Best Variable Speed Bench Grinders 2018 – Reviews & Top Picks

a powerful grinding machineA variable speed bench grinder is a popular tool amongst artisans that strive for the highest level of quality in their work. It is versatile beyond belief and can be expertly used for numerous different projects. Not only does a variable speed bench grinder perform an exceptional job of buffing and sharpening tool tips and edges, it is also very capable of removing paint, stripping rust, polishing, and heavy-duty cleaning.

A certain quote rings to mind when talking about the variable speed bench grinder, “You are only as good as the tools you use.” Without the appropriate tools, you will have a difficult time executing your actions and performing your work. Hence, it is essential for you to acquire a variable speed bench grinder that meets your needs and requirements.

Luckily, we have carefully included various key considerations you should take into account before splurging on a variable speed bench grinder. We have also reviewed some of the popular choices to make your variable speed bench grinder search a lot easier. The models that we mention below have been chosen on the basis of their performance, versatility, durability, affordability, and ease of use. Without beating about the bush any further, let´s take a look at our top picks!

A Comparison of our Top 5 Picks

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Shop Fox W1840
Shop Fox W1840
(Top Pick)

Check Price
40 lbs4.9/5
Delta 23-198
Delta 23-198

Check Price
30 lbs4.7/5
WEN 4276
WEN 4276
(Best for the Money)

Check Price
16 lbs4.6/5
Craftsman 9-21154
Craftsman 9-21154

Check Price
31 lbs4.3/5
Porter-Cable PCB525BG
Porter-Cable PCB525BG

Check Price
26 lbs4.0/5

5 Best Variable Speed Bench Grinders – Reviews:

1. Shop Fox W1840 Variable-Speed Bench Grinder – Top Pick

Shop Fox W1840

The Shop Fox W1840 occupies the top spot on our list. We believe that it is truly worth its weight in gold. The tool boasts of a beautiful sleek design and is powered by a ¾ HP motor. It has a 5/8¨grinding wheel bore and a 3,600 Rpm grinding wheel speed. We are truly huge admirers of its dual aluminum oxide grinding wheels, directional LED work light and large eye shields. We also like the fact that this particular tool is very easy to use; it operates nearly vibration-free with smooth rpm changes across the variable speed range. Its single-speed bench grinder variable speed control is also an outstanding feature.

Pros

  • Very easy to use, affordable, and versatile.

Cons

  • Assembling this product is no joke.


2. Delta 23-198 Variable Speed Benchgrinder

Delta 23-198

The Delta 23-198 is fully capable of supporting variable speeds, easily moving from 2000 to 3400 rpm. The variable speed feature allows you to perform a wide variety of tasks including grinding, polishing, buffing, and sharpening. The Delta 23-198 really comes in handy when you sharpen lathe tools; its slow variable speed capability allows you to perform specific tasks that require particular specifications.

The tool largely benefits from its tool rests, which serve as the perfect platform for sharpening drill bits. We are also extremely pleased that the manufacturers of this product designed it with solid cast iron; the cast iron plays a fundamental role in minimizing vibrations. Small features, such as a water cup that helps to cool the material, also adds to the charm of this grinder. Trust us when we say this—you will not be disappointed with this product.

Pros

  • Minimum vibrations, has a spot-on alignment, ideal for sharpening materials.

Cons

  • You may need to adjust this grinder during installation to prevent it from wobbling.


3. WEN 4276 Bench Grinder – Best for the Money

WEN 4276

If you are on the lookout for a variable speed bench grinder that offers bang for the buck, we would advise you to opt for the WEN 4276. The grinder boasts of a 2.1-amp motor and operates a speed of 3450 rpm. Undoubtedly, you’ll love the motor as it operates very quietly and smoothly. The WEN 4276 also largely benefits from its compact and sturdy design, which ensures that the grinder, despite being rather lightweight, doesn´t vibrate when used. We also love the fact that the makers of this product have smartly integrated a flexible work lamp onto this product, allowing users to see their work properly even in dark conditions.

Pros

  • Lightweight, compact, comes with two wheels that have different grits, affordable, quiet motor.

Cons

  • Cannot be used for heavy-duty work, assembly is quite difficult, the spark shields also have a tendency to fall off.


4. Craftsman 9-21154 Bench Grinder with Variable Speed

Craftsman 9-21154

We are of the opinion that the Craftsman 9-21154 is an average performer at best. It cannot be considered one of the best grinders on the market, nor can it be deemed the worst. It has a very even number of advantages and disadvantages. The product boasts of a sturdy design and has a water cooling tray that proves to be useful when the tool is used to sharpen tools. Powered by a 1/5 horsepower motor, the Craftsman 9-21154 is fully capable of supporting variable speeds, varying from 2000 to 3400 rpm, making it applicable to various grinding applications. The tool also features a work light, large spark guards, and a wheel dressing tool that should be convenient during work. We also like that the Craftsman 9-21154 is fairly safe to use; it boasts of numerous safety features such as durable spark guards, wide clear eye shields, and oversized cast iron base.

Pros

  • Has plenty of safety features, motor operates quietly, has a water cooling tray that prevents overheating.

Cons

  • Powered by a 1/5 HP motor, it is not powerful enough for large tools and heavy-duty work.


5. Porter-Cable PCB525BG Bench-Grinding Machine

Porter-Cable PCB525BG

The Porter-Cable PCB525BG is possibly the worst bench grinder on our list. Simply put, it doesn´t work as advertised. However, it does boast of a few features that help it save face, albeit not completely. The Porter-Cable PCB525BG is powered by a 5.0 Amp motor and it can support variable speeds, varying from 2000 to 3400 rpm, allowing users to use it for a variety of purposes including shaping, grinding, and sharpening.

Some of its useful features include a retractable wheel dresser, a work lamp, and a removable quench water tray. However, as we mentioned earlier, it is not the perfect bench grinder by any stretch of the imagination. For instance, there is no means of locking the shift when changing wheels. We also don´t like the fact that there isn´t a notch to hold the wheel into position with a screwdriver.

Pros

  • Built-in adjustable work lamp, a retractable wheel dresser, and a removable quench water tray.

Cons

  • Not entirely safe to use, not of very good build quality.


Buying Guide

There are many different models of variable speed bench grinders available for purchase on the market, with each claiming to be better than the next. Unfortunately, not all grinders live up to the billing and work as marketed. Hence, it is essential for you to do your research properly before splashing the cash on a variable speed bench grinder. Here are some of the important factors you should consider before acquiring a variable speed bench grinder.

• Power of the motor

The more horsepower your grinder has, the more capable it is of tackling tougher jobs for an extended period of time. Higher horsepower models are far more durable than other models. However, it is not necessary for you to splurge on the most powerful models around. Most models that feature a quarter or half horsepower motor are also capable of performing simple, small jobs. Hence, it is essential for you to understand your requirements and needs before you select a grinder.

The power or level of the grinder you end up purchasing should depend on the type of work you intend to do with your tool. It is also advised to pay attention to the motor speed and the revolutions per minute produced by the motor.

• Type of wheel

Different projects require different types of wheels. When you select a particular variable speed bench grinder model, it should be compatible with the types of wheels required for the projects you wish to complete. A bench grinder without the right wheels is a useless tool. The bench grinder should be compatible with the common accessories such as wire brush, coarse, fine grit, and buffing wheels.

• Pay attention to the safety features of the grinder

Of course, it is of paramount importance for you to pay attention to the safety features of the grinder. Does the grinder feature a spark guard that can provide you with protection against the sparks produced when the grinder touches metal or other materials? Does the grinder you intend to purchase have a guard that covers the grinders on the tool, protecting your hands from the spinning grinder? Although there are variable speed bench grinders that offer safety in the form of additional attachments, we would recommend you acquire a grinder that boasts of built-in safety features.

• Does the grinder have anti-vibration features?

Does the grinder have anti-vibration features? Why are anti-vibration features necessary you ask? Well, anti-vibration features perform an important task of keeping your hands stable while you work away. It ensures that the grinder is smooth and stable, and allows you to use the tool comfortably for hours on end without getting exhausted. Most high-quality grinders are designed with solid cast iron; the cast iron plays an instrumental role in minimizing vibrations and keeping the grinder stable.

• Additional features you should be on the lookout for

Variable speed bench grinders manufactured these days have a variety of features and amenities. Many have built-in adjustable work lamp that allows users to see their work properly even in dark conditions, a water cooling tray that prevents overheating, a retractable wheel dresser, mounting holes, tool trays, and anti-vibration features, that provide an extra level of functionality and convenience. Hence, if you don´t want to miss out on the features, it is necessary for you to do your homework and check the models available in your price range.

• Warranty

Does the bench grinder you intend to purchase come with a warranty? If the manufacturer of a particular product provides warranty, it tells us that the manufacturer has complete faith in his product, doesn´t it? A good bench grinder warranty will not only cover the motor and the grinder itself, it will also cover all built-in parts.

Conclusion

Our Top 5 variable speed bench grinder review is comprehensive and includes models ranging from cheap to more affordable alternatives to fit every budget. If we are to recommend the best model, we would undoubtedly suggest the Shop Fox W1840. The tool boasts of a beautiful sleek design and is powered by a ¾ HP motor. It is very easy to use, affordable, versatile, and boasts of additional features such as directional LED work light and large eye shields.

However, if you are looking for a variable speed bench grinder that provides the best value for money, we would advise you to go for the WEN 4276. The grinder has a quiet motor, is lightweight, compact, and comes with two wheels that have different grits, making it suitable for various different jobs.

We hope that we have made your search for the perfect variable speed bench grinder a lot easier.