One of the best ways to remove rust is by using a wire wheel. It uses a stiff wired section to clean the areas corroded by rust, getting most of the rust off before sanding is done to polish the areas further.
The best wire wheel for rust removal offers users the ability to clean, blend in edges, finish surface, and polish in addition to rust removal. The wire wheel is more of a power brush than a typical wheel, and it is motor-driven.
This article will give you the top five wire wheels to use for rust removal and explains what to consider when shopping for a wire wheel. Keep on reading!
How Does the Wire Wheel Work?
A wire wheel works by using burrs to reach all the hidden places where rust hides and weakens the metal. It is used in much the same way you would use a grinding tool but only for cleaning. The wire wheels come with two basic types of wire brushes: Crimped wire brushes and knotted wire brushes. It features a keyway to enable use with a grinding tool.
Knotted wire brushes are used for the more aggressive rust removal. They typically feature stainless and carbon steel, which is better at supporting aggressive cutting and brushing. The brush has a twisted tuft for two-thirds of the wire filament, and the remaining third of the filament is flared. Some models come with the entire wire filament completely twisted.
The knotted wire brushes are used on very stubborn rust.
Crimped wire brushes typically are made from carbon, stainless, and brass filaments. The filaments appear wavy or slightly bent to separate them from each other. The crimped brushes last longer because they use oil-tempered wire. However, they are more expensive.
With crimped brushes, you can expect more consistent brushing as most of the action is concentrated at the top of the wire filament.
Best Wire Wheels for Rust Removal
1. DEWALT Wire Wheel: Overall Best Option
It is hard to question the quality of DEWALT products, and this wire wheel is no different. The wheel has been constructed with high-quality materials like high tensile carbon or steel wire that has been heat treated. The wire also meets both national and international standards to ensure it never poses a threat to users.
The DEWALT wire wheel is easy to use for both beginners and comfortable for veterans. To prevent issues like wobbling that occur with poorly constructed wheels, this option comes with a holding plate in the center to enhance the wheel’s support and safety. The center also provides support for the wires by holding them in place.
This wheel comes with a 30-day return policy in case you are not happy with it. It can be used in multiple applications, including clearing welding slug and paint of exteriors. The best part is that it can remove rust from any surface.
- It offers a long service life
- It meets different industry standards
- Has very effective safety features
- It is easy and fast to use
2. HOYIN 6-Piece Wire Wheel Cup: Best for Beginners
When you begin using wire wheels for rust removal, it can be confusing which wire brush is best for a particular job. This option from HOYIN makes it easier for beginners to achieve several tasks in a day by offering five different types of wire brushes. The set also features a round shank ¼ inch.
The brushes available are two 1.5-inches, two 2-inches, and one 2.5-inch brush. These brushes utilize coarse, crimped bristles for a finer finish, an ideal option for beginners who can’t handle aggressive finishes yet. The filaments are very thick and made from carbon steel, which makes them extremely durable.
The brushes can be used on different materials, including hard and softwoods, cast steel, and metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous. The wheel is also compatible with most drilling machines, cordless screw drives, and hand drills, which is quite convenient for beginners.
- Has excellent compatibility with different machines
- It offers versatility in use because of multiple brushes
- Easy for beginners to use
- Provides the most essential brushes
3. 40-Piece Wire Wheel Brushes: Best Value for Money
With 40 wire brushes to work with, this option guarantees that you will do any type of metalwork that lands on your table. You can also adopt many styles as the brushes allow you to be creative in your rust removal.
The set features:
- Five pieces of 2.5-inch wire wheels
- Five pieces of 2-inch wire wheels
- Five pieces of 1.5-inch wire wheels
- Ten pieces of 3-inch wire wheels
- Five pieces of 1-inch wire cups
- Ten pieces of 2-inch wire cups
All the wheels have crimped bristles that have been clustered and joined together for more impact during use. The wheels are compatible with ¼ inch shanks allowing them to work with multiple grinders and drills easily.
- Offers exceptional versatility to users
- It is a high-quality bundle pack
- Compatible with all types of electric cordless drills and grinders
4. MAKITA 2-Piece – 4.5 crimped and twist: Most Durable Option
The MAKITA 2-Piece offers users the best of both worlds with a knotted brush and a crimped brush. This allows you to adapt the brushes to various uses. The bristles are from premium quality carbon steel, and the wheel has an 11-arbor of 5/8 inches. The good news is that this makes it compatible with various other grinders and the MAKITA grinder.
This wire wheel for rust removal has been conditioned up to four times to make sure it lasts longer. The conditioning ensures that the wires do not come off during use, which can result in injuries. Most cheaper options have not been conditioned, giving them a shorter life span and making them a risk to the user. So if you’re in the market for a durable wire wheel, this is an excellent option.
This is an ideal wheel if you work with both extremes: lightweight and heavy-duty metalwork. If you are dealing with light rust coating, you will use the light-duty crimped brush, and for the more aggressive rust removal, you have the option of the heavy-duty knotted brush.
The wire wheel can also be used in other applications, including deburring metal, scaling it, cleaning weld edges, and removing spatter. Also, it has a great reach in the hard corners of the metal.
- Can work on both heavy and light rust coverage
- It is very durable
- Uses very gentle pressure
- It has many applications
5. KATZCO Rust/Paint Wire Wheel: Most User Friendly
KATZCO is a trusted brand in metal brushing, polishing, and of course, rust removal. This wheel is very versatile and comes with the ability to deburr, roughen surfaces, condition surfaces, and remove both plastic flash or rubber.
It comes with two ½ inch wire wheels, each featuring a ¼ inch face. The wheels have an 11 threaded arbor, and they offer speeds of up to 12,500 RPM giving them exceptional speed and efficiency. The combination of knotted wire brush and fast speeds makes for a rugged surface after the rust removal.
The wire filaments are made from hardened steel, but the rest of the construction is plastic. Plastic on such a product would make one wary of it, but the KATZCO Rust/Paint Wire Wheel works exceptionally well and is built with premium plastic for heavy-duty action.
The filaments have thick spiral knots that fit into the narrow face of the brush. The thickness of the knots also allows them to enter constrained surfaces easily.
- It is versatile with multiple uses
- It’s heavy-duty giving it durability
- Filaments are hardened steel for longer service life
- Has a sturdy construction
- Offers users two wire wheels
What to Look for in a Wire Wheel for Rust Removal
It is important to determine what you will be doing with the wire wheel before buying it. If your needs are light and straightforward on everyday tools, then using a crimped brush wire wheel is ideal. However, for professionals or DIY enthusiasts who work heavily corroded metal, the best option is a knotted/twisted brush wire wheel.
On the other hand, you could be doing both light and heavy-duty work, so invest in both types of brushes.
Materials Used in Construction
Most wire wheels are made from metal, but you will come across exceptional options like the KATZCO Rust/Paint Wire Wheel mentioned above, which is made from plastic. Do not only rely on the mention of metal in the construction when purchasing because some metal is poor quality and will break off even sooner than the plastic.
Here is a quick breakdown of the best materials to look out for.
Metal, aluminum, and carbon steel on the body of the unit. Plastic may seem like second best, but the units that use these materials invest in the most premium quality. It is best to use carbon or stainless steel, metal, or aluminum on the filaments/bristles. Some units use nylon on the bristles that can be mistaken to be soft, but it is not, and it reaches even deeper into the corners with a reach that metal and steel cannot achieve.
Speed of the Brush
The higher the RPM on the brush, the more effective it is, right? No. What you should look out for is that the brush can achieve both high and low RPMs. You need a high RPM for heavy-duty work, but if you use the same RPM for light work, you will destroy the metal because the brushwork will be too aggressive.
On the flip side, you will not be effective in doing heavy work using a low RPM. The secret is to buy a wire wheel that gives you the best of both worlds.
Compatibility With Machines
The wire brushes need to be compatible with machines like grinders, drills, and screwdrivers. A wire wheel that is not compatible is actually a useless piece of equipment. Some are only compatible with tools from the same brand. However, choose wire wheels that are not too brand specific but can work with all types of machines, even those from rival brands.
Warranty on the Wheel
A realistic warranty is crucial for these wheels because they are fast wearing, and within no time, they can get ruined if you invest in one with a manufacturer’s defect. Nothing is guaranteed with such equipment. A buyer warranty is also essential when you receive the wheel in pieces.
Most of these units will offer a one year warranty. Established brands like DEWALT also give a 30-day refund policy to buyers for customers who may find the product doesn’t fit their needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Wire Wheel Better Than a Flap Disc for Rust Removal?
The flap disc works well in applications where one is working with a flat and wide surface to clean. However, the wire wheel can reach the nooks and crannies that the flap disc can’t, making it more effective for complicated metal cleaning.
How Do I Install a Wire Wheel on the Angled Grinder?
For the correct installation on an angle grinder you need a flange set to attach to the grinder.
If you are connecting to a bench grinder begin by removing the outer guard on the grinder and then remove the shaft. Buy two flanges one thick for fitting the wheel to the machine itself and a narrower one that attaches to the nut.
The best wire wheel for rust removal not only has a solid build, but it is also a versatile tool. The options above offer the following important features:
- Versatility in use
- Safety features in the construction
- Reasonable pricing
- Brush options
The right wire wheel should offer you the best result for the application you are using it for. Your responsibility is to make sure that you choose the right option for your unique needs.