Angle Grinder vs. Polisher: Are They Interchangeable?

Angle Grinder vs. Polisher: Are They Interchangeable?

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When it comes to polishing and grinding down materials to make a smooth surface, angle grinders and polishers are the best items you can use. The angle grinder can make quick use of its power to sand and polish and the polisher uses its aggressive method to smooth out any surface.

But though it seems that these two tools can do the same job, are they interchangeable?

Let’s take a look at what each of these tools can do and what they should be used to determine whether they are suitable for the same types of tasks or should be used for only specific projects.

Angle Grinders and Polishers: The Basics

Before we can begin talking about the main differences between these two tools, we need to define what each one is so we are both on the same page about which tool is being talked about.

What is an Angler Grinder?

Angle Grinder An angle grinder is a tool that can grind metal and cut stucco, tile, and pavers. It can also be used for sanding, sharpening, and polishing different materials too.

It’s a tool that has a handle with a spinning disc at its end.

Together with a drill, it is one of the most common tools for handymen and construction workers.

What is a Polisher?

Polisher A polisher is a tool that is known for its aggressive finishing process that uses an abrasive and leather strop or work wheel to smooth out the surface of an item or material.

At first glance, it is a tool that looks very similar to an angle grinder.

While there are numerous applications for a polisher, it can very commonly be seen in shops working on car paint.

Angle Grinder vs. Polisher: What Are the Differences?

Now that you know the basics, let’s take a look at the differences.

Type of Rotary-Action

When you see a grinder work, you will see that the blade or polishing head spins on a single axis and does not move out of that position. This is ideal for spot removals and to make an entire surface look uniform.

Polishers often come with a dual-action head that allows you to move it at different angles. It generates heat between the pad and the backing plate, which is what smooths the surface.

Polisher Head


The weight of these two types of tools can vary, but the rotary grinders are typically quite a bit heavier than polishers.

Since you will be holding the tool for many hours to complete your project, having an option that is too heavy can extend the amount of time it takes you to finish and can make you more sore and fatigued doing it.

Ease of Operation

When using a grinder, the single position of the head makes it easier for newer users to handle, since it doesn’t require much practice to get used to it.

However, with a dual-action polisher, the different angles of the polishing head can take more experience to get right and make it easier to make mistakes the first few times you are using it.

Polisher in Action


Although both of these tool options come with a fast speed that makes it easy to keep a steady pace for the entire project, an angle grinder is faster and has more torque than the polisher.

This is because the angle grinder, although it can work as a polisher, is made for much bigger jobs. It is also made for use in cutting pavers and metal, so it has the speed needed for that job and might be too much for newer users.

Varying Movements

Using an angle grinder will have less movement in the tool as it only spins clockwise and doesn’t make any unexpected movements while in use.

However, the dual-action polisher will have a pad that operates with a slightly varying angle of motion that keeps the material you are polishing lasting longer. This makes it able to polish better without being abrasive on the material or creating swirls.


As mentioned a number of times, an angle grinder is a much more versatile tool.

While a polisher can literally do just one type of task, an angle grinder can grind metal, cut a variety of materials, and with the right attachment even do polishing. That’s why there is a wide variety of different discs you can attach to the tool.

Angle Grinder Is More Versatile Than Polisher

Can You Convert an Angle Grinder to a Polisher?

If you have an angle grinder and are wondering if you can convert it into a polisher instead of buying a new tool, then you will be happy to know that it can be done. However, there are some precautions that you will need to take when using them, but we will discuss that after we go over how to convert the angle grinder.

So, when you are starting the conversion process for an angle grinder, you will need to remove the angle guard that is attached to the angle grinder. This is the plastic guard that covers the sharp blade when it is not in use. Just detach it from the main body of the grinder and set it aside.

Then, you will install the head that you want to use. You can choose which one you want to use by finding one that will work best for the projects that you will be doing. Once the head is attached to the grinder, the pad can be attached to the Velcro backing of the head.

After that, you can test out the grinder and see if everything is moving properly. If so, then you can begin using your new polisher.

However, just make sure that you work slowly until you get used to the speed, the grinder has much more power and can be tough to get ahold of at first if you go too fast.

Angle Grinder Polishing Discs

Which of the Two Should You Get?

Now that you see the differences between these two options and what each has to offer, you can make your decision about what you want to use. If you want to use a polisher that comes with varying movement and angles, then a polisher will be a better option.

However, if you want to use something that has more power but also comes with a rotary build, then the angle grinder will be your best bet. Also, if you have an angle grinder but want to convert it into a polisher that you can use for many different projects, then you can do this with the guide above.

Just remember the differences that were mentioned earlier to help you make your decision and you will be able to find the best option for your polishing project.

Also, if you decide to get an angle grinder, make sure to check a list of my favorite ones here.


Polishing tools come in many forms and whether you are looking for an angle grinder or a polisher for your next project, you can find that either one may work for what you will be doing. It just depends on what you want to do, whether you want a simple rotary or varying angle option, and how much speed you will be able to handle.

Angle grinders are much more powerful than a typical polisher, which means that they leave less room for error. So, even though these tools are similar in several ways and the grinder can be converted into a polisher, they are not interchangeable as they are made for different jobs.

So, think about what option you would rather use, and what you would feel most comfortable with, and that will help you decide which of the tools you should be getting.

How Do Angle Grinders Compare with Other Tools?

See how angle grinders compare with: bench grinders | circular saws | cut-off tools | die grinders | Dremels | oscillating multi-tools | reciprocating saws | sanders