Tools & Equipment

Die Grinder vs. Angle Grinder

Die Grinder vs. Angle Grinder

Photo: Metabo HPT

Die and angle grinders are two of the most popular grinder types out there, and you can be confident of getting either or both in most professional woodworking workshops.

But, while it is common to find many woodworkers using the two for similar jobs, they are different tools meant for diverse purposes. Here we look at some of the things that set the two tools apart to ensure you know what you need for your next project.

Overall Findings

Die Grinder

Angle Grinder

  • Simple rotary tool
  • Runs on under 1 HP motor
  • Small power tool for one-handed use
  • Often pneumatic tool powered by an air compressor
  • 15,000 – 30,000 RPM
  • Heavy-duty power tool
  • Runs on 1.5 to 5 HP motor
  • Large and bulky tool that requires two hands to operate
  • Typically electric corded or cordless
  • 6,500 – 20,000 RPM

Die Grinder vs. Angle Grinder

1. Design: Angle Grinders are Bigger and Heavier

Design is the most noticeable difference between the two tools. While the die grinder is just a simple, oversize rotary tool, the angle grinder is a heavy-duty power tool.

Angle grinders tend to be bigger and heavier tools than die grinders, as a typical one will weigh at least 6 pounds and be over 12 inches long. Die grinders hardly go above 5 pounds in weight and 5 inches long.

The angled grinders get their name from the fact that the head is angled relative to the drive shaft. Die grinders, on the other hand, are available in two head orientations as for some, the cutting head is perpendicular to the driveshaft, and for others, it is parallel to the shaft.

2. Power: Pneumatic vs. Electric

Die grinders are typically pneumatic power tools powered by an air compressor. However, there are still a few electric models that are battery-powered to make the tool more portable.

On the other hand, with the angle grinders, most models are electric, and you can get them in both corded and cordless versions, with the former being the more powerful of the two options.

When it comes to the actual power output, the angle grinders are the more powerful tools as they have larger motors that provide between 1.5 and 5 horsepower. Die grinders run on smaller motors typically under 1 horsepower, with some producing as little as 0.25 horsepower.

3. Application:  Versatile Tools for Different Jobs

Versatility is what makes both die and angle grinders popular. But they will be ideal for different applications. Die grinders can cut metal, wood, and plastic with ease, and if you have a powerful enough model, you can also use it when working on ceramic tiles.

Some typical jobs for a die grinder include cleaning or polishing metals, sanding or polishing wood pieces, and removing rust from most metal pieces.

With angle grinders, on the other hand, you get a powerful tool for heavy-duty jobs. This grinder works on all materials that you can use die grinders on, but the extra power allows you to use it for harder ones like masonry.

The typical jobs for angle grinders include grinding mortar, polishing cars, sharpening metal tools, and even sanding wood pieces.

4. Speed: Die Grinder Deliver Higher RPM Outputs

Given that the die grinders are smaller than the angle grinders and use relatively smaller discs and attachments, they spin much faster.

Because the attachments have shorter distances to cover when spinning, you can expect to get speeds of between 15,000 and 30,000 RPM from a typical die grinder.

Angler grinders, on the other hand, use larger attachments that hence have to cover more distances when spinning. In turn, this leads to a relatively lower RPM of between 6,500 and 20,000 RPM.

5. Cost: Cost Largely Depends on the Model

The cost for both angle and die grinder will largely depend on the specific model and brand you are buying. However, given the more powerful design of the angle grinders, they tend to be more expensive than die grinders when buying both as just the bare tool.

That said, in most instances, you also need to buy an air compressor when buying a die grinder, given most are pneumatic tools. Hence, if you factor in the air compressor's cost, the die grinders become more expensive.


The choice between an angle and a die grinder should depend on how you intend to use the tool, given their different applications.

With that in mind, the die grinders are the ideal choice for those looking for a more lightweight tool that is easy to handle and offers greater precision or something for light-duty use.

However, if you want a grinder for heavy-duty jobs or something more powerful to handle tough jobs that entail cutting hard materials like rebar and mortar, go for an angle grinder.

Clipped Head

  • D-shaped head
  • Requires a small magazine
  • Provides less holding power
  • Prone to overdriving
  • Can be paper collated
  • Hard to pull out
  • Affordable

Round Head

  • Round-head
  • Requires a large magazine
  • Gives more holding power
  • Hard to overdrive
  • Requires plastic or wire-weld collation
  • Easy to pull out
  • Expensive
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