The vast majority of bench grinder wheels almost always come in pairs. This allows the operator to complete different tasks without needing to change the entire setup of the machine. Indeed, different grinder wheels will have different functions; by having two wheels on each bench grinder, users are able to switch between functions rapidly, such as altering between sharpening, cutting, and polishing. 

The Different Types of Bench Grinder Wheels

There are many different types of grinder wheels, and each of these offers a slightly function. For example, grinding wheels with a coarser grain size will be much more abrasive and can help with rapid cutting; meanwhile, fine grain sizes are better for polishing surfaces. As such, it’s important to always consider the following points as part of your decision to find the most suitable type of bench grinder wheels for your needs.

Always Consider the Material You’re Using for Your Bench Grinder Wheels

What’s more, the type of abrasive material will also play a significant role in how you use your bench grinder. For example, if you were looking to use your bench grinder for sharpening blades and knives, you would want to use different materials based on the blade material.

Let’s give an example. Silicon carbide wheels are highly effective for their abrasive nature. However, these cannot be used with steel blades as they may cause an iron alloy to form. As such, in this case, you would potentially want to switch between wheels depending on the type of blade you were sharpening – and having a choice of two grinding wheels makes this far more efficient.

A growingly common material used for bench grinder wheels is aluminium oxide, which offers a high-grade, long-term solution that’s surprisingly durable while being excellent for many general use applications.

Aluminium oxide is also suitable for use with steel alloys and carbon steel, too. Alternatively, a mix of ceramic and aluminium oxide could also be a viable option to consider.

The Shape of Your Wheels Also Plays a Significant Role

8 inch grinding wheel

Did you know that the shape of your wheels can also play a significant role in how you use it? This is something that many new operators don’t realise; however, it can actually change your grinding style drastically. For example, a standard straight wheel is ideal for sharpening. 

As such, if you need to sharpen your chisel or lawnmower blades, this could be just the option to go for. However, if you need to do more precise shaping, you may want to opt for a tapered or cutting face wheel, which are often much more precise in nature. 

Or, if you’ve got a particular project that’s proving especially difficult to complete as the materials keep overheating? No problem: segmented grinders can help with this, potentially.

These are just a few of the different grinder shapes you may want to consider. Once again, they can influence how you use your bench grinder, and having two wheels ensures you won’t have to switch between wheels to get the finish you need from your project.

 Further Components of Bench Grinders

bench grinder sanding wheel

The two grinder wheels are highly important components of bench grinders; however, they are not the only important component to consider. There are also many other factors to consider, but three of the most influential parts of modern bench grinders include the following.


The motor will directly influence the power of your bench grinder, and as such, you should always consider this carefully. Indeed, the motor provides power to the wheels, which can influence their RPM (revolutions per minute).

The RPM for each model varies considerably; for most home users, an RPM of around 1500-2500 will be suitable, although commercial applications may require an RPM of around 3000RPM.

Protective Wheel Guards

With most home bench grinders featuring an RPM of around 2000, your wheel will likely be spinning around 30 times every second. As such, it’s clear to see just how much pressure is generated when materials are used against the grinding wheels – and this can lead to sparks and stray debris flying around. 

Naturally, this could be potentially dangerous. With this in mind, the majority of modern bench grinders are designed with protective wheel covers to ensure that any stray sparks are less likely to do any harm. 

However, you should never rely on the protective wheel guards solely; it’s always advisable to use protective eye guards and face coverings to prevent any injuries or damage from occurring.

Tool Rests

Tool rests are often a critical component of a high-quality bench grinder, offering a highly valuable solution to ensure that your tools stay organised and where you need them. This is especially useful in cases where you need to alter the wheel’s speed, allowing you to pause without needing a dedicated space to do so. 

Do I Need to Use Both Bench Grinder Wheels?

A common question that we’re often asked when it comes to bench grinders is whether or not you need to use both wheels. Indeed, while modern bench grinder designs help ensure that your grinder is as versatile as possible, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a necessity. For example, if you purchased a bench grinder solely to polish one type of material, the second wheel would be redundant.

So, do you need to use both wheels in this scenario? Luckily, no. Of course, you could just ignore the second wheel as a spare; alternatively, you may be able to disconnect one of the wheels that you don’t use and just continue to operate your bench grinder as normal. However, before disconnecting your bench grinder wheels that aren’t in use, you’ll want to refer to the operator’s manual first just to check that this step is okay for your chosen model.

This shouldn’t have a noticeable impact on the balance of your bench grinder since the grinder wheel itself is so lightweight. However, if you’ve been nervous about having a wheel turning while not in use, this may offer some comfort.

Key Features of Top-Quality Bench Grinders

aluminum grinding wheel

At this point, we’ve considered several of the most critical components of bench grinders and why most bench grinder wheels come in pairs, anyway. 

However, it’s worth considering that not every bench grinder is created equally; just because your chosen bench grinder has two wheels (allowing you to interchange between them) doesn’t mean it’s a high-quality model.

So, what should you look for from a top-quality bench grinder? Well, some of the key components of a quality bench grinder model, in our opinion, include the following factors:

  • Designed with heavy, durable materials for long-term use
  • High RPM potential, ideally with variable motor speeds for different applications
  • Well-balanced rubber feet to support the model without vibrations or shaking
  • Suitably wide foot to promote balance and stability overall
  • Effective heat-control systems in place to prevent overheating during use

These are just several of the key factors you might want to consider when looking for the most optimal bench grinder model for your own needs. However, everyone will have slightly different requirements from their ideal bench grinder. 

As such, you should consider this carefully to ensure you’ve picked a suitable model that’s ideal for your requirements. For example, if you’re mainly intending to use your new bench grinder for DIY projects, you likely won’t need as heavy-duty a model as someone using the model commercially might require.

Check out our top 20 Bench Grinders in 2022!

Safety Is Critical with Any Bench Grinder Wheels

Regardless of whether you only use your bench grinder sporadically or if you have a grinder at home that you use for DIY projects on a more frequent basis, safety is always paramount. Indeed, the massive RPM of bench grinders these days makes them potentially lethal machines, and it’s not unheard of for people to suffer severe injuries when using a bench grinder model.

Always Pay Attention To the Grinder and Your Surroundings

So, what’s the solution here? Well, the first most crucial thing is to pay close and careful attention at all times when using a bench grinder. You must never let yourself get distracted from the task at hand; this is why we advise that you should only use one wheel at a time.

Wear Eye and Face Protection

Unfortunately, attention to detail can only get you so far with your bench grinder safety. There are natural other safety measures that are paramount for the success of your project; always wear eye or face protection as a matter of course, and ideally, you should always look for potential flying debris and the like that could hurt.

Consider Your Wardrobe Choice for Bench Grinding

In addition to face coverings, we also recommend choosing appropriate clothing. You must always wear long-sleeved and long-legged clothing to cover your skin when using bench grinder wheels in case of flying debris. 

What’s more, you should also wear tight-fitting clothing that prevents the risk of clothes draping in the way of the wheels; naturally, long hair should also be tied back as part of this point. However, you must try to balance the need for non-loose clothing with a design that doesn’t restrict your movement, just in case you need to quickly get out of the way.

Invest in Specialist Bench Grinding Gloves for Maximum Hand Protection

Finally, we highly recommend that you always wear effective, specialist bench grinder gloves to prevent damage to your hands.

Bench grinder gloves offer a thick barrier between you and the bench grinder wheels, helping keep you safe. However, even specialist gloves can only offer so much protection; so, you must always check you can move your fingers freely in your gloves before you begin using them. 

If your chosen gloves restrict your dexterity, they probably aren’t a good fit for a bench grinder whose wheels are spinning at 2000RPM! Check out our detailed articles around bench grinder gloves to find out more!

Final Thoughts

If you have been looking to invest in a bench grinder, then you may have wondered why these come with two wheels in most cases. The reason for this is, generally, very simple: it allows users to rapidly switch between functions, such as polishing and cutting, for more rapid results overall.

As such, hopefully, today’s guide will have given you some new ideas about how to make the most of your own bench grinder investment – and, maybe, you’ll now be able to use both bench grinder wheels more effectively and efficiently for your next projects.