Milwaukee Cordless Grinder Review

November 1, 2011 | by Ethan (email) |

At the 2011 Milwaukee Tools Symposium in July, I saw a ton of cool tools like their new hand tools and fluorescent bulb tester. Another offering that caught my attention was a 4-1/2″ cordless cutoff / grinder. The specifications on this grinder are nothing new: paddle-switch; 9,000 RPM; tool-less accessory changes; etc. Even so, none of the competition has a grinder with the same combination of features. Milwaukee sent me their cordless grinder (catalog #2680-20) a couple months ago. Read on for the full review.

Milwaukee M18 Grinder


If you start looking around in the world of small angle grinders, you’ll see more and more paddle-switches because they are very comfortable to use in a variety of positions. Plus, by positioning the switch farther down the body, you gain better control. Paddle-switches also eliminate the need for a lock-on button which is much safer. If you ever accidentally drop the grinder or lose control, the switch disengages as soon as it leaves your hand. On their website, Milwaukee states that they offer the “only cordless cut-off /grinder in the market with a paddle switch design.” So far I think that still holds true.

Milwaukee M18 Grinder
The trigger prevents you from accidentally pressing the paddle-switch

Tool-Less Accessory Changes

I’m a huge fan of tool-less accessory changes. I hate grabbing a spindle wrench or an Allen wrench especially because I usually lose them after about a week. To remove the accessory, press the wheel lock and pull in the same direction it spins. You can also move the guard through a handful of detents with the press of a lever. To swap out the guard, just line up the arrows and it slides off.

Milwaukee M18 Grinder

Milwaukee M18 Grinder
Wheel lock button

Guard adjust lever

Milwaukee M18 Grinder
Line up the arrows to remove the guard

Here’s a short video demonstrating quick and easy accessory changes:


Grinders are great for welders, metal workers, masons and other professionals, and they’re commonly used for tasks like cutting rebar, polishing metal, tuckpointing, and more. For these demanding applications, Milwaukee included a 4-pole motor that delivers 9,000 RPMs (no load). I tried out this grinder for cutting copper pipe and threaded rod, and removing some brick mortar. It performed admirably every time.

Milwaukee M18 Grinder

Milwaukee M18 Grinder

I also used this grinder to help carve my Angry Birds pumpkin

What Else

There are a couple odds-n-ends I wanted to mention. First, I appreciate the 3.0 amp hour M18 batteries because they put out a lot of juice. Second, Milwaukee included overload protection so that this grinder doesn’t burn out in “abusive situations.” It’s almost a standard feature for grinders, and I wanted you to know it’s there.


To see all the product information, check out the details on the Milwaukee site.

  • Voltage: 18V
  • RPMs: 9,000
  • Paddle Switch
  • Tool Free Guard
  • Large Button Spindle Lock
  • 3 Handle Positions
  • Tool Weight: 5.9 lbs
  • Shipping Weight: 13.25 lbs


  • 2680 4-1/2″ Cut-off Grinder
  • (2) M18™ XC High Capacity RED LITHIUM™ Batteries
  • 1-Hour Charger
  • Type 1 Guard
  • Type 27 Guard,
  • Type 1 Cut-0ff Wheel,
  • Spanner Wrench
  • Side Handle
  • Contractor Bag

7 Responses
  1. How does it feel power-wise when comparing it to corded grinders? Every grinder I’ve ever used has been corded. Is it comparable in almost every way except for the cord?

    • Ethan says:

      It doesn’t feel as powerful as a corded grinder. I didn’t have any problems cutting / grinding but you can tell it’s not quite the same.

      • supimeister says:

        i am still toying with the idea of buying a cordless combo kit that includes a grinder… do you remember how it was not quite the same as a corded?

  2. Icarus says:

    We have some old pipes in our condo building that apparently were used for laundry machines when the building was apartments. They are capped off and allegedly no water runs through them anymore. They are in the way of us being able to utilze the brick wall they are attached to. I wonder if this would be a good way to cut them free.

    • Ethan says:

      I really love the grinder but there are easier ways to cut the copper pipe. If you’re looking for an excuse to pick one up… go for it!

  3. HANDYMAN51 says:

    Looks like this might come in handy for repairing an outside, free-standing fireplace/ grill once I begin to add some more rock to repair areas where it’s crumbled.

  4. CHRISTINA Royer says:

    When I push the button for the grinder to stay on my grinder doesn’t stay on

Leave a Reply