Best Bench Grinders: Seamlessly Sharpen Your Tools
Easily complete some workshop tasks with one of these top bench grinders
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON October 14, 2019
Bench grinders are affixed to a worktable or other worktop. They are used for sharpening tools such as tool bits and chisels, but you can also use them to roughly shape metal before welding it. Some bench grinders are better than others, so we've put together this buying guide to help you select the top products available.
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Benefits of Bench Grinders
- Versatile. A good bench grinder can be used for a variety of jobs. Most brands come with a minimum of three tools, so you can use them for grinding, polishing, and other types of tasks.
- More control. If you have a project that requires accuracy, it's a good idea to opt for a bench grinder versus other types of grinders because it provides better control.
- Easy to use. Some tools are more complicated to use than others, but a bench grinder is pretty easy to operate. It's not too hard to use, and maintenance isn't a big issue either.
- Affordable. Bench grinders are less expensive than industrial-grade options and are a great addition to a home garage or workshop. You don't have to spend a lot of money on the outset.
Types of Bench Grinders
Woodworking bench grinders are largely designed to smooth out dull edges, and you can also use them to grind wood. They are also ideal if you require a lot of precision during a particular project. This type of grinder uses a low speed, so it's a good option if you want more accuracy when you’re grinding.
Automotive Bench Grinder
Don't be fooled by the name of this bench grinder. Unlike the name suggests, it's not intended to be used by those in the automotive profession. Instead, you can use this type of grinder on cutting tools and to shape other types of metal equipment. This type of grinder is very popular due to its stability.
Standard Variable-Speed Grinder
This is the best all-around bench grinder that can be used for a variety of different tasks. These grinders are long-lasting and can tackle nearly any type of project. They can accommodate several different grinding wheels, so you can use them on almost anything. You can also adjust the precision as well as the speed. If you’re not sure what type of grinder to get, this is the best option due to its versatility.
Raymond E. DeWalt, who invented the radial arm saw, founded DeWalt in 1923. Black+Decker has owned the brand since 1960. The company's headquarters is in Towson, Maryland. One of its top bench grinders is the DEWALT Bench Grinder, 6-Inch.
JET Tools was founded by Leslie P. Sussman in 1958 after he flew on a Boeing jet from Seattle, Washington, to Japan in 1958. The company initially sold chain hoists and trolleys before expanding to a variety of different tools and equipment, including paving breakers, forklifts, and bench grinders. We recommend the JET 577101 6-Inch Industrial Bench Grinder.
WEN, headquartered in Elgin, Illinois, was founded in 1951 and has been producing power tools for decades, such as chainsaws, electric jigsaws, and wet wheel sharpeners. The company also pioneered random orbital technology. One of its popular bench grinders is the WEN 5 Amp 8" Variable Speed Bench Grinder.
Bench Grinders Pricing
- $50-$200: Bench grinders don't have to be expensive to do the job. You can find a decent-quality bench grinder without spending a lot of money, and it will have enough power to do a lot of different tasks.
- Over $200: As with many things in life, the more you spend, the more you will receive. Premium bench grinders tend to have heavy-duty motors, so they are more versatile and more capable of handling bigger jobs.
When you're shopping for a bench grinder, you need to decide whether you want one with 6-inch or 8-inch wheels. Six-inch wheels are usually adequate for most DIY tasks. The downside is that these grinders tend to be less powerful. If you want to sharpen chisels, for example, opt for an 8-inch grinder, which has a slightly bigger wheel.
Grinder wheels have different grit levels for grinding and sharpening. They are also designed to be used at a particular rotating speed. Straight wheels, for example, can be used on any type of surface and to sharpen chisels and other tools. Tapered wheels are better for more delicate projects, while saucer wheels are good for sharpening saw blades. And if you need a lot of grinding power, a diamond wheel can do the job.
Adjustable Speed Knob
In general, most grinders do not have a feature that lets you change the speed. However, some have adjustable speed knobs, so you can speed up or slow down the wheel as required. This is not too important if you have projects that only require a constant speed, but it's helpful if you are working on something in which speed adjustments are necessary.
One of the most important safety features is an eye shield. This will protect your face from sparks and any debris that can be expelled during use. Even better, look for one with adjustable eye shields. Other features to keep in mind are spark deflectors and a sturdy base that will stay firmly in place while you work.
- Wheel Dresser: Bench grinders don't typically come with a wheel dresser, but it's a good option to have. If you do find a grinder with a wheel dresser, you're in luck. They help clean and reshape the wheel during operation, which provides better accuracy and control and makes application a little smoother.
- Cooling Tray: Bench grinders can produce a lot of heat, which can make operation a little uncomfortable, particularly if you're using it for an extended period of time. Enter the cooling or quench tray, which sits at the bottom of the tool. It's convenient when you're using the grinder extensively and if you're worried about overheating.
- Wheel Guards: Wheel guards keep the wheels in place when you're operating the bench grinder. They keep the wheel from cracking or splintering. It's vital to find a grinder with a wheel guard that is easy to use in terms of mounting, rotating, and removing the wheel.
Best Bench Grinder Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- The more power a bench grinder has, the better it is. Bench grinders are typically rated in amps and range from one-quarter to one horsepower. If the tool doesn't have enough power, it won't work properly and can even stall.
- Wear ear protection when using a bench grinder because they can be very loud. Those that are more heavy-duty tend to vibrate less than lower-quality options and dampen noise better. Also, wear eye protection.
- Make sure to bolt down the bench grinder. It can easily move with light pressure against the grinding wheel, which can cause safety issues as well as problems with whatever you're working on.
Q: What is a bench grinder used for?
A: Bench grinders are great for grinding various types of metals. You can use them to shape, sharpen, or polish objects, depending on what type of wheels you use.
Q: When should I replace my grinder wheels?
A: Check all the parts to make sure they are functioning properly. If you notice the wheel is chipped, cracked, or wobbling, it should be replaced. Otherwise, it may shatter and potentially harm you.
Q: What do the numbers on the grinding wheels represent?
A: The number on the grinding wheel is related to how coarse it is. For example, a 36-grit wheel removes material quickly, while a 100-grit wheel is intended for finer sharpening.
Our pick for the best bench grinder is the DEWALT Bench Grinder, 6-Inch. It's easy to set up and operate and can be used for heavy-duty grinding projects.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the SKIL 6-Inch Bench Grinder.