Virtually any kind of metalworking benefits by the presence of a good angle grinder such as the DeWalt DW818 reviewed here. Click image to enlarge

DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder

When you don’t want to spend all day grinding

Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz

Posted – 9-8-2010

Angle grinders are essentially standard equipment in metalworking shops from home based to full-on factories. The DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder is often found in shops of all sizes because it is very capable, well-built and economical. When I went looking for an angle grinder for my shop, the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder was recommended frequently so I decided to do this review and see how it fared in my home-based shop.

The Basics

The DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder is built around a stout 120V, 9.0 AMP motor that sends its power through the nose-mounted gear box to produce a disk speed of 11,000RPM. That kind of speed is great for removing material but also means that you have to pay attention to RPM ratings when buying disks and accessories.

The DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder weighs just 5.2 LBS which means you can work longer without fatigue. The barrel-shaped grip area appears rather large in diameter at first but fits the hand fairly well. I think this is a tradeoff between how big of a motor they can stuff in there and how trim they could make the case around it. However they arrived at this shape, it feels good to the hand. The slider ON/OFF button is in a good position to be operated by the thumb for right-handed users.

The grip area (left) encloses a stout motor that makes this grinder effective. The 5/8"-diameter spindle (right) means you can find disks just about anywhere that sells tools!
Click images to enlarge

DeWalt includes a large side handle that is necessary for controlling a grinder with this kind of power. The side handle can be installed on either side of the body to make it easier to use for both left and right-handed operators.

To let you do more grinding and less searching for a nearby electrical outlet the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder comes with a 13-1/2-foot-long cord! The DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder is not fussy about outlets either as it uses a two-prong plug.

Popular Spindle

The DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder features a 5/8 by 11 spindle thread. This diameter is virtually standard in 4-1/2” angle grinders so it accepts disks that can be found just about anywhere there is a big box store or tool outlet. To make changing those disks easier the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder comes with a spanner wrench.
The DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder also has a pushbutton spindle lock located on the gear case. The button is recessed so it cannot be engaged by accident yet remains easy to use when changing disks.

Friendly Guard

A pushbutton spindle lock (left) is built into the gear housing where it is easy to access. The guard (right) can be turned to the best location by simply opening this lever lock.Turn the guard where you need it and close the lever to lock it in place.
Click images to enlarge

An effective guard is mandatory on a grinder with this level of power and speed. The DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder comes with a guard that offers good protection yet is user friendly. The guard covers 180-degrees of the disk but because grinding jobs often have limited access the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder guard can be easily repositioned. Flip open the locking lever, turn the guard to where you need it and push the lever closed to secure it in place. That simplicity means that there is no good reason to not use the guard.

In the Shop

I was on the process of building a welding machine cart when I got the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder and it proved itself to be a worthy tool throughout that project. Grinding off old mounts and smoothing over exuberant welds were handled easily and quickly. I installed a cutoff disk and slicing larger mounts away was also very quick.
Controlling the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder is reasonably easy considering the power available. You do have to pay attention to how you are holding it to prevent side loading the disk but hold it straight and the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder removes material very well and from the spot you want!

The long cord is also a welcomed feature. I was able to work my way around my cart project without constantly having to move the cord or find another outlet. I love it when a tool company forgoes a small bit of profit they could have gained by shorting us on a tool power cord.

The power of the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder handled everything I could think of with ease. I never felt that I lacked power or that RPM was dropping off. I suppose you could lean on this (or any) grinder hard enough to slow the disk but that kind of pressure has to be close to exploding the disk. Keep a good disk on the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder and let it do its work!

Video Tutor

Conclusions

The DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder is notable in the immense 4-1/2” angle grinder market. It is well built, comfortably designed and very capable. I have no doubt that with common sense care and use, the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder will last a very long time.

The street price for the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder hovers around $89.99 (9-7-2010) so it is as good of a value as it is handy. You certainly can spend money more foolishly than buying a DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder. If you need an angle grinder in this size, the DeWalt DW818 4-1/2" Angle Grinder should get a hard look.

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