Primarily, angle grinders are powerful and used to cut and shape metal surfaces, whereas cut off tools are used to cut thin metals. 

When it comes to operating the two tools, a cut off tool is operated using one hand and designed for cutting metal surfaces while an angle grinder requires both hands and has versatile applications. 

Read our grinder buyer’s guide to know all the crucial factors you should consider when purchasing one.

What Is An Angle Grinder?

angle grinder

Metal fabrication requires precision and ultimate attention. With so many tooling options available, your choice will depend on the project you are working on.

Technically, thick, tough metal will require more powerful cutters and an angle grinder can provide the power you seek for such projects. Angle grinders are designed to grind and sharpen. 

They can also be used to cut metal and accommodate various fittings that expand its functionality and possibilities when fabricating metals. Angle grinders can also make deep incisions, making them useful in design and artwork.

Most angle grinders have motors with 3-7 horsepower, so they can cut thicker metals than cut-off tools. Some masons also use them to cut bricks, in which they are very effective. The grinder head is placed at adjustable angles to allow precision when making angled cuts. 

To use an angle grinder, both hands must get a hold on the tool, which has proven the ideal option for working long thick metal fast.

There are several brands available in the market, each with unique features and benefits, so we recommend comparing the best angle grinder and cut off tool models before making a purchase.

What Is A Cut Off Tool?

cut off tool

Most cut off tools feature one horsepower motors ideal for working light metals. However, there are several versions of these power tools, including corded and cordless.

Unlike angle grinders, on a cut off tool, the cutting head is mounted perpendicularly on the driveshaft and can be operated using one hand.

Because of their design, cut off tools suit projects that require precise flushing and efficiency in the cutting process. They also have a smaller size ideal for cutting car bodies and other hard-to-reach areas.

The blade on a cut off tool is designed to cut rather small metals and their small size suits lightweight projects. They are common for the solo fabrication of light metal sheets and precision cutting. 

A cut off tool is also quite versatile and you can use it to create intricate details since you only need one hand to operate. The fixed design also allows precise results, which is essential in metal fabrication, especially in one-handed operations.

However, choosing a cut off tool or angle grinder requires reviewing all aspects, including positioning, power range and rating, safety features and more.

Angle Grinder Vs Cut Off Tool Main Differences

The main differences between angle grinders and cut off tools can be highlighted under the following key areas:

#Power

An angle grinder is much more powerful than a cut off tool. Most angle grinders have a power rating of 3 to 7 horsepower, which is great for cutting thicker metals.

Cut off tools, on the other hand, are smaller and provide up to 1 horsepower, restricting them to light metals. However, you can find varying power ranges for both models.

#Mode Of Operation

Angle grinders are designed for two-handed operation. This affects how you place the fabrication metal and cutting procedure, which is different from the one-handed operation used for cut off tools.

There are different sizes for both angle grinders and cut off tools. However, the latter is always smaller and designed to operate with one hand.

#Application

A cut off tool is primarily designed to cut thin metal in lightweight projects. An angle grinder, on the other hand, is more versatile and can be used to grind, sharpen, polish, trim and cut metal surfaces. An angle grinder also works thicker metals and has more power for heavier tasks. 

Several differences can be drawn on these aspects alone, including mechanical, electrical, functionality and even price.

As such, you should focus on finding the right feature set and specifications for your application, once you determine which tool is needed.

Angle Grinder Vs Cut Off Tool Similarities

Although angle grinders and cut off tools are two different categories of power tools, there are some similarities between the two. Here’s an overview at the most obvious ones:

  • Both come in cordless, corded, power plugged options
  • Both cut metals and are required for metal fabrication
  • Are handheld power tools
  • Both come in different power ranges

Angle Grinder Uses

cut off tool vs angle grinder

An angle grinder is one of the most versatile power tools you will come across. Its uses overlap beyond metal fabrication, which cannot be said of cut off tools.

The increased power also makes grinders useful when working with tougher materials. The obvious use for an angle grinder is grinding and polishing metal surfaces. 

However, these designs allow you to swap the head, so you can use the same grinder for various other applications.

The common examples include grinding metal, steel and rough edges of the cut tile, pavers and stucco. Other include sanding, polishing, sharpening, routing out mortar, cutting tile, removing loose paint and rust and many others. Grinders can even sharpen your steel blades.

Advantages

Cons

  • Cuts thicker metals – Angle grinders have more powerful motors and come in larger sizes optimized for working thicker tougher metals.They can cut through thick and large metals much faster than cut off tools
  • Versatile – You can swap the grinding head with another model that is designed for the specific material you are working with. This extends the functionality of angle grinders to fabricate materials other than metals.
  • The main downside of using angle grinders is their significantly larger size. The tool requires both hands to operate and feature wide cutting plates that won’t work for small or cramped spaces. The tool also isn’t ideal for detailing.

Cutt Off Tool Uses

Because of their small size, cut off tools can be operated using one hand and are suitable for cutting rather small pieces of metal or other recommended surfaces.

If you don’t have large metal pieces to cut through, a cut off tool can replace the angle grinder. 

However, this tool is provided for making incisions and cutting thin metal. It cannot be used to sharpen, grind, or polish any surface.

Cut off tools are best left to cutting small metals, where they cut up to 6 inches from top to bottom. You can also use them for details, thanks to their small size that reaches tight spaces to make incisions. However, the blades are fixed, limiting the surfaces you can fabricate.

Advantages

Cons

  • Easy to use – operating cut off tools only requires one hand and the fixed design allows you to make precise cuts on the metal you are working. Cut off tools are also small in size and designed for cutting small metals, making them the ideal choice for lightweight metal fabrication. 
  • Used for adding details – cut off tools are perfect for adding details to the piece. They are small and can cut hard to reach sections or make unique incisions on thin metal frames and pieces.
  • The main disadvantage of cut off tools is their fixed design. There is no way to replace the cutting head, so you are limited to cutting specific metals.
  • Cut off tools are also designed for lighter tasks and thin metals.

Which One Should I Get? An Angle Grinder or A Cut Off Tool?

There is no single winner for angle grinder vs cut off tool, considering both are designed for unique applications.

If anything, it is ideal to have both, so you can pick the right one when its need arises. Essentially, the project will determine what tool you need, which makes it important to understand your needs. Some of the things to consider include:

#Main Functionality

Heavy projects that involve thick wide metals will call for angle grinding, while lightweight cutting for small metals can be accomplished using a cut off tool.

Grinders can also sand, polish, sharpen and make incisions. As such, you should note down the primary functionality you seek to help you identify the fitting tool.

#Performance Rating

Power tools have different performance ratings, so you will find differences for both angle grinders and cut off tools. The priority is to choose a tool befitting your project’s needs. You can check the power rating (horsepower) to determine what tools will meet your cutting needs.

#Safety Features

You should invest in power tools that have the right safety features and always wear protective gear when cutting and fabricating metals using a grinder. Since brands use different safety features to reduce accidents, you can compare the top-rated offers in the market before making a choice.

Final Words

Both angle grinders and cut off tools are important in metal fabrication and inseparable from any modern auto shop. However, each of them have unique features and applications.

It is recommendable to stick to the applications listed by the manufacturer as this will give you the best service, besides protecting your equipment’s warranty. 

Also, always buy your tools from reputable sources that can guarantee genuine quality from the manufacturers. 

If you found our angle grinder vs cut off tool article helpful, feel free to leave us a feedback and share. Also, feel free to mention any important details that we might have not covered.