Straight Grinder vs Angle Grinder – The Ultimate Comparison

Are you wondering what’s the difference between a straight grinder and an angle grinder? Certainly, they’re both grinders, but there are several key differences and similarities one can spot.

A straight grinder works with more precision, accuracy and is lighter in weight. In contrast, the angle grinder is more suited for heavy-duty tasks due to its insanely powered motor.

Although the overall similarities and differences remain there, your preference for employing a grinder greatly depends upon what kind of task you are going to perform.

Therefore, the comparison of straight grinders and angle grinders goes well beyond their general utility.

In this guide, we’ve conducted a comprehensive discussion on the straight grinder vs angle grinder debate to help you find the one that fits your needs.

We’ve listed out all the key aspects of both the grinders that address directly to your requirements. Stay adhered to the article to get deeper insights in this regard.

Straight vs Angle Grinder:

When it comes to the comparison between straight and angle grinders, we’ve to put all the factors into consideration.

Let it be their functionality, utility, or characteristics. Let us have a thorough discussion on all the factors separately:

The characteristics of the tool refer to its design, size, power, and cost. They’re all elaborated in the following:

Difference 1: Design of the Tool

The first and foremost area to focus on in terms of comparison is the design of both tools.

An angle grinder has a side handle with its head placed at a right angle to the body. The cutter which is essentially a rotating disc comes with a protective shield which makes it safer to use.

A straight grinder, as its name describes, is a rotary tool with the head positioned in line with the body.

There’s no separate handle for a proper grip; the shaft parallel to the body is all you got to grab the tool.

Difference 2: Tool Size and Dimensions

The angle grinder is relatively bigger in size due to a separate side handle and a rotating disc (around 5 inches in diameter).

Although it comes in varying sizes depending on the duty being performed, its overall larger body accounts for being heavier in weight as well.

On the contrary, a straight grinder is a smaller and lighter tool. It typically weighs around 4lbs on average, and the air models are even lighter (around 1.5-2lbs) providing the utmost ease in controlling them.

Difference 3: Power Source and Speed

A larger size of angle grinder means a bigger and high-powered motor, ranging from 1hp to 5hp (depending on the size).

A straight grinder, being smaller in size, employs a less than 1hp motor which gives it an ultimate edge over angle grinder in terms of speed and precision.

As for the source, the angle grinder uses electricity as a direct power source.

Straight grinders are usually powered by batteries, but the pneumatic variants can work on the compressed air system as well.

Difference 4: Pricing

It has been established that angle grinders are used for heavy tasks including cutting and rough grinding. Evidently, they’re more expensive.

Whereas, straight grinders are pretty cost-efficient as well as possess a versatile utility, which means more functions at a lesser price.

Angle Grinder Uses

As is mentioned earlier that angle grinders are highly powerful tools, their primary usage comes with cutting and rough grinding jobs. Here’s the list of tasks you can conveniently perform with an angle grinder:

Rough Cutting

With an insanely powered motor, rough cutting seems an effortless task to carry out with an angle grinder.

Its 5 inches rotary cutting disc can easily get through iron, steel, rebar, and even tiles.

Metal Grinding

Angle grinder finds its large-scale use in grinding rusty metals and removing mortars as well.

Furthermore, the safety guard prevents you from shards of metal during the grinding or cutting process. Check this guide on angle grinder cutting direction to avoid any injury.

Smoothing Out

You may also use the angle grinder to smooth out the materials in addition to cutting and grinding.

However, you need to be extra careful during smoothing and polishing tasks since it requires some force to override the resistance from the motor.

Straight Grinder Uses

The precision work is a primary privilege associated with the straight grinder due to its lighter weight. The tasks it can easily handle involve:

Accurate and Precise Cutting

A straight grinder provides maximum accuracy in cutting different (although limited) sorts of materials.

The smaller <1hp motor makes it convenient to handle since there’s no chance of incoming resistance by the tool itself.

Narrow Grinding

A straight grinder is an ideal tool when it comes to grinding jobs involving narrow spaces. It covers relatively less area since the rotary disc is placed parallel to the body.

Machining and Shaping

Yet another versatile use of this tool is the machining of different metals; for instance, the repair tasks requiring grinder, working at different angles, and carving or shaping of wood.

Which one Should you Prefer?

Your preference in this regard is highly subjective; depending on the task you’re supposed to carry out.

This is one of the most significant points in the straight and angle grinder comparison since the application of the grinder directly affects your decision.

We’ve listed out the important factors to consider before employing one of these tools:

When Should you Prefer a Straight Grinder?

It should be your go-to grinder if:

  • You are planning to perform versatile activities – involving grinding with accuracy, and precision cutting through narrow areas.
  • You’re working on a small project for a limited time that doesn’t require hefty tasks of cutting on a consistent basis.
  • A lightweight tool is your requirement.

When Should you Prefer an Angle Grinder?

They are the ideal grinders in the following cases:

  • You need to perform heavy-duty applications with a powerful tool.
  • You’re in for a long-term grinding project based on consistent cutting tasks.
  • You’re working on heavy metals and tiles, and can easily disregard any precise cutting.


Considering you might have developed some queries regarding all this straight vs angle grinder debate, we’ve compiled some FAQs below.

Make sure to check out the detailed answers to address your concerns in this regard:

1. Should I wear gloves with an angle grinder?

Not only gloves, but eye protection is equally important when using an angle grinder to keep your hands and eyes from the shards of metal.

However, it is imperative to check out the separation between the cutting disc and your hands once you’ve worn gloves.

2. Can you polish with a Straight grinder?

A straight grinder with a polishing pad is a perfect tool to polish almost any sort of material. In addition to that, its versatility allows it to be used in smoothing, shaping, and carving as well.

3. Can a cutting disc be used for grinding?

It is not recommended to use a cutting disc to grind the material. A cut-off wheel or disc is relatively thinner than a grinding disc.

Using a cutting blade for side grinding would increase the likelihood of its early breakage since it does not possess enough strength to withstand the resistive force.

Therefore, each disc serves the very purpose it is created for.

4. Can you turn a grinder into a buffer?

Die grinders can work as little buffing tools. With a buffing disc attached, they can perform a variety of functions involving buffing and polishing.

As for the angle grinders, it is prudent not to use them as buffers since their speed typically isn’t controllable. Yet if a grinder comes with a speed-control setting, you can certainly turn it into a buffer.

5. Can you use a straight grinder to cut metal?

You should avoid “cutting through” a metal with straight grinders as they feature low-powered motors and are primarily used for precision work on metals.

They have the ability to cut through lighter materials though (i.e., plastic, wood, and low carbon steel).


After going through the guide, you must have developed an idea of the characteristics, functionality, and utility of both straight and angle grinders.

It’s not that they’re entirely different from each other, they do share some common terms as well.

Both are rotary tools and imply force via spinning. Both provide versatility in terms of attachments as they can switch from cutters, blades, grinding discs to wire wheels and polishers.

At the end of the day, it is on you to make a decision. Keeping their features in mind, make it clear what exactly would be the application.

It would surely help you settle the straight grinder vs angle grinder debate.