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Question: What do you do with your cordless angle grinder? I’ve thought about picking one up as it’d be handy for quick weld clean-ups performed with a portable wire welder, but I wonder what drives the market for these tools. (I’m not suggesting, by the way, that there isn’t or shouldn’t be such a market. If anything, working with Toolmonger for the past year has taught me that there’s always a market for any tool that’s been on sale for so many years. I’m just ignorant as to what that market might be!)

I saw one used a few months ago. I misplaced the key to one of my storage units, and the owner was kind enough to cut off and replace the lock for me. His tool of choice: an angle grinder. With a nice cutoff wheel, it plowed through my “high security” lock in about 15 seconds flat, and the wheel fit in nicely where large-scale diagonal pliers wouldn’t.

So what do you do with your cordless angle grinder? Let me know in comments.


29 Responses to Applications For Cordless Angle Grinders?

  1. Zeros says:

    I was in the same situation as I picked up a Milwaukee M18 kit that included a free angle grinder. I had absolutely no use for it, so I sold it and picked up a M18 hammer drill that I use all of the time. I may have found a use for it eventually, but I don’t think it would have been worth keeping for the odd job here or there.

    Sorry I couldn’t be more help in finding a use for one.

  2. fred says:

    I have something like 6 to 8 sets of much of the Makita LXT lineup – even their codless bandsaw – but only 1 BGA452 cordless angle grinder – and nobody saying we need to buy another.

  3. kyle says:

    I had one for work where there was no access to electricity (specifically a portable garage/tent thing at the back of my parents’ property) and I couldn’t stand it. It had good power and worked as it was designed; however, it would eat the charge from a battery in about 2 minutes. With such a short run time, it wasnt even worth using.

  4. Julian Tracy says:

    It’s not really a cordless grinder. It’s more of a kick-ass quick cutting cordless cut-off tool.

    I also use my makita lxt version with 2 back to back 36 grit sanding discs to cope trim – great for that.


  5. Paul says:

    If the job was small enough to do with a cordless you could probably pick up a wire brush for cleaning, or some more suitable but slower cutting tool for cutting. Just about every time I pick up an angle grinder I lay into it, and need all the power its got, or a fair amount of time. The battery powered version will have neither. I was skeptical when I got my cordless sawzall and circular saw as part of a kit, they are nice tools but just don’t last long, they are worthless for any more than 1-2 cuts. I can’t imagine a 5000rpm motor attached to an abrasive disk grinding away a weld, or cleaning rusted metal holding up very long on a charge.

  6. Ross says:

    I used a co-workers cordless Makita once to cut steel gutters that we were installing. Worked ok for the task but even that thin sheet metal could tax its power.

    I think mostly they are the tool that negates my efforts at locking things up on a job site.

  7. vodid says:

    This is a lousy observation…but that’s a dream tool for a thief. Padlocks, bike “U” locks, chains, cables…all would be quick and easy to defeat.

  8. Ben says:

    yeah I am with vodid. 🙁

  9. Jason says:

    Big use is for cutting vinyl siding. Makes cutting straights and especially curves much easier

  10. Mike says:

    I’ve got the DeWalt version and LOVE it. Like someone else said I use it more as a cut off tool then a grinder. It works great for cutting bolts, locks, random pieces of gate, and anything else. Throw a diamond blade in them and they are GREAT for doing doggy door cut outs in stucco house. I’d be lost without it on my truck, gets used a few times a week easy. Some problems people might of had with these are old NiCad batteries. My cordless circular saw suck on NiCad. Then I switched to Lithium and turned the saw into a work horse. I wish Milwaukee would make a mini version that could be used with my M12 batteries. Like a dermal on steroids.

  11. KenZ says:

    We use them for a rather niche application. We use Dewalt 18V tools overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’ve made an adapter to use them with the military’s standard BB-2590 Lithium Ion communications battery instead of the Dewalt battery.

    For reference, the Dewalt battery is 2.2Ah. The military BB-2590 is… ~14Ah for the latest ones, although the voltage is a tad lower so it’s more like an 11-12Ah equivalent. So yes, the military battery runs these things 5x as long. Huge, a bit weighty, but runs FOREVER on a battery that can be recharged using standard military logistics chargers, not some dumbass Dewalt charger that can’t handle 110-220VAC and 24VDC inputs.

    In the field, the cordless angle grinder is great, since you can’t bank on AC power, and if you can, you don’t know if you’ll get 110 or 220. With a clamp, it also doubles as a (no protective shield) poor man’s bench grinder. So, you know, wear eye protection!

  12. Phil says:

    I use my DeWalt version almost exclusively as a cutoff tool, a function which it excels at. Carving up unistrut, threaded rod, etc, not being tied to line power or air is great. But there is a big demand for these in both sides of the law, be it rescue or law enforcement, or law breaking and theft. I cut a large high security lock off of a friend’s farm gate after it had gotten jammed. It made surprisingly short work of the 3/8″ shackle.

  13. Michael says:

    The perfect tool for bike thieves. These suckers can saw through a hardened 7/16″ thick alloy bike security chain in seconds. Isn’t that just great.

  14. Jerod says:

    I have a Dewalt and a Makita. The Makita has more power, but doesn’t last as long, as it is higher speed and torque. I use them for cutting wire closet shelving, bolts, and hog panels for fencing. They are great and let you take the sharp edge off after cutting unlike a bolt cutter.

  15. roady says:

    i use my Ferm premium power grinder for different occasions.
    grinding steel, cutting concrete pavers (using a cheap diamond blade) grinding painted timber, smoothing glass edges,etc etc.
    Excellent grinder for €40.- feels solid. good buy.

  16. Brad Justinen says:

    “key to the city”

  17. Jerry says:

    I love my DeWalt version. 18Volts (old ni-cad) but it seems to hold the charge longer for me than most commenters are saying. Of course, like any battery powered tool, I do not expect it to run for the better part of an 8 hour workday.
    Like many others, it is used more for a cut-off tool than a grinder. When you have to make a few cuts and running a power cord would be too time consuming, this tool is an excellent choice.

  18. Justin says:

    I’ve got 2 of the M18 angle grinders from Milwaukee and love them; use ’em frequently. I agree w/one of the above comments where under heavy load the battery lasts about a mere 2 minutes…crazy. However, this grinder has plenty of power and is fast at 9000 rpm. I’ve used it to cut electrical box recesses into masonry columns, including various stones but haven’t tried it on solid granite yet—flagstone, concrete, and mortar carved away really fast w/a thick masonry grinder disc (DeWalt brand disc; the irony of it in a Milwaukee grinder LOL). Cuts metal fast too, including welded flanges from wrought iron and steel gates. Surprisingly I’ve not had need to use it as a wire brush/strip tool yet but imagine it’d do quite well—albeit I’d keep several batteries nearby. Seems to be well protected from thick clouds of cement dust—no probs with motor; but did have to clean-off the battery terminals once when the dust was really bad. The adjustable guards are very solid and well made, as is the unit and gearcase, which is a must on high rpm tools this dangerous.

    Whole reason I clicked on this post was I too was recently thinking about innovative uses for these grinders…. Thoughts I’ve thusfar pondered:

    1 – Right-Angle Die-Grinder; but need to research possible 5/8-11 screw-on Collet or permanently convert one of my two M18 grinders buy swapping out the anvil if at all possible.

    2 – I’ve mounted the Lancelot chainsaw ‘wheel’ on this grinder before and man that sucker removes wood… I call it my wood-eraser 🙂 Chainsaw dulls fast tho but no chain oil needed since chain is fixed about the disc rather than sliding a la traditional chainsaw. I plan to someday do a side-by-side comparison of this chainsaw disc vs a cement-backerboard carbide circular blade to see which is faster at ‘erasing’ wood. I’ve most recently used it as a small stump grinder—but man does it eat batteries—2 mins and it’s empty tho if I let the battery sit for 10 mins it’ll show 2 ‘bars’ of juice and run again for another min or so. Exact opposite of same battery on M18 impact driver or drill—can use it for days (even weeks on a daily basis) on a single charge.

    Would love to hear about any other innovative use ideas if anyone thinks of some!


  19. Ben says:

    at my university i saw the maintinence guy using one to replace some tile in this huge quad area ( there was not an outlet in sight). being the tool nerd i am i asked him about it and he said he loved it. anyway it was a dewalt if anyone wanted to know.

  20. PutnamEco says:

    I use mine all the time, for all the things you would use a corded one for, prepping rust spots on steel structures for painting, particularly fences and gates. cutting long sill plate anchors down to a reasonable length, cutting seized bolts, shaping wood, all without having to drag out the extension cord.
    True, it won’t replace a corded tool for real work, but for those quick touch ups, one offs or remote locations they can’t be beat.

  21. I got the Ryobi version, and it was so underpowered, I wanted to cry. I’m holding onto it in the hopes that someday I can turn it into a Ryobi Racecar or something.

  22. David says:

    Hmmm, it’s interesting that the most popular application here seems to be cutting open locks or chains. Personally, I think angle grinders–cordless or no–would be a very loud option for a would-be thief. Wire cutters might not be as effective against the strong locks, but they sure do make sense in the city, where it’s important for the thief to get away without getting noticed.

  23. Measure Once Cut Twice says:

    I use a corded version to cut the .332 thick rail for garden railroads. Would love to have a cordless version, but not enough to buy one.

  24. Canidae says:

    Well in the Uk the fire brigade use them for cutting open locks, chains and metal.

  25. Peter Apicella says:

    I love angle grinders. I was in my garage and I was hack sawing some angle iron in preparation to weld them into a square to hold my tool box. After a few moments I realized I had an angle grinder and it was set up with a cut off blade. Well needless to say the cutting of the iron was done in a third of the time and I was not even breathing heavy. Angle grinders have a thousand and one uses.
    I applied some car wax to my automobile and I was called away by my wife because the insurance man showed up and needed to go over some coverage items. This took about an hour and meanwhile the wax was completely dry on the car. My solution was believe it or not was, I loaded up a rag with fresh wax and applied it in a small area about two foot by two foot. I put a polishing pad on my angle grinder and made quick work of the wax problem and just kept up waxing and polishing.
    If you are lucky enough to be set up with compressed air, there are air grinders and mini grinders that really help take the work out of work.
    These are just a few of the reasons I love my angle grinders.

  26. chris says:

    does anybody know how and where i can get a free angle grinder

  27. chris says:

    i use angle grinders for making knives and other stuff

  28. HillbillySUV says:

    I know this is an old thread to be digging up, but I just discovered toolmonger, and have been going back reading through everything. This is one where I just had to respond.

    HeartlessMachine mentioned his Ryobi grinder was gutless. Mine was too, until I got few lithium batteries. WOW what a difference. I seldom need to grind things, but I keep a cut off wheel in it and it does a fantastic job. At work I’m all the time needing to make cuts in steel or aluminum to flush mount electric locks and such. The old ryobi with the lithium battery and a thin cutoff wheel will eat right through a steel door frame, and if the frame is “slushed in” (aka filled with concrete) it keeps right on going into the concrete to give me a place to start chiseling. With the smaller batteries I can get 5-10 minutes of cutting, which is often enough to cut in multiple frames. I recently bought one of the larger, lithium packs and have used the grinder for what seemed like 20-30 minutes. That’s a lot of cutting for me. I still dig out the dremel ocassionally to make cuts in close quarters. I have also used it to grind some ugly welds down on a trailer frame I bought to fix up and sell. It looked like someone had their pet monkey weld a bunch of brackets along one side at some time in the past. It then looks like they removed them by the expedient of sideswiping a bridge with it. One cutoff wheel later, I put in a fresh grind wheel. or 4 of the small lithium batteries later and it was clean enough for a coat of paint. Yes swapping batteries gets old sometimes but I have plenty of batteries. I have a corded grinder… somewhere. My little blue ryobi that came in a kit I bought on sale years ago has worked well enough with the new batteries that I haven’t needed it. If you use a grinder all day it’s not a good solution unless you have a ton of batteries, but for shorter jobs it works great.

  29. steve says:

    I work at a sand mine, some of the screens we use for separating sand by grain size get “banked out” meaning sand gets stuck in the holes in the screens. A wire brush makes sort work for the finer screens but the coarser screens are more work. Once a week, maintenance day, a couple guys go over the coarse screens with a cordless DeWalt fitted with a wire cup. There are 10 3’x5′ screens and 15 4’x5′ screens and they get it done with one battery a piece.

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