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Best Die Grinders of 2021

Updated
Our top 7 die grinder picks and why they are so great.

Die grinders are one of the most important tools you can own if you want to work with metal or wood. They cut, hone, sand, deburr, clean up welds, and polish.

This review looks at 7 of the best die grinders money can buy, rating them on their performance, cost, handling, and ease of use. We listened to customer feedback and expert opinions when reaching our conclusions to make your choice easier.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features
Product Image of the DEWALT 20V MAX Die Grinder, Variable Speed, 1-1/2-Inch, Tool Only (DCG426B)
Best Variable Speed
DeWALT 20V MAX Die Grinder
  • Cordless tool (take it anywhere)
  • Brushless motor for minimal maintenance
  • Variable speed for different materials
Product Image of the Ingersoll Rand 3101G Air Die Grinder Edge Series – 1/4', Heavy Duty, Right Angle, Ergonomic Grip, Ball Bearing Construction, Lightweight Tool, Black
Best Pneumatic
Ingersoll Rand 3101G Heavy-Duty Angle Die Grinder
  • High power (20,000 RPM)
  • Weighs only 1.3 pounds
  • 90-degree angle for easier work
Product Image of the Makita XDG01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 1/4' Die Grinder, Tool Only
Best Cordless
Makita XDG01Z 18V LXT Cordless Die Grinder
  • Powerful motor (25,000 RPM)
  • Aluminum casing is built to last
  • Star computer protection stops over-discharging
Product Image of the DEWALT Die Grinder, 1-1/2-Inch (DWE4887)
Best for Wood Carving
DeWALT Die Grinder
  • Powerful motor (25,000 RPM)
  • AC/DC capability
  • Quality brand
Product Image of the Chicago Pneumatic CP875 Pneumatic Right Angle Pistol Grip Die Grinder with 1/4'' Collet, 22,500 RPM
Best Angle
Chicago Pneumatic CP875 Right Angle Die Grinder
  • Weighs only 1.1 pounds
  • Angled 90-degree head
  • Superior power (up to 30,000 RPM versions)
Product Image of the Makita GD0600 1/4' Paddle Switch Die Grinder, with AC/DC Switch, Blue
Best Electric
Makita GD0600 Paddle Switch Die Grinder
  • Super-quiet (73 decibels)
  • Ergonomic design for increased comfort
  • Superior power (25,000 RPM)
Product Image of the Ingersoll Rand 3107G Air Die Grinder Edge Series – 1/4', Heavy Duty, Straight, Ergonomic Grip, Ball Bearing Construction, Lightweight Tool, Black
Best for Metal
Ingersoll Rand Air Die Grinder 3107G
  • Super-powerful (27,000 RPM)
  • Weighs 1 pound
  • Ball-bearing construction for superior durability

What Is a Die Grinder Used For?

We know this tool is versatile, but what is it used for? Let’s find out.

Reworking Dies

Die grinders were originally developed to grind dies used in tooling, like metal casting dies, plastic molds, forging dies and die-casting dies. It’s where it gets its name. Before precision milling machines came along, it was common for die makers to shape and match profiles manually.

Polishing Metal

Stainless steel and other metals look great when they have been polished. Die grinders have polishing attachments that make light work of car bodywork. And because the attachments are discs, a die grinder is the ideal tool for tackling unusual shapes and contours.

However, die grinders are not good at polishing flat surfaces.

Smoothing Surfaces

When you finish working on a project, you will need to get the smoothest finish possible if you want that professional look. This is more tricky than you think. Overworking the project could spell disaster and ruin the results.

A die grinder makes this process a lot easier. With the proper attachment, you can smooth a variety of materials, ranging from metal, wood, stainless steel, and alloys.

These tools are also perfect for cleaning up weld spots, leaving you with a smoother result and a better-looking object. You could argue that an angle grinder does the same job, but a die grinder is more precise, giving you greater scope for detail.

Rust Removal

Sticking with the welding theme, new weld spots are prone to rapid rusting, so getting all the corrosion off is crucial to the integrity of the weld. A die grinder does this job admirably. It also gets rid of stubborn rust spots, as well as old rust.

Sharpening Blades

You can convert your die grinder into a sharpening station with the right attachment, suitable for knives, hatchets, and axes, plus any other type of blade you can think of. If you don’t have a benchtop grinder, they are the ideal tool.

What Is the Difference Between a Die Grinder and an Angle Grinder?

While both essentially perform the same tasks, an angle grinder is bigger, tougher and better for grinding robust material. When you need a tool with pure power, an angle grinder delivers. You can cut through stone, rock, marble, metal, wood, and just about any other material you can think of.

A die grinder is more of a precision tool designed for more intricate and detailed work. While it can cut through some of the previously mentioned hard materials, die grinders suit wood and metal better.

Types of Die Grinders

Die grinders come in two main types, namely, electric and pneumatic versions. But which is best and which one would suit your needs?

Pneumatic

Product Image of the Ingersoll Rand 3101G Air Die Grinder Edge Series – 1/4', Heavy Duty, Right Angle, Ergonomic Grip, Ball Bearing Construction, Lightweight Tool, Black

These grinders get their power via an air compressor and a ready supply of compressed air. They link to the compressor with a long air hose, and when you press the trigger, the air flows at speed from the compressor to the tool.

Like the electric versions, a pneumatic die grinder is incredibly versatile. With the right attachment, you can cut, hone, polish, and deburr a variety of materials like metal, plastic, wood, and tiles.

Pneumatic die grinders are more powerful than electric varieties, making them a stalwart of industrial and commercial settings.

Electric

Product Image of the Makita GD0600 1/4' Paddle Switch Die Grinder, with AC/DC Switch, Blue

Electric die grinders are more convenient than air-powered models because you can get them out of the box, plug them in, and you are ready to go. A pneumatic model requires an air hose and an air compressor, which is sometimes more expensive than the actual tool itself, doubling your costs.

Also, electric versions are a lot quieter (although all die grinders are noisy) because you don’t have the added volume of the air compressor. Most air compressors operate at a level way above 80 decibels, putting them in the same noise-category as some vacuum cleaners.

The other point about electric models is they are easier to transport, especially if you invest in a battery-operated model. However, you do have to remember to charge the battery before starting work. Cells have a limited runtime, so you may have to reduce your project size to accommodate for the tool’s limitations.

How To Choose the Best Die Grinder

What are the important considerations you need to keep in mind when buying a new die grinder? Here’s a handy guide.

Collet Size

The most common collet size is 0.25 inches. This ensures the widest choice of attachments for your tool. Anything larger and you may reduce the availability of accessories, making the tool less versatile.

Most burr extensions come in a set of eight, and if you don’t have them included with your die grinder kit, the good news is they are relatively inexpensive to buy. The sets consist of metal grinders and sanders of different grades and sizes.

Power Type

There are two ways you can get power to your die grinder. The first is pneumatic, which gets its potency from an air compressor. The advantage is you get a powerful tool that can tackle all commercial and industrial tasks.

The disadvantage of an air-powered toll is the noise. Grinders are noisy at the best of times, but when you add in the volume of the compressor, let’s just say that if you are using it at home, you are going to receive fewer Christmas cards from the neighbors.

Electric die grinders are the most popular models for sale because you don’t need an air compressor, which makes them cheaper, and they are more convenient.

Whether you go for a corded model or a cordless variety is up to you. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Corded grinders restrict you to a plug and the cable’s length, whereas battery-operated models are go-anywhere tools.

The other consideration is that corded grinders deliver a continuous supply of power compared to cordless versions that require you to stop and recharge the battery.

Power Rating

If you are buying a pneumatic or electric die grinder, the power rating of the motor matters. Electric models are judged in either voltage or amps.

Most battery-operated models have an 18 to 20-volt rating, and corded versions have motors rated at 3 to 5 amps. Pneumatic versions rate their motor’s power in horsepower, with most around 0.25 HP to 0.5 HP.

Whatever the rating, the same rule applies, the higher the voltage, amps or HP, the more powerful the die grinder is.

Collet Angle

You can buy a die grinder with a 90-degree angle and a 0-degree angle. Welders and metal fabricators like using 90-degree angle die grinders because they give them greater versatility to reach tight corners and edges.

With the correct extension equipment, you can also increase the scope of a 90-degree die grinder so that it can polish.

Zero-degree die grinders have a linear collet that is easier to control, making them ideal novice’s tools. You can also get a vast array of attachments, including a small saw that enables you to cut wood and metal.

Ergonomic Design

Make sure that when you hold the tool, it feels comfortable to grip and doesn’t place too much strain on your hands and wrists. Remember that you might be using the die grinder for extended periods, and the design helps to make it a more comfortable experience.


The Best Die Grinders of 2021

When it comes to the top die grinders, we left no stone unturned. We rate them for value for money, performance and versatility, bringing you our best 7 models.

1. DeWALT 20V MAX Die Grinder

Best Variable Speed Die Grinder

This is a brushless die grinder, so it never needs the motor brushes replaced, plus it also means it requires less maintenance. The motor is more efficient, which increases its longevity.

It has a variable speed rocker switch, enabling the user to adjust the speed settings to cater to different materials. This DeWALT is a cordless model, so you have the freedom to roam, free of the constraints of a power cable.

The 20-volt motor makes it powerful enough to tackle most tasks, and it even comes with an LED light. The only downside with this model is the battery and charger costs extra. So, when you make your purchase, factor in the additional money you need to spend.

Why We Love It

Cordless Tool

Battery-operated power tools give you the option to take them anywhere. This cordless model enables you to work in any location without the need to plug it in.

Brushless Motor

Brushless motors are the latest in advanced design because they do away with traditional brushes. It means the engine is more efficient, lasts longer and needs minimal maintenance.

Variable Speed

Not all die grinders have variable speed control, but this model has a rocker switch that allows you to select the desired speed. It means you can cater to different materials like wood and metal.

Keep In Mind

Tool Only

This DeWALT is sold as the bare tool only, which means that once you’ve forked out for the grinder, you have to then spend extra on the battery and charger.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 3
Dimensions (inches) 17 x 10 x 5
Power source Battery
Amps/volts/HP 20 volts
Price $$$
Warranty 3-year limited.

2. Ingersoll Rand 3101G Heavy-Duty Angle Die Grinder

Best Pneumatic Die Grinder

If you want a die grinder that delivers real power, this Ingersoll Rand model is the one. It has a premium-grade 0.33 horsepower motor that generates 20,000 RPM. It has an ergonomic design with a contoured grip for comfort and control, and it’s super-lightweight at 1.3 pounds.

You also get a 0.25-inch collet, a rear exhaust port and a self-locking throttle. The ball-bearing construction aids longevity, and because it is a 90-degree angle device, you can increase your versatility by adding a sanding disc.

The other great thing about this tool is the price. It costs half that of the DeWALT cordless model. However, as cheap as it is, it requires an air compressor, which is one hefty expense that you don’t have with the electric models.

Why We Love It

High Power

Pneumatic tools are more powerful than electric varieties, and this Ingersoll Rand air die grinder is no different. It’s the reason why you see so many pneumatic devices in commercial and industrial settings.

Weighs Only 1.3 Pounds

It only weighs 1.3 pounds. This is important if you are using the grinder for prolonged periods, as it reduces hand and wrist fatigue. The added lightness comes courtesy of fewer working parts because it gets its power from the compressor.

90-Degree Angle

Some die grinders are linear, but this model is a 90-degree version, which means the disc sits at an angle. It makes it easier to sand and polish with the correct attachments.

Keep In Mind

You Need an Air Compressor

As attractive as the price is, this model will not operate unless you have an air compressor. These compressors are expensive, so you will end up spending a lot more than you bargained for.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 1.3
Dimensions (inches) 9.5 x 6 x 2
Power source Pneumatic
Amps/volts/HP 0.33 HP
Price $$
Warranty 1-year limited

3. Makita XDG01Z 18V LXT Cordless Die Grinder

Best Cordless Die Grinder

If you are on the hunt for a cordless die grinder, take a look at this Makita. It has a barrel-shaped grip and a slide lock-on for user convenience. It also has vent slots that direct exhaust air away from your face.

You get an LED for working in darkened corners and a stepped neck for working in tight spaces. The housing is solid aluminum, and the collet nut is round to reduce ongoing damage.

It also comes with Star-protection computer controls to stop over-discharging and overheating. The motor is powerful, producing 25,000 RPM, so this cordless tool will tackle most heavy-duty tasks.

Why We Love It

Powerful Motor

This 18-volt motor generates 25,000 revolutions per minute, making it powerful enough to tackle most industrial and home tasks.

Built To Last

Makita is famed the world over for its quality, and this die grinder is no exception. It has a solid aluminum casing that guarantees longevity no matter what the conditions.

Star Computer Protection

Safety is important, so this Makita is equipped with a star control computer protection, which stops over-discharging and overheating. The vents also direct the air away from the user’s face.

Keep In Mind

Tool Only

Yet again, we have another battery-operated tool minus the battery or charger. If you own other Makita products that are compatible with the battery, you probably have a suitable battery, but if it’s a first-time buy, you have to pay extra for the charger and cell.

Super-Expensive

This cordless tool is quality, but is it really worth the price tag? Considering it doesn’t have a brushless motor and you have to buy the batteries and charger separately, it seems a bit steep.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 4.4
Dimensions (inches) 4 x 16 x 12
Power source Battery
Amps/volts/HP 18 volts
Price $$$$
Warranty 3-year

4. DeWALT Die Grinder

Best Die Grinder for Wood Carving

This DeWALT is relatively basic, but it is one of the best tools for wood carving, thanks to its capabilities. It has a lock-on paddle switch for increased comfort and grip, as well as a 4.2-amp motor that produces 25,000 RPM.

It also has an AC/DC capacity, so you could power this die grinder from your welder or a generator. It is corded, so having the ability to work from a generator means you can go remote.

It’s pretty heavy for a die grinder, weighing 4.74 pounds, and considering it lacks many of the features you might expect, it still costs a lot of money for what it is.

Why We Love It

Powerful Motor

When you want a motor to perform, this DeWALT delivers 25,000 RPM, making it a powerful die grinder capable of working on hardwood and softwood, as well as different metals.

AC/DC Capability

It’s corded, which restricts where you can use this grinder, but you can power this machine from your welder and generator, making it a go-anywhere tool.

Quality Brand

DeWALT is famed the world over for quality and reliability. This tool won’t let you down, even in the most demanding working environments.

Keep In Mind

Very Pricey

Considering this tool is basic, lacking cooling vents, an LED or other features you might expect, it is still relatively expensive.

Weighs 4.74 Pounds

When you consider that the Ingersoll Rand model weighs 1.3 pounds, this DeWALT comes in at a hefty 4.74 pounds, making it one of the heaviest grinders to feature.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 4.74
Dimensions (inches) 17.72 x 4.21 x 3.74
Power source Corded
Amps/volts/HP 4.2 amps
Price $$$
Warranty 3-year limited

5. Chicago Pneumatic CP875 Right Angle Die Grinder

Best Angle Die Grinder

When you need a die grinder that offers that little bit more, try this Chicago Pneumatic model. The cutting disc is set at 90 degrees instead of the standard linear. You can sand and polish flat surfaces like wood and sheet metal.

It is the ideal tool for limited space applications; it has a robust aluminum body and a built-in regulator. The 0.25-inch collet is the most common size, so you should have no problems finding attachments.

Because this is a pneumatic tool, it has superior strength and an RPM of 22,500, although you can buy a 27,000 and 30,000 RPM model if you need an extra punch. It’s also lightweight, at just 1.1 pounds.

The downside is you need an air compressor, which adds to the cost-base, so while the tool itself is cheap, the means of power is not.

Why We Love It

Weighs Only 1.1 Pounds

When you compare the weight of this die grinder to plugin models, there is no comparison. At just 1.1 pounds, it should be easy to handle and reduce wrist and arm fatigue if you are using it for extended periods.

Angled Head

The 90-degree angle of the head enables you to work in confined spaces more easily, and it also allows you to add sanding and polishing to your repertoire of skills.

Superior Power

This is an air tool, which means it has greater power compared to many electric models. This one generates 22,500 RPM, but you can get 27,000 and 30,000 RPM versions.

Great Price

On the whole, air die grinders are much cheaper than electric versions. This model costs a fraction of the price of the Makita cordless model.

Keep In Mind

You Need an Air Compressor

Considering this tool is fairly basic, lacking cooling vents, an LED or other features you might expect, it is still relatively expensive.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 1.1
Dimensions (inches) 4.2 x 7.5 x 2.6
Power source Pneumatic
Amps/volts/HP Not stated
Price $$
Warranty 1-year limited

6. Makita GD0600 Paddle Switch Die Grinder

Best Electric Die Grinder

This is the second Makita to make the list. It has a powerful 3.5-amp motor that generates 25,000 RPM, and it’s quiet, at 73 decibels. It has a small-diameter barrel grip for comfort and increased control.

You also get directional flow vents that channel air away from your face, and an easy-to-operate paddle switch. You also get zig-zag, and anti-dust varnish seals the motor from contamination.

The only blot on the horizon is the price. This model costs 3 times as much as the air-powered die grinders.

Why We Love It

Super-Quiet

When you compare this tool to other models, especially the air-powered ones, you can see that 73 decibels is a lot quieter than most.

Ergonomic Design

The body is lightweight and slim, with a contoured barrel grip that increases comfort while decreasing hand and wrist fatigue.

Superior Power

The 3.5-amp motor creates a massive 25,000 revolutions per minute. That is enough to tackle most domestic and commercial applications.

Keep In Mind

Hefty Price Tag

The theme continues with these electric models when it comes to price. This model is 3 times the cost of other air die grinders.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 3.74
Dimensions (inches) 14.09 x 3.23 x 3.23
Power source Corded electric
Amps/volts/HP 3.5 amps
Price $$$$
Warranty 1-year

7. Ingersoll Rand Air Die Grinder 3107G

Best Die Grinder for Metal

No pneumatic tool review would be complete without an Ingersoll Rand model, and this review has two. This die grinder differs from the other model featured because it is linear instead of angled.

The 0.33 horsepower generates 27,000 RPM, so whatever the application, this tool can handle it. It’s the reason why you see so many air die grinders in commercial settings. You also get ball-bearing construction that is heavy-duty and still lightweight.

It has a self-locking lever switch, ergonomic design, and because it weighs just 1 pound, it reduces hand and wrist fatigue.

Why We Love It

Super-Powerful

The motor generates 27,000 RPM, making it one of the most powerful tools to feature on the list. Commercial and industrial settings use these tools for their superior power.

Weighs 1 Pound

When you compare this air tool to electric die grinders, there is no competition when it comes to weight. Most electric versions weigh between 3 and 5 pounds, while this one comes in at 1 pound.

Superior Durability

Ingersoll Rand uses ball-bearing construction in this die grinder to improve performance and increase durability, but still keep the tool lightweight.

Keep In Mind

Super-Noisy

Unlike the Makita, which runs at 73 decibels, this model is very loud. It has a sound pressure of 92.4 decibels, making it incredibly loud.

Additional Specs

Weight (pounds) 1
Dimensions (inches) 9.5 x 6.25 x 1.75
Power source Pneumatic
Amps/volts/HP 0.33 HP
Price $$
Warranty 1-year limited

Die Grinder Comparison Chart

Product Best Weight Dimensions Power source Amps/volts/HP Price Warranty
DeWALT 20V MAX Die Grinder Best Variable Speed 3 lbs 17″ x 10″ x 5″ Battery 20 V $$$ 3-year limited.
Ingersoll Rand 3101G Heavy-Duty Angle Die Grinder Best Pneumatic 1.3 lbs 9.5″ x 6″ x 2″ Pneumatic 0.33 HP $$ 1-year limited
Makita XDG01Z 18V LXT Cordless Die Grinder Best Cordless 4.4 lbs 4″ x 16″ x 12″ Battery 18 V $$$$ 3-year
DeWALT Die Grinder Best for Wood Carving 4.74 lbs 17.72″ x 4.21″ x 3.74″ Corded 4.2 amps $$$ 3-year limited
Chicago Pneumatic CP875 Right Angle Die Grinder Best Angle 1.1 lbs 4.2″ x 7.5″ x 2.6″ Pneumatic Not stated $$ 1-year limited
Makita GD0600 Paddle Switch Die Grinder Best Electric 3.74 lbs 14.09″ x 3.23″ x 3.23″ Corded electric 3.5 amps $$$$ 1-year
Ingersoll Rand Air Die Grinder 3107G Best for Metal 1 lb 9.5″ x 6.25″ x 1.75″ Pneumatic 0.33 HP $$ 1-year limited

Headshot of Mark Weir

About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.

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