Lanse: You are a young man that is planning a career in welding. So I would recommend to adjust your thinking just a little. You should be saving and buying quality tools that will last a long time in serious work conditions. The construction welding I have done required me to have a lot of my own tools. One of them was a good 7-9 inch angle grinder. I have bought two in my life, 62 years. The first was the Old good Black & Decker steel framed one. I still have it yet to day and bought it in 1967 before I went into the service. The Black and Decker line does not have this grinder anymore.
So I bought another one here about ten years ago as I was doing a lot of heavy welding on some old bridge beams. It is a Milwaukee 7-9 inch model 6088-30. I wanted two people to be able to grind the vees for the butt welds. I am talking 36 inch tall one inch thick "H" beams. I am six foot tall and go 280 lbs. Either one of these you can put your shoulder into and they just bark and throw sparks. Then they last too. Parts are easy to get. I replace the brushes about every 4-5 years.
So for just a little more than the first choice you made you can get one that will last you for many years. You will need a good one if you get into heavy welding for a full time job. Most well paying welding jobs require you to have the basic tools needed for the job. So this would just be an investment in that direction.
Don't go cheap on this, instead start building your tools to make a living with after your welding school.
Some thing to remember in a heavy duty 7-9 inch grinder is weight. You don't want a light grinder. You want one with some bulk/weight as it will help absorb some of the vibration while using it. You are going to be grinding flat and vertical most of the time. Very rarely over head. So in the flat position the weight is very helpful. You can lay the grinder on the work and let it do a lot of the work. A light grinder will bounce around a lot more and fatigue your arms a lot faster.
Here is neat comparison page to look at different models. Like I stated I have the Milwaukee. My second choice would be Bosch and then Dewalt. All of these are good grinders I just like some of the features better on some. You may like some of the others. An example of this is I like a trigger lock on mine. Some guys hate them. This Milwaukee you can buy either way.
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