The Best Angle Grinders Let You Grind, Cut, and Brush Away Rust

Evan Williams
by Evan Williams

The angle grinder is the perfect tool when you need a quick cut that doesn’t need to be perfectly precise or square. It’s the first thing you should grab when it’s time to get serious about removing a broken, stuck, or stripped nut, and it’s also the best way to make two surfaces smooth or get rid of rust in a hurry.

Angle grinders are even great for removing grout from between tiles or even cutting small quantities of tile with one tool. Thanks to the versatility of cutting discs, grinding discs, and wire wheels, the angle grinder can be used for countless garage and home projects. These are five of the best, each one offering you features that can make your project less painful.

For more information on the best angle grinders, refer to our table of contents.

1. Editor's Pick BLACK+DECKER Angle Grinder (BDEG400)

This grinder from BLACK+DECKER comes at an affordable price, but that doesn't mean bargain features—starting with the metal gear case that gives the grinder better long-term reliability and durability. A spindle lock makes it easier for you to change out discs and attachments with the included wrench, and the lock button is large and easy to access to help make the job even easier. The grinder is equipped with a six-amp motor, which should offer plenty of power for cutting and grinding the toughest materials.

Making it more ergonomically friendly, the side handle can lock in three different places. The power switch has a one-touch release that lets the grinder power down quickly for convenience and safety. The disc spins at 10,000 RPM, again enough rotations per minute to tackle any grinding task you're likely to have. Lastly, this grinder offers a two-year warranty that shows the company expects it to last a long time.

Bottom Line

Three-position handle, metal gearbox, two-year warranty

2. BOSCH Angle Grinder (GWS8-45)

This corded angle grinder from Bosch is designed to be lightweight and easy to use. Tipping the scales at just 4.2 pounds, it'll let you work longer into the day without fatigue in your arms and hands. It also has a slender grip, once again meant to make it easier for you to use all day long if necessary. The 7.5-amp motor offers loads of power, and the motor spins to 11,000 RPM making quick work of most tasks.

Bosch has given the grinder directed airflow internally, meant to keep dust away from the vital internal components of the motor and gearbox. A Service Minder system on the motor's brushes automatically turns off the tool when it's time for maintenance, so you don't need to guess when it's due for service. This makes long-term use easier and it also helps extend the life of the tool. An adjustable guard allows you to adjust the safety system for the position you're using the grinder.

Bottom Line

Maintenance reminder, light weight, adjustable guard

3. Ryobi One+ 18V Brushless Grinder and Metal Cutter (P423)

This cordless grinder is ideal if you already have tools using the Ryobi 18V One+ battery system, but it offers enough features that might bring you into that family anyway. The main attraction on this recommendation is its brushless electric motor. This is a more expensive style, but it offers massive benefits like 60 percent more run time than a conventional cordless tool. More power and more motor speed give you up to 10,400 RPM to cut or grind through nearly anything.

It has a three-position handle as well as an adjustable guard, combining to make this easy to use on almost any work surface, no matter how awkwardly it's placed. Even better, the guard can be adjusted without tools, making quick changes easier. A rubber overmould grip at the rear is designed to give you a better grip, even when things are slippery. Lastly, the disc-changing spanner wrench is stored inside the handle of the tool, so no more losing this critical and often-missing part.

Bottom Line

Brushless motor, cordless, integrated spanner

4. DEWALT FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE MAX Angle Grinder (DCG416B)

DEWALT's FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE MAX 20V grinder is loaded with safety features. It starts with a kickback brake that engages to stop the wheel and shut down the grinder if the disc or attachment binds. The e-clutch shuts down the motor in under a 10th of a second when a pinch or stall is detected, bringing the tool to a safe condition as quickly as possible.

If the power is cut while the power switch is on, the switch needs to be cycled off and back on again when power is restored. This can stop it from suddenly restarting from a power blip, loose cord, or even from a coworker forgetting to turn it off. The brushless motor offers long life, and while it will work just fine on all DEWALT 20V MAX batteries, it will deliver 54 percent more power using a DEWALT FLEXVOLT pack. It can also accept DEWALT's Tool Connect Site Manager chip that allows worksite asset management.

Bottom Line

Loaded with safety stops, lever-actuated guard movement, brushless motor

5. Makita Paddle Switch Cut-Off/Angle Grinder (9557PBX1)

This tool from Makita offers a 7.5-amp motor for plenty of cutting and grinding, but it also has a two-inch diameter barrel grip to make it easier to hold, especially for smaller hands or while wearing work gloves. The paddle switch operation also makes running the grinder easier over long periods, while the light weight makes one-handed operation less taxing.

The construction of the body is designed with maze-like seals Makita calls "zig-zig varnish" that is meant to seal the core of the motor from dust and debris giving the tool longer life. It can run on both AC and DC power sources, the latter letting you run the tool from off-grid alternative power. The gear housing rotates, letting you better cut and grind on an angled surface. The grinder comes with a hard case to make it safer and easier to transport as well as to store in your home shop.

Bottom Line

Labyrinth dust-resistant construction, rotatable gearbox, small diameter barrel

How do I pick the right angle grinder?

Photo credit: VictorP / Shutterstock.com

Angle grinders are available in a wide ranges of sizes, from about 4.5 inches all the way up to nine. While a massive grinder might be better for making deeper cuts or if you have to grind down an entire storage tank in a shift, smaller 4.5-inch models are much more flexible, maneuverable, and easier to handle for normal use. Although you can use a smaller wheel on a big grinder, you can't do the opposite without removing the guard and putting your hands and project at risk.

How do I choose the right handle for my angle grinder?

The handle is crucial to how you use the angle grinder. If you need a lot of different angles, look for a three-position front handle and even a rotating head. If you've got massive hands and don't use gloves, then a larger grinder body might work for you. Otherwise, smaller-sized grinders can be a better fit for your hands.

Does the motor on an angle grinder matter?

More powerful motors let you grind through tougher materials and make bigger cuts without bogging down. That's important for construction or industrial use, but probably less important for home projects where an extra few minutes to do the job are less of an issue. Another consideration for DIY users is that more powerful motors have a bigger kick at turn-on, which can make them harder to use.

What do I need to know about dust and angle grinders?

Grinders, in cutting, grinding, or rust removing, create massive amounts of dust. A sealed motor, or a motor with construction that keeps the dust out of the moving parts, can help greatly extend the life of the grinder.

Recommended angle grinder accessories:

A wire wheel is one of the quickest ways to remove rust from an old grille, from your vehicle, or to remove old paint from metal furniture. Be gentle, though, because it can quickly wear a hole right through that rusty surface if you aren't watching.

A cutting disc is meant for cutting. You use the edge to slice through metal, tile, or whatever you're cutting. Don't press on the sides of these thin discs or attempt to grind with them, as they will shatter in a dangerous fashion.

Grinding discs are thicker and are meant for grinding. They'll chew through your sloppy welds like butter to clean them up. They'll remove grout from tile, and they'll turn nearly any hard surface into dust.

One cutting disc or grinding disc will handle almost any material, but that doesn't mean you only need one. Don't use the same disc for dissimilar materials. So no aluminum with the steel cutting disc and the other way around, or you could ruin your project down the road.

Safety when using an angle grinder:

Grinder discs spin at up to 10,000 RPM. They throw sparks, they sometimes shatter, and they can grab a sleeve in an instant. So no loose clothing around the grinder, even just baggy sleeves. Do not remove the guard, because the shards of disc or the wires from the wheel are happy to aim directly back at you. You should also wear proper safety glasses to protect your eyeballs and a face shield to protect the rest of your mug. You do not want to make a trip to the hospital to remove a rusty brush wire, or any other debris, from your cornea.

Watch your sparks. If you're grinding directly into that old gas can or some nice plastic lawn furniture, you're going to have a bad day.


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Main photo credit: FOTOGRIN / Shutterstock.com

Evan Williams
Evan Williams

Evan moved from engineering to automotive journalism 10 years ago (it turns out cars are more interesting than fibreglass pipes), but has been following the auto industry for his entire life. Evan is an award-winning automotive writer and photographer and is the current President of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. You'll find him behind his keyboard, behind the wheel, or complaining that tiny sports cars are too small for his XXXL frame.

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