Is It Possible to Use an Angle Grinder for Cutting Wood?
A good angle grinder can easily cut through metal, masonry, and even concrete. But is a good idea to use an Angle Grinder for Cutting Wood? Before you bring out your trusty angle grinder to maul that would-be piece of lumber, consider the following factors.
Angle Grinder for Wood Cutting, Yay or Nay?
Yes, is the quick and idiotic response. However, it isn’t ideal, and most professionals advise against cutting wood with a metal cutting disc. You must understand how to utilize Angle Grinder for Cutting Wood and which blades to apply. However, there are also significant dangers associated with using an angle grinder for woodcutting, so understanding what to expect can help you stay safe. What is the reason behind this? Because cutting a flammable material like wood with an abrasive blade on a grinder might result in disaster. Aside from the obvious one, there is also another potential hazard associated with using Angle Grinder for Cutting Wood
Because of the density of the material, there is more resistance when using a high-speed power instrument like a grinder to create a cut on a piece of metal, or even when attempting to cut concrete with a diamond saw blade. With wood, however, this is not the case. When utilizing Angle Grinder for Cutting Wood, a lightweight material, a tiny change in posture, such as simply bending your wrist, might cause the grinder to dramatically shift direction. When this happens, your response time may be insufficient to reverse the virtually immediate change, and you may find yourself with an out-of-control grinder running at 15,000 RPM. Plus, most grinders don’t have an electronic brake and are sluggish to stop spinning, and I’m guessing you don’t want to get in the way of an enraged grinder flying through space and time.
Injuries Caused by Inappropriate Use of Angle Grinder for Cutting Wood
In a study conducted by a group of hand surgeons in Japan based on the records of 15 patients treated for angle grinder injury between 2017 and 2018, it was proven that the lack of knowledge about the machine’s capacity was the main reason of these injuries. Not knowing about the potential hazards of using an angle grinder for cutting wood may result in untreatable and permeant damages.
Therefore, if we get back to the question here, can angle grinders also be used to cut wood?
The best answer would be: Yes, of course. An angle grinder can cut wood because it has the strength and capability to do so. That does not mean, however, that using an angle grinder for cutting wood would be the optimum of the situations. Although an angle grinder is useful for little projects, you should think hard before using it on a major project.
What Angle Grinder Blades Are Best for Cutting Wood?
An angle grinder has its purpose if you’re simply seeking to cut little woodcuts (like the edges of trim) or carve portions of wood. However, either a three-tooth wood cutting disc or a wood carving disc should be used. When it comes to using an angle grinder for cutting wood, the correct kind of blade is required. So, let’s look at a few alternatives for the greatest wood-cutting blades.
Let’s start with the question of whether a normal blade can be used to cut wood. This is a common mistake made by novice users, and it is something you should avoid. Cutting with a normal blade is possible, but the safety is inadequate. The grinder might rise and fly off the table you’re working on if something goes wrong. You might be badly injured if you rotate at high speeds. Instead of attempting to use a regular blade, you should seek for one of the woodcutting blades listed below to assist reduce the chance of an accident while maintaining the smooth and accurate appearance of your project. Rotating at high speeds might cause serious injury. Instead of attempting to use a standard blade, go for one of the woodcutting blades mentioned below to help decrease the risk of an accident while keeping the smooth and precise aesthetic of your project. Choose a wood carving disc for an angle grinder that will operate on both soft and hard woods. A disc with the strength required for woodworking, as well as the proper form and design to undertake woodcutting operations with ease.
Angle Grinder for Cutting Wood: 3 Top Picks
A wood carving disc made specifically for an angle grinder is available (flex). Wood, laminated flooring, parquet (hardwood), aerated concrete, plasterboard, and plastic are all safe to operate on because to the unique form. If you require a woodworking tool for an angle grinder (flex), you’ll need a Speed-cutter disc. The GRAFF Speed-cutter woodworking disc features only three teeth, allowing the angle grinder to achieve an acceptable level of radial resistance at a Rapid rotation rate.
- All-In-One Carving Tool
- No Overheating
- PROVEN MATERIAL
- T TOVIA 5 Wood Carving Disc for Angle Grinder
People have been utilizing circular saw blades with angle grinding machines for woodworking for many years, which is dangerous! An angle grinder’s large number of teeth paired with its Rapid RPM rate frequently results in finger amputations and other serious accidents!
- All-In-One Carving Tool
- No Overheating
- Proven Material
- Ronix 3210 Mini Angle Grinder
No one can refute Ronix 3210’s capability. Our clients love this power tool because of its strong 2400W motor, 8000RPM no-load speed, 180mm wheel diameter, and ergonomic features. To turn it on, all you have to do is plug it in and press the anti-dust button. Because of its air-flow cooling mechanism, working long hours will not be a problem for the 3210. Working with an angle grinder has become so simple and comfortable thanks to the development of various ergonomically designed features in such a power instrument. Three-position anti-vibration side handle, rotating main handle, quick-change disc guard, and locking pin system are among the features.
- Professional heavy-duty 2400W powerful motor that enables high performances
- 3 positions anti-shock ergonomic side handle, minimizes vibration and reduces fatigue during long time working
- Rotary main handle which accelerate working in different angles and improves user comfort and control
- Soft start switch system that ensures the safety of operation
- Direct airflow system which cools the motor for more reliable performance and higher overload capabilities
- NSK anti-dust ball bearings which ensure long lifetime of the motor and make it work more smoothly
- Quick change of disc guard that allows the user to place the guard in different working positions
- Easy and fast carbon brush changing mechanism
- New locking pin system for easy and fast disc changing and safety mechanism
- Anti-dust switch which reduces dust penetration, especially in masonry working conditions
Is Using an Angle Grinder to Cut Wood Effective?
Using an angle grinder for cutting wood raises a number of obvious safety hazards. However, if you take the proper precautions, use the proper three-tooth cutting disc, and just need to trim a few corners here and there, an angle grinder is a feasible alternative.
Carving, sanding, and shaping are all operations that angle grinders excel at. You can shape wooden materials like a master craftsman with a wood carving disc attached to your angle grinder.
Tips and Tricks to Avoid Mistakes
While using an angle grinder for cutting wood, however, the least you can do is to always wear the proper PPE, such as safety goggles, ear protection, and cut resistant gloves, which are the absolute least minimum when working with a grinder. Keep in mind that the guard should never be removed unless the power supply is disconnected. When cutting any material with a grinder without a protection, you might end up in the hospital.
- The first mistake to avoid is driving too quickly. When performing something potentially harmful, it’s natural to want to get it over with as soon as possible. In this case, you could wind yourself paying a high price for it.
- One of the most crucial aspects of using an angler grinder to cut wood is to go slow and careful with your motions. As a result, take your time. If you hurry the job, you risk receiving a kickback from the grinder, which might result in serious injury.
- Keep in mind that you’ll almost certainly need to become used to cutting at an angle. Your inclination will be to cut straight down, but this will increase your risk of harm. Instead, try making each cut at a small slant. The angle will perform better and cut more accurately because this tool is designed to carve wood rather than cut it.
- What blades should I use when using an angle grinder for cutting wood?If you intend to use an angle grinder for small trimming or little jobs as such, select a proper three-tooth cutting disc.
- Should you use an angle grinder for cutting wood?No, it’s a last-ditch attempt that should only be used if you don’t have any other options.
- How to use an angle grinder in woodworking?This handheld power tool can be used for grinding, sanding, abrasive cutting and polishing wood.
As you can see, the debate over whether or not angle grinders should be used to cut wood is not simple. The reason for this is because this tool may be too strong for most wood products, increasing the risk of harm from backlash. However, you do have options when it comes to cutting wood with a grinder, as you can simply replace the disc to a three-tooth disc for minor projects. While we believe there are certain advantages to utilizing an angle grinder for carving, shaping, and sanding, you must be completely focused and aware of the grinder’s limitations in contrast to other instruments. When attempting to create accurate miter cuts or ripping boards of wood, if you have access to a circle saw, table saw, or even a miter saw, you’d be better off going that route.
Magical Grinders; The Best Angle Grinders in 2023
Using Angle Grinders to Cut Metal is one the most convenient ways of metal fabrication as angle grinders are a metalworker’s right hand; You can tackle a wide range of metalworking operations with the right angle grinder equipment and accessories while staying safe on the job. An angle grinder is a versatile tool that may be used to work with a number of materials and applications.
Can You Use Angle Grinder to Cut Metal?
“Can you use an angleAngle Grinders to Cut Metal?” is a question that pops up frequently on the appropriate message boards. What’s the quick and easy answer? Absolutely! Indeed, among the many hand-held equipment available, the angle grinder appears to be the most flexible of metalworking power tools. That’s why it’s no surprise that this specific item is utilized by a variety of crafts, including those in the automotive sector, HVAC, plumbing, and a variety of others.
Grinders are often used for refurbishing and polishing metal materials, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can use them on stainless steel surfaces if you have the correct disc.
You shouldn’t, however, go into the process without taking any safeguards. That’s why, throughout the post, we’ve included a few safety guidelines to assist you learn how to use angle grinder to cut metal in the most efficient and effective way possible.
How to Use an Angle Grinder to Cut Metal
Now that we’ve established the notion of using an Angle Grinders to Cut Metal, let’s examine what the optimum way of operating an angle grinder to cut metal. We must point out that the method is not always the same because different angle grinder models work in different ways. Even yet, the safety measures you must follow while cutting metal or steel are very similar.
What is the maximum thickness of steel when operating an angle grinder to cut metal?
It truly relies on the angle grinder’s cutting capacity as well as the size and type of disc you’re using. Apart from that, the thickness of the material you’ll be cutting is a determinant in determining the steel’s possible cutting depth.
Not only that, but cutting discs come in a variety of thicknesses, so you’ll need to pick the proper one.
But let’s pretend you’re using a 4-1/2-inch grinder with a flat diamond cutoff blade to cut stainless or mild steel, as most people do. A 1mm or 1.6mm iron-free disc should be used to cut the stainless steel.
When cutting thin metal materials like sheet metal, a 1.0mm or 0.8mm cutting disc is recommended. Due to the reduced blade thickness that results in less heat transmission, any of these discs will provide a cleaner appearing cut and minimize any potential discoloration.
When cutting or buffing metal or aluminum with an angle grinder, using a type saw lubrication will extend the disc’s life and prevent the risk of chipping.
If you’re going to chop thicker, heavier steel like rebar or structural steel like angle iron, you’ll need a cutting disc with a thickness of 1.6mm or 2.5mm. Using a bigger blade, such as a 2.5mm cutting disc, to cut through dense steel has certain disadvantages.
Due to the slower blade speed of the bigger disc-equipped, the completed cut of your steel workpiece may show evidence of discoloration. What is the reason behind this? Because of the increase in friction, essentially.
You could always use another power tool to cut metal, depending on how thick the material is and how clean of a cut you want.
While accuracy and elegance are required when cutting thick, dense steel, a metal cutting circular saw or a metal chop saw are two of the most common suspects. Break out the trusty grinder if all you want to do is make short cuts when accuracy and overall aesthetics are secondary concerns. Simply use the suggested CDs whenever possible.
The Best Angle Grinder for Metal Work
If you’re looking for a high-quality, easy-to-useAngle Grinders to Cut Metal with, here we present you some of the best tools in the market today.
Bosch 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder
The Bosch 4-1/2-inch angle grinder has a powerful 6.0amp motor that produces 11,000 no load rpm for professional cutting and grinding. Its Efficient motor has a very tiny field diameter, allowing the operator to grind or cut with minimal effort. This item is lightweight, with a small size and shape that makes it suitable for metal craftsmen. Vehicle fabricators, plumbers, and other professions who utilize grinders on a regular basis, such as home builders, are among those who employ them.
Ronix 3212 Angle Grinder, 2350W, 230mm
Having a strong an Angle Grinders to Cut Metal and other difficult materials is a huge benefit for a professional metal worker who conducts a lot of grinding and metal fabrication operations. The Ronix 3212 Angle Grinder is a powerful power tool that can tackle a wide range of industrial and heavy-duty tasks. You can confidently operate this angle grinder to cut metal any time.
Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2″ Cut-Off/Angle Grinder
Makita’s angle grinder is a high-quality tool for metalworkers. A powerful 7.5 AMP motor provides high output power in a smaller, lighter tool. You may carry this device anyplace and cut metal with ease by using both hands to control it.
The ‘tool-less wheel guard adjustment allows effortless clamping, and it also offers a grinder with an AC/DC switch for use with various power sources, which is a nice feature of this Makita angle grinder.
Safety Tips When Operating an Angle Grinder to Cut Metal
When you use Angle Grinders to Cut Metal or grind it, small chips or shards of metal fly all over the place. They can also be fiery and abrasive. Follow these guidelines to avoid eye injuries, wounds, burns, and other problems when cutting metal: Read and follow all safety warnings on metal-cutting discs and blades. Protect your eyes and ears with safety glasses, a face shield, and hearing protection. Wear gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, and slacks to protect any exposed skin.
Let newly cut metal cool completely before handling it.
When working with metal that may have sharp edges, use gloves.
Before cutting metal, secure it with a clamp. If you’re use angle grinder to cut metal, don’t let anyone close you unless they’re wearing hearing and eye protection.
Suggested disc types.
You can use angle grinder to cut metal and all types of it, including bolts, angle iron, rebar, and even sheet metal, when it’s equipped with an abrasive metal-cutting disc. However, as you use the discs, they wear down fast, cut slowly, and reduce in diameter. Instead, we recommend utilizing a diamond blade with a ferrous metal cutting rating. These will last far longer than abrasive discs, cut quicker and cleaner, and wear down much slower.
|The Disc Type||Application||Consideration|
|Metal cutting disc / cut off disc||Most metals can be cut. It can’t be used to grind anything. Present at a 90-degree angle to the workpiece||Aluminium Oxide is used to make the cutting edge|
|Grinding disc||Metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous, are ground. Present at a 45-degree angle to the workpiece.||Aluminium Oxide is used to make the cutting edge.|
|Multi-cut cutting disc||Metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous, are cut through (including stainless steel). For more sophisticated cutting needs, it will also cut through brick, stone, contemporary composites, and tiles.|
|Stainless steel cutting disc||Steel and stainless steel are cut through. It’s especially handy for cross-sections with tiny cross-sections.|
|All cut diamond blade||Cast iron, various ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and most building materials are all cuttable.||Cutting edge with diamond grains attached to it.|
|Abrasive grit mop disc||Metal grinding in general, especially for edge grinding jobs like deburring, sharpening, and surface finishing.||Grinding flaps in a fan-shaped radial pattern.|
|Slitting disc / thin cutting disc||Pipes and profiles with thin walls are cut. This tool creates a fine cut line. Use on ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as stainless steel.||Thin cutting discs produce less heat during operation, cause less tool vibration, finish cuts faster, and waste less metal in each cut, saving up to 2 mm each cut.|
FAQ1. What tools do I need to cut metal with an angle grinder?the necessary tools when it comes to metal cutting with angle grinder are: angle grinder, metal disc, c-clamp, power outlet/source, earmuff and the metal material you plan to use.
What’s the difference between a cut-off tool and an angle grinder?A cut off tool is used to cut surfaces, as its name implies. The angle grinder, on the other hand, is a more flexible tool that can be used for a variety of activities such as sharpening and grinding.
Is it possible to cut steel with an angle grinder?Yes, if you have the appropriate disc. However, due to the steel’s hardness, they will wear out more quickly.
Can Angle grinder Cut wood?Easy Wood Cutting / CuttingTree Branches With A Bosch Cabide Multi Wheel
Is it possible to useAngle Grinders to Cut Metal. even a thick steel piece? Yes, it surely can. At the end of the day, cutting metal with an angle grinder may be very effective and incredibly safe if you have the proper equipment and safety gear.If you’ve never used a grinder before, you won’t need much practice to learn the skill of slicing and dicing materials properly. That is, as long as you use the suitable cutting disc with this powerful hand-held equipment.Because an angle grinder is designed to cut through stronger metals, as well as bricks and concrete, you won’t have to worry about its durability. In time, a decent grinder will become a need rather than a luxury.While the ordinary DIYer is unlikely to be hacking at dense steel on a regular basis, a good grinder is the one equipment you’ll want in the back of your truck or tool shop if you need to make Rapid cuts in metal.Finally, when using a grinder, make sure you are in complete control of the equipment and that you are wearing the proper protective safety eyewear. All that’s left to do now is select the appropriate cutting disc and material, and begin cutting metal with ease.
If you’re in the market for a cordless angle grinder for welding, metalworking, and wood carving projects, check out our hands-on review of this Makita model.
By Tom Scalisi | Updated Sep 2, 2021 10:28 AM
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For a long time, angle grinders—tools typically used for cutting, sharpening, cleaning, and polishing metal—were used only by pro metal fabricators, mechanics, and automotive body repair technicians. But with more DIYers tackling at-home metalworking, welding, woodcarving, and even grout removal, manufacturers took notice. Now, the best angle grinders are more convenient and accessible than ever. Of course, that means there are a lot of options on the market—and that can cause confusion.
I performed hands-on testing with this Makita angle grinder to share with anyone shopping for one of these tools. My review provides real-life feedback about its design, capabilities, and other important information about its features. What you learn from this review might surprise you as much as I was surprised while testing the tool. Keep reading for help deciding if this is the right cordless angle grinder for you.
Makita Angle Grinder: At a Glance
- Automatic speed and torque adjustment
- Slow-start keeps it from jumping
- Excellent vibration control
Get the Makita Angle Grinder at:
What Is the Makita Angle Grinder?
The Makita angle grinder is a cordless angle grinder that runs on the brand’s 18-volt lithium-ion battery system. It has a brushless motor, requiring less maintenance than a brushed motor while also increasing its power and battery life. The motor produces up to 8,500 rpm, and it has an automatic speed control function that adjusts the speed and torque during grinding and cutting conditions.
The grinder accepts both a 4.5- or a 5-inch grinding wheel and disc. To combat the kickback caused by a larger grinding wheel, it features built-in slow-start technology to ramp up the speed slowly.
To protect the user’s hands from the spinning disc and sparks, the Makita angle grinder comes with a two-piece handguard. It also has a thumb-activated switch that locks into the “on” position for extended use. And to help users maintain a solid grip, there’s a screw-in handle that attaches on the left or the right.
This tool can serve several purposes, including cutting, grinding, sharpening, carving, and more. In some cases, it may take the place of a bench grinder or a rotary tool as well.
Is the Makita Angle Grinder Easy to Set Up?
Setup is unfortunately one of the main downsides to the Makita angle grinder. Unlike some models, this grinder doesn’t come with the removable guard already attached; you’ll need to attach it yourself. While this is fairly simple with other angle grinders, I found the process to be a bit tricky with the Makita.
This model has a two-piece handguard. There’s a traditional metal guard used for cutting and grinding, and then a plastic shroud-like guard that attaches to the metal guard. The shroud covers half of the grinding wheel on all sides. While the tool is undoubtedly safer with the plastic guard in place, it makes grinding a lot more difficult.
And in terms of setup, the guard was also a bit finicky to attach and remove. There is a spring-loaded metal clip on one side and, in my experience, it doesn’t operate like it should. It clips on while not being fully seated, which means that the plastic guard could potentially fall off while grinding. Then, with the plastic guard fully seated, it didn’t snap into place like I expected. I removed the plastic guard and proceeded using the tool with the metal one.
Angle grinder dangerous kick back video| dont use it for wood cutting
Beyond the guard, the tool’s setup took mere seconds. It comes with a spanner for removing the nut that holds the discs in place, as well as a spindle lock button to prevent the disc from spinning while loosening or tightening.
Is the Makita Angle Grinder Easy to Use?
Yes, I found the Makita angle grinder to be very easy to use. Many angle grinders feature small thumb-activated switches, but the Makita’s is large and easy to manipulate (even with gloved hands). This made starting and stopping the grinder to check my work a breeze. For quick grinds, I would simply apply pressure to the switch. For long grinds or cuts, I’d lock the switch into the “on” position and get to work.
Grinding wheels are quite a bit heavier than cutting discs, so I expected some kickback when I started the grinder with a grinding wheel installed. Fortunately, the Makita’s slow-start technology made starting it up with a grinding wheel feel no different than a cutting wheel. There wasn’t any noticeable jump or jolt, which made maintaining my desired grip and lining up cuts quite easy.
In practical use, the metal handguard worked just as it should. I was able to loosen and reposition it as necessary, and it kept most sparks and debris from making me uncomfortable. I didn’t even attempt to use the plastic guard for reasons stated above.
Is the Makita Angle Grinder Comfortable to Use?
This was the aspect of testing the Makita angle grinder that pleasantly surprised me the most. Compared to almost every other model, the Makita’s vibration and “jumpiness” were the least noticeable. It was as smooth as a finely tuned machine should be.
I believe much of the vibration control comes from the rubber over-molded grips and the better-than-most rubber padding on the handle. This really does matter, as even a small metalworking project requires quite a bit of time spent grinding. Poorly designed angle grinders without vibration control can wear down the user’s hands. With the Makita, I was able to continue grinding and cutting, and then move onto welding without tired, cramped hands.
Although I’ve already mentioned the lock-on switch, it’s a comfort factor worth discussing here. Being able to lock the switch in the “on” position is incredibly helpful. Turning a grinder on and off or simply holding it in the “on” position for a while will likely cause the user’s hand to cramp. I didn’t experience that thanks to the lock-on switch, however, using that feature does require an extra degree of caution when in the “on” position.
How Did the Makita Angle Grinder Perform?
When testing the Makita, I compared it to several other angle grinders with the same grinding wheels and cutting discs attached. Not only did this give me a solid grasp of how the Makita performs, it also showed how it stacks up against other cordless models.
Of cordless models, the Makita had the lowest top speed, but it was also the only model that could handle 5-inch wheels. And because the Makita has an automatic speed and torque control, I didn’t notice it slowing down much, even buried in my large, ugly amateur welds. (Full disclosure: It’s been a few years since I’ve welded.) So I would say that under practical application, the Makita felt just as fast and powerful as other high-speed cordless angle grinders.
The Makita’s build quality was also on full display. The spindle-lock worked flawlessly, and the spanner slipped into the retaining nut very easily. The screw-in handle felt sturdy and stayed secure during use, and the entire grinder felt like a quality tool should while in hand.
Is the Makita Angle Grinder Worth the Money?
As far as the value the Makita angle grinder offers, there are two sides to the coin.
Yes, the tool itself is slightly more expensive than some other cordless grinders, but it’s one of the only models designed to handle 5-inch discs. A larger disc requires a burlier grinder with sturdy components, and that will cost extra. Also, the slow-start technology and ergonomics are spot-on, and that takes research, which translates to a higher price. For the money, you’re getting a lot of cordless grinder.
The other side of the coin is less about value and more about awareness: The Makita angle grinder is typically sold as “tool only,” meaning it does not come with a battery and a charger included. So if you aren’t already invested in the 18-volt lineup, that will mean two additional purchases. That said, even with the extra money spent on a charger and a battery, there is still plenty of value in the Makita angle grinder if you will regularly use this tool.
Is the Makita Angle Grinder Right for You?
The purpose of this review is to help you decide if this is the right tool for you. While the answer is certainly relative, there are certain types of users who should definitely consider purchasing the Makita angle grinder.
If you already own tools in the Makita 18-volt lineup and have some batteries on hand, the Makita angle grinder is almost a no-brainer. You’ll have the ability to cut metal, grind welds, and carve wood using batteries you already own. If you want an angle grinder and you already have Makita batteries in your workshop or garage, this is probably the best model for you.
Crafts and tradespeople who work on-site where power isn’t always readily available should give some serious thought to this angle grinder. With a 4.0aH battery (which is what I had on hand), the Makita lasted a long time, even when grinding down heavy welds. There are other cordless models with plenty of speed and power, but very few can handle a 5-inch disc.
Finally, DIYers who worry about a grinder being too much of a tool to handle are ideal candidates for the Makita angle grinder. Sure, it’s a powerful machine, but the slow-start and the vibration control features make wielding it a breeze. Compared to other models, the Makita’s ergonomics and handling are spot-on.
Where to Buy the Makita Angle Grinder
Get the Makita Angle Grinder at:
What it takes to cut the angle grinder resistant Litelok X1 bike lock
Litelok doesn’t claim the X1 is angle grinder proof, and it’s not, but it takes two cuts to free a bike and a single cut will trash a grinder disc. That’s enough security for most bikes in most situations and it comes without tradeoffs in price and useability.
- Double shackle design adds security
- Coated to resist scratching a frame
- Standard interior space makes room for a wheel, the frame, and an anchor
- Pricing is close enough to the best regular locks
- Replaceable keys
- Totally rattle free frame mounting
- Sold Secure Diamond Rating
- Angle grinder resistant
- – Not completely angle grinder proof
- – Lacks an insurance offer to back the performance
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The best bike locks is a list I’ve spent a lot of time researching and extensively testing. There’s nothing worse than walking out to the spot where your bike used to be and finding an empty spot. It feels violating and it’s a financial hit plus, often, an emotional hit as well. Helping our readers avoid that fate is one of the more rewarding things I have the opportunity to do. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder all the time.
It used to be that anyone who used a quality U-lock, or D-lock depending on your location, would be safe enough because it wasn’t worth the hassle compared to the less securely locked bike that was sure to be nearby. Things have evolved though and portable angle grinders are a significant issue. Lock companies are beginning to respond but there are still not a lot of options. The Litelok X1 is a new option that bills itself as angle grinder resistant. If you are looking to balance security with useability and price, this could be the lock to do it. I spent time seeing what it was like to use and I also got out the angle grinder. Keep reading to see what I found.
Design and aesthetics
The bottom line is that the portable angle grinder is now a significant threat. In some ways, this has to do with the increased prevalence of the e-bike but it’s also just a reality of technological innovation by bike thieves. Portable grinders have gotten cheaper, and more effective, while the potential pay-off has risen in value. It’s gotten to the point that every bike lock discussion has to have a disclaimer saying that while a lock might be great, it won’t withstand a grinder. There is a hole in the market and the Litelok X1 is stepping into that hole.
Understanding the design of the Litelok X1 starts, like all locks, starts with an understanding of everyday useability. The Litelok X1 looks to be a pretty standard U-lock. The internal space is 101 x 196mm which is very close to the Onguard Bulldog standard lock that I’ve used for years partly because it’s so easy to use. The shackle itself has a metal core that is roughly 15.5mm x 15.8mm and locks on each side requiring two cuts to free a bike. On top of the shackle is a 3.5mm soft coating that protects the frame from scratches. The coating also features a strip of reflective material on either side, plus a reflective logo, to help with visibility.
In the box, you’ll find a pair of keys included in the purchase. Each key has a laser engraved code on it, the same for both, and you’ll want to make sure to write that number down. If you ever lose the keys or just want more for any reason, Litelok sells a pair of replacement keys for £20/20. You could also go ahead and register the lock with Litelok to activate the three-year warranty and they will store the key code for you.
When it’s time to actually use the key, you will find one of the better solutions to protecting the lock cylinder from the weather. One of the most common ways that locks tend to fail is because of water in the cylinder so the best locks find ways to provide protection. Often, it’s just a flap that requires opening but Litelok instead uses a silicone cover with a slit in it. You can push the key through it but it’s tight enough to close on its own. It’s a solution that protects the lock cylinder without requiring two hands to use.
The mounting system is equally clever. On the top, inside, of the crossbar, there are a couple of one-sided flat spots. These correspond with opposing “C” shaped pieces on the mount. Just put the lock into the mount and twist it to lock it into these pieces. The flat spots make for a stable place to grasp and there’s a spot of rubber that keeps everything tight and rattle-free. If you prefer to carry your lock in your belt there’s also a Restrap branded holster that attaches to a belt and securely holds any D-lock. It is an extra purchase though.
When I review locks, I typically have a separate section where I discuss security. The reason for that is pretty simple, I’m not a bike thief. Like any profession the more experience you have the better you get. A bike thief spends their time stealing bikes and I don’t. Unless my life takes a drastic turn I’m never going to be as good at stealing a bike. Given that reality, I stick to the experience of using a lock and I rely on the experts who accredit locks for the security section.
Companies such as ART and Sold Secure are experts in bike theft. They understand current theft practices across the world and they certify locks to specific levels. In this case, the Litelok X1 carries a Sold Secure Diamond rating and has an ART4-accredited cylinder. Normally I’d also have to explain that even with those ratings, a grinder will defeat the lock. The Litelok X1 is different though.
I didn’t include the security section because the Litelok X1 claims to join a very select group of locks that is capable of withstanding an angle grinder. The group includes the Hiplok D1000 and the Altor SAF lock. Both the Hiplok and the SAF lock are effectively angle grinder-proof. The SAF lock manages the feat by being so big that you can’t get through it with a common grinder while the Hiplok takes a higher technology approach. The Litelok claims to be resistant but a grinder will cut through it. I knew there was no way I could write this review without being able to share exactly what that meant.
I don’t live in the best part of town so I headed to the local hardware store and I asked what kind of blade they thought a local thief might use. Their answer was to show me the inexpensive abrasive cut-off wheels designed for metal that regularly get stolen. I grabbed one of those because that’s what is most likely to be in use. Then, at home, I plugged in the only grinder I own but instead of clamping the lock, I put it on the ground against a rock. It’s not exactly like trying to cut a lock on a bike but I’m hardly an expert with a grinder so I’m calling it representative.
When I went to work on the Litelok X1, the first thing I noticed was the outer cover. It’s there to prevent scratches but it also helps protect the lock core. As you cut into it, the material turns into a molten goo that flings everywhere and gums up the grinder. I decided early on that I wasn’t willing to risk my big camera in this endeavour and instead used my Insta360 One RS with the 1-inch mod. I’m grateful for that because a piece of the goo cracked the lens cover.
The next thing you get to is the steel core and the layer of Barronium that protects it. Lock brands love to come up with new material names but there’s no new element here. There is a hardened steel core with a ceramic composite fused to the outside. You can’t actually see the separate layer but Litelok claims it will wear down a blade and that is exactly what happened.
My video is about two minutes in length but there’s a fair bit of time taken to check the cut and rearrange the grinder. My grinder doesn’t have a shield and the sparks plus cover material wasn’t awesome against my hand. I think if I was being efficient, and better with a grinder, I might make the cut in a minute. It would probably be slower with a battery-powered unit though. importantly, a single cut destroyed the blade. It takes two cuts to free a bike.