If you’re new to the world of bench grinders, then you might be unsure what exactly to look for when you’re shopping for one.
In this buying guide, I will list all the features that affect the way your grinder performs and why you may benefit from a particular feature or the lack of it.
The size of your bench grinder will affect the kinds of jobs that you will be able to perform with it as different sizes serve different purposes.
Some are suitable for trimming or deburring which involve removing metal after larger cuts, sawing, or filing. Contrarily, some are more suitable for delicate grinding processes like shaping metal.
The bigger ones are the ones used for trimming and getting rid of smaller components instead of shaping them.
On the other hand, small ones wouldn’t be suitable for cutting as they would only scratch the surface of your workpiece.
The motor of your bench grinder has a direct effect on the performance of your unit.
Larger motors will provide you with more power and allow you to use bigger wheels. But they will also need more space.
A 1 HP motor would be suitable for cutting through tough metals and hard steel while a 3/4 HP one would help you through a lot of DIY projects.
I would recommend a 1/2 or 1/5 HP motor if you’re going to be doing medium-duty jobs or light ones.
The speed of the bench grinder is measured in RPM or revolutions per minute, and it is also related to the horsepower of the bench grinder.
Faster speeds run on higher horsepower and enable you to finish your work more quickly. They also enable you to cut through tougher metals.
So, if you’re going to work with tougher work pieces, don’t settle for less than 3000 RPM.
Contrarily, if you’re going to be working with softer metal or with wood, then you can go for a 1750 RPM grinder. It will allow you to finish your job as well as save you more money.
There are many things to consider when you’re evaluating the kind of grinding wheel on your bench grinder.
The Size of the Wheel
Grinding wheels come in two sizes: 6-inch and 8-inch ones.
If you’re going to do more professional work, then you should go for an 8-inch wheel. These work at slower speeds but they also don’t require much maintenance.
On the other hand, 6-inch wheels are suitable for people that are looking for a higher speed of operation as well as versatility. However, they need to be changed frequently.
The Grit of the Wheel
The grit will dictate how smooth or rough the material you work with is going to be.
If you want smooth final results on tougher materials, then you should get a wheel with a higher grit number like a 100-grit wheel or a 60-grit one.
However, if you’re going to do a lot of sharpening, then you should go for a coarser grit wheel – a 30-grit wheel.
In brief, if you’re going for final results go for a fine-grit wheel. However, if you’re focused on finishing a lot of work, then go for a coarse-grit one.
The color of the wheel
There are color codes for grinding wheels. Each color refers to how fine the wheel would grind and consequently what you can use it for.
Brown wheels are used for trimming or heavy fettling, and grey ones are used for every day grinding.
Moreover, white wheels are used for sharpening, while green ones are used for fine grinding.
The latter includes blades, carbide tools, and drill bits. It works for anything that is made of silicon carbide.
This aspect of your bench grinder is of utmost importance. There are a couple of things that you should look for on a bench grinder to make sure that it will operate safely.
The guards of your wheel should cover about 75% of the wheel and leave only 25% uncovered through which you can work.
When you grind metal or wood, some fragments may fly around. They could cause safety hazards and are harmful if you breathe them in. Moreover, they could leave a mess around your workspace.
As I mentioned above, fragments that fly around may be potentially dangerous to you. Eye shields are clear plastic covers positioned above the opening through which the grinding wheel touches the material.
They prevent any fragments or scraps from being sent off and hitting you in the face or the eyes.
Having a dust exhaustion system, ports, or vents is an excellent way to keep your workspace tidy as well as keeping everything visible during your operation
Exhaustion works on clearing any debris or dust that may be flying around your workshop or garage as you operate a bench grinder.
Bench grinders could either be a “wet grinding machine” or a regular one.
Wet grinding machines have a built-in cooling system so that they prevent your wood from catching fire or metal from turning orange with the excessive friction.
However, if your unit doesn’t have a built-in cooling system, you have to have a pot or a bucket with water at arm’s reach as you work. This is to dip your workpiece in to prevent it from overheating.