How to buy a bench grinder
A bench grinder buying guide
A bench grinder is an excellent addition to many power tool collections. When used correctly, grinders are effective for removing or cutting a variety of materials. In this buying guide, the focus is on how to buy a bench grinder. A bench grinder is normally bolted to work benches and stands and only sold as electric-powered models. Four types of bench grinders are available: industrial, variable speed, mini bench and pedestal.
>> How will you use your bench grinder?
While thinking about how to buy a bench grinder, one needs to consider bench grinder uses. Using different attachments, a bench grinder can become a cutting tool, a sander, a polisher, a grinder or even a sharpener. Bench grinder uses also include cutting through metals, wood and plastic. They can take the burrs off the edges of pipe or even sharpen a sword. Bench grinders have two wheels, making it convenient for different grits to be loaded on each side, one for coarse work and the other for finer detail.
>> Important features to consider
There are important features that should be considered when looking for the best bench grinder to buy. Bench grinder comparisons show that the following features have the largest effect on the product.
- No load speed - The no load speed is the speed the disc rotates prior to cutting or grinding. When looking at different bench grinder brands, the manufacturer's specifications show speed listings based on no load pressure. Slower speed bench grinders are quieter. They also don't produce as much heat. Different materials require different speed. If a faster speed is a concern, consider looking at a variable control type of bench grinder.
- Spindle locks - Spindle locks are a handy feature that help change discs faster.
- Soft start - A soft start is a feature of large bench grinders. It makes equipment easier to use on start. Because it starts slower, wrenching or twisting during start up can be prevented. You will need to wait for the motor to come to full speed before using the equipment.
- Voltage - Voltage does not affect bench grinder use as much as other power tools, especially portable power tools. Bench grinders are only available as electric-powered and are bolted to a stand or table. However, you will want to ensure that the outlet you plug your bench grinder into can support the grinder's voltage.
- Wattage - Wattage becomes a factor when you look at the size of the discs. A bench grinder with a higher wattage is more powerful and can more easily use large discs.
- Disc size - Mini bench grinders usually hold 4 1/2" - 6" discs. Bigger models, such as industrial or variable speed grinders, can handle 8" - 10" discs. Keep your desired disc size in mind when thinking about which bench grinder to buy.
- Adjustability - Various bench grinder brands have adjustable guards and side handles as well as adjustable speeds. The side handle is a popular feature as it can switch from right to left handed. Guards protect you from possible sparks or flying debris, and with adjustable guards, you can adjust them to suit your height for maximum protection.
>> Consider bench grinder wheel types and sizes
Knowing how to buy a bench grinder includes knowing what wheels are used for which purpose. Some wheels are used for various metals, and others are used for wood, paint, rust, stone and even marble. Some wheels are made to polish or buff a surface. Others will grind, sand or cut. Understanding the types and uses of each wheel is an important part of the grinders function. Here is a list of the different wheel types and their uses.
- Fiber - Used for burrs and rust.
- Buffing - Buffs and polishes with wax added.
- Sanding - Prepares surfaces, sands and sharpens.
- Wire brush - Cleans and removes rust, paint and burrs.
- Flapper - Sharpens tools such as axes, lawn mower blades or shovels.
- Aluminum oxide - Good for wood working projects and brittle materials.
- Dry-cut diamond - Cuts tile, concrete or stone.
- Grinding - Sharpens or helps restore items depending on grit.
- Tuck pointing - Removes mortar from bricks.
- Cutoff - Cuts bars, bolts and rods.
You have a few choices when it comes to bench grinder sizes. A 6" grinder is often the best bench grinder for small tasks as it includes a small wheel. If you want something more universal, 8" grinders will likely be what you will be most happy with as they are a good size for most tasks. Lastly, 10" bench grinders are usually found in industrial or heavy-duty models. These are the best bench grinders when you have large items to cut, buff or polish.
>> Consider additional features
During the decision process of how to buy a bench grinder, consider a few additional features. Some models have built in lamps for better lighting, better accuracy and better safety. Others offer water trays to prevent metals from overheating and losing temper. Some types of bench grinders also have variable speed motors that allow for wheel speed adjustment. Slower speeds produce less heat. A vacuum attachment allows your grinder to be attached to a vacuum unit to pull dust away from the work space, your face and your lungs. External brushes are handy because they are faster to replace, giving you less down time.
By this buying guide you have learned the basics of how to buy a bench grinder. When looking for the best bench grinder to buy, make sure to also purchase the proper wheels for the task at hand. Home improvement supply departments will have a selection of bench grinder brands and accessories for you to choose from.