Buying the right angle grinder
Here Paul Kitchin, National Applications Manager at FEIN gives a practical guide on features to look out for when buying an angle grinder
Angle grinders are a staple of the UK tradesperson’s tool collection across a wide range of disciplines and they are extremely useful to have to cut, polish and grind a wide variety of materials. However, finding the best one for your requirements can be difficult, as there appears to be almost infinite variations available.
Here are some features to look out for:
Size and power
The most common sizes for electric grinders are 4.5” and 9”. If you’re mainly going to be carrying out heavy steel grinding, large steel cutting, cutting slabs or mortar, then a 9” grinder is best as you’ll be able cover larger surface areas more quickly. If however, you need more precision and are working with more intricate stone or metal work then a 4.5” grinder is best.
Importantly, size must be matched by power and this is usually indicated by the wattage of the machine. For a 9” grinder I would recommend getting a machine with a 2,000 W motor as a minimum. For a 4.5” grinder I suggest a minimum motor of 750 W.
The speed of an angle grinder determines the quality of the cutting or grinding action. This is measured by no-load speeds, which means ‘how fast the disc will rotate before it makes contact with the work piece’. In my experience, how the machine then copes under load is crucial because if the grinder has a high no-load speed but its motor is underpowered or of poor quality it will not maintain a high speed throughout the task. I advise that you look for grinders with all-metal gearboxes, advanced electronics and high quality carbon brushes to ensure maximum efficiency.
Accidents involving angle grinders can be nasty. The good news is that manufacturers work extremely hard to update machines with the best safety features available. Some of the most beneficial include adjustable guard wheels, soft start mechanisms and reduced kickback (turns machine off if snags).
Comfort and ease of use
One of the final things to compare is what it feels like in the hand and what it’s like to operate day-to-day. Unfortunately you’ll never get a full picture just picking a machine up in a shop but there are a few things you can look out for that are good indicators:
1) Firstly, do pick it up and check how comfortable the handles are, the positions of the switches (are they easily reachable) and wear your work gloves to see if the switches are still easy to operate.
2) Secondly, do a bit of research beforehand. Check things like the vibrations class and the weight of the different machines you’re considering, particularly the balance when you pick it up.
3) Thirdly, changing the discs can sometimes be a real headache on poor quality machines so ensure you can deliver a tool-less disc change.
By asking how angle grinders stack up in terms of power, size, speed, safety and comfort, tradespeople can quickly and easily sift the best from the rest. Fein offers a large range of compact, quality angle grinders, known as the WSG range. For more information please visit https://fein.com/en_uk/standard-frequency-grinding/compact-angle-grinders/