One of the reasons we like going to talk to the folks at Milwaukee is because we get to see all the latest tools and paw all over them, with direct access to the folks designing and building them a few feet away. Melissa here isn’t a tool rep in some booth trying to sell you snake oil — she’s a hardworking advocate of portable band saws and grinders, and her knowledge in this area is vast.
Smart-ass media people (like us) like to ask a barrage of questions to the folks presenting. It normally starts with one or two and rolls into a firing squad of sorts. Some fold and call for help — and others, like Melissa, get a big grin and start tearing into detailed answers.
For instance, when asked why Milwaukee had 15 corded grinders in their lineup and why on earth any manufacturer needed that many, Melissa explained that switches, amp draw, form factor, motors, guards, and vents were the basic differences, and she ran through the dizzying array of choices and who they were designed for.
Some things, like switch types, are simply a matter of preference. Different guards can accommodate either 6” or 10” inch wheels. Because people hold their grinders differently, Milwaukee positions the vents in different places to keep your hands from covering them, and some even feature L-shaped cuts in the slats to halt the flow of particles into the motor. Generally speaking, the larger the amp draw, the larger the motor and the more hardcore the grinder is. Price also seems to scale with the power — no shocker there.
After she answered all our questions, they shut off the slides and let rip with the sparks — which was much more fun. We were glad that the Milwaukee crew didn’t just talk about the tools but also got down on some bare-knuckle grinding action themselves.
We learned there are a ton of Milwaukee grinders out there, all of ’em built to be solid from motor to casing, and one of them most likely fits your needs. Pricing in the line ranges from $60 to a few hundred bucks. Now, if we just had a chart that lined out all the grinders and showed their features and performance specs, we’d be set. Perhaps Milwaukee will add that to the lineup next time around.