Angle grinders: The Ultimate Guide. Dangerous grinder attachments

How to Use an Angle Grinder

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Angle grinders are electric power tools with detachable grinding wheels that you can apply to a variety of jobs around your home, including sanding, grinding, cleaning, and cutting. When using a grinder, make sure you’re picking the right attachment for the job and using that attachment correctly. Always practice safety procedures when working with a grinder, as it can cause injury, both from the blade itself and from flying debris. [1] X Expert Source

Choosing and Applying the Right Attachment for the Job

  • Try buzzing off dirt that’s set on garden tools. It will even work on set-on cement.
  • Pick the cup wire attachment for flat surfaces and the wheel to get into crevices.

Angle Grinder Hack. Switch discs without tools #Shorts

  • Make sure to pick the right type of blade for the project you’re working on. For metal, a cutoff wheel works well, and it’s fairly cheap.
  • For masonry, tile, and concrete, choose a diamond wheel. Read the attachment to know what materials you can use the wheel on. [4] X Research source
  • Don’t let the blade get too hot, as it will become very brittle. If it turns black or blue, give it a rest for a moment.
  • Check the wheel for the arrow showing you which direction it will rotate when on.

Operating an Angle Grinder Safely

Put on safety gear like goggles, long sleeves, and full-face protection. One of the main dangers of an angle grinder is flying debris, including pieces breaking off of the tool’s attachments. Protect yourself with safety gear so you don’t catch a piece in your eye. [7] X Expert Source

  • Put in ear plugs or cover your ears with noise-canceling earmuffs, as the sound from the machine can get very loud.
  • Wear a dust mask for particularly dusty jobs, like sanding and grinding mortar. [9] X Research source
  • Grab the handle with whatever hand feels most comfortable.
  • The deadman’s switch is a safety feature. If you accidentally drop the grinder, it will go off automatically.

Let the grinder come to full speed before applying it to the surface. Hit the power button to turn it on. Whether you’re cutting, grinding, or sanding, allow it to come up to speed to help you keep your actions smooth and consistent. For instance, if you’re cutting through metal or other materials, you’ll get a better cut if the cutting disc is at full speed first.

Move the angle grinder around constantly when sanding or cleaning. Don’t keep the tool in one place when sanding, as you could end up with gouges. For a smoother finish, move in a rotating motion over the surface. If you’re trying to smooth or clean one particular area, don’t hold it in place; just move it around and over the area until it’s to your satisfaction. [10] X Research source

  • With cutting, use the side of the wheel to cut the piece head-on, meaning you should hold the wheel perpendicular to the piece you’re cutting.

Keep the guard on no matter what you do. The guard may get in the way on some projects, but don’t take it off. It provides some protection from flying debris if the wheel or attachment shatters. It’s much better for the guard to take the hit then your torso or arms! [12] X Research source

Picking Angle Grinders and Accessories

Choose a 5-9 amp motor if you plan on using the grinder a while. If you want to use the grinder for a number of projects, try not to get the cheapest one. If you spend a little more, you can get a better quality machine. Pick a motor that pulls 5-9 amps, which will give you a little extra power and will likely stay in operation longer. [15] X Research source

  • That way, if you turn your grinder to max, you still won’t go over the max speed of the accessory.
  • A grinding disc with noise reduction and a handle that reduces vibrations can also make your grinder safer.

Community QA

Always wear eye protection and gloves, and point the grinder away from yourself; it might be a good idea to use it on a safe grinding area as well, along with clamps, vices, etc. Before grinding, examine the power cord, extension lead, plugs, sockets and power outlet for damage. Also, ensure that the grinding disc, guard, and attachments (including handle) are secure and correctly fitted. Lastly, inspect the grinding disc for damage; never use a damaged grinding disc, and never use a disc on a surface that might damage it.

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Join the axle pipe with the center point of the wheel, and make sure that the wheel rotates smoothly.

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Choose/purchase the correct disc, be it for metal or masonry, and make sure it’s fixed correctly and tightly. Wearsafety goggles. Hold the grinder very tightly and proceed with caution.

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Angle grinders: The Ultimate Guide

Angle grinders, also known as side grinders or disc cutters, are handheld power tools used for grinding, cutting, cleaning and polishing materials. With the huge variety of jobs that can be tackled with this piece of equipment, it is an essential tool to have in your arsenal.

How does an angle grinder work?

Angle grinders are available in corded, battery or air-powered models. The angle grinder works by using a small disk or wheel and spinning it at such a high rate, typically between 8000 to 11000 RPM, enabling it to cut, grind and polish. The disks can also come in a variety of different sizes.

The angle grinder’s head can be replaced when worn and typically feature an adjustable guard with side handle to allow for two-handed operation. Certain angle grinders, depending on their speed range, can be used as sanders, employing a sanding disc with a backing pad or disc.

What can you do with an angle grinder?

Angle grinders can be used for an incredibly varied number of projects. The most common use of an angle grinder is removing excess material from a piece, however, there are many different types of disks that can be used for different tasks for example, such as cut-off discs, abrasive grinding discs, grinding stones, sanding discs, wire brush wheels and polishing pads. With the correct disc, there is no end to its versatility.

For example, a grinder is useful for cutting and grinding

  • Iron, steel and other metals
  • Metal roof cladding, corrugated iron and other steel sheeting
  • Brick, stone and concrete
  • Slates and building tiles
  • PVC waste pipe
  • Rusted bolts which can’t be undone
  • Rebar in concrete
  • Grinding and sharpening garden tools
  • Welds on steel and also cleaning of welds

Sanding and wire brush accessories are used for:

Can you use an angle grinder to cut wood?

An angle grinder is designed to grind metal or with care, cut ferrous metals using an abrasive disc. They lack a base and other safety features that circular saws have and should not be used to cut wood, especially freehand. An angle grinder typically will use a smaller diameter blade than a small circular saw and won’t provide the same depth of cut. Snagging the blade can result in kickback that can prove dangerous. You can, however, use an angle grinder on wood for carving, shaping and sanding.

There are many different materials that can however safely be cut with an angle grinder, you can read what they are and cut them here.

Are grinding sparks dangerous?

Typically the sparks that come off of an angle grinder are small and very light, because of this the spark is usually small enough to cool down before it hits bare skin. However, the larger hot sparks from grinding metal are much more dangerous, since they usually are larger, and possibly consist of burning metal. The “sparks” you see when you’re grinding or cutting steel is essentially steel dust hot enough to glow. However, they also have very little mass.

If you’re hard at work in warm weather suffering from sweaty skin, this can actually work in your favour as the sparks tend to bounce off your skin due to Leidenfrost effect. However, if they get trapped they will burn through whatever article of clothing you’re wearing, it’s important to make sure your clothing and shoes are all made from natural fibres. This is because artificial fibres such as fleeces melt, and if they melt they can stick to your skin and cause serious burns.

What PPE is required when using a grinder?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn to protect you during all home DIY and professional work, and especially when using an angle grinder.

  • Safety goggles are important to protect your eyes from stray sparks. A full-face visor will also give you additional protection should the disk or blade shatter.
  • Ear Muffs or earplugs will lessen the risk of hearing damage and are always important when working with power tools.
  • Dust masks are required to protect against fumes and dust particles in the air caused from cutting.
  • Gloves provide immediate protection from sparks, and small fragments thrown out by the disk. They also protect your hands from general wear and tear, i.e. minor cuts, scuffs and abrasion. They should, however, be tight-fitting and not “baggy”, so that you can hold the tool securely.
  • Steel toe cap boots are especially needed if you are working with heavy items which could drop when cut up, as they will protect your toes.
  • Overalls and/or Apronsprotect clothes from sparks. Watch out for sparks falling into s or turn-ups, and make sure materials are made from natural fibres.

Can an angle grinder be used as a sander?

Simply put, yes. An angle grinder can be used as both a sander and a polisher if you have the right attachment/disks available. There are thousands of disc and wheel accessories on the market, but the most common ones include abrasive grinding discs, cut-off discs, grinding stones, polishing pads, sanding discs, and wire brush wheels.

We’ve put together a collection of handy How-To guides, detailing step-by-step instructions for some important DIY task. Take a look here.

Teeth Saw Wood Angle Grinder Disc Demo 2021- Does it Work?

What is the difference between a die grinder and angle grinder?

Generally, the tasks carried out using a die grinder are of smaller, lighter and a more precise nature than those of an angle grinder. An angle grinder is better suited for bigger, heavier tasks due to its high horsepower and strong capabilities. Especially in situations where precision and accuracy is not much of a priority. This is because angle grinders are much larger in both weight and dimensions. Because die grinders have comparatively smaller discs and attachments they, therefore, feature faster RPM making them the better choice for delicate jobs.

What are angle grinder discs made of?

Cut Off Disks

Most typical angle grinders use a 4 1/2-inch diameter abrasive grinding disk. These are made from top-quality steel with synthetic resin as a binder to allow particles to be bonded to the surface.

Diamond Blades

The core of this blade is a round metal disc used to support outer segments, it features synthetic diamonds in its outer edge to improve cutting. This is because diamond is one of the hardest materials making it incredibly effective for cutting stone, concrete, bricks etc.

Abrasive Discs

angle, grinders, ultimate, guide

Typically these disks are Velcro-backed or have another method of attachment so that they can be fixed to a pad or base that is then attached to the grinder, converting it into a sander.

What is an arbour on an angle grinder?

The arbour is the part of an angle grinder that the grinding or cutting disk is attached to. Powered by the grinders motor, the arbour is threaded on its outboard end. Some cutting disks and wheels can simply be placed onto the arbour and fastened in place with a special threaded nut during use. Other disks are threaded themselves and they simply screw onto the threads of the spindle. The diameter of the holes in the disks and the thread size must match the arbor. It’s important that you are aware of what size the angle grinder’s arbour really is when selecting a disk.

Some models (such a the Milwaukee M18CAG115XPBD Angle Grinder) feature a fixtec nut, for quick and easy disc changes.

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Power Carving Disc Tool For Angle Grinder – Top 4 Review

Angle grinders are best known for their effectiveness when it comes to construction and metalworking. However, a lesser-known fact is that they can be particularly useful when it comes to woodworking as well.

These tools are not only useful for carving wood but can also shape and sand the wood as well. They are a highly reliable tool when it comes to scooping out a lot of wood and shape your project in its final stages.

However, when it comes to using angle grinders for wood, it is essential to remember that the right attachments are key.

Unlike with metalworking, it is not recommended that you use a traditional metal cutting disc on wood. This is because wood is a highly combustible material. When combined with the sparks from the metal disc that is moving at high speeds, it can be dangerous.

Instead, there are specialty discs available for woodcarving. Choosing the correct disc is vital when it comes to working with wood. You will need to consider a variety of factors before making a choice. This includes the grit of the disc and the type of cuts that it can make on wood.

Types of Angle Grinder Discs

There are three main types of angle grinder discs that are used during a woodworking project:

Flap Discs:

These are usually used after you finish shaping the wood. They serve as a way of sanding down the wood with an angle grinder. They are, essentially, small pieces of sandpaper that are attached to a backing disc. These can, in turn, be connected to an angle grinder.

Like with whetstones, the most effective way to use these is to start with a high grit option. You can then work your way down to a lower, finer grit to remove any leftover scratches.

Abrasive Carving Discs

A great way to shape pristine wood, these discs essentially “scratch” the material away instead of cutting them. They work against the grain on the wood by using conical, carbide teeth.

The teeth on these discs also allow them to give users good control and make them effective at removing material from the wood’s surface. They make a good choice for precision-work while woodworking.

Carving Wheels

Usually made of sharpened steel or alloy, these discs have teeth that resemble chainsaw wheels. Unlike abrasive discs, these cut away at the wood while shaping it.

These are amongst the most aggressive of angle grinders discs. This aggressiveness allows them to be used to work even the thickest of woods with ease or remove a lot of material from the wood’s surface. However, they are also amongst the most dangerous angle grinder attachments for woodworking.

Best Angle Grinder Discs and Wheels

There are a variety of abrasive discs and carving wheels on offer in the market. Here are some of the best powers carving disc tools available for use with angle grinders to get you started on your own woodworking projects.

Kutzall Extreme Shaping Disc – Medium Grit

With free-cutting teeth made of tungsten carbide arranged regularly on the disc, this tool is one of the most popular options available in the market. It is compatible with most popular angle grinders, including the Makita, Black Decker, Hitachi, DeWALT, and more.

This tool doesn’t slice or shear the surface of the wood – instead, it abrades it. This means that not only does this tool produce more sawdust, the sawdust is also very fine, and can clog up the disc. It is recommended that you use a torch and burn out the dust from the grit to unclog it.

One of the user-friendliest discs available on the market, it does a good job at scooping out material. You can get it in a variety of grits, with a coarser grit being for faster performance. It creates a great cut quality in terms of the smoothness of the cut line.

It should be noted that because this disc abrades the surface, the surface is left a little rougher than with some other disc options, and in need of some sanding. This means that if you’re looking for finesse and surface detailing, you will need to follow up with another disc after using this one. The quantity of sawdust produced also means that wearing a mask for protection is necessary.

However, its performance at scooping out wood during a woodworking project, as well as the fact that it is a very well built tool, means that it remains the top choice on the market.

angle, grinders, ultimate, guide

Lancelot 14 Tooth Carving Disc

Another popular carving disc for wood, this is made out of stainless steel and fits most standard 4 ½”, 115mm, and 125mm angle grinders.

It is manufactured in a chainsaw pattern, allowing it to easily remove a lot of wood when you use it. It also works fast, allowing lots of quick concave and convex cuts. The chainsaw design means that you are essentially using the disc as a chainsaw when making edge cuts, allowing for ease of cutting.

However, the finish on the wood after using the Lancelot is very rough. The design is meant to give you high performance, but the cut quality is poor. This means that you will need to sand down the wood. It also does not cut very deep into the wood.

The chain of this disc can be sharpened, as with a regular chainsaw. One of the critical issues with this tool is the safety. As it is easy to hurt yourself with this disc, especially, it is recommended that you strictly follow safety procedures and wear a face-shield and gloves. Beginners should be particularly careful.

AxPower Six Teeth Wood Carving Disc

This planer-like disc is made out of tungsten steel and features six carbide teeth welded onto the blade. It is compatible with 16 mm (5/8”) angle grinders. The affordable nature of this disc, combined with the planning style, makes it a popular choice, especially if you are on a budget.

It does well on concave and convex cuts. However, it should be noted that the teeth do not reach the edge of the blade. This means that it can’t create edge cuts the way that other discs do.

This tool is also a good choice if you’re looking to scoop out a lot of material quickly. It is also easy to control, making it a practical choice for beginners.

However, the carbide blades protrude from the body to a high amount, which could be a safety issue if not used carefully. over, it is difficult to fit on to standard grinders.

ArborTech TURBO Plane

This universal shaping blade is a more expensive option but also serves as a professional-grade tool. With a more controlled nature when used, it is not only a compelling choice for hobbyists; it’s also useful for professional woodcarvers.

This disc has three flat blades like planers. The blades can be sharpened, and allow great fine control when carving wood. This disc is a good option for scooping out a lot of wood.

It’s effective at both concave and convex cuts. However, it is far better at concave shapes, making it a good option when carving projects like bowls. It is also good for curved shapes; however, the details are not as precise as concave ones.

The TURBO Plane also has a safety feature that doesn’t allow it to be used for edge cuts. However, it is possible to approximate the cuts by angling the blade. Despite this, if you’re looking for edge cuts, you’re better serves with another disc. It is, however, useful for planing, scooping, and rounding cuts as well.

This disc is an especially useful choice if you’re looking for a finessed finish. It doesn’t scratch the wood as much as other wheels do, leaving it smoother, with minimal sanding required. It is effective on both hardwoods and softwoods, though it is better for hardwoods.

The biggest drawback when it comes to this disc is the price. It is much more expensive than the other offerings on this list and is not always accessible if you’re on a budget. However, it does offer very smooth cuts and robust safety features. This makes it an effective choice for beginners who don’t mind spending a little more than with the Kutzall Extreme Shaping Disc.

Safety Concerns:

If appropriately used, angle grinders are incredibly useful at working wood quickly. However, like all power tools, they do come with safety warnings.

It is far more common to suffer from woodworking accidents when working at home than on a professional job site. This is because job sites have robust safety precautions that you may not take at home.

To ensure safety, a few standard precautions should always be taken. These include always wearing heavy gloves when working with angle grinders. The sharp blades running at a high velocity can easily tear through both the skin and lighter gloves.

Furthermore, always wear a face-shield or mask when working with an angle grinder. Other protective equipment to keep on hand includes safety goggles and ear protection.


Angle grinders are an efficient way to carve, shape, and sand wood, all with a single tool. Choosing the right disc for your project-type and experience level is key to ensuring that your project comes out as well crafted as possible.

Though there are various discs available on the market, these are some of the best when it comes to carving and shaping wood.

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Real wood can be hard to source and at times too expensive for certain projects. At times like these particle board is one of the cheapest options to opt for. Some people avoid using pressed wooden.

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The Angle Grinder Wheels You Need for Fabrication

Getting started in fabrication? One of your most useful tools will be your handy angle grinder. You can clean rust and paint, whisk off welding slag, remove metal, and cut stuff. So what wheels should you have in your arsenal and what do they do? We picked out the four best angle grinder wheels for fabrication and take a look at what they do to a piece of steel.

If you’re doing fabrication, you need four types of wheels for your angle grinder. They are the standard grinding wheel, the flap disc, the cutoff wheel, and the wire wheel. If you scroll to the bottom of the article, you can see what each of these wheels does to a piece of rusty metal.

Angle grinder wheels are consumables: they last for a certain amount of time and then they need to be replaced. We’ve experimented with super cheap versions of angle grinder wheels and find that they don’t last as long and don’t hold together as well as versions that cost a little bit more. Here are a few that we’ve tried and liked:

We also like products from Norton, Gemini, and Milwaukee.

The Grinding Wheel

Grinding wheel with 7/8″ arbor hole You can grind with this grinding wheel anywhere on the face or the edge of the grinding wheel.

The Angle Grinder Wheel for Fast Material Removal

The standard grinding wheel is all about fast metal removal. Use the grinding wheel if you want to grind out welds, clean up cuts, and prep metal for welding (since you need bare shiny metal to weld). Of the four wheels, this removes material the fastest. It also produces hot, large sparks. Be sure that the sparks are not hitting anything you care about. Sparks will melt and embed into glass, burn holes in some clothing, and can be a little painful on your skin.

Grinding wheels come in different grits. Just like sandpaper, lower numbers (like 40 grit) are coarse and remove material faster. We will caution that the lower the grit, the larger, hotter, and more painful the sparks are. While this is fine if you’re working at a workbench, grinding under a 4×4 in an awkward position can become very uncomfortable with low grit wheels. Even with typical safety gear, it’s harder to protect your body, your ears, and your eyes from bouncing sparks when you’re jammed under your vehicle, so we suggest a higher grit wheel for that type of work. Stray sparks can easily ricochet and bounce behind a face shield/goggle combination. A higher grit wheel will take a little longer, but it’s safer and more comfortable.

1/4″ Thick Grinding Wheel for Fast Material Removal Standard grinding wheels are ideal for quick metal removal using your angle grinder. 1/4″ thick is pretty standard for most grinding wheels.

Angle grinder standard grinding wheel Pay attention to the wheel diameter when buying grinding wheels. Make sure the wheels you get fit inside your grinder’s guard.

We buy angle grinder grinding wheels 5-10 at a time and that quantity can do most of the typical fabrication projects on a single truck.

Low grit grinding wheels can leave “scratches” in your metal. Really coarse grinding wheels can also leave slight burrs on the edge of your workpiece. We usually clean up these scratches by using a flap disc (below) on the affected areas until the metal is smooth and shiny.

The Best Angle Grinder Wheel for Sharpening Mower Blades and Other Tools

This is also the angle grinder wheel you should use for sharpening mower blades, shovels, and other “blunt” garden tools. It’s easy to remove your mower blade, put it in a bench vise, and sharpen it with your angle grinder. We often finish a blade with a flap disc to make sure it’s smooth.

The Flap Disc is for Finishing

Flap wheel for finer metal sanding Flap discs are ideal when you want to sand metal with your angle grinder. They can lightly chamfer edges, remove burrs, and take the sharp edges off corners.

The Best Sanding Wheels for Angle Grinders

The grinding wheels above tend to gouge the material you’re working on, but a flap disc smooths it out. While the grinding wheel is a hard composite material, the flap disc is basically just overlapping rectangles of sand paper. If you were to run your grinding wheel over an edge on a piece of steel, then you ran your fingernail over that spot, it would catch, since the grinding wheel will push out material at it’s leading edge. This is a burr. Burrs look bad, and can be sharp. they’ll easily cut unprotected hands. The flap disc works great to clean up burrs and shine up gouged metal.

Flap Discs Debur Metal and Take Off Rough edges Use flap discs for finer metal sanding.

Like the standard grinding wheel, these come in different grits. Like sandpaper, the higher grits are for fine work and the coarse grits are for rougher work. We use flap discs all the time for finishing heavy grinding. Flap discs make a huge difference in what your finished piece looks like by removing burrs and scratches, allowing you to put slight chamfers on edges, and also making it easy to take the hard edge off corners.

If the metal part that you’re working on is going to be handled by people we recommend using a flap disc on the exposed edges and corners at the very least to prevent unprotected hands from cutting snagged and cut on burrs and sharp edges.

The Cutoff Wheel is for Metal Cutting

The thin profile of a cutoff wheel The thinness of a cutoff wheel is what makes it cut so easily through metal. This one is.045″ thick.

The Best Angle Grinder Wheel for Cutting Metal

Cutoff wheel with 7/8″ arbor Cutoff wheels with a 7/8″ arbor fit a special shoulder on angle grinders that have a 5/8″-11 threaded arbor.

The cutoff wheel is used for cutting metal. You can use it for cutting out welds, cutting small parts out of sheet or plate metal, or shortening bolts. You only use the edge of the wheel, not the back or front face. In fact, using either face will weaken a cuttoff wheel since they are so thin and the fibers that hold the wheel together are so exposed.

Cutting wheels are considerably thinner than standard grinding wheels. Typically, you’ll use something that’s either 1/8″ or 0.045″ thick. This is 1/2 to 1/4 as thick as a 1/4″ grinding wheel. Because of their thinness and the fact that they only cut at the edge, they can cut metal extremely quickly.

The best angle grinder cutting wheels for metal are also the thinnest. However, the thinner the wheel, the more dangerous they are. Thin cutting wheels flex more easily and thus shatter more easily. If you’re working at a work bench in a comfortable position with a well-positioned workpiece, a thin cutoff wheel is fine. If you plan to work under a vehicle in an awkward position, we recommend using a 1/8″ cutoff wheel that is a little more rigid and will resist shattering if you lose your balance or position.

Also the Most Dangerous Angle Grinder Wheel.

Cutoff wheels are great for fabrication When you need to cut metal, a cutoff wheel on your angle grinder gets the job done quickly.

While the cutoff wheel is very, very handy, it is an extremely dangerous wheel because it’s thin. If you twitch, lose your balance, or otherwise accidentally twist the grinder while using this wheel, it will shatter. The projectiles that fly off could break your nose, damage your hands, hurt bystanders, etc. Keep your face away from this and out of the plane of the spinning wheel.

We have shattered perhaps one or two standard 1/4″ grinding wheels in several years of fab work, but we’ve shattered many cutoff wheels. Lots of fabricators have injuries from not wearing proper safety gear or using cutoff wheels unsafely. One of us even has a nice scar and some grinding material permanently embedded under a fingernail after a shattered cutoff wheel impacted his hand and shattered his fingernail. It’s tough to get everything set up perfectly for using a cutoff wheel on an angle grinder, so do the best you can and wear lots of safety gear.

Safety glasses, face mask, grinder guard, heavy gloves, and no bystanders are essential when you spin up this wheel. We recommend not using a cutoff wheel unless both ends of your material are properly supported. Otherwise, the hanging piece may to pinch the spinning wheel and shatter it. A chop saw should instead be used for some types of work, like shortening lengths of tubing or angle iron.

The Wire Wheel is for Cleaning

Wire back wheel with 5/8″ arbor We like threaded arbors for wire wheels since they make it easy to take the wheel on and off.

The Best Angle Grinder Wheel for Cleaning Paint and Rust

Wire wheels are excellent for removing surface rust and paint. The most abrasive wire wheels have thick, twisted bristles. Straight and thin bristles are much less abrasive, but aren’t aggressive enough if you need to do fast paint and rust removal. In fact, all of the wire wheels we use for our angle grinders are twisted. We only use straight bristle wire wheels on drill attachments and die grinders, and they are all small diameter.

Wire Wheel Front These are thick, twisted bristles, so this will be an aggressive wheel. This is the best type of wire wheel for heavy paint and rust removal.

Like the other wheels, stuff can fly off this wheel at high speeds. the wires occasionally break loose hard enough to stick in your skin. This isn’t so bad, but that should encourage you to wear eye protection. Don’t buy cheap wire wheels for your angle grinder. We’ve tried wire wheels from Harbor Freight, and besides not lasting very long, they will spray you with wire filaments for as long as the wire wheel lasts. Besides being intolerably annoying, this is also dangerous for you and anyone around you since the filaments can so easily pierce skin (and certainly eyeballs).

Real World Tests: What These Grinding Wheels Do

Angle Grinder Wire Wheel Sample

The wire wheel easily took off the rust scale. If you were going to stick weld an emergency repair with 6010/6011 rod, this would probably be clean enough for the weld process. However, you’d want bare, shiny, clean metal for MIG or TIG. A wire wheel with steel bristles won’t gouge steel (although it might “soften” the appearance), but it can gouge softer metals like aluminum or brass.

Wire wheel effect on rusty metal We prefer to have shiny metal for welding, but for a lot of projects a wire wheel will take off enough rust to later do a reasonable paint job.

Angle Grinder Flap Disc Sample

The flap disc is basically worthless for rust removal unless it’s just flash rusting. Scale comes off slowly and we never get to clean bare metal, so this is a pretty pointless use.

Flap wheel effect on rusty metal A flap wheel isn’t sufficient for removing heavy rust. It’s more suited for finer metal sanding and finishing.

Angle Grinder Grinding Wheel Sample

We get right down to bare, shiny metal quickly. This wheel left some pretty heavy gouges in the metal. It won’t look good, but for a functional piece this doesn’t matter. Note that we’ve ground out the pitting caused by the corrosion process. This means that we’ve also reduced the overall thickness of the workpiece in those spots. You generally should not be grinding out 1/8” deep pits on 1/4” material, since you’re reducing the strength of that area to 1/8”. The regular grinding wheel is also great for grinding off mill scale, which is the dull gray “coating” that comes on a lot of commonly available metal.

Grinding wheel effect on rusty metal The grinding wheel is very effective at cleaning rust down to bare metal, but it tends to leave a rough surface and can result in a lot of material removal if you aren’t careful.

Grinding Wheel then Flap Disc Sample

First we used a regular grinding wheel, then ran over it with a flap disc. The workpiece still has a little gouging, but most of the shallow ones were “buffed” out. The finish is much smoother to the touch than the grinding wheel alone. Unlike the grinding-wheel-only sample, this would look pretty good with a coat of paint on it. A production piece with a totally smooth finish (think of a welded plate-style bumper with smooth corners) would likely use a less aggressive grinding wheel (shallower gouging) followed up by a flap wheel.

Using a grinding wheel then sanding flap disc on metal Using the flap disc after the coarser grinding wheel makes the steel much smoother.

Angle Grinder Cutoff Wheel Sample

This is just a straight cut with a cutoff wheel. When through-cutting, you must beware of how the cut piece moves so that it does not pinch the cutoff wheel or kick into the wheel when it falls. For pieces of this size and larger, it is safer to use a chopsaw, bandsaw, or hacksaw (it ain’t so bad!). This wheel is 0.045” thick, so it makes a slightly faster, thinner cut than thicker 1/8” (0.125”) wheels. It’ll also shatter more easily.

Angle Grinder Cutoff Wheel Effect on Metal Cutoff wheels should only be used for cutting. Don’t use the front or back face of the wheel for cutting, or you run the risk of weakening the wheel and causing it to shatter.


Mike Johnson

Mike came out of the womb with a Birfield in one hand and a stick of 6010 in the other, ready to weld any piece of trail-busted steel back together. He has wheeled, broken, and modified a variety of rigs, from Toyotas to Jeeps to Fords to Chevies. He likes doing long distance overland travel and would happily spend every night in the bed of a pickup under the stars.

Types of Angle Grinder Wheels and Discs

An angle grinder is a much more versatile power tool than you might think at first glance and can be found in almost any trade industry, from construction to metalworking and even woodworking.

What makes them so versatile is the many different angle grinder wheels and discs that can be used with them, such as grinding wheels, cut-off discs, flap discs, and more. With these different wheels, you’re capable of doing everything from cutting metal sheets to removing paint.

Our trusty angle grinder disc guide will walk through the different types and how they’re used. Afterward, you’ll better understand how each one works and which one you need to accomplish a specific task.

Grinding Wheels

Grinding wheels, sometimes called grit discs, are easily the most recognizable of any of the discs available and the most popular due to their general-purpose nature. They are available in several different sizes up to 10-inches and varying degrees of thickness to tackle specific projects.

Grinding wheels come in varying grit levels. Lower grit numbers are more coarse, while a higher numbered grit is going to be less coarse. Low-grit grinding wheels are perfect for rough, quick work where you aren’t as worried about the finished look of your project. If you want a smoother finish, go with a high grit grinding wheel.

The main use for a grinding wheel is removing excess material from the surface of a project. Other uses include preparing metal for welding, cleaning up cuts, and several other uses, which is why a grinding wheel is considered an all-purpose disc.

Cut-Off Wheels

Cut-off wheels look similar to grinding wheels, but they serve a much different purpose. The distinguishing feature of a cut-off wheel is its thin design, which allows them to make more precise cuts in metal bars and sheets. Due to their thin design, these discs can be dangerous, so be sure to wear the proper protective gear.

Wheels come in different thicknesses, each with its own pros and cons. The thinner the disc, the quicker cuts can be made, but the more brittle they’ll be. A thicker disc is stronger and less likely to warp during a cut. If the disc is bent in an odd direction, it will shatter, sending shards around the room that could prove hazardous or lead to serious injury.

Cut-off wheels are used primarily for cutting different metal pieces, including metal bars, tubes, and small pieces of sheet metal or plates. They can also be used to cut out welds or shorten bolts that are too long.

Flap Wheels

A flap wheel doesn’t look like it, but it works very similarly to a traditional grinding wheel. It separates itself by providing a much finer finish to your project and is commonly used for finishing work. The disc is made of many overlapping abrasive sheets, called flaps, hence the name. There are several grit options with the same method of the higher number of grit, the smoother the finish.

You’ll usually switch to a flap wheel after a surface has already been worked on with a grinding wheel. As the flaps wear away, new grit is exposed, so the wheel will always operate at peak condition until all the grit is gone. They work well for removing minor imperfections, such as burrs or scratches, and removing rust or polishing a surface. These types of angle grinder wheels are commonly found in autobody shops and metalworking and fabrication trades.

Wire Wheels

Wire wheels have varying styles with different purposes in mind, but generally, they all have the same general makeup of wires protruding from a circular base. They feature either thick, twisted bristles, which are more abrasive for faster, easier work, or thinner, straighter bristles, which are less abrasive for finer, precision jobs.

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These types of angle grinder attachments are used to remove rust quickly or to polish hard metal. They can be used on softer materials but can lead to scratches on the surface, so proceed with caution. Wire wheels are also a good solution for removing paint from a surface.

Diamond Cutting Wheels

Diamond blades are typically the toughest blades on the market, and diamond cutting wheels are no different. The edges are embedded with diamond grits. Due to their hardened design, they tend to last longer than other blades. The higher the cutting rim, the longer the disc will last and the more durable it is.

You can work quickly and easier on the majority of applications. Diamond discs can be used on some of the toughest materials out there, such as masonry or stone, in both wet and dry cutting operations.

Paint Stripping Wheels

Paint stripping wheels sometimes called strip discs, are a common alternative to wire wheels when removing paint from a surface. They work best when working on materials that are a little more delicate, such as soft metals, wood, or fiberglass, as they won’t scratch the material.

The poly-fiber material used in strip discs makes them better suited for working on softer surfaces without damaging their surface. They also can be used to remove epoxy or other residues.

Concrete Grinding Wheels

Sometimes you may need to remove concrete from your surface or polish concrete entirely, and there’s a grinding wheel attachment for that job. Concrete grinding wheels come in many shapes and forms. These wheels are made of solid materials, such as fiberglass and other abrasive materials, to handle the tough structure of concrete.

Concrete grinding wheels can handle many other materials such as masonry, granite, marble, stone, and other hard materials. Their makeup allows these discs to be long-lasting over time, but eventually, they’ll wear down, so you’ll want to replace them when they begin to chip.

As always be sure to follow proper safety procedures when using an angle grinder and wear any applicable personal protective equipment. A vital thing to consider is the disc size and RPM of the angle grinder need to match to avoid damage to the disc, which can lead to injury. The top manufacturers of power tools are developing new safety technologies every day to make work with your angle grinder safer for you and those around you.

Shop all of your angle grinder wheel attachment needs from some of the top brands, such as Milwaukee, DeWALT, Diablo Tools, Makita, Bosch, and more at Acme Tools.

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