A bench grinder might not be something you'll need on a daily basis. But when the right time for its usage comes, it never fails in giving you that perfect finishing on whatever tool you use it for. It is a standard and essential equipment mainly found in metal fabrication shops.
Just like many other workshop tools, the bench machine has its variety that ultimately depends on the bond and the grade of the grinding wheel. I was personally amused at its capability when I had my first use back in my school’s engineering workshop. It gives a lovely performance on sharpening tools that can only be achieved when you use the best bench grinder out there, and we are here to help you find your best match from a myriad of options.
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Moreover, here at Drillly, we promote only the deserving products without getting biased by external factors, such as affiliation with any of the manufacturers. This helps us review different types of tools from an objective viewpoint considering only the performance, features, and prices of the models. That's why we're confident that you will be truly benefited from our product reviews and buying guides and how-to blogs.
The Bench Grinder & Its Types
Bench grinders are commonly used to drive abrasive wheels, usually Aluminum Oxide stones, that sharpen or shape a workpiece (usually metals) for better efficiency. The various models of bench grinders invariably have a unique property that defines their purpose and the commonest bench grinders you will find are automotive, woodworking, and portable bench grinders. Some of them also come with a belt sander to help users grind and sand various materials.
Automotive bench grinders are quite the most prevalent type you will find around. It happens to be very versatile as it can be used for grinding a whole range of cutting tools and shaping different metal equipment. Consequently, an automotive bench grinder is designed to be stable with only a few adjustments to keep you going on the bench properly.
Woodworking bench grinders work per their designation - wood. They are specially constructed to smoothing cutting edges of woods that are dull and grinding wood, of course. This kind of grinder requires good precision and can be effectively gotten from a high-quality unit.
Portable bench grinders merely give us a hint that they can be transported around as preferred due to their lightweight. You can modify them to pedestal grinders with a sturdy stand. The only downside to this type of grinders is that they are not as strong as bigger grinders which may not be handy for tough metal works.
Why Use Bench Grinders?
So, what could be the reason that I would need a bench grinder for in my workshop? Considering the multiple metal and wood pieces I have there, I believe anyone who is need of a shaper or sharpener for optimum efficiency of these reference tools should keep a bench grinder at their arm’s reach. It may drive someone nuts when having to work on a project with blunt tools or inapt workpieces in general.
A bench grinder always makes our jobs more accessible by providing a flexible usage on our casual workpieces that tend to deteriorate over time. For us to keep all our tools in their nifty conditions from time to time, a bench grinder serves that purpose well. This is why it is recommended for construction specialists, tool based workers, or even homeowners. But you should also know how and where to use a bench grinder properly for maximum output.
Things to Consider When Buying a Bench Grinder
That being said, we shall now lay proper emphasis on the things to consider when purchasing a bench grinder from the store. Some months back, I had a colleague who often complained about his bench grinder being inefficient for some of his works. Not until recently did I figure out that the model he bought (portable bench grinder) wasn’t good enough to carry out the specific kind of task he wished to complete in time and adequately.
As a result, we got an automotive bench grinder with adjustable speed settings to help maximize time during the tasks associated with it. The dilemma of my colleague experienced was merely due to insufficient knowledge on the selection of an apt bench grinder for the nature of most of his projects. Intuitively, he was probably intrigued by the portability and ideal light weight of the machine which caused him to make a wrong choice.
In case you are a novice, an explained set of information has been provided for you so you don't face such predicaments in life regarding your choosing skills. The primary factors to consider when looking for such a grinding machine are:
1. Motor Power
This property is usually labelled in watt (W) or horsepower (hp) depending on the model or country you intend to purchase the grinder. The latter is actually more common in most e-stores; but for the sake of unforeseen events, you might want to recall that 1 hp = 745.7W. By logic, the higher the value of the motor’s power means the more significant the power efficiency of the machine.
For instance, a bench grinder using ¼ hp will be 4 times less potent than a grinder using 1hp. For example, if you want to use the machine to sharpen a mower blade and do related tasks then the ¼ hp will be good enough for you. But if you need to really clean up your steel, or remove or shape the blade, the 1hp power motor will be ideal.
2. Construction & Durability
You surely want your investment to serve you for a long period of period. Choosing a grinding machine that doesn’t have a good build quality and mechanism for the kind of workpieces you want to have can bring about frustration.
Also, the durability of a tool mentioned in some article or product reviews is barely significant because of more attention given towards the features. Consequently, you should really consider how durable the bench grinder you want to buy should be as it is relatively essential as well.
Different top grinding machines come with wheels that are designed with variable speeds. Our research shows that a variable speed bench grinder is predominant amongst artisans and recommended for aiding optimum outcomes for projects. There are different types of wheels as stated below.
4. Types of Wheels
- Straight wheel: It is the most popular of all types of wheel and is usually used for sharpening of chisels, gouges or similar tools. The straight wheel grinder is typically applied for tasks involving surface grinding or centreless grinding.
- Cylinder wheel: This type of wheel is relatively large and hollow in design to be applied on huge, tough materials, such as large metal sheets.
- Tapered wheel: Tapered grinder discs have their wheel narrowing towards edges. This design is mainly meant for exquisite kinds of tasks like grinding metal threads or sharpening of gear teeth during which the edges become tapered.
You can also choose from the dry wheel and wet wheel options when purchasing a bench grinder.
5. Safety Measures
I urge you also take proper safety precautions when dealing with bench grinders because there are quite a number of possible hazards that are accompanied by this machine if not adhered to.
- Spark protection: No single glove is enough to provide complete protection for every work situation, so it may be imperative you get specialized (spark) protection when working with tools like bench grinders
- Guards and tool rest: Make sure you have wheel guards in good condition for your grinding machine and set tool rest about 1/16 to 1/8 inch from the wheel
- Anti-vibration feature: It is essential to reduce or limit vibrations of the grinding machine as they could cause poor surface finish or even accidents
- Eyeshield: Guard your eyes while grinding to prevent grinding chips, metal pieces or little particles from contacting the eye
- Rubber feet: It is ideal to mount your grinder to sit on rubber feet to subject it to firmness while you work on the machine. This can reduce errors or accidents when in use
6. Adjustable Speeds
With reference to speed being among the necessary factors to consider, bench grinders are best operated with an adjustable speed feature. It helps its user monitor and control the rate at which the wheels can exercise their performance on a workpiece so as to prevent uneven trimming or sharpening.
A full warranty for your machine is a must-have, and it goes beyond that. The information should include a detailed explanation of the warranty coverage and what is not covered upon purchase of the bench grinder. More favorably, if you’re able to get a warranty for over 12 months then go for it without much hesitation. That way, you can account for the general performance of the machine for a longer time and feel secure about your budget.
You will find price ranges starting from $50 to as much as $600.
How Did We Pick These Products?
After 20 hours of extensive online research, we shortlisted 25 best-rated bench grinders in terms of the performance, prices, features and user ratings. We bought all of them to test each model physically in practical situations.
We engaged our experienced volunteers in the testing process and supervised their activities the whole time. We hardly did anything other than using the chosen grinders for the next few days. We combined our findings and that of our volunteers to come up with the final ten products.
Then, we consulted other experts in our locality and asked them to examine if our list was okay from every aspect. They suggested a little change and appreciated our thorough selection process. We were finally able to arrange the models in the right order and come up with the top 10 list of bench grinders.
Our Top 10 Product List
What is the best bench grinder? Here come our finest units that we found after a thorough testing process. Carefully check every model out to see which one seems perfect for your needs.
Care & Maintenance
So, let’s assume you have made up your mind after reviewing our list of top quality bench grinders. It is necessary to have an eager mind to go for the suitable, but you also have to do what it takes to make the tool last long. Below are some critical points you should consider to get years of service from your bench grinder.
- A regular inspection on your grinding machine keeps you in-check for possible damage(s) in the nearest feature
- Make sure you clean the machine when necessary. Remember to do this when unplugged or powered off
- Lubricating the bench grinder from time to time improves the life cycle of its bearings
- Cover up the machine when not in use for a long while and store in a safe place (dry, no solar heat contact)
- Use proper cables to power the bench grinder. Failure to do so can cause interruptions and may even blow a fuse
Who makes the best bench grinder? There are so many choices with different features and specifications that you may feel confused and not know how to make an informed buying decision. This merely tells us that when browsing among the numerous options, it takes more than just knowing the specifications. However, we were able to overcome this conservative perspective by reviewing more elaborate details about various grinders and their most remarkable, outstanding properties. Hope this article has given you sufficient insight on how to select an apt bench grinder. A better re-evaluation on reviews so to say!
Some reputed brands like Central Machinery, Bosch, Ozito, Creusen, Wilton, Hitachi, Wolf, Gmf, Task Force, Draper, Ryobi,Aeg , Linishall , Porter Cable , Parkside , Shopcraft, Kinzo, Waldown, Abbott & Ashby, Steel Grip, Mac Allister, Terratek, Ashland, Mastercraft, and Cummins Mack failed to match our benchmark. As a result, no model from them made it to our final list. Besides, vintage brands like Valley, Blue Point, Thor are now outdated and lack the required features to top among the new comers.
And in case you are still not able to make up your mind, compare the 8-inch grinders mentioned above, for instance, DEWALT DW758, Jet 578008 and Metabo DS 200. You surely have noticed that these products have quite some similar features but are yet unique in their specific ways. Do your work and you will definitely be able to make your choice sooner or later.