You’ll find a bench grinder in the shop of just about every engineer, auto restorer, woodworker, and DIY enthusiast. They are an easy-to-use tool for all kinds of shaping and sharpening tasks, and you can expand their versatility by fitting them with wire or polishing wheels. We’ve been assessing the latest models, and our concise guide explains the features you need to consider. We’ve also made a few recommendations. Our top pick, the Jet 8″ Bench Grinder, is a reliable, heavy-duty model, ideal for the high-output environments of demanding professionals. A bench grinder is in essence a very basic machine: an electric motor with two horizontal shafts, each carrying an abrasive wheel of a different degree of coarseness (grit). Tool rests and eye shields are added. Standard sizes (given as the diameter of the abrasive wheels) are 6″ or 8″. Generally they run at around 3,500 rpm. Wheels are typically 36- and 60-grit, made of silicon carbide. Models with 3″ and 4″ wheels are designed for delicate work and may also offer a flexible shaft (like those found with rotary tools). These are preferred by engravers and jewelers. They can run as...