Two wheels are better than one, and nothing exemplifies this notion better than the best bench grinders. The combination of fine and coarse wheels has been applied to the metal (and other materials, but mostly metal) shaping and whittling business to outstanding effect.
The ability to clean, buff, shape, polish, and/or sharpen any metal under the sun is no small calling, which is precisely why our recommendations should meet every industry standard today.
Back in the day, warriors had whetstones to sharpen their blades for battle. Today’s builders are warriors in their own right, fighting to construct a progressive future made of fine materials that can stand the test of time. Chisels, gardening tools, plane irons, wedges, knives, scissors and all sorts of other metal parts and tools (even wood) will require the sort of attention that bench grinders alone can provide in full.
Quick tip: If in the process, your tool or drill bit exceeds a certain heat marker, dipping it in cold water can result in unavoidable cracks. Rather plunge the object in a can filled with warmed-up fast-quench oil.
|Eastwood 13577 Combination Grinder||Currently not available||Buy on Amazon|
|Craftsman Professional Variable Speed 8" Bench Grinder (21162)||$168.14||Buy on Amazon|
|Craftsman 9-21154 Variable Speed 6-Inch Grinding Center||$119.37||Buy on Amazon|
|JET 577102 JBG-8A 8-Inch Bench Grinder||$300.00 $239.00||Buy on Amazon|
|Metabo DS 200 8-Inch Bench Grinder||$259.00||Buy on Amazon|
Last update on 2018-02-21 PST - Details
There are grinders out there that allow the use of cutting fluids on the wheel itself, but all of our shortlisted models are of the ‘dry’ type. As with any such heavy-duty machinery, bench grinders require regular wheel replacements. These are a handful of smart points to keep in mind when you are in the market seeking the right bench grinder for your project.
This invaluable workshop tool cannot simply be used by anyone. A metal piece that has been ground cannot be retrieved, and so a professional or somewhat experienced approach is recommended, otherwise you are looking at material wastage and loss.
About the same size as a box, this compact marvel of machinery is quick to secure onto a workbench after which you can set metal to wheel and start grinding. From smoothing out welded corners to removing imperfections on a metallic surface, bench grinders can be applied to some of the most important shaping and aesthetic tasks today, including cleaning, sharpening, and polishing.
How To Choose The Best Bench Grinders
As you can imagine, choosing the right wheel is an important first-step when shopping for bench grinders. Situated on both sides of the motor housing, the top, back, and bottom portions are guard-covered while about ninety degrees in the front is open for use. An eye shield and tool rest complete the ensemble. One wheel is always coarse while the other is fine. The former helps with shaping and the removal of nicks and the latter deals with honing and sharpening tasks. Note: sanding belts may also be present instead of one of the wheels.
You do not need an excessively high-powered grinder. In fact, a ¼ or ½ horsepower motor is more than sufficient for various civilian requirements. The wheels can be 1- to ½-inch wide, measuring around 6 inches in diameter. If you do need more powerful bench grinders, you are looking at 8-inch diameter wheels. While measuring speed, make sure the wheels rotate in the range of 3000 to 3600 rpm (revolutions per minute).
2. Wheel Type
Medium to high abrasion is a must-have on bench grinder wheels. If you know you are going to spend time grinding steel, vitrified aluminum oxide grit (what the wheels are bonded together with) will be your best bet. For copper, cast iron, aluminum, brass, and sundry non-ferrous metals, it is best to choose sili¬con carbide (white quartz sand) wheel grit.
3. Wheel Tests
You must subject your bench grinder wheels to regular testing sessions. A wooden screwdriver handle or rubber-faced mallet are ideal tools for the job. Strike the wheel (the wheel should be detached and held in your hand) at the halfway point; between the outer edge and the hole at the center. If you hear a ring, all is well. If a thud sounds out, it is time to replace or repair that wheel. Do not risk a shatter-incident. A faulty wheel can break in the middle of a task.
4. Wheel Dressing
Once the difficult part is over, remember to ‘dress’ your wheels often. You extricate clogs from the wheel’s surface pores by this process. ‘Diamond’ dressers and ‘star wheel’ dressers are available for this purpose. Bear in mind that this is about ‘retruing’ your wheels not ‘resquaring’ them. The latter demands a rig that is far more expensive and irrelevant to our foray into general bench grinders.
Good replacement wheels are readily available for sale. Much like a pencil being sharpened, in this case the ‘sharpeners’ will need regular replacing as they get whittled down with use.
Top 5 Best Bench Grinders – Reviews
Both a sander and a grinder, this ‘combination’ machine certainly lives up to its name. The ½ hp motor runs at a welcome 3450 rpm, well within the standard, making this grinder-sander quite efficient.
The wheel and belt are both made of aluminum oxide, which is ideal for steel grinding work, knife honing, and related tasks. At 39.8 pounds, the ensemble is reasonably weighted. If you are wondering whether the grinding wheel can swing vertically upward, it sure can. This is a huge nod to convenience for the Eastwood 13577.
While it does tend to shake a bit during operation, a good bolt-down can resolve the problem in a jiffy. The dust collection enclosure that comes designed into the machine is all but useless. You will therefore need to get a separate collection chamber for use in gathering any dust raised by working with materials like bone, wood, stone, etc.
One of the reasons why the Eastwood 13577 is No-5 on our list – despite providing amazing versatility and power output – is because of how difficult it is to get replacement belts for this model. You might have to shell out around $30 on Ebay to get a pack of three different belt courses.
Adjustability quotient is high. You can alter the belt angle between 45 to 90 degrees. A quick release wheel cover and enhanced belt tracking mechanism work to improve safety ratings for the 13577 model.
The base is made of reliable sturdy cast aluminum. The addition of a coolant tray increases efficiency and convenience for several kinds of applications. It is funny that a work light is included in the product package but lacks a bulb; need to buy your own
- ½ hp motor with 3450 rpm speed.
- Combination of sander and grinder.
- Aluminum oxide wheel.
- Weighs 39.8 pounds.
- Great belt tracking mechanism.
- Quick release wheel cover.
- Sturdy cast aluminum base.
- Coolant tray included in design.
- Work light; no bulb.
- The grinding belt can swing up vertically.
- The sanding belt can be adjusted between 45 and 90 degrees.
- Convenient design elements: coolant tray, work light, belt tracker, quick-release wheel cover, sturdy cast base made of aluminum.
- The belt runs quite fast, meaning you will need to get used to it; practice makes perfect.
- Need to bolt it down for use; shakes a lot otherwise.
- Bad dust collection/mitigation design.
- Difficult to find replacement belts.
Whether it is sharpening, buffing, or grinding, this is the bench grinder of choice for several different kinds of professionals. Auto-body shops and home garages alike will find valuable application value in this model.
One is a wire wheel while the other is for actual grinding – specifically, an 8-inch open wire wheel and 8x1-inch 60-grit abrasive wheel come equipped with this piece. If you happen to work often in dim conditions, you will find the attached incandescent work light highly convenient. The grinder comes designed with the expected safety features, namely a wheel guard spark arrest and transparent eye shield.
Other convenience-oriented features on the Craftsman Professional Variable Speed include a thin-line motor housing and quick-change wheel guards. Being AC-powered, you can expect wonderful output for long hours of work. Weighing in at 42.9 pounds, this is certainly not one of the lightest bench grinders out there, but neither is it the heaviest.
Both tool rests are adjustable and come with patented attachments. The handheld wheel dresser ensures regular cleaning access at hand, and the cooling tray adds to the convenience rating of this piece. Promoting vibration-reduction, the cast iron base does a good-enough job.
Its 2000 to 3400 rpm variable speed rating makes it welcome to most users but not all, especially considering that this bench grinder model seems to work solely at high rpm levels.
The motor is heavy-duty in nature, and runs at ½ horsepower, and some users have reported that it actually exceeds the efficiency of other similar machines with higher horsepower rating (!).
Also included are a drill bit sharpening plate, quench tray, and wheel wrench.
- Ideal for varied applications: buffing, sharpening, grinding, etc.
- Incandescent work light.
- Safety features: wheel guard spark arrest and transparent eye shield.
- Has thin-line motor housing and quick-change wheel guards.
- Weighs 42.9 pounds.
- Wheel dresser and cooling tray included in design.
- Cast-iron base for reduced vibration output during operation.
- 2000 to 3400 rpm variable speed.
- Ideal safety features.
- Convenient design elements.
- Adjustable tool rests.
- Little vibration issues during work.
- 8-inch open wire wheel and 8x1-inch 60-grit abrasive wheel.
- ½ horsepower heavy-duty motor is quite strong.
- Wheel covers do not demand tool-use for removal; ensures quick replacing.
- Variable speed knob for simplified adjustments.
- Slightly heavier than other models.
- Does not work at lower rpm levels.
Aside from apparent safety-based inclusions like spark guards and eye shields, the Craftsman 9-21154 has an overall well-thought-out design. Its large tool rests spring to mind as well as their patented attachments, both of which make for some accurate bit sharpening results.
The 2.5 amp ½ horsepower motor manages a gorgeous 2000 to 3400 rpm (sans load speed). A hand-held wheel dresser and water cooling tray improve upon convenience, and an oversized cast iron base ensures reduced vibration and better stability during operations.
The thin-line motor housing design element ensures a simplified approach to the grinding of long materials. The wheel guards are designed for quick-change routines. For dim-lit settings, a flexible work light is available; has its own on/off button.
One of the wheels is made for grinding while the other is a wire wheel. It comes with a 5/8-inch arbor size. You can indeed sharpen block pane blades and chisels as long as you get a thicker grinder wheel; wider sharpening space. Make sure to reduce the overall speed for this process.
The variable speed settings bring added versatility and adjustability to your projects. Aside from being one of the most compact bench grinders on the market, the Craftsman 9-21154 has proven to work well with metal grinding operations. Sizeable tool rests add to the model’s reliability.
- Safety: spark guards and eye shields.
- Large tool rest with patented attachments.
- 2.5 amp ½ horsepower motor – 2000 to 3400 rpm (sans load speed).
- Oversized cast iron base.
- Thin-line motor housing.
- Quick-change wheel guards.
- Work light included; has on/off feature.
- 5/8-inch arbor size.
- Wire wheel and grinding wheel combo.
- Heavy-duty support bracket.
- Sharpening/grinding bracket for drill bit applications.
- Has all the safety features expected in bench grinders.
- Convenient features: hand-held wheel dresser and water cooling tray.
- Reliable and strong motor power output.
- Sizeable tool rests.
- Base is ideally suited for stability and vibration-reduction.
- Simple long-material grinding design.
- Flimsy wheel guards.
- The two unit-securing bolt holes are not standard spaced.
- Plastic cooling tray.
- Despite the oversized base, vibration problems have been reported.
- Deplorable thread-design cut into the shields; bolts do not go in straight unless chased using a tap.
The 5/8-inch spindle and adjustable spark guards only add to the ultra-simplistic design that has gone into the JET 577102.The ball bearings are enclosed and pre-lubricated. The 8-inch grinder design is primarily for industrial applications.
Additionally, dust vents and cast iron wheel guards are also incorporated into the design. In fact, ports link the two so as to perform efficient dust collection. Whether your aim is deburring, sharpening, shaping, or rust removing (or all four, for that matter), this model is more than adequate.
The 115-volt motor can perform 3450 rpm at 1 horsepower; single phase. Made after the classic design, the two wheels included are coarse (36-grit) and fine (60-grit). Weighing in at 58 pounds, it might seem rather medieval at first but is well worth its weight in efficiency. It is therefore safe to confirm that the JET 577102 is a heavy-duty industrial bench grinder.
Being electric-powered, it can function for longer time spans and provide a steady power output; no fluctuations. You can certainly modify the machine by adding a variable speed controller. Also, the medium-sized cast iron stand and rubber foot are quite reliable.
As you can imagine, the 577102 seems to be a veritable all-in-one machine that will serve both amateurs and professionals alike. No wonder it made it to No-2 on our list of recommended bench grinders.
- 5/8-inch arbor.
- 8-inch wheel diameter.
- Enclosed ball bearings.
- 115V motor, 3450 rpm, 1 horsepower, single phase.
- 58 pounds; weight.
- Rubber foot, cast iron stand.
- The ball bearings are pre-lubricated.
- Excellent motor output capacity.
- Varied applications: shaping, deburring, sharpening, rust removing, etc.
- Steady medium-sized cast iron stand.
- Known to produce some of the smoothest vibration-free operations among bench grinders of this quality
- One of the heaviest bench grinders on the market.
- Lacks an incandescent light for work in dim-lit settings.
There is a good reason why the Metabo DS 200 has made it to the top of our list. Disc changing is much easier than in most grinders, thanks to its protective cover bayonet lock. The motor works under a single phase alternating current. Additionally, its 1-inch arbor size and 3570 no-load speed rpm increases efficiency and long-term operational value by leagues.
The protective covers around the wheels are made of die-cast aluminum. The machine, as a whole, is surprisingly quiet (relatively speaking) and emits very few vibrations during use. At start-up time, it does tend to growl a little, but the noise subsides as the rpm goes up. In fact, the induction motor is designed to be maintenance-free.
Made to serve as an industrial-grade bench grinder, the Metabo DS 200lives up to its reputation and provides plenty for excellent results. You get a hexagonal wrench along with the package, which prominently includes a pair of 60N and 36P corundum grinding wheels; one of each, of course.
Weighing in at 35.9 pounds, we were quite surprised to find that the machine weighed so less for all that it can do, and on a heavy-duty industrial-grade scale to boot. Being electric-powered means longer run-time and improved reliability.
This German ‘pièce de résistance’ is capable of performing multifarious tasks, including sharpening axes and shovels. Quick note: if you wish to mount an after-market rest, you may need to cut away portions of the wheel guard. Be wary, this opens you up to safety hazards.
While it is slightly more expensive than some other bench grinders, it is well worth the price, especially considering the long-term value – this machine can last you several years and performs at peak balance, smoothness, silence, and precision.
- Die-cast aluminum wheel covers.
- 1-inch arbor size and 3570 no-load speed rpm.
- Works under single phase alternating current.
- 60N and 36P corundum grinding wheels
- Weighs only 35.9 pounds
- Emergency stop switch; dust-protected
- Maintenance-free induction motor.
- Less vibration, less noise.
- Weighing only 35.9 pounds, the ensemble is shockingly light for all the efficiency that the machine comes packing.
- Reaches optimal speed in under ten seconds.
- Easy to set up.
- Has the potential to last you several years, even with regular use.
- You can adjust the work piece support without resorting to the use of tools.
- The grinding wheels do not quite fit the spindle adapter; turning the adapter on a lathe at a body shop helps resolve the matter.
- Grinding wheels continue turning for three minutes after shut-off.
- Assembly diagram included with package is too small; inconvenient.
- Plastic coating on the on/off button makes it hard to perform a gentle push.
The best bench grinders on the market today come designed to deliver heavy-duty industrial-grade performance. Of course, there are models for those who are seeking something ‘lighter’, but where bench grinders are concerned we recommend going all the way. This is so you can work with any sort of project at a moment’s notice. After all, several quality grinders that are primarily for heavy use can bend the knee, so to speak, and work for a while on something lighter.
That said, choose your grinder smartly keeping safety and long-term efficiency in mind. While it is rare to find battery-operated bench grinders, we continue to recommend electric-powered ones (they provide more consistent power output values).
A lot of these bench grinders can be modified, parts can be replaced at your educated choosing, and placement can be altered to ensure a stable vibration-free work environment. If you are an amateur, gets seasoned advice from professionals or experiment using what you know. Grinders require a bit of attention where maintenance and cleaning are concerned.
Bear in mind that working with the wheels scrapes away the grit that layers them. You cannot re-coat grit on the same wheels so be ready to shell out some money to buy replacements. Do not be alarmed, this is normal; you will not eat through these wheels faster than they do your projects. However, realistically speaking, your workshop will undoubtedly have tools and machines that require extras to replace on a regular basis. Go ahead and put bench grinders on that list.