I needed to purchase a new bench grinder for my workshop to help me out with sharpening tools like knives, chisels, and blades.
After doing my research, I narrowed down my options to the five best bench grinders that can help in sharpening knives, blades, and chisels. I decided to try them out and here are the things that I found
Bench grinders are power tools that are used in the grinding process. They usually consist of two grinding wheels of different materials and grades powered by an electric motor. It can be used for several purposes like cutting, finishing, and cleaning.
They are some of the most versatile equipment that helps improve your efficiency and reduce the need for specialized tools for individual processes. If you are a professional contractor, having a bench grinder will improve the quality of your work while making it easier.
Read on as I review the five products mentioned above in detail. I will discuss the features that caught my attention, followed by a pros and cons section. This will help you have a complete understanding of each product and help you find out the best one for your requirements and budget.
I have also added additional information regarding tool sharpening with a bench grinder. At the end of the article, I hope you have a safe and quick experience while sharpening your tools with a bench grinder, helping you excel at your job every single time!
1. DEWALT DW758 Bench Grinder
The first product on my list of best bench grinders for tool sharpening is the Dewalt DW758 Bench Grinder.
Manufactured by a reputed brand in the power tools industry, it offers solid performance and great convenience to a user irrespective of their experience around such machines. Here are some of the features that convinced me to add them to this list.
The Dewalt DW758 has a ¾ HP motor that spins the grinding wheels to a maximum speed of 3600 RPM. The rotation speed is amongst the highest in its class, allowing the machine to quickly remove material and get the job done quickly and efficiently. The higher-powered motor makes it suitable for heavy-duty applications.
This bench grinder from Dewalt has a cast iron base with a large surface area at the bottom. As a result, the weight is more evenly distributed across the work table, offering improved stability.
It also comes with base mount inserts that allow you to bolt the machine to the table. This eliminates the risk of the machine tipping over or slipping while in operation.
This model comes with a clear spark protector that can be adjusted to ensure you can view the workpiece safely. It also has a centrally located power switch in the middle of the machine.
This allows you to turn off the grinder quickly in case you have an unfortunate accident. Overload protection also helps control the temperature of the motor, extending its lifespan.
The wheels are a distance of 12-½” apart to allow for grinding applications that require more space. It also has rear exhaust ports on the wheels to allow the wheels and motor to cool faster, giving the user a smoother experience.
It also comes with two aluminum tool rests that are resistant to corrosion. This improves the precision and accuracy of the job you are using the grinder for.
Things I Like
- Powerful motor allows for faster material removal
- Cast iron base for improved stability and durability
- Good quality grinding wheels from the manufacturer (36 and 60 grit)
- Not too heavy, increased distance between wheels to accommodate large pieces
- Good safety features
- Rear exhaust ports and overload protection for good cooling
- Dual aluminum tool rests for improved precision
- 3-year limited warranty, 1-year free service
Things I Don’t Like
- On the more expensive side
- Produces more noise due to extra power
- Does not come with a LED work light
- Single-speed operation only
- Mounting inserts are difficult to access
- Fit and finish could be better
2. WEN 4276 Bench Grinder
The next product to feature on the best bench grinders for sharpening is the Wen 4276. The company is known for its innovative designs and quality products which are very affordable. Here are some salient features that make it a great product to consider.
The Wen 4276 comes with a 2.1 amp motor that has a maximum rotation speed of 3450 RPM. This gives the user sufficient power to sharpen small tools like knives and blades with ease.
You can also use this machine to sharpen tools made of hardened steel, without having to worry about the motor stalling.
Another advantage of the motor is its quietness while in operation. As a result, you can use it in workshops and other locations without having to use ear protection of any kind.
This product from Wen weighs only 16 lbs, which is very light for a bench grinder. The product manages this by using several plastic components, which reduces the premium feel of the machine.
However, it offers a stable performance when placed on the table thanks to its large base. It also plays a major role in reducing the vibrations felt by the user while operating the tool, making it comfortable for the user.
This bench grinder comes with a large power switch in the middle of the machine that allows you to stop the grinding wheel quickly in case of an emergency. It also comes with wheel guards to protect the user from debris produced by the wheel or tool piece shattering.
The clear spark protector is of good quality without reducing the visibility of the workpiece. As a result, you have a good visual of the piece while significantly reducing injury to your eyes due to the sparks produced.
The clip-on work light is a handy addition to this grinder. It increases the visibility of the workpiece and allows you to place it in a corner of your workshop where lighting may not be the best. We have made a detailed Wen 4276 bench grinder review, you can read that to know more about this grinder.
Things I Like
- Affordable pricing
- Quiet operation
- Can be upgraded to an 8” wheel for applications
- Stable performance and lightweight design
- The motor spins up quickly
- Good safety features, the large power button in the middle for quick stoppage
- 2-year warranty
Things I Don’t Like
- A large number of plastic parts used in construction
- Lacks a mounting insert to bolt machine to worktable
- Lacks performance, especially with denser materials
- Single-speed operation
- Grinding wheels provided by manufacturer tend to wobble
3. RIKON 80-805 Bench Grinder
The next product to feature on my best bench grinders for tool sharpening knives is the Rikon 80-805 Bench Grinder.
Manufactured by an American company specializing in power tools, this product is an affordable low-speed grinder that is designed primarily for sharpening purposes. Here are some of the features that make it a great buy for tool maintenance.
The Rikon 80-805 has a cast iron base that helps reduce the movement of the grinder when in operation. To reduce vibrations and improve stability, the manufacturers have included anti-vibration rubber feet.
It also comes with mounting holes that allow you to fix the base of the machine to the workbench, providing you with the best stability. This machine has a ½ HP motor that spins to a maximum speed of 1750 RPM and is designed for low speeds.
This allows you to perform precision grinding on small tools and softer materials. It also has sealed lubricated bearings that do not require any additional lubrication after purchase.
This adds to the user’s convenience over the long run without a drop in the performance of the machine.
This product from Rikon comes with two tool rests and a wheel guard to help protect users from damaging the wheel or their tools while sharpening, which can lead to injury.
The product also has polycarbonate spark arrestors. These help you view the workpiece without risking sparks coming in contact with your eyes. We have made a detailed Rikon 80-805 bench grinder review, you can have a look if you want to know more about it.
Things I Like
- Designed for sharpening tools, affordable option
- 60 and 120 grit aluminum oxide grinding wheels for superior sharpening performance
- Comes with a dressing wheel to increase the abrasiveness of grinding wheels
- Increased weight and cast iron base for increased stability, reduces wobble
- 5-year warranty from the manufacturer
Things I Don’t Like
- Can get overheated quickly
- Meant only for sharpening, cannot do material removal quickly due to low speed
- Does not come with a work light
4. WEN 4280 Variable Speed Bench Grinder
Another product from Wen to feature on my list is the Wen 4280 Variable Speed Bench Grinder.
It has additional capacity and features compared to the previous model mentioned on the list, giving it more versatility and power without being too expensive. Here are some of the features that made me take notice of this product.
The Wen 4280 comes with a 5 amp motor that offers powerful performance. This allows users to use the grinder for various tasks while enabling it to tackle heavy-duty materials.
The variable-speed operation allows you to choose between the slow speed setting (2000 RPM) and high-speed setting (3400 RPM) with the turn of a knob. This allows users to choose precision at slower speeds or faster material removal at higher speeds when that is the requirement.
This model from Wen comes with a cast iron base that provides more stability to the machine at all speeds. This prevents the machine from walking or wobbling, allowing it to handle the toughest workpieces as a result.
With the inclusion of mounting inserts, one can ensure that the machine is securely fastened to the work table for maximum stability.
The wheel guard of this product can be easily removed, allowing users to quickly change and use grinding wheels of their choice.
The product also comes with two grinding wheels (80 grit and 36 grit), allowing you to use the grinder for a variety of purposes. It also has a ⅝” arbor, which allows it to be compatible with a large number of grinding wheels available in the market.
The large power switch in the middle of this bench grinder ensures that you have quick access to stopping the grinding wheel if there is an issue. Wheel guards are also included to stop flying debris from a shattered wheel or workpiece from striking the user in unforeseen circumstances.
The clear spark protector protects your eyes from the sparks produced. It can be adjusted to keep you safe without hampering your visibility of the workpiece. The work light also helps increase the visibility of the workpiece, allowing you to get the job done in low-light conditions.
We have made a detailed review of this product, you can read that to know about this product in detail.
Things I Like
- 5 amp motor delivers good performance
- Variable speeds between 2000 RPM and 3400 RPM
- ⅝” arbor provides flexibility for grinding wheel options
- Good build quality and value for money
- Iron cast base with mounting inserts for additional stable
- 2-year warranty
Things I Don’t Like
- Grinding wheels provided by the manufacturer are of low quality
- Tool rests are not sturdy, affect precision
- The work light is permanently fixed
5. JET JBG-8B Bench Grinder
The last product on this list of best sharpening bench grinders is the Jet JBG-8B Bench Grinder. It offers solid performance and is designed to be used in workshops that have a high-powered requirement but space constraints.
Here are some of the features that made it stand out compared to other products in the market.
The Jet JBG-8B has a 1 HP motor that spins the wheels to a maximum speed of 3450 RPM. As a result, it can tackle most types of materials irrespective of their hardness.
It also has a self-lubricating bearing which means you do not have to perform maintenance on the motor regularly.
This model comes with quick-adjust spark guards and eye protection that help protect the eyes from sparks caused by the friction between the tool and grinding wheel.
It also has cast iron wheel guards that help contain debris in case a grinding wheel explodes in unforeseen circumstances.
It also has a heavy-duty toggle switch in the center that is guarded to prevent accidental activation of the grinding wheels when not in operation. It also promotes easy access if you need to shut down the machine due to an emergency.
Exhaust and dust vents provided at the grinding wheel help evacuate debris and also provide a channel for the heat produced by the grinding process to escape. Adjustable tool rests are provided to ensure accuracy and precision while sharpening tools.
It also has rubber guards at the base that help improve the stability of the machine, preventing it from wobbling or walking due to the loads. It also helps absorb the vibration, which gives the users a smooth experience overall.
- Powerful motor that can tackle heavy-duty grinding work
- Good safety features like quick-adjust spark guards, eye protection, and heavy-duty toggle switch with protection
- 36 and 60 grit 8” wheels provided by the manufacturer
- Cast iron dust ports and wheel guards for improved safety around wheel operation
- 2 year limited warranty
Things I Don’t Like
- Does not come with a work light
- On the expensive side
- Single-speed operation prevents precision sharpening
- Does not have mounting inserts to fix it to a workbench
- Feedback from some users about excess vibrations
How do you Sharpen Knives on a Bench Grinder?
While sharpening knives using a bench grinder saves a lot of time, it requires a correct procedure to ensure you get the job done safely without damaging them. I have mentioned the common practices followed by professionals if you are not aware of them.
- Prepare the blade
You must prepare the knife you are going to sharpen to prevent damage to it or the grinding wheel. Ensure that the surface of the blade is rust-free and clean to remove rust and dirt. This will increase the efficiency of the grinding process.
- Prepare your grinding wheel
Ensure that the grinding wheel installed on your bench grinder is appropriate for sharpening knives. Some manufactures like KnifeMaker offer specialized products like the Razor Sharp Edge making System for this purpose.
Add the abrasive material like silicon carbide, which is available in different grit sizes depending on the purpose. Also, add some wax to allow the abrasive material to stick onto the wheel during the operation.
- Position the knife correctly and sharpen
Be aware of the number of blades your knife has. Some knives like pruning knives have two sharpened sides while others like pocket knives have a single sharpened side. In the latter case, ensure that you are sharpening the correct side and not the flat side of the blade.
Place the blade on the tool rest after you have turned on the grinding wheel. Apply a downward force and move the blade towards the edge of the grinding wheel. After this, place the blade flat against the wheel to help smoothen out the cutting edge.
Repeat the process if you have a double-sided blade. If it is a single-sided blade with a flat edge, use a coarse grinding wheel to remove sharp burrs that reduce cutting efficiency.
- Check if the blade is sharp enough
Once you are done sharpening your blade, test the blade to see if you are satisfied with the result. You can do the classic paper test to see if your knife can cut through smoothly.
Also, inspect the blades for cracks or any signs of damage that may have been caused due to the grinding operation. Doing so ensures your knife is safe to use in the future.
Important Things to Keep in Mind while Sharpening with a Bench Grinder
- Heat the tool before sharpening
Heating your tool before the process of grinding allows you to avoid the development of cracks due to the stress exerted on it.
Place it in an oven that has been heated to a temperature of 300℉ – 350℉ for a couple of hours and allow it to cool down naturally.
- Wear safety equipment
You must wear safety gloves and eye goggles before you operate a bench grinder. It protects you from the dirt and debris that are produced during the grinding process. Also, wear full sleeve shirts made of natural fibers that fit you well.
It prevents the clothes from getting caught by the high-speed rotation of the grinding wheel. The metal splinters that are produced are hot due to the friction, which can lead to injury if precautions are not taken.
- Apply the right amount of pressure
You may be tempted to use a vice initially to sharpen your tools. However, the clamping action prevents the blade from moving around, causing a specific area to be sharpened only. This results in a gut reaction, which is undesirable.
Do not apply too much pressure while manually sharpening the blade, as it can cause the blade to chip. Not only does it damage your tool and grinding wheel, but the resulting chips can then eject and cause injury.
Allow the blade to move naturally with the grinding wheel, as the force exerted will naturally pull the blade in line, ensuring an even sharpness across the blade.
- Control the speed
Do not have the bench grinder cranked up to its highest speed setting, especially if you lack sufficient experience working with them. Start at a lower speed and work your way up until you are confident you have proper control over the tool while sharpening.