- Only suits casual and light/non-frequent users – not built for the long term and consistent use
The best pencil die grinder – great if you need it for cleaning and polishing in particular.
View the Neiko® 10649A Air-powered Micro Die Grinder, Pencil Type on Amazon
Don’t purchase if you want to use it daily or for more heavy duty polishing and cutting.
Best Die Grinder Buyer’s Guide and FAQ
We’ve answered some important questions below, but you may also want to read Die Grinder FAQ: What Is A Die Grinder, Air Grinder or Straight Grinder & How To Use?
1. What Are The Other Names For A Die Grinder?
Other names for an angle grinder are:
- Rotary tool
- Straight Grinder
- Angle Die Grinder
- Right Angle Grinder
- Air Die Grinder
- Pencil Grinder
- Pneumatic Grinder
Although die grinders and Dremels are both rotary tools, Dremels are slightly different to die grinders.
2. What Are Die Grinders Used For?
Die grinders are generally used smaller area and finer tasks compared to angle grinders (alot of that is because the attachments and bits on the die grinder are much smaller than angle grinder disks and attachments) including but not limited to:
- Grinding (the right angle die grinders are generally for larger surface grinding)
- Cutting (used with cutout wheel, and generally with the straight die grinders)
- Honing and Shaping
- Sculpting (wood, ice)
- Burring and Deburring
- Machining Material (typically metal, but also plastic or wood).
- Contouring and engraving
- Cylinder head porting
3. What Materials Are Die Grinders Used On?
Die grinders are used for working with a range of building materials including but not limited to:
- Wood (cabinet making/joinery, carpentry etc.)
- Dies and Molds (in tool and die work)
- Metal and steel (used in fabrication by welders, boilermakers, millwrights, ironworkers (steel erectors), sheet metal workers (such as auto body workers and HVAC technicians)
- Other tools and objects (sharpen garden tools, clean jewellery etc.)
4. What Are The Different Types of Die Grinders Available?
Die grinders come in two main power types:
- Electric Die Grinders or Corded Die Grinders
- Air Die Grinders (pneumatically operated – referred to as air die grinders)
There are then some of the following shape and feature based types of die grinders:
- Corded Die Grinder
- Cordless Die Grinder (battery operated and portable)
- Straight Die Grinder
- Right Angle Die Grinder
- Pencil Die Grinder
- Micro and Mini Die Grinder
- 1/4 Inch Die Grinder
- 1.5 Inch Die Grinder
- 2 Inch Die Grinder
- Single Speed Die Grinder
- Variable Speed Die Grinder
- Long Neck/Shaft Die Grinders
- Short Neck/Shaft Die Grinders
5. Parts of a Die Grinder
Here is a simple diagram of the most important parts of die grinder. Some of the main parts include:
- Power cord (for electric die grinder)
- Air Compressor with hose (for air die grinder)
- Air inlet point (air die grinder)
- Lever Throttle
- Collet Nut (for tightening and loosening the collet cone)
- Collet cone (screw die grinder attachments in here)
- Ball bearings
- Motor (electric die grinder)
6. Types of Die Grinder Attachments, Wheels and Discs
Generally, right angle die grinders are used more for grinding, sanding and polishing, whilst straight die grinders are used more for cutting, burring, contouring and the more precise tasks – and this should be taken into account when choosing a die grinder and attachments.
Die grinder attachments usually come with the bit attached to a spindle/shank (1/4 inch is the most common) that screws into the collet cone and is tightened into the grinder with the collet nut. Some models of larger die grinders allow reducer sleeves to allow smaller attachments.
Die grinder attachments fit into the following main categories:
- Die Grinder Grinding Discs and wheels
Come in different sizes, materials, grits and usually with mandrels – generally 1 to 3 inches in diameter, and common types are standard metal cutting and diamond cutting discs for use on wood and metal/steel.
- Die Grinder Cutoff Discs and Wheels
Thicker than cutoff discs at around 2 to 4 inches, and are made of reinforced material, but generally have a similar setup. For use on metal, stainless steel and alloys.
- Die Grinder Sanding Discs and Backing Pads
Discs come in different sizes and grits.
- Die Grinder Flap Wheels and Discs
Come in different sizes and materials such as woven flap wheels and zirconium roll on flap discs.
- Die Grinder Mounted Points
Mounted points are small abrasive bits that come in a range of shaped and are used to produce sharp, consistent cutting action in almost every industry, but primarily in tool and die shops, and foundries. Ideal for deburring, tool sharpening, finishing cavities, and removing mould marks and parting lines.
- Die Grinder Roll On Discs
Roll on surface prep discs and buffing discs are common.
- Die Grinder Rotary Burrs and Rasps
Rasps and burrs are generally made of carbide, stone or heavy duty materials, and come in all types of shapes such as cones, pear-shaped, round end, flat end, drum-shaped.
- Die Grinder Wire Wheels and Brushes
Generally come in crimped and knotted forms, and can be made with brass wire, nylon bristle and steel knot.
- Miscellaneous Attachments
Buffers, eraser pads, etc.
7. Die Grinder Guards
Die grinders may or may not come with a wheel guard. They are generally referred to as protection shields.
You want to check if a protection shield is available particularly when working with the shorter die grinders and cutoff wheels.
8. Die Grinder vs Dremel Tool
Die grinders and Dremel tools are both rotary tools, and have the same basic function or use which is to cut, grind, sand, polish etc. via rotational force of the associated bit you attach to the tool.
However, there are some key differences when comparing a die grinder vs dremel tool that set these two tools apart:
1.Dremel is an actual brand! – Dremel is a brand that manufactures their own range of rotary tool, and have established themselves to the point that the brand is what is generally used to describe that type and range of tool.
Die grinders on the other hand are made by many different brands, and there are several types and variations of die grinders.
2. Die Grinders are generally much more powerful – the common way to describe a die grinder is as a Dremel on steroids. When comparing Amps, Horsepower and the main power specs, die grinders win out.
This extra power makes a die grinder generally alot more suitable for working on metals and performing the more demanding tasks and bigger jobs, like in workshops and industrial environments for example. Dremels are more commonly used for finishing activities, hobby and home environments, and smaller jobs.
However, you can definitely perform smaller and finer jobs with a die grinder too – get the right die grinder, get the right bits, and if necessary – vary the speed to match the activity.
3. Dremels spin faster – In terms of rpm of the bits and attachments, Dremels can max out on average at around 35,000rpm. Die grinders on the other hand top out at around 20,000 to 25,000 rpm for most models.
The smaller the discs or wheel or bit, the less distance it has to spin in diameter, and hence the extra speed.
4. Die Grinders are bigger in most ways – Generally everything is bigger when it comes to a die grinder, especially when talking about electric die grinders.
You can get small die grinders, but even the small die grinders are powerful and tend to have larger attachments, bits and discs than most Dremels – in terms of dimensions.
For example, a shank on a die grinder is generally 1/4 inch, and Dremel tool bit shanks are generally 1/8 inch.
5. Dremels are mainly electric powered – the standard Dremel is electric powered. Die grinders on the other hand can be either electric or pneumatic/air powered.
It generally takes more power to run a die grinder.
9. Die Grinder Safety Checklist, Rules and Tips
Here is a list of just some of the angle grinder hazards to watch out for, and some precautions you can take:
- Kickback on the grinder if there is no soft start – consider a soft start grinder
- Speed control – a feature that maintains the motor speed if the disc stalls or gets stuck and protects you against the tool jerking or kicking back on you
- Grinder stays running if there is no quick release switch – paddle switches and trigger switches can work well if you drop the grinder
- Disc or attachment breaking – get a disc or attachment/bit which can take the rpms and the tasks e.g. use a diamond blade for tough metal, and check disc/bit condition regularly.
- No presence of a guard or shield – generally you can be ok to use a die grinder without a guard, but if you are using a short type die grinder, you want to consider a protection shield as your hands can be close to the cutoff wheel
- Not wearing gloves, eye protection and safety clothing like an apron – especially if grinding for long periods
- Inhaling dust or fumes – wear a dust mask for dust heavy tasks
- General shards, offcuts and grinding material hitting you – wear PPE
- Motor overheating – get a quality die grinder and wear gloves when using for extended periods
- The level at which sustained exposure might result in hearing loss is 90 to 95 decibels – check the decibel rating of any tool you buy and wear hearing protection if necessary.
10. Other Die Grinder Features and Accessories To Look For
- Do you want a variable speed die grinder, or single speed die grinder?
- Do you need an electric grinder, or will an air die grinder better suit you?
- What rpm, or speed and torque, do you want out of the wheel?
- How much amperage and horsepower do you require for your task?
- What are the parts that come with the grinder you want to buy? Can you get grinding AND cutting parts – wheels and attachments? Will the collet cone size fit the bits you want to use?
- Will a straight die grinder or right angle die grinder suit your needs better?
- What is the motor and gear protection like, as this contributes to longevity of the tool
- Is there a level of vibration and noise control on the grinder?
- Do you need a longer or shorter die grinder, and do you perhaps need a micro/mini/pencil type die grinder?
- Will a standard 1/4 inch die grinder suit your needs, or is a 1.5 inch die grinder or 2 inch die grinder better?
- Consider the size of the air compressor you need if purchasing an air die grinder…generally for most quality air die grinders you don’t want an air compressor with any less tank capacity that 25 gallons.
- Check the air intake requirements of the air die grinder you purchase – intake per minute, cfm, psi?
11. Advice And Tips For Buying Die Grinders Online and In Store
For first time buyers, or even for seasoned tool users, here are a few tips and things to look out for when buying the best angle grinder for you in store or online:
- Know the difference between consumer and commercial/industrial tools – commercial tools are built to last longer!
- Sold and shipped by – check who the tool is actually sold and shipped by online if its not the actual manufacturer or Amazon. If it’s a 3rd party tool store or tool seller, make sure you research them and their commitment to quality and honouring warranties (you don’t want to buy defective equipment or buy through a seller that doesn’t honor warranties). On the right hand side of the page it says ‘sold by’ in Amazon – research that company.
- Check the Seller’s Warranties on their site – the good warranties usually give you a) money back period (30-90 days), b) full 1 year warranty or similar, and c) multiple year part warranty. Check the manufacturer/sellers site for details.
- Be careful of buying reconditioned tools!
- Always read what is included in your purchase – discs, guards, batteries, chargers, disc changing tools, cases and other accessories can be sold separately.
- Unfortunately alot of tools are made in Asia these days. Check where the tools have been made, and assembled for quality.
- Double check the tool manufacturer site for your country’s tool specifications and policies – tools parts can vary slightly country to country and have different company policies by country.
Best Die Grinder Resources
“tooljuice.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”
“Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com Inc., or its affiliates”