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Angle grinders are handheld power tools that, depending on the blade or attachment used, can grind, buff, polish, cut, sharpen, and clean. These highly versatile tools are suited to many materials, including tile, metal, stone, concrete, brick, and wood. That makes them a useful addition to the tool box of any DIYer who works with metal, plans on installing tile, likes to maintain their own automobile, enjoys carpentry, or tackles any type of project that requires smoothing, cutting, or sharpening various materials.
You'll find both corded and cordless angle grinders; as a general rule, the corded versions are a little more powerful, but require you to remain tethered to an electrical outlet. Thomas Hawkins, 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.”
As for size, most DIYers are best off with an angle grinder that uses 4.5-inch or 5-inch discs, although if you handle very large or tough projects, you'll appreciate the extra size of a 7-inch angle grinder.
Here are our favorite angle grinders for a variety of purposes.
Best Overall: Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless
Power Source: 18-volt battery | Disc Size: 4.5 or 5-inch | Max. Speed: 8,500 rpm
Brushless motor for longer run time
Automatically adjusts speed and torque for optimal performance
You'll need to buy 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 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 4-1/2-inch/5-inch Cut-Off/Angle Grinder. This mid-priced tool is powered by a battery (which is sold separately, unfortunately), meaning you won't be limited by a power cord, yet it still delivers big in terms of power and speed.
This angle grinder weights just 5.6 pounds and can be used for grinding, cutting, and sanding various materials, such as tile, concrete, pipes, and more. What's cool is it features automatic speed change technology, which adjusts the speed and torque during operation for optimized performance, no matter what you're working on. Additionally, 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 delivers impressive power that's perfect for tackling just about any job.
Best Budget: Metabo 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 4.5-inch | Max. Speed: 10,000 rpm
Compact and lightweight
Includes five grinding wheels
Keeping power switch depressed is a bit tricky
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 options such as the Metabo (formerly Hitachi) G12SR4 6.2-Amp 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder.
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 and aluminum, as well as slate, brick, and more.
Best Cordless: DEWALT Lithium-Ion 4-1/2-Inch Grinder
Power Source: 20-volt battery | Disc Size: 4.5-inch or 5-inch | Max. Speed: 8,000 rpm
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 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless 4-1/2 in. Grinder. This is a lightweight, versatile, and powerful angle grinder that you can use for a variety of applications.
The downside of this product is that the batteries and chargers are sold separately, but you definitely won't be disappointed with a 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 disc without any tools, and the 8,000-rpm motor provides all the power you need for cutting and grinding a variety of materials.
Best Variable Speed: Bosch Corded Variable Speed Angle Grinder
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 5-inch | Max. Speed: 11,500 rpm
Two-position, vibration-control handle
Few 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 11-Amp 5-Inch Corded Variable Speed Angle Grinder is a highly-rated product that can operate between 2,800 and 11,500 rpm, making it suitable for a variety of applications. You'[ll find the variable speed is very helpful when working both around the house and in professional settings.
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. Additionally, it has up to two more amps of power than previous generations.
Best for Concrete: DEWALT 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder DWE402
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 4.5-inch | Max. Speed: 11,000 rpm
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 4-1/2-Inch 11-Amp Paddle Switch Angle Grinder.
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 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 cut through sidewalks with ease. Plus, it’s surprisingly affordable.
Best for Wood Carving: King Arthur's Tools MERLIN2 Angle Grinder Universal Carving Set
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 2-inch | Max. Speed: 13,000 rpm
Perfect for woodworking or other small, detailed projects
Includes six discs
Many woodworkers use angle grinders to sand down their creations, but you shouldn't use a standard grinder for this type of application. Instead, it's best to get a tool specially designed for use on wood, such as the King Arthur's Tools 1-Amp 2-Inch Corded Mini Angle Grinder Merlin 2 Carving Set.
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. Additionally, the grinder has a high-capacity fan and air vents that allow it to stay cool and be used for longer woodworking sessions.
Best for Home Projects: Makita 9557PBX1 Angle Grinder
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 4.5-inch | Max. Speed: 11,000 rpm
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.
In addition to the tool, this set comes with five grinding wheels, as well as a metal tool case to store everything in— perfect for your home workshop. The angle grinder can be used for a variety of cutting, polishing, and grinding applications, including cutting tile, removing rust from cars, grinding down concrete, and more.
Best 7-Inch: Makita GA7021 7-Inch Angle Grinder
Power Source: Corded | Disc Size: 7-inch | Max. Speed: 6,600 rpm
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.
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.
It’s highly versatile, has plenty of power and speed, doesn’t weigh too much, and tackles a wide variety of materials. That’s why the Makita 18-Volt Cordless Angle Grinder (view at Amazon) 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 G12SR4 Angle Grinder (view at Amazon) 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 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 the battery will run down before you are finished. You can solve that problem, however, by having two batteries so one can be in use while the other is charging.
The angle grinders 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—most are around 12 inches long—to get into small spaces, 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 need of 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 speed 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 that disc’s 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 also 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 ½-inch deep.
- Flip the paver over, and trace the bottom cutline with your angle grinder, making shallow cuts until you’ve reached around ½-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 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, handyman, master electrician, and owner of Electrician Apprentice HQ.