Can an Angle Grinder Be Used as a Polisher?

using an angle grinder as a polisher

Angle grinders produce speeds of up to 15,000 RPM depending on the model. This can produce amazing results for cutting and grinding some of the most stubborn materials on the planet. When it comes to polishing, angle grinders can leave behind a luminous surface, but can an angle grinder safely be used as a polisher?

An angle grinder can be used as a polisher but there a few key points to keep in mind. Be sure to purchase a flap disc that has non-abrasive padding on the outer layers to ensure your grinder performs polishing in lieu of grinding. Always polish at low speeds if available.

Angle grinders can be used as polishers if you can calculate an appropriate variable speed when using the grinder for polishing. Read on to discover more to find out if you can use a grinder for polishing as well as additional related angle grinding questions.

Is a Grinder the Same as a Polisher?

Angle grinders are a versatile power tool but these tools are not the exact same as a standard polisher. A grinder is primarily utilised to grind thick materials such as metal.

Grinding is not like polishing; grinding involves stripping thick material without resorting to cutting or damaging the material. In other words, grinding is more about shrinking an object slowly and with precision.

Polishing is all about the process of smoothing and polishing material to create a fine, non-abrasive surface.

Therefore, a grinder is geared towards reducing thick material that doesn’t give much resistance and a polisher is aimed towards smoothing out the rough exterior to leave a shiny and luminous-looking surface.

A grinder can be utilised as a polisher whereas a polisher cannot necessarily be used to grind material. To find out the best procedure to use when polishing with an angle grinder at an appropriate variable speed, follow these steps:

  • Choose an angle grinder that will allow varying speeds. One of the most crucial things to remember for angle grinder polishing is using grinders that can offer speed variations to prevent the stripping of paint or surface material from a surface. The Bosch OS50VC is a great angle grinder polisher to work with as it features a variable-speed setting between 800 rpm to 11,500 rpm to match the required speed to the application of polishing.
  • Choose the right polishing pad. The BUF_503X TORQX Polisher Kit with Pads polishes and removes swirls, scratches, and defects from all painted vehicles and was developed for enthusiasts and professionals using heavy-duty construction.

A flap blade is very similar to a traditional grinding blade with the addition of sandpaper on the bottom of the flange. This sandpaper attachment is perfect for smoothing over surfaces after a rigorous grinding session.

A flap blade is typically more preferable during grinding procedures due to the sandpaper being less abrasive to surfaces like metal. Furthermore, you will want to use a less-abrasive disc at a low-speed angle to polish surfaces that are coated with paint or sensitive to scratches and abrasions.

Consider using the Car Foam Drill 3-Inch Buffing Pad by Kshineni when you want to make as sensitive a polish as possible for sensitive surfaces when using an angle grinder. This high-quality woolen polishing pad will provide a greater ability to clean up dust and polish the car without the worry of stripping the paint.

Can You Turn a Grinder Into a Buffer?

Yes, you may turn a grinder into a buffer. The process involves simply choosing a disc that is strictly made for polishing or buffing, as well as remembering a few key things along the way to prevent damage from occurring.

Be sure to get as much of a rhythm as possible when you use one of the above pads for buffing surfaces. This means that staying in one place too long will actually begin to strip paint and cause abrasions to a surface due to the high speeds seen with an angle grinder.

You may choose to use either a buffing pad or a foam pad, one will not use more pressure or stripping power than the other and both work well. You would need to adjust the speed and you would likely need to get work much harder to keep the grinder steady and less-pressured on spots on the surface to avoid stripping the surface.

Additionally, you must also be careful not to burn at your motor by using your grinder at a much slower speed than what it is seen with normal use. The cooling flow of air that is normally emitted from an angle grinder is severely reduced at a lower speed.

You would need to get random use out of the grinder to prevent this from occurring, which means you would need to take more breaks in between grinding as not to cause the tools to overheat. Furthermore, a bulkier and more heavy-duty type of grinder is going to become difficult to hold in the required positions for a long period of time so you may want to consider using a bench grinder instead.

Take a look at this video to get a visual idea of how an angle grinder can be turned into a buffer:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an Angle Grinder Be Used as a Sander?

A sander is a powerful tool that uses sandpaper belts to that rotate at high speeds along with a belt sander. The most common type of sander you will typically find is known as a belt sander, which moves around a pair of drums at high speed to effectively polish or ‘sand’ a surface–usually wood.

Sanders are always good additions to have in your tool arsenal, but an angle grinder can do the same job with what will likely produce better results in the long run. Angle grinders are versatile, which means that you can purchase sanding discs that are specifically designed only for sanding.

These angle grinder attachments are known as flap discs, which have a wide range of uses including smooth finishing on a surface that needs to be smoothed over. Sanding discs when paired with angle grinders can go far beyond simple sanding on wood surfaces.

Flap discs can strip paint from metal at the most powerful end or, simply smooth over a surface like wood which is the same use you would get out of belt sanders.

How Do You Polish Steel with an Angle Grinder?

To polish steel with a grinder, you would need to ensure that the speed is accurate and suited to polishing steel as opposed to grinding or cutting. Most importantly, the most sought after look for steel or metal is a mirror finish, which can be achieved by using a flap disc first to polish the steel and then a felt disc to gloss over the polished-sections.

The tools you will need are an angle grinder with the adequate speed necessary (between 4,000-8000 RPM), a flap disc, and a felt disc.

To begin, attach your flap disc and begin moving the disc back and forth across the steel to remove burrs and any rough edges that may be on the surface of the steel. Be sure to use back and forth motions across the steel to strip it down to a smooth and abrasion-free finish.

The final step is to attach the felt disc to achieve a mirror finish. The felt disc will not produce many sparks as this part of the process is simply to finish the final polish on the steel to create a shine from the high speeds of the grinder.

3 minutes is a good amount of time to run the felt disc back and forth across the metal. You want to do enough movements to create a mirror finish and not a dull, lifeless-looking piece of steel which could result if you were to apply pressure any longer than this.

Furthermore, the amount of time you spend during the polishing process can vary depending on what type of finish you looking to get with the steel. For stainless steel or any steel that will be displayed, you will want to follow the above steps and keep the polishing time to a minimum.

Feel free to spend longer on the polishing process if presentation purposes are not necessarily important.


So, you can now see that an angle grinder can be utilised as a polisher and an angle grinder can be turned into a polisher granted you equip it with the right kind of tools: appropriate discs to polish instead of grind. Grinders are versatile tools that do not always have to be saved for grinding or cutting.

Always find the right speed variations when you decide to use your grinder as a polisher. The lower the speed, the better, especially if you are seeking to polish something as sensitive as the surface of a car or another fine surface.

Ben Jones

When it comes to selecting the right tool for the job there are some important factors that you have to consider. I hope by sharing some of my knowledge I'll be able to educate you on a range of grinders so you can get the job done.

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