6-Inch Bench Grinders: Craftsman vs. Ryobi vs. Porter Cable. Electric bench grinder

Bench Grinders

For hand grinding, sharpening and rough shaping, a bench grinder is a useful addition to any machine shop or workshop, private or commercial. As opposed to hand held grinders, they stand conveniently ready on the benchtop for hands-free use to grind at the flick of a switch. Simply position the item for grinding at the appropriate angle to the wheel and keep it moving to avoid overheating. Where overheating is a concern, a water cooled bench grinder is an asset, complete with a water trough for coolant collection underneath the wheel. The abrasive grinding wheels can be replaced with wire brush wheels or buffing wheels for cleaning, polishing and deburring any metal object. Other wheel options include japanese waterstone discs and leather honing wheels. Tools.com carry bench grinders, industrial bench grinders and also double grinders that have two abrasive wheels. They also stock pedestal mounted machines which have bench grinder stands that can be bolted to the floor or mounted on rubber feet. Sharpening systems, stone truing tools and drill sharpeners are also included in this category, as well as replacement main shafts for bench grinders. Bench grinder brand names sold and supported include Tormek, Linishall, Makita, Metabo, White International, Kincrome and Abbott Ashby. Multiple jigs and attachments are available for use with any bench grinder and Tools.com stock a good selection including scissors, knife and axe jigs, small knife holders and a long thin knife jig. There is also a square edge jig and a gouge jig with turning cutters. For general use, the multi-tool attachment come in handy, and there is a specialist bench grinder linisher attachment. Stone graders are available for keeping the grit finish of the bench grinder wheels effective, helping to make them last even longer. With a wide selection of tools, jigs and attachments, Tools.com makes sure that you get the perfect bench grinder for your DIY or professional job.

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Alex is looking to buy a 6-inch bench grinder for sharpening axes and machetes, and possibly general purpose usage as well. He narrowed it down to three (Please chime in with your own recommendations!)

Craftsman 6-inch Bench Grinder, model 21124

Going by the product specs, we know that the grinder has a 1/6 HP motor and weighs in at 22 lbs with a cast iron base. It comes with 2 grinding wheels – 36 grit and 60 grit. It also comes with clear wheel guards and what look to be flip-down tool rests. The power switch is a small lighted rocker.

Price: 70 via Sears, but Alex reports seeing it at 45.

Ryobi 6-inch Bench Grinder, model BGH6110

Ryobi’s bench grinder is built with a 2.1 amp 3600 (no-load) RPM motor, and features a heavy gauge steel base. Going by looks, the Ryobi grinder appears to be less substantial than the Craftsman model. The shields appear to be smaller, and the tool rests thinner. Also included are 36 and 60 grit grinding wheels and a coolant tray.

Porter Cable 6-inch Bench Grinder, model PCB525BG

Porter Cable’s grinder sets itself apart with a 2.5A variable speed 2000-3450 RPM motor. It weighs in at 25.5 lbs and appears to have a cast iron base. Like the two other grinders, this one comes with 36 and 60 grit wheels. Also included are aluminum tool rests, a grinding wheel dresser, and removable water quenching tray.

Which to Pick?

All three grinders are single-store exclusives; the Craftsman grinder can only be purchased at Sears, the Ryobi at Home Depot, and the Porter Cable at Lowes, making a direct product comparison difficult. For the most part, all three grinders have reasonably positive user reviews.

Comparing the specs of all three grinders, and our memory of what they looked and felt like in-store, the Craftsman and Porter Cable would be the final two options. The Ryobi grinder looks to be in a slightly lower class, and better compares with these similarly priced Skil and Powertec units.

Between the Craftsman and Porter Cable units, it really is a tough choice, but our money would probably go towards the Craftsman despite the Porter Cable’s seemingly beefier base. The Porter Cable grinder does has a variable-speed motor, but an inline speed control can possibly be added to the Craftsman later on if needed. There are also dedicated slow-speed grinder options should 3400-3600 RPMs prove to be too speedy.

We also don’t like how the Porter Cable’s left tool rest is grooved for drill-bit sharpening. Even though we prefer the Craftsman’s out-of-the-box tool rests, Alex’s intended usage may necessitate some modifications anyways.

If not limited to retail-store models, we would recommend also checking out MSC and Enco’s sales flyers for a good deal on a budget industrial model. But that brings other issues to the table, including ambiguous specs, hefty shipping fees, and the inability to check one out pre-purchase in person.

Can anyone recommend a better sub-75 bench grinder for Alex that will suit his axe and machete-grinding needs?

27 Комментарии и мнения владельцев

Slower speed is going to be better for sharpening, so I would say the PC. Another option would be a belt/disc sander. Belts are cooler (thus better at preserving the hardness of the steel) and can be had in finer grits.

I would second the belt sander, I sharpen axes on mine and can get a much better edge. Just make sure there is no wood dust around and no dust collection system is hooked up.

For both tasks it would seem that a mill fill would do the job – at much lower cost – and could be used in the field to boot. But if machinery is necessary – maybe he might take a look at the Work Sharp – which sell for about 68 at Amazon and just a bit more at Sears

I do not use a grinder on edged tools any more and have switched to using a file and stones. It doesn’t really take any more time and the blades are much sharper than what a grinder can achieve. A couple minutes will completely touch up a blade.

6″ bench grinder with wire wheel

I have that Craftsman version bench grinder (spent about 40 at Sears). It works perfect in my garage for regular small work.

I have a 10 year old version of the Ryobi. It works fine for sharpening lawnmower blades and hatchets, grinding off metal flash, etc. I’m sure there are better bench grinders out there, but I’ve never had a problem with mine.

I think the Skil is a great option at 45. I have it in my shop and it works great. For sharpening, I use my Skil belt/disc sander 109. I got both at Lowes.

Was actually looking very hard at the Craftsman one, and you made my decision for me. Just picked it up this past weekend. Thank you for the review, I enjoy this website.

I have my father’s grinder and it is about 45 years old I went out over the weekend and purchased a new 6in grinding wheel from harbor freight and a new wire wheel and it is ready for another 40 years. It is a craftsman.

I’m with Terry…. I gave a 6″ Craftsman grinder to my dad on Christmas in 1968. Having inherited it a couple years ago when he passed on, I am still using it today and it shows no signs of slowing down. It’s amazingly durable! The motor brushes haven’t worn out yet after 47 years and enduring 5 sets of grinder wheels! If I would ever need another grinder, it would surely be a Craftsman!

The thing to remember is Craftsman products built years ago were made in the U.S.A while tools over the past 25 years have been built outside of the U.S.A with different material specifications. None of these companies want there tools to last as long as they once did and get past on to their children. We have become a throw away society and even Sears quit carrying repair parts for older equipment. Even there hand tools are made in China and you can tell they are not as well made anymore.

It seems to me the Craftsman is only about 1.6 amp motor at 1/6 HP according to my calculations. Perhaps I’m wrong but the PorterCable is more powerful and adjustable speed. If you aren’t going to load it up then maybe power doesn’t mater.

Your calculations look a bit generous. But to be honest, I don’t really trust either ratings. The only to reliably compare power is to test both grinders side by side. Even if the Craftsman may be a tad bit underpowered, that’s even more reason to take things nice and easy. A lighter touch makes a grinding job take a little longer, but the results are often a bit better.

What “in-line speed control” can be “possibly” be added to a bench grinder? As far as I know these motors’ speed can’t be adjusted.

AC Induction motors get their speeds as a multiple of the 60HZ current. When you cut the voltage to an AC induction motor all you get is a weaker motor going the same speed. In order for voltage reduction to work as speed control you must be using a universal AC/DC type motor. If your motor uses brushes it is likely the universal type. Most grinders use brushless AC induction motors and require an expensive variable frequency drive in order to achieve speed control.

Thanks for the correction and clarification! That explains why certain speed controls can only be used with certain tool types. The difference between AC induction motors and universal AC/DC type motors, and compatible aftermarket controllers is something I really should have looked into previously.

If all you plan to use the grinder for is to sharpen an ax and a machete but a good bastard file and put the other sixty five dollars into a high quality ax. If you plan to go with a grinder anyway buy the PC, upgrade at least one of the wheels, and invest a few extra bucks in a good tool rest.

Another downside on the Ryobi: Look at the adjustable rests. They’re too flimsy. Time to put this on Craigslist and buy me a Craftsman.

Angle Grinder vs Bench Grinder. Pros Cons.

Throughout multiple trade-oriented industries, the angle grinder, and bench grinder are two of the most utilized forms of tooling. Both are known for their practicality and efficiency when conducting tasks such as the grinding, sanding, and shaping of materials; but what is the real difference between these two machines?

Let us explore these differences in the following article.

Difference Between Angle Grinder and Bench Grinder

In a nutshell, an angle grinder is a portable grinder with a rotating disc that spins at high speed to cut, sand, and polish workpieces. On the other hand, a bench grinder is a fixed machine tool with two rotating grinding stones. Bench grinders are primarily used for sharpening drill bits, cutting tools, blades, deburring, grinding, etc.

Angle Grinder

The angle grinder is a handheld-portable power tool that is most commonly used for grinding, cutting, and polishing works.

All angle grinder models will contain either a small motor (or an air compression system) which is used to power a gear head with a spindle. On the spindle, different angle grinder discs can be attached and fastened through the tightening of a nut. When the grinder is switched on, the gear head and attached disc will rotate rapidly and can be applied to the material for abrasive cutting, grinding, or polishing purposes.

Protecting the operator from injury (such as flying debris) is a grinder guard which is located directly behind the gear head/disc. Different discs are designed for different tasks and are generally made to be consumables.

Bench Grinder

The working principles of the bench grinder are similar to that of the angle grinders, but without the ability to cut-off materials.

A bench grinder is a stationary benchtop machine that is mainly used for the grinding, sanding, and polishing of various materials. The most common design seen houses two adjacent wheels attached to a gear head with a motor located centrally.

When the bench grinder is turned on, an electric motor powers these two wheels (often simultaneously), and the desired work can be conducted via the application of the material to be worked upon. Much like the angle grinder, the abrasive wheel (in this case) is interchangeable to suit one’s needs although as mentioned, bench grinders are predominantly designed with the purpose of grinding, sanding, and polishing in mind.

Portability

An angle grinder is as portable as a power tool gets. It is generally powered by electricity or air compression and it is limited with its freedom of movement only by the location of electrical or air compression output and the length of the electrical lead/air hose on hand.

A step further, there are angle grinder models available that completely eliminate the necessity for a direct power source and are powered by rechargeable batteries. It is important to mention, however, that when interchanging from a direct power source to a rechargeable battery (at least with angle grinders) the lifespan of the tool and power output is less.

On the other hand, the bench grinder is not at all considered a portable tool. These machines will often be found completely stationary and fastened down to a bench or heavy stand which prevents you from carrying it around unless the mounting has wheels. For this reason, a bench grinder is usually considered a shop floor machine tool.

Despite this lack of portability, the bench grinder is not a massive tool in terms of heavy machinery and the location can be changed as desired with a little manpower.

The Angle Grinder

The angle grinder can be used for tasks upon a range of materials such as metal, wood, ceramics, concrete, and plastics, to name a few. Generally, we would see the angle grinder used upon these materials for purposes such as:

  • Grinding
  • Polishing
  • Sanding
  • Cutting rebar, screws, bar stock etc.
  • Weld clean-up
  • Paint and Rust Removal
  • See more uses of angle grinder.

Bench Grinder Uses

We don’t see such a variety of applications from the bench grinder although, it indefinitely makes up for this with its efficiency. Like angle grinders, the bench grinder is useful to work upon materials such as metal, wood, ceramics, concrete, and plastics.

Following are some of the common uses of a bench grinder.

  • Grinding
  • Lathe Tool Sharpening
  • Sharpening drill bits
  • Deburring and chamfering
  • Polishing
  • Sanding

Can You Use a Bench Grinder to Cut Metal?

Bench grinders are not designed for cutting metal since they utilize wide grinding wheels. To cut metal you need a thinner abrasive disc or a saw blade.

On a bench grinder, you could cut metal screws and bar stocks with relatively small cross sections (½ inch or less) using the sharp corner of the grinding stone. However, it will take a lot of effort and wastage of material.

You are much better off cutting metal using an angle grinder or a die grinder with cutting discs.

Versatility

Angle grinders have an excellent range of flexibility when working upon metals of different sizes. This makes them an excellent tool to use throughout multiple industries, such as woodworking, concreting works, and metalworking, where material sizes change often. When material sizes do vary, one can simply change the grinder discs to better suit the workload at hand, or otherwise, a completely different grinder size can be utilized.

Grinder disc interchangeability is equally excellent with a huge variety of cutting, grinding, and sanding discs available as well as other more unique discs/tools available for potential usage. For example, one of the most commonly used discs on an angle grinder is the flap disc which is not a grinding wheel, yet works very efficiently at removing material. Angle grinders can even be used for woodworking and carving.

Also, important to note is the obvious portability of the angle grinder which allows an operator to work anywhere that electricity is available.

Bench grinders are certainly much more specialized than the angle grinder which does limit their flexibility of use as a portable object or as a tool with multiple functions.

Despite this, there is a wide range of different grinding wheels available (of different coarseness, thicknesses, and functions) which indefinitely widens the potential applications from simple grinding tasks to include polishing, sanding, and occasional cutting also.

Power Source

Another important distinction is the type of power used to drive the motor of the tool. I have briefly mentioned this in the portability section.

An angle grinder is usually powered by one of three following methods.

  • Compressed air in the case of pneumatic angle grinders
  • Electricity for corded grinders, and
  • Battery-powered cordless angle grinders.

On the contrary, bench grinders are usually powered by electricity.

Price

The Angle Grinder: 20- 300USD

An extremely budget-friendly 4.5-inch to 6-inch grinder could be purchased for as low as 20USD (though it would be indefinitely lacking in the department of durability and quality).

The cost of the tool usually depends on the size, type of power source, and brand. The price range for a quality angle grinder of any size is likely to range between 80USD – 300USD or more.

The Bench Grinder: 50 – 800USD

Starting at 50USD, one can pick up a light-duty bench grinder for basic home use but when requiring a grinder with a little more power and potential lifespan, the price will likely start from 200USD and continue into the thousands.

Which Grinder Should You Get?

The answer to this question will depend completely on your own individual task at hand; try to utilize the information below for a clear route to selecting the correct tool for your project.

Angle Grinders are most suitable for:

  • If portability is important for you, then an angle grinder wins hands down.
  • The industrial (or home-based) grinding, sanding, polishing, and cutting of materials where manual-control, accuracy, and flexibility are the requirements.
  • Working indoors and outdoors at a location with/without access to electricity.
  • For those who need to complete a wide variety of tasks at a variable price.

Bench Grinders are most suitable for:

  • Fast/efficient grinding, sanding, and sharpening of materials in a fixed location with industrial and residential environments alike.
  • Working upon projects requires production-line efficiency and repetition.
  • Tasks require the operator to have hands free (the angle grinder can be seen as more limited within this area of work).

In conclusion, the bench grinder and angle grinder are both highly practical tools to be used throughout a variety of tasks. Ideally one would have access to both tools for complete flexibility. However, if on a budget one should select the tooling most suitable for their workload.

Durst Super Bench Grinder Restoration Review

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Today I am restoring an uncommon Australian vintage bench grinder. a Durst Super 8″ unit. For some info on the history of the company, see see this article. Here it is in the flesh:

I don’t think the brown paint is stock.

Looks like it may have been repainted while attached to a bench and only the easy to reach areas received some paint.

The foot casting seems to have part number D243:

A capacitor (see lower for specs):

After loosening the pinch bolts on the inside of the foot, the shafts on either side slide out:

Each of the end guards are held on by three screws:

I did measure the shaft OD, I will add that when I find it.

Some penetrant was required to loosen this:

The hole was presumably drilled for balance:

The inner guard is held on by four screws:

Once the guard is removed, we can see the shielded bearing and a bunch of grit:

The left end has a circlip visible outside the bearing:

The end caps that hold the bearings are held together by threaded shafts with an acorn nut on either end:

Once they are undone, the end cap can be pulled off. I started with the right as it came off easily leaving the bearing in place:

The left side came out along with the shaft, leaving this:

The shaft could now be removed from the bearing. There’s another circlip on the inside:

Other shots of the left end:

The bearings were the same on either end. made in Australia, shielded units:

They’re a standard size, even today. 6204 (eBay US, eBay AU) which are available relatively inexpensively. The bearings I took out were double shielded. ZZ. and given the amount of grit which accumulated inbetween the guard and bearing I replaced them with 2RS type (double sealed) to prolong the bearing life. The slight friction between the seal and bearing resulted in the grinder spinning down slightly quicker once turned off. though that effect will lessen in time as the seal wears in. No temperature difference was discernible after changing to sealed.

The front plate is held on by hammer drive screws:

Given the overspray on the shaft and the presence of this colour under the plate I’m going to say this is the original colour:

The ground wire was attached here:

The capacitor is held in by a single screw:

A Japanese-made oil SEC (source energy capacitor) of 5MFD and 330VAC rating. Some more photos of the electricals:

The foot and center piece are held together by two bolts:

Once cleaned up and the bearings replaced, I put some paint on:

Partially reassembled (shafts are in backwards, were just put in place for the photo!):

The serial number is 61378. perhaps the 378th Super grinder produced in 1961? Could be totally unrelated to the year of manufacture.

So far the grinder has been stellar. it’s rated to 3/4hp @ 2850rpm, and draws 3 amps. It has functionally replaced my newer Chinese-made Abbott and Ashby in the workshop and has not missed a beat in six months of regular use. I’d be very keen to hear about or see any other Durst tools you happen to have. please drop me a line if you can send any info through! The fact that it uses standard, inexpensive and readily-available bearings is a good thing for anyone who intends on keeping their grinder running long-term.

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Best Bench Grinder? Let’s Settle This! Harbor Freight Bauer vs JET, Hercules, Rikon, Shop Fox, Delta

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The 10 Best Bench Grinders of 2023

Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like BobVila.com and Better Homes Gardens, among others.

Johnathan C. Brewer II is a licensed general contractor specializing in kitchen, bath remodels, and general construction with two decades of professional experience.

Emily Estep is a plant biologist and journalist who has worked for a variety of online news and media outlets, writing about and editing topics including environmental science and houseplants.

If you work with metal, including auto repair, owning a bench grinder—which smooths and shapes rough edges, polishes and sharpens metal, and removes rust, paint, and other finishes—may be worth your while.

Deane Biermeier, a licensed carpenter and contractor, as well as a member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board, says, “Bench grinders are surprisingly versatile tools. Once you own one, you’ll wonder how you made it this far without it. However, most DIYers don’t need to spend a fortune on a bench grinder for it to be useful. Unless you depend on the tool to make a living, most homeowners won’t require one that’s larger than 1/2 to 3/4 horsepower. The secret that makes bench grinders so useful is the numerous and varied types of wheels and attachments available.”

We evaluated bench grinders based on power, versatility, reliability, construction quality, and overall performance.

Best Overall

DeWALT DW756 6-Inch Bench Grinder

The reasonable price and superior construction make this tool our best overall pick. The DeWALT DW756 6-Inch Bench Grinder is a great option for amateur handypeople as well as tradespeople who need a machine that can do some heavy lifting. Available in the classic DeWALT yellow, this grinder will look great on just about anyone’s tool bench. It has pre-drilled holes, so you can easily mount it to your bench to reduce vibrations. Use this versatile bench grinder to smooth down metal edges, sharpen lawnmower blades, grind away rust or grime from auto parts, sharpen knives and chisels, or even smooth or buff wood.

The DeWALT DW756 grinder is easy to use and reasonably quiet. This 15-inch long machine sports a 5/8-horsepower motor, which is quite a bit in this small body. It can run up to 3,450 rpm for high-speed needs. The motor housing and base are made of industrial cast iron, while the tool rests are aluminum. There’s 12.5 inches between the wheels for a less-cluttered feel, and the wheels have exhaust ports in the rear of their guards to prevent overheating. This grinder comes with eye shields, spark deflectors, and 36- and 60-grit grinding wheels. The whole thing weighs just over 28 pounds and includes a three-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: 100

Wheel Size: 6 inch | Power: ⅝ horsepower | Max. RPMs: 3,450 | Included Wheels: 36-grit, 60-grit | Worklight: No

Best Budget

WEN 4276 6-Inch Bench Grinder

Popular, simple, and inexpensive, the WEN 4276 6-Inch Bench Grinder is a great value pick. The WEN grinder is an ideal high-speed option for anyone who is looking for a quiet and compact bench grinder than can get the work done. It sports a 2.1 amp motor for a maximum speed of 3,450 rpm. It can fit grinding wheels that are 6 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch wide. It has extra-large eye shield and major wheel guards for added safety and worry-free use.

The WEN 4276 comes with both a 60-grit and 36-grit grinding wheel for general purpose and faster grinding, but it can be outfitted with a variety of wheels. It also sports a flexible worklight for convenient and precision work at any time. The machine is easy to mount with a wide and sturdy base, and WEN sells an optional cast iron stand for non-bench usage. This is a great choice for anyone who just needs a bench grinder occasionally for simple tasks like sharpening knives and tools, smoothing rough edges on metal or wood, or cleaning away rust or paint from metal items.

Price at time of publish: 75

Wheel Size: 6 inch | Power: 2.1 amp | Max. RPMs: 3,450 | Included Wheels: 36-grit, 60-grit | Worklight: Yes

Best for Sharpening Blades

WEN BG4270T 10-Inch Wet/Dry Sharpening System

Keep knives, axes, chisels, woodcarving tools, scissors, screwdrivers, and any other object that needs to have a clean and sharp edge in perfect condition with this highly effective sharpening system from WEN. The tool has a 10-inch, 220-grit wet sharpening stone on one side and an 8-inch by 1 1/8-inch leather stropping wheel on the other. The 1.6-amp motor keeps things spinning at a maximum of 115 rpm, which is speedy enough to get the job done with good control. You can reverse the direction of the spin with a flick of the switch as well, which can make various sharpening tasks easier.

The sharpening system comes with an angle guide, honing compound, water reservoir, and jig for sharpening chisels and planer blades. It has a handle for transport, or it can be mounted to your benchtop. You can also use the sharpening system with many other accessories from WEN, including their sharpening kit.

Price at time of publish: 141

Wheel Size: 10 inch | Power: 1.6 amps | Max. RPMs: 115 | Included Wheels: 220-grit, leather | Worklight: No

Best Professional

Jet 578008 8-Inch Industrial Bench Grinder

The Jet 578008 8-Inch Industrial Bench Grinder offers one full horsepower for your grinding needs; that’s a lot of power. This grinder sports a heavy-duty motor and is CSA and CUS certified. It is ideal for small business owners, contractors, construction use, and tradesmen keeping their tools in sharp shape, as well as those who do auto repair or other metalwork. While more than what the average DIYer requires, this is worth a look if you need a bench grinder for heavy-duty tasks.

This 44-pound electric bench grinder functions at 3,600 rpm for real speed. It is set up with 115-volt, 11-amp, 60-hertz service but comes with a guide for rewiring for 5.5-amp 230-volt use. This machine is powerful enough for professional needs and durable enough for a professional setting, with full wheel dressings, a single dust chute, large sealed bearings, and adjustable safety shields. It also has a toggle switch safety key for added protection. This 8-inch grinder comes with one fine and one coarse grinding wheel.

Price at time of publish: 469

Wheel Size: 8 inch | Power: 1 horsepower | Max. RPMs: 3,600 | Included Wheels: 36-grit, 60-grit | Worklight: No

Best Combo Tool

Bucktool Combo Belt Sander/Bench Grinder

Combine a bench grinder and a belt sander, and you get this versatile tool from Bucktool Combo. It has a 1/3-horsepower motor, which gives it plenty of muscle for typical grinding/sanding tasks, such as sharpening blades, smoothing out metal or wood, or buffing away rust or paint. With a 6-inch, 60-grit grinding wheel on one side and a 2-inch by 42-inch sanding belt that can be used in either a vertical or horizontal position on the other, this is a great two-in-one addition to your workshop. There are a LED light and an eye guard over the grinding wheel, which spins at 3,450 rpm. The sanding belt has a top speed of 4,480 feet-per-minute and comes with two small work platforms: one cast iron for working with metal, and one aluminum for working on wood.

The base of the tool is cast iron with rubber feet to help reduce vibrations. All in all, while not a tool for a professional, if you’re in the market for essential tools for DIY jobs, this is a worthwhile investment.

Price at time of publish: 276

Wheel Size: 6 inch | Power: 1/3 horsepower | Max. RPMs: 3,450 | Included Wheels: 60-grit wheel, sanding belt | Worklight: Yes

Best for Crafters

Central Machinery 3-Inch Bench Grinder with Flex Shaft

Some people, especially crafters, need a bench grinder not to tackle large tools or pieces of metal, but to polish, grind, or clean small items, such as metal jewelry, trim, or small hand tools. For those users, the Central Machinery 3-Inch Bench Grinder with Flex Shaft fits the bill.

This mini bench grinder has a 31-inch flexible shaft that accepts a variety of attachments—including most Dremel attachments—for use in grinding, polishing, deburring, cleaning, and sanding metal, including nuts and bolts, small automotive parts, jewelry, knives, small gardening tools, and other detailed metalwork.

Although small, this bench grinder has a reasonable amount of power, and variable speed control up to a whopping 10,000 rpm. It includes a 3-inch grinder stone and a 1/8-inch shaft-mount grinder stone. It’s a great addition to any crafter’s or metalworker’s workshop.

Price at time of publish: 64

Wheel Size: 3 inch | Power: 1.3 amps | Max. RPMs: 10,000 | Included Wheels: Grinding wheel, flex shaft with grinding stone | Worklight: No

Best Buffer

Powertec BF600 6-Inch Bench Buffer

If your hobby, job, or household tasks require you to do a lot of buffing or polishing of metal, then adding the Powertec BF600 6-Inch Bench Buffer to your workshop will make your life easier. This powerful tool isn’t for grinding down metal, but rather for smoothing, polishing, or buffing various materials, including aluminum and chrome and also plastics or even wood. You can use it to polish silver or copper, get jewelry sparkling, buff up serving pieces, or sharpen blades, just for a start. It has a 1/2-horsepower motor that keeps the two 6-inch wheels spinning at 3,450 rpm. The cast iron base keeps the tool steady, so excessive vibration won’t be a problem.

The tool includes two 6-inch cotton buffing wheels, one soft and one firm. While not as powerful as some other grinders, it definitely has enough oomph to quickly polish or buff away grunge, rust, and other undesirable coatings to bring back the shine and sparkle to your metal, plastic, or wooden items. It’s reasonably quiet, as well.

Price at time of publish: 89

Wheel Size: 6 inch | Power: 1.5 HP | Max. RPMs: 3,450 | Included Wheels: soft and firm buffing wheels | Worklight: No

Best for DIYers

Skil BI9502-00 8-Inch Benchtop Grinder

If you are a DIY metalworker, or just like to sharpen your own blades and keep your tools in good condition, then you’ll appreciate the Skil BI9502-00 8-Inch Benchtop Grinder. It can handle just about any typical DIY task, including smoothing down welds and rivets, removing rust from gardening tools, sharpening your knives, or bringing a chisel back to life. The tool has a powerful 3-amp motor with 3,450 rpm. The tool rests are adjustable, so you can position whatever you’re working on just how you need it. The base of the grinder is pre-drilled to make it easy to mount on your workbench; this helps prevent vibrations.

Two 8-inch wheels are included: one coarse and one medium, so you can tackle a wide variety of materials. There’s a built-in work light positioned over each wheel, which makes it easy to see your progress as you work, whether you’re sharpening a blade, polishing metal, or honing a knife. There’s even a built-in water-cooling tray to prevent excess heat and friction.

Price at time of publish: 149

Wheel Size: 8 inch | Power: 3 amps | Max. RPMs: 3,450 | Included Wheels: 36-grit, 60-grit | Worklight: Yes

Best Slow Speed

WEN 4286 8-Inch Slow Speed Bench Grinder

While higher speeds are perfect for grinding and deburring, a bench grinder with a lower speed is best suited to sharpening. So if your main needs are keeping knives, scissors, gardening tools, and other bladed devices honed and ready to cut, the WEN 4286 8-Inch Slow Speed Bench Grinder is a great choice.

The tool has plenty of power, with a whisper-quiet 3-amp motor. Top speed is 1,750 rpm, which gives you much more control than is typically found with faster bench grinders. Eye guards are mounted over each of the 8-inch wheels, but as with any power tool—and especially a tool that creates a lot of fine, flying dust and particles, such as a bench grinder—additional eye protection is mandatory.

This WEN bench grinder includes two 8 x 1-inch wheels: one fine 120-grit for detail work, and one medium 60-grit for general buffing, sanding, and polishing.

Price at time of publish: 142

Wheel Size: 8 inch | Power: 3.0 amps | Max. RPMs: 1,750 | Included Wheels: 120-grit, 60-grit wheel | Worklight: No

Best Variable Speed

Delta Power Tools 23-197 8-Inch Variable Speed Bench Grinder

Most bench grinders have just one maximum speed, but a variable speed bench grinder offers you more control; go with the slow speed for careful sharpening of axes, gardening tools, knives, and other bladed tools, or speed it up to deburr, polish, grind, or clean your various tools or other metal objects.

The Delta Power Tools 23-197 8-Inch Variable Speed Bench Grinder gives you the control you need and the features you want. The 5-amp motor lets you choose variable speeds from 2,000 to 3,400 rpm. The two tool rests are independently adjustable, and the left tool rest has a drill bit rest so you can get the perfect angle every time. There’s even a removable water tray, so you can easily keep whatever metal object you are working on from overheating due to friction. Plus, this bench grinder has an adjustable work light to help you FOCUS on your task.

You get two 8-inch grinding wheels: one 36-grit and one 60-grit, so you can choose the appropriate wheel for your needs.

Price at time of publish: 227

Wheel Size: 8 inch | Power: 5.0 amps | Max. RPMs: 3,400 | Included Wheels: 36-grit, 60-grit wheel | Worklight: Yes

Easy to use, a compact size, and 5/8-HP that provides effective high-speed grinding: that’s why the DeWALT DW756 6-Inch Bench Grinder wins our top spot for a tool suited to both the beginner or more experienced DIYer. But if you need professional-level power, you’ll appreciate the full 1-HP provided by the Jet 578008, which is durable and versatile enough for use in a commercial shop or at home.

What to Look for in a Bench Grinder

Wheel Size

There are two common sizes of bench grinders: 6-inch and 8-inch. That number refers to the size of the grinding wheel. You’ll also find smaller bench grinders—3 inches is fairly common—that are used primarily for crafts or other detailed work.

For the average DIYer, a 6-inch bench grinder is the right choice. These tools typically spin the grinding wheels at a set speed of anywhere from 3,400 to 3,600 revolutions per minute, and they are excellent for sharpening knives and tools, grinding away rust, paint, or grime, sanding metal and wood, and other light-to-moderate repairs around the house or garage.

Eight-inch bench grinders are standard in automotive, woodworking, or metalworking shops, but some DIYers like them for home use, as well, particularly if they do a lot of work with metal. The wheels typically spin more slowly on these larger grinders—around 1,500 to 2,000 is a common range. Some have both a high and a low speed setting, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs—slower for more control, faster when you don’t need as much finesse.

Wheel Type

Most bench grinders come with two installed wheels, and usually, those wheels will have different grits and be different types. Commonly, one wheel will have a grit size between 80 and 120 for handling light grinding tasks, and the other will be either a medium grit of 30 to 60 or a coarse grit of 20 to 24 for more aggressive work.

The most common wheel materials are:

  • Silicon carbide: This common material is suitable for most grinding and sharpening tasks, but tends to heat up very quickly.
  • Aluminum oxide: Another common material that’s especially suited to sharpening and grinding hard metals. Aluminum oxide doesn’t heat up as quickly as silicon carbide.
  • Ceramic aluminum oxide: Excellent for a wide range of metals, ceramic aluminum oxide is long lasting, self-sharpening and not prone to overheating.
  • Wire: These wheels are covered in steel or brass wire filaments. They’re used mostly for automotive repairs and bodywork, but if you do a lot of work with metal, this might be a useful choice.
  • Buffing: These heavy cloth wheels are perfect for polishing, buffing, or shining up a wide variety of metals.

Power

You’ll find that some manufacturers state the power of their bench grinders in amps, while others use horsepower. As a general rule, 6-inch grinders have motors with around 2.1 amps of power—that’s around 1/4-horsepower. Most 8-inch grinders have around 5 amps of power, which is roughly 3/4 horsepower.

The most powerful bench grinders boast 1-horsepower motors, but these are generally used in industrial or professional settings, not for typical DIY projects.

While not a must-have tool for every DIYer, a bench grinder is more versatile than you might think. Along with its major use of grinding down metal, you can also use a bench grinder to sharpen tools, buff or polish metal, remove hardened dirt or other grunge from tools, cut metal or wood, remove rust, smooth and shape the edges of wood or metal, and even work on crafts such as jewelry-making, model-building, or reviving rusted metal items.

Just about every bench grinder has two wheels, which serves to increase the versatility of the tool. Typically, bench grinders come with one sanding/grinding wheel with a light-to-medium grit for light sanding tasks and one sanding/grinding wheel with a medium-to-coarse grit for tougher grinding situations. But there are many wheels available for these tools, some quite specialized. You can swap out one or both of the wheels for a finer or coarser grit, a wire wheel for shaping or cleaning metal, a buffing wheel for polishing, a cutting wheel for wood or metal, specialized wheels for grinding or cutting stone, or even a specialized wheel for cutting gemstones.

While grinding, shaping, and buffing metal are the primary uses of a bench grinder, you absolutely can use these tools on wood, as well. With the right wheel, your bench grinder can sand, cut, shape, buff, smooth, or polish a wide variety of woods. Typically, however, you won’t want to use a bench grinder for very soft woods; these tools are best used on hard materials.

Yes. Most bench grinders come with multiple wheels that correspond to different tasks. Take time to consider the task at hand, and select the correct wheel for the job.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs. For this roundup, she considered dozens of bench grinders, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and customer feedback. Deane Biermeier, a licensed carpenter and contractor as well as a member of The Spruce’s Home Improvement Review Board, provided further information.

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