Table of Contents
Angle grinders are incredibly diverse tools so if you’re considering buying one for your workshop, you’ll reap a lot of benefits. However, not all angle grinders are made equal and depending on what you want to use it for, the type of tool that works for you might be different from the type of tool that works for someone else.
For this reason, it is imperative to think about a few important things before you part with your hard-earned cash. In this guide, we are going to be showing you the essential factors to consider before buying an angle grinder.
Things To Consider When Buying An Angle Grinder
What Do You Hope To Use It For?
One of the great things about an angle grinder is that it can be used for so many different applications with a wide choice of cutting, polishing and grinding discs. However, the type of work that you will be doing might mean that one particular angle grinder is better for you than all others.
Before making this decision, it is important to think about what these tools are capable of and this will allow you to better understand how each individual tool might serve you.
As its name may suggest, an angle grinders primary job is to grind. If a piece of material has a lot of excess, this can be quickly grinded away using these powerful tools. Moreover, they are ideal for smoothing materials and giving a more uniform and even finish. If you need the tool only for this purpose, then you have much greater choice as all angle grinders will be suitable for this.
While you can use a saw for cutting, angle grinders are generally better for materials like ceramics, concrete and metal. What’s great about the angle grinder for cutting is that you have much more freedom of movement whereas most power saws limit you to one place.
If you need to cut masonry that is in situ, you can bring the angle grinder to the material and manoeuvre it in any way that is needed, whereas this would be very difficult for a saw. In this case, a cordless angle grinder would work very well.
When you come to the end of a project, you may wish to give the material a final polish. Angle grinders are great for this since they spin at a very high RPM meaning that the polished finish is immaculate.
When polishing with an angle grinder, you will need to use a specific polishing attachment, sometimes called a mop. While you can buy these separately, it may be helpful to look for a tool that has this attachment included in the box.
Sanding materials becomes much quicker when using an angle grinder and gives you a smoother finish than doing the job by hand. Of course, if you have a dedicated power sander, then this will give the best results but by putting on a sanding disc, your angle grinder will do a very good job.
The disc size is one of the more important factors to consider when buying an angle grinder. In general, you will find angle grinders with a disc diameter anywhere between four and nine inches, although there may be variants on this.
In any case, you need to consider that a larger disc will require a more powerful motor which may affect the cost of the tool. However, with a larger disc, you also get the benefit of a bigger cutting depth so for more demanding projects, this is a must.
That said, if you are looking for a tool that will spin faster and is easier to handle then a smaller disc size is preferable. But with this, you will have to make the sacrifice of that large cutting depth as well as needing to more frequently replace the discs which wear down much more quickly because of the higher speed.
When it comes to power, you have two choices; corded and cordless. A typical corded angle grinder will be either 110v or 240v meaning that these tools are the more powerful of the two options. That said, the downside is that your movement will be limited owing to being tethered to the power socket.
With a cordless 18v angle grinder, you will lose out on power a little and you must consider that the time you can use the tool will be limited because you will need to recharge the battery. There is, of course, the option to purchase more than one battery but this will mean that you need to increase your budget. There are some manufacturers that are bringing out more powerful cordless angle grinders at up to 54v but these aren’t all that common at the moment.
But the plus side of a cordless angle grinder is that you have much greater manoeuvrability which is a huge selling point for a lot of users.
When you are shopping for an angle grinder, you will notice that many come with a variable speed option. If you’re looking for a tool for one purpose then this isn’t a feature you will use. However, if you’ll be putting your angle grinder to use in various ways then variable speed will be invaluable.
Moreover, having this option allows you to increase performance at certain points in a task when a little more oomph is needed.
All angle grinders come with a blade guard for your protection and it is essential that this is kept on at all times. Contact with the blade can cause very serious injuries. However, many people find that the blade guard gets in the way and this can be frustrating.
The good news is that there are angle grinders that have repositionable blade guards, allowing you both protection and convenience.
If an angle grinder starts up at full speed this can cause the disc to jam up before you’ve even begun working. However, to counteract this, a lot of angle grinder manufacturers now include a soft start feature where the disc begins slowly and works its way up to full speed.
If you do buy a tool with this feature, you will need to keep in mind that the angle grinder must reach its full speed before you begin using it. Typically, it is only the larger angle grinders that have this function although, if you look carefully, you will find smaller ones equipped with a soft start.
It is possible to purchase just an angle grinder without any add-ons or frills. While most tools will come with a support handle and a small selection of blades and discs, there are others that have a much more complex accessory kit.
If you are just getting started with using an angle grinder, it is wise to opt for a tool that comes with everything you will need. This may require more of an upfront cost but it’ll save you the hassle of buying extras down the line.
The safe use of an angle grinder is more important than words can express. While much of this safety is to do with how you operate the tool, most angle grinders will come with certain safety features to aid in this.
We have already discussed the blade guard but this is one of the most basic forms of safety. Other things that may be included are things like restart protection and anti kickback. If the angle grinder overheats, the restart protection will prevent it from firing up again until it has cooled; this will prevent fires. An anti-kickback function is imperative for times when the disc may bind.
There are also some angle grinders that feature a dead man’s switch which is a handle that must be held in order for the tool to operate. This is there to encourage users to hold the tool in both hands which is far safer than just holding it from the back.
Never Use Second Hand Blades
Using these safety features will help you to avoid accidents but there are many things that you can do to keep yourself safe. Using second-hand blades is never a good idea since you cannot be sure of their quality and whether they have malfunctioned in the past. If the disc is damaged in any way, there is a risk of it shattered during use, causing a potentially serious accident.
Whether you want an angle grinder for the odd job here and there or need a powerful tool for daily use, there are many things that you need to consider before committing to any particular tool. In addition to looking at the type of power and what accessories your new angle grinder comes with, you should make sure that it has the appropriate safety features and is fit for the purpose you intend to use it.