DeWalt’s entry has the most powerful motor in this class, at 10 amps. It also runs at 11,000 RPM, complete with overload protection. A trademarked Dual Ejection System ejects dust and particles that enter the tool through the air vents, helping ensure longer tool life by reducing potential damage. Like the Milwaukee, the wheel is easily changed, without tools. The spindle lock button on this one is oversized, making it easier to be sure that it engages the first time. The paddle switch on this one is easy to hold with all the fingers and comes with a padded side handle for user comfort.
The Bosch model has epoxy coated motor windings to prevent electrical shorts in case dust and chips work their way into the motor housing. This one has an 8.5 amp motor running at 11,000 RPM, and has been designed to operate off of AC or DC; a nice feature for those working remotely with a welding rig allowing them to plug the grinder right into the rig and pull power from it. The paddle switch on this one also has a lock, and is a little harder to work with than the DeWalt but it is sealed to keep dust out of the switch. One nice feature they’ve built into the Bosch AG40-85P is the tool stops working when the brushes need replacement, preventing the possibility of damage. The guard is tool free and a spindle lock is provided. However, you do need to use a wrench to change the wheel.
Makita has a huge selection of all sizes of angle grinders. Amongst their small grinders, this model is the best. The 7.5 amp motor operates at 10,000 RPM in an all ball-bearing housing for long life. Like the Bosch, this one will run off of AC or DC current. The vents for the motor use a labyrinth construction, to keep dust and other particles out of the bearings and motor. A nice feature of this grinder is the extra-large, locking paddle switch, for comfortable operation. The gear housing can be rotated every 90 degrees, so you can select the angle which is most comfortable for you.
Hitachi’s grinder has a slide switch, which almost knocked it out of the list, but I decided that wasn’t fair to those who like slide switches. At 6 amps and 10,000 RPM, the motor is a bit smaller than the others and also the lightest grinder on this list at only 3.1 pounds. Add rubber over-molding on the barrel and you’ve got a high degree of operator comfort. The side handle is slightly canted towards the front, providing better leverage to the user. Hitachi has even made the brushes easily accessible for quick replacement. While replacing the five included wheels does require an included wrench, there is a spindle lock. The price on this grinder is incredible making it an attractive option for handymen everywhere.
While you can’t expect this budget Chicago Electric angle grinder to last as long as a Makita or Milwaukee, I’ve used one of these for several years. With the little bit of grinding I need to do when I’m welding, it seems to be adequate to the need. I’ve owned cheaper budget angle grinders from Harbor Freight but they never lasted as long as this one has. It has a paddle switch making it much easier to work with which anyone can appreciate. The six amp motor gives a maximum speed of 10,000 RPM, making it comparable with the Hitachi for power but weighs a bit more, coming in at 1.19 pounds. The kit comes with a spare set of brushes which is nice, especially since they are designed to be easy to replace.
Milwaukee has managed to be the first tool manufacturer to break the 20 volt ceiling on angle grinders. This tool operates off of a 28 volt Lithium-Ion battery so you know it will have plenty of power when you need it. It operates at 8,000 RPM, which isn’t the fastest on this list, but fast enough to make sure it gets the job done.
The motor is electronically controlled, allowing soft starts and consistent speed, even under load. Milwaukee has put an oversized spindle lock button on this tool making wheel changing easy and convenient. It also comes with a “fuel gauge” to indicate the battery run time remaining. The kit ships with only one battery, so if you don’t have other Milwaukee M28 tools, you’ll definitely want to consider buying a spare.
I have to admit, I’m a little partial to Makita’s cordless tools. Maybe it’s because my first cordless drill oh so many years ago was manufactured by Makita. They were known for quality back then, and they still produce excellent quality tools now. This cordless angle grinder runs at 10,000 rpm, making it the fastest unit on our list meaning this extra motor speed will help you cut and grind faster. At 5.3 pounds, it’s not the lightest unit on our list but right at the middle road for weight.
As with all units in the LTX line, the high capacity battery will recharge in only 30 minutes, twice as fast as most other models. The included charger is chip controlled and has a cooling fan to extend battery life. Another nice feature about this tool is a built-in circuit which senses over-torque and will shut down the grinder to protect the device and the operator. The slender handle insures people with small hands or those wearing gloves can easily grasp and use this tool.
Porter-Cable has upped the power on their cordless grinder a bit, going from 18 volts to 20 with the motor producing a very respectable 8,500 RPM for aggressive cutting of all surfaces. This tool only comes as a stand-alone unit, sans kit, battery or charger. If you are already using Porter-Cable tools, this can actually save you some money.
I really like this grinder handle which includes a knuckle protector to go with the comfortable, padded handle. A two finger switch is inside the protected area of the handle for easy tool control. There is a spindle lock on the grinder for easy wheel changes, as well as a three position side handle so you can place it where it is the most comfortable for your work style.
The most impressive feature about DeWalt grinder is the tool-free wheel changing system (It being one of the first I’ve ever seen with a tool-free wheel change) allowing change between cutting and grinding wheels in seconds. The handle is also very comfortable, much like the one on the Porter-Cable, with a knuckle guard and a two-finger switch (I’d have to say it’s even more comfortable than the Porter-Cable.) By adding extra leg to the case design, DeWalt made the handle thinner, easier to grip, stronger, and added protection to the operator’s hand, good news for those of who’ve probably scraped their fingers across many a sharp piece of metal. While he motor on this grinder runs at a slower 7,000 RMP, it’s still fast enough to get the job done.
Hitachi really knows how to build convenience into their power tools. At only 4.2 pounds, this grinder is the lightest on our list and runs at 9,200 rpm, making it the second fastest model of these five picks. The side handle can be attached in either of two positions, a slide power switch with a lock button for safety and also includes over-torque protection circuitry with a safety reset. Even better, this grinder will not only take Li-Ion batteries, but all Hitachi rechargeable batteries including Li-Ion, NiCad and NiMH. The included charger will also charge all those battery types, not something commonly found with cordless tools. Finally, the carbon brushes on this unit are easily accessible for rapid repair.
I had a hard time making the decision to switch from Bosch’s 9” angle grinder to this model but what sold me on this model is the high speed performance. The 4 HP motor in this grinder is running at 8500 RPM, a full 2000 RPM faster than the 9” unit meaning it’s taking material off faster and getting your work done quicker; quite a selling point.
The guard system has quick keyless adjustment and for maximum motor protection, the motor windings are epoxy coated so dust can’t get in them. There are also service minder brushes which stop the grinder from working when they’re worn, preventing potential motor damage. Removable brush covers make changing out brushes a snap and the trigger is designed to help prevent accidental startups, a welcome safety feature.
It was tough deciding between this grinder and the Bosch for first place since both have a 4 HP motor and run at 8,500 RPM. What made the difference though was the weight with the Bosch being almost a full pound lighter than this angle grinder from DeWalt. Like the Bosch, the motor armature and field windings are epoxy coated to protect against dust and abrasion along with an automatic shutdown feature for when the brushes are worn down to prevent motor damage. A brush window allows quick and easy brush changes, the guard is adjustable without a key and the side handle can be set in two different positions depending upon your needs.
This angle grinder from Milwaukee has a 4.2 HP motor running at 6000 RPM with overload protection so there’s plenty of power for heavy jobs without risking damage to the tool. The air intake for motor cooling is built with baffles to keep dust out of the motor housing. Both handles are rubber over molded providing a soft grip. Milwaukee has also provided external brush doors making maintenance a breeze while both the 7” and 9” guards feature tool-less adjustment.
Makita doesn’t provide a horsepower rating for their big angle grinder but it’s a 15 AMP motor so we can safely assume it offers comparable horsepower. The motor has a “soft start” feature, for smoother start-ups; if you’ve ever used a heavy duty angle grinder they can feel like they’re tearing your arms off when they start so it’s a nice feature to have. The rear handle rotates for better ergonomics and there’s soft over molded handles making this grinder a very comfortable tool to use overall. Like our other heavy-duty grinders, the motor armature is protected from dust for longer life and the guard is easily adjustable without any tools.
Fein isn’t as well known here in the United States but this German company produces high performance, and durable tools. This grinder features a 1,250 watt motor running at 6600 RPM, actually a little less power than other grinders on our list. However, Fein has given this grinder the soft start feature we discussed with the Makita grinder, along with a rotating rear handle. The ball bearings come with dust protectors, and all electronic components are sealed.