The main differences between a die grinder and angle grinder are seen in the tool design, power and their sizes. When it comes to usage, an angle grinder is more suited towards rough grinding, whereas a die grinder comes as a rotary tool tailored for precision fabrication. 

There is no distinct winner in the die grinder vs angle grinder comparison, considering both tools have unique applications. However, if you are looking to pick one of them, we have included below some of the top distinctions you should be aware of.  

die grinder

The Die Grinder

Die grinders are small handheld power tools designed to suit various applications. The rotating shaft accommodates different attachments, which can be used to cut through metals, wood and other materials. 

Besides cutting through surfaces, die grinders can also be used to polish, smoothen rough edges of cut metal or wood, blade sharpening, rust removal and many more. With its impressive list of possible attachments, the die grinder is one of the most versatile tools in any metal fabrication workshop. 

However, not all offers are ideal and there are various distinctions to review before picking the right die grinder that suits your needs.

The Angle Grinder

Much like a die grinder, an angle grinder is a handheld power tool primarily designed to grind away the rough edges of metal, wood, or concrete.

Angle grinders can work with different attachments and grindstones to suit various applications that range from cutting through surfaces to polishing, grinding away rust, sharpening and shaping. 

An angle grinder is much bigger than a die grinder and has a more powerful motor, making it ideal for cutting thick metals. Because of their versatility, there are many options in the market, so you should prioritize finding specs that fit your needs.

Top 5 Differences Between Angle Grinders and Die Grinders

angle grinder vs die grinder

#1 Design

Angle grinders feature slim abrasive discs mounted on the rotary spindle. The disks, or grindstones, are at the right angle with the tooling and use two main parts for fabrication.

The disc’s face is often used for polishing, sanding and grinding, usually accomplished at low rpm. The periphery performs the work of cutting when rotating at high speed. 

Die grinders are rotary tools that cut material in small bits. Most die grinders use carbide burrs for the peripheral area used for machining. You can find straight and right-angled die grinders, so it is essential to understand the difference before making a choice. 

You will also find various design differences depending on the application and material you are working on. An angle grinder is considered a heavy-duty power tool while a die grinder is a lightweight rotary tool.

#2 Size

While both angle grinders and die grinders are handheld tools, they have significant distinction when it comes to size. Die grinders are generally small and designed to be used with a single hand. The design is more like a screwdriver, making it ideal for precision cutting. Die grinders work almost similar to the cut off tool, but the two have considerable differences. 

The latter has limited applications considering it is a fixed tool that doesn’t accommodate other attachments. Angle grinders, on the other hand, tend to be much bigger than most handheld power tools. They come in varying sizes from small models you can lift using one hand to larger designs with considerable weight. 

Angle grinders also feature handles on the design to help you grip on the tool. They are bulkier and feature bigger motors, wheel protectors and grindstones. This doesn’t take anything away from their functionality, considering they are designed for heavy-duty fabrications.

#3 Speed and Power

Angle grinders are generally bigger and feature a larger motor that is more powerful than what you will get on a die grinder. They are built for heavy-duty machining and come with varying power ratings from 2 to 5 horsepower, almost double what is produced by die grinders. 

The power surplus is handy when working thicker or harder materials. It can also speed the process, allowing you to grind and polish much faster. Die grinders are air-powered, although most also use a battery. Corded electric-powered die grinders are not quite popular. 

On the other hand, electric powered and battery-powered angle grinders are all you will get in the market. Angle grinders also offer lower rpm compared to die grinders. 

Nonetheless, these tools have few overlapping applications, so the rpm shouldn’t be an issue in the die grinder vs angle grinder comparison. You only need to worry about rpm, once you determine the required grinder.

#4 Tooling Precision

If you are looking for better precision, you should get a die grinder. They are designed to offer better maneuverability, so you will have total control over the process. The small motors also offer controlled force you can use to work more complex profiles. 

An angle grinder uses brutal force and power to accomplish its function. It is designed for quick grinding, polishing and cutting. While you can achieve clean cuts, it won’t be as fine and polished as using a die grinder.

Angle grinders do a perfect job of grinding rough edges and cutting thick material. The grinding disk features a flat face that can work flat surfaces and curved exterior that spans a large surface, but that’s as far as recommended. 

Conversely, die grinders are smaller in size and can be used to shape curves, polish holes, sharpen hard-to-reach tool blades and work complex internal profiles. Angle grinders are still precise in their application, which is to grind away large surfaces fast. 

#5 Versatility

Both angle grinders and die grinders are very versatile as you can use different attachments.

The main difference is angle grinders are bigger and more powerful suited to heavier tasks, whereas die grinders are smaller and precise to facilitate lightweight fabrications. 

Angle grinders feature protective guard, which makes them safer as a cut off tool, especially when dealing with hard metal, like steel.

Die grinders don’t perform well as a cut off tool and lack the protective shield, enough reason you shouldn’t use them for direct cut offs.

You can still find cut off wheels for die grinders if you want to cut small, thin metals. Both grinders can grind away rust, paint and rough edges of cut metal or wood. You can also use the grindstones for buffing and polishing, sharpening metal objects and shaping. 

Die grinders can even be used to add intricate design details as they are smaller in size. Angle grinders occupy a much larger space and their big disks suit applications that require cutting through metal objects swiftly.

Which One Should I Get? An Angle Grinder or a Die Grinder?

Since these two tools are designed to perform different tasks, you should get the one that suits your projects needs. However, I personally consider that getting the two of them is always a smart choice.

Primarily, angle grinders are designed to cut and grind metal and wood materials. They can also work with concrete surfaces and people have found various other applications you can achieve using different attachments.

Generally speaking, you should get an angle grinder for the following reasons:

  • When in need of a powerful handheld tool for rough grinding and cutting;
  • When you need to cut, grind or polish hard surfaces, such as steel frames and rebar;
  • When you need to grind away or remove hard material such as mortar and tile; 
  • When you are working with a large surface; and
  • Rust removal from a wide area

On the other hand, die grinders are a leap ahead when it comes to what you can achieve. They are highly versatile and accommodate more attachments than a standard angle grinder. All you need is the right attachments compatible with the grinder. 

If you are dealing with small metals and thinner pieces, you will probably find the die grinder invaluable for your workshop. It is recommendable if:

  • You are involved with precision jobs
  • You mostly work with small workpieces
  • You need smaller tool bits to cut, grind or polish metal objects
  • You are into DIY woodwork and metalwork 

People have found various uses for both angle grinders and die grinders, so the applications aren’t limited to those listed above. The tools also come in varying sizes and specifications to suit specific applications. As such, it is essential to find the right model for your task. 

You should also avoid using the wrong tool to prevent accidents and follow all the manufacturer’s instructions.

Final Words

You can find other minor differences that exist between these two conventional handheld grinders. Both cutting tools have a unique application and one may not be exchanged for another, except in very rare instances. They also come with different specifications and recommended uses. As such, you should choose a model that meets your applications. 

Once you determine your workshop needs, find reputable retailers that can guarantee genuine top-rated grinders in the market. That said, both die grinders and angle grinders are useful and worth having in your workshop.

Let us know if we have answered your questions on die grinder vs angle grinder and what each is used for. You can also leave us a comment in the comment section if you have any questions, or add any helpful information about the two. Cheers!