For metal shaping, polishing, grinding, and cutting, the angle grinder is the right tool for the job. There’s no shortage of rebar and bolts to cut and sharp edges to smooth over on our jobsites, so we always have at least one grinder handy. Angle grinders have moved into the cordless realm over the last few years, and we’ve benefited, along with the rest of the Pros, from the newfound convenience and mobility. The Ridgid 18V Brushless Angle Grinder is a relatively new player in the brushless category that hopes to be there when we’ve got grinding and cutting to do. We brought it along to work on a home addition we’ve been constructing in Lakeland, Florida.
I should note that there are plenty of tools available that the manufacturers claim can be all things to all people. But Ridgid readily admits that this grinder is not for heavy-duty work and won’t replace your go-to corded grinder. It’s always nice to know the expectations up front and we’re looking at this model as a supplementary tool rather than primary workhorse.
Much like the Ridgid 18V cordless miter saw, this brushless grinder is better suited to punch list applications and small one-off work than a full-day tool. As you’ll see, it certainly can have a place in your truck as it does in mine, but it’s good to know the intended purpose to avoid disappointment.
The Ridgid 18V brushless angle grinder weighs in at 4.4 pounds and measures 13.75 inches long by 5.1 inches wide with a 4.5-inch max wheel size. It features a tool-free, 5-position guard adjustment, which I really like. It’s pretty much the same design as other tool-free guards on the market.
The switch is a lock off design that won’t accidentally turn the unit on. You need to press down then forward to defeat it and I can’t see any scenario where it could be unintentionally triggered. There’s also my favorite handle overmold in Ridgid’s Hex Grip.
There are a few changes worth noting from the previous X4 model. Weight has come down slightly and they’ve tapered the handle back for a little more comfortable grip on the tool.
No load wheel speed has actually dropped by 500 RPM down to 8500. With a brushless motor that should provide more power and run time, this change may be to shift more of the power to torque and keep the tool from bogging down as easily.
Ridgid kept the three auxiliary handle positions with the extra being on top to turn the unit 90 degree while maintaining the same relative grip. Even though the handle doesn’t rotate like some models, the extra position is very helpful.
Peace of Grind
I cut off rebar that was sticking out of block, cut off some j-bolts, and cut some nails among other grinder tasks over several weeks. I found that the Ridgid 18V Brushless Angle Grinder performs just fine as long as I didn’t put too much pressure on it.
It can still easily bog down under pressure compared to what you might see with Metabo or DeWalt FlexVolt grinders. I even put the big 4.0Ah battery on and had similar results when I pushed the grinder (Think the battery amp hours don’t affect power? They actually do!). But that doesn’t make it useless because it’s great for small jobs.
I’m not just being generous – if you don’t have to drag out the cord for cutting nails or punch list tasks to put the finishing touches on a project, cordless convenience makes the job easier and this grinder is worth having. But if cutting rebar or grinding concrete will be the main task of your grinder, this one probably isn’t going to be your primary tool. You’re not going to put a diamond blade in this and go to town on some block. But for small metal cuts, light-duty grinding, and polishing, it’s a great supplement to corded models.
The guard adjustment is really great. In fact, I usually remove the blade guards on my grinders because they get in the way, but this works so easily I didn’t bother. Simply push in the lever and rotate to your desired angle. You can still remove it if you like or when it comes time to replace it.
Always keep in mind which way the sparks are going to fly so you don’t catch your clothes on fire. Sounds funny, but it happens.
Wheel changes still aren’t tool-free on this model, so you’ll need to engage the spindle lock on the housing and make sure your wrench doesn’t stray too far from where you’re working. Tool-free changes are something we’ve seen from Metabo, but are far from being an expectation for this class of tool. Should you manage to leave the switch in the locked on position, an auto lock-out won’t allow the grinder to turn on when you install a battery.
The Bottom Line
The Ridgid 18V Brushless Angle Grinder is really about convenience and less about heavy lifting. As I mentioned, this isn’t your workhorse, but there’s no surprise there. It’s nice that Ridgid didn’t try to oversell it.
With a proper understanding of its capability, I recommend this grinder. The bare tool sells for $119, which is right in line for what it is in my opinion. If you need a convenient way to accomplish small or light-duty grinder tasks and are already on the Ridgid platform, then it would be an easy decision to pick up the Ridgid 18V Brushless Angle Grinder.
Ridgid 18V Brushless Angle Grinder Key Features
- Brushless motor technology delivers up to 50% more run-time, more power, and longer motor life
- Tool-free guard design – easily rotates guard for optimal grinding position
- 3-position auxiliary handle provides optimal control and versatility on the jobsite
- Ergonomic slim grip for maximum comfort during extended use
- Lock-off protection: to prevent accidental start, if battery is installed while tool lock is on, the tool will not operate
- Spindle lock lets you easily change grinding wheels
Ridgid 18V Brushless Angle Grinder Specifications
- Model: Ridgid R86041B
- Power Source: Ridgid 18V battery pack
- No Load Speed: 8500 RPM
- Wheel Size: 4-1/2″
- Weight: 4.4 pounds
- Warranty: Lifetime Service Agreement
- Price: $119 (bare)