Handheld Grinder vs. Walk-Behind Grinder

Concrete use is on the rise, not only for industrial settings but also for residential locations. In order to maintain concrete surfaces and maximize their shine, grinding down concrete is a must. There are a wide variety of grinder options available to contractors, but which one is right for your particular project?

What is a Concrete Grinder?

Concrete grinders are tools used to level uneven surfaces, prep current flooring for new coverings by removing paint, epoxies, stains, adhesives, and other coatings, polish concrete surfaces, clean concrete, and to both smooth rough surfaces and rough up smooth surfaces.

Concrete grinders are used as a finishing tool for floor restoration. They function by leveling and smoothing concrete surfaces through the use of rotating discs engineered with an abrasive grit of synthetic diamonds.

Handheld Concrete Grinders

Handheld grinders are small, versatile, and easy to use. Ideal for smaller projects, handheld grinders are efficient for tight spaces and for getting into corners. These lightweight tools are an excellent option for carrying and are flexible for in smaller areas where maneuverability may be an issue. While these grinders excel in tight areas, they are not suited for larger projects. A vital disadvantage to the handheld concrete grinder is that most lack a vacuum or dust collection system. Dust particles from concrete grinding are hazardous to your health when inhaled. If no dust collection system is available to you for your handheld grinder, ensure you have the proper safety equipment available, including a mask, to protect your lungs from harmful dust.

The U.S. Saws 7” Pro Grinder Package Metabo W24-230 is the perfect option for use on concrete for cleaning, leveling, and removing adhesives or other coatings. Equipped with a German-made Metabo W24-230 15 Amp, with 6,600 RPMs, this grinder not only comes with 2 – 7” 12 segment turbo cup wheels but also with a dust shroud to help reduce clean up time and the potential inhalation of hazardous concrete dust.

Walk-Behind Grinder

A walk-behind grinder is ideal for larger areas that do not require maneuverability or hard-to-reach surfaces. There are two types of walk-behind grinders: the rotary grinder and the planetary grinder. Rotary grinders are equipped with a single large pad that spins at a high speed. These grinders have a higher rotational speed and are much heavier than handheld grinders. They are the perfect option for projects that require the removal of heavy surface matter. Planetary grinders, on the other hand, use multiple pads that spin simultaneously but at different speeds. These grinders are able to not only remove material but also finish the floor at the same time. They are easier to maneuver than a rotary grinder and are more lightweight. Smaller jobs that do not require heavy restoration are ideal for planetary grinders, like finishing a garage floor.

Walk-behind grinders are versatile tools, ranging from single-disc machines to dual, triple, and even four-disc machines. Multi-disk grinders utilize counter-rotating discs which provide balanced torque, reducing any potential side-to-side pull from the grinder. These grinders offer a variety of power options, including electric, gasoline, and propane, for use in a variety of locations. Dust collection systems and/or vacuums are typically standard as more dust is released during larger jobs. Many walk-behind grinders are equipped with water mist systems enabling wet grinding, which reduces the amount of concrete dust released in the air and increases the sheen of the finished surface. The disadvantages of walk-behind grinders, while limited, are noteworthy. These grinders are not the right choice for small or hard-to-reach surfaces. They are also more expensive and, for the electric-powered versions, consume more electricity than their handheld counterparts.

The U.S. Saws TC-7 Stand-Up Edger is an innovative concrete grinder that provides the operator the feel of a handheld grinder while enabling the operator to remain in an upright position. A rear control lever adjusts the grinder pitch while a front handle allows for easy side-to-side movement, providing complete control over all aspects of the grinder. Ideal for small rooms, offices, kitchens, bathrooms, or even vertical surfaces, this grinder is much more efficient than a larger machine. As a further incentive, this exceptional machine is equipped with the U.S. Saws Generation 2 dust shroud system to ensure a clean work environment and dust-free lungs.

Which Option is Right for You – Handheld or Walk-Behind?

When deciding which grinder is right for you, it is important to bear in mind certain details: the size of the project, budget, type of concrete, and wet vs. dry grinding. Handheld grinders are the right option for small or DIY projects. They are lightweight and easy to use. Walk-behind grinders are ideal for large projects needing more power. Understanding the scope of the project and the location of the surface to be worked on is the first step to choosing the right grinder. Budgets are also vital in determining a grinder. Handheld grinders are the economic option while walk-behind grinders are more expensive and are a better option for those with a flexible budget. The right grinder choice is also dependent on the type of concrete. Harder surfaces will require a different grinder than softer surfaces. Another concern is wet or dry grinding. Wet grinding is messy, but drastically reduces the amount of dust in the air. Dry grinding causes a lot of dust, but the dust released is easily managed with a dust collection system. As walk-behind grinders are typically equipped with dust collection systems, they make a better choice for dry grinding.


Not all concrete grinders are created equal. Contact U.S. Saws today to speak with a professional about choosing the right concrete grinder for your project.


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