Best Cordless Angle Grinders of 2018 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

a powerful machine in actionAngle grinders were once the exclusive domain of electricians, professional welders, general contractors, and other specialized tradespeople.  However, the introduction of powerful, easy-to-use, cordless grinders makes it a reasonable option for a DIYers’ toolkit, too.

Still, it’s vital to make the best cordless angle grinder choice for you.  This means researching brand name competitors and checking off important specifications worthy of a handyperson’s trust.

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

Our 5 Favorite Models of 2018

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Dewalt DCG412B
Dewalt DCG412B
(Top Pick)

Check Price
5 lbs4.9/5
Makita XAG03Z
Makita XAG03Z

Check Price
8 lbs4.7/5
Hitachi G18DSLP4
Hitachi G18DSLP4
(Best for the Money)

Check Price
4 lbs4.5/5
Metabo W 18 LTX
Metabo W 18 LTX

Check Price
5 lbs4.3/5
Milwaukee 495-2680-20
Milwaukee 495-2680-20

Check Price
6 lbs4.1/5

5 Best Cordless Angle Grinders – Reviews:

1. Dewalt DCG412B Cordless Angle Grinder – Top Pick

Dewalt DCG412B

Dewalt is arguably one of the world’s top five tool brands, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that its DCG412B 20V MAX* Lithium Ion grinder (“Dewalt DCG412B”) is our top pick.

Thanks to this surprisingly powerful machine, going cordless is no longer a handicap with regards to productivity. The 8,000 RPM motor and 20V run-time battery permit longer cutting and grinding operation before recharging becomes necessary.

Safety and convenience are built-in for its owners via the Quick-Change™ wheel release, which permits tool-free wheel changes, i.e. no wrench necessary. Dewalt DCG412B’s tool-free guard allows for quick and easy adjustments and positioning, and the two-finger trigger switch with lock-off button offers convenient activation with easier gripping.

At four pounds, the Dewalt DCG412B is one of the lightest angle grinders in its category and includes a 5″ X 1/4″ metal grinding wheel to get you started right out of the box. Use it as specified, and it will be a valuable tool for years to come.

Pros
  • 3-year limited warranty; 1-year post-purchase free service.
  • Side handle gives additional comfort and operating options.
  • Versatile, great for jobs requiring ladder-climbing.
  • Quieter than competing models, corded grinders.
Cons
  • Not meant for heavy construction, industrial use.
  • Battery requires cool-down before recharge.

2. Makita XAG03Z Lithium-Ion Angle Grinder – The Runner-up

Makita XAG03Z

The Makita XAG03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Cut-Off/Angle Grinder (“Makita XAG03Z”) offers enough first-class benefits to warrant consideration as a top choice.  Notably, a brushless motor favored by many professionals – a key to lower temperature operation, better torque (RPM) matching with actual use, and overall longer life.  If that wasn’t enough, the Makita XAG03Z’s design is sleek, compact (only 14 1/4“long) and easy to handle.

Optimum energy use allows it to be used for grinding, sanding or cutting a variety of metals and other materials: pipe, tile, concrete, conduit, etc. without having to keep a corded grinder close at hand.

Of the cordless angle grinders reviewed here, the Makita XAG03Z was the Dewalt DCG412B’s closest competitor.  In fact, it was close to being our top choice.   However, it doesn’t receive our highest recommendation because Makita has recently discontinued this popular model and at eight pounds (including battery), the grinder is a bit on the heavy side.

Pros
  • Good power rating for most DIY-type jobs.
  • Consistent speed with high-level grinds.
  • Battery charge indicator for knowing when to switch out.
Cons
  • Discontinued by manufacturer.
  • High rate of battery drainage.

3. Hitachi G18DSLP4 Cordless Angle Grinder – Best for the Money

Hitachi G18DSLP4

Hitachi Power Tools clocks in with its economical G18DSLP4 18V Lithium Ion 4-1/2″ Angle Grinder.  Thanks to its high torque motor, the Hitachi G18DSLP4 can grind metal as well as cut pipe and concrete.   Like its lightweight, compact competitors, the safety features are strong: overcurrent circuit protection to prevent permanent motor damage, a zero-voltage safety reset, and easy external replacement of worn carbon brushes.

The Hitachi G18DSLP4 base tool is backed by a one-year warranty and presents itself as a cost-effective alternative to corded electric saws – especially when cutting and grinding metal.  Even when sharpening various items like lawn mower or tractor blades.

With all this going for it, it’s easy to see why the Hitachi G18DSLP4 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
  • Comparable performance to many grinders double and triple its price.
  • Rubberized grip handle less prone to fatigue and slippage.
  • 9,100 RPM no-load speed among best in class.
Cons
  • Must purchase batteries separately.
  • 3-amp battery maximum limits project choices.

4. Metabo W 18 LTX Battery Angle-Grinder

Metabo W 18 LTX

Germany-based Metabo may not be one of the most recognizable names in the cordless tool niche, but its W 18 LTX 125 Quick Cordless Angle Grinder (“Metabo W 18 LTX”) still merits a good look.

Starting with its sleek design, the Metabo W 18 LTX makes it easy to work in limited space or overhead.  Like its main competitors, it offers restart protection, tool-free disc changes, and a smooth, electronically-controlled start-up.   In addition, you can swivel the battery pack to better access difficult areas.  Among several positives from a tool backed by highly-regarded German craftsmanship.

What prevents the Metabo W 18 LTX from being ranked higher in our list is its high noise level during operation, usually a turn-off for the DIY crowd.   Also, be aware of the “tool only” option which forces you to buy the battery pack separately.  This somewhat hides its above average cost vis-à-vis competing models.

Pros
  • Detachable dust filter protects motor from dangerous particles.
  • 3-year warranty on lithium battery pack.
Cons
  • Noise emission on the high side.
  • Longer spindle length than needed.

5. Milwaukee 495-2680-20 Electric Angle Grinding Tool

Milwaukee 495-2680-20

Milwaukee Electric Tools – a pioneer in cordless grinders – nevertheless comes up short with its Milwaukee 2680-20 M18 18V Lithium Ion 4 1/2 Inch Cordless Grinder (“Milwaukee 495-2680-20”). First of all, it only advertises the base tool offering, which means that you must add on the battery and charger costs separately. In addition, batteries drain quickly for anything beyond basic grinding and cutting.

Working with this angle grinder will make you feel underpowered regardless of previous cutting experience. Either the time delay from changing/recharging batteries will ridiculously lengthen your job. Or, for certain “small” jobs, you will have too many forced stops to deal with.

The deciding factor with the Milwaukee 495-2680-20 is that many DIY, professional and industrial-class jobs it may be suited for can be performed by more powerful, efficient and frankly better overall grinders. If you love Milwaukee, there is no choice but to consider one of its other models.

Pros
  • Compatibility with Milwaukee M-18 family of batteries.
  • Standard adjustable guard and paddle switch.
Cons
  • Almost archaic when compared to today’s top competitors.
  • Battery gets too warm during use and recharge.
  • Made in China, source of quality control issues?
  • Too weak to leave aside your corded grinder.

Buying Guide

Finding the right cordless angle grinder is not always easy and demands that you do your homework.  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 cordless grinder needs to be slim and compact enough to justify 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 brand offerings tend to be well streamlined, and weigh between four to eight pounds.  If possible, try climbing a ladder or negotiating a tight space with it prior to purchase.

2. Safety Features.

Safety is always a major consideration for tool purchases and cordless angle grinders are no exception.  Most top competitors over a bevy of 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. Disc Options.

An angle grinder should offer several disc accessory options that let you execute different types of cutting and grinding projects.  Most companies offer a basic set of metal and/or stainless cutting wheels to get you started right away.  However, you should look for other options as well (e.g. general-purpose metal grinding wheels, diamond grinders for cutting tiles and stone, discs for polishing applications (lambs wool), etc.).

Most regular discs are 4”-5” in diameter with a 5/8” arbor size (center hole).   You should also consider the disc’s thickness, historic wheel durability and overall material make-up.

4. Grinder Disc Speed.

Grinder disc speed is not a trivial matter, often hitting an 8,000 to 9,000 rpm maximum during operation.  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 shop floor.

5. Power Source (Motors, 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.

It’s critical to inquire about the rate of battery drainage 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 budget.

Consider brushless motors – said to be more efficient than traditional brushed motors and without need of replacement carbon brushes.

6. Personal Comfort Level.

Having tools that just feel right is a must for everyone, regardless of experience level.  Cordless 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 hours at a time.  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 (see above)?  How will it work in tight situations?

7. Price.

The old adage “You get what you pay for” holds true for cordless grinders.  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 the job done in a reasonable time.  Basic grinding jobs may only require one standard battery, whereas welders and other professionals often require several charged batteries on hand. Note that we have an angle grinder for welders buying guide found here.

If you are approaching a decision but 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.

Regardless of technical specifications, you probably want a cordless angle grinder made by a recognized market leader and backed by a good warranty.  Ideally, large retail networks can quickly and easily supply replacement parts and accessories.

Conclusion

The Dewalt DCG412B is the winner of our test, with the Hitachi G18DSLP4 ranked best for the money.  All five cordless angle grinders reviewed offer distinct features (e.g. motor, battery quality, operating noise, ease of use, built-in safety features etc.).

Before choosing a cordless angle grinder, 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 cordless angle grinders have sensitized you to important issues prior to purchase.   Even if cordless 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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