If you are located in the UK, our UK version of this page about angle grinders is probably more relevant to you.
The angle grinder is a versatile tool that is a must-have for any home workshop. This unique category of tool is commonly used for cutting, grinding, and polishing metal and sometimes even for sanding and shaping of timber. With so many makes and models of angle grinder available on the market, choosing the right one can be a daunting task for the average DIY-er. But fear not, at DIY Fidelity, we're here to help make your power tool-buying decision easier. In this article, we will examine the different types of angle grinder and their unique features so you can find that perfect tool for your workshop.
Common Angle Grinder Sizes
Angle grinders are categorized by the size of the cutting or grinding wheel they accept and come in a variety of sizes to fit different jobs. The most common sizes for angle grinders in the US range from 4.5 inches to 9 inches, with the popular ones being:
Choosing the Right Angle Grinder: A Buyer's Guide
With an understanding of the various types of angle grinders and the diverse range of tasks they can tackle, it's time to navigate the maze of options and choose the ideal one for your workshop. To make an informed decision, it's crucial to consider the distinctive features and attributes offered by different makes and models. In the following sections, we'll delve into the components found in modern angle grinders and their practicality within a workshop setting.
Making the right power choice: Mains or cordless angle grinder?
When considering a new angle grinder, one of the first decisions to make is whether to opt for a mains-powered or a battery-powered model. While our general power tools page provides an in-depth discussion of the pros and cons of each power type for tools in general, many of these considerations also apply when selecting an angle grinder. Several key factors come into play when determining the ideal type of angle grinder for your needs, including personal preference, primary usage, access to a universal power tool battery-charging system, and affordability.
In general, mains-powered angle grinders offer higher power output, unlimited runtime, freedom from battery maintenance, and tend to be more budget-friendly. On the other hand, cordless angle grinders provide the advantage of operating without the need for proximity to a mains electrical socket, offering greater maneuverability and freedom from an electrical tether.
The power dilemma: Brushed vs. brushless
When considering a cordless angle grinder, another important decision to make is whether to opt for a traditional brushed electric motor or a more advanced brushless one. Brushed electric motors utilize small carbon brushes to establish the electrical connection with the moving components of the motor. In contrast, brushless motor designs eliminate the need for these brushes, providing several advantages over their brushed counterparts:
When faced with the decision between brushed and brushless angle grinders, it becomes evident that the brushless variety consistently outperforms the former. As a result, when considering cordless angle grinders, it is strongly recommended to opt for a brushless model, provided that the slightly higher cost fits within one's budget.
Safeguarding with precision: Exploring angle grinder wheel guards
An essential element of angle grinders is the wheel guard, designed to protect users from accidental contact with the spinning wheel and shield them from any workpiece debris. While the wheel guard only covers a portion of the angle grinder wheel, it requires regular adjustment to ensure optimal positioning as the angle grinder is operated in various orientations. Therefore, the mechanism for adjusting the wheel guard is a crucial consideration when selecting an angle grinder.
In most budget-friendly angle grinders, the wheel guard can be adjusted using a screwdriver to loosen and tighten a screw. However, this process can be cumbersome when frequent adjustments are necessary. As a result, those planning to utilize an angle grinder extensively should consider models equipped with a finger latch mechanism for wheel guard adjustment. This alternative allows for a faster and more effortless adjustment process, making it a preferred choice for increased efficiency.
Achieving optimal control: Unveiling angle grinder side handles
An indispensable attribute of angle grinders is the side handle, crucial for maintaining complete control while operating the tool. Virtually all angle grinders offer the flexibility to attach the side handle on either side, catering to both left-handed and right-handed users. Furthermore, certain angle grinder models go a step further by providing alternative attachment positions, such as at the back of the head of the machine, enhancing comfort in specific working scenarios.
When it comes to handle orientation, angle grinders typically fall into one of two categories. Brands like DeWalt often feature a side handle that stands perpendicular to the angle grinder's body. Conversely, brands such as Bosch and Makita incorporate handles tilted forward at an angle greater than 90° in relation to the tool's body. Determining which orientation is superior largely depends on personal preference, although seasoned angle grinder users often say that a 90° side handle offers enhanced comfort and less obstruction, particularly during cutting tasks.
Guarding against a safety hazard: Exploring angle grinder power switches
In the realm of budget-friendly 4.5 inch angle grinders, many models are equipped with a sliding power switch. While convenient, this design can pose a safety hazard if the angle grinder is accidentally dropped. In such scenarios, with the power switch locked in the 'on' position, the power tool will continue to run unabated, exposing the operator and those in close proximity to significant safety risks.
To mitigate this safety concern, certain pricier angle grinders incorporate a dead man's switch as a protective measure. This ingenious mechanism ensures that the power switch cannot remain physically engaged in the 'on' position unless the operator maintains continuous pressure on it. By implementing this safeguard, the risk of an angle grinder running uncontrollably is effectively averted, providing peace of mind and enhanced safety for the operator and those working nearby.
Safeguarding against unexpected angle grinder reactivation
When it comes to older angle grinders, a potential risk emerges if the power supply is abruptly interrupted while the machine is in use. Upon power restoration, the angle grinder can unexpectedly reactivate, elevating the safety hazard for the operator. Recognizing this concern, newer 4.5 inch angle grinders have an integrated restart protection feature to counteract such risks.
This advanced safety measure ensures that the angle grinder cannot be reactivated automatically after a power failure without cycling the power switch. By incorporating restart protection, these modern angle grinders effectively eliminate the possibility of unintended reactivation, bolstering operator safety and providing a secure working environment.
Gentle startup: Enhancing safety with gradual speed increase
Certain angle grinders offer a impressive capability called 'soft start,' designed to ensure a gradual acceleration to full rotational speed upon activation. Unlike immediate full-speed engagement, this feature provides a smoother and controlled initial ramp-up period. As a result, the operator experiences reduced kickback when initiating the power tool, making it inherently safer to operate.
Angle grinder diameter
Finally, the size and bulkiness of the angle grinder body should also be considered when selecting this power tool type. Larger girth in angle grinders can pose challenges in terms of gripping, especially for operators with smaller hands. As a general guideline, opting for an angle grinder with a slimmer profile will result in more control and less fatigue on the hands. This, in turn, enables longer operating periods, which is crucial as most cutting and grinding tasks with angle grinders demand substantial amounts of time to finish.
Popular Corded Angle Grinders in the US
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