September 18, 2022
As you begin accumulating power tools as a woodworker, you might soon discover that some power tools might serve similar purposes and achieve similar results, just like in the case of the angle grinder and a cut off tool. If it’s your first time seeing a cut off tool, you might mistake it for an angle grinder. Yet, these two powerful tools are not the same. Moreover, they are not interchangeable.
These two power tools exhibit key differences that significantly determine how they perform their jobs. Moreover, each of these power tools has its pros and cons. Hence, when choosing between the two, it will help to consider with care which will be apt for your present tasks.
Differentiating Between Angle Grinder and Cut Off Tool
To intelligently decide which is best for your needs between the angle grinder and cut off tool, you must know the succinct differences between these two tools. Below is a short description of each of these power tools:
Understanding the Cut Off Tool
The cut off tool is a power tool that you can use to cut things with more precision and power. This power tool can be either corded or cordless. Moreover, you can operate this tool using one of your hands. The tool features a cutting accessory or cutter mounted on the driveshaft at a 90° angle. This design lets this tool run smoothly.
The cut off tool facilitates the cutting process for you, primarily if the object you cut gets situated in a hard-to-reach location or tight corners. You can use this tool to cut various materials like wood, metals, plastic, and many other materials. This tool is also compact and is portable.
- Compact and portable
- Allows for single-handed operation
- Excellent design
- The power range is within the reasonable range
- Can’t accommodate extra attachments
- Not ideal for cutting large metal pieces
- Fixed design can be a liability
Understanding the Angle Grinder
The angle grinder is another cutting device that features a rotating disc. This disc gets attached to the device and comes with a sharp surface and sharp edges. This tool is a multipurpose tool that you can use for polishing, grinding, and cutting. The angle grinder also lets you use various attachments, making this tool a multifunctional device.
The primary function of this tool, however, is for cutting and grinding. When using this tool for such functions, you need to hold it for efficient and smooth operations with your two hands.
The angle grinder features a more powerful motor that delivers an incredible speed and a high level of precision for cutting large pieces of hard materials. Besides, its head is set at a particular angle relative to the driveshaft. Thus, you can modify the angle of cutting and the required power.
- Can cut large metal pieces
- Allows for different attachments
- Comes with higher horsepower
- Suitable for thick metal
- Not ideal for tight turns and cramped space usage
- Not suited for detailing
- Necessitates two-hand operation
Detailed Differences Between Angle grinders and Cut Off Tools
The angle grinder and the cut off tool are undoubtedly essential power tools in the fabrication and building industries. You can use them both in your workshop, where there is a need to cut metals and materials and shape them into usable forms. Yet, there are also remarkable differences between these two devices.
One such difference is in usage. The cut off tool is for cutting. Hence, you can use it to cut metals and other materials with precision. On the other hand, the angle grinder can cut, shape, grind, and sharpen. It can do other things that the cut off tool can’t.
Since the cut off tool is for cutting, you can use it with ease when cutting materials. You can use it to cut materials while you hold this device with one hand. Meanwhile, it will help if you operate the angle grinder with both hands.
Besides, when it comes to power, the cut off tool features a 1HP motor. The angle grinder, however, features a 3 to 7 HP motor.
Knowing all these differences between these two devices would allow you to decide which one is appropriate for your needs. Moreover, it will also help if you have both of these tools in your tool arsenal.
Detailed Comparison of the Angled Grinder and Cut Off Tool
Aside from the abovementioned generalized comparison of these two power tools, it will also help to be cognizant of the detailed comparison of the features of these two power tools:
Given that the angle grinder can do more than the cut off tools, the angle grinder also costs more than the cut off tool. Yet, despite being more costly, it is, however, a multipurpose tool. Hence, instead of buying multiple tools for grinding, cutting, and sanding, you can use the angle grinder for these tasks.
Therefore, you save in the process, and you spare yourself from buying multiple tools. Besides, these two tools come with pneumatic and electric options. Hence, their prices can go up further. Yet, the price gets usually dictated by the power type these tools make use of.
When it comes to performance, we could say that both devices have cordless and corded versions. The cut-off tool, however, comes with a motor designed for light works. It is around one horsepower. However, the angle grinder has a more powerful motor ranging from a 3 to 7 HP motor. Moreover, its motor is bigger. For this reason, you can use it for various tasks.
The cut-off tool, being smaller, is perfect for use in tight turns and spaces. It is also ideal for cutting materials flushed on a particular surface, just like a car frame, for example, or a sheet of metal. Nevertheless, the angle grinder is more versatile than the cut-off tool. It allows for switching blades to let you engage in varied tasks.
Both these machines can cut metal. Yet, their primary difference in this aspect is the kind of metal they cut. The cut-off tool can cut metal that is under three inches in diameter. Hence, it is ideal for detailing works. Moreover, it is less expensive than the grinder. As such, you can save if you opt for this device.
Nevertheless, it can’t handle larger sizes of metal. Thus, you can’t use it to cut bars and pipes. You will need to shift to the angle grinder when cutting a larger-diameter metal.
The angle grinder, on the other hand, is a more versatile tool. It can do more and varied tasks. Besides, if you cut a larger diameter metal, you should go for the angle grinder.
Another aspect worth looking at is the level of portability of each of these devices. The cut-off tool, of course, is smaller. Thus, it is more portable and easier to handle. If you are engaged in small projects, it is your best option. Moreover, if you travel from one workplace to another, the cut-off tool is a better option.
Meanwhile, the angle grinder is likewise small. Yet, it is larger than the cut-off tool. So, if you don’t mind carrying an extra pound, opting for an angle grinder will never be a big issue regarding portability and weight.
Another factor to consider is how you operate each of these devices. You can run the cut-off tool using one hand. It is easy to use and set up and is relatively light. However, the angle grinder is more powerful and heavier than the cut-off tool. As such, you need to operate it using both hands. In this way, you will have better control of the device. Moreover, it is perfect for heavy-duty tasks.
You will need more space to work with when using the angle grinder. However, you can use the angle grinder on various materials like metal, concrete, brick, ceramic tiles, and porcelain tiles. You only need to replace the blade of the angle grinder to perform other tasks. Hence, when it comes to operation, the angle grinder is more versatile than the cut-off tool.
Setting Up of the Tool
The cut-off tool is handier than the angle grinder. Its blade is mounted to the drive shaft perpendicularly. Meanwhile, the angle grinder has a cutting head set at a particular angle to its driveshaft. This setup allows for heavy-duty performance and better efficiency. You may assume that this setup of the angle grinder will make it more challenging to handle, especially when working close enough to the material you will cut. Yet, it isn’t the case, for you can still use the angle grinder to cut frozen bolts.
The angle grinder, of course, is more versatile compared to the cut-off tool. Hence, if you engage more often in multiple projects, you will indeed choose the angle grinder. Moreover, you will find it more suitable for multipurpose tasks. Besides, if you are a DIYer, you will find the angle grinder a perfect option for your different projects.
The cut-off tool, on the other hand, is perfect for cutting thin metal with precision. It is the only thing that it can do. Yet, it can do it with precision. So, if you are involved in a more detailed cutting of thinner metal, the cut off tool is a good choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Aside from knowing the succinct differences between these two devices, it will also help if you get familiar with the following FAQs about these two devices:
Can a Cut-off Tool Do What an Angle Grinder Can?
The cut-off tool can only perform one operation, and that is cutting the material. As such, it can never perform other tasks. On the other hand, you can use the angle grinder for many applications. Hence, it can cut like the cut-off angle. Yet, the cut-off tool can’t sand, grind, or perform other tasks which the angle grinder does. When cutting, however, the cut-off tool excels in cutting smaller and thinner metal. You can operate the cut off tool using a single hand.
On the other hand, the angle grinder is much heavier and must be operated using both hands. Moreover, it can’t imitate the cut-off tool in cutting through tight turns and spaces. Hence, if your job requires you to cut metal through tight spaces, your best option is the cut-off tool.
Nevertheless, if you want power and versatility, you should go for the angle grinder. It will be best likewise to have both these tools at your disposal. Yet, avoid the mistake of putting a wheel meant for a cut-off tool on an angle grinder. Such a mistake may prove to be risky and might put your safety in jeopardy.
Can You Use Grinder as a Sander?
Since the angle grinder can accommodate various types of wheels, you can use it for many applications. One such application is the sanding of your material. Thus, you don’t need to buy multiple tools to perform various applications with the angle grinder. Therefore, you can save if you buy an angle grinder.
You can convert the angle grinder into a veritable sander by simply changing the attachment of the angle grinder. The sanding attachment is called “flap discs.” Flap discs come in different thicknesses and sizes. Once you’ve installed the flap disc on your angle grinder, you can use your angle grinder for polishing and smoothing surfaces.
If you want to raise your level of woodworking and other similar activities a notch higher, you will need to invest in essential power tools. These power tools can facilitate the completion of your projects with efficiency and a high level of accuracy. Two important tools you should have in your tool arsenal are the angle grinder and the cut-off tool. These tools may look similar to each other, but each could be useful for specific applications.
As mentioned above, the cut-off tool is specifically meant for cutting thinner pieces of metal and materials, and it is its sole purpose. However, the angle grinder is more versatile and will allow you to use it for various applications. Yet, investing in both power tools would be a worthwhile investment as a DIYer.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.