Best cordless angle grinders

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By Gary Stretton

01 May 2018

With up to 16,000 rpm these can light work out of repairs and restoration : credit: © Gary Stretton

Portable grinding and cutting power will transform the way you work, says Gary Stretton

Angle grinders are essential tools for DIY Land Rover enthusiasts. Reluctant fittings and corrosion can frustrate repairs and maintenance or prevent them altogether. Drastic measures, such as using an angle grinder to cut through seized bolts and remove corroded chassis sections are par for the course and, in many instances, the most cost-effective method deployed by garages and specialists. Mains and air-powered angle grinders have their limitations even in a workshop environment if safe access can’t be gained or where leads and hoses prove obstructive. Regular angle grinder users such as myself welcomed the arrival of cordless angle grinders in much the same way as home cordless phones meant not sitting on the bottom step in a cold hall trying to have a private conversation.

The big leap for quality cordless angle grinders came with dependable, fast charging, lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology and powerful, reliable motors. Free of the constraints of hoses and mains power, cordless versions are now viable options for off-road and expedition use, offering flexibility and genuine get-you-going repair options. Not every tool company has one in their range as yet, and prices reflect this compared to cordless drills, for example. The technology required to create a powerful, fast spinning motor capable of cutting through millimeters-thick steel is the other reason for this. But don’t let cost deter you. The four on test possess all the credentials for being tools to turn to with increasing regularity instead of mains and air powered versions, albeit with some limitations depending on the other attachments you may wish to use.

Three of the grinders tested use 115mm cutting discs, the fourth takes a 50mm disc. He 115mm grinders will also accept wire cup brushes. 1mm thick Faithfull brand cutting discs were used on all 115mm grinders.

What to look for

 Safety switches cut power and prevent accidental start-ups.

• Adjustable guards should be easy to use and sturdy.

• Quick release systems manageable when wearing thick safety gloves.

• Battery power indicators ensure working times are maximised.

 

TEST RESULTS

Packed with features and the kit includes two batteries

MAKITA CORDLESS ANGLE GRINDER KIT

Price: £395

Makita are no strangers to accomplished cordless tools and the 467 doesn’t disappoint. Packed with features to protect the user, the disc and the motor it feels smooth from the soft start to the electric brake finish. The powerful 5.0Ah batteries have plenty of juice for prolonged use and the brushless motor dealt easily with new 2.5 chassis steel. The safety switch works well as do the spindle lock and quick release guard. The five speed settings offer plenty of control and cater for materials other than hard metals.

Key features:
​​​​​​• 2 x 18v Lithium-ion 5.0Ah batteries
• Max wheel thickness: 7.2 mm
• Max wheel diameter: 115 mm
• Noise sound pressure: 80 dB(A)
• No Load Speed: 3000 - 8500 rpm
• Brushless motor
• 5-stage variable speed control dial
• Anti-restart function
• Electric brake
• Safety paddle switch
• Electronic overload protection
• Battery fuel gauges (on battery and tool)
• 45-minute fast charge of 5.0Ah battery
• Automatic Torque Drive Technology changes cutting speed according to load conditions
• Auto shutdown to protect the user if the rotation speed suddenly slows down
• Removable dust covers
• Spindle lock for quick disc changes
• Soft start
• Carry case
• Net weight: 2.4 - 3.1 kg

Search for: Item DGA467RTJ; www.makitauk.com

This small kit certainly packs a big punch

PROXXON LHW/A LONG NECK GRINDER

Price: £200

Proxxon’s long neck grinder reaches the areas larger grinders simply can’t fit into. Not just that, it’s robust enough to tackle chassis steel in a way that mere multi-tools can’t match. The variable speed control is simplicity itself, allowing for full control according to the materials being worked. At full rpm, it has the ability to deal with the most awkward fittings and prep work thanks to the quality discs supplied to get you started. It’s lightweight yet packs the kind of punch you’ll appreciate for numerous tasks.

Key features:
• 10.8V (2.6Ah) Lithium-ion battery
• Variable speed control dial 5000 -16,000rpm
• Noise Sound Pressure: 78 dB(A)
• Die-cast aluminium head
• Comfort grip for greater control
• Supplied with grinding disc, fan sander and cutting disc
• Max wheel diameter: 50 mm
• Glass fibre reinforced polyamide main body 
• Flat end cap on the battery enables the tool to stand upright when not in use. 
• Overall length 320mm. 
• 1 hour max fast charger
• Weight: 800g
• Carry case

Search for: Item 102370; www.axminster.co.uk

A comprehensive kit with excellent features

KIELDER 18V LI-ION CORDLESS KIT

Price: £225

Kielder’s kit includes two 4.0Ah batteries for prolonged working and a package full of quality touches. The brushless motor is quieter than the Sealey although an official dB figure isn’t provided. The motor overload protection system kicked in while I tested, reminding me I was leaning too hard on the 1mm cutting disc. The paddle-type safety switch presented no problem in use, neither did the spindle lock and quick guard which should be commended for its robust hex head tightening screw.

Key features:
• 2 x 18V 4.0Ah Samsung Li-ion batteries
• Max wheel diameter: 115 mm
• Electric current overload protection system
• Up to 20 minutes continuous working time
• Noise sound pressure dB(A): Not known 
• No load speed 9000 Min -1
• Charge time: 80 mins
• Frictionless digital, brushless motor creates no sparks
• Spindle lock for quick disc changes
• Adjustable cutting disc guard, plus optional grinding guard available
• Weight: 2.4kg
• Carry case

Search for: Item KWT007-02; www.kielder.co

Kit includes one battery and fast charger

SEALEY 20V CORDLESS ANGLE GRINDER KIT

Price: £180

Sealey’s 20V heavy-duty grinder feels balanced and comfortable to hold. The motor was certainly the loudest on test but quietened slightly once put to use. The safety switch mechanism means a full grip of the handle is essential to power up the tool which is good because 10k of revs can get hairy working in limited space where the side handle might prove obstructive. The spindle lock and disc guard function well  while the battery power indicator is bright and clear to read.

Key features:
• Battery: 20V 3Ah Lithium-ion
• Max wheel thickness: 7.2 mm
• Max wheel diameter: 115 mm
• Noise sound pressure: 85.06 dB(A)
• No Load Speed: 10,000 rpm
• Motor power: 700W
• Charge time: 1 hour
• Ergonomic, lightweight, compact design.
• Heavy-duty alloy bevel gear head, aluminium gear casing
• Spindle lock for quick disc changes
• Adjustable disc guard
• Spares available
• Weight: 2.36kg
• Carry case

Search for: Item CP20VAG; www.sealey.co.uk

Note: For photography purposes, the black gloves shown allow more of the tools to be seen but for safety, the heavy duty gloves should always be worn, as should ear defenders and eye protection.

 

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