Skil 20V Brushless Angle Grinder Delivers Incredible Performance at DIY Price Point
Skil has impressed us with their brushless line of tools so far and the Skil 20V brushless angle grinder continues that trend. I tested it on several different types of metal with different wheels and couldn’t believe the performance it delivered for a grinder that’s well under $200 as a kit.
- Performance that keeps up with cordless grinders twice its price
- Onboard wrench storage
- Left, right, and top handle installation points
- 5.0Ah battery, PWRJump charger, and USB power adapter included in the kit
- No major drawbacks
How Strong is the Skil 20V Brushless Angle Grinder?
The Skil 20V brushless angle grinder uses a brushless motor to spin its wheel up to 8500 RPM. That doesn’t mean a whole lot if it can’t keep those RPMs high, though. I started by making a few cuts in rebar and steel pipe using a diamond wheel. The cutting speed was right on par with my Makita 4-1/2″ brushless grinder (XAG06) and maybe even a little better.
I swapped the diamond wheel out for the grinding wheel Skil included and set to deburring some 1/4″ angle iron we’d cut earlier. Again, I was impressed with how well Skil’s brushless motor kept its speed up. I was able to bog it down, of course, but it took the same kind of force to do it that my Makita does.
For a DIY brand, even with a brushless motor, I expected it to have less power than it did. From what I’m seeing, it’s a good replacement for grinders in the 7-amp range. Once you get up around 10 amps, corded is definitely stronger.
If you’re used to using a Pro-level angle grinder, there’s definitely a difference between the higher-power advanced grinders and this one. But for your standard 18V/20V max grinder, it keeps up very well.
How Hard is it to Use?
The Skil 20V brushless angle grinder follows a traditional cordless grinder design. The handle is on the thicker side compared to other handheld tools such as drills and impact drivers. If you have smaller hands, it might take some getting used to. It’s not any thicker than the handles on our other grinders, though.
With a 5.0Ah battery, handle, and grinder wheel, it weighs 6.1 pounds. That’s heavier than its corded counterparts, but not at all difficult to manage.
The lock-on power switch has a typical safety for similar grinders. You press the bottom of the switch down to lift up the front so it can ride over the safety. Once you turn it on, the switch stays locked on until you turn it off.
If you happen to have the power switch on when you insert a battery, it won’t turn on until you cycle the switch off and back on. That’s an important safety feature we like to see on any grinder.
Skil gives you an extra handle installation point. Most grinders have one on the right and left and a few add one on the top to help on vertical cutting. Skil adds the top install point.
How Do I Change the Wheel?
Wheel changes follow the same process we see on our Pro models. There’s a wheel lock button on the top. Press it down and rotate the wheel by hand until you feel it slip into place. Then use your spanner wrench to loosen the flange and swap out your wheel.
What’s brilliant about the Skil 20V brushless angle grinder is that the wrench stores right inside the handle. It’s not something we see frequently from other brands, though Kobalt and Ryobi both have the same feature.
With our other grinders, we have to hope that whoever used it last put the wrench away in its proper place. There’s no standard hole configuration on the flanges, so having another spanner wrench doesn’t guarantee it will work.
Can I Take the Guard Off?
The short answer is yes, you can the guard off. But you shouldn’t. Abrasive cut-off wheels are known for shattering and the shrapnel is unforgiving. You should always keep the guard on and wear eye protection.
The good news is that the guard has a tool-free rotation adjustment very similar to Pro models. Just flip the lever out, rotate it to the position you want, and flip it back in to lock it down. It’s super simple.
Anything Else I Should Know?
Removable Dust Screens
There are two screens just above the battery that help keep debris from getting in through the air intake. If they start to get clogged up, you can take them off to clean and reinstall them.
Braking or Not?
Skil doesn’t advertise this as a braking grinder. However, the wheel takes 4 – 5 seconds to stop, so it’s not completely freewheeling, either.
How Much Does it Cost?
You can pick up this angle grinder for $149. That price includes the grinder, 5.0Ah battery, PWRJump charger upgrade, USB power adapter, grinding wheel, and a 5-year warranty. It’s available to preorder now and looks like it will start shipping in January 2020.
That’s a pretty solid kit and I like the bonus USB adapter. The PWRJump charger is an upgrade worth mentioning, too. It has a USB charging port on the front and gives you a super-quick charge for the first 5 minutes before settling in. If you just have a little grinding to do before you’re done, you can get the boost you need quickly.
To put it in perspective, the price is about half what you’ll pay for a similar kit from Makita or Milwaukee. Ryobi’s brushless grinder runs $99 and Craftsman’s brushed model is $49. Both are bare tools, so you may need to add the cost of a battery and charger.
The Bottom Line
Skil’s brushless tools have the performance to make the jump to professional use for budget-minded Pros, in my opinion. This is the only size cordless angle grinder they make, so it’s a fairly limited platform investment if you normally work with a range of grinders.
For serious DIYers, the performance and design you get for the price is solid gold. It can handle cutting and grinding tasks well and can easily replace your corded 4-1/2″ model in the 7-amp range.
Buy it if you’re looking for a cordless grinder that gives you a lot of bang for your buck with the power to actually cut and grind. Pass if you want a cordless system that has a range of grinder sizes to work with or you’re looking for the performance that top-tier Pro models offer in this class.
Skil 20V Brushless Angle Grinder Specifications
- Model: Skil AG2907-1A
- Power Source: Skil PWRCore 20 battery
- No-Load Speed: 8500 RPM
- Wheel Diameter: 4-1/2″
- Weight: 6.1 pounds with 5.0Ah battery, handle, and grinder wheel
- Length: 12-1/8″
- Price: $179.99
- Warranty: 5 years