Technical Support: (616) 843-7962

Concrete Scarifiers vs. Concrete Grinders: A Beginner’s Guide

When you’re preparing concrete surfaces, it’s important to know what equipment will work best for your needs. 

Concrete scarifiers and concrete diamond grinders are both great for concrete resurfacing, but they produce very different results. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the differences between a concrete scarifier and concrete grinder. 

Concrete Scarifier

A concrete scarifier is a machine that uses spinning blades, attached to a rotating drum, to chip away at the top layer of a concrete surface. These machines are great for removing coatings and creating a level space, free of bumps and dips. 

Scarifiers carve distinct lines in the concrete, making the surfaces especially useful for non-slip purposes.

Concrete Grinders

Scarifying concrete

Concrete grinders are machines that spin diamond-tipped discs across the concrete, grinding away the top layer and leaving an even, textured surface. 

They create shallow grooves in the concrete, enhancing its non-slip properties, but they’re not quite as directional as a scarifier’s grooves. 

So, What’s Really the Difference Between a Concrete Grinder and Scarifier?

The difference mainly lies in how the machines interact with the surface layer of the concrete. 

Concrete diamond grinders are great for removing coatings and creating texture without chipping much away from the surface layer of the concrete. 

Concrete scarifiers are also great for removing coatings, creating texture, and creating level surfaces, but they dig fairly deep into the top layer of the concrete. The advantages of their telltale grooves could also be a disadvantage, depending on the project. 

What Projects Are Concrete Scarifiers Best For?

Scarifying concrete

Concrete scarification machines are great for resurfacing projects that require a considerable amount of cutting power, specifically deeper than ⅛ of an inch. 

Scarifiers dig fairly deep into the concrete, scraping away up to ¼ of an inch per pass. This means they’re especially useful for outdoor construction projects such as:

  • Bridge construction and repair
  • Road construction and repair
  • Parking garage flooring
  • Sidewalks and driveways.

These projects often involve creating grooves in the concrete for traction, removing old coatings, or creating level spaces to get rid of tripping hazards. To specific, scarifiers are great for tasks like:

  • Removing thick epoxy, carpet clue, or coatings
  • Carving deep grooves for traction
  • Removing thicker layers of concrete for repair.

What Projects Are Concrete Diamond Grinders Best For?

Concrete diamond grinders are best for projects that require removing coatings or texturing the surface of a concrete space, while maintaining as much surface material as possible. 

In other words, concrete diamond grinders don’t dig as far as scarification machines. This means you can still have textured grooves in your concrete surfaces and remove old coatings, but they won’t be as deep. 

Typically, this will benefit indoor projects, especially ones that involve flooring. Think of how different a concrete street feels versus an industrial concrete floor in a warehouse. This difference comes from how they were prepared. 

Specific tasks that are a great fit for a concrete grinder include:

  • Removing thin layers of paint, coatings, or adhesives
  • Removing dirt, grease, or oil stains
  • Carving shallow texture into a concrete surface for applying a light adhesive or coating
  • Preparing concrete for indoor flooring. 

The small size of the diamond tooling on a concrete grinder’s discs allows for a smoother, more polished finish. It might be less suitable for cars and trucks, but it’s much more suitable for foot traffic. 

Essentially, concrete grinders provide more precision and use less force. 


Walk-behind models are great for projects with a smaller surface area and tighter spaces. They provide excellent maneuvering and control. 

Ride-on models are great for medium and large projects with lots of surface area. 

One important thing to note about concrete diamond grinder machines is that they can take significantly longer than scarifiers to use. 

Concrete grinders may take multiple passes to achieve an even, well-prepared surface due to the small size of the diamond tooling. 

With a Multi-Purpose Chassis, Switching Between Concrete Scarification and Grinding is Very Efficient. 

The only one of its kind, our do-it-all chassis allows you to switch between scarification, grinding, and shot blasting by simply replacing the appropriate attachment head. 

You’ll no longer have to wait for additional equipment to be delivered since you’ll have one machine that can handle it all.

With our Multi-Purpose Chassis, your business will finally have the power to execute tasks with multiple capabilities faster, and with great results. 

Project management will become streamlined since you’ll be able to switch between scarification, shot blasting, and diamond grinding operations without bringing in new machines.

Your maintenance and repair costs will also be reduced, now that you’ll only need to maintain a single chassis, rather than multiple machines. 

By saving you precious time and money, and improving your performance capabilities, BW Manufacturing’s equipment will empower you to bid for more jobs. 

Want to learn more about our Multi-Purpose Chassis? Click the link and see how you could be doing your job better than ever before. 

Is There a Difference in the Cost of Concrete Grinding vs Scarification?

Generally speaking, concrete scarification will be a cheaper option than concrete diamond grinding. 

Diamond tooling costs more than scarification blades. And as we mentioned, concrete grinding can take significantly longer than scarifying, meaning your operating costs will rise accordingly. 

As we mentioned, utilizing our Multi-Purpose-Chassis would allow you to avoid spending money on extra equipment; you’d have the ability to perform both functions with the same machine. 


When you’re looking to resurface your concrete, you have a lot of options at your disposal. 

Concrete grinders and scarifiers have a lot to offer, but their differences ultimately come down to precision, power, and purpose. 

Concrete scarifiers are great for projects that require deep cuts, thick coating removal, or leveling uneven surfaces. 

Concrete diamond grinders excel in jobs that need precision and shallow texture, such as indoor concrete flooring preparation. 

With walk-behind machines geared towards smaller projects, and ride-on models capable of large jobs, you’ll have plenty of equipment options to browse. 

If you utilize our Multi-Purpose-Chassis, you’ll be able to save time, money, and energy while switching between concrete grinding, scarifying, and shot blasting. 

Want to learn more?

Contact us to speak with an expert about product questions, or to get a quote!

Back To Blog
(616) 447-9076 Technical Support: (616) 843-7962
Products Proudly
  • flag