A stained glass grinder can expand an artist’s capabilities to new levels. If you haven’t added a glass grinder to your collection of stained glass tools here are a few options to consider. For most artist the Galstar All Star G8 Grinder is the most capable glass grinder on the market with an array of features every stained glass artist will appreciate.
Picking the best stained glass grinder for your needs can be difficult, especially when there are so many different brands, specs and price points to choose from. Before you begin your search, I recommend determining exactly what you will be using the grinder for. If you are starting a new hobby and only expect to work on a few projects a year, then one of the lower-end models will most likely be your best option. However, if you were planning on doing a high volume of work, or something in a professional capacity, the higher-end models would be more appropriate.
Although there may be many stained glass tools and accessories used in the process of creating a glass art piece, a good glass grinder is probably the most important tool when creating intricate pieces. There are only so many possible cuts you can make with your glass saw or glass cutting system, the glass grinder will come in handy for removing material that may be too difficult to achieve by cutting.
Another major reason to you may need a stained glass grinder is for smoothing the edges of glass pieces before soldering them in place. You will find this is especially useful when you first learn how to make copper foil stained glass as it is really useful for fine adjustments you may need to do when you are ready to assemble your pattern of glass pieces and ensuring everything lines up properly.
After hours of research and trying out several products that are regarded as some of the best glass grinders for stained glass, I have identified several models across a range of prices and capabilities. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned stained glass artist, I have rounded up a list of the best grinders for stained glass work!
How To Choose: A Guide to Glass Grinders for Stained Glass
Glass grinders used for stained glass work have a few key areas of importance you should keep in mind when you are selecting one. I’ll quickly go over the important attributes and details so you can choose what will work best for you when creating glass art.
Stained Glass Grinder: How Should They Perform
- RPM (Rotations Per Minute): RPM, or Rotations Per Minute, tell you how fast the glass grinder bit is spinning. Values typically range from 2,850 to 3,600 rpm. The faster the rpm on your stained glass grinder, the better. Quicker rotations will help keep your glass edges smoother, and will help push excess materials out of the way for a faster, more precise and efficient workflow.
- TORQUE: Similar to the torque in a car, the torque of a glass grinding machine is a value that represents how much power the machine contains. More specifically, it is a measure of the resistance of the drill bit to the glass. The torque is measured in ounces per inch. Below is a breakdown of torque values and how they might apply to your needs:
20 or below – Glass grinding machines with this torque value are ideal for people who consider themselves in the hobby stage. It is best for modest projects with small, finer pieces of glass.
21 to 29 – This torque level is good for most uses, including consumers with ongoing projects.
30 to 45 – These are the most powerful glass grinders, and they will be able to handle a lot of ongoing use.
Glass Grinders: Other Things To Consider
- COST: If you are like me, cost is one of the most important considerations when buying a grinder for stained glass. We would all love to get our hands on the best stained glass grinder money can buy. Unfortunately, that isn’t always an option, nor is it always the most practical choice for your needs. Here is a breakdown of what to expect from your stained glass grinder at different price points.
Beginner: Less than $100 – $150
These grinders feature lower rpms than the higher level models. They also have less torque (power) when smoothing glass edges. Beginner grinders are great for hobbyists interested in relatively small projects. Although they have fewer accessories and features they still get the job done!
Intermediate to professional: $150 – $500
These grinders feature more capable motors with higher torque, faster rpms, and longer-lasting parts. They also offer additional features, which enable a more efficient workflow. If you are planning to work on many projects simultaneously, or high-volume projects, then these are the best stained glass grinders for your needs.
- SURFACE SIZE: The surface size of your glass grinder, also known as the “table”, is the area in which you lay your glass while refining its edges. It is best to look for a glass grinder with a large table if you are working with large pieces of glass, and a small table if you are grinding smaller pieces (such as glass beads). If you regularly work with varying sizes, then a stained glass grinder with multiple surface sizes would be the best option.
- ACCESSORIES: Almost all glass grinders come with two bit options: a small and a large. However, there are many other features and accessories that are available with the mid- to high-level glass grinders. Look for the accessories that will best meet your specific needs.
Primary features to look for: Accessory drawers, dual bits, extra bits, safety items such as face shields, foot pedals, and multiple work surfaces
While there are many stained glass grinders to choose from, hopefully this guide can serve as a starting point for your research. For even more information, visit the manufacturer websites or talk to professionals in your area. Good luck!
The Best Glass Grinders – Top 5 Reviews
The All Star G8 Grinder is an extremely popular Glastar Grinder made for mid-level to professional use. While it is the most expensive glass grinder on this list, it offers an incredible number of features and added benefits that are hard to find elsewhere.
This particular Glastar grinder is extremely powerful with 42 ounce-inches of torque and 3,560 rpm. One of the most talked about highlights of this model is how quiet the advanced split capacitor motor is, helping the user stay focused with a quieter working environment.
It is also designed to make your life easier with a spacious 11” x 13” surface, which is 20 percent larger than most grinders on the market. This Glastar also has a built-in accessory drawer to help with organization and fast workflow. Other features include a scratch-resistant glass shield to protect your eyes while working, a coolant drain, and a five-year warranty.
If you have the extra cash, the Glastar All Star G8 Grinder comes with many features that would make all of your glass grinding projects run as smoothly and professionally as possible. It is jam-packed with features, and is highly recommend to everyone from mid-level glass grinders to professionals.
The Glastar Super Star II Grinder comes in at the top of the “hobbyist” price point for stained glass grinders. It features incredible value, reliability, and is easy to use and set up.
Its key features include a very quiet motor that produces 19 ounce-inches of torque and 3,450 rpm. Its less powerful engine, combined with an 8” by 9” surface, make it an ideal glass grinder for hobbyists or individuals looking to cut smaller pieces of glass.
Despite being considered an entry-level glass grinder, the Glastar Super Star II offers many exciting features one might expect on higher end models. They include a useful drain for cooling, a built-in accessory drawer for easy storage of bits and extraneous items, and a flexible splash-guard made of rubber. The Glastar Super Star II glass grinder also comes with a hefty five-year warranty.
If you are a hobbyist looking to fine-tune your skills with a glass grinder that is fun and easy to use, then the Glastar Super Star II comes highly recommended. You cannot go wrong with so many features and true reliability at a very affordable price.
The Gryphette Grinder is an affordable glass grinder that offers enthusiasts incredible value. It is ideal for hobbyists or students who want a great product without paying hundreds of dollars.
Its powerful .67 amp DC motor features a substantial 3000 rpm. It also features a 6.75” by 6.75” work surface. Additionally, one of the best assets of this Gryphette Grinder is that it is small and portable, weighing in at just six pounds! It also accepts all bit sizes, which makes it an extremely useful glass grinder for learning the ins and out of the trade.
If you are a student learning about stained glass grinding, or a hobbyist who enjoys occasional projects, then the Gryphette Grinder is an excellent and affordable option. It comes with a five-year warranty, and also features the option to add many affordable accessories as you build your craft. Definitely give the Gryphette a look if you need a good cheap stained glass grinder.
The Power Max II Deluxe Grinder is a great one-stop shop for beginners and mid-level stained glass grinder enthusiasts. It is packed with all of the accessories you will need to get started including three different bit sizes, anti-seize lubricant, a foot pedal and a face shield. Other benefits include a unique super sponge water cooling system, and ample space to work on the 9.5” x 9.5” table, which is a great compromise for working on both small and larger pieces of glass.
This particular glass grinder’s 2300 rpm are a little less than ideal, but it is still satisfactory for many users. This may not be the right option for you if you are looking to take on long-term projects, but it is a wonderful option if you work primarily with smaller pieces of glass or are new to the art of stain glass grinding.
Where the Power Max II Deluxe Grinder lacks in power, it makes up in usability, practicality, and value. If you are a beginner or intermediate enthusiast, this is the perfect one stop shop. And you can’t go wrong with a six-year warranty!
The Gryphon Convertible Grinder is a workhorse of a machine with a focus on comfort and practicality. One of its most unique features is a grinding surface that can morph from a flat position to an inclined position. While most grinders require you to be standing, this useful feature lets you sit for ultimate comfort. This is especially helpful for those looking to work for long periods at a time as it helps reduce strain on your back and neck.
Other features include an automatic electric pump with an optional sponge for cooling and a large 13.5” x 10.5” surface. It also comes with a versatile second story surface for optional use and a protective face shield. This is also one of the more powerful glass grinders in this price range. Its 1/5 horsepower motor produces 67 ounce-inches of torque and 3000 rpm for fast and accurate grinding.
I would recommend the Gryphon Convertible Grinder for those who are looking for a high-quality glass grinder with professional features that are both comfortable and reliable. This model comes with a five-year warranty.
|Glastar All Star G8 Grinder||3560||42||143 in²||$$$|
|Glastar Super Star II Grinder||3450||19||72 in²||$|
|Gryphon Gryphette Grinder||3000||NA||45 in²||$|
|Power Max II Deluxe Grinder||2300||33||90 in²||$$|
|Gryphon Convertible Grinder||3000||NA||141 in²||$$|
I hope you found the list and guide useful. Be sure and let us know what your experience has been with any of these or any other model you have tried!