Best Angle Grinders for Welding 2018 – Top Picks & Reviews

at workAngle grinders are useful tools for professional and dedicated “weekend” welders alike.  However, searching for the best grinder is not a trivial venture.  You must research brand name competitors, check off important specifications worthy of a welder’s trust, and put the tools to the test.

Fortunately, high-quality angle grinders are relatively inexpensive, allowing you to concentrate on benefits that will move your welding projects forward.

Choosing the best angle grinder for welding is an important decision requiring careful analysis of the main options available.  That is why we have five in-depth angle grinder for welding reviews for you to consider.  Whether you place greater emphasis on performance, versatility, or something else, these reviews should help you choose wisely.

Our Top 5 Favorite Grinders of 2018

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Makita 9557NB2
Makita 9557NB2
(Top Pick)

Check Price
5 lbs4.9/5
DEWALT DCG413B
DEWALT DCG413B

Check Price
4 lbs4.7/5
Bosch 1375A
Bosch 1375A
(Best for the Money)

Check Price
5 lbs4.5/5
DEWALT DWE402
DEWALT DWE402

Check Price
6 lbs4.3/5
Black & Decker G950
Black & Decker G950

Check Price
7 lbs3.9/5

5 Best Angle Grinders for Welding – Reviews:

1. Makita 9557NB2 – Top Pick

Makita 9557NB2

The Makita 9557NB2 is a first-class tool for welding, a 4.5″ AC/DC angle grinder that earns our Top Pick label, thanks to many positive features and real-time operating benefits.

For starters, Makita and most online and traditional retailers offer two grinders for the price of one. Therefore, you have the option of offering the second one as a Father’s Day gift, or keeping it for your own use, i.e. as a fully-charged backup to avoid needless work interruptions.

Practically speaking, the Makita 9557NB2’s powerful 7.5-amp motor delivers up to 11,000 RPM for high welding performance. You get durability from its solid construction and protective varnish, which serves to seal the grinder’s bearings and motor from external contamination.

For convenience, this Makita offers a slide switch with lock-on, a side handle that can be positioned on both sides, and a push button spindle lock. Its 2.5” small-circumference, barrel-grip handle is a winner for hands of all shapes and sizes. At four and a half pounds, the Makita 9557NB2 is a light angle grinder that makes longer, more difficult welding tasks less arduous.

Pros
  • AC/DC switch offers an alternative power source option.
  • Reduced heat and energy loss from tightly wound coil wire.
  • 100% ball-bearing design and durable metal gear housing.
  • Suitable for a wide range of welding applications.
Cons
  • Forced to buy batteries separately.
  • No complementary grinding wheel(s) offered.

2. DEWALT DCG413B – The Runner-up

DEWALT DCG413B

The cordless Dewalt DCG413B 4.5 in. 20V MAX* XR® Paddle Switch Small Angle Grinder (“Dewalt DCG413B”) merits consideration as a top choice. Notably, a brushless motor favored by many welders – a key to lower temperature operation, better torque (RPM) matching with actual use, and overall longer life. If that wasn’t enough, the Dewalt DCG413B’s design is slim, compact (only 12.2“long) and easy to handle.

Optimum energy use allows it to be used for welding – as well as grinding, sanding or cutting a variety of metals and other materials like tiles and concrete. Safety features include its heralded Kickback Break, which uses force to stop the wheel (and the grinder itself) when a pinch, bind-up, or stall occurs.

Of the angle grinders for welding reviewed here, the Dewalt DCG413B was the Makita 9557NB2’s closest competitor. In fact, it was close to being our top choice. However, it doesn’t receive our highest recommendation because of its lower motor operating speed (9,000 RPM) and lack of sealing.

Pros
  • Braking occurs in less than two seconds.
  • Requires two-stage trigger for grinder re-activation.
  • Brushless technology extends battery life.
Cons
  • Safety push button sometimes gets stuck.
  • High rate of battery drainage.

3. Bosch 1375A – Best for the Money

Bosch 1375A

The Bosch 1375A 4-1/2” Angle Grinder (“Bosch 1375A”) earns a place on our list as a ‘Best for the Money’ pick. So, beyond price, what makes this particular Bosch grinder model stand out?

First off, its 6-amp, 11,000 RPM (no-load) rated motor ranks it among the most powerful grinders in its class. Making it well-suited for welding applications like metal fabrication, concrete restoration, and pipe fitting. Comfort and control are achieved via a bevy of user-friendly features: Bosch’s light weight (3.75lbs), lock-on slide switch, two-position side handle, and secure grip handle.

The Bosch 1375A also comes with a one-year limited warranty from the time of purchase.

It’s easy to see why the Bosch 1375A is rated “Best for the Money” in our survey. However, its lack of power during heavy use and inability to consistently complete longer cuts on one charge prevent it from surpassing the above two choices.

Pros
  • Epoxy-coated field windings help extends grinder life.
  • Two 4.5” abrasive grinding wheels included.
  • 11,000 RPM no-load motor speed among best in class.
Cons
  • Newer power switch lock harder to operate.
  • Blue plastic casing not shatterproof.

4. DEWALT DWE402

DEWALT DWE402

The Dewalt DWE402 4-1/2″ (115mm) Small Angle Grinder (“Dewalt DWE402”) retains several positive features of the Dewalt family of power tools. Notably, among the best power: size ratios in its class – thanks to its 11-amp AC/DC 11,000 rpm motor. It has a proprietary dust ejection system, oversized brushes for longer life, and numerous other durability features (e.g. top mounted and protected spindle lock button, oversized threading).

So, why the low ranking? The paddle switch is a departure from other Dewalt grinders which operate with side switches and trigger switches. Its performance is less than perfect. Also, despite its much-vaunted power rating, the severe downside is that it will overheat with welding jobs classified as industrial or close to industrial level.

Given the wide variety of welding-ready grinders within the Dewalt family, the DWE402’s shortcomings should not dissuade you from considering other options, such as the DCG413B reviewed above. Regardless, your search for an angle grinder should not end here.

Pros
  • Versatile tool suitable for several types of cutting jobs.
  • Standard Dewalt warranty deal (3-years limited, 1-year free service).
Cons
  • Switching is not always smooth.
  • Must approach Dewalt for specific cutting wheel guards.
  • More suited for moderate, intermittent use.
  • Grinder motor gets dangerously hot with extended use.

5. Black & Decker G950

Black & Decker G950

Black and Decker is such an iconic name in power tools, it’s almost a shame that one of its offerings is at the bottom of our list. Unfortunately, that is the fate of the Black & Decker G950 Small Angle Grinder.

The G950 does have several redeeming features. For example, its 8.5-amp (10,000 rpm base load) motor is powerful enough for fast, repetitive grinding. Corded and electric-powered, it includes a three-position handle for working comfort, competitive spindle sizes and one metal grinding wheel. The entire out-of-box package is backed by Black and Decker’s two-year warranty.

What prevents the G950 from being ranked higher in our survey are significant reliability, performance and maintenance issues. It offers only a few hours of consistent use before issues of manufacturing quality, noise, etc. come to the forefront. Unfortunately, Black and Decker customer service doesn’t always come through, even during the warranty period.

Best advice – take your serious welding and grinding needs elsewhere.

Pros
  • Easy switching for small jobs.
  • Extended rubber grip handle.
Cons
  • Weight (6.5 to 7 pounds) considerably higher than best competitors.
  • Sticky trigger switch after extended use.
  • Excessive vibration.
  • Spindle lock button sticks
  • Only works as a throw-away tool.

Buying Guide

Finding an angle grinder for welding is not always easy and demands that you do proper research.  Below are some of the most important criteria that can better direct you to the ultimate decision:

1. Unit size.

Right off the bat, you know that a grinder needs to be slim and compact – especially if you are considering moving away from traditional, corded machines.   A bulky unit that doesn’t feel comfortable in your hands will bring you nothing but grief.  The most reputable grinders for welding tend to be well streamlined (roughly 12-14” long), and weigh between four to six pounds.

2. Safety Features.

Safety is always a major consideration for tool purchases and angle grinders for welders are no exception.  Most name brands offer many safety features, which include but are not limited to:

  • Tool-free disc changing.
  • Tool guards.
  • Easy to use trigger switch with safety lockout.
  • Dust ejection system.
  • Overcurrent circuit protection.
  • Zero-voltage safety reset.

3. Grinder and Grinder Disc Rotational Speed (Torque).

Grinder disc speed is not a trivial matter, often hitting 9,000 to 11,000 rpm maximum during operation.  Thus, it’s important not to exceed the maximum speed rating, because discs can be easily stressed and warped creating a safety hazard.  At worst, they can crack and jeopardize your safety and that of others on the welding shop floor.  The right combination of high torque and optimal safety features are what you should aim for.

4. Power Issues (Corded vs. Cordless, Motor, Batteries).

While many professionals and hobbyists consider cordless angle grinders as a convenience vs. power trade-off, some of the latest models do hold their own when it comes to small and medium-sized applications.  Today’s cordless grinder motors range from about 8,000 RPM to 10,000 RPM.

Still, it’s critical to ask about the battery drainage rate and the recharge time, since poor performing batteries can significantly extend your work time.   The 1.5-3-amp lithium ion battery that comes out of the box may be good enough for you, may not be good enough for you.  Consider your project needs and factor in backup batteries when preparing your welding budget.

5. Brushless versus Brushed Motors.

Consider units with brushless motors – said to be more efficient than traditional brushed motors and without the need to replace carbon brushes – if you are contemplating serious, ongoing welding work.  Its “intelligence” allows for variable speeds based on the actual task, more power, and less energy loss due to having less moving parts.

However, greater motor efficiency and durability literally has its costs, about a 25-30% premium over brushed units.  Together with the additional battery costs, it is easy to see why the brushless option remains outside the reach of most DIYers.

6. Personal Comfort Level.

A welder needs tools that just feel right.  Angle grinders are no exception and fortunately, the top picks all offer great handling features that make work something to look forward to.

If you visit a retail hardware store, grab the side handle to judge whether you could work with it for long stretches.  Can you easily turn the grinder on and off via a convenient paddle switch, even while wearing work gloves?  Will you be forced to change and recharge batteries on a regular basis?  What will tough welding projects be like in tight situations?

7. Price.

The old adage “You get what you pay for” holds true for grinders regardless of the overall technical specifications.  If you are price-conscious, be aware of “tool-only” pricing which does not factor in the cost of batteries or battery packs.

Your primary project goals also determine price, since you will need sufficient battery amperage to get work done in a reasonable amount of time.  Whereas basic grinding jobs may only require one standard battery, welding applications often require several charged batteries at hand on the worksite.

If you feel the budget crunch, choose safety considerations over higher performance.  Chances are that the performance gap among similar grinders is minimal, but you can never be too safe.

Conclusion

The Makita 9557NB2 is our choice for best angle grinder for welding, with the Bosch 1375A ranked best welding grinder for the money.  Quality continues to improve across the board, with many models to choose from across all price ranges.

Before choosing an angle grinder for welding, talk to experts, prioritize your needs, find a model whose features come closest to meeting those needs, and personally judge the price/value trade-off.

If you experience buyer’s remorse upon receiving your grinder, contact customer service immediately to clarify parts and operating procedures.  A reputable company will gladly offer advice, instructional videos, technical assistance, and (as a last resort) a model switch.

Hopefully, these reviews of angle grinders for welding have sensitized you to important issues prior to purchase.   Even if welding grinders play a small role in your professional or DIY duties, we hope that by using this information, it is easier for you to make the right decision.

Good luck!

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