Best Angle Grinder For Automotive

Article by Mark Trotta

Commonly called upon for cutting metal or stripping paint and rust, electric angle grinders are also handy when preparing metal for welding, removing weld beads, and beveling metal plates. With a cut-off wheel attached, they'll easily cut through sheet metal, small pipes, and help remove exhaust systems.

Bosch angle grinder with flap disc

When shopping for an electric grinder, you will find they're offered in several different sizes. If your budget allows for only one, a 4-1/2" angle grinder is best for home garage use. Below is a review of several name-brand corded electric grinders.

NOTE: Cheap grinders have cheap bearings and therefore, don't last too long.

Bosch Electric Grinders

The electric grinder in my garage is is a Bosch AG40-85P with paddle switch, which I bought new in 2012. It's German-made, and the motor is rated at 8.5-amps and spins to 11,500 RPM. Weight is approximately five pounds.

Bosch 4-1/2 angle grinder

The Bosch AG40-85P grinder has a two-position "vibration control" side handle, and depending on what I'm working on, I often switch from left to right for comfort.

Bosch 4-1/2 angle grinder

The tool didn't come with a case, so I keep mine in the original cardboard box with the top cut off. A wheel release tool is included with the grinder.

Bosch GWS10-45P Angle Grinder

Now discontinued, the AG40-85P was replaced with the Bosch GWS10-45P Grinder. It features a paddle switch, two-position "vibration control" side handle, 10-amp motor, and spins to 11,500 rpm. Weight is approximately five pounds.

best angle grinder for automotive repair

Shop: Bosch 4-1/2" Angle Grinder GWS10-45P

The country of origin of the GWS10-45P grinder is Germany.

NOTE: The country of origin of the cheaper GWS10-45PE is China.

Dewalt Angle Grinders

Slightly less expensive than the Bosch unit, the Dewalt DWE402 electric grinder features a paddle switch, two-position handle, 11-amp motor, and quick-change wheel release, which requires no special wrench. Comparisons show the DWE402 having an ideal power to weight/size ratio.

Dewalt electric power grinder

Shop: Dewalt 4-1/2" Angle Grinder DWE402

Dewalt is a well-known and respected brand in the power tool industry, and their grinders are backed with a three-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. The DWE402 grinder is U.S. made with global materials.

Makita Angle Grinder with Case

Another mid-price angle grinder is the Makita 4-1/2" angle grinder with case. It features a small-diameter barrel grip and extra large paddle switch. The motor is rated at 7.5 amps.

Makita electric angle grinder

Shop: Makita 4-1/2" Angle Grinder with Case 9557PBX1

The Makita 9557PBX1 kit includes grinder, two wheel guards (one Type-27 and one Type-1), and five 4-1/2" grinding wheels, all enclosed in a nice-looking aluminum tool case. Although Makita is a Japanese company, the 9557PBX1 grinder, parts, and case are made in China.

Best Budget Angle Grinder

Weighing only 3.75 pounds, the Bosch 1375A angle grinder is lightweight, compact, and suitable for minor metal work and fabrication. It features a six-amp motor that spins to 11,000 rpm.

Bosch 4-1/2 angle grinder

Shop: Bosch 4-1/2" Angle Grinder 1375A

Although most Bosch power tools are still made in Germany, the 1375A angle grinder is made in China.

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Paddle Switch vs Trigger Switch

Traditional grinders will have a trigger switch for the on/off function. Once the trigger is locked in place, you can adjust your hands to anywhere on the tool. Of course, there is concern of the running motor getting away from you, which can cause damage and personal injury.

Many DIYers consider a paddle switch to be safer, as it's wider and more controllable. Once locked, you can hold the tool in two places, with one hand in back of the unit's grinding head and the other on the grip.

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Corded vs Cordless

I'm old school on most shop-related items, and this is (another) one of them. Seeing as they have nearly the same output, the choice of corded or cordless angle grinder is largely personal preference.

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Angle Grinder In Use

Sometimes, for clearance reasons, I'll run the tool without the wheel guard or without the screw-on handle. Of course, this is done with the utmost of care. NOTE: the adjustment for the metal wheel guard doesn't require a tool, but to detach/install it requires a tool.

Misc Notes

If undecided on which electric grinder is best for your needs, consider purchasing more than one. If it's in the budget, a larger, more powerful tool can be used for bigger jobs, and a smaller, less powerful one can be used for quick, small jobs. If you keep one fitted with a cut-off wheel, and the other fitted with a grinding disc or a sanding disc, you'll save the time of changing wheels during a project.

I've found my 4-1/2" electric angle grinder to be an essential auto-body repair tool. It does it's job and it's comfortable to work with.

Grinding wheels, cutting wheels, flap discs, sanding discs, wire wheels - all of these are useful during auto body repair, but they all serve different purposes. To get the most out of your angle grinder, know which attachment is best for the task at hand.

Read: Angle Grinder Attachments For Automotive Repair

Although mostly used for metalworking in automotive repair, with the proper attachment, angle grinders are also capable of cutting wood, rebar, concrete, and cinder blocks.

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Notes and Cautions When Using An Angle Grinder

Protect your hands from sharp edges - always wear gloves.

Wear a face shield or safety glasses with side-protectors.