Last Updated on August 24, 2020
Die Grinders are jack-of-all-trades tools, switching between tasks as frequently as their wide range of bits are swapped out. If you’re like most people, you don’t need a tool that does everything. Instead, you’re looking for a model that does a couple of things really well and won’t break the bank.
It’s not always clear which die grinder is right for you when shopping online. Manufacturers aren’t shy about hyping up their product descriptions to make the sale. That’s why we compiled these reviews of some of the best die grinders on the market. We want you to be well-informed and to get the tool that best suits your needs.
|Best Overall||Makita GD0601||
|Chicago Pneumatic CP860||
|Best Value||Ingersoll Rand 301B||
|Shop4Omni High Speed 92820||
The Makita GD0601 Electric Die Grinder was our choice as the top pick. It has one of the best designs out of any of the die grinders on our list, packing an extremely powerful motor into a surprisingly light tool. Its innovative design locks debris out of the internal chambers using an internal labyrinth construction and a zig-zag varnish that creates a barrier while the tool is on. These features should greatly extend the life of the tool.
It can also be used on either AC or DC current, giving you the option to take the die grinder to the project instead of having to bring it to the die grinder. It’s exhaust vents are also designed to blow air away from you, keeping you can in control while you work.
If there’s one downside to this tool, it’s that it’s not variable speed, which means it doesn’t give you the same degree of control you get out of other models. Still, it’s a very good tool overall.
The Chicago Pneumatic CP860 Air is the runner-up on our list. It features a maximum RPM that’s just a bit lower than the top entry on our list, which keeps it out of first. It has a very powerful motor in its own right, and unlike our first entry, it’s adjustable-speed, giving you control for those projects where you don’t want to go full-bore. It also weights two pounds less than the previous model, which makes it an extremely lightweight tool.
The one downside is that the exhaust vent is oddly-placed, blowing back towards the user instead of out the front like on many models. If you’ve used a die grinder before, you know that it gets pretty hot after you use it for a while, so it’s not always great to get hot exhaust air blown back at you. However, it won’t be the first or the last time that you get hot while working in your shop, and the rest of the features on this model are definite plusses.
The Ingersoll Rand 301B Air Angle Die Grinder is our choice for best for the money. It’s a smaller tool, which means it’s good for you if you have small hands or if you’re going to be working in small spaces. However, with that smaller frame comes less power. It’s not a great tool for daily industrial-style work, but it’s a good tool to have around the house.
The one downside is that this model is prone to vibrating. A lot. This will wear your hands out faster than with other power tools.
What sets this Ingersoll Rand die grinder apart is its fantastic price. You’re not going to find another die grinder near this level of quality and power at this price point.
The DEWALT DWMT70783 Straight Die Grinder is one of the more powerful die grinders on our list, maxing out at 25,000 RPM. While it is a powerful die grinder, the build quality leaves something to be desired. The case is built out of a mixture of plastic and aluminum parts, which does bring the price down overall but makes the case weaker. It’s going to get more dents, dings, and scrapes over time than other units with a steel case. It’s also going to be more prone to damage when dropped, bringing down the overall lifespan of the tool
It also features the pesky rear air exhaust vents, which can channel hot air back onto you. It’s also a model with vibration problems, which significantly lower the ease of use. If you’re looking for a cheap model with lots of power, but aren’t counting on it lasting for a long time, this could be a good investment.
If you’re planning on buying the Omni High Speed 92820, you’re only getting value out of the price. It is one of the cheapest models on our list, and like most cheap tools, you have to be aware of the downsides. It claims a power that is up there with far more expensive models, but you have to wonder if it will live up to those claims for an extended period of time.
It also has poor compatibility with many kinds of common bits, as it is made to work with 6mm bits instead of the far more popular ¼” bits. It is an electric model instead of a pneumatic, which could be good for when you don’t have access to an air compressor, but it doesn’t have the option to switch to DC power, which limits its overall use. More likely than not, you’ll get more frustration than good work out of this model.
If you’ve read through our reviews, you probably know a lot more about what you’re looking for in a bit grinder than you did before. If you’re still not confident enough to buy, don’t worry. We’ve prepared this buyer’s guide for you to give you a lot of general information about bit grinders, so you can choose the model that is right for you.
One of the biggest differences between various models of die grinder is whether they are electric or pneumatic. Neither kind is necessarily more powerful than the other. Instead, power depends on the design and quality of materials of each model. Nor do you gain any kind of mobility gains from either. The electric models trail a power cable, while the pneumatic ones trail an air hose that runs back to a compressor.
With electric, you’re getting a tool that needs a power source. For most units, this will mean an electrical plug, but some can switch between AC and DC current, allowing you to also make use of generators and batteries. The good news with electric die grinders is that you should be able to work wherever an electrical current can be found.
With pneumatic die grinders, on the other hand, you need to have a compressor. If you’re looking at a pneumatic die grinder, you need to make sure that you have a compressor that can provide enough air pressure to keep the tool running. If your compressor isn’t very large or replenishes slowly, you run the risk of having to stop and wait for your compressor to refill. If you don’t already own a compressor, you might be better served by purchasing an electric die grinder, unless you end up using the compressor for other tasks.
One of the biggest differences between different models of die grinders is their ease of use. For instance, you need to pay attention to where the model vents its exhaust. After a long period of use, die grinders heat up, and their exhaust can also be hot, so you don’t necessarily want the exhaust vents to face towards your body. On the other hand, forward-facing vents could potentially displace oil or shavings on the project that you’re working on, making a pretty substantial mess. To some degree, this attribute of the die grinder comes down to personal preference. Some people won’t be working on projects where forward-facing vents could cause a mess. Others won’t mind the heat that blows on them from a rear-facing vent.
Other aspects to consider are the ease of common operations. For instance, many die grinders include a feature much like a safety that makes it more difficult to start the tool. This could be useful if you’re in a situation where small children or other unauthorized people may gain access to your tools since it will be more difficult to turn them on. However, other people prefer a simple on-off switch.
You’ll also want to look into how heavy each model is. Doing a project right often takes time, and you’re going to have to hold the die grinder and move it around during that time. Lighter die grinders will be easier to move, saving you time, but also wearing you out less.
On a similar note, you should research how much each die grinder vibrates as you use it. Some models do a good job of focusing most of their energy down into the surface that you’re working on, while others don’t. That can result in serious vibrations that can make long-duration work very unpleasant. Again, this is one of those things that will bother some people much more than others.
When you’re shopping for a die grinder, you want to make sure that you get one that is going to get the job done. Most models are going to have the power to get any job done, though having more power is going to make the job go quicker. Something you should focus on is the setup around your projects and your project themselves.
Are you going to have access to power outlets or an air compressor? If both, which would be more convenient for you to use? How big are your projects going to be? Is there a benefit to getting them done faster? How many are you planning to do?
You want to make sure that you get as much value as you can out of your die grinder. The best way to do that is to not focus on getting the most expensive or cheapest model, but instead of figuring out what requirements you have and finding the die grinder that best meets those.
The Makita GD0601 Electric Die Grinder was our choice as the top pick, featuring great design and more than enough power to get the job done. The Chicago Pneumatic CP860 Air is the runner-up on our list, and also one of the lightest models, while also featuring adjustable speed. The Ingersoll Rand 301B Air Angle Die Griner was small, but good for non-industrial use, and had the best value overall. The DEWALT DWMT70783 Straight Die Grinder is powerful, but cheap, causing concern over quality and durability. Finally, the Omni High Speed 92820 was a cheap model with a host of problems.
Hopefully, our reviews and our buyer’s guide have given you some insight into the world of die grinders. There’s a lot of information out there, and you want to make sure that you make a good choice. Now that you’re well-informed, you should be able to choose the model that best suits your needs and will give you happy work experiences for a long time.
More reviews from our blog:
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!