Safety Tips for Using an Angle Grinder

The Angle grinder is an amazing hand-held power tool used for cutting and grinding metal, stone, and tile. It is one of the most versatile power tools that any craftsman can have in their toolkit. Learn what an angle grinder is used for and the different types available. Find out how to safely work with an angle grinder and which accessories you should use.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a much clearer idea about angle grinders. Let’s get started!  

Types of Angle Grinders

There are 3 most common types of angle grinders, which is cordless angle grinders, corded angle grinders, and air-powered angle grinders.

1. Cordless angle grinders

Cordless angle grinders are hand-held battery-operated tools used in a wide range of industries. These versatile machines can be found in a vast array of applications, from metal fabrication, plumbing, trade, DIY, and many more. Powered by interchangeable and rechargeable batteries, cordless grinders mostly come in 115 and 125-mm sizes, with maximum speeds of up to 9,000 rpm.

Powered by rechargeable battery packs, cordless grinders give users more freedom and mobility. However, these advantages are weighed against limited performance and useful life. If you’re using a grinder for long periods at a time, cordless machines are probably not the right choice for you. If, however, you’re working in remote areas, multiple sites, or just have a quick job to do, a cordless machine will offer you both freedom and practicality.

2. Corded angle grinders

Corded angle grinders are of a lighter weight than cordless alternatives. If you are going to use your grinder regularly for minor cutting jobs, then you should opt for a model featuring a small disc. You should also account for the ergonomics and level of vibration specific to your chosen grinder.

There is no doubt about it, corded grinders are powerful and extremely handy if you are set up and ready to go, but in emergencies, you may be miles from a power outlet and have no generator or no fuel. 

3. Air-powered angle grinders

The biggest difference between air-powered tools and electrical tools is what powers them. With pneumatic tools, you get a tool that is a lot more durable than electrical ones. Also, pneumatic tools are safer because they don’t heat up as easily,and there is no risk of a short circuit.

Offering the ideal blend of performance and durability, pneumatic angle grinders are ideally suited to cutting and shaping metal workpieces. They are primarily used for light-duty jobs, requiring high levels of precision. Pneumatic grinders require connection to suitable air compressor units. However, they are well-suited to high-precision tasks and are considerably lighter in weight than other angle grinders. 

Safety Tips when Using an Angle Grinder

Angle Grinder could be dangerous if mishandled because of its strong power. We’d like to offer these safety tips to you so that you get the most out of these products while preventing any potential harm that can be caused to you or others by the improper use of an angle grinder.

1. Wear Proper PPE

You should always take few second to put on the recommended PPE before work. UYUSTOOLS recommends that you wear eye and hearing protection, leather gloves, natural fiber clothing, aprons, and respiratory protection as needed. In addition, you should also avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and tying back long hair.

2. Use the Proper Wheel Size

Each angle grinder comes with its own recommended disc sizes. Even though the disc might fit on your grinder, it does not mean that it is properly calibrated for the safest operation. The disc can become unstable, wobble, and will kick back toward the operator.

3. Match the RPMs with your Wheel’s Allowance

Another important spec on your angle grinder will be the RPMs. Every grinding disc, wire wheel, etc. should have the maximum recommended RPM noted on the face of the abrasive, packaging, or product description. Never use an abrasive tool that has a lower recommended RPM than your angle grinder is capable of spinning at. 

The abrasive discs are designed to work only up to the recommended speeds. You risk destroying the discs when used at higher speeds which also causes more force and pressure than the disc can safely handle.

4. Use the Safety Guards as Designed

All the safety features on your tool are there for a reason. Guards installed on angle grinders are designed to be a barrier between your hands and body from the spinning disc and to also protect you if your abrasive wheel or disc brakes or shatters. Almost all angle grinders have a burst-proof guard for this reason. They have been designed to have a locking mechanism that prevents the guard from opening itself automatically to the operator in the event your wheel shatters. Those guards are not something you should ever work without being attached.

Some grinders have a guard that can be maneuvered to avoid working from awkward angles. If yours does not have that feature, then you should only use it in the positions that feel comfortable to you rather than removing the guard just to make it work.

5. Do not Tinker with the Machine

Some angle grinder owners may want to customize their tool, but we advise not to do so. If there are any customization that you are considering, you should first contact the manufacturer or your angle grinder. They could provide you with data on why some modifications are okay whereas others are dangerous to do.

Only use accessories that are designed for an angle grinder. When you start rigging something to work, you are setting yourself and the machinery up for failure. Not only do you risk breaking your grinder, but you put yourself and others around you at risk for a serious injury. If you are unsure whether a particular accessory matches your grinder, find the information in a product description or give a quick call to the manufacturer.

6. Inspect the Abrasives

Accidents happen. You may not have done it, but someone could have. You can observe whether there is any damage to the accessory and if it is no longer safe to use it. Whether you are working with a used disc or a brand-new abrasive, you should always inspect the wheel first. Cutting wheels can take a beating during shipping or be accidentally dropped during storage. Inspecting for chips, cracks, or any other damage before using the wheel helps your machine perform its best while keeping you and others around you safe from breaks and shatters. Remember: if you are questioning if something is wrong with the accessory do not use it!

7. Warm Up and Inspect the Grinder

Whether you are just picking it up for the start of a day, coming back from break, or taking it from another worker — let the angle grinder run with the accessory attached for at least one full minute before using it. This gives the machine a chance to warm up and get up to full speed while also giving you a chance to feel, hear, or see if the grinder is in its ideal working condition.

8. Tighten Discs Properly

Any time you are grinding or cutting metal with an angle grinder, you will be shooting out sparks around your work area. These sparks can be highly flammable. To avoid igniting an accidental fire, make sure the work area is clear of any flammable material or kindling, and make sure there are no flammable liquids or gasses in the area.

9. Maintain Control with Two Hands

One of the biggest safety tips is to always be in complete control of the machine. It is important to always have two hands on the tool in the correct positions. Having both hands on the grinder gives you far more control and much better leverage.