We haven't had this discussion in awhile. I've had 2 of my angle grinders die lately, although I was able to get one of them running again. But it ain't a-gonna last long. I've been out of the loop for a long time when it comes to buying new angle grinders - is there anything decent out there anymore?
It's a little heavier that the 4 1/2 DeWalts that I've had, but nicer/easier to handle. A large part of that is that it has a trigger lock and I don't have to hold the paddle in place -- bad arthritis and other hand problems. I know, the DeWalt has a trigger lock too, it works for about 4 times.
The Makita also has ball and needle bearings supporting the driven shaft - opposed to ball and sleeve in the DeWalt.
I had a realization on the last one I bought. I bought it on ebay for a nice price, and it was like new. A Makita. When I got it, I realized something I never knew before that. They come in different diameters. This one was smaller than the others I have had, and fits my hand much better.
As for brands, I think it depends on how much you use it. If you don't use it a lot, most anything will do. If it needs to last, or work hard, you might want to go with one of the standards.
I like Makita. I got a Metabo a while back on a deal from a guy, and I know they are spendy. Haven't even used it yet. For a lot of work, el cheapos do just fine.
At times, I can find new looking tools at my local pawn shops. Almost bought a Milwaukee Sawzall yesterday for $60, but the foot was messed up. Other than that, it was very new looking. I bought my last 9.6 cordless Makita drill almost brand new for $30 in a small town hock shop.
But from now on, fitting my hand is a big consideration.
FLEX without question. I used to say that FLEX and Metabo were even, but since I have 5 FLEX grinders at home and 3 Metabo grinders at work, my opinion of Metabo has dropped a bit. I have had to replace the brushes in all 3 Metabo grinders at least once in a year. Some twice.
While buying the latest set I realized I have NEVER had to change a set of brushes in any of my FLEX grinders and I have had some for 12 years.
The Metabo brushes have a nice feature though. They have a small spring imbedded in the brush. When it wears down to a certain point, the spring goes "POP" and the grinder stops. It prevents the brush from wearing down until it damages the armature.
I was talking about this excessive brush wear with a power tool repair tech and he agreed that Metabos aren't what they were. The best ones were the older square bodied grinders. They were Rolls Royces.
My favorite FLEX grinders are
Makita grinders are pretty good as long as you choose the right ones.
When Dewalt killed the old Wildcat 9" grinders they offed their last good grinder.
I'd vote for Metabo, have had the last 5" one for 19 years and still on the first set of brushes but I don't use it like you must. My first Metabo I killed by letting it ingest too much dust from cutting cement and the brushes wore down and took out the armature, that didn't have the feature you mentioned. I learned the lesson of not using a good grinder for that sort of thing and checking the brushes occasionally.
Other than that for DIY use I have never had a problem with a Bosch tool yet either pro or home models.
I have a mate uses a cordless angle grinder with a slitting disc for feathering off (?) weld root runs so that he can get invisible restarts.
Feathering as I understand it: when doing a full-penetration root run on a V-butt preparation, where you have to restart after pausing the weld (eg. to change welding rods), you produce a shallow "chisel edge" "entry ramp" to the continuing direction of the weld by getting a slitting disc to spin just through the root separation / root gap of the weld root yet to be welded, and draw the grinding disc back until it grinds into the rounded end of the weld finish. Then when you restart the welding process a little back from the leading edge of the weld, you weld down the channel and your new weld has fully stabilised to the profile of the previous weld by the time the feathering finishes => invisible restart - only see a continuous weld.
A slitting disc is far too delicate for a shared grinder, and equally its limited power requirement and short durations make it amenable to being on a cordless tool.
Frankly one large reason for having a cordless is you have it in your bag, use it quickly when needed and no-one else gets drawn into deliberations about permission had it been known that the tool existed...
My favorite in the little grinders is still the B&D/DeWalt. Really like that paddle switch and the thing fits my hand. They don't last forever but they last a long time.
My 9" is also a B&D, it's the Wildcat's mommy or grandma. Heavy old girl, but lots o' power, wouldn't trade it for any new ones I've seen. I see Ernie says the Wildcat has been discontinued.. bad choice on the part of the manufacturer, in my opinion.
I now own 7, most of which were picked up in yard sales, etc, for less than $10. They are all fitted with different disks, wheels, etc and they all get a fair amount of use. Only one has failed. Even the no-name chiwanese cheapies are as reliable as anything else.
"Big Bertha" is a Ryobi 180mm 1500Watt . It's variable speed, has ample power and is good value for the money.
Of course, if your income depended upon having one by your hand 8 hours a day, you would want to get the "best", whatever that is.
That bit of info was part of a funny conversation I overheard. I often stop in to the Dewalt repair center on Airport Way in Seattle. I go through the accessory bins for cheap hammer drill bits, screwdriver bits, and grinding wheels.
I was in there rooting through the bins, and heard the conversation between one of the repair techs and a customer who had brought in a Makita 7" grinder for repair. Dewalt repair will fix anybody's power tools.
The customer asked about getting a new grinder for heavy steel work, and the tech said that Black&Decker / Dewalt had just discontinued the best heavy duty grinder in the business (the Wildcat), and that all the other Dewalt grinders were junk.
He recommended the heavy duty Milwaukee and Makita grinders with the all metal bodies.
Another point I should make is that one of the main reasons that I only buy German grinders has to do with nerve damage in my hands from so many years of grinding. Cheap grinders have badly balanced armatures so they vibrate a lot. The higher quality German and Swiss grinders have very well balanced armatures so less vibration, and my fingers don't go numb.
As I stated in my last post, I just became aware that there was a substantial difference in the diameter of the barrel on a grinder. The smaller ones are infinitely easier for me to handle, and now you have my interest piqued, I will get out that Metabo and play with it, as well as go look at some Flex models. With the small amounts of grinding and finishing I do, it would be worth the $$$ to buy a couple that are going to be in my will.
Gunner told me to avoid the blue ones, they last "about an hour". He says the orange ones last a lot longer. Probably what I'd buy if I were 23 and didn't give a shit about my wrists and didn't do steel fabrication for a living.
I'm going to look at the German ones. I *like* smoooooth .. :-)
I always have three of them set up at a time. One with a disc, one with a brush, and one with a flapper or disc. It makes it sooo much easier, and if I could standardize them, it would make it easier just needing one set of wrenches instead of sometimes the odd sized one.