Let’s face it, when it comes to the debate between corded and cordless tools, more often than not the argument is won on personal preference just as much as it is on performance. Now, while all the hand tool companies are racing to build a better battery-powered device, others, such as JET, have remained grounded, kept their cords plugged in, and simply perfected what they know best. At the end of the day, the majority of our tools that we can always rely on will require an electrical outlet—and not for recharging dead batteries.

No matter what level or amount of metalwork/fabricating you do, a quality bench grinder ought to be in everyone’s tool arsenal. When it comes to metal-finishing products, JET Tools manufactures top-notch equipment, from belt/disc sanders to bandsaws to pneumatic hand tools—and of course, bench grinders. Currently, JET offers industrial-grade versions in 6-, 8-, and 10-inch sizes. All single-phase 115 V, their smaller 6-inch features a 0.5hp motor, the 8-inch a 1hp motor, and the larger 10-inch a healthy 1.5hp motor. The latter is more suited for heavy, specific-type use—its motor tops out at just over 1,700 rpm—and is not recommended for general hobbyist applications. However, both the 6- and 8-inch grinders are ideal for all types of metal finishing, big or small, on a daily basis or every blue moon.

We decided to give the JET JBG-8A (PN 577102) a testdrive. The first thing we noticed even before opening the box was its heavy (60 pounds) weight. While the UPS man wasn’t too keen about that, it was a very good indication on our part, as “lightweight” isn’t something you want in an 8-inch bench grinder. Once we’d ripped the packaging apart, it quickly became obvious why the scales were tipping; as opposed to the stamped-steel you’d expect from garden-variety grinders, wheel guards and adjustable material rests are constructed of beefy cast-iron. Integrated into the two-piece guards are convenient rear-facing dust vents that, along with upper spark deflectors built into the adjustable eye shields, safely and efficiently manage debris better than any other bench grinder we’ve dealt with.

When it comes to performance, again, no other grinder in its class offers up as much brute force—and in such an extremely smooth, quiet manner. Whether that’s due to a precision balancing process or just the pre-lubed sealed bearings used, at 3,450 rpm, you don’t have to worry about vibrating everything off the workbench each time you flip the switch. Even without securing the grinder to the bench, we were amazed at how it didn’t walk at all when first tested out—try that with any budget brand.

All in all, we really had nothing bad to say about JET’s 8-inch grinder other than maybe the price. But this is a perfect case of not only getting what you pay for but getting something that ought to outlast all your other electric-motor tools.

Jet Tools