A die grinder has always been a versatile tool, typically in the metalworking industry, as it has a wide collection of bits available. So, you can easily switch among the tasks by changing the bits accordingly. This jack-of-all tools is the best sought among the woodworking professionals as well.
Every die grinder brand comes up with one or more specialities apart from the general quality of a die grinder. While some are easy to use for prolonged hours, some have wider speed controlling range to use it for buffing harder surfaces. In this article, we have compiled a list of top 10 die grinders for the woodworking industry.
Added to that, a buyer’s guide is included to help you in precise and correct selection of a die grinder that suits your purpose. In closing, we have recommended the top three picks to make your search more relevant, in case you couldn't decide among the products on the list.
Top 10 Die Grinders for Wood
Dewalt DWE4887 is an electric-powered, high speed die grinder, whose motor can reach a speed limit of around 25,000 RPM, with zero vibration. The tool includes an easy paddle switch and a lock-on button that provides firm grip and hassle-free operation. This model is best suited to pro-grade users to do heavy duty woodworks that require continuous operation without a pause. This model can handle attachments (bits) of sizes ranging from 1 to ½ inch. Both the speed range and bits size range makes this die grinder perfect for both hard and software material surfaces.
The 14 inch tool size makes it suitable for using on distant workspots. The unit is compatible with both AC and DC capacity for versatility and better work output. The lock-on button prevents the tool from accidental cranking. This feature also prevents you from serious injuries when the tool is already running at its maximum speed.
The package includes a precision collet sizing about ¼ inch and 2 wrenches to fit collet bits and other accessories (like cut-off wheels, grinding wheels, etc.). Apart from that, the ⅛ inch size reducing sleeve lets you use more accessories, thereby increasing task varieties. The angular exhaust vent removes dust and debris away from the motor functioning. Keeping in mind all the features, we reckon it's the best electric die grinder for wood.
Makita GD0601 is typically recommended to the beginners for its easy to use features with improved performance delivery. The ergonomic motor design keeps the motor cool even after prolonged hours of usage. The exhaust path locks the unwanted particulate from directing into the internal chambers of the motor. This extends the durability of the grinder.
The tool can be run both on AC/DC power sources based on the type of wood task assigned. This lightweight tool allows a wider range of grinding tasks, including welding, plumbing g, and other relevant jobs. The pro-grade grinder motor speed can reach up to 25,000 RPM during use. The package comes with 2 wrenches to hold the ¼ inch collet in place, plus, the collect is compatible with a couple of bits ranging between 1 and ½ inch in diameter.
3. Ingersoll Rand 301B
Ingersoll Rand 301B is preferred for its durability and brand reputation. It renders a wider range of features that makes it most recommended for automotive cum general maintenance tasks. This compact tool allows access to odd work spots at absolute ease. The motor delivers 0.25 HorsePower and runs at a maximum speed of 21,000 RPM.
The exceptional ball-bearing design of 301B ensures improved balance, reduced level of vibration during operation, and extended tool life. It is a perfect kit for buffing hardwood surfaces. The air velocity of this grinder is about 6 CFM which can be easily extended upto a capacity of 24 CFM (in case of heavy loads). You can conduct all types of grinding tasks with this compact die grinder. The safety lock system prevents accidental startup and mishaps during ongoing grinder application.
Chicago Pneumatic CP875 is a powerful yet lightweight grinder too. Its easy maneuverability and flexibility in buffing hard material surfaces makes it a great deal. The backward, high heat-resistant exhaust vent protects your health from harmful gases and also keeps the work spot clean. The vent slots, in turn, keep the grinder motor cool during its operation. This adds durability to the unit. The air velocity delivered by the air compressor ranges from (11 to 22) CFM, based on the job load.
Just like the previous models, the safe lock-on feature protects you from accidental start-ups, especially if any untrained person gains access to the tool. The 90-degree angular head facilitates porting, buffing, and high-speed blending in limited areas. The bit size ranges about ¼ inch, plus, it can accommodate other buffing accessories and grinding wheels for finer grinding result. The motor rotating speed is around 22,500 RPM when an air pressure of 90 PSI (approx) is fed to the machine.
Ingersoll Rand 5102MAX is constructed with comfortable grip design which maximizes the work potential to continue with the task for longer hours without fatigue. This air die grinder allows swift changeover of abrasives and can withstand harsh working conditions without affecting the work quality. The built-in lube-free system keeps up the gear life of the machine.
The spindle lock feature makes the attachment or accessory changing task easier and requires least effort to do so. The handy safety trigger and lock-off throttle are the two safety factors, where the former is exceptionally found in the 5102MAX model. The motor exhibits minimal vibration during operation. In all, the stable cum quality build of the grinder seems like it is made to last longer.
AirCat 6255 Professional Series die grinder is best for daily tasks and is recommended for anyone. The amazing internal build, which includes the turbines, air chambers, and bearing surfaces, keeps the tool unaffected from damage, thus extending the tool life. This heavy-duty power device ensures noiseless operation as ensured by its patented quiet technology. A minimal level of 85 Decibel of noise at maximum power supply. AirCat 6255 is undan ideal choice for the domestic cum professional applications.
The feather trigger system enables precise speed controlling ability. As the trigger is released, it doesn't entirely cut out the airflow, thereby allowing the tool to operate even at low RPM. This 90 degree angled grinding tool. This tool, being a 90 degree angle headed, adds extra functionality to the device in terms of rendering better user control. Other than that, the model weight and shape extends the tool life to survive more usage. The rear exhaust vent keeps the work spot cleaner and very little to no exhaust air (harmful) comes towards the craftsman. The rear vent also contributes to reducing noise generation level to as low as possible.
7. Astro 218
Astro Pneumatic 218 is designed in a way that it could finesse a range of woodworking tasks. The grinder includes a handle made of composite material to lower the vibration level during the tool application. Variable speed control feature, speed porting and precise finishing makes it an all-in-one versatile tool for using in heavy-duty compared to other similar models. Apart from a lightweight die grinder, its motor can deliver the highest speed limit of up to 56,000 RPM. This RPM enables the pencil grinder to work in the finishing touch of small parts with great precision and perfection.
The pressure level of the air compressor ranges from (90 to 120) PSI. You can do a varied range of tasks with this compact pneumatic grinder which includes; rotors and mounts, back plate cleaning, using in limited spaces, etc. The 5 feet hose gives mobility to the compressor to move it around the work spot, when needed. The collet size is ⅛ inch and comes with a set of bits of 8 different sizes, where each bit is meant for a specific task- carving, grinding, buffing, cutting, engraving, and many others.
Note: Bits are relatively short-lived.
Chicago Pneumatic CP860 Air die grinder features a higher speed range of 24,000 RPM. However, the speed here is adjustable to set the tool according to the task to be performed. The model is extremely lightweight, so you can carry it around to remote work spots (if required). The square handle ensures better grip on the tool during use. The collet size is about ¼ inch and the lock-off throttle prevents accidental startup of the grinder, if accessed by any unauthorized or untrained person.
Note: The placement of the exhaust vent is relatively odd in this model. As a result, the exhaust air blows back to the user, rather than blowing out through the front just like in most die grinder models. This is the only setback of the CP 860.
9. AIRCAT 6280
Aircat 6280 die grinder includes a powerful non-stalling motor that delivers about 0.7 HorsePower, which is perfect for industrial woodworking tasks. The spindle lock feature makes changovers of grinder attachments (grinding wheels, bits, or abrasives) easier and quicker.
The Erickson type collect of ¼ inch size ensures maximum grip of the grinder attachments. The average rotating speed of the grinder motor is about 18,000 RPM with minimal to no noise level of 79 Decibel. The air velocity rendered by the compressor is approximately 4.1 CFM.
Chicago Pneumatic CP876 Mini Die Grinder, as the name suggests, is a compact sized tool with a safety lock-off throttle to prevent mishap if accidentally turned on by an unauthorized person. The model is lightweight and the inbuilt regulator adjusts the tool according to the type of task to be performed.
With CP875, you can perform a wide range of woodworking jobs like: porting, smoothing, deburring, and blending, etc. The average speed range of the grinder motor is 28,000 RPM.
Buyer's Guide: Considerable factors while buying a die grinder for wood
As you have checked above, die grinders are of different categories in terms of collet size, power source and others. While some have ¼ inch collect, the others have ⅛ inch collect. The former can support a couple of bits but the latter, being a smaller unit, doesn't support multiple bit installation. However, it can support tasks really well. Furthermore, the higher range of RPM, incredible power source, etc. are yet to be discussed in the following table.
But, before proceeding further, you must be sure about the type of job for which you are here. Plus, the cost of your chosen model might play a significant role while making the end decision, but here are the priority factors:
The general size of a die grinder collect is ¼ inch. This is much better than the smaller die grinder of ⅛ inch collect as the former allows swapping a range of bits of different sizes. However, the second type is also good at performing tasks well, but the usage here is limited.
The most-sought extensions are generally available on the market in a set of 8. While some brands sell this set in the standard package along with the die grinder, in most cases, you have to buy this set separately. So, check the brand that you chose. In a standard set, it includes die grinders of varied diameters and angles, and metal sanders for buffing.
Die grinders could be cordless, corded electric, and pneumatic counterparts. Choosing which version is workable for you depends on some specific variables. But, assessing which version is right for your work is the most important point.
If you already have an air compressor in your woodshop, buying a pneumatic die grinder would be a smart choice. If you prefer a portable wireless grinder model, go for the cordless one. This type of die grinder is driven by high power batteries.
Note: The cordless option is specifically for occasional use only as the battery life is not fairly high.
Corded-electric die grinder is a bit costlier compared to the above two types as it is the easiest one to use. Plus, a corded model is suitable for prolonged and extensive use on a daily basis. Whereas the cordless and pneumatic ones remain active only till there is enough battery life and sufficient air in the compressor, respectively. Whichever you choose, you need to know about its maneuverability.
The power rating of an electric die grinder should at least range between (18 to 20) Volts. The pneumatic one has a power rating between (¼ to ½) HorsePower. Whichever type you pick, go for the one with the highest power range as it ensures better user performance.
This factor depends on the type of surface on which you will be using the grinder. If it is a hardwood material, you need to use the grinder that delivers maximum speed control range. However, you must keep the history limit at a recommended limit of 20,000 RPM. If it is a softwood surface (wood board), use a lower speed control die grinder.
Note: 90 degree die grinder is best for buffing as you can apply more pressure to the backside of the grinder handles, thereby fast pacing the buffing process and enhancing the shine quality.
These two variables are crucial if you are planning to buy a pneumatic die grinder. Check if the air compressor delivers the required CFM at an appropriate PSI level. The capacity of the compressor to deliver maximum air flow depends on the power supply that drives the die grinder. Also, make sure to select a compressor that is workable at minimal pressure and volume to prevent stalling of the grinder motor.
Check which grinder type brings you the maximum comfort and select the model accordingly. For instance, if you are looking for a regular-using die grinder, make sure to check on the lightweight and grinder size. If you are buying a pneumatic grinder, make sure you have a proper position to locate its exhaust vent so that it does not affect your health.
Note: A front-facing exhaust vent keeps the work area clean. However, if you are using oil on the work, the forward vent may end up creating a mess.
Do not forget to count on the safety features like accidental motor crank, done by children or other novice people who somehow gained access to the device. This is the reason, some professionals prefer buying the grinder model that has a simple on/off button.
Grinder vibration during its operation is another considerable attribute. While some motors vibrate more than the work it is meant for, some work smoothly with minimal vibration. If you are an occasional user or require a grinder for shorter wood tasks, then vibration is not an issue. Else, it is a hassle for the professionals to work with a high-vibrating motor grinder for long-duration.
A compact cum lightweight model is what most users prefer, as it is easy to carry around and store. It also saves your time in lifting the tool and moving it constantly without feeling fatigue. However, for heavy woodworks, a handy grinder is not a great choice. In that case, you must look for a sturdy and larger grinder that could smoothly work on the hardwood surface.
All the die grinder models discussed above are unique and most-sought models of 2020. But, you must pick the one that suits your convenience.
You can also check out our top 3 recommendations from the list of the best die grinders for wood:
- DEWALT DWE4887: Best of all on the list in terms of versatility, power source, and performance delivery
- Chicago Pneumatic CP875: Perfect for those looking for an ergonomically designed and safety-features-driven die grinder with good CFM rating.
- Astro Pneumatic 218: Fit for those looking for a lightweight grinder featuring variable speed control system and good PSI rating.