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I have an ancient industrial Milwaukee, 9"?: metal bodied, weighs a metric ton, tries to break your wrists when you turn it on and has cut through many a piece of RR rail and welding tank!  I'll be hunting another one like it when it dies; I bought it used about 20 years ago...

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As far as new goes, Makita are hard to beat. The 4.5" average around $70 to $80 depending on where you shop. I have four in the shop and I've burned one up after nine years of steady use. They (Makita) are not all created equal. If it's priced around say $40-$50 USD that's a good indication it's a 6 or 7.5 amp motor. These are intended for sale at big box stores to homeowners/weekend warriors who will purchase them to cut a few pieces of rebar for a small landscape project and then never use it again. The ones that are priced higher have 10 amp or better motors and are intended for heavier duty. It's the same with Milwaukee, Dewalt, any of the major brands. They all offer lower and higher grades of tools that look very similar but internally are actually quite different. Pay more attention to the amp rating of the motor than the brand.

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I believe there was another or many more, thread/s on angle grinder preferences with a lot of good info.

 

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Look up new and pay less than that acording to condition. ;)

To be honest I rarely see the good ones at estate auctions and at fleamarkets they ask almost new prices so I buy new now as I need them.  After the last two "good" ones i bought, I haven't needed to buy one in several years. 

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Watch the classifieds. I got a solid professional quality DeWalt 7” and a bin of accessories for 30 bucks from a contractor wrapping up his business. 

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I used a lincoln 135 for years and it served me well. ( still using it too) but I needed something for thicker metal and after a lot of price shopping went with the Hobart Ironman 230. With no regrets. 

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Variable speed.

Wire wheels, grinding and sanding discs so much nicer at low to medium speed.

Haven't touched my favorite Makitas since I got one.

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I keep meaning to plug my DeWalt into my variable transformer (currently adjusting the blower speed on my forge) to run it at lower speeds. Maybe when I go to clean up those rusty frying pans....

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2 things to add to what those above have said--

If you buy a new grinder, spring another 10 bucks to get a second wrench and nut for it.  For some reason, grinder wrenches and nuts seem to have little legs and wander off....right when you are needing to use the thing.  It's really cheap backup and since you have that backup, you'll probably never need it (part of Murphy's law).  I use both threaded and unthreaded discs and the swap is when the nut gets misplaced for me.  The wrench is stolen by the underpants gnomes nor matter how careful I am.

Second is to spring for good quality wheels and flap discs rather than thinking cheap saves you money.  Better quality abrasives are soooooooo much nicer to use than the cheap stuff (especially the cheap china-made stuff) and the extra cost is well worth it.

 

Oh..on a side note a question to all:  Everything makita I own has had the cord and cord boot become brittle and crumble in only a couple of years time.  Is it just the tool-gods frowning on me or is this a problem others have also?  My milwaukee, bosch, dewalt, and other brands haven't had the same problem...only the makita.

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I don't use a wrench, I just run them up hand tight. Never had one even think of coming loose.  At work we have the speed nuts that you flip over depending on the thickness of the wheel. They have the hub for 7/8" center holes. 

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Pay attention to where the cord is and it won't end up cordless. :P

Frosty The Lucky.

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I love my 9" most only come with soft start in OZZ  anymore, plus now with a big clumsy D handle , not many engineering shops use them now, thats rubbish IMO, I don,t use it often now but cutting the 12 mm firebox plates is one example, ive got three 5" that get most use in my shed, I really wanted to praise a zip disk though ( 1mm cutting disc ) It is not often when I praise bang fer buck about many items I use, but after using a five inch grinder cutting quite a few 12 mm plates , I used 1 of these only to make the firebox reducer! Best Zip Disc out!

50128976_10219337999427872_3186781414834044928_o.jpg

 

flex-o-vit.jpg

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I agree with Bean ... best sizes are 5" and 9", forget 4" and 4.5". 

I believe you guys in the US have 6". Probably a good choice too.

As far as brands, if you are going to buy second hand, all bets are off. You are buying unknown provenience and conditions.

New ... Makita is by far NOT what it used to be. Cheap power tools like grinders, are made in China in the well known cheap and nasty way, just with the Makita logo. If you can find made in Japan, whatever brand, buy it. Made in Germany or US, buy it. 

Milwaukee despite being owned by Techtronic, that also owns Ryobi, a brand you don't want to use too often, is a decent grinder and so is DeWalt, Bosh (blue) Feins, and many others.

I use mainly 5", soft start, Rat tail, dead man switch Milwaukee. Have also a couple of Dewlat 9" and a little Hitachi full aluminium body 4" 30 years odl made in Japan that refuses to die.   

It is a very useful tool, that demands respect and that should never been used without the guard and full face shield and hearing protection. 

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Just to let you folks know Flex o vit make really makes  Good/ Great grinding wheels stainless & fast cut they Really last a long time !! believe me I do a lot of grinding !! Well worth the cost !!

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3M cubitron 2 cutting disks;  flap disks and fibre disks. flex-o-vit, Tyrolit & Norton aren't bad either, but 3M beats them for working hard steel.

As for machines; I've got 2 Metabo WQ1450 grinders, using 125mm disks (the standard small ones), also got a bosch and a einhell. One makita and one metabo 8inch 230 mm disk grinder. 

I'll tell you from having held both in my hands cutting - grinding for countless days ... the metabo's are a lot better and safer. I love the safety clutch and the fact they produce less vibration. Haven't touched the bosch or einhell in a solid year, and the 8 inch makita once last week when I was to lazy to swap the disk :D . the makita is close behind the metabo's tough.

 

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i love the blue bosch  gws 17-125cl a lot, we use and abuse them all day long and they keep on working. especially when grinding gantry rails and when you need to take material down when hard facing stuff, grinding welds out . we tried other butt they don't hold up verry long when using the cubitron discs.

at home the makita does a nice job 

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I've been looking at a lot of metal working tools, from angle grinders, to 2x72's, to welders, band saws, drill presses, etc for 9 months.

Around the world on u-tube, as well as various forums, as it were.  Metabo angle grinders  lead all others in current popularity, 5 to 1.

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In descending order

Metabo

Fein

Bosch

Milwaukee

Portercable

Dewault grinders are so bad I will not allow them in my shop.

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Got to agree with arftist dewalt grinders suck lol i'm startin to like Milwaukee alot right now ive got a makita 5'' ive been abusin for 10yrs now just had to replace the cords a couple of times.

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Why does dewalt suck? Never had issues with all mine over the years. 

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their warranty is a joke as well. I bought a 13.2v drill new it died in less than 2 months, bought on credit and they refused to fix it, and still demanded I finish paying for it

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