An angle grinder is a versatile handheld power tool that can be used for grinding, smoothing surfaces, cutting, and polishing different materials such as wood, metal, marble, and stone. The main components of this tool include an electric motor, housed in a shock-resistant plastic body, that drives a geared head. The disc is then mounted on the head at a right-angle, and it can be easily replaced when it has worn off. It also has a protective cover to shield the user and prevent injuries.
What makes the angle grinder an essential part of your toolbox is that, with the right attachment, you can replace numerous tools and complete tedious and labor-intensive tasks in record speed.
What is an angle grinder used for?
Angle grinders have a wide variety of uses, from metalwork, woodwork, and construction, to handling emergency rescues, but they are most commonly found at auto body repair shops, service garages, and workshops.
As its name suggests, its main use is for grinding surfaces. This tool can remove excess material (even paint and rust!) and smooth jagged cuts easily. However, that’s not all it can do. Since it runs at very high speeds, it can easily cut through almost any kind of material, sometimes even outperforming many saws. With the right attachment, you can also clean surfaces and polish scratches on wood, stone, and metal in a matter of minutes.
Be sure to check out our full guide on what an angle grinder is used for!
When not to use an angle grinder?
Like any power tool, angle grinders can be dangerous if used incorrectly. You should not use a grinder if you:
- are working in a cluttered space with poor ventilation. Anything that could cause you to trip and fall should be kept away from your working space. Good ventilation is important because grinding and cutting certain materials can produce dust and fumes that could be toxic if inhaled.
- are wearing loose-fitting clothes or jewelry as they could get caught in the disc and cause injury.
- don’t have protective gear. Gloves, safety goggles, and a dust mask or a full-face shield are essential to protect you from the sparks produced when cutting metals and from the shards from grinding other materials.
- haven’t secured the object or surface you are working on. Everything should be either held firmly in a bench vise or clamped to avoid dangerous slips.
How much money do angle grinders cost and where can I buy one?
You’ll find that there’s a large variety of grinders in the market and that their price can range from $25.00 USD to $300.00 USD depending on the brand, the characteristics of the tool, and whether it includes accessories. There are also different sizes and different handle shapes. This might sound like a lot to consider, but the most important factors you need to keep in mind are the disc size, which is measured in inches or millimeters, and the motor power, measured in amperes (A or “amp”).
Bigger discs are ideal for heavy-duty applications, whereas smaller discs are the better choice for projects that require precision, but they can wear down quickly because small angle grinders have fairly high RPM.
Larger motors are more suitable if you need to work on a large or tough surface. For smaller pieces, smaller motors are better because there’s less vibration and you can be more precise. Keep in mind that disc size and motor power go hand in hand: the more powerful the motor, the bigger the disk should be.
Prices in Amazon start at $22.00 USD for compact grinders and go up to over $500.00 USD for heavy-duty grinders. You can find angle grinders at any hardware or home improvement store such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and even at Walmart. You can also read our post on the best angle grinders of 2021!
What is an angle grinder disc?
An angle grinder disc is a thin round attachment that can be used to cut or grind materials. As they’re used, they are worn away until they become a small disc that needs to be replaced. When they’re thicker than ½ inch, they’re called wheels and they’re generally used for cleaning and polishing.
Which angle grinder disc should I buy?
Before buying an angle grinder disc, you should consider the type of material you’ll be working with and whether you’ll be grinding it, cutting it, polishing it, etc. Even then, the type of disc you’ll choose will depend on the hardness and thickness of the material.
Grinder discs are thick and strong, and they are generally used for robust pieces that require more stability like stone, concrete, and marble. The best option for these materials is a diamond disc. For wood and plastic, you’ll need a metal disc with sharp metal blades.
Cut-off discs are available in different thicknesses, but they’re thinner than grinder discs. The thinner the disc, the more careful you’ll have to be with the pressure you put on the angle grinder because you can bend the disc. Thick cut-off discs don’t break easily, but you’ll need more force to cut through the material, so they’re more commonly used in large grinders.
Cleaning wheels do as their name suggests. They’re gentler than the other discs and you won’t risk damaging the surface of the material when removing rust or stripping paint. There are plastic stripping wheels that are made from soft nylon and can be used to remove paint and any other coating, and metal cleaning wheels, which are made of metal wires twirled around each other, that can get rid of both paint and rust. While the former leaves a cleaner finish, the latter is faster and more durable.
Smoothing wheels are made of sandpaper pads, and polishing wheels are made of softer materials like cotton. While both of them are designed to smooth rough finishes and brighten dull materials, the former can also be used for rounding edges and blending sharp angles, and the latter are better for clearing up surfaces.
No matter which disc or wheel you choose, always make sure that the diameter of the disc fits that of the grinder you own!
A handy power tool that is suited to a wide range of materials, the angle grinder should be the next addition to your toolbox. From cutting and grinding, to cleaning and polishing, this tool can save you hours of hard work and still give you excellent results. Even though it can be dangerous, be mindful of the security tips and you’ll any problems or accidents. When you visit your nearest hardware store to buy your new grinder, look for the disc size and motor power that best suit your needs. The type of disc you get will depend on the materials you want to work on and the task you’ll perform.