Have you ever looked around and wondered how that bunch of keys you’re holding got shaped to be the way you are? Or maybe how that fine piece of furniture was cut and shaped so perfectly from a piece of wood into what you’re using now in your day-to-day activities?
Well, the angle grinder vs circular saw debate will never end as the two tools are considered to be one at times, following the numerous similarities attached to them.
Contrary to this popular opinion, the two pieces of equipment are unique in their functionalities.
This article discusses the angle grinder and the circular saw by addressing their key functions, pros, and cons.
What Is an Angle Grinder?
Otherwise known as a disc or a side grinder, an angle grinder is a handheld power tool used for various metal fabrication jobs.
The fabrication jobs include grinding, deburring, cutting, finishing, and polishing. Most angle grinders are often powered by electricity.
Uses of an Angle Grinder
- The angle grinder is primarily used in the grinding of metals. It is done by utilizing abrasive grinding discs made of a variety of materials like aluminum, carbide, and diamond.
- Using a reduced speed setting, an angle grinder modified with a smoothing or polishing wheel helps improve the finishing of metal, thereby enhancing its color. Unlike the abrasive discs, the polishing wheels are made of softer m
aterials like cotton, which helps remove a fine layer from the metal and leave a clean finish.
- Angle grinders are also used for cutting through metals, especially for plumbers working with galvanized iron or lead pipes.
- The power tool is also used in metal cleaning by removing paint, rust, and lacquer from the metal su
rfaces. Plastic stripping discs are incredible in paint and lacquer removal.
- Angle grinders are also useful in restoring the edge to lawn mower blades, axes, or chisels. The abrasive grinding disc works magic in the sharpening of tools.
- Angle grinders are also cut through tough masonry materials such as tile, stones, and bricks. Its accuracy makes it possible to cut custom angles in the tile, which are helpful in bathroom showers repairs, creating a pathway from brick or stone, or replacing the broken pieces of a backyard fire pit.
- Angle grinders are useful in removing mortar from leaks, drafts, and recurring insect infestations.
Pros of an Angle Grinder
- One of the key advantages of an angle grinder is often associated with effortlessly cutting huge metal parts.
This is because, compared to other cut-off tools, the angle grinder has higher power ratings. Owning an angle grinder benefits one in a variety of ways, as discussed below:
- Angle grinders are quite handy during construction, metal working, and not to mention, in case of any emergencies.
The good news is that its utilization is not limited to one’s proficiency level since it is instrumental in doing a lot of work, regardless of whether the user is a beginner or a professional. This saves a lot of time.
- In construction, this power tool can be used to cut tiles into desired sizes, while others may use it to get rid of old mortars.
It may also be used in cutting concrete and marble pieces. The tool is also useful when one wants to clean their metal as it provides a smooth and polished look by removing the stubborn rust and paint.
Let’s not forget that it is a “power tool,” Hence, this functionality can be achieved through the assistance of brushes and wire wheels attached to the grinder.
- While no tool can beat the angle grinder in metal cutting, it also does a remarkable job in carpentry.
One may consider plenty of tools for carpentry work, such as sanding, shaping, and carving wood. However, an angle grinder is impressively versatile as it can easily adapt and help in finishing these woodworks with incredible ease.
- The use of an angle grinder may be the fastest method used in carving large gouges into woods.
- It also does an incredible job of leveling joints and smoothing out rough surfaces. Generally, all you need to do is use the right attachments in your angle grinder, and almost all your woodworking projects are made easy.
- In modeling a pristine wood, an abrasive carving disc is effective as it offers simple control. In doing some very aggressive cutting, a durable flap disc is worth your consideration, especially if you are particular about using thick woods in your woodwork.
- Those house or garden tools may seem too worn out to be used, and maybe you are thinking of throwing them away? Don’t because the angle grinder will save you in this. Such tools might require a little sharpening, and they will be as good as new. The angle grinder will help you restore the cutting edges by the simple art of outfitting it with the necessary grinding wheel.
Cons of an Angle Grinder
Much as this power tool accrues us many benefits, it can prove disastrous if not handled appropriately. Suppose one uses the wrong wheel with it or generally uses the tool wrongly.
In that case, it may lead to several injuries, including cuts on the skin, eye, head, and foot injuries, finger amputation, and other injuries.
Such issues may deem the tool less attractive for buyers. Discussed below are some of the cons associated with using the angle grinder:
- Since the angle grinder easily cuts through stones, concrete, metal, and other hard material, it can equally cut through the human flesh and bones.
Such an injury happens when one gets into contact with the wheel during operation, thus resulting in consequences as serious as deep cuts and even amputation.
- Like any other abrasive wheel, the angle grinder may also be at risk of breakage. The wheel brake may be a result of mounting it in unsuitable or improvised ways, thus causing serious accidents,
- Contact with projectiles (flying particles and materials during the operation of an angle grinder) may also cause unwarranted accidents.
It may not be possible to prevent the emission of projectiles. However, its injury can be prevented if the user wears PPE, which effectively offers eye and head protection.
- During its operation, an angle grinder may experience a kickback. This often happens when the power tool jams on the material when cutting. The kickback may lead to the user losing control of the tool, thus hitting them and injuring the foot or leg.
However, this risk can be dealt with by ensuring that it is only the correct wheel attached and that the speed used is the recommended one.
Just like any other rotating disc, the angle grinder may cause entanglement. This may be caused by the operator wearing loose clothing or long and untied hair.
The loose garments or hair may get tangled in the rotating parts and draw the user towards the blade. Serious injuries may also be incurred if this happens.
One is advised against wearing loose clothes, jewelry, or leaving long hair untied to avoid entanglement.
- Due to the unpreventable sparks produced in the operation of an angle grinder, there is a high risk of fire and explosion. This occurs if the tool is used near a refueling station or storage. Conducting regular checks in the area of work and eliminating or covering any combustible or flammable material may help avoid this risk.
- Since most of the angle grinders available in the market are electricity-powered, they are also bound to cause an electric shock to the user. The shock may result from malfunctions in the route cables or the wheel. To avoid this, one should always visually check the tool before use and constantly use periodic portable appliance testing.
- Continuous exposure to vibrations from angle grinders can created-health problems such as the hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).
- When used in carpentry, an angle grinder may expose the user to harmful dust, especially that from silica and wood. The tool also causes noise pollution, thus causing hearing problems for the operators and those living around the work area.
What Is a Circular Saw?
Like an angle grinder, a circular saw is also a powerful tool. It is used for cutting material using a ‘circular’ or a round blade. A user can either mount the tool on the table or hand hold it for effective operation.
Uses of a Circular Saw
A circular saw is a versatile tool as its efficiency is not limited to woodworks alone. It can be used in completing a variety of tasks, some of which are listed below:
- A circular saw is used in lumber mills to size timber into manageable pieces, depending on its preferred size.
- Cordwood, a circular saw common among rural Americans, is used to split logs into firewood. It is mostly preferred over the traditional chainsaws because of its durability and better performance.
- Cold saws, another type of circular saw, are mainly used in cutting down different types of metals like bronze, brass, and steel into smaller or preferred sizes.
- Circular saws are also used in achieving straight or 90-degree cuts in lumber, boards, or metals. It can also be used to design any desired angle in the material.
- Circular saws are used in shortening lengthy timber and boards. It effectively cross-cuts boards and offers shortened blocks faster than any other power tool.
- Bevels; (vertical or horizontal slopes separating blocks with more power) are created using a circular saw. It is primarily used in large construction and infrastructural worksites as it does not guarantee the much-needed perfection in slopes.
- Circular saws used with a few techniques are instrumental in cutting long plywood, an item mostly needed in woodwork.
Pros of a Circular Saw
As discussed earlier, the circular saw is a handheld power tool. It is a recommended tool for any small home improvement tasks or in the execution of any quick DIY activities. Listed below are some of the advantages and benefits of using it.
- One of the primary advantages of the circular saw is attributed to its immense speed. It is incredibly fast to cut the wood.
- When used with good carpentry skills and a recommended quality disc, the circular saw is likely to give one perfectly straight cuts.
- Unlike a table saw that is mostly limited to the table, the circular saw is advantageous because of its portable nature. Its weight is manageable (estimated at around 8 pounds). Also, some variety of tools, e.g., the cordless one, does not use any power source, increasing their mobility.
- The circular saw is also flexible in the types of cuts it provides. Besides making clean cuts, it is also useful in tearing activities and achieving the desired décor on the material used. Cuts such as the bevel cut, cross cut, plunge cut, and the finish cut can be achieved with one circular saw. This is a unique feature since most tools are mostly limited to their specified functions.
- The circular saw also has some added features that make it more comfortable to use than others. For instance, some have been modified with the led lights features, which allows the user to operate it even in a low light environment. Others also use fast chargers that ensure quick power-up, saving plenty of time.
- The circular saw is unique as it caters to both the right-handed and the left-handed individuals. One can choose a model that best fits their dominant hand.
- Circular saw blades have less vibration than others; this lowers the noise level and enhances the surface finish of the material one is operating on.
- The blades on the circular saw have been found to last longer. Generally, they stay sharp for an extended period compared to other tool blades.
- The circular saw also fits different machines, regardless of the manufacturers involved.
Cons to a Circular Saw
- One of the biggest disadvantages of using the circular saw is that it may experience a kickback. This happens when the blade catches on something; a loose cloth or long hanging hair. The blade will fling back to the user, causing serious injuries.
- The blades used in cutting wood can produce a lot of dust, which may be problematic, especially if one has respiratory problems such as asthma. The saw may also produce a lot of noise during its operation, thus causing unwarranted noise pollution.
- Circular saws are expensive to purchase. If one is a beginner in the woodwork profession, they may need to reconsider buying it unless they know how frequently they need to use it.
- The circular also saw cuts in one direction; hence not suitable for use in tight curves.
Can You Use an Angle Grinder as a Circular Saw?
While it is possible to use an angle grinder to cut wood (instead of a circular saw), it is not a recommendable activity as it poses serious threats.
This is because the blades in the angle grinder are specific to cutting metal and stone; if used as a circular saw, it may burn and single the wood by friction.
However, for use as a circular saw, one must research angle grinders in cutting wood and the recommended blades to be applied.
An angle grinder can be used as a circular saw because it possesses the strength and the capability to do so.
Dangers of Fitting a Circular Saw Blade to an Angle Grinder
Angle grinders and circular saws are the most common power tools used at home for handyman applications and on construction sites.
It is not uncommon that angle grinders are often converted into circular saws by fitting the latter into them.
This is a high-risk activity as the conversion may subject the operator to dangerous risks and injuries.
In fitting a circular saw into an angle grinder, the new combination of the tool form will have no base plate; the tool will then lack stability against any vertical rotation or horizontal twisting movement.
The absence of this base plate will cause the blade to sink uncontrollably into the sink, which may result in unprecedented injuries to the operator.
By inserting the saw into the grinder, the power tool will have a vertical or horizontal twisting, causing the blade teeth to jam in the kerf.
If the jamming is severe enough, the tool will experience a forceful kick back towards the operator, causing injuries as serious as amputation of a leg or finger.
The saw blade teeth, which are in this case left exposed, will cause injuries due to the lack of control, leading to it flying back and striking the operator.
Following the dangers cited, it is highly unadvisable to fit the circular saws into the angle grinders.
Can I Put a Wood Cutting Disc on An Angle Grinder?
Using a wood cutting disc on an angle grinder is possible, but it poses detrimental effects, as seen in the discussion above.
However, they are unique blades specially designed for power carving and compatible with angle grinders.
The Arbortech company is known for its production of the turbo plane, a cutting disc that has proved effective in removing woods and bits of fingers.
The tungsten carbide abrasive discs are also designed to work with angle grinders without the risks of kickbacks and their associated effects.
Much as this activity is deemed ‘possible,’ one needs to be extremely skilled in operating power tools and keen on the guards.
Failure to which, the operator will experience a ‘bite’ from combining the tools as the kickbacks are unforgiving.
Using a Circular Saw:
Choosing between an angle grinder and a circular saw seems challenging, especially if you can not tell their respective uses. However, with the differences in this article, you can see that each works for specific types of jobs.
It is therefore upon you to determine the project at hand so that you can make an informed decision on whether to use angle grinder or the circular saw.
Angle Grinder Vs Circular Saw
These two confusing tools have distinct functions. If you are looking to cut the wood into different pieces to suit your project, then you should go for the circular saw.
An angle grinder, on the other hand, is best for projects involving metals, such as polishing and sanding different metallic components.
Until this point, I hope you found this post helpful even as you look to cut your wooden pieces or to look to sand on your metallic projects.
If you have a question you would like to share, kindly do so in the comment section below.