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Essential power tools – the angle grinder

Welcome back to another “Tool Tuesday”.  Featuring prominently in the number three spot on our list of must have power tools is the angle grinder.

9" angle grinder and accessories

9″ angle grinder and accessories

The angle grinder is the power tool version of the hacksaw, the file and the wire brush all in one.  It is quite simply the most important tool to have in your shop if you are going to be working with metal (after the all purpose corded hand drill that was featured as the top must have tool of course).

There are multiple ways to join metal that are easy to accomplish including using pop rivets, metal screws and bolts – but before you start joining you need to have been able to form to shape and that means cutting and grinding and this is where the angle grinder shines.

You’ll want to pick up 1/8″ thick metal cutting disks, 1/4″ thick metal grinding disks and wire wheels (which make removing paint and rust a breeze).  If you are going to be cutting brick, concrete or tile you can pick up masonry cutting disks as well.

Now, you’ll find grinders come in a variety of sizes, from the 4 1/2″ models up to the beefier 9″ units.  While I have a smaller 5″ grinder my go to unit is a 9″ and it’s backup is a 7″.  For cutting and grinding disks I’ve pretty much standardized on 7″ diameter disks which I’ve found to be more common (and on sale more often) than the 9″ ones.  I also appreciate the extra power offered by the larger units.

That said,  the smaller ones are nice if you’ve got to work in tight spaces – such as under a vehicle or aren’t quite as comfortable with the heft and power of the larger ones.

Of course part of the process of determining what makes this list and where it ranks is price.  To give you an idea of the price these run between $20 and $65 at Harbor Freight as of now – without using one of their 20% off coupons they frequently circulate which would knock the price down to $16 to $52.

So if you don’t have an angle grinder yet pick one up today along with a selection of disks.

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