Concrete Grinder vs. Concrete Scarifier

Pouring concrete is an essential function at most construction sites. Once workers pour the concrete, they must prepare the surface to meet the project's specifications. Concrete grinders and scarifiers are machines that aid in the surface preparation task — but they do so in different ways.

What Is a Concrete Grinder?

A concrete grinder is a walk-behind machine consisting of rotating discs designed to cut into the surface up to 1/8". Hand-held versions are also available for working in tight or confined areas. A grinder is also compatible with pads or other tooling types, enabling it to perform multiple surface preparation tasks. Gasoline, propane and electric-powered models are available.

Grinders polish a concrete surface without scraping or eroding it, producing a smooth finish. They also come with an assortment of accessories, providing more flexibility to create customized, project-specific results.

You can select a single-disc grinder featuring a working width of up to 12 inches or a dual-disc version that can cover more than 20 inches in a single pass. Planetary grinders are also available that can cover up to 36 inches.

What Is a Concrete Scarifier?

Scarifiers rely on a pummeling action to remove concrete quickly. They're sometimes referred to as milling machines or surface planers. Like grinders, scarifiers are available in walk-behind and hand-held versions and run on gasoline, propane or electricity. Rotating tungsten carbide cutting wheels ensure aggressive concrete cutting and removal capabilities.

Depending on the machine, it will provide a working path ranging from 4 to 16 inches. Scarifiers are also versatile — many models offer adjustable cutting depths, and some can remove up to 1/4" of concrete in one pass. The typical production rate for a concrete scarifier is 350 to 1,500 square feet per hour.

How to Choose Between a Grinder and Scarifier

Because grinders cut less aggressively than scarifiers, they're the better option for jobs that require more precision and less force. Examples of typical grinder applications include breaking up grease deposits, removing industrial contaminants and polishing concrete surfaces containing fine-grit abrasives. They're also ideal for removing surface imperfections and blemishes such as graffiti, bumps and marks and performing decorative work.

Due to their aggressive cutting action, scarifiers are the better choice for heavy-duty concrete surface preparation applications. Use them for high-production tasks where speed is essential. Other suitable applications include grooving walkways, removing floor tile mastics and rubbery materials and performing various milling tasks.

Rent Concrete Scarifiers and Grinders From The Cat® Rental Store

The Cat® Rental Store is your one-stop headquarters for a wide selection of concrete grinders and scarifiers for rent at competitive rates. We feature high-quality machines from leading manufacturers, ensuring reliable, consistent results. With our commitment to service, you'll enjoy a smooth, seamless experience.

View our current inventory of scarifiers, grinders and other concrete equipment for rent today. If you have questions or need help deciding which machine is right for your project, give us a call at 1-800-RENT-CAT. You can also contact us to request a quick quote.

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