Angle grinders are one of the most common grinders you’ll find on the market today. They are hand-held grinders that feature a right-angled gear head with an attached abrasive disc that can be switched with other discs and wheels to perform different tasks. By using different attachments, these grinders can be used to cut, sand, polish, and sharpen materials including stone, tile, marble, wood, concrete, and both ferrous and nonferrous metals.
Depending on the disc size, an angle grinder will fall into one of two categories. Angle grinders with discs smaller than 7 inches are generally considered small angle grinders, such as 4.5” angle grinders. Those with discs greater than 7 inches are typically considered large angle grinders. These grinders may be electric, cordless, or pneumatic, and because these grinders are hand-held, they have the portability to be used on larger work pieces where larger or bolted down grinders would not be able to.
When shopping for an angle grinder, take into consideration the number of AMPs produced by the motor as well as the RPM delivered. A more powerful motor will have better performance and efficiency. Additionally, pay attention to the disc size and type, making sure you get an appropriate one for the job at hand. Different discs include abrasive grinding discs, cut-off discs, sanding discs, grinding stones, and polishing pads.
Angle Grinder Features to Consider
Disc Size – There are many different disc sizes available, ranging from small to large. Common discs sizes include 4-1/2 inch, 5 inch, 6 inch, 7 inch, and 9 inch. A small angle grinder (disc size under 7 inches), is ideal for many common applications. For larger surfaces and bigger depth of cuts, a larger disc size is more effective.
No Load Speed – The speed at which the disc spins before a cut is made. Slower speed grinders will generate less heat and be quieter than grinders with faster speeds. The type of material being worked on along with the attachment being used will determine the optimal speed.
Variable Speed – Grinders with a variable speed motor allow the user to adjust the speed at which the disc spins. This lets you grind on slower speeds for less heat buildup or for applications where a slower speed is optimal, such as polishing.
Spindle Lock –Disc changes are made quicker and easier with a button that prevents the spindle from turning when the disc-retaining nut is unscrewed or tightened.
Vacuum Attachment – Grinders can create copious amounts of dust while being used. Vacuum attachments allow you to connect the grinder to a vacuum, greatly reducing dust in the work area.
Adjustable Disc Guard – The disc guard will protect you from sparks and debris that may fly off a piece as you are working on it. An adjustable disc guard will allow you to change the position of the disc guard so that no matter the position you are working in, you will still be protected from sparks and debris.
Movable Side Handle - A side handle that is movable will allow the grinder to be operated left or right handed. This versatile option allows for working in different positions with the grinder.
Anti-Vibration Handle – This ergonomic option will make the grinder more comfortable to use over extended periods by reducing fatigue as well as improving control and maneuverability.
Voltage – Available voltages include 240volt, 110volt, and rechargeable 18volt for cordless grinders.
Wattage – Grinders with larger discs will require more power.