If your in the automotive industry or another industry that requires the use of grinders everyday, then the grinder is your best friend. If you are in the trades or a weekend warrior and you don't require the use of a grinder everyday, then it might be one of the tools you just move around. But when the time comes and you need it, well it can be your best friend. On the other hand you might be like Dan where he thinks he needs ten grinders even though he has only two hands.
When we first opened the box, we noticed the grinder came with a lot of extras which we haven't seen with other manufacturers. Yes, it does come with the usual side handle and the spanner wrench. Some manufacturers only include the grinding guard, while Porter Cable also included the Cut off guard which is a nice feature. Porter Cable also included five metal cutting disks and five metal grinding disks. While this might not seem like a big deal, we like the fact they included these. If you had to go out and buy these for around an average price of $2.00 a piece, it would cost you another $20, so its a nice deal that they did include the disks.
The grinder is a 4-1/2 in angle grinder and produces 11,000 rpm. While some other grinders in this class have a little more amps, the 6 amp will still allow you to do all most any job that you would need to complete with a grinder. The tool weighs 3 lbs. 7 oz. and is about 10.5″ in length. The overall balance of the tool isn't bad with most of the weight being in the front of the tool, mostly because of the gear and the cast metal housing to add more durability. The on/off switch is towards the front and also where you will be placing one hand when you do the work, so its hard to really notice the weight is in the front. Not to mention the side hand will help balance the wieght.
Speaking of the side handle, this is one cool feature we like about this grinder. Porter Cable put a side handle on the tool that can be in three different positions. On the left, right and even the top which all give the user more control. The side handle attaches like most where you just screw the handle in and your set to go. Another nice feature is adjusting the guard. While other manufactures require a philips screwdriver to adjust the guard, Porter Cable uses a tool-less locking mechanism. Just pull out the lever, spin the guard to the desired position and lock it down. No more looking for a screw driver to make small adjustments.
One downside to this grinder, well actually two items. First you can not replace the brushes easily as some of the other manufacturers allow. Second there is no electronic feature for overload protection. Now we really shouldn't complain about this considering what you get with this tool and the price compared to other tools, but we did have to mention these two items.
There are a lot of grinders to choose from since all most every manufacture makes a grinder. The Porter Cable is a great pick. While the 6.0 amp is a little underpowered compared to their competitors, it is a great grinder for the price. The three positions for the side handle are perfect and allows you to use the grinder in all most any position. The balance of the tool is nice and the overall body of the grinder is compact. We like how Porter Cable made both guards tool free to adjust the position. No more grabbing a screw driver to make a small adjustment on the shield.
We always like to hear back from our readers on their experience with these tools – good or bad. Do you have experience with these tools? How has the long term use been? What applications have you used the tool for? Is this a DIY or professional grade tool? Let us and other readers know.