The utility of the angle grinder is limited only by your imagination and your skill. So, if you want to push your craft to the next level, you cannot say no to an angle grinder. But, if you’re not familiar with them, it might be hard for you to identify the best angle grinder for your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best angle grinders of 2018, as well as a comprehensive buying guide, to make your life easier. So, are you ready to find out what tool is right for you? Let’s get started!
(Best for the Money)
|Makita XAG03Z 18V LXT|
(Best Cordless Pick)
|Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2-Inch||12 lbs||4.4/5|
|PORTER-CABLE PC60TPAG||6 lbs||4.2/5|
What goes into making the best angle grinder on the market? Well, there are three parameters to consider: performance, durability, and safety. The 9564CV scored high on all these parameters. Drawing a current of 13 A, this machine delivers excellent torque across all five-speed settings.
Using the variable speed settings, you can balance torque and speed per your needs. This makes the machine extremely versatile. For instance, you can choose a high-torque and low-speed setting to prepare an irregular surface for welding. After the weld, you can choose a low-torque and high-speed setting to add finishing touches.
Next, comes the armature and gear assembly. The 9564CV comes with Makita’s trademark SJS technology, which protects the motor and gear from damage. In addition to this, the labyrinth construction and zig-zag armature varnish insulate and protect the gears and winding from dust and debris. Also, the armature coils use thick wires that are built to last.
As far as safety goes, the 9564CV is one of the safest angle grinders out there. It has a slide switch on top. You can lock the switch into position for extended use. The tool-less wheel guard system allows you to change the position of the guard easily. So, you will never have to remove the guard and compromise your safety. Lastly, it has a side handle that you can attach on the left or right, depending on your needs.
All in all, not only is the 9564CV the best 4.5″ angle grinder out there. It’s also an incredible machine that brings together everything you need in an angle grinder. Well, almost everything. The Makita 9564CV commands a high price tag. But, if you are looking for a long-lasting high-performance machine, this is the tool for you.
Although variable speed is an amazing feature to have in an angle grinder, it’s not a must-have. For example, if your primary intention is to add finishing touches to your weld, you don’t need an insane amount of torque. This Dewalt will perform as well as the Makita when it comes to finishing off your welds. Moreover, if you work on metals with a low profile, you’ll never need the torque required to remove large chunks of metal.
So, if you don’t see yourself performing high-intensity grinding tasks, you can save money by going for the Dewalt DWE402. It’s the best angle grinder for the money. The DWE402 is a single-speed angle grinder that rotates at 11,000 rpm. Courtesy of an 11 A motor, the DWE402 provides enough torque at its speed to perform light to medium intensity jobs.
While grinding, debris poses the greatest threat to the motor. Manufacturers have different ways of dealing with this problem. The 9564CV protects its internal parts by reinforcing the motor. The DWE402 protects its motor by redirecting debris using a trademark Dust Ejection System. Like the 9564CV, the DWE402 also uses a high-quality bevel gear system to transfer the power from the motor to the grinding blade. So, when it comes to durability, the Dewalt machine is as good as our top pick.
Now, the DWE402 comes with a paddle switch. From a safety point of view, I prefer slide switches to paddle switches. But, the switch on the DWE402 has a lock-off system that prevents unintentional starts. The grinder also has a lock-on system for long-term operation.
Perhaps, the best thing about this machine is its warranty. Dewalt offers a three-year limited warranty on the DWE402. On top of that, you get a year of free service and a 90-day money back guarantee. On the whole, if variable speed control isn’t important to you, then this is the best machine for you.
All in all, we think that this is one of the best budget angle grinders out there right now.
Our top pick in the budget segment and the high-end segment are corded machines. But, if you’re looking for a cordless angle grinder, the best one you can buy is the Makita XAG03Z. Unlike other cordless grinders, which force you to choose between long battery life and high-performance, the XAG03Z offers you the best of both worlds.
It has an 18 V lithium-ion battery that is rated at 4 Ah. If you use the machine at its full power, the charge will last for about 15 minutes. While this is impressive uptime for a cordless angle grinder, it cannot compete with corded machines. So, before going for a cordless machine, you must weigh the advantages of high portability against the disadvantages of low-uptime.
Among cordless machines, Makita products are in a class of their own. The XAG03Z belongs to the elite category of LXT cordless machines. The LXT system provides an industry best performance and charging time. In addition to this, the machine has the Star Protection Computer Controls that allow you to monitor the status of your battery in real time. With the bonus of the XPT Extreme Protection Technology, you get a cordless angle grinder that is powerful, smart, and robust.
Interestingly, the XAG03Z has an automatic speed change system that switches operation from high-torque to high-speed depending on the load. But, don’t let the “high-torque” trick you. Cordless machines cannot outperform corded machines in terms of torque no matter what. Cordless angle grinders are best suited for adding light finishing touches to your work. It’s not a heavy-duty material mover.
In addition to grinding, another popular application of angle grinders is cutting. Using the appropriate cut-off blade, you can cut any material from metal to masonry. However, cutting with an angle grinder is dangerous. That’s why you must invest in a quality machine if your primary intention in buying an angle grinder is to cut things.
Among angle grinders, the Makita 9557PBX1 is perhaps the best suited for cutting operations. Although it rotates as fast as the DWE402, the power behind the rotation is considerably less. While the DWE402 runs on an 11 A motor, the 9557PBX1 runs on a 7.5 A motor. Consequently, the torque on the 9557PBX1 stands midway between that of a cordless machine and a high-end corded machine.
Now, this torque is enough for cutting, but it’s not ideal for heavy-duty grinding. However, this machine does come with the zig-zag varnish, thick coils, and labyrinth construction used in the 9564CV. So, durability is not an issue. Also, you get a diamond blade as standard, making this perfect for working on concrete right out of the box.
It also has dual mode operation that lets you use it on AC or DC power. There’s also a sturdy case to store your tools and accessories. So, this is the complete package for your cutting needs.
This is simply one of the best angle grinders for concrete.
If you’re looking for a low-cost model that performs satisfactorily well, consider buying the PC60TPAG. It’s a single speed angle grinder with a no-load speed of 11,000 rpm. Since it draws only 7 A of current, this machine does not deliver nearly as much torque as the 9564CV or the DWE402.
However, you can use the machine for basic grinding, sanding, brushing, and cutting operations. Like all other models on our list, this machine also offers tool-less guard adjustment. But, what’s interesting about this machines is that you can fix the side handle in three positions, left, right, or top.
The model does not have a lock-on switch. On one hand, this makes it hard on the hands during extended operations. On the other hand, the absence of a lock-on switch automatically cuts off the tool when dropped.
Since this is a budget product, you will not find any special performance or durability enhancements. But, compared to other budget products, the PC60TPAG is well-made. The 3-year warranty affirms this point. Not to mention 1 year of free service and 90-day money back guarantee.
This product is right for those who are looking for a high-quality product in the budget segment. It offers a good combination of function, build quality, warranty, and safety. But, you must understand that this machine cannot compete with high-end machines in terms of performance.
When buying any power tool, you can compare certain measurable parameters, such as performance, size, weight, and compatibility with accessories. Then you step into the realm of the intangible and unquantifiable, such as build quality, durability, and handling. Knowing how to make sound decisions regarding both measurable and non-measurable parameters is what separates a good buy from a great buy. In this buying guide, I will help you get around these factors so that you can be sure you are putting your money on the best product. So, let’s get to it!
At its core, the angle grinder is a torque dependent machine. Torque is the rotational force a grinder can exert on the workpiece. More torque translates to more force. Many people erroneously focus on the rotations per minute or rpm. The rpm does not convey a realistic picture of an angle grinder’s capability. Here’s an example to illustrate that point.
The Dewalt DWE402 and the Porter Cable PC60TPAG operate at a no-load speed of 11,000 rpm. Now, the former runs on an 11 A motor and the latter runs on a 7 A motor. Thus, the Dewalt produces more torque than the Porter Cable.
When you buy an angle grinder, look at the no-load speed in conjunction with the operating current. To keep things simple, here are two points you must remember regarding torque, current rating, and rpm.
However, it’s easy for unscrupulous manufacturers to produce angle grinders that draw a lot of currents but waste most of it. So, in addition to the current rating, you must look at some important aspects of the motor and gear assembly.
Angle grinder manufacturers understand that their customers come from a wide range of backgrounds and that many of them don’t understand the nuances of motor design and mechanical power transmission. So, they make it a point to list any improvements made to make their motor durable and efficient.
For instance, Makita angle grinders, such as the 9564CV and the 9557PBX1, come with rubber labyrinth rings that protect the motor and bearings from debris. Plus, these machines have a coat of zig-zag varnish that insulates the winding from particulate matter. The coils on these machines are made of thick wires. This increases the motor’s lifespan and durability.
Another example is DEWALT’s trademark Dust Ejection System that increases the durability of the machine by ejecting dust and debris that enter the machine. In most cases, if there’s anything interesting or unique about a machine’s motor or gear assembly, the manufacturer will tell you.
When companies don’t tell you anything about the motor, you can safely assume that the mechanism is unremarkable. Another feature to look for in angle grinders is overload protection; especially when buying a cordless angle grinder. Now that we’ve looked at performance and durability, let’s look at the next factor – safety.
The angle grinder is one of the most dangerous power tools. The reason is that when you use an angle grinder, the grinding wheel wears down. So, dust and debris fly off the workpiece and the grinding wheel. What’s worse, a lot of these fragments come directly towards you. In addition to this, there’s an added risk of the disk breaking. If this happens, the resulting shrapnel can cause serious injury.
So, when buying an angle grinder, make sure you get a wheel guard. Wheel guards come in two common types: Type 1 and Type 27. Type 1 wheel guards are used in conjunction with grinding wheels and Type 27 wheels are used in conjunction with cut-off wheels. Thus, you got to make sure you get a wheel guard that matches your application.
Next, buy an angle grinder with an adjustable wheel guard. Many people remove the guard on the angle grinder when they need to grind along awkward angles. Now, this is a disaster waiting to happen. Don’t take the guard off – ever. Instead, go for a machine that allows for tool-less guard adjustment.
Contrary to what people think, lock-on is not the opposite of lock-off. If that were true, every machine that had a lock-on would also have a lock-off. But, that’s not the case. Annoyingly, lock-on and lock-off are unrelated terms.
A lock-on switch allows you to keep the machine running without having to press the switch continuously. This is extremely helpful for long-duration tasks. However, lock-on switches cause a safety concern. If you drop your machine while it’s locked on, it continues to operate.
A lock-off switch is a mechanism that prevents an accidental start, kind of like a safety on a gun. For example, the Dewalt DWE402 has a paddle switch at the bottom of the handle. While placing it on your workbench, if you accidentally put it on top of something, it might trigger the switch and activate the machine. To prevent such things from happening, manufacturers add a lock-off mechanism. In the case of the DWE402, you have to push the lock-off lever back before pressing the paddle switch. If you don’t push it back, the machine won’t start. So, the lock-off feature is a good thing to have, the lock-on feature is handy but can be more dangerous than its worth.
Another thing you ought to consider is the type of switch. Switches come in two types: paddle and slide. Paddle switches are easier to use than slide switches because you can use more fingers to push the paddle down. For slide triggers, you must heavily rely on your thumb to do all the work. This can be annoying. But, when you buy a paddle switch angle grinder, make sure it comes with a lock-off switch.
If you’re going for an angle grinder, the easiest thing to do is to revisit our angle grinder reviews section. After reading the product buying guide, you should have the insights you need to choose the right product for your own unique needs. Alternatively, you can use the information from the buying guide to find a product yourself. If you want to find a product on your own, I suggest you look at angle grinders from Makita, Dewalt, Black + Decker, Hitachi, and Bosch.
Fundamentally, the factors that go into buying a good angle grinder revolve around power, durability, and safety. If you give due consideration to all these factors, you can be sure that you’re spending your money on the right product.
However, the overarching factor that dominates the three factors I mentioned is the cost. If you’re ready to spend over $100, you can pick a high-end model. A budget of $50 to $100, puts the high-end brands out of reach. But, there are plenty of excellent mid-range angle grinders on the market. However, if your budget is under $50, you’ll have to be content with low-end products on the market.
Remember, the main thing that separates these tiers is the power. In terms of durability, functionality, and safety, there are excellent products in every range. Once you understand your power requirement, you may realize that you don’t need a high-end brand after all. But, no matter what, do not make compromises regarding safety and durability.
The angle grinder was invented in the 1950s. Since then, the tool has come a long way in terms of performance, function, and safety. Today, the angle grinders on the market are of such high quality that it can be difficult to identify the right product for you. However, with a little bit of thought on your part and the information on this guide, you can find the ideal angle grinder for your needs. Good luck in your search!
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