I’ve been a full time builder for over 20 years. To help new builders make smarter tool choices and also to spark no-holds-barred discussion among experienced builders, we’re adding a new segment here called Tools We Like.
Today’s tool is the M18 Milwaukee cordless angle grinder. 4 1/2 inch angle grinders are indispensable for cutting pipe, rod, angle iron, flat bar or just the quick grind and shape. If you add a sanding wheel or a flap disc you can rapidly shape wood as well (for better or worse!). There’s also brushing and polishing wheels. Interestingly, the 4 1/2 with a cut off wheel is my go to tool for cutting corrugated polycarbonate where just about any other tool is a total disaster, shattering the material.
Over the last six years I’ve been slowly shifting more and more of my tool library to the Milwaukee cordless system. There’s definitely a couple tools in their lineup that I feel really missed the mark (which I’ll talk about at some point) but overall I I think the quality, durability and variety of their lineup is better than anyone else at this point. .
It seems like every six months or so they release something that I really want but I think to myself there is no way that could work as a cordless, but I buy it anyways expecting to be disappointed and I haven’t been disappointed yet!
This little angle grinder has plenty of power a reasonable run time and a solid build but The thing I absolutely love is the spring lever on the guard that allows it to be instantly rotated into any position. This makes a HUGE difference in accessing awkward cuts and directing sparks. I also like the switched version that stays on without having to squeeze. This is NOT the paddle switch version that you will find in stores, so you’ve got to order it online.
Real world performance on this is 22 crosscuts through 3/4 inch solid steel rod on a 5.0ah battery charge. This would be a bad choice for extended production grinding and cutting but for 95% of what I use an angle grinder for it works great and is a lot more convenient than a cord.