The 4 Best Stained Glass Grinders For 2021
A quality glass grinder can be one of the most useful tools in your shop whether you’re a beginning stained glass artist or a seasoned professional. Getting the perfect shaping on a piece of glass is so satisfying, and can help improve the look and feel of any project.
That said, if you’re a complete beginner, you may want to hold off on purchasing a glass grinder until you’re sure you plan to stick with it. Glass grinders are somewhat expensive, ranging from 100. 500 or more. It’s also common for beginners to go with pre-cut glass kits, which don’t need additional shaping. Finally, there’s little a grinder has to offer that can’t be accomplished with a little bit (ok, maybe more like a lot!) of elbow grease.
Once you’re sure a glass grinder is a fit for your needs, we think it should be one of your earliest additions to your toolkit. Below, we’ll give you a quick overview of our picks for the best stained glass grinders on the market today. We’ll also go over the attributes you need to look at when choosing the right grinder for you. Finally, we’ll give an in depth review of each grinder on our list of top picks for 2020, and sum up everything we’ve learned.
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Stained Glass Grinder Reviews
|Gryphon Gryphette Glass Grinder||Best Entry-Level||3000||N/A||6.75″x6.75″|
|Inland Wiz CG||Best Mid-Range||3550||30||11″x10″|
|Glastar All Star G8||Best High-End||3560||42||11″x13″|
|Glastar SuperStar II||Honorable Mention||3450||19||8″x9″|
Gryphon Gryphette Glass Grinder
Pros: Decent power for the price-point. Small footprint. Great for beginners.Cons: Not suitable for large jobs or sustained and heavy use.Our Rating: 4.7 / 5
The Gryphon Gryphette is our top pick for entry level glass grinder, and is fantastic for beginners. It has a small footprint, which is great if you’re short on space. The device is powerful enough for most beginners and smaller projects, and will last you for some time as you move up in experience in complexity.
The key list of features include:
- .67 AMP DC Motor
- 3000 RPM.
- 6.75” X 6.75” working surface.
- Includes standard 3 / 4” bit.
- Standard 5 / 16” shaft accepts all standard bits.
- 4.78 lbs unit weight.
At the entry level price point, the Gryphon Gryphette is the clear winner. It’s got enough power to get the job done until you’re moving on to bigger projects. The grinding area is for pieces up to 4-6”, if you remove the guide. One common complaint is the instruction manual can be confusing for beginners, so we recommend checking out a YouTube guide if you have problems at setup.
All in all, if you’re just getting started out or are on a tight budget, this grinder won’t let you down!!
Inland Wiz CG Glass Grinder
Pros: High RPM and decent torque, at a mid range price point.Cons: Lack of deflectors out of the box can lead to messes.Our Rating: 4.6 / 5
For more experienced artists, or those with higher budgets, our pick for best mid-range stained glass grinder is the Inland Wiz CG. It has a larger working area than the Grypette, and comes with additional torque and RPMs that’ll provide a bit more “umph” for bigger jobs. While it’s not the most powerful grinder on the marke, it does have a balance of price and power that will meet the needs of most intermediate level users.
The key list of features include:
- 30 Oz-In torque for medium sized jobs.
- 3550 RPM.
- 11”x10” surface.
- Includes 1 / 4” and 3 / 4” grinding bits.
- 9 lbs unit weight.
If you’re serious about the art of stained glass, but don’t have professional level requirements, this is your best bet. It has solid technical specs, including power and surface area for bigger jobs than the entry level recommendation.
All in all, once you’re ready to move beyond the entry level grinders, we think this one deserves your strong consideration!
Glastar All Star G8
Pros: Huge number of practice questions and exams.Cons: Not as comprehensive as other resources on this list.Our Rating: 5.0 / 5
If you’re looking for the absolute top of the line, our hands down pick is the Glastar All Star G8. It has a whopping 42 Ounce-Inch torque, which can handle any job you can throw at it. It also boasts a massive 11×13 inch working area, and a hefty 3560 RPM.
The key list of features include:
- 42 Oz-In torque for any size jobs.
- 3560 RPM.
- 11”x13” surface.
- Includes 1” and 1 / 4” grinding bits.
- 11.9 lbs unit weight.
It’s certainly not the cheapest unit out there, but considering the excellent list of specs, it’s still a fantastic value if you’re in need of a top end model.
If you’re ready to take the plunge on a top end unit, the All Star G8 should definitely be it. It also has an amazing number of additional features, top of the line cooling, and everything a professional needs. Consider making this unit the last stained glass grinder you ever need to buy.
Glastar SuperStar II
Pros: Great Mid-Range speed, size, and power.Cons: Less max power than our pick for best mid-range grinder.Our Rating: 4.5 / 5
Our last pick didn’t quite take the top spot in any of our categories, but we felt it deserved a nod due to it’s popularity. The Glastar SuperStar II is a Mid-Range glass grinder from the same brand as our top pick in the high-end class. It has an excellent 3450 RPM, a sizable 8×9 inch grinding space, and plenty of great features.
The key list of features include:
- 19 Oz-In torque for any size jobs.
- 3450 RPM.
- 8”x9” surface.
- Includes 3 / 4” and 1 / 4” grinding bits.
- 7.3 lbs unit weight.
The reason we didn’t pick this as our top mid-range entry boils down to 1 thing… torque! It’s got a respectable 19 Oz-In motor, but doesn’t quite compete with the 30 oz-in of our top mid-range pick. That said, if you’re a big fan of the brand, or just looking for an alternative mid-range grinder, this is still a fantastic unit that won’t disappoint.
Stained Glass Grinder Buyer’s Guide
You’ll find a pretty broad range of when looking at stained glass grinders. So what’s the difference between them? What makes them a value? The main attributes you need to keep in mind are:
- Torque: The force with which the grinder bit spins.
- Speed: The rate with which the grinder bit spins.
- Size: The area of the grinding table and the device itself.
- Cooling: The method for keeping the bit cool.
- Safety: Features which help protect the operator.
- Accessories: Supplemental items like grinder bits, drawers, foot pedals, etc.
- Motor Noise: The amount of noise a particular motor makes.
- Price: How much the grinder costs!
Torque is the amount of force with which the grinder bit spins. A grinder which has lots of power is capable of maintaining the bit’s speed when load is applied (i.e. it’s grinding a piece) better than one with low power. The ability to maintain that speed is important to ensure fast, high quality work.
Glass grinder torque is measured and expressed in “inch-ounces”, and values typically range from 10-50 (higher is better). Generally, torque values can be categorized as:
This is one of the most important attributes to consider when you look for a grinder, and a general rule of thumb is to buy the one with the highest inch-ounces you can afford.
The speed (measure in “revolutions per minute” or RPM) is another important attribute to consider when choosing the best glass grinder for you. Higher speed grinders (with high torque) are able to perform their work quickly, with less effort on your part. Higher speeds also help to give a smoother finish to your edges, and more precise shaping.
Glass grinder speeds (in RPM) generally range from around 3000 to 3700. Higher values are better, a general categorization is:
For intermediate and professional glass artists, speed should be weighed heavily when making you purchase decisions.
The size of the device itself and the surface area should also be considered when choosing a glass grinder. Device dimensions will affect where you are able to store and operate the grinder. Choose a size that fits your space!
The other key factor is the working area (or table) size. If you’re grinding on large pieces of glass, you will need the space to accommodate it. If you do primarily small pieces, the extra table space can get in the way. Some units come with changeable tables of various sizes, which may suit your needs if you don’t stick to one size all the time.
It’s important when working with high friction processes like glass grinding, to keep the parts (both the grinder and the piece being worked on) cool. Most stained glass grinders use a reservoir containing water or other cooling liquid, fed through a sponge up to the grinding head. Others use a pump or other method to deliver clean water up to the bit without a sponge.
As you can imagine, pressing pieces of glass up against high speed grinder bits can be a dangerous activity. While you should always wear protective eyewear, hand protection, and clothing, some grinders also come with additional safety features like:
- Eye and face shields.
- Fast acting electrical fuses.
- Cooling and dust collection features.
Stained Glass making is not without its dangers, and you should strongly consider the extra value in strong safety features when you pick a grinder.
Most grinders have a wide array of accessories available or included at purchase. One of the most important accessories to consider are the grinding bits. High end bits can be quite expensive, and the size of the shaft the grinder accepts will determine which bits you’re able to use.
As mentioned above, other types of accessories include swappable tables, face shields, drawers to hold your bits and other items, and so on.
Different types of motors, the speed they’re operating at, and power generated can all impact the amount of noise a grinder makes while operating. If you’re working in an enclosed space like an apartment, this can be a major consideration you should account for.
Most glass grinder motors are DC powered, and the higher end models tend to be more noisy due to their increased speed and power. There are exceptions to this rule, where low end devices have poorly muffled or cheaper motors that are noisier even at lower speeds.
We generally don’t advise making noise the deciding factor in a purchasing decision. Investing in a pair of earplugs is generally a good alternative if you have sensitive ears.
Finally, price is the key factor in determining whether a particular grinder is a value for you and your unique needs. A quality glass grinder isn’t cheap! range from 100 on the entry-level end, to 300 or more at the high end.
All grinders at a similar price point are not created equal. Using the above considerations, you can easily figure out what the best grinder for your budget is. To recap our rules of thumb:
- Priority 1: get the most torque you can afford.
- Priority 2: get the most speed you can afford.
- Priority 3: get the one with the additional features and accessories you think are useful.
Conclusions: What’s The Best Stained Glass Grinder For You?
We’ve covered a ton of great info about what makes a stained glass grinder stand out above the rest. We’ve given our top recommendations for various price-points in the stained glass grinder market as of 2019. To recap:
|Inland Wiz CG|
|Glastar All Star G8|
|Glastar SuperStar II|
Ultimately, only you can decide which (if any) grinder is the best for your circumstances.
If you’re a novice stained glass worker, or on a tight budget, the Entry Level Gryphon Gryphette is a blend of low price and decent specs that will suit your needs for smaller projects and light use.
For intermediate level work, Inland Wiz CG has some impressive speed and power with a great working area suitable for bigger jobs. Mid range tend to be about 50% more than the entry level units, which is a decent value for the performance increase offered.
At the absolute top of the line level, our pick is the Glastar All Star G8. It has a tremendous amount of power and features, which will perform well on even the toughest jobs.
Finally, we mentioned the Glastar SuperStar II as another great mid-range unit with decent specs and popularity overall.
Remember, weigh your budget against the important performance specs (torque above all… and then speed), and pick the best one for your needs. Good luck, and go create something amazing!
Leveling 1 – 61 Guide (Grinding)
There are multiple ways to level your character and depending on whether this is your first character or not, the path you choose may be different.
If it is your first character. I highly recommend creating a Season Character and following the main story questline. After you complete the Mediah questline, you should be around level 55 or 56. You will then need to grind to get a few more levels, so you can follow the recommended 56 leveling spots in this guide.
Follow our Beginner Player Guide for more details about Season Characters and Season Servers. If it is an alt character, feel free to level in whatever way you want. You don’t have to do the main questline if you don’t want to, but you may miss out on inventory slots.
If you have completed the main story quests at least once on your main/alt character, you don’t have to do them again and can fast track by grinding instead. If it is a Season Character, you can take the “Simplified questline” to complete all of the requirements for the season pass, or you can follow the main questline if that’s what you prefer.
If you take the Simplified questline, then you need to level yourself, either by following this guide or asking a friend to power level you.
Leveling EXP Buffs
There are two different types of EXP buffs:
- Combat EXP
- This increases your Level EXP gained when killing monsters. It doesn’t affect the EXP you gain from questing.
- This increases your Skill EXP gained when killing monsters. When your “Skill Level” gets to 100%, you will gain Skill points to allocate to your class skills.
Although most spots are designed for solo grinding, there are a few places that support groups of 2, 3, or 5 players, and will drop separate loot for each player. When monsters are killed in a party, the combat EXP from the monster is shared between all party members. However, the EXP you gain isn’t just equally split depending on the number of people in the party. The share is actually higher, to incentivize leveling in a group.
- With 2 people in the party, a monster that gives 100 EXP, would give 60 EXP to party member 1, and 60 EXP to party member 2.
- With 3 people in the party, a monster that gives 100 EXP, would give 50 EXP to party member 1, 50 EXP to party member 2, and 50 EXP to party member 3.
There is also no difference in your EXP gain when you have 3 party members, compared to having 5 party members. This makes 3 person grind spots, like Mirumok, a great place to power-level others.
Power leveling is when a high-level player kills monsters while you are in a party and standing nearby. You will get EXP from the monsters killed and can level very quickly. Powerleveling can take as little as 2 hours to get to level 56 if the person helping you has high AP and you use all available EXP buffs.
However, I only recommend power leveling if it is an alt character and NOT your first or main character. This is because power leveling leaves you with very few skill points ( approx 400 – 500) and you will not be able to get all the skills you need to grind on your own. As well, if it is your first character, then it’s recommended to create a season character so that you can get a good start with gear. Season characters require you to do the main story quest, so you will have to do it eventually anyway.
If your friends are willing to help you all the way then you should be fine, but please understand that power leveling to the level you want to be will not stop you from having to grind more for money/skill points.
It’s also important to note that if there is a 10-level difference between the highest level character and the lowest, then all party members will not get loot.
Max Level and EXP required per level
Black Desert does not have a level cap, but the “soft cap” for levels is considered to be 62. Once you have reached level 62, there are very minor buffs for reaching higher levels and it is not essential or required to grind purely for EXP.
After reaching level 61/62, you can FOCUS on grinding for other goals to improve your gear or collect treasure items.
The highest current level reached by a player is level 66.
Starting Zone and Tutorial
All new characters must select a starting zone when they create their character. You can choose between Ancient Stone Chamber and Mountain of Eternal Winter.
I would personally recommend choosing the Ancient Stone Chamber for the smoothest leveling experience. You can still complete the Mountain of Eternal Winter questline at a later date on your character.
When you load into the game on a new character, you will also have to complete a short tutorial. This takes approximately 10 minutes and unfortunately, you can only skip it if you have already completed it before on another character.
Recommended Leveling Zones
For the early levels, follow the main story quests. When you arrive at Velia town, you will talk to Alustin and will have the option to follow the Main Story. or take the Simplified Questline.
- If you are a new player and it is your first character, please level to 56 by selecting the “[Crossroad] Main” option and following the main story quests: Balenos Serendia Calpheon Mediah. You can use our Beginner/Returning Guide for more information about leveling your first character.
- Take the Simplified Questline option if this is an alt character and you would like to level via grinding.
Requirements for the Simplified Questline:
- Completed the “[Pet] Bareed’s Junaid” quest from Bareed in Mediah
- This pet quest can be found in your Suggested quest tab under “[ADV Support] Pets, Loyal Companions”.
After taking the Simplified questline, go to Fughar to take the next quests up to “[Season] Following in His Footsteps”. Now you can grind to reach higher levels and follow our recommended leveling spots. After reaching certain levels, you can talk to your Black Spirit to obtain all the rewards you would normally get by completing the main story quests.
Monolith Flat MAX
Introducing the MAX, end-game, single dosing, patented dual burr grinder with 98mm Alpha coated Shuriken burrs, conical pancake crusher burrs and huge variable speed brush-less DC motor. Built to last. Designed and made in Seattle, USA including the burrs. Monolith Flat MAX is result of espresso obsession taken to its limit. The biggest burrs, biggest motor, tightest of tolerances on proven platform. If you are looking for grinder that will take your light roasted beans to next level this is it. We recommend Monolith Flat MAX to anyone that enjoys light roasted espresso and need the absolute best. If you drink medium/dark roasted espresso we do not think that MAX provides meaningful advantage over our Monolith Flat. As it is tradition with Monolith grinders, we used super short magnetically attached exit chute that can be easily tapped out and cleared of any remaining coffee. The Monolith Flat MAX uses a brush-less DC motor rated for 40,000 hours life. RPM (rotations per minute) can be adjusted using dial on the side of the grinder from 22-400 RPM. All critical components for Monolith Flat MAX are built in house. We invested in modern CNC equipment so we can build the best. We demand perfection and nobody cares more about our product than we do. So we build it. If its a critical part we make it from solid block of metal to finished part.
Everything is integrated into the grinder base so there are no boxes sitting on the side and all you need to do is plug the power cable. Monolith Flat MAX is available in both 110v and 220v options. Grinder is very compact for big burr grinder at 7.5″/19cm wide, 8.7″/22cm deep and only 16″/40.6cm tall so it will fit under almost any kitchen counter. Light it is not, though weighing at 32lbs/14.52kg Grinder is precisely aligned with super short shaft and bottom burr holder machined from single piece of aluminum precision fitted onto the premium Made in USA SKF bearings rated for 4200 lbs loads.
- Patent pending dual burr design
- Burr carriers machined in-house to 10 microns or less flatness and every single one inspected. You are not going to shim our grinders because they are made right and with the best precision we can possibly make them.
- 98mm ALPHA coated patent pending Shuriken burrs. 100% made and designed by us in our workshop in Seattle. Unique grinding geometry that hasn’t been used before.
- Conical pancake pre-crusher burrs designed in house.
- Minimal retention inside of grinder, less than 0.5 grams without RDT and about 0g with RDT, all of course depending on moisture left in roasted bean
- Grind from the finest Turkish coffee to French Press, Espresso, Mocha, and Filter coffee. For optimal performance, choose burrs based on your primary usage.
- Precise, step-less and lock-less grind fineness adjustment
- New grind adjustment system without need to lock adjustment while performing superior burr alignment by triangulating burr position
- Magnetically attached super short exit chute, simply detach it and tap it out to release any coffee left
- Brush-less DC motor made in Japan with 40,000 hours rated run-time and 22-400 RPM speed control and real-time grind speed display geared to deliver 2000W of power.
- For durability we have sized our motor so its utilized at 50%-70% of its available torque with 50% utilization most of the time. Components that are not working at their limits last longer.
- Stock DC motor and DC driver in standard industry size from large manufacturer with world-wide presence to future proof grinder. We did not use custom components for these parts since design goal is that grinder will work for more than 50 years from now and electric parts that can fail must be standard and available world-wide.
- Precisely aligned with premium over-spec SKF Made in USA bearings
- Precision machined parts with super short shaft/burr carrier machined from single piece of aluminum for ultimate precision
- Simple design for long term durability
- Easy to clean inside of grinder without losing your grind setting
- Only made in small batches with each grinder individually taste tested then measured with refractometer so it never ships to you unless it can extract espresso well. Extraction report is made and provided with each grinder. This is not nor it will ever be mass produced item.
- All critical components are precision CNC machined by us.
- Made in USA, designed, made and finished in USA.
- 7.5″/19cm wide, 8.7″/22cm deep and only 16″/40.6cm tall. Weight: 32lbs/14.52kg.
- Available in 110-127V 50/60Hz and 220-240v 50/60hz versions.
If you are truly serious about espresso grinders, then you must make your own burrs. Burrs are the most important part of the grinder. They are what transforms coffee beans into the granules and they directly impact and determine the taste of the coffee and what you can extract out of the bean. In short, they are essential.
Therefore, we make our own burrs. From design to finished product its all made in our shop in Seattle USA. We developed burrs with unique geometry, patent pending, that was not seen before we introduced it. They grind coffee differently which is evident in increased aroma from ground coffee to the taste in the cup. They are made better and more precise, they extract more consistently, they taste different. We designed and tasted hundreds of different geometries to carefully curate the best we can make and provide different burr designs to target different aspects of espresso taste.
What is included with Each grinder?
- Monolith Flat MAX Burr Grinder with 98mm LM Shuriken burrs (SW, MD, CR are optional).
- 110V power cable. We use standard PC power outlet (IEC320C13) so if you are ordering Monolith in configuration other than 110V you will have to source the cable locally.
- WDT tool to aid distribution of coffee in basket.
- RDT spray bottle, in case you want to neutralize static by spraying beans with water mist.
- Tall 58mm dosing funnel.
- Mr Puff
- 12 months non-commercial use warranty.
How is Monolith built and tested?
Each Monolith grinder is precision CNC machined by us in Seattle, USA. Exceptional espresso requires exceptionally accurate burr alignment so we chase tight tolerances on all critical parts and all critical parts are CNC machined in house. Burr carriers are machined to less than 10 microns flatness. Each grinder is then hand built and most importantly hand tested. If there are any problems with parts during assembly they are rejected. Then each Monolith is not only tested that it runs and can grind coffee, but we use your grinder to make espresso using our benchmark coffee on one of our machines; Synesso Hydra, Slayer or Londinium 1. Then we compare those espresso shots to the shots made with our reference Monolith. If we are happy with how the espresso tastes, we measure the extraction yields using refractometer and compare those to shots made using our reference Monolith. If either the taste is not to our standards or the extraction yield does not measure up, the grinder will not ship to you. This ensures that your grinder works as well as ours does. Any more questions, please contact us.
Monolith Flat MAX is priced at 3600 US dollars actual shipping and can be pre-ordered now. For photos of optional wood top caps see here.
If you would like to be notified on Monolith Flat MAX production updates or pre-orders starting please use form below to subscribe to email notifications:
Please also note that all grinder parts and surfaces not visible during regular day to day use to make espresso are considered non-cosmetic, therefore we cannot guarantee the cosmetic surface finish on them. Additionally while we do our best to ensure the high cosmetic appearance of each Monolith, occasional micro-scratches or perceived cosmetic flaws may be inevitably due to nature of anodizing of aluminum and final QC check and handling.
Rely on a quality angle grinder for cutting, grinding, carving, and a host of other tasks.
By Timothy Dale and Tom Scalisi | Updated May 20, 2022 11:08 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Angle grinders are versatile power tools that can handle a variety of projects, such as cutting iron pipe to replace a faulty valve, carving wood to craft furniture, cutting tile for a backsplash, and removing grout from between tiles.
Interchangeable rotating discs—some made for cutting and others with an abrasive edge for grinding—can be swapped out based on the application. For safety, a guard sits between the disc and the handle to protect the operator.
If you’re ready to add this tool to your collection, read on for more on its capabilities and what to look for in the best angle grinder. Each of the top picks below was selected after an in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting.
- BEST OVERALL:Makita XAG04Z 18V LXT Cordless Cut-Off/Angle Grinder
- BEST BUDGET:Metabo HPT 4.5-in 6.2-Amp Angle Grinder
- UPGRADE PICK:DeWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off/Grinder
- BEST CORDED:Porter-Cable Angle Grinder Tool, 4-1/2-Inch (PC750AG)
- BEST LIGHT-DUTY:Black Decker Angle Grinder Tool, 4-1/2-Inch (BDEG400)
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY:DeWALT Angle Grinder Tool, 4-1/2-Inch (DWE402)
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Angle Grinder
There are a few things to understand before clicking “add to cart” on just any old angle grinder. The best angle grinders may have unique features, different power sources, and some might simply be better suited to particulars. The following points are worth considering when shopping for a good quality grinder.
Angle grinders come in sizes, denoted by a number that refers to the maximum diameter of the grinding wheel or disc it will handle. For most DIY projects, a 4-, 4.5-, or 5-inch disc will suffice. In fact, these compact sizes and weights are ideal for DIYers, as larger discs can become unwieldy or tedious to work with.
Larger discs (up to 9 inches) are more commonly used in industrial situations by professionals cutting through thick pieces of material. As the disc gets larger, the grinder itself must be larger to handle the cutting strength. This translates to a heavier tool that’s likely to cause hand fatigue sooner than using a small angle grinder.
Angle grinders are available as corded models (which plug into an electrical outlet) and cordless (which use a battery).
- Corded grinders typically generate more power at a consistent level due to the direct connection to the outlet. But corded models restrict the user to a physical location, limiting range without an extension cord. The cords can also be a tripping hazard and, therefore, a nuisance while working on a project.
- Typically, cordless grinders lack the sheer power of their corded counterparts. And functionality depends on battery capacity, so a dead battery could mean downtime in the middle of the project. On the plus side, cordless angle grinders offer hassle-free mobility and are better for use in tight spaces.
Angle grinder speed is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm). Speeds typically range between 5,000 and 10,000 rpm, though some very robust grinders reach up to 12,000 rpm. Keep in mind, however, that the rpm rating is under “no-load” conditions, meaning that the disc isn’t cutting or grinding anything, just spinning in the air. Once the disc is cutting or grinding, that speed will lower considerably.
Obviously, the higher the rpm, the easier and more quickly the tool can cut through the target material. But the disc also becomes hotter at higher speeds and could be vulnerable to rupture—an injury risk. Be sure to use the correct disc for the task, and note the maximum supported speed marked on the disc. For example, a disc rated at 7,500 rpm that is running faster can break under the force, sending shards of the grinder wheel flying.
Angle grinders measure power output potential in volts (V) and amperes (amps). Cordless angle grinders use volts to measure the power available from their battery, with most cordless models using 18-volt or 20-volt batteries and outliers ranging from 7.5 volts to 24 volts. The “magic number” in most cordless power tools is 18 volts to 20 volts, offering the best mix of affordability and functionality.
Voltage readings on corded angle grinders only indicate whether they can be used with 120-volt or 220-volt power outlets. Shoppers can assess the power output potential of corded models by checking amperage, which ranges from 5 amps to 15 amps. Larger discs will require a larger output, so for a 7- or 9-inch grinder, expect it to have a higher power output potential.
The guard on an angle grinder is a crucial safety measure that covers half the disc. Its purpose is to protect the user’s hands, by preventing sparks and debris from flying toward the user, and to protect surfaces from damage when using the grinder in tight spaces.
Some angle grinders have a movable guard, and others have a fixed guard. The movable option is more popular as it allows for left-handed or right-handed use and can adjust to better protect the user from flying debris. If left untightened, however, a movable guard can fall off the unit. Fixed guards are more robust, and there’s no risk of them coming off a grinder.
Because angle grinders are fast, powerful tools, they can recoil a bit upon power-up. This is particularly true if the grinding wheel is large and heavy. The recoil from the motor can result in the angle grinder jumping in the user’s hands, potentially causing serious injury.
To combat recoil, soft-start technology reduces the power output to the motor at first, slowly increasing until the angle grinder is fully up to speed. This throttled control over the power output prevents an angle grinder from recoiling during start-up, increasing safety while also reducing the jolt to the user’s arms and wrists.
Tips for Buying and Using an Angle Grinder
Keep these tips in mind when choosing and using an angle grinder.
- The most common DIY projects where an angle grinder will be of use—such as cutting tile or pipe, metalworking, or removing grout and mortar—rarely require more than a 4.5-inch grinder.
- The ongoing vibration of an angle grinder can cause what is known as Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), with symptoms including pain and cold sensations in the user’s fingers, loss of grip strength, and a loss of sensation in the fingers and hands. An angle grinder with cushioned or vibration absorbent material on the grip can protect hands from ongoing vibration.
- Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including safety glasses/goggles, hearing protection, and respiratory protection when grinding.
- Check the grinder before use to ensure the disc and guard are properly attached and tightened. Discs and guards can become loose between uses. Tighten them before connecting the power to the angle grinder.
Our Top Picks
While all that information on the best angle grinders ought to be helpful when shopping, there’s really no substitute for hands-on testing. Tom had the pleasure of personally putting all the following angle grinders through their paces during a recent metalworking project.
Each of the models reviewed passed our tests and met our standards (see “How We Tested,” below), though Tom found some models better for specific tasks than others. Note that all of the following models feature movable guards and screw-in handles.
Makita XAG04Z 18V LXT Cordless Cut-Off/Angle Grinder
The Makita XAG04Z is worth checking out by anyone looking for the best cordless angle grinder performance. This top-rated angle grinder features an 8,500 rpm top speed thanks to its brushless motor and the 18-volt lithium-ion battery. It can handle 4.5- and 5-inch discs.
We found the XAG04Z excellent to work with. While it doesn’t boast the highest top speed, the automatic speed adjustment enabled it to maintain speed during tough cuts and grinds. We noticed very little vibration thanks to the rubber over-molded grip and handle, and the lock-on switch proved to be a huge plus.
The only downsides I see: Assembling the two-piece handguard was a little awkward, and it would be nice if the tool came with a battery and a charger.
- Automatically adjusts speed and torque settings
- Slow start keeps the tool from jumping
- Lock-on switch
- Very little noticeable vibration
Get the Makita angle grinder at Amazon, Walmart, The Home Depot, and Ace Hardware.
Metabo HPT 4.5-in 6.2-Amp Angle Grinder
When it comes to DIY projects and budgets, not everyone can afford top-of-the-line tools every time. So those hoping to save cash and still get a quality grinder may want to give this corded model from Metabo HPT a look. It uses 4.5-inch discs, has a 6.2-amp motor, and spins at up to 10,000 rpm.
This is one of the best 4.5 inch angle grinder options for the money, and the Metabo HPT’s usefulness was somewhat of a surprise. I enjoyed how compact and lightweight it was in my hand. The location of the power switch is very convenient, especially during cutting.
The lock-on feature allowed me to kick it on and leave it on—very helpful in my project. My only complaint is that the Metabo HPT lacks the power of other corded models, and the 6.2-amp motor seemed like it could overheat during all-day use.
- Lock-on switch for long use
- Lightweight angle grinder (only 4 pounds)
- The most compact of all the grinders tested
- A little lacking in power compared to other corded models
- The 6.2-amp motor isn’t ideal for all-day use
Get the Metabo angle grinder on Amazon and at Lowe’s.
DeWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Cut Off/Grinder
DeWALT’s 20V Max XR Brushless Cut-Off/Grinder cordless angle grinder could be the ultimate upgrade for pros and DIYers who take their tools seriously. This cordless model utilizes the brand’s 20-volt Max XR lineup, and its brushless motor spins 4.5-inch discs up to 9,000 rpm.
My experience with this DeWALT model was just as I expected: great portability and truly outstanding power. It made short work of cutting and grinding, without a cord to get in the way. The grip and handle both feature thick rubber, keeping vibration and fatigue to a minimum.
The safety features are certainly a plus: The electronic brake stopped the disc within 2 seconds (other models can take up to 10 seconds), and simply knowing that there is a kickback brake instilled confidence.
- Safety includes two-stage trigger, electronic brake, and kickback brake
- Excellent ergonomics and anti-vibration
- Plenty of power
Get the DeWALT angle grinder at Amazon, Walmart, and Lowe’s. Check for a refurbished DeWALT on Amazon.
Porter-Cable Angle Grinder Tool, 4-1/2-Inch (PC750AG)
This Porter-Cable product is one of the top corded angle grinder options for dependable power. This model features a heavy-duty 7.5-amp motor that spins a 4.5-inch disc at speeds up to 10,000 rpm, providing plenty of speed and power for workshop use.
The Porter-Cable grinder felt truly in its element on my metalworking project, handling cuts and grinds nicely. While it doesn’t have the most power compared to others on our list, it’s pretty close. It’s also one of the only grinders to feature a traditional trigger switch, which I felt was easy to use and more intuitive than most. I also really liked the top-mount position for the handle attachment, as it can make cutting much more manageable.
The one negative worth mentioning is that vibration control isn’t top-tier, so although it can take all-day use, the user’s hands and wrists might tire.
- Top-mounted handle position
- Comfortable trigger switch
- The 7.5-amp motor has plenty of power
Get the Porter-Cable angle grinder at Amazon, Walmart, and Lowe’s.
Black Decker Angle Grinder Tool, 4-1/2-Inch
If you’re searching for the best angle grinder for wood carving, sanding, grout removal, and other light-duty projects, Black Decker’s Angle Grinder Tool might be a wise choice. This affordable model features a 6-amp motor that produces up to 10,000 rpm of speed, and it’s compatible with 4.5-inch grinding and cutting wheels.
Black Decker markets this model at light-duty, DIY-type users, and that’s where it excels. This very affordable model is easy to use, thanks in part to its lock-on trigger. The three-position handle mounting system works for plenty of scenarios, such as cutting and grinding at unusual angles. Just don’t expect the Black Decker to handle heavy-duty jobs like large metalworking projects for any length of time, as it only has a 6-amp motor.
- Plenty of capability for the price
- Three-position handle, including top-mount
- Trigger locks into position
Get the Black Decker angle grinder at Amazon, Walmart, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware. Check for a refurbished Black Decker on Amazon.
DeWALT Angle Grinder Tool, 4-1/2-Inch (DWE402)
Heavy-duty projects like production welding and cutting require a grinder that can keep up, and DeWALT’s DWE402 can handle the job. This burly machine features an 11-amp motor and spins 4.5-inch grinding and cutting wheels at speeds up to 11,000 rpm.
I found the DWE402 to be the ideal grinder for my work, though not everyone will need its power and high-speed capabilities. It cut through angle iron faster than any other grinder, and it made short work of my large, lumpy, amateur-grade welds (though it’s definitely a pro-grade tool, and the speed-boosting button on the handle base helped a lot).
While this is one of the best variable speed angle grinders, neither the DWE402’s vibration control nor its grip got much attention on the drawing board.
- Pro-grade capability
- Very fast and powerful
- High amperage motor for heavy-duty work
Get the DeWALT angle grinder at Amazon, Walmart, and Lowe’s.
With portability and power in mind, the Makita XAG04Z is a great choice for almost any home workshop, though pros may also appreciate this model. And for those who need the best angle grinder for cutting metal and other heavy-duty weld materials, the DeWALT DWE402 has the power and speed to match.
How We Tested the Best Angle Grinders
Sometimes, I have the best job in the world. I’ve had a project on my plate for months now (building a welding cart), and it just so happened to be the ideal project to test these top angle grinders. I used the same set of cutting and grinding wheels for each model to make apples-to-apples comparisons.
I used each grinder to cut through angle iron, switching grinders between each cut until I felt comfortable with the strengths and weaknesses of each model. I recorded myself cutting all the pieces for the welding cart in order to determine how long each cut took and how easy it was to use. After cutting all the pieces, I welded the cart together (rather heavy-handedly, I admit, as it’s been a few years since I last welded).
With those big, burly welds to address, I used each grinder to knock them down to flush. Again, I noted ease of use and handling. In the end, I had all I needed for these honest angle grinder reviews—as well as a cart for my new welder.
Shopping for a Used or Refurbished Angle Grinder
Historically, most people would baulk at the idea of spending good money on a used or second hand tool, but today’s refurbished models are not the dubious equipment found at a neighborhood yard sale. For some time, reputable manufacturers and retailers have been offering refurbished or renewed products like angle grinders alongside new models.
The idea is that when a commercially viable fix is possible, it cuts down on waste—which is always a good thing. It may also offer buyers the opportunity to acquire products that might otherwise be outside their budget.
These should not be tools that have been beaten to death for 364 days and returned on the day the warranty expires. It’s true that often they have been tried by another buyer but will have been returned within a relatively short return window. Other times, they might be tools damaged in transit or in the warehouse.
So are refurbished angle grinders any good? In our opinion, yes. There’s every chance they could represent a real bargain. There are some interesting offers on refurbished or renewed angle grinders at Amazon and Walmart among others. However, care and common sense is needed.
- Specify the type of angle grinder you want first. Look at new models. Then see what you can get on the refurbished market that comes close to those specifications.
- Keep a tight rein on your budget. It’s easy to get carried away. The idea here is to save money, or get better value.
- You should be looking for a substantial cost reduction. If the saving is only saving 10 percent or 15 percent, it might be better to buy new. Make sure you know exactly what is included. Cordless tools often won’t include battery or charger, for example.
- Be sure to check warranty and return periods before you order. Don’t make assumptions, even if you bought from the retailer before.
While refurbished, reconditioned, or renewed tools are often excellent, there’s always a chance it could be a dud. Buy from a reputable source. Check the angle grinder as soon as it arrives so you can get your money back if there’s a problem.
Even with ample background on the best angle grinders, you might have some additional questions. Here, we answer some of the most common queries about angle grinders, so check for the info you need below.
Q: What kind of tasks can I use an angle grinder for?
The most common uses for angle grinders are metal grinding and cutting, such as steel for welding or metal piping. However, they’re also useful for wood carving, refinishing, and other projects. Some farriers even use them to trim hooves.
Q: How does an angle grinder operate?
After attaching the correct disc for the job, hold the angle grinder in two hands for safety and security (the tool’s initial torque will cause it to jump). Push the trigger down or hit the power switch, and the disc will start rotating. Move the grinder until the rotating disc contacts the material you want to cut or grind.
When finished, release the trigger or switch off the power button and wait for the disc to stop rotating completely before placing it in a safe location, keeping in mind that the disc is still hot due to the friction caused during operation. Unplug the power cord or detach the battery and allow the tool to cool down.
Q: How much does an angle grinder cost?
An angle grinder can range in price from just 30 to over 200, though it’s more common for these tools to cost about 80 to 100.
Q: How do you cut metal with an angle grinder?
Use a metal cutting disc on an angle grinder to cut through lead, iron, copper, and other metals without a problem. The rotating blade slices easily through metal, but it’s important to wear safety glasses and gloves because a significant amount of sparks are produced during the grinding process.
Q: How do you cut pavers with an angle grinder?
Angle grinder equipped with masonry discs can be used to cut through paving stones without much difficulty. Measure and mark where you want to cut the paver, then position it on a workbench. Turn the grinder on and start to slowly cut into the paving stone. Once you have started the cut it will be easier to accurately finish cutting through the paver.
Q: How are the discs on an angle grinder changed?
First, unplug the grinder or remove the battery. Then remove the nut that holds the disc in place, using the factory spanner included with the angle grinder. Replace the disc and tighten the nut bolt using the factory spanner.
Q: How can I remove the disc with vise grips?
Grinder discs are secured with a specialized nut that is usually tightened or removed with an included spanner. However, if you lose the spanner the nut can still be removed with a set of vise grips. Simply tighten the vice on the grinder blade, locking it in position, then use your hand or a screwdriver to turn and remove the locking nut.
Q: How do you properly recycle an old angle grinder?
Instead of tossing your old angle grinder in the trash, take it to a local electronics recycling location. Typically, the municipality or town will have a program for recycling electronic tools and other devices, though some home improvement stores, like Home Depot, also offer tool recycling programs.