, but we ultimately felt this to be the most viable option for several reasons.
- Durability. From its cast iron base, to its precision-mounted aluminum tool rests, Craftsman's offering is designed to take the odd, incidental beating, and to keep on purring away. It offers sturdy mounting, tough and durable materials, and patented construction techniques that make for a far more rugged frame than what other models available have to offer. Consumers have had absolutely no issues with its performance.
- Safety. Wide, clear eye shields are positioned conveniently, while covering every angle from which sparks or debris might fly. The spark guards are sturdy and “ding-proof,” having been designed to last for the model's full lifespan. The built in water cooling tray, along with patented attachments for holding bits and other small tool components in place, only add to the machine's convenient safety measures.•
- Flexibility. Everything about Craftsman's bench grinder is designed for flexibility, from the distance between the wheels to its variable speed settings. It is designed to handle an array of jobs that would otherwise require a larger, more powerful, and much more expensive machine. It would appear equally at home in a garage workshop or in any professional metalworking setting. In short, the Craftsman 9-21154 is our choice for best bench grinder, because it fits the most varied qualifications for the broadest array of potential consumers.
If you have any questions, or would like to point out something we missed, please feel free to use our convenient online contact form and let us know about your concerns today!