Disc grinders and angle grinders are both used for grinding, polishing, and cutting surfaces. People are often confused between the two since even the angle grinders have discs in them. Unless a person has been to a workshop or has worked on a disc grinder himself, there is a good chance that he does not know the difference between a disc grinder and an angle grinder. Typically, the term ‘Disc Grinder’ is used for both angle grinder as well as an actual disc grinder.

Disc Grinder vs. Angle Grinder and Which One to Use

In this article, we will talk about the differences between the two and in what scenario each one is used.

What is a Disc Grinder?

A disc grinder is a fixed tool on which a grinding disc is fixed. In the case of a disc grinder, the workpiece is held in hands or by using a tool for safety. This way, more precise work can be done. It can also be used for cutting operations like that of an angle grinder. Generally, disc grinders have a supply of cooling liquid, which is used to cool the workpiece when it is ground. The major downside of a disc grinder is the cost as even the best angle grinders are available in the market a fraction of the cost of a disc grinder. Also, the power consumption and the space required for disc grinders are more. Because of these reasons, only professionals use disc grinders in their workshops, and the general public prefers the angle grinders.

What is an Angle Grinder?

An angle grinder is a handheld tool that is used where precision grinding or cutting is not required. It is usually used to do rough operations, which are later made smooth using other precision tools. The significant advantage of an angle grinder is that it is easy to use and can be taken anywhere. It’s lightweight nature also plays a role in its popularity amongst most of the general households. It is also cost-effective to use and to purchase as compared to a disc grinder, and the best angle grinders can be bought at a fraction of the cost of a similar disc grinder. Also, the storage space required is less, making it suitable for general purpose use.

Difference between a disc grinder and angle grinder

The most significant difference between the two is the fact that Disc grinder is a solid piece of machinery, whereas an angle grinder is a handheld and portable in nature. Also, an angle grinder is used for rough cutting and grinding, whereas a disc grinder is usually used for precision work on smaller workpieces. All the other differences between the two, like design, size, power, attachments, etc. arise because of this fundamental difference.

Design

The most significant difference between the two is that of design. Both are designed for keeping different uses in mind. The type of discs used in an angle grinder is more thin and abrasive as compared to a disc grinder. It is designed to be held in the hands while working, and the workpiece is fixed on a vice. The disc is placed at a right angle to the axis of the handle, and this gives it the name angle grinder. A safety guard casing around the disc is provided to prevent the sparks of grinding from hitting the face of the person working and to keep his eyes safe. The face of the disc is used for grinding or polishing surfaces, and the edge can be used as a cutting tool. The best grinding tools in the market are the ones that come with various safety features to protect the users in case of any mishap.

On the other hand, a disc grinder is usually used for precision work and is fixed in one position. The discs are mounted on a fixed amount, and the disc rotates when it is turned on. The workpiece, in this case, is held in hands. This helps in improving the precision of the operation like polishing, which can be done on this grinder. It usually has a transparent plastic or glass shield to protect the eyes of the user.

Size

Angle grinders being handheld are much smaller in size than the disc grinders. Also, the size of the discs used in an angle grinder is different. The discs in a disc grinder are usually thicker than that of angle grinders.

Power

Angle grinder being handheld has a limit on the size. Because of that, even the best angle grinders can not be as powerful as fixed disc grinders. Safety is also an aspect which is responsible for this. The more powerful a handheld angle grinder is, the bigger it will be in size, and the more dangerous it is to operate. Disc grinders don’t have these limitations and can be made as robust as required.

Attachments

The versatility of angle grinders is well known. Best angle grinders are the ones that support different types of attachments. Different types of discs are available for angle grinders for cutting as well as grinding operations. The type of discs that can be attached to an angle grinder is a lot more than what can be attached to a disc grinder. Because of that, angle grinders are considered more versatile than disc grinders, which usually are used for a specific purpose.

Speed

Since the power of the disc grinders is higher than the angle grinders, the RPM is also higher. The RPM of a handheld angle grinder is lower with even the best angle grinders having a speed ao around 3000 RPM, for safety reasons. Such limits don’t exist with the disc grinder, and the speed can be as much as required as long as safety regulations are followed properly.

Conclusion

As we have seen in the article, for industrial-grade precision work and for polishing or cutting small objects, neatly disc grinders are preferred since we can use our hands for grinding the workpiece. But at the same time, angle grinders are more versatile and cheaper to buy as well as to use. More attachments can be used in angle grinders, and they also take less storage space and consume less power. The portability of an angle grinder is also a bonus. Based on these facts, we can easily choose the grinder we need.