Difference Between Angle Grinder And Polisher

If you are thinking about buying a new tool to whip some shiny polish on your wooden furniture, then you have come to the right place. There are different kinds of polishing tools in the market, an angle grinder and polisher are two of the best examples. 

An angle grinder is a machine that is capable of polishing, grinding, sharpening surfaces, and much more. In this article, we will be looking at how an angle grinder works, and what separates it from other polishing tools in the market. 

What is an Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is a handheld tool used for a variety of metal fabrication works like cutting, grinding, deburring, and even for polishing purposes. An advantage of using an angle grinder is that they serve as a substitute for many tools that are commonly used. They are far more efficient than a hacksaw when it comes to metal cutting. Moreover, the angle grinder is fairly easy to handle. 

Types of Angle Grinders

Angle Grinders are commonly categorized into two types-battery equipped and corded. The ones equipped with batteries are portable but are not as powerful as compared to corded ones. The corded grinders are not portable but are capable of generating much more power.

What is a Polisher?

Polishers are available in multiple sizes but most of them have a motor and a plate with a buffing pad. Polishers work by using abrasive discs to smoothen surfaces. The abrasive is fixed to the disc with the help of some material like glue. This results in the elimination of scratches, pits, etc. 

Types of Polishers

Rotary Polishers

Rotary Polishers have a rotating motion by which they create the polishing effect. They are fairly quick but require experienced operators. An angle grinder falls into the category of rotary polishers. Here are some of their uses:

  • Removing defects in the paint.
  • Eliminate marks created due to the sanding process.
  • Glazing.
  • Removing swirls.

Rotary Polishers are fairly heavy and weigh more than Orbital polishers. In fact, it can even weigh more than 8 pounds. During working, rotary polishers generate intense heat and this heat is directed towards the outside of the pad.

The rpm of these tools varies from 600 to 1000. However, speed control is difficult to obtain with an Angle Grinder or Rotary polisher. Hence, it is not recommended for beginners or less experienced users. Without the proper care, you might even cut through the paint. Orbital polishers are much less demanding on inexperienced users. 

Orbital Polishers

Orbital Polishers are also referred to like Dual Action Polishers. They spin on the spindle while the spindle itself moves in an eccentric manner. It is somewhat similar to how the Earth rotates about its axis while revolving around the sun.

They are best used for

  • Application of Wax
  • Light swirl removal.

Here, the heat produced is directed towards the center of the pad. This heat is much smaller than that in the angle grinder. Moreover, changing the pad can significantly alter the working of the tool. In terms of user safety, it is better equipped than angle grinders. 

Moreover, the eccentric motion of the pad stops the polisher from burning through the paint. However, this particular feature also stops Orbital Polishers from removing deep scratches.

The speed is measured in Oscillations per minute rather than Rotations per minute. This is a much more user-friendly tool compared to Rotary Polishers and the damage to the paint is minimal. This is the recommended tool for people with little experience in polishing stuff.

Difference between Angle Grinders and Polisher

Angle Grinder Polisher
High rpm around the 10000 range Much lower rpm (3000-4000)
Higher torque Lower torque
Quite heavy Fairly light
Easy to handle The orbital polisher requires some practice

Using an Angle Grinder in place of a Polisher

This idea does make a lot of sense economically. An angle grinder costs only a fraction of a polisher. The power required is lower.  However, speed is the important factor here. Angle grinders operate in the range of 9000 to 12000 rpm. Moreover, this speed is fixed unless you buy a variable model. This kind of speed will kill the paint on your car or furniture. The lowest speed of an Angle Grinder is equivalent to the highest available in a rotary polisher. Additionally, an angle grinder offers less control as compared to a polisher. 

The bottom line is that an Angle grinder can be used as a polisher. Especially in jobs that require more torque and power. For this, just remove the Angle guard and attach the head to the tip of the grinder. This is only recommended for experienced users. Else, you will struggle to control the speed.

Things To Consider

Now that we have an idea of how an Angle Grinder and Rotary polisher are similar yet different, let us see some important factors to note while buying them.

  • Power-Usually, wattage for the Angle grinder is between 500 and 1500. For heavy-duty works, choose a grinder with a higher power rating.
  • Disc Size-Disc is available in different sizes like 4.5 inches, 6 inches, 7 inches, and more. The bigger the disc, the larger the pieces it can cut. A disc size of 7 inches would suffice for most normal needs. For working on large surfaces, a larger disk would be more beneficial.
  • Comfort-Choose compact grinders whenever possible. Angle grinders are deceptively heavy and could tire you out pretty fast.


We hope that now you have realized how a polisher and Angle grinder works. While theoretically, it is possible to use an angle grinder for polishing, we do not recommend it. It is always better to go for the polisher unless the work is quite intense and demands much more power. 

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