Angle grinders are quite versatile as well as useful. Keeping them around will definitely pay off if you get into tinkering quite often.
Now, what size angle grinder should I buy? It is a million-dollar question many craftsmen and DIYers ask.
For a home workshop, you should buy a 4.5-inch size angle grinder. It would be perfect because it’s sleek, lightweight, and can get many types of works done. For professional work such as metal construction, masonry, and fabrication, you should buy a 7 or 9-inch angle grinder.
This is because the bigger the angle grinder is, the more heavy-duty work it can do. You should pick the size based on the applications you have in mind. For more information, keep on reading!
How to Choose the Size of an Angle Grinder
When you are shopping for an angle grinder, determining the size will depend on several factors. Here are the things you should consider when determining the size of your angle grinder;
Type of Task
This is the most important factor to consider. The kind of work you can do with an angle grinder ranges from light to mid to heavy. Differently sized grinders will work better for different tasks.
As a beginner, you may assume that the size of an angle grinder is its length, but you would be wrong. The size is actually the disc size of the angle grinder. Generally, bigger grinders are longer too because longer handles are required to accommodate bigger discs.
For the average handyman, a 4.5-inch angle grinder is suitable because those are smaller, lighter, great for home projects, and easier to handle. This site is best for light to mid-level work.
The bigger an angle grinder gets, the more heavy-duty tasks it can handle. For example, to cut thicker wooden beams, a 4.5-inch angle grinder would struggle. You need a 7- or a 9-inch angle grinder for that.
Bottom line is, choose the size based on the level of work (light, medium, or heavy) that needs to be done.
The Dimensions and Type of Material
Typically, all angle grinders can cut through wood. However, if the wood you have is thick, smaller angler grinders will be difficult to use on it. Also, for hardier materials such as concrete or stone, small angle grinders may struggle.
This is because they are typically thicker than the grinder can go. For example, if you have a 4-inch concrete or wood you want to cut, a 5-inch angle grinder cannot cut it in one go because only half of its diameter (2.5 inches) can pass through the material.
So, for larger pieces of wood and hardy materials such as stone and concrete, get angle grinders that are at least 7-inch or more.
It is usual for smaller discs to spin faster than their larger counterparts. Because of their smaller diameter, and therefore, smaller circumference, they can reach up to 11000 RPM. This means, smaller discs are better at cutting & polishing.
But higher speeds have their disadvantages, too. Small-angle grinders often overheat because of such high speeds. For better control, get a variable speed angle grinder.
Another thing you should keep in mind that the speed of an angle grinder also depends on the amp rating of its motor. Size is not the only thing that influences speed. So, a 7-inch angle grinder with a high amp motor will spin faster than a 4.5-inch one with a low amp motor.
The level of experience you have as a handyman is also important to consider. If you are a complete novice, it is better for you to start with a smaller angle grinder as they are safer and easier to get a hang of. Then as you get more comfortable, get the ones with larger discs.
And if you are a professional, it is better to start with the larger angle grinders because they offer advanced features.
Types of Angle Grinders
Let’s detail different kinds of angle grinders;
Cordless Angle Grinder
These are operated by battery, so there is no need to plug them into power outlets for use. The portability makes this ideal for use in worksites. They are particularly handy when you need to work on a ladder or scaffold-based grinding work.
Having a corded tool in such cases poses a risk of tripping hazards. If you choose to get these, make sure to get the ones with high-capacity batteries.
Corded Angle Grinder
Sometimes, you may require to use an angle grinder constantly over a long period of time. Nothing beats corded power tools for such cases. Corded angle grinders are usually lighter than the cordless variety because they do not have any battery inside their body. So, your hands will not get strained as easily.
When you are buying corded grinders, account for the level of vibration and ergonomics to your preferences.
Pneumatic Angle Grinder
Pneumatic angle grinders offer the perfect blend of durability and performance. They are ideal for shaping and cutting metal pieces. They are suited for light-duty, high-precision tasks. These grinders also weigh considerably lighter than the other types.
A potential drawback is that they require a connection to an air compressor. But this is a small price to pay for the high degree of precision that you get. Some of them even come with throttle levers to allow the user a high level of control in technical tasks like speed grinding, feather edging, etc.
Variable Speed Angle Grinder
You can change the speed of the discs of these angle grinders. This allows for wide versatility, as different types of jobs require different levels of speed. For high-precision work, higher RPM is required.
But more speed can lead to overheating, which may ruin some workpieces. So, a lower speed is needed for those.
Some variable speed angle grinders have paddle switches, which provide even better control.
Straight Angle Grinders
These angle grinders have the wheel positioned on the body at a 90-degree angle. Such design makes these ideals for grinding the inner parts as well as outer edges of workpieces.
This unique disc angle makes these grinders more preferable over the traditional ones in some specific jobs.
Safety Tips for Angle Grinders
Here are some tips that you should follow for your safety
Make Sure It Is Switched Off Before Plugging in
This will prevent accidents to your hands.
Read the Instruction Manual & Understand How the Tool Operates
Even if you are experienced, it is always a good tip to read the manual. This will ensure that you are totally familiar with the tool’s features and modes of operation. Power tools can get dangerous in a blink of a second, so this is crucial.
Choose the Right Disc for the Task
This includes both the disc size and disc material. For example, do not use a metal cutting disc on stone or ceramic, because the disc will wear down and may break, putting you in danger.
Wear Protective Gear & Proper Clothing
Angle grinders can make a lot of sparks and cutting debris. So, safety goggles are a must. You should also use safety gloves and dust masks if needed. For example, cutting ceramics and masonry can kick up a lot of dust. Also, consider ear defenders if it gets too noisy.
Stay Focused When Working
When using an angle grinder, be attentive to your work. Take regular breaks and avoid any distractions. Accidental slips can prove to be very harmful.
So, what size angle grinder should I buy? If you have carefully read everything we discussed, then you should have the answer to this question tailored to your specific needs.
After you have gotten your angle grinder, explore all the different ways you can use it. Soon enough, you will fall in love with this incredibly useful tool. Remember to always be safe when using it.