Best Bench Grinder Reviews (2019): Our Top Picks For Woodworkers
Bench grinders are one of those tools that aren’t always thought of as a woodworking tool. Yet as a woodworker, the quality of your finished product often depends on the sharpness of your tools. You could keep purchasing brand new tools every time an edge becomes dull OR you could purchase one of the best bench grinders for woodworking to preserve your investment. Once you have this tool, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it since you can now have sharpened blades and tools in minutes where you once had to sharpen by hand or invest in completely new sawblades.
Our Favorite Bench Grinders
Bench grinders are a fairly basic tool. Each one spins 1-2 discs that are composed of various materials to help you sharpen the blades on saws, chisels, and other tools that are used for woodworking. While they require a little experience to use properly, they are easy to learn how to use and can be essential for any individual who is interested in woodworking. If you want consistent results with this tool, these are the top-rated bench grinders that are available right now. Check out the buying guide to determine what style of bench grinder will be right for you.
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||No Load RPM||Price|
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||No Load RPM||Price|
|DeWalt DW756 Bench Grinder|| 4.3 ||3450|| $$ |
|Delta Power Tools 23-197 Variable Speend Bench Grinder|| 4.1 ||3400|| $$$ |
|Craftsman 9-21154 Variable Speed 6-Inch Grinding Center|| 4.4 ||3400|| $$$ |
|Powertec BGSS801 Slow Speed Bench Grinder|| 4.2 ||1725|| $$$ |
|WEN 4278 6-Inch Bench Grinder|| 4.2 ||3450|| $ |
|Skil 3380-01 6-Inch Bench Grinder|| 4.2 ||3450|| $$ |
|Sunex 5002A Bench Grinder with Light|| 4.3 ||3450|| $$$ |
|Craftsman Professional Variable Speed 8-Inch Grinder|| 4.0 ||3400|| $$$$ |
|JET JBG-8A 8-Inch Bench Grinder|| 4.1 ||3450|| $$$$$ |
|DeWalt DW758 8-Inch Bench Grinder|| 4.2 ||3600|| $$$ |
Why a Bench Grinder Is the Essential Work Bench Tool
Bench grinders do a great job of sharpening tools, especially when you purchase a single-speed model. If it is rated for 3,000 RPM or more, then you can consistently create sharp tools for your next project. This makes it a lot easier to maintain your equipment so that your woodworking creativity can always be explored. After all, having tools that are sharp and ready for use is essential if you want to create exceptional woodworking projects.
Yet the bench grinder becomes a truly necessary workbench tool when you choose a model that comes with variable speeds. These variable speed benches are one of the best options for amateur and professional woodworkers alike. Once you can have lower RPMs and the discs are interchangeable, then you can use your bench grinder for buffing, polishing, and cleaning. The idea behind the lower RPMs is that the discs will no longer produce as much pressure, which is essential for sharpening. Instead of stripping away the surface of the metal for sharpening, the bench grinder and its blades will instead wipe the surface, cleaning and taking away dust, dirt, and the ever present sawdust that gets everywhere during woodworking.
You also have size options available to you that can facilitate grinding, cleaning, and the other aspects of this tool that you may wish to use. Most bench grinders are either 6-inch or 8-inch models. The 8-inch grinder is generally the best option from which to choose as it provides a 0.25-inch larger wheel that is accessible to the user. This means you don’t have to lower your hands closer to the physical component of the bench grinder. It also makes it easier to sharpen longer tools since you have more grinder space for sharpening and cleaning.
There are 10-inch models available as well, which pushes the wheel size to 1.25 inches. Some manufacturers have commercial or industrial models that go beyond 10 inches, but for the average woodworker, the best value comes with the 8-inch model. The 10-inch model just costs too much money and provides little benefit for the individual that cannot be obtained from the 8-inch model. Most woodworkers don’t need the biggest option, they need the best one.
When purchasing a bench grinder, you also want to pay attention to how it sits at a workstation. While some grinders are stationary, others require the use of wheels. If you do choose a model with wheels, you’re going to want to invest in a model with wheel guards, which will stop you from kicking the grinder out of place. The wheel guards will also make sure flying material doesn’t end up clogging the wheels. Although there isn’t a lot of debris that occurs when using a bench grinder, it is still possible for some metal shavings to fly about. The guards add some extra protection, and it’s also important that you keep yourself safe by wearing safety goggles, gloves, and a facial mask to stop you from inhaling metal shavings.
If the bench grinder doesn’t have wheels, it will most likely have rubber feet. These rubber feet will stop the tool from slipping and sliding while you’re operating the blades. This is a significant feature, since you definitely do not want the blades to be moving while your hands are nearby. If you don’t want to buy a unit with wheels, invest in rubber feet.
How to Properly Use Your New Bench Grinder
It is important to store your bench grinder in a careful manner. Most of the wheels that you’ll be using with this tool are glass-bonded products, so they are strong, but can still be quite brittle. After all, glass is simultaneously one of the strongest and yet most fragile materials because of the way it is produced. Any unexpected impact could damage the wheel or the bench grinder – and that type of damage is usually not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. This means you need to store the bench grinder and its discs in an area where things won’t fall on it or hit. If you happen to be storing your woodworking equipment in a garage or toolshed, consider keeping the bench grinder away from other tools and definitely not under any hanging implements.
You’ll also want to check the machine speed against the safe operating speeds that are listed on your preferred grinding wheels. Over-spinning a wheel above its ratings can cause it to dislodge from the bench grinder. This could injure you or cause a lot of damage on your workbench. Most bench grinders will come with wheels that have a maximum speed that is less than that of the bench grinder, so always check the instructions before use.
Most bench grinders will require you to mount them before use. Most bench grinders are not capable of standing on their own, so be sure to have the proper tools for mounting. The only exception would be portable bench grinders that are balanced in a specific way. The last thing you want to have happen is your bench grinder falling over with a sharp tool in your hands, so make sure you’ve given this tool a solid base before using it.
Finally, you’re going to want to determine whether or not you want a work light. A work light will keep your work station illuminated. This addition is valuable if you have a special place where you perform your woodworking such as a barn, garage, or shed where you keep all of your tools. The most ideal style will be a flexible work light that can be adjusted to suit different angles. Flexible work lights are sold separately from bench grinders but are considered one of the most valuable assets you can get because the presence of extra illumination heightens the degrees of your sharpening and work.
Above all else, you’ll also want to control dust and protect yourself from particulates when using the best bench grinders for woodworking. Use your personal protective equipment and consider adding a dust collection bin or bag if your preferred model does not collect dust on its own. Breathing in glass, grit, and metal shavings is not a pleasant experience. Many consider it worse than breathing in sawdust since the shavings tend to be sharper. Always wear a mask and goggles when operating the bench grinder, as well as safety gloves.
After carefully examining several different options currently on the market, we’ve determined that the award for best bench grinder for woodworking should go to the Dewalt model for its heavy duty grinding and stable operation.
How to Maintain Your New Bench Grinder
Owning a bench grinder is just one step of the process. For proper woodworking, you’ll also need to know how to maintain your bench grinder. Otherwise you’ll be only receiving a partial benefit from this tool and you could be putting your project or your health at risk. Most bench grinders come with instructions, so be sure to read any documents that come with the bench grinder.
Most wheels are made from aluminum oxide or silicon carbide. Ferrous metals benefit from the first type of wheel, while all other metals benefit from the latter wheel type. Again, when buying a bench grinder, there will usually be information about what type of wheels are included. If you want to buy a new one, you can buy them for very little at most hardware and woodworking stores.
To maintain these wheels, you’ll want to dress them regularly so that you can remove any clogged grains that may be on the wheel. You have two options available to you: diamond dressers or star-wheel dressers.
We recommend this diamond dresser for general needs
We also recommend this emery star-wheel dresser.
For general cleaning purposes, the star-wheel dressers will give you consistently clean grains. If you have cleaned the wheel several times already, then the diamond dresser is a better option because it will help to restore the sharpness of the wheel to some extent. The best bench grinder owners will use the star-wheel dresser first to remove wood grains and then go in with the diamond dresser. Just run the dresser over the wheel as instructed by the manufacturer.
You’ll also want to inspect your bench grinder to ensure there are no cracks in the wheel before and after use. The most common reason for wheel cracking is an over-tightening of it. This is a common error since most people worry about the wheel coming loose while the bench grinder is in use. Just be sure to have it tight enough that the wheel is held in place and no more than that.
What will it cost me to buy the Best Bench Grinders?
Compared to the cost of constantly replacing dull tools or having a professional sharpener address them for you, a bench grinder is reasonably affordable. There are several models that are available right now for less than $100. Most of the cheaper bench grinders are 6-inch models, however, so they may not be suitable to the needs of every woodworker.
Most bench grinders fall between $100-$200. At this price, you can find an 8-inch bench grinder with features like an attached light. These are the products recommended for the average woodworker who will be spending a reasonable amount of time working with their tools.
You can also check for better prices from a variety of online retailers, who tend to try and sell bulk products or surplus at discounted prices. Sometimes you can also call hardware stores and see if they have some units they are struggling to move. Remember to always check what is included in the initial price you are given. While some sellers will include a variety of add-ons such as a flexible work light or extra blades, others will only give you the bare bones and expect you to pay extra for other features.
Industrial-grade bench grinders can be priced all the way up to $1,000, but are better for individuals who do woodworking as their primary profession. Many of these models will have more powerful motors which explains why they can cost more.
Over time, you will also need to replace the various wheels that are being used with your bench grinder as well. Prices go up based on the fineness of the grit that is required. 36-Grit wheels can be found for $10, while 6,000-grit wheels may cost upwards of $100 each. Most woodworkers can find replacement wheels between these two pricing extremes.
The grit of the wheel refers to how abrasive it is. In general, the lower a grit number is, the more broadly abrasive the wheel. So, for example, a 36-grit wheel has larger grains and is therefore best used for broad sharpening. A finer grit, meanwhile, will produce more detail and works well for more fine-tuning of a tool’s sharpness. They can also be used for cleaning and buffing. It’s easier to see why they are more expensive, since are more difficult to make and tend to be used for more specialty tasks.
If you want a fully functional bench grinder that can be used for a variety of tasks, you’re going to want wheels of different grits. Most woodworkers should have at least two or three for diversity and range.
Let’s Have a Look at Some Reviews
This 6-inch bench grinder features a powerful 5/8 HP induction motor that allows you to quickly complete heavy-duty grinding operations. We loved the cast iron base and motor housing, adding durability and stability to this particular grinder. It runs at 3450 RPM, so you have high-speed removal and precision sharpening when you need it the most. The 12.5-inch distance between wheels also allows for larger grinding applications when they may be needed. The only downside is that this is 6-inch bench grinder, but it makes up for any flaws by allowing for high speeds and also having a decently large distance to handle large grinding applications. Just remember to keep your hands safe when the machine is in use!
The variable speed controls of this bench grinder are some of the best in the industry today. You can grind, sharpen, buff, or polish with relative ease with changing speeds. Part of this is due to the 5-amp motor, which lets you power up to 3400 RPM for fast work. There’s a tool rest that has been milled into the surface of the grinder so that you always get the correct angle for sharpening, while there are also compensations for wheel wear so you never wind up with the wrong edge. Give it a try and we think you’ll love this bench grinder just like we did. We find it to be one of the best on the market!
Out of all the bench grinders we got to take a look at, this model has the least overall vibration. It’s a little underpowered at 2.5 amps and 1/5 HP, but it still reaches a no-load RPM of 3400. The lower speeds help keep vibration under control, resulting in a smoother grind that is easier for most people to handle. The wider eye shields are transparent and help to act as spark guards as well, limiting the amount of metal flake mess that you create while using this tool. We still recommend you wear protective eyewear though. It includes a water-cooling tray and handheld wheel dresser, working with its adjustable tool rests, so that you have accurate sharpening or polishing every single time. It’s also priced to move.
If your preference is for a slow-speed grinder, then this is going to be the best bench grinder to meet your needs. It operates at 1725 RPM, so you never have to worry about your tools overheating as you work to obtain an edge. The slower speeds also help to limit unwanted vibrations, so you can keep your hands and tools steady while working. This is important for individuals who aren’t particularly strong or who are getting up there in age. Despite the slower speed, the ½ HP motor gives you the right amount of movement and torque for fast results. The wider wheels, at 1-inch, also give you a better grinding experience with a minimum amount of vibration. This means the bench grinder is still a great product for almost all kinds of sharpening.
This was the lightest of the bench grinders we had the honor of looking at, but don’t let its size fool you. Sometimes the best things come in small packages. Despite some compromises on the construction of the base to reduce weight, the amount of vibration and drift received was minimal. This allows the grinder to attach to most workbenches, allowing you to take advantage of the no-load 3450 RPM produced by the 2.1-amp motor. And best of all, you can grab this grinder for less than $50 right now. This makes the WEN bench grinder a great value for those who need something cost effective while developing their woodworking career or hobby.
We hope this buying guide has helped you determine just what product will suit your wants and needs. The best bench grinders for woodworking don’t have to break your budget. While most of the inexpensive bench grinders require a compromise between speed, stability, cost, and building materials, it’s easy to find an option that works for you with a little bit of research and know-how. With just the bare minimum of research, you can find versatile grinders with multiple features that will help you take your projects to the next level. Read this detailed review and then grab yours today. You won’t regret it!
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