This Bosch Angle Grinder brings the usually Bosch quality and list of features at a surprisingly small price. It may not be real magic but it is getting close..
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Bosch #1380 Slim 4-1/2” Angle Grinder

Smooth, dependable and Bosch through and through

Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz

Posted – 9-29-2010

There are some tool companies that build dependable tools and others who focus more on being user friendly. Bosch has led the field for many years because they consider both to be primary design criteria. The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder is just the latest example of what a well designed and well manufactured should be.

The Basics

The slim” part of the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder name is not simple marketing verbiage. It really is noticeably slimmer through the main body area than any other grinder in this class that I have tried or seen. The slim gripping area surrounds the equally small diameter motor made possible by the industry-leading Bosch engineering. In this case they just might be showing off by figuring out how to make a 7.5 Amp motor this small. As with every other Bosch power tool I have used, the motor is also remarkably smooth running.

Shrinking the motor dimensions also reduced the overall weight of the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder to a very trim 4.2-lbs. Combined with the lack of vibration the low weight means you can use the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder longer without getting fatigued.

The grip area (left) is smaller in diameter than most and very comfortable to the hand. The slider switch can be locked on by rocking it forward while in the ON position. The outboard handle (right) is swept forward and while it looks odd, it feels very natural. go back to a straight side handle and it feels awful after using this one!
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The grip area is comfortable thanks to the reduced diameter and the typical Bosch-smooth case construction. The side-mounted ON/OFF switch can be locked ON by pushing it forward and then rocking it forward to engage the lock. To unlock it just touch the back portion of the switch and it clicks off. You also will not have to move from socket to socket so often thanks to a nearly 7-foot-long cord.

Even the gear case on the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder is remarkably trim despite being filled with high-end gears that transmit the motor power smoothly and efficiently. I have used cheap angle grinders that sound like the gears may break through the case at any moment and that experience makes using the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder very reassuring. No vibration, clattering or gear grinding with the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder.
Bosch also figured a way to direct the airflow from exhausts to help direct grinding debris away from the switch and motor inlets. I know there are others who claim that they have similar features and I have tried some of those but the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder is way ahead of the pack in this area also.

The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder does have removable covers for access to the brushes but if history is any indication, only those who make a living grinding all day, every day will ever need to open them. It’s nice knowing they are there and that they are flush so you aren’t reminded of their presence every time you pick the tool up.

The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder comes with a comfortably shaped outboard handle that can be installed on the left or right of the gear case. This outboard handle is swept forward to a surprisingly comfortable angle. While this is nice for both left and right-handed operators, the lock-on feature of the switch will be appreciated and needed by left-handed users.

Spindle & Disk Changing

The pushbutton spindle lock (left) and virtually no play in the gear drive make disk changing a snap! The guard system (right) is locked in place by these profiles. Once the screw is tightened this guard is not going to move which is the only way it can protect you!
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The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder is equipped with the industry standard 5/8”-diameter spindle with an 11 UNC thread. That makes it compatible with all common accessories and replacement disks that you can buy close to just about anywhere you may be working. The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder is capable of using all common 4-1/2”-diameter grinding disks, 4”-diameter wire brush wheels (used with the standard type 27 guard) and 3”-diameter cup brushes.

Changing disks is made easy by the spindle lock button on top of the gear housing. The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder comes with a spanner wrench for the spindle nut. The inner washer is also removable to clear the way for using screw-on accessories like cup brushes.

The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder comes with one of their quality 4-1/2”-diameter disks to get you going right out of the box.

A Real Guard

The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder is equipped with a very solid guard that can be repositioned on the mounting collar but is ingeniously designed so that it remains firmly locked in place even if something bad happens. You have to loosen the locking screw fully with the included, cord-mounted hex wrench before rotating the guard to where you want it and then tighten the locking screw firmly. The guard can only go on and come off of the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder in one position, insuring that it will stay in place when you would need it most. This is a very important feature that is overlooked on cheaper grinders far too often!

In the Shop

I could probably just say that the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder worked perfect and let it go at that. All of those that own other Bosch tools will know exactly what I mean. But for the rest of you, it really did work perfectly.

All of the features described above performed flawlessly. The disk changing system is very easy to use in part because there is nearly zero play in the gear drive. The toughest part of assembling the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder was learning that you really do have to loosen the guard locking screw completely. That is because of the security built into this guard system and its ability to keep the guard in place until you WANT to move it. If you have ever had a 4-1/2” disk grab or break you will appreciate the toughness of this guard and its mounting.

Video Tour

The motor and gearing run surprisingly (for first time Bosch owners) smooth. I expected that on a grinder Bosch could be a little less precise but that is not how they see things. The Bosch Slim Angle Grinder is very easy on the hands when operating which combined with the comfortable grip areas let you grind longer without strain. With the power coming from this motor it is unlikely that you will be grinding too long though.

What surprised me most about using the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder is that it feels very balanced while grinding. I am not at all sure how that can be because of how an angle grinder has to be configured but it just does. I would have asked Bosch about this but would get a perfectly legitimate engineering answer that few of us would understand. All we really need to understand is that Bosch does this kind of thing all of the time.

Conclusions

When you are looking for a 4-1/2” angle grinder the odds are better than even that you need one that can be depended on. With a street price of just $69.99 (9-29-2010) it just does not make sense to buy anything other than the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder. I have long been a fan of Bosch tools because every one that I raved about when I first got them in the shop remains in the shop and working perfectly to this day. I can see no benefit in saving money on something that will have to be replaced sooner than it should be. If you need an angle grinder, do yourself a favor and check out (and then buy) the Bosch Slim Angle Grinder. You can save yourself some money and frustration at the same time.

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