Angle grinders are handheld power tools that, depending on the blade or attachment used, can grind, buff, polish, cut, sharpen, and clean a wide variety of materials, including wood, metal, tile, and stone. Deane Biermeier, a licensed carpenter and general carpenter advises, "Angle grinders are highly versatile tools if you get the right one for your needs. The best for most DIYers are 4 1/2-inch disc models. Look for high torque, wattage (or voltage for battery operated ones), and variable speeds if you want top-notch results. These features make an angle grinder the most suited for common uses."
We evaluated angle grinders based on power, versatility, reliability, and ease of use.
Makita XAG04Z 4-1/2-Inch Cordless Angle Grinder
Brushless motor for longer run time
Automatically adjusts speed and torque for optimal performance
You'll need to buy a battery separately if you don't already own a Makita 18-volt battery
For a top-rated, intuitive angle grinder that will serve you well, no matter how you use it, one of your best options is the Makita XAG04Z cordless angle grinder. This mid-priced tool is powered by an 18-volt battery (which is sold separately), so you won't be limited by a power cord, yet it still delivers big in terms of power and speed. It accepts 4 1/2-inch or 5-inch blades and attachments, and weighs just 5.6 pounds, so it won't tire you out, even on a lengthy work session. It has rubberized handles to help minimize vibration to your hands and wrists.
This angle grinder makes quick work of grinding, cutting, and sanding various materials, such as concrete, tile, pipes, and more. It features automatic speed-change technology, which adjusts the speed and torque during operation for optimized performance, no matter what you're working on. The tool’s brushless motor is electronically controlled to prolong battery life, lasting up to 50 percent longer per charge.
This high-quality tool is well balanced and lightweight, yet it delivers impressive power that's perfect for tackling just about any job, like cutting curves in cement backer boards.
Price at time of publish: $106
Power Source: 18-volt battery | Disc Size: 4.5 or 5-inch | Max. Speed: 8,500 rpm
Metabo HPT G12SR4M 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder
Compact and lightweight
Includes five grinding wheels
Keeping power switch depressed is a bit tricky
No variable speed control
You could easily spend a couple hundred dollars on a high-end angle grinder and all of its attachments, but if you're just starting out with this tool, you may be better off with a budget option, such as the Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) G12SR4M 6.2-Amp 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder. This grinder has a top no-load speed of 10,000 rpm but does not have variable speed control capabilities.
This powerful angle grinder comes with five abrasive discs, as well as a storage case. The tool is compact and lightweight at just 4 pounds, which is great for control and versatility. Its unique side handle makes it comfortable for both right- and left-hand users, and it delivers impressive overload durability, increasing its reliability and lifespan. You can use this angle grinder on various metals, such as steel, bronze, or aluminum, as well as on slate, brick, and more. It's especially handy for cutting and removing bricks.
Price at time of publish: $49
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 4.5-inch | Max. Speed: 10,000 rpm
DEWALT DCG412B Cordless 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder
Well designed for easy use and handling
Two-position side handle
You'll need to buy the 20-volt battery separately if you don't already own one
Cordless angle grinders are often beneficial, as they’re more portable and versatile, since you’re not restricted by a power cord. For a high-end cordless angle grinder, you can't go wrong with the DEWALT DCG412B, which can use either a 4 1/2-inch or a 5-inch grinding wheel. This is a lightweight, versatile, and powerful angle grinder that you can use for a variety of applications, such as sharpening other tools like an axe, chisel, or lawn mower.
The downside of this product is that the batteries and chargers are sold separately, but you definitely won't be disappointed with the performance of this cordless tool. This grinder is perfect for a wide range of applications, including construction, maintenance, and even automotive work. It features a quick-change wheel release that allows you to switch discs without any tools, and the 8,000-rpm motor provides all the power you need for cutting and grinding a variety of materials. The handle can be adjusted in two different positions to suit your needs best.
Price at time of publish: $139
Power Source: 20-volt battery | Disc Size: 4.5-inch or 5-inch | Max. Speed: 8,000 rpm
Best Variable Speed
Bosch GWS13-50VS Variable Speed Angle Grinder
Two-position, vibration-control handle
Some complaints about faulty speed control
Most angle grinders operate at just one speed, but if you're looking for a more versatile tool, you may want a variable speed angle grinder such as this one from Bosch. The Bosch GWS13-50VS is an 13-amp corded angle grinder that comes with a 5-inch grinding wheel, but it can also use 4.5-inch wheels. This is a highly-rated product that can operate between 2,800 and 11,500 rpm, making it suitable for a variety of applications, both professional or around the house tackling repairs or DIY projects.
This tool also has a variety of other features that give it more power and more control than other options. For instance, it features a two-position vibration-control handle for your comfort, as well as directed airflow that blows dust away from vital components in order to extend the life of the tool. It also has up to two more amps of power than previous generations.
Price at time of publish: $159
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 5-inch | Max. Speed: 11,500 rpm
Best for Concrete
DEWALT DWE402 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder
Powerful performance in a compact size
Not too much vibration
Safety lock can be tricky to work when wearing gloves
With the right disc attachment, angle grinders are even powerful enough to cut through concrete. If you're looking for a tool to help you grind down or slice through this tough material, you may want to opt for the DEWALT DWE402, which has an 11-amp motor and a 4 1/2-inch grinding wheel. It's designed to be comfortable and easy to grip, even on long work sessions.
This tool excels in terms of power-to-size ratio, delivering 11,000 rpm, yet only weighing around 6 pounds. It has a two-position side handle for a comfortable grip, and its dust-ejection system helps to ensure that particles do not enter the tool and compromise its lifespan. This is the grinder to choose if you want to make quick work of concrete surfaces, grind down floors, or deeply score sidewalks with ease. Use the grinder to level off an uneven garage floor or do similar tasks. Of course, you can also use it for other common angle grinder projects, such as grinding, buffing, or cleaning wood and other materials.
Price at time of publish: $129
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 4.5-inch | Max. Speed: 11,000 rpm
Best for Wood Carving
King Arthur's Tools MERLIN2 Angle Grinder Universal Carving Set
Perfect for woodworking or other small, detailed projects
Includes six discs
Many woodworkers use angle grinders to rough-sand their creations, but you shouldn't use a standard grinder for more delicate applications when carving or carrying out other craft-related woodworking tasks. Instead, it's best to get a tool that's specially designed for use on wood, such as the King Arthur's Tools MERLIN2 Universal Carving Set, which has a mini 2-inch grinding wheel. While more expensive than some other options, this set comes with everything you need to create intricate details and smooth finishes on wood surfaces, as well as most other non-metal materials, including plastic, rubber, fiberglass, and bone.
The mini angle grinder uses just one amp of power, saving you energy, and the kit comes with six accessories, including course, medium, and fine sanding discs. The grinder has a high-capacity fan and air vents that allow it to stay cool and be used for longer woodworking sessions. Plus, the textured, ergonomic design gives you better comfort and control.
Price at time of publish: $303
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 2-inch | Max. Speed: 13,000 rpm
Best for Home Projects
Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder
Easy to use and handle
Few complaints about motor running hot
If you need an angle grinder to tackle projects around the house, it's hard to go wrong with the affordable Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder. While it only has a 7.5-amp motor and a small barrel grip, that doesn't stop it from doing a great job on a variety of home projects, such as cleaning tools and removing rust, buffing metal and other materials, smoothing rough edges, grinding down metal, or cutting tile. Its top no-load speed is 11,000 rpm.
In addition to the tool, this set comes with five grinding wheels, as well as a metal tool case to store everything in — a perfect addition to your home workshop. The extra-large paddle grip and ergonomically designed barrel make the tool easy to control and comfortable to work with, even when your projects go long. Plus, the tool is designed to protect the motor from dust and debris, which extends the life and improves the performance of the grinder.
Price at time of publish: $97
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 4.5-inch | Max. Speed: 11,000 rpm
Makita GA7021 7-Inch Angle Grinder
Three-position side handle
When tackling a big project that requires a lot of muscle, sometimes a smaller angle grinder just won’t cut it. That’s when you’ll appreciate the power and size of the Makita GA7021 7-Inch Angle Grinder. This powerful tool makes quick work of grinding or cutting through concrete, metal, and other tough materials. This grinder can break down an entire cast iron tub with relative ease and little mess, and it has a top no-load speed of 6,600 rpm.
The 15-amp motor runs smoothly, and the lock-on power switch makes it easy to handle the tool without hand fatigue. Like most large angle grinders, you’ll want to keep a firm grip as you work, as otherwise you might lose control. Luckily, the three-position side handle makes that easy. As you’d expect, this is a heavier angle grinder than the typical smaller version; the GA7021 is almost 19 inches long and weighs a little over 12 pounds. Still, if you have a big project, this is the angle grinder that will help you get the job done.
Price at time of publish: $155
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 7-inch | Max. Speed: 6,600 rpm
It’s highly versatile, it has plenty of power and speed, it doesn’t weigh too much, and it tackles a wide variety of materials. That’s why the Makita XAG04Z 4-1/2-Inch Cordless Angle Grinder is our top choice. But if you are looking for something budget-priced, and don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of versatility and advanced features, you’ll find that the Metabo HPT G12SR4 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder is a fine choice as well.
What to Look for In An Angle Grinder
As with many power tools, you’ll have two basic choices when it comes to angle grinders: corded and cordless. There are also pneumatic angle grinders, but they are mostly used in professional auto shops, not by the average DIYer.
Corded angle grinders require you to remain within reach of an electrical outlet, but in return, you gain more power and can have no fears of running out of power before you finish your task. Cordless angle grinders are very versatile, particularly when working in tight quarters, but there’s a chance that the battery will run down before you are finished. You can solve that problem, however, by having two batteries so that one can be in use while the other is charging.
Thomas Hawkins, a handyman, master electrician, and owner of Electrician Apprentice HQ, expands further, advising, “The corded versus cordless debate depends upon the project. If working in a tight area where you don't need a lot of power but need versatility, go cordless. But if you're not restricted in your movements and especially need extra power, go corded. It all boils down to what you're trying to accomplish.”
The angle grinders that are most favored by the DIY set are smaller tools that take 4 1/2-inch or occasionally 5-inch discs. These angle grinders aren’t exceptionally heavy and are small enough to get into small spaces (most are around 12 inches long) and yet large enough to have the power to tackle most typical grinding, sanding, or sharpening tasks around the home, yard, or garage. You’ll find a wide range of both corded and cordless angle grinders in this size range.
Angle grinders that take 7-inch or 9-inch discs are more powerful but also heavier and not as easy to maneuver in tight spaces. Almost all of these tools are corded. While some DIYers might have a need for these large angle grinders, particularly if they do a lot of auto repair or major remodeling projects, more commonly professionals who need the maximum in size and power choose these tools for use in cutting through concrete, steel, or similar very hard materials.
The speed of an angle grinder’s spinning disc is measure in rotations per minute (rpm). Note that the speeds stated by manufacturers are normally the maximum speeds achieved by the tool when it’s not “loaded,” i.e., actively in use grinding or sanding. Remember also that the faster the speed, the hotter the disc becomes. Never run a disc at a higher speed than its stated maximum, as the disc could shatter, potentially causing severe injury.
Smaller angle grinders generally have maximum rotations in the 5,000- to 11,000-rpm range, and many have variable speed controls so you can tailor the speed to your needs. Larger angle grinders usually have lower maximum speeds, often in the 5,000- to 8,000-rpm range.
What is an angle grinder used for?
Angle grinders are versatile tools that can perform a variety of tasks for both DIY and commercial projects. They are particularly useful if you do a lot of work with metal or masonry, including concrete, brick, or stone. You just need the right blade or attachment.
As the name suggests, this is the perfect tool for grinding away burrs, imperfections, and rough edges on metal. You can also use your angle grinder to buff or polish metal, remove paint and rust, and cut straight or curved lines.
When it comes to masonry, use your angle grinder to cut through concrete, brick, or stone. It’s a great tool for removing mortar from between bricks or underneath tile, and it works well to cut tiles when laying a new floor, countertop, or tub surround.
How do you cut pavers with an angle grinder?
Your angle grinder can easily cut brick, stone, or concrete pavers, just as long as you choose the right blade for the job; in this case, you’ll need a diamond blade. Just about any diamond blade for an angle grinder will easily handle brick, concrete, and tile. If you are going to cut stone, such as marble or granite, be sure the blade is specifically labeled for that purpose.
- Use a pencil to mark the desired cutline on the top of your paver. Flip the paver over, and mark the cutline underneath, as well.
- Don protective gear, including safety goggles and a dust mask. Cutting pavers creates a lot of dust, and you don’t want to damage your eyes or respiratory system.
- Set the paver on a flat, sturdy surface that isn’t slippery. If necessary, lay a rubber mat underneath the paver to prevent slipping or sliding as you work.
- Start with a shallow cut along the marked cutline. Continue to make shallow passes with the angle grinder until the cut is around 1/2 inch deep.
- Flip the paver over, and trace the bottom cutline with your angle grinder, making shallow cuts until you’ve reached around 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep into the paver.
- Set the paver on a flat, raised surface so the unneeded portion of the paver hangs over the edge.
- Tap the unneeded portion of the paver with a hammer or mallet. The paver should break along your cutline.
- Repeat the process with the rest of your pavers.
How do you cut metal with an angle grinder?
Whether it’s rebar, a frozen bolt, a piece of sheet metal, or even steel, you can use your angle grinder to cut through metal with ease. You’ll need the appropriate metal-cutting blade for this task; do not use a grinding wheel to cut metal.
- First, gather up your safety equipment. Cutting metal with an angle grinder produces a lot of sparks, tiny shards of metal, and noise, so you’ll need sturdy work gloves, protective goggles, ear protection, and closed shoes. Be sure that your clothing is not loose or dangling, and that you are not standing on slippery or wet flooring.
- Using chalk or a marker, sketch your desired cutline on the metal. You can also use an awl to scratch the line, if desired.
- Clamp the metal piece securely to a workbench or other flat surface.
- Turn on your angle grinder, and let it reach full speed before gently setting the blade against the metal. Hold the tool firmly with both hands.
- Slowly work your way along the cutline. Do not force the angle grinder or abruptly change directions. Let the tool lead the way forward while you hold it securely.
- Once you’ve finished cutting, let the tool come to a complete stop before setting it down.
- If necessary, switch to a grinding blade, and grind away rough edges or flash along the edges of the cut metal.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs.
For this roundup, she considered dozens of angle grinders, taking into account features, power, price, and brand reputation, as well as reviews from both professional and DIY buyers, and advice from Thomas Hawkins, a handyman, master electrician, and owner of Electrician Apprentice HQ, as well as Deane Biermeier, a licensed carpenter and general contractor and a member of The Spruce's Home Improvement Review Board.