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Technical Good quality pneumatic angle die grinder?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by tjcmiller1, May 21, 2021.

  1. tjcmiller1
    Joined: Aug 24, 2011
    Posts: 14


    I am on the fourth Harbor Freight pneumatic angle die grinder in less than 3 months. I don't use it often or hard and keep it lubricated but they keep stripping out the right angle gear set. It is replaced for free each time but I need a pneumatic angle die grinder that I can count on to work when I need it. What right angle die grinder do you recommend that I buy that will last more than a couple of weeks of light use without quitting? What have you used that has lasted for a few years without failing?
  2. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,715

    from red oak

    Anything not from Harbor Freight.
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  3. You must be a rich man. Only rich men buy cheap tools, because you have to buy them frequently.
    '34 Ratrod and Dirty Dug like this.
  4. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,437

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    When I buy from Harbor Freight, I buy for a single job.
    IF, it lasts longer than that single job, all the better. So far, I've been lucky, I haven't had to toss any of the H.F. tools in the trash.

    I have a Harbor Freight, electric 90° grinder, that's about 20yrs. old. As I recall it was on sale for something like $9.00. It doesn't get treated very well, Get's used way more than my Milwaukie, still works fine..!

    Peter Nowak and Flat Six Fix like this.

  5. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,657


    I have some Ingersoll-Rand ones that I have been beating on for a decade or so, with near-daily use. No issues.

    Oil daily, and make sure you have a good water trap.

    Each was only about $65. They are the ones with the composite bodies.
  6. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 15,319

    from oregon

    Dotco but only if you win the lottery.
    VANDENPLAS and Deuces like this.
  7. I've had pretty good luck with the HF personally. I keep three of 'em set up at all times for lighter sanding/grinding duty. Don't use them with carbide burrs, use a straight one for that. As to how long they last, I've got one that I can't say how old it is (five + years at least) but I've worn all the nickel plating off the trigger lever, it's now copper-colored. I have had a couple fail like yours, but I found the problem is the locking collar under the tool collet wasn't tight enough. Loose collar, the gear lash gets big and they strip out. I now routinely check this, no failures since. I do keep a spare on hand, but haven't had to buy one in a few years.

    I'll be the first to admit that HF quality control can be spotty. But my experience isn't limited to just HF; I've owned 'name brands' too. They cost from 4X to 10X more, but actual tool longevity hasn't proven to be X times longer over the long haul... YMMV...

    Back in the day, my first one was a US-made Ingersoll-Rand that was a great tool and I tried to rebuild it when it wore out. I tracked down the obsolete parts from a third-party vendor, it was going to cost roughly $100 for some of the parts and I reluctantly junked it... All of these are now disposable...
    Desoto291Hemi and rockable like this.
  8. gatz
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 1,595


    Bought a set (straight & right-angle) of Astro Onyx 1/4” die grinders in 2018. 'Been very good grinders and are used a lot.
    I see that Amazon has both + a set of carbide bits for less than $120.
    I like the safety catch on the trigger. At first I considered disabling it, but after a few bit changes with the air hose still attached, it’s become a necessity.

    Always keep a squeeze bottle of pneumatic tool oil at hand. Sure makes those tools last a lot longer.
    Crazy Steve, Deuces and Budget36 like this.
  9. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,209


    I haven’t bought a new air tool in a long time. But I have a few HF things, but mostly Chicago Pneumatic and Ingersol Rand. No ideas on the “new” quality of either, but 25-30 years ago they were a great item, still kicking. Keep in mind, HF started a line called Central Pneumatic, has a similar CP logo on it.
    Deuces and wicarnut like this.
  10. chevyfordman
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,074


    There's a guy in Olathe selling some good stuff, he advertises on CL in Kansas City tools.
    Deuces likes this.
  11. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,498


    I have a drawer full of HF air tools, all set up with different cutoff, grinding and sanding equipment. I bought 2 extras a few years ago, so I would have a replacement when one crapped out. I use my tools a lot and have yet to use the replacements. I guess I'm lucky.
    Crazy Steve, Desoto291Hemi and Deuces like this.
  12. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,527


    Spot-On, I had the same experience when I wanted to rebuild my Mac (USA Made) from the 1990's like $130. To replace the"90" set-up...
    I have 3 of the $20. Ish HF 90's, Never oil (body shop) An all are year's old.. I did buy one $14.00 ... Not so good, Definitely worth the $5.00 upgrade here..
    Crazy Steve and Deuces like this.
  13. Strangely enough, I have a Husky brand at work that I bought from Home Depot. I’ve had it since 2008, I date my air tools with an engraver-don’t ask, it’s been a good tool. I’ve used it on every Diesel engine overhaul since 2008, and I do a lot of overhauls. I also have one from the Harbor, but have not had it long enough to have an opinion on it yet.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    VANDENPLAS and Deuces like this.
  14. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 21,250

    from Michigan

    I have a 90° grinder that I bought from the snap on guy... The handle itself is hollow with the motor in the head... So it eliminates the angle gear drive mechanism... In other words, it's a direct drive angle grinder.. I've had it 20 + years and never had a problem with it... I believe it's made by blue point.... I'll post a picture of it on Monday....
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  15. I’ve used several,,,,the top quality Dotco is expensive,,,,I’ve never owned one,,,,just used them before l
    I’ve used the ones from Lowe’s,,,and Home depot,,,,,,,,,,at work,,,,,they work very well .
    The gears always wear out eventually,,,,,from the collar backing off and the backlash getting loose .
    They went to harbor freight,,,,,lasted just as long .
    My personal buying has been the HF models,,,,,they have lasted very well for me,,,,,I still have not worn one out .
    I even have several spares new in the box,,,,,waiting for the day .
    I don’t use them every day,,,,but very often,,,,,and I lube them,,,,,so far so good .
    I’m certain if you use them for hours every day,,,,the life would be shortened a lot .
    After all,,,it is a tool with gears inside.
    But I can’t imagine going through 4 in three months ,,,,that must be a lot of hours .
    At least you are getting them replaced for free !
    Tha5 is why I like to put dates on things,,,,,sometimes I think I have I have replaced batteries and parts in a few months,,,,and it turns out it has been years,,,,LoL.
    I guess my memory is not always spot on ,,,LoL.

  16. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,967

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    I've bought SnapOn, IR, Kobalt, and HF at various times. You can pretty much predict how long they will last, by the price. But ALL of the ones I've used, eventually fail. I was pretty surprised buy how long the Kobalt (Lowe's) ones lasted, though. Almost equal to the IR!
    Desoto291Hemi likes this.
  17. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 3,507

    from illinois

    Might be the reason your grinders aren't lasting is too high pressure ( speed kills) coupled with water in the air . I have a nearly 40 year old HF - DA that still works fine !
    rockable and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  18. Jay McDonald
    Joined: Apr 6, 2020
    Posts: 64

    Jay McDonald

    The biggest issue that I have found with cheap air tools is that they use a lot more air than the high quality tools. Hard to keep up with them.
    Deuces, VANDENPLAS and low down A like this.
  19. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,035

    from Oregon

    I bought a used Craftsman electric die grinder at a neighbor's garage sale long ago. He'd bought it used to port the heads on his Harley, and didn't want it anymore. I've used the heck out of it for years, and other than being a little bulky it's still a fantastic grinder. It did wear out brushes once, and I found a tool repair place here in town that sold me some "close" brushes. Guy told me they were slightly different dimensional width, and I could sand them down to fit my brush holders. Did that, and it fixed it back up like new again.
    Best $20 I ever spent buying that die grinder!
    2OLD2FAST, Deuces and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  20. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,774

    from kansas

    Years ago I bought a very expensive Makita electric die grinder, biggest piece of crap I ever paid for.

    Turned around and bought a cheap air die grinder from walmart, honestly dont remember the name. Had it for several years until it got borrowed and never returned.

    Now I have 2 cheap air die grinders that are hb specials and I got them used about 8 yrs ago and still using them today. They were a couple yrs old when I got them and the 20 bucks I gave for both of them with a bunch of sanding discs, stones, wire brushes etc have more than paid for themselves.

    And I do use the crap out of my tools.....
    Deuces and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  21. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 5,715

    from red oak

    Tools bought 40 years ago can not be compared to tools bought today. Standards have changed. I was a a dumb as kid 40 years ago. I`m a know it all now.
    Deuces, VANDENPLAS and williebill like this.
  22. HF sells three 'quality' lines in air tools. The very cheapest I would define as 'one job' tools, although I've had a few outlast expectations by a bunch. The 'mid grade' is what I usually buy, if you watch for sales they're only a few bucks more than the cheapies and seem to last just as long as their 'high end' ones. IMO I think the difference is in the quality control as they appear to be almost identical except for fit/finish.

    Same thing goes for HF 4"/5" electric angle grinders. Don't buy the cheapest, go up one level. I'll point out that I had four name-brand grinders at one point; a Makita, a Milwaukee, a Metabo and a Bosch. The Makita is the only one that's lasted; this is the 'big' heavy-duty one, about $140 but is too large to get into some places. The other three had the power switches fail after about a year and replacement switches were from $20 to $50, it just didn't pay to fix them when the HF grinders lasted the same or more for less money. I ended up throwing them away.
    Deuces, rockable and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  23. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,621

    anthony myrick

    I bought one from Corwell 13 years ago
    Still going. Even after abuse from students.
    Deuces and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  24. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 30,015


    I'd agree with CP on air tools, My impact is CP, my air chisel is CP and both had years of hard use and never gave me any trouble. I'd have to go out and look but the die grinder I snagged at Habitat is either CP or IR. Come to think if it I have a job for that little bugger this morning, thanks for reminding me that I have it.
    Deuces, Desoto291Hemi and Budget36 like this.
  25. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,090

    from Berry, AL

    I've got a Campbell Hausfield I bought at WalMart and an off brand I don't remember where I bought. The off brand has been used more than the CH, I just like it better.
    Deuces and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  26. Oilguy
    Joined: Jun 28, 2011
    Posts: 569


    I have had good service with IR, CP and Kobalt. A friend has three garbage cans in his garage labeled "garbage", "recyclables", " Harbor Freight". I do have some simple HF stuff like floor jack, hydraulic press, trans jack. But I avoid anything with moving parts.
    My woodworking tools and AC powered stuff are all Dewalt.
    Deuces likes this.
  27. Astro is a brand not heard of much but seems to be quality. I'm convinced that most of these import tools come out of the same factories, it's just differences in quality control, labeling and color that determines the final price. I needed a pneumatic pop rivet gun (setting 3/16" steel pop rivets with a hand tool requires a gorilla-like grip) and when looking at the HF version it had terrible reviews. Now I will give HF credit; they don't launder their customer reviews or make excuses. It pays to look at them. So after looking around, I got the Astro version which had sparse but good reviews. More money (but not a huge difference) but it's worked flawlessly now for about 5 years.

    It pays to shop....
  28. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,949

    Bandit Billy

    I just fried mine a week ago, non serviceable HF POS that lasted for years longer than it should with the abuse I gave it. Bought a IR branded piece from Summit for less than a C note.
    Deuces and Desoto291Hemi like this.
  29. lostone
    Joined: Oct 13, 2013
    Posts: 1,774

    from kansas

    I always figured most were made in the same factory and as they rolled thru each piece was graded and then once graded sent to the next stage to add to which ever sellers quality/price point that part matched...
    Deuces likes this.
  30. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,035

    from Oregon

    One thing I found out with HF inexpensive air tools is they like to be oiled. I bought a bottle of Lucas air tool oil, and during a project I used a HF grinder every day for months. Each day I'd put a few drops of oil in the air line, and go to using it. Never a glitch at all.
    I was asked by a friend if he could borrow it, so I gave him the Lucas oil and told him to oil it each day before use. He used it for months also, and gave it back. Loaned it to two other friends and told them if it broke to just toss it, but it came back still working.
    I still use it occasionally and oil it before use. I've had this tool over 12 years now, and it just doesn't want to quit. Best $34 I ever spent.
    Deuces likes this.

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