There are times in a workshop when no tool is as useful as the angle grinder. Consisting of a single rotating disc that can be used to cut and polish strong materials, the angle grinder is both portable and powerful.
However, it isn’t always the right tool for the job. Sometimes a heavy bench grinder has significant advantages, thanks to the stable base and two wheels.
The versatility of the angle grinder makes it a tool with many benefits, but these same features also come with disadvantages. In this guide, we’ll consider both the pros and cons of the angle grinder, so you can better understand this handheld tool.
The Benefits Of The Angle Grinder
Easy To Use Design
Handheld and easy to navigate, the angle grinder has a simple design that you can quickly get to grips with. Try practicing on spare materials at first, to get an idea of what the angle grinder is capable of.
Of course, you can’t expect to pick up an angle grinder and make quick, accurate cuts immediately. There is a learning curve. However, the simplicity of the design means it can take less time to master the basics of the angle grinder than other, more complex, power tools.
One of the major pros of the angle grinder is that this is a highly versatile tool. As well as being used to cut and sharpen materials, the angle grinder can polish wood, remove rust, and clear mortar from bricks.
For some metal objects, it can even act as a high-powered duster. As a sander and polisher, the angle grinder has many uses. Many also use angle grinders for their sharp edges, which are able to cut neatly through ceramic tiles, slice concrete, and divide pavers.
By changing the disc of the angle grinder, a person can open up a range of activities and functions from just one tool.
Impressive Cutting Power
Related to the versatility of the angle grinder is the amount of materials it can be used with. If you rarely work with metal, there are still plenty of tasks in which an angle grinder can be beneficial.
Wood, concrete, and bricks can all be cut or polished using the angle grinder. As the disc is changeable, there’s room to really expand your options.
The angle grinder might initially seem like a small and simple tool, but you might be surprised to find out just how much it can do.
Angle grinders are small and compact tools, and this allows them to be portable. It doesn’t have a heavy base that needs anchoring, like a bench grinder. Instead, the angle grinder can be picked up and taken where it needs to be.
The increased portability contributes to the versatility of the angle grinder. While you have to bring objects to the bench grinder, the angle grinder can be transported to where it’s needed.
That includes items that might not fit in a tool shed, or objects that can’t be removed from a larger piece of equipment. This is incredibly helpful if you need to employ an angle grinder on heavy machinery.
Useful In Tight Corners
The compact size and simple build of the angle grinder allows it to get into places other tools can’t reach. In tight corners and unusual spaces, the versatility of the angle grinder comes into its own.
Machinery that would be completely out of reach of the bench grinder becomes easy to access, or, at least, easier to access. If you need to do a job in a small corner, the combination of power and portability exemplified in the angle grinder is unbeatable.
Even your standard angle grinder has some impressive speed, typically between 8000 and 12,000 RPM. This can be upwards of two or three times faster than bench grinders, which tend to have a speed between 3000 and 3500 RPM.
It’s no surprise that the portable angle grinder has a better speed than the heavy bench grinder. This makes it an ideal tool for small and quick jobs. Thanks to the speed, even heavy materials can be cut quickly — as long as you don’t mind a lack of precision, which we’ll cover in detail below.
Compared to similar tools such as the bench grinder, the angle grinder is often a cost-effective choice. And because they’re so useful in so many circumstances, there’s a large market to choose from.
That means you can weigh up the differences, and find the right angle grinder for you. They tend to be easy to buy in hardware stores, and are widely available online. A well-built angle grinder will also last a long time, so you can really get the most out of your purchase.
The Disadvantages Of An Angle Grinder
By design, an angle grinder is portable. While this does have many advantages, which we’ve covered above, there’s one major downfall: a lack of stability. If you’re trying to manipulate a difficult material, the light weight of the angle grinder becomes a hindrance.
With a bench grinder, a heavy base adds significantly better stability, allowing the user to maneuver materials. An angle grinder works the other way, as the tool moves around the material.
This is related to the lack of stability, but it’s worth mentioning separately. Because angle grinders don’t have the base and weight of bench grinders, they can vibrate heavily when in use.
The vibrations can get better or worse, depending on the material cutting, and the grip design of the angle grinder.
An angle grinder only has one wheel. This means an angle grinder can only be fitted with one grit size at any time. If you want to change things up, you either need to stop and switch the wheel, or buy another tool.
This also means that if the wheel breaks halfway through a task, you have to stop and replace it. With a bench grinder, an item that typically has two wheels, you can simply switch over and carry on with the task.
In many cases, the single wheel of an angle grinder shouldn’t cause many problems. However, there are times when even if a second disc isn’t necessary, it would be useful. Keep this in mind when choosing between an angle grinder and a bench grinder.
Angle grinders work quickly, and they work in small spaces. However, they lack precision cutting when compared to the bench grinder. If you want a fine, angled cut, a bench grinder is better.
But there are ways of improving the precision of the angle grinder, so keep that in mind if you’re choosing between the two. And with practice, you can learn to better control the angle grinder.
Portable and powerful, the greatest advantage of the angle grinder is its versatility. Able to cut and polish a range of materials, and access hard to reach corners in heavy machinery, the angle grinder is a fantastic tool to have at a job site.
Although they’re less beneficial in workshops, the speed of the angle grinder still brings its advantages. And, again, the exceptional versatility makes the angle grinder a toolbox basic.