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For the ultimate DIYer who wants not only to own their power tools but also to maintain them, a bench grinder is a must-have. You can sharpen tools to perfection with an at-home bench grinder, and it’s not necessary to buy a full-fledged industrial-strength option that will shake the whole garage (or house).
Here we’ll look at the different types of bench grinder wheels, how to find the best grinder, plus our top seven recommendations for the best bench grinders out there.
Bottom Line Up Front
Tons of power is great for shops with ever-present grinding needs, but for most DIY and home applications, our favorite bench grinder is the ATD Tools 10558 8” Bench Grinder. Eight-inch wheels, a ¾ hp motor, and helpful visibility features check most of the boxes on our list.
Magnifying and light features help you see what you’re doing, so ATD’s 10558 is the best we’ve found for completing small-scale grinding projects. When it comes to bigger tasks, you know the 10558 will step up, too; it offers 3,450 RPM speed and can tackle any shop need.
Different Types of Bench Grinders
Bench grinders perform a range of tasks and are essential to any machine shop. Not only can you grind materials, but you can also clean, shape, sharpen, polish, and buff different materials. Used properly, a grinder can make many mundane tool maintenance tasks more efficient and even enjoyable.
Each grinder comes with dual wheels, shields to protect you from sparks and debris, tool rests, a power switch, and some way to affix the machine to a surface.
Bench grinders are versatile, which means that one basic grinder model can perform a large assortment of tasks. You only need to swap out the wheels for each project. Like sandpaper, grinder wheels come in different grits and various materials.
Here we’ll look at the most common types of grinder wheels, including the composition and what jobs you can complete with each one.
Inexpensive silicon carbide wheels are compatible with metals like copper, aluminum, carbide, and brass. Silicon carbide grinder wheels are still common, but they are also phasing out as aluminum oxide options become more popular.
Another all-purpose type grinder wheel with a relatively low cost, aluminum oxide wheels offer two grade options to cover everything from carbon steel to harder steel alloys. Either grade option can work for many applications, but the lighter-colored one is preferable for keeping tools cool while you work.
To keep tools super cool while grinding, you may want to opt for a ceramic/aluminum oxide wheel. Usually, light blue, a durable ceramic/aluminum oxide option runs the coolest, but it’s also more expensive than the alternatives.
If cooling tools down while sharpening or performing other maintenance is a constant headache for you, it might be worth investing in higher-cost yet more durable and feature-packed grinding wheels.
Cubic Boron Nitride
More expensive than other types of grinding wheels, cubic boron nitride versions feature an abrasive topcoat over a steel wheel. You can care for carbide and steel alloy tools with these wheels, but you won’t want to grind carbon steel—it will ruin the abrasive surface.
Along with grinding wheels of various grits, you’ll also often see buffing or polishing attachment wheels for grinders. With buffing wheels, which come in a range of materials and compositions, you can use one side of the grinder for rough work and the other for finishing off a project.
Wire wheels are also available for cleaning metal and other surfaces without doing damage to what lies underneath. If you hope to complete tasks other than grinding, check to see whether the grinder you want can accommodate different types of wheels for more than just grinding or cutting.
How to Find the Best Bench Grinders
Bench grinders come with two wheels, tool rests, and a way to fasten the grinder to a bench or other surface. Apart from the materials and accessories, not much variation exists among bench grinders in terms of features. Here’s what to consider to find the best bench grinder for your needs.
Bench grinders are usually high- and single-speed, but some products come with variable speed adjustments. A variable speed grinder is ideal for a range of applications, so if you’re unsure what all you will use it for, variability is better. If you only want to sharpen tools or sand small items, a low-speed grinder might be a better choice.
If you plan to sharpen tools with your grinder, you may want a lower speed setting both for safety and precision. A faster-throttle option might seem appealing but scaling back and focusing on precision is a must in many applications, especially when it comes to maintaining machine parts and intricate tools.
Higher-speed grinders are helpful for rougher tasks that don’t require a high amount of precision. Many shops will look for the “beast-mode” grinders for multiple daily users, but if your grinder won’t be seeing as much action, it makes sense to shop for a lower-RPM and less robust model.
Not all bench grinders are alike, although they look similar. Bigger grinders aren’t necessary for most household and DIY applications, so most of us can work with smaller-diameter wheels with lower horsepower.
Wheels typically range in size from six to eight inches, but mini versions are also available with three-inch diameters. We’ve included all sizes on our list of top recommendations.
Depending on what you want to do with it, though, you might want a bench grinder with bigger wheels and a bigger motor. Busier home DIYers who often replace or sharpen tools (or those who experience a lot of injuries) may do well to invest in a heavier-duty model.
It might seem like a basic and self-explanatory tool, but a bench grinder requires some unique know-how and safety precautions. A tool-only grinder is fine for most of us, but you will also want to invest in some accessories which can help make operating and maintaining the tool easier.
Dressing the wheels is an integral part of bench grinder maintenance, but you’ll need a diamond wheel dresser to do it. Kits are available, combining tools and accessories, but you can also find machine-only options.
Many bench grinders come with built-in tool rests that offer only basic support. Some operators will want an upgraded tool rest to help make tasks easier, but it’s worth considering whether you can get an efficient grinder with an adjustable tool rest from the start.
You can find bench grinder wheels at nearly any hardware store, but if you opt for a special model or size of grinder, it might be tough to track down replacements when you need them. Many sets ship with at least two wheels to start with, but they may not be the material or grit you need for the project you have in mind.
Look at what types of wheels come with each grinder to decide whether they’re the right fit, or alternatively, whether you can find the right size and grit to fit the machine. Especially if you are looking at a smaller grinder, such as a three-inch wheel model, keep in mind it could be tough to find suitable replacement wheels in-store, which could set you back when it comes time to get to work.
1. DeWalt DW758 8-inch Bench Grinder
Industrial-quality components and heavy-duty materials mean DeWalt’s DW758 Grinder is ready for work—and the ¾ hp motor can handle whatever you throw at it.
- 8-inch wheels
- Overload protection
- Tool-free adjustable guard
- ¾ hp induction motor
- Cast-iron base and motor housing
- 3,600 RPM
- Aluminum tool rests
- 12 ½-inch distance between wheels
- Includes 36-grit and 60-grit wheels
Decent operating noise levels (read: lower than expected) and consistent performance are key highlights with DeWalt’s DW758 grinder. Eight-inch wheels come in 36- and 60-grit and the adjustable guards are tool-free for quick changes on the job.
One common issue with DeWalt’s DW758 is excessive vibration right out of the box. Shipping a fully-assembled bench grinder comes with some amount of risk, though, and we can understand the need to thoroughly inspect the tool before plugging it in and starting it up. To us, the vibration is a minor flaw which a minimal adjustment should correct.
- Quiet operation
- Industrial-quality construction
- Vibrates excessively out of the box
2. RIKON 8” Bench Grinder 80-805
Exceptional for low-RPM tasks, RIKON’s 80-805 Grinder can maintain a small workshop or carpenter’s tools with ease.
- 8-inch wheels
- ½ hp motor
- 1,750 RPM
- Cast iron base
- Anti-vibration rubber feet
- Adjustable eye shield and spark resistors
- 60-grit and 120-grit white aluminum oxide wheels
- Tool rest groove for sharpening drill bits
- Diamond wheel sharpener included
Lower RPMs mean accessible grinding work for woodworkers and other artisans with the RIKON 80-805. Anti-vibration rubber feet and a cast iron base help with stability and the aluminum oxide wheels pack a punch when it comes to shaping tools.
A grooved tool rest (for sharpening drill bits) is a novel feature, but one that might annoy some users while serving as a benefit to others. You may wind up wanting to swap out the tool rest altogether, or it could be the most useful feature on the grinder.
- Quiet operation
- Comes with a diamond wheel dresser
- Tool rests are difficult to adjust
3. DeWalt DW759 6-inch Bench Grinder
A smaller-scale DeWalt, the DW759 Bench Grinder provides plenty of horsepower in a more compact package for basic grinding tasks.
- 5/8 hp
- 3,450 RPM
- Cast iron base and motor housing
- Aluminum tool rests
- 12 ½-inch wheel distance
- 36- and 60-grit wheels
Ample and well-machined tool rests are one highlight with DeWalt’s DW759, but the RPMs are another great feature. You can make quick work of small projects with the six-inch grinder in most cases, and for smaller-scale home shop operations, it might be the only grinder you’ll need.
Given the smaller size of the six-inch wheels, the housing is a bit bulky and tends to get in the way. If you regularly need to grind oddly-shaped items, you may want to check out other recommendations on our list. For standard tasks, however, the DW759 has the power and efficiency you’ll need.
- Exceptional RPM for the size
- Functional and wide tool rests
- Bulky housing gets in the way
4. ATD Tools 10558 8” Bench Grinder
For tasks both heavy-duty and intricate, ATD Tools’ Bench Grinder gives you the features and power you need.
- 8-inch wheels
- ¾ hp
- Flexible work light (bulb not included)
- One medium- and one coarse-grit wheel
- Heavy-duty ball-bearing motor
- Shatter-resistant eye shields (one magnifying)
If intricate tasks are your go-to for bench grinding, you’ll appreciate ATD Tools’ extra accessories. A flexible work light comes with the unit (no bulb, though) and one of the shatter-resistant eye shields has magnifying power. Instead of scrambling around for a light or a magnifier, you can take advantage of the built-in features of the 10558 and get tasks done faster.
One drawback involves the functionality of the included lamp, however. The light only comes on when the grinder is running (unless you DIY the wiring, too). High power output is a perk with the 10558 though, so we’re willing to let the minor inconvenience slide.
- Exceptional visibility
- Light only comes on when the grinder is running
5. TruePower 199 Mini Bench Grinder
If hobby and craft tasks are your go-to, TruePower’s 199 Mini Bench Grinder might be the perfect fit. Its dual buffing and grinding wheels help with projects from start to finish.
- 3-inch wheels
- 150W motor
- Up to 10,000 RPM
- Includes grinding and polishing wheels
- 31” flex shaft attachment
- Variable speed
Variable speed is an attractive function of TruePower’s 199 Mini, especially when you’re working on more intricate tasks. Whether you plan to grind or buff a project, the two included wheels help make quick work of it, and thanks to the variable speeds, it’s easy to select an RPM level for each task.
You likely won’t be able to sharpen heavy-duty tools or make deep cuts with the Mini’s grinding wheels but completing most tool maintenance and even hobby polishing and buffing projects are easy and quick. Just make sure to have backup buffing wheels on hand, as they tend to go quickly.
- Both grinding and buffing wheels included
- Suitable for small-scale hobby tasks
- Buffing wheels tend to wear out quickly
6. WEN 4276 Bench Grinder
A small-scale grinder with helpful visibility features, WEN’s 4276 is ideal for everyday applications which require precision.
- 6-inch wheels
- Flexible work light
- 2.1 Amp motor
- Lightweight design
- Easy-adjust eye shields
- Included 36- and 60-grit aluminum oxide wheels
- Adjustable speed
A strong and small grinder with ample power, WEN’s 4276 has one feature we can’t help but love: the built-in work light. Like other grinders, however, the light only turns on when the tool is operating.
Along with the lamp, the 4276 also features easy-adjust eye shields, so it’s quick and simple to get in there and see what you’re doing without taking a safety risk. Given the small profile of the tool, it can be tough to manage larger items like lawn mower blades, but if you mostly work on small pieces, you’ll likely find WEN’s six-inch grinder a great fit for your needs.
- Built-in work lamp
- Easy-adjust eye shields
- The lamp turns on with the grinder motor
- Tough to grind larger items
7. JET 577102 JBG-8A Bench Grinder
For heavy-duty grinding jobs and high-volume shops, JET’s JBG-8A is the workhorse you’ve been looking for.
- 8-inch wheels
- Cast iron wheel guards and dust vents
- One-piece quick adjusting spark guards
- 5/8-inch spindle
- Fine and coarse vitrified grinding wheels included
- One hp
- 3,450 RPM
Large easy-adjust eye shields and industrial-strength construction make JET’s bench grinder a staple for high-volume shops and home workspaces. An impressive one hp motor provides plenty of power to handle even the toughest tasks.
We agree with the evaluation of JET’s JBG-8A as a “beast,” as its hefty weight is rare in its class. With the powerful motor and cast-iron construction, though, we expected a bit of heft to the machine. You may want to plan on skipping the stand and mounting it directly on a strong workbench, however.
- Handles high-volume workloads
- Heavy; not portable
Comparing the Options
|DeWalt DW758||8-inch||¾ hp||3,600|
|RIKON 80-805||8-inch||½ hp||1,750|
|DeWalt DW759||6-inch||5/8 hp||3,450|
|ATD Tools 10558||8-inch||¾ hp||3,450|
|TruePower 199||3-inch||Not specified; 150W motor||Up to 10,000|
|WEN 4276||6-inch||Not specified; 2.1 Amp motor||3,450|
|JET 577102 JBG-8A||8-inch||One hp||3,450|
Since most bench grinders have similar construction and layouts, it can be daunting to look at a long list of options and even think about choosing one. We helped by breaking down the details on what to look for in a bench grinder for home use, making it easier to narrow down the options and find the best bench grinders no matter the application.