The Best Angle Grinders – 2019 Hands-On Review
A good angle grinder is a basic necessity in any shop. If nothing else, you will need it to sharpen a number of other tools as well as mower blades. If you are doing any metal work at all that includes rust removal, painting, and/or welding, there is no option – you must have a grinder. Grinders also excel at cutting tasks and will really speed things up when you need to cut pipe, conduit, PVC , or bar-stock metal.
Grinders take a lot of abuse, especially from experienced users who may clamp one in a bench vise and run it continuously for extended periods. Cutting dimensional steel and iron pipe also puts a lot of strain on the bearings and shaft of the tool and will quickly heat the motor. If you do much more than the occasional few minutes of grinding, it pays to shop carefully for a grinder if you want one that will last for a few years.
- 9 Best Angle Grinders – Comparisons
- 5 Best Corded Angle Grinders - Reviews
- 5 Best Cordless Angle Grinders - Reviews
- Choosing the Best Angle Grinder
9 Best Angle Grinders – Comparisons
Types of Grinders
Other than differences in size and power, the two main types of angle grinder are corded and cordless. With battery-powered tools being all the rage nowadays, you will surely see a large selection of cordless angle grinders at any home supply or hardware store. Whether you should go corded or cordless depends on your intended use patterns and what you expect out of the tool.
When considering angle grinders, a corded tool is the best choice for any sort of continuous operation. Turning a grinding disc, polishing pad, or wire brush wheel under pressure takes a lot of power. Battery-operated grinders are good for short touch-up jobs or easy cut-offs, but even with the new cordless power technologies coming on line, extended operation will drain the battery very quickly, and the type of wheel being used and work being done will dramatically affect battery life. Cordless grinders also require a heavy battery, so they tend to weigh more than a similar-sized corded grinder. On the other hand, cordless grinders provide valuable mobility and are excellent for working in odd places.
For heavy cut-off work, large-scale rust removal, automotive body work, sanding and polishing, and any extended high-load tasks, the power and performance of a corded grinder will be the most satisfying. That said, when it comes to drills and grinders, we like to have both corded and cordless models in the shop.
Angle Grinders – Testing the Best
There are a lot of angle grinders out there today, from ultra-cheap, one-job Harbor Freight Tools models to professional-grade tools that are built to last for years and priced accordingly. We broke the field down into corded and cordless categories, covered a range of sizes, and stuck to a middle ground where quality and accessible price meet. If you are looking for a good grinder, take a look at what we found here.
5 Best Corded Angle Grinders - Reviews
1. Metabo WEP15-150 Quick 6 Inch Angle Grinder
Buyers ready to go to the high end price point on a corded angle grinder can get into German technology and build quality with the Metabo Quick 6” angle grinder. The Metabo is built for service in harsh industrial conditions and combines high-tech features with extreme durability. The 13.5 Amp motor has a patented dust guard and is designed to provide a long service life while putting out 900 watts of power and 9600 RPMs at rated load. The WEP15-150 produces 35 inch-lbs. of torque, 50% more than comparable grinders. To help control this power, the grinder has a soft-start function and an automatic torque-limiting clutch that protects the user by minimizing kick-back if the disc jams suddenly.
This 6 lb. grinder has the greatest power density in it's class, making work go faster. Other features include push-button disc change with no tools needed, an ergonomic paddle switch with a dead-man cutoff function, and a range of available accessories such as a multiple-position side handle bar, a front handle, and various guards and dust filters.
The WEP15-150 costs more than the typical grinder, but it is obviously built to last. The power it puts out is amazing for a small grinder, and a rotating gear housing that adapts the tool perfectly for cutting or left-handed users is a unique feature. With a sharp wheel in place, this machine flies through 3/8 inch steel, and grinding or sanding takes some caution because the grinder cuts so fast. The Metabo is the best corded tool in our test.
- Extreme torque and power
- Rotating gear housing is really useful
- Built to last, with replacement parts available
- High price-point
2. Bosch GWS13-50VSP High-Performance 5” Angle Grinder
The Bosch GWS13-50VSP is a professional-quality grinder at a user-friendly price point. It offers a level of quality engineering that some of the other top manufacturers are unfortunately losing in their rush to turn to China for manufacturing. This Bosch grinder has a beefy build and a 13 Amp motor that can run at 11500 no-load RPM. A variable speed switch allows speed to be limited to 2500 RPM, making this grinder good for slow-speed sanding and polishing applications. At about 12-1/2 by 4 inches, it is similar in size to many 4” grinders, and it only weighs 5.3lbs. This gives it one of the best power-to-weight ratios among compact grinders.
Bosch really packed the features into this machine, and the internals are designed for maximum longevity. Carbon brushes enhance durability and a Service Minder feature makes it easy to stay on top of preventative maintenance. The housing is designed to use motor airflow to direct dust away from key components, and direct motor cooling increases overload capabilities. Tool-free guard adjustment and a sturdy spindle lock enhance safety and convenience.
This is a very well-engineered grinder, and we like the attention to detail that is obvious in the build. The ambidextrous ergonomic side handle was the most comfortable and vibration-free of any grinder in the test. The grinder stands up to all operations with ease, including extended run periods while edge-grinding on slabs of granite counter top. Bosch tools compare favorably to DEWALT and Milwaukee, and this is our second-favorite compact size grinder.
- Engineered for comfort and durability
- Very nice side handle
- Useful variable speed setting
- Good customer service network
- Barrel grip diameter is too large for small hands
- Space between guard and handle is tight
3. DEWALT DW840 7 Inch Medium Angle Grinder
The DEWALT DW840 is a larger grinder that can take on heavier metal working or fabrication jobs, but it comes at an easy price point that is comparable to the cost of smaller machines. The DW840 is a 7” grinder with a 13 Amp, 3-horsepower motor that runs at 8000 RPMs to handle heavy-duty grinding and cutting applications. Experienced users will appreciate the power this machine puts out. The rear grip, ambidextrous side handle, and broad trigger help you keep that power under control, and an adjustable guard directs the sparks away no matter what work position you are in.
This grinder has the standard DeWalt quality features including an all-metal gear case, tough ABS plastic tool housing and handle, and sealed ball and roller bearings in the drive. The guard can be adjusted without tools, and external brush doors support easy inspection and servicing work. This grinder offers a nice power-to-weight ratio as it is only 16” long and weighs in at 8lbs. A spindle lock makes changing discs easy, with only an Allen wrench needed to loosen the center bolt.
We were impressed by the power and easy handling of the DW840, and it can certainly take care of any type of DIY cut-off or grinding task. Cutting a straight line through 3/8” mild steel plate does not even strain the DW840, and typical welding shop work is a breeze. The inevitable quality problems that come with Chinese manufacturing make us wary of the large tools in DeWalt’s consumer line, but there is no other way to get this much DEWALT grinder such a low price point. It should be fine for home shop use. Best value for the money in a 7” angle grinder.
- A lot of power in a small package
- One-tool disc changes
- Cuts well
- Comfortable for long-term use
- Quality control is hit-and-miss
- Heats up a bit in heavy material
- Cord end protector will split
4. DEWALT DWE402G 4-1/2 Inch Angle Grinder
The DeWalt DWE402G is a contractor-grade compact 4-1/2 inch corded angle grinder. It features the grounding system and three-prong plug required by professionals who must conform to work place safety regulations, and when it only costs a few extra dollars, we feel that the DIY tool owner should also take advantage of the extra safety and durability offered by a professional model. The DWE402G is one of the most powerful grinders in its class with an 11 Amp, 1.8 horsepower motor that can turn a no-load 11000 RPMs. This 12” grinder has a low-profile metal gear case designed for work in tight spaces, and DEWALT’s signature yellow ABS housing is tough as nails and shaped with a slim design that provides the smallest, most comfortable grip of any grinder in this power class.
Features that increase operating efficiency and extend tool life include the Dust Ejection System that keeps debris out of the tool, a One-Touch Guard that can rotate 360 degrees and be adjusted with a bump against the work surface, and the Quick-Change wheel release that lets you change discs with a push of a button and a single Allen wrench. The broad paddle switch is comfortable to use and ends the problem of debris-clogged slider switches. A safety lock-off prevents unwanted start-ups.
You generally cannot go wrong with a DeWalt power tool, and this grinder lived up to our expectations in that regard. The 5/8” – 11 UNC spindle and flange system takes most accessories on the market, and everything from metal cutting to finish sanding jobs are easily handled. The power of this grinder is very respectable for a compact tool, and the DeWalt DWE402G is our choice for the best 4-1/2 inch corded angle grinder.
- DEWALT quality
- Very comfortable grip
- A bit heavy at 6.5lbs.
- Switch safety lock-out may bother some users
Also Read: Squaring Up the Best Benchtop Jointers
5. Makita 9557PB 4-1/2 Inch Angle Grinder
For industrial grade quality in a slightly smaller, lighter package, the Makita 9557PB corded angle grinder makes an excellent choice and is available at a very nice price point. Small and light, this grinder still packs 7.5 Amps of power and delivers no-load speeds up to 11000 RPM. Makita has put a lot of tool engineering know-how into longevity features on the 9557PB. The use of an all-metal gear box and a ball bearing system increases drive train durability. Thick, closely-wound coil wires reduce resistance for lower heat production and energy loss. The tool housing has a labyrinth design to keep dust and debris from penetrating to the motor and bearings, and a zig-zag varnish coat seals the armature.
At 10-3/4 inches long and 4.5lbs., with a barrel grip diameter of only 2-1/2 inches, this is one of the easiest to operate angle grinders on the market. One-handed operation is no problem at all, and the full-length paddle switch stays comfortable as the hours go by. The switch can be locked out for safety or locked on for continuous operation. A push-button spindle lock allows fast one-tool disc changes.
Even though this grinder is made in China, Makita seems to have been able to keep a handle on quality control and the brand is still trusted by professionals and DIY home shop owners alike. This little grinder is quiet, smooth in the hand, takes on any light grinding and cutting task without a hitch, and fits up into nooks and crannies where other grinders cannot go. This is the smallest corded angle grinder in our test, and is the best choice if you need something more compact than the DeWalt 4-1/2 inch.
- Highly engineered for durability
- One-tool disc changes
- Very light and easy to handle
- Side handle will feel too small in large hands
- Full-length paddle switch takes getting used to
5 Best Cordless Angle Grinders - Reviews
1. Milwaukee Electric Tool 2780-20 M18 Fuel Angle Grinder
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel is the world’s first cordless grinder. This 18-volt grinder uses Milwaukee’s REDLITHIUM XC5.0 battery pack to produce the same power as a 110-V grinder with 2 X longer run time. The M18 Fuel is built around the same metal housing and gear train as Milwaukee’s heavy-duty corded grinders, and can deliver up to 10 X longer motor life than a corded model. The M18 Fuel grinder features an intelligent control system that optimizes battery life and charging efficiency while controlling power output with an electronic clutch system.
The M18 features a brushless 8500 RPM motor that holds a stable power level until the battery is drained. A no-lock paddle switch and the same anti-vibration side handle found on the Milwaukee corded grinder line make for comfortable work in any position. An outstanding feature of this grinder is the 100% tool-free capability to change grinding wheels and guard positions.
Milwaukee is earning respect with this new Fuel battery tool line, and the performance of this grinder is surprising for a cordless machine. It has a thin body and feels balanced in the hand, and weighs in at only about 8lbs. We were impressed by the grinder’s performance, but shocked by the price. Unless you already own the Fuel charger and a couple of batteries, prepare to strain the budget on this tool. However, this grinder can hold its own on a professional job site and is the best cordless grinder out there in our opinion.
You can watch the awesome video review. This video created by our friend hpiguys Workshop.
- Break-through cordless tool technology
- No-tool disc changes
- Well-balanced and comfortable to run
- Great power
- High price point for a full kit
- Bulky form factor
2. DEWALT DCG414T2 60V MAX Angle Grinder Kit
The DEWALT 60V MAX cordless grinder puts some fresh battery technology on display and offers power similar to a corded grinder at a price point that is very competitive with the other top models. DEWALT’s FLEXVOLT system allows the new 60V Max battery to be used on older DEWALT 20V tools so you can take your time upgrading to the company’s new line of 60V and 120V tools. This cordless grinder features a 13 Amp motor that puts out 1700 Watts/2.2 horsepower, equivalent to DEWALT’s 13 Amp corded grinder. It runs at 9000 RPM with no load and can take wheels from 4-1/2 to 6 inches.
This grinder is built tough and intended for professional applications. A Kickback Brake instantly stops the wheel if a pinch or bind is detected, and an E-Clutch system shuts the motor down. This greatly improves user comfort and safety. The brake also stops the wheel when the trigger is released, saving time by allowing the grinder to be set down immediately.
The DEWALT 60V Max kit is a good value with two batteries, a charger, 4-1/2 and 6 inch guards, and a carrying bag included. We liked the overall feel of the tool, and the all-metal housing, gearbox, and chuck assembly are built for durability. The grinder is a bit bulky, but it balances well in the hand and the narrow grip and broad trigger are comfortable. This is still new technology, but it looks like 60V is the wave of the future, and the value for the money on this full kit is tops.
- 6 Amp-Hour battery
- Good comfort and safety features
- DEWALT quality
- Charger only takes a single battery
- On the heavy side at 10lbs.
3. Makita XAG12PT1 18V X2 7" Angle Grinder Kit
Makita offers a complete grinder set-up at a reasonable price with the XAG12PT1 kit. This grinder mounts two of Makita’s 18-volt Lithium-Ion batteries to produce the power of a corded grinder while allowing users to stay with the LXT battery platform that runs their other Makita cordless tools. This professional-grade 7” grinder has an electronically-controlled brushless motor that puts out 7800 RPM while running cooler and more efficiently. An automatic speed change adjusts speed and torque during operation, and automatic torque control enhances user safety by shutting down the motor if the wheel suddenly slows or stops.
The typical Makita detailing is present in their cordless tool line, and features we liked include the rear-positioned no-lock paddle switch, the narrow handle and grip comfort pad, and the soft-start that makes touchy jobs like finish sanding much easier. The protective bump-guard roll cage around the batteries is useful. The weight on this grinder is a bit high at 11.4lbs. due to the twin batteries, but the tool is well-balanced. The guard adjusts with no tools, and the spindle lock button is over-sized to make for easy operation with gloved hands.
The Makita grinder, two batteries, a dual-battery charger, 2 guards, a carrying bag, and some cutting wheels make for a total package that will let you get working in minutes. The power of the XAG12PT1 definitely matches up to a corded tool, and battery life was good even during heavy cut-off and grinding work. The price point here is good for a two-battery kit, and you can expand into other Makita cordless tools with the same battery set up.
- Comes with everything needed to work
- Battery roll cage
- Two batteries included
- Makita quality and detailing
- Dual-battery mount increases weight
- Awkward form factor
4. Bosch GWS18V-45B14 18V 4-1/2" Angle Grinder Kit
Bosch builds some quality tools that come at affordable price points, and their 18V angle grinder kit beats the big name tools in the price war by including only a single battery. This grinder is near the top of its class for power, with a four-pole motor that can turn 10000 no-load RPMs. The Bosch CORE 18V 6 Amp-Hour battery gives 20% more runtime, and it has a nice slim profile and light weight, making this grinder one of the most compact and maneuverable of the cordless grinders we tested.
Another factor that trims this grinder down in size is Bosch’s optimized gear configuration that lets the all-metal gear housing be slightly smaller and narrower than others. The grinder has nice safety and comfort features such as restart protection that prevents start up when changing batteries, and an ambidextrous anti-vibration handle. Lifetime brushes extend motor life, and Bosch CoolPack 2.0 technology keeps the battery and tool cooler during heavy use.
We think the Bosch GWS18V is a great cordless grinder for DIY because it provides a low-cost way into a pro-grade tool. It is very light at around 4lbs. and has a trim form-factor that makes for comfortable handling. The battery charges quickly, making it possible to get by with one battery. There is good value for the money here, and it is easy to add another battery later or even expand your collection of Bosch tools. They are dependable and durable without the high price of the big names. Best low-cost cordless grinder.
- Complete kit at a low cost
- Runs cool and vibration-free
- High-powered for an 18V machine
- Good customer service network
- No toolless wheel change feature
- Short barrel makes a tight fit for large hands
5. VonHaus 20V MAX Cordless 4-1/2 Inch Angle Grinder
VonHaus is not a particularly well-known tool brand, but their 20-volt cordless grinder comes in at a bargain price point with everything needed to go to work. The grinder, battery, charger, a cutting wheel, and a tool bag can be had for less than the bare tool price of the name-brand grinders. And with 20 volts of power out of a 4Ah Lithium-Ion battery spinning the motor at 11000 RPM, the Von Haus grinder competes in performance with machines costing 4 X as much.
This grinder has all the expected features including a high-spec motor, an aluminum motor housing, and a two-stage paddle-style trigger. The ambidextrous handle is built to reduce vibration, and it stores the wrench used for wheel changes. The battery has LED charge indicator lights and takes only 100 minutes to charge.
VonHaus tools are made to serve the DIY market, and they are surprisingly well-built for their purpose. Battery life on this grinder is similar to other cordless tools, and the power level holds steady until it is time to charge. This is not a heavy-duty tool, but it is a good basic grinder for the occasional home user, and you can put one in your shop without breaking the bank.
- Comes with full accessory pack
- Very affordable
- Battery life is good
- Unknown company
- Durability is untested
Video Credit - WeldFever
Choosing the Best Angle Grinder
Our testing convinced us of one thing we already knew: corded grinders are best for serious, long-term power output. We also learned something new: getting serious, long-term power output from a cordless grinder costs money. The DIY-type who is likely to be working in a garage or shop near a power outlet can treat themselves to an excellent Metabo grinder and save a lot over buying a Milwaukee or Makita cordless. However, there is no question that mobility is a wonderful thing. There are ten great tools here, so consider your primary use patterns carefully, then choose the best angle grinder to meet your specific needs.