Polished to a Gleam: The Best Angle Grinders
Angle grinders are sometimes known as side grinders or disc grinders. Like most other tools in this family, including bench grinders and pedestal grinders, they are intended for the removal of excess material from a hard surface – such as stone or metal – for the purposes of cleaning, shaping, and polishing. That material might be bumps in the actual substance, rust, or other surface impurities.
Given the difficulty in getting at small or irregularly-shaped areas on a larger object, angle grinders are small, handheld tools, with a limited power output as a result. They take a little more time, effort, and skill to use properly than other grinders do, but they can reach places that other such tools can't, and are widely favored within their niche for that reason.
Top 5 Comparison Chart
|Bosh AG50||7 lbs.||5”||11500||4.6 out of 5 stars54 reviews||$132 - $149|
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|Makita 9557PBX1||7.7 lbs.||4 ½”||11000||4.7 out of 5 stars375 reviews||$78 - $85|
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|DeWalt D28115||3.1 lbs.||4 ½”||10000||4.5 out of 5 stars123 reviews||$123 - $139|
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|Porter-Cable PC60TAG||11.9 lbs.||4 ½”||11500||4.3 out of 5 stars344 reviews||$27 - $33|
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|Hitachi G12SR3||7.4 lbs||4 ½” - 5”||9000||4.6 out of 5 stars267 reviews||$57 - $69|
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Need a little help? Check out this video on how to use a grinder.
Types of angle grinders
There are three different types of angle grinders, if one differentiates by their power sources. While our list will be focusing on electrical angle grinders, as these are the most common in residential and professional workshops alike, we feel like it would be remiss of us to avoid touching on some of the other varieties available.
Electrical angle grinders are powered by an electric motor, familiar from a wide variety of other shop tools. They are relatively quiet and steady, good for smaller jobs, and generally well-suited to anything that a residential garage or basement workshop owner might require.
Gas-powered angle grinders are powered by gasoline. These offer substantially more power output than electrical angle grinders, but at the cost of being loud, producing the fumes associated with burning gasoline (requiring a well-ventilated or outdoor area of operation), and being more difficult to manage. The need for gas-powered angle grinders is generally restricted to a professional or industrial environment.
Compressed air driven through a pneumatic system powers some angle grinders. These are generally low-powered grinders, usable for lighter jobs and more fine-tuned precision work.
Regardless of the type of grinder, their overall method of operation is similar – and simple.
The motor drives a gear, which turns a wheel, on which is mounted either an abrasive disc or a thinner cut-off disc (depending upon the work that needs to be done). Abrasive discs are for polishing, while cut-off discs are for rough work and shaping – sometimes getting a piece down to the point where an abrasive disc may come into play. Both types of discs will eventually wear out, and are considered disposable under all limited warranty policies. A secondary handle at a right angle to the main body of the angle grinder allows for (vital) two-handed operation for maximum control, safety, and precision.
Common performance issues with angle grinders revolve primarily around dust getting into their air vents, which results in wear and attrition on the engine parts over time. Several of the most widely reputed brand names in power tools have developed unique and innovative ways of handling this issue. As most of these methods are proprietary, they differ somewhat from one tool to the next, but they typically involve the shape of the brushes used to help filter dust out of the engine – as well as the design and number of air vents meant to channel air through the engine during operation.
Important Safety Precautions
- While in operation, angle grinders can produce significant volumes of noise, sometimes reaching into decibel ranges that threaten normal human hearing. Ear protection is thus strongly encouraged on the part of the operator.
- When used for cutting ferrous metals, such as iron and steel, angle grinders produce hot sparks. When used for cutting other metals or hard materials, they may send shards of material flying. There is also the risk, despite modern materials and methods of engineering, that the consumable discs themselves will fracture or break. This presents considerable risk to the face and eyes, and a slightly lesser risk to other parts of the body.
- An angle grinder should never be used without a full face shield and appropriate physical protection for other parts of the body, particularly the hands, due to the aforementioned concerns. Heavy-duty tear-resistant gloves, rated for industrial use, are strongly recommended
Angle Grinder Reviews
We've gone over dozens of reviews and articles, written by consumers and for other affiliate review websites. From these, we've taken the consistently presented pieces of information, and worked them into our own reviews of the five most widely-praised and consistently regarded angle grinders that we could find. While you should absolutely do a little shopping around – you know what your personal needs are better than we do – we like to think that we've taken most of the legwork out of the process for you. With any luck, an angle grinder to suit your needs will be found on this list.
Feel free to go over each of the reviews or, scroll down to the end, and see which of these five was our choice for the pick of the lot. If you feel like we've missed an important detail, or neglected a model which ought to have been a contender, please feel free to let us know!
Bosch AG50-11VS 11-Amp 5-Inch Variable Speed Grinder
From Bosch we get a slightly off-standard offering, with a variable five-speed tool designed to accommodate a wide variety of uses and multiple different materials. With a 5-inch wheel, Bosch's grinder might have a little bit of trouble accessing some of the smallest areas that need work, but it makes up for that deficiency with its strong motor and variable speeds. It also features a lock-on switch for long-term work, for which it appears to be widely recognized as being among the most suitable angle grinder models available.
The AG50-11VS model angle grinder does feature an innovative design, meant to direct dust away from the inner workings of the tool. Its additional air vents allow for easier cooling, making longer jobs – and greater longevity – viable features of the tool. Its variable speeds are useful in grinding a variety of different materials – with the proper discs – as well as for performing a range of tasks that include cutting, grinding, cleaning rust, polishing, and sharpening. It isn't custom-designed for any specific application, but it tends to offer above-average performance in all of them. Bosch's brand reputation for longevity is upheld by this angle grinder, according to the significant majority of more than fifty reviews – which leave the AG50-11VS with an average rating of four and a half stars.
One point of note: the Bosch AG50-11VS is listed as coming with a battery charger. Multiple FAQ answers from existing buyers, however, confirm that no battery charger comes with the tool, nor does it offer battery-operated capacity. As with most angle grinders, it is corded only. This is presumably a misprint, but it remains on the listing despite multiple individuals pointing it out. This in no way affects the actual quality of the tool itself, but we felt it merited special notice.
Bosch's new model of variable-speed angle grinder comes with a fairly standard warranty, which does not apply to disposable components (discs) or in the event of a transfer of ownership. Its listed price is $128.35, which is a little above-average for an electric angle grinder – but it works for the level of power and versatility that the AG50-11VS has to offer.
Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder with Aluminum Case
As electrical angle grinders go, Makita's 4 and ½-inch model offers considerable power at 7.5 amps. Its motor drives the wheel at 11,500 rpm, allowing it to tackle a wide variety of materials and project sizes without the inconvenience of a large or bulky piece of equipment. Makita includes a durable aluminum case for carrying, as well as a high-quality general purpose cutting blade and five grit-grinding wheels. This item is ready to go when it arrives on your doorstep.
Makita's angle grinder boasts a 4 and ½-inch wheel. This is a standard size, which makes it compatible with all standard 4 and ½-inch replacement discs. The wheel size allows for the grinder to be tucked into relatively tight spaces, and its motor – for all its power – purrs like a kitten. A large, hungry kitten – but it's a steady power tool, and easily manageable despite its high-performance output.
In addition to being stable and easy to manage, as well as conveniently to fit into a variety of tight spaces, the 9557PBX1 is durable and safety-conscious. It boasts an adjustable safety guard, which can be positioned to provide maximum protection to the operator regardless of the angle at which the tool is being used. Add to that a durable, industrial-grade resin casing, and you've got a safe, reliable, and varied power tool, capable of handling most anything you can throw at it. You get all of that at a base price of $178.00, with regular savings on Amazon of up to $99 or more (as of this writing, the price is set at $78.93).
Porter-Cable PC60TAG 6-Amp 4 ½-Inch Angle Grinder
More than 270 customer reviews on Amazon rate the PC60TAG from Porter-Cable at four and a half stars out of five. On closer inspection, it's easy to see why: like most 4 and ½-inch electrical angle grinders, the PC60TAG can get into places that larger tools can't. It offers a top speed, unloaded, of 11,000 rpm, and incorporates a variety of innovative and safety-conscious features designed to further the convenience of its operation.
The Porter-Cable PC60TAG features a cast metal gear case for improved operator protection and tool longevity. This can help to protect the operator in the eventuality of a disc breaking during use, but it is specifically designed to help improve the power tool's overall durability and lifespan. Properly cared for, the PC60TAG will last for years in a residential or light workshop environment.
An innovative and patented spindle-lock feature allows the operator to change out the bit with a single wrench. The guard can also be changed to allow additional functionality, as per a cut-off tool. While some of these functions require the purchase of replacement guards which are not sold with the grinder itself, they still represent potential applications of the tool above and beyond that which is generally expected of an angle grinder – and with a price tag of $71.38, it's hard to go wrong.
Full information on Porter-Cable's well-established warranty policies is available here, but it's a fairly typical 1-year limited warranty on parts and labor, applying to the grinder's intended use, and not including parts which are designed to be consumable (notably the discs). As of this writing, this angle grinder is the #1 top seller in its category – Power Angle Grinders – on Amazon.
Dewalt D28115 Heavy-Duty 4 ½-Inch/5-Inch High Performance Grinder
Dewalt is a reputable name in power tools, and with its latest offering in the field of angle grinders, we see the brand stepping up to the plate with a variable high-performance angle grinder. Starting with the motor, it's easy to see how this model stands out from other angle grinders in its class. Dewalt's angle grinder features a Dewalt-manufactured 13-Amp/2.3 hp monster, offering an unloaded speed of 9000 rpm. It is expressly designed to remove material more quickly than its peers, while offering higher overload protection at the same time. Another patented feature, which helps to promote the longevity of the tool, is Dewalt's dust ejection system. Dust which enters the angle grinder through its air intake vents is filtered out and safely ejected from the tool before it can adversely affect the engine.
Dewalt's D28115 angle grinder actually offers a variety of innovative features to help protect it from dust accumulation. Its one-piece brush arm prevents brush hangup due to high dust intake, while a proprietary dual abrasion technique incorporated into the construction of the tool offers additional protection from a variety of common workshop debris. Cleaner, more dust-free operation lends itself to an additional reduction in vibration, with the resulting stability making the tool much more comfortable to operate. Adding to that comfort are molded trigger grips, making long-term use of the angle grinder easier on the hands.
The D28115 also offers tool-free disc removal by means of a quick-change wheel system. All of these innovations in Dewalt's latest design are backed by a 3-year warranty on parts and services, as opposed to the typical 1-year warranty offered by most manufacturers. Despite a relatively heady list price of $265.22, with a sale price – current to this writing – of $129 (this seems to crop up every now and again, particularly on Amazon) more than one hundred customers to date have seen fit to provide this tool with a rating of four and a half stars.
Hitachi G12SR3 4-1/2" 6-Amp Angle Grinder with 5 Abrasive Wheels
The Hitachi name carries with it a certain standard for quality. Their 6-Amp, 4 and ½-inch angle grinder offers multiple innovative features designed to reduce the cost of the model while improving its overall durability. Here is what we've gathered from the more than two hundred and fifty reviews on Amazon to date, giving the product an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
The G12SR3 is user-friendly and easy to handle. Its 3.1 pound weight and compact, contoured design make it relatively comfortable to use for longer jobs. It includes a removable side handle, set at a forward angle, to help make the grinder more convenient for both left- and right-handed users. The item also boasts a trigger lock for smooth, continuous operation. Its auto-stop carbon brushes help to improve the durability of the motor over the long-term, which prolongs the grinder's overall lifespan.
This item comes with five Hitachi grinding wheels for convenience, but is an excellent option for handling a wide variety of functions depending upon what you choose to attach to it. It has the power to handle harder, ferrous metals such as various grades of steel, while offering the flexibility necessary for bronze, aluminum, and other softer metals. With the proper cutting wheels, it can carve its way through almost anything – including synthetic resins, marble, porcelain, or slate.
Hitachi offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee; if the G12SR3 isn't everything that you hoped it would be, you can send it back for a full refund of the purchase price. As of this writing, Amazon offers this compact, lightweight angle grinder at $56.93 (regular price: $86.79). Following the lapse of the 30-day guarantee, the manufacturer will honor a limited 1-year warranty, which covers all non-disposable parts.
Our Selection for Best in Show
The Bosch AG50-11VS 11-Amp 5-Inch Variable Speed Grinder takes a five-inch wheel, which might have some effect on its ability to reach certain angles. This unlikely occurrence is more than balanced out, we feel, by its overall level of innovation with regard to operator safety, operator convenience, and tool longevity. A mid-range angle grinder in terms of its price, Bosch's AG50-11VS offers variable speeds, extra air intake valves, a proprietary method for handling dust and debris, and patented components that help to increase the overall durability and hardiness of your tool. Simply put, Bosch's angle grinder will run for longer per job, and it will last you longer overall. Despite a relatively standard limited warranty, we feel like this is your best bet for tool longevity, as well as for acquiring a single angle grinder which is capable of performing every function expected of an angle grinder to an equivalently high standard.
We've enjoyed putting this list together for you. However, while our search for the best angle grinder took dozens of options across multiple websites, blogs, and reviews into consideration, it's always possible that we failed to notice something of import. If you feel like our list is missing something critical, or you would like to share any other feedback with us, please don't hesitate to let us know!