Have you been searching online for the best rotary tool with no success? Your luck is about to change as I have compiled here the top rotary tools available online.
Rotary tools are versatile, so their popularity among DIY enthusiasts and professionals is understandable. While there’s no questioning their value as a tool, you’ll only benefit if the rotary tool has the right specs.
If you’re confused by the thousands of products online, you may use this guide. I have years of experience using rotary tools of all types, and the following are the cream of the crop, so let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 13 Rotary Tools / Dremel Tools: Comparison
- 2 Top 3 Selections
- 3 Best Picks of Rotary Tools / Dremel Tools
- 3.1 #1. Dremel 4000-6/50 120-Volt Variable-Speed Rotary Tool with 50 Accessories
- 3.2 #2. Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool
- 3.3 #3. Milwaukee 2460-21 M12 12-Volt Rotary Tool Kit
- 3.4 #4. WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
- 3.5 #5. Dremel 3000-2/28 2 Attachments/28 Accessories Rotary Tool
- 3.6 #6. Black and Decker RTX-B 3-Speed RTX Rotary Tool Kit
- 3.7 #7. DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out 5 Amp 30,000 RPM Rotary Tool with 1/8-Inch and 1/4-Inch Collets
- 3.8 #8. Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E
- 3.9 #9. Black and Decker RTX-6 2-Amp 3-Speed Rotary Tool with 27 Accessories and 2 Spring Clamps
- 3.10 #10. Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit
- 3.11 #11. Dremel 7700-1/15 MultiPro 7.2-Volt Cordless Rotary Tool Kit
- 3.12 #12. Hitachi GP10DL Cordless 12-Volt Peak Lithium-Ion Variable Speed Rotary Tool With 40-Piece Accessory Set
- 3.13 #13. SE PT9.6 Cordless Variable Speed Rotary Tool
- 4 Why Do You Need a Rotary Tool?
- 5 Types of Rotary Tools
- 6 How to Choose the Best Rotary Tool
- 7 How a Rotary Tool Works
- 8 How to Use a Dremel Tool
- 9 Rotary Tool Maintenance Tips
- 10 Top Rotary Tools Brands
- 11 Must-Have Rotary Tool Accessories
- 12 Frequently Asked Questions
- 13 Final Verdict
Top 13 Rotary Tools / Dremel Tools: Comparison
Here is a table comparing the best rotary tool products in this guide. As I pointed out, the Dremel 4000 is my top pick overall, with the Dremel 8220 and the Milwaukee 2460 also getting top considerations.
As you will see, the other rotary tools also have some pretty good specs. If you are looking for a Dremel alternative I would say that you will find your tool in the table below.
This table is meant as a snapshot, as more details can be found in the reviews that follow.
Top 3 Selections
Beginner or DIY buff, the Dremel 4000 gets high marks. Wen makes a lot of quality rotary tools, but the 4000 raises the bar.
With its feature set, there’s little need for anything else.
Among budget rotary tools, the Milwaukee 2460 is an excellent choice.
Best Picks of Rotary Tools / Dremel Tools
Without further ado, here is my list of the best rotary tool for the money.
#1. Dremel 4000-6/50 120-Volt Variable-Speed Rotary Tool with 50 Accessories
The accessories include some of the best Dremel bit for cutting metal, and compatibility with other Dremel tools gives you extra flexibility.
You can use the 4000 to cut, engrave and other functions as the bits are easy to change. It has a 1.6 amp motor for superior performance, and it adjusts automatically the speed and power.
The Dremel 4000 also has an EZ Twist nose cap wrench that makes it easy to change attachments. Now you don’t have to slow down just to replace an accessory.
With 50 attachments, you get great value for you money as you don’t have to buy these separately. Apart from the standard rotary tool gear, there are attachments for gardening and all-around cutting.
The Dremel 4000 runs fine on slow and also at maximum speeds.
The 4000 works well with a keyless chuck, though it may take some effort to manually tighten the tips. Apart from the accessories, there are half a dozen attachments included.
The 4000 manual is well illustrated and easy to follow. The Dremel is a little heavy, but it’s a good thing because it makes the unit more balanced.
What I Like
- Works with all Dremel attachments
- Comes with a carry case for greater portability
- 50 accessories are included with the kit
- Has variable speed for accuracy
What I Didn’t Like
- Has a rough sound when used
- The tool gets hot as speed increases
The 4000 is one of the best Dremel tool I have come across, easy to use, with lots of flexibility without compromising power. It is also versatile and can be used for cutting, engraving, sharpening, cleaning and other tasks.
#2. Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool
The 8220 is a compact rotary tool that lets you cut, engrave, polish and other tasks without difficulty. Solidly built, the 8220 has a rapid collet chuck so you can switch without losing a lot of time.
A full charge takes just an hour so you can get back to work quickly. You also get a carry case, 28 accessories, and a 12V max lithium-ion battery.
Once the 8220 is charged, you can use it for woodworks, soft metals, and plastics. The attachments and bits on the tool also let you work on grout, tile, drywall and even hard epoxy.
The 8220 also scores points for making engraving easy. It is compatible with high-speed cutters so you can engrave, groove, and hollow on different types of materials.
Like other Dremel tools, the 8220 gives you variable speed control. You can adjust the RPMs to suit the needs of your specific projects, and the on/off switch is within easy reach.
The tool is compact, but it has a solid feel to it. The design also means you don’t need to apply a lot of pressure.
The Dremel 8220 is available in different styles. You can get the basic rotary tool or with the 160-piece accessory kit, with a keyless chuck or with a flex shaft.
What I Like
- Charges in just one hour
- The shield attachment works very well
- The 1.5 amp batteries have greater capacity than older models
- Installing and removing attachments is easy
What I Didn’t Like
- This kit does not include a right angle attachment
- The 411 3/4″ sanding disc, 180 grit is not on this kit
The 8220 is one of the top rotary tools Dremel has ever manufactured. It works great for blade sharpening, drywall cutting and common DIY tasks, so this is worth checking out.
#3. Milwaukee 2460-21 M12 12-Volt Rotary Tool Kit
The 2460 variable speed ranges from 5,000-32,000 RPM, and you have full control over its speed. The 2460 also has a 1/8 collet that makes it compatible with standard accessories.
The Milwaukee weighs only 1.3 lbs. so you can use keep using it without your arm getting sore. It is also just 9.5 inches long and won’t take up a lot of space.
The 2460 is built with durable grinder type exhaust ports for a longer lifespan. It also has shielded front bearing for further reinforcement even with heavy duty use.
The powerful motor works fine and there is very little vibration even when it is set to high speeds. Unlike other rotary tools, the 2460 does not need a lot of adjustments and works great out of the box.
It doesn’t need a lot of maintenance either, and it’s effective for metal working. Even if you’re a first time user, the instructions provided are easy to follow.
The overall feel is as good as that of a Dremel, and performance is consistent even when you change some of the settings. It is also one of the most balanced rotary tools out there.
What I Like
- The Milwaukee 2460 is easy to use
- 100% compatible with 1/32-inch -1/8-inch shank accessories
- It has a solid, heavy duty motor
- More power and longer battery life compared to similar models
What I Didn’t Like
- The case is too thin where the motor is stored
- Made in China
The 2460 is right up there with the top brushless rotary tool online. It’s got the trademark Milwaukee durability, and its compatibility with common rotary tool accessories is a plus.
#4. WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
Those who favor corded in the Dremel cordless vs corded debate often point to the Wen 2305 as an example, and with good reasons. With this tool you can cut, sand, engrave, etch, burr, drill and polish various materials.
The 2305 comes with flex shaft so you can do detailed work with accuracy. With variable speeds of 8,000 to 30,000 RPMs, you have full control over the process and can make minute refinements.
The 2305 is equipped with a 1 amp motor, which gives it the power needed for heavy work. At the same time it has double insulation for safety, something not all rotary tools have.
The 2305 performs well out of the box, and it is easy to replace the bits and make adjustments to the settings. There are 80 accessories included so you can cut, drill, sand and do other tasks without buying other tools.
The 2305 makes it a breeze to cut wood, plastics and even old glue without making a mess. With the other attachments included in the package, you can also carve images and text onto mirror or glass.
If you need to grind, the 2305 allows you to de-burr sharp edges and get rid of corrosion and rust on metal without difficulty.
What I Like
- The flex shaft lets you perform intricate, detailed work
- The design eliminates the complexity when replacing the tool bits
- 100 piece accessory includes all the essentials
- The rotary tool is very easy to use
What I Didn’t Like
- The basic set doesn’t come with a drywall cutting bit
- Does not have attachments for stainless steel rod cutting
Sometimes even the best cordless multi tool won’t cut it, in which case the Wen 2035 is a good option. It is one of the most versatile rotary tools, and performance wise will keep DIYers happy.
#5. Dremel 3000-2/28 2 Attachments/28 Accessories Rotary Tool
Its EZ Twist wrench nose is integrated so you can quickly switch without using a wrench. This is one of the most convenient features on the 3000 as it lets you focus on work.
The rotary tool has a 360-degree grip zone, so you’re comfortable regardless of how you hold it. The settings are easy to tweak, with emphasis on comfort and balance.
The Dremel 3000 has a redesigned fan so it remains cool even when used for long periods. There is an assortment of accessories for the most common rotary tool tasks.
The 28 accessories cover all the essentials such as cutting, engraving, carving, sharpening and grinding. There are also attachments for polishing, cleaning and sanding.
It also comes with miscellaneous attachments like a wrench and mandrels so you can refine your work. You also get a hard carrying case where you can keep the rotary tool and the accessories.
There are a lot of Dremel rotary tools, but the 3000 is still a good choice.
What I Like
- The tool is comfortable to hold even in different positons
- Comes with 2 attachments and 28 accessories
- The unit comes with a carry case to store the tool and attachments
- Well balanced and comfortable to hold
What I Didn’t Like
- Does not come with a flex shaft attachment
- It produces a pitching sound when set at high speed
If you have ever wondered what are Dremel tools used for, the Dremel 3000 gives you a good idea of what they’re for. Whether it is for basic cutting, carving or something more complex, the Dremel 3000 will rise to the occasion.
#6. Black and Decker RTX-B 3-Speed RTX Rotary Tool Kit
In the Dremel vs Black and Decker debate, the RTX-B is one of those that is always brought up and with good reason. Its biggest feature is its 3-speed RPMs (2,000/24,000/30,000), giving you more options when it comes to accuracy and flexibility.
Its torque motor has double the power of other rotary tools. Together with its multiple speeds, it has the specs needed for intricate projects.
The RTX-B uses a standard collet so accessory compatibility won’t be an issue. Performance-wise, the RTX-B is consistent be it for cutting, engraving or the other tasks that it’s supposed to do.
One of the things you have to do with any rotary tool is change the accessory. The RTX-B makes this simple with its flip-lock spindle-lock mechanism, so you won’t get slowed down.
Another advantage of the RTX-B is its light weight, making it convenient for you to move it. Putting any of the accessories on is quick, and it doesn’t vibrate as you operate.
Cutting is precise, and the RTX-B does an excellent job of smoothing surfaces and removing rust. Using the right attachment, you’ll have a comfortable time cutting drywall and other materials.
The package also includes a storage bag where you can keep all the items.
What I Like
- Its collet system is compatible with standard accessories
- Three speed variable speed is in three levels
- Torque power is more powerful than regular rotary tools
- The user guide is detailed and easy to follow
What I Didn’t Like
- The RTX-B can get hot when at high speeds
- The cord feels rather flimsy
The RTX-B is not just one of the best Dremel tool for cutting plastic but other materials as well. It is made from high quality materials and the bundled accessories are among the finest in its class.
#7. DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out 5 Amp 30,000 RPM Rotary Tool with 1/8-Inch and 1/4-Inch Collets
Its speed of 30,000 RPM gives you lots of juice for engraving, cutting and other work. Even with continued use, the DW660 won’t give out as the switch has dust seal protection.
The DW660 is for home use, but the powerful motor means it is good enough for professional use. It comes with 1/8″ and 1/4″ collets for compatibility purposes so that’s another plus.
The DW660 system allows you to make changes without using a tool. This convenient feature means it’s faster to do your work.
This rotary tool lets you adjust the depth without using a tool. It relies on spiral cutting bits, and it helps when you make some complex cuts.
When compared to other rotary tools, the DW660 runs more smoothly with very little vibration. Even when used on 1 ½” inch birch, the tool holds up well.
You get the same good results when using this on tile. The DW660 actually has a lot more power than what you would expect given its size.
What I Like
- The on/off button is within easy reach
- The switch has dust protection for longer life
- The streamlined design makes this convenient to use for long periods
- Has enough power to cut ¾ inch treated plywood
What I Didn’t Like
- Does not have variable speed option
- While streamline, the unit itself is quite large
A lot of times the talk is about the Dremel 4000 vs 8220, but the DW660 deserves to be in the discussion. Among non-variable rotary tools, this is one of the most remarkable when it comes to reliability and ease of use.
#8. Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E
In the Proxxon vs Dremel rotary tools talk, it’s hard not to make a case for the 38481. Built for hobbyists and professionals, the 38481 is light, well balanced and comes with 34 accessories for grinding, cutting and more.
The 38481 has a variable speed between 5,000 and 20,000 RPM, and its 100 W motor runs quietly. You also get electronic speed control so you’re always in charge of the process.
There are half a dozen collets (triple slit) with a range from 1.0 to 3.2 mm (1/32-inch to 1/8-inches), giving you lots of flexibility. The 38481 design also simplifies detailing when you engrave, etch or carve.
The 38481 is also remarkable for its high torque even if you use it at low speed. Another benefit of the 38481 is its durability and consistency.
The 38481 has 1/8 HP motor, and this is more than enough for most DIY and workshop tasks. The design, power, and balance give it stability necessary for intricate and detailed work.
This rotary tool weighs just 1.3 lbs. so it won’t wear you out even with prolonged use. Its die cast is made of aluminium for precise positioning.
Lastly, the 38481 comes with a solidly built storage case. Unlike those for other rotary tools, the case is designed to last.
What I Like
- Steel collets are very high quality
- The cutters and bits are industry grade level
- It has a powerful motor
- Can be used for a wide range of rotary tool tasks and projects
What I Didn’t Like
- Does not come with a keyless chuck
- Needs ventilation when used at high speed for long periods
If you’re looking for a heavy duty Dremel, the 38481 is a good choice thanks to its power and durability. It is aimed at power users, and its cutting, engraving and cleaning abilities are exceptionally good.
#9. Black and Decker RTX-6 2-Amp 3-Speed Rotary Tool with 27 Accessories and 2 Spring Clamps
Its bits and attachments are comparable to other Dremel accessory kits, and you can adjust the speed three ways, 12,000/24,000/30,000 RPM. With these options, you’ll now be able to add details quickly.
There are 2 clamps and 27 accessories, and between these, you’ll be able to polish, cut, grind, carve, sand, cut, etc. Its collet system is universal so you can use any accessory.
The RTX-6 uses a Flip-Lock system for rapid accessory changing, very handy when you’re doing a lot of work. Its bag is well-designed and has a lot of room, so they’re not going to get jumbled inside.
The RTX-6 has a lot of features, but it’s not difficult to use. It helps the manual is clear and has detailed instructions.
The RTX-6 makes it easy to adjust the speed, something you’ll need for different projects. Frequent adjustments don’t cause vibrating or other problems.
The accessories in the RTX-6 should be enough for most users. But it’s good to know the RTX-6 can use Dremel accessories as well.
What I Like
- It’s very easy to change accessories
- High torque motor gives it lots of power
- Designed for precision and detailed work
- Well-designed carry case with separate compartment for accessories
What I Didn’t Like
- Some accessories are more useful than others
- Its bit changing mechanism may take some getting used to
To those wondering what is a rotary tool, the RTX-6 is a good introduction as it has lots of power yet with a quick learning curve. The tool is light, and it is capable of handling anything you throw at it.
#10. Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit
If you’re having a hard time learning how to engrave metal with a Dremel tool, the 840589 from Kawasaki is good choice. With variable speed of 8,000-30,000 RPM (no load), there is a lot of flexibility here.
This rotary tool is equipped with a 1.0 amp motor, allowing it to cut through thick materials and surfaces without breaking down. Officially licensed by Kawasaki, you also get attachments for cutting, sanding, grinding and other tools.
The accessories cover most your needs, but it’s also compatible with Dremel attachments.
Another advantage is the ease which you can make changes. With other rotary tools it’s just too complicated so this a great feature.
The Kawasaki 840589 performs without a hitch, and it’s easy to cut metals. The specs are good enough for regular DIY enthusiasts, but it is flexible enough for occasional use.
The Kawasaki 840589 is not meant for heavy-duty use, but for light and medium duty tasks, this rotary tool gets it done. The product has a lot of otter functions and capabilities, and they are something you will learn with constant use.
Once you’re done using the tool you can put everything back in its storage case, which is well-made.
What I Like
- Comes with a wide array of useful attachments
- Powerful motor suitable for complex tasks
- Made from high-quality parts
- Great for woodworking and carving
What I Didn’t Like
- The chuck stop is made of plastic so there is a durability question
- The power cord is short, limiting your mobility
If the best cordless Dremel tool can’t do the work you need, maybe it’s time you looked at the 840589 as it gets the job done. The rotary tool does what it’s supposed to, and its accessories go a long way towards enhancing functionality.
#11. Dremel 7700-1/15 MultiPro 7.2-Volt Cordless Rotary Tool Kit
The package comes with 15 accessories for cutting, engraving, sanding, and other tasks. Its 403 bristle brush makes it easy to do intricate cleaning work, and its high-speed cutter makes short work of engraving.
Its cut off wheel is perfect for cutting, and its aluminium oxide grinding stone makes grinding easy to use. There are also a few more grinding accessories if you need to refine your work.
The 7700 also has several accessories for sanding, and they’re all durable. It even has a garden tool sharpener and lawn mower attachment.
The 7700 does not have as many accessories as other rotary tools, but it gets the job done. The attachments and accessories are quick to attach, and the quality is typical of other Dremel rotary tools.
There are a lot of good Dremel rotary tools, and the 7700 is certainly one of the most remarkable ones. Performance wise it is comparable to the others, and yet it doesn’t have the complicated features that other rotary tools have.
What I Like
- The battery pack can be combined with other packs
- Variable speed gives you control over operation
- Instruction manual is well detailed and illustrated
- Easy to use even for beginners
What I Didn’t Like
- Battery not lithium-ion so runtime is 45 minutes fully charged
- The battery compartment must be secure or it will slack
If you’re been searching for the best Dremel for woodworking, the 7700 is a solid candidate. It has many of the features you may need but it not hard to operate, which makes this ideal for use in homes and DIY projects.
#12. Hitachi GP10DL Cordless 12-Volt Peak Lithium-Ion Variable Speed Rotary Tool With 40-Piece Accessory Set
Most Dremel vs rotary tool kit discussions focus on just a few products, but the GP10DL should be in there too. It is equipped with a 1.5 Ah lithium-ion battery, allowing it to run for longer periods than the standard rotary tool.
The rotary tool weighs just 1.1 lbs. so it is convenient to carry around. It also has a dial that lets you change the speed from 5000 to 35000 RPM.
The combination of the motor and the variable speed gives you a lot of flexibility. The inclusion of a LED light reduces the possibility of making a mistake with small, intricate objects.
Vibration is a common problem with rotary tools, but the GP10DL has anti-vibration control built in. It also has soft but firm handles so you’re always comfortable even with prolonged use.
The battery has a long life, and there is an indicator which lets you know if it is running low. This is a helpful feature so you don’t have to worry about low power while in the middle of something.
The rotary tool is not difficult to operate, and its dial is very responsive to speed adjustments too. Lastly, there is a lot of power here for DIY projects as well as workshop use.
What I Like
- Dial gives you full control the variable speed at all times
- The LED light allows you to work in dimly lit locations
- Its anti-vibration feature works well
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
What I Didn’t Like
- This model does not have overload protection
- Some of the attachments have a flimsy feel
When you compare rotary tools, the name Hitachi doesn’t usually come to mind, but the GP10DL is worth considering. It is packed with many features found only in high-end unit rotary tools, but suitable for DIY projects.
#13. SE PT9.6 Cordless Variable Speed Rotary Tool
Apart from the Milwaukee rotary tool vs Dremel debate, the SE PT9.6 has been getting a lot of attention for its quality. While aimed at budget users, it has the specs necessary to complete small rotary tool jobs.
The tool is cordless so you can bring it with you anywhere. It is also versatile enough to be used for cutting, sanding, grinding and other common tasks.
The tool can be used on various surfaces including metal, plastic, wood and even glass. Regardless of the surface, you will get good speed management, crucial when you’re doing delicate work.
The rotary tool has a quick learning curve and you should have no trouble changing the bite to suit whatever task you have to do. When fully charged the SE PT9.6 lasts a long time so you don’t have to make frequent recharges.
There are a lot of ways to use the SE PT9.6, and that includes grooming dog nails, sanding, cutting, engraving etc. Regardless of the task, you’re working on, the motor won’t raise a ruckus.
The specs for the SE PT9.6 are for home use, but if you have a small workshop, the SE PT9.6 can handle those as well. The compact size and the ease of operation give it an advantage over other bulky rotary tools.
What I Like
- Comes with excellent sanding accessories
- The UL changing lock is included
- Its rubber mandrel is well designed
- Can be used on different objects
What I Didn’t Like
- Does not have as much power as other rotary tools
- This tool is suitable for small jobs only
If you don’t need a professional rotary tool and just want one for home use, the SE PT9.6 is an excellent choice. The rotary tool is easy to operate, and it has the features that most DIY projects are going to need.
Why Do You Need a Rotary Tool?
Small rotary tools are all around utilities. Even the most basic model can be used for grinding, cutting and shaping and buffing various materials.
The best Dremel model also comes with several attachments which boost their functionality.
- Rotary tools can be used to polish metal and other objects
- Cut and shape wood for sculpting, furniture creation or other woodworks
- The tool can be used for engraving and etching
- Rotary tools can be used on plastic, fiberglass as easily as on wood
- Can be used to sharpen chainsaws and other tools
- Remove rust from doors and other objects
- Rotary tools are useful for crown molding, wainscoting and baseboard installation
- You can equip the rotary tool with a metal cutting attachment to remove nails
- Etching attachments let you engrave virtually anything you want on any surface
- The variable speed on most rotary tools allows you to work with precision and accuracy
- Can be used for locksmith work
- It is one of the most effective sanding tools available. It is faster and more accurate than most sandpaper.
- Because a rotary tool can do so much, you can use it to replace the other tools in your toolbox.
Types of Rotary Tools
Corded rotary tools run on electricity. They are ideal for heavy-duty work because there is a constant power source.
These tools have more power than their cordless counterparts, but flexibility may be limited.
They do not have as much power as corded rotary tools, but these have the benefit of being portable.
Your movements are not constrained by the length of the power cord. These tools run on batteries, with power duration dependent on how the tool is used.
Cutting Rotary Tools:
Dremel tool reviews show that cutting is one of the most common types used. A basic rotary tool can cut and shape wood, metal and other materials.
Cultivators, hedge trimmers and other garden tools can be used with rotary tool blades, which is more practical than the typical garden scissors.
Measuring Rotary Tool:
You can put attachments on rotary tools to take precise measurements. In many cases, this feature is already built in.
This covers a wide range since a lot of power tools can and do use rotary technology. Saws, die grinders, crushers and sanders may all be considered rotary tools if they use the technology.
How to Choose the Best Rotary Tool
Speed is measured in RPMs (revolutions per minute). The faster the RPM, the more precise the tool can do grinding, machining and other detailed work.
Corded models have RPMs ranging from 5,000 to 35,000. Cordless models range from 5,000 to 15,000 RPMs.
Accessories and Attachments:
The best-rated power tools come with several attachments so you can use the tool in different ways. A rotary tool with lots of utilities saves you both time and money.
Rotary tools use a collet system to connect the attachment. However, rotary tools use different types of collet mechanisms to hook up the attachments.
The collet or chuck determines the size of the bit you’ll be able to use. They can also be adjusted to hold small bits.
The best rotary multi-tool products have good amounts of torque. RPMs are important, but it’s the torque that determines how well it polishes, hones and grinds.
Variable speed lets you use different RPMs. Many long-time rotary tool users consider this an essential feature as tasks often necessitate varying speeds.
Cordless rotary tools run on batteries and are portable though with limited power. Corded rotary tools limit your movement, but it’s more powerful.
Power ratings are around 1 to 5.5 amps for corded rotary tools. Cordless rotary tool power is measured in volts, ranging from 4 to 18 volts.
Ease of Use:
A good rotary tool makes it easy to change bits, and they’re also comfortable to hold. If the motor brush can be replaced, the tool will have a longer lifespan.
Most rotary tools come with extra features to enhance versatility. However, you have to determine if those features are necessary or worthless.
you have probably heard of the Wen vs Dremel and others that pit one brand over the other. Well, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about these brands and if they have the products you’re looking for.
price should be one of, not your primary, consideration, as there are budget rotary tools now available.
what will use the rotary tool for? Decide how you will use the rotary tool and use that a guide for choosing the product.
You also have to consider whether to buy light or heavy duty rotary tool
A light duty rotary tool is suitable for:
- DIY projects
- Detailed work
A heavy duty rotary tool is for:
- For professional use
- For large, complex tasks
Light duty rotary tools are aimed at the consumer market and should satisfy most users’ needs. Heavy duty rotary tools don’t have as many accessories as their smaller counterparts, but they’re more powerful.
Go with a light duty rotary tool if you’re new to this. They’re easier to use and will give you a good idea how these devices work, and you can always upgrade later if you need more power.
How a Rotary Tool Works
A Dremel drywall cutter works differently from the engraving process as a different tool or attachment is used. The easiest way to explain how these tools work is by showing you how they are used.
Read the manual because operation varies depending on the product design. The basic steps are:
- Wear safety gear (respirator mask, eye protection and clean workspace). Make sure the tool is off.
- Insert and secure the right bit for the job.
- For engraving and carving, use diamond wheel points, tungsten carbide cutters, structured tooth carbide cutters, engraving cutters, high-speed cutters.
- Drill bits are for small drill jobs
- For routing tasks: groove, corner, keyhole or straight
- Insert the batteries or plug in the power source.
- Turn the rotary tool on.
- Use the rotary tool on your project.
- Turn the tool off once you’re done and clean afterwards.
Those who ask what is the best Dremel tool usually do so because they want to use it for cutting. The answer to “the best” question varies, but regardless of the model, the tool cuts with a straight bit or wheel.
The cut-off wheels are suitable for trimming and detailed work and plastic edges. The multipurpose bits are ideal for drywall hole cutting and wood cutting.
Basic rotary tools can cut through half an inch thick wood, but there are attachments that extend its functionality.
Engraving and Carving
Rotary tools carve and engrave objects via wood carving bits. You attach these on the tool and work on the material, be it frames, tables, chairs anything made of wood.
There are also metal bits that rival the best rotary tool for wood carving, except they’re used for metal. Metal bits are often used for name engraving.
A flex shaft attachment is very useful for engraving, and it can be more effective for smaller projects than a full sized tool.
Rotary tools also carve wood by using straight multipurpose cutting bits.
Rotary tools are most effective sanding small details like metal parts, molding and furniture. Triangular bits can be used to sand flat surface corners, though this is best reserved for experienced users.
Rotary grinding attachments can also be used to hone cutting tools like knives. The design also allows the tool to be used to grind chicken coop metal and other metallic objects.
Polishing and Cleaning
Wire brush attachments allow a rotary tool to polish and clean surfaces. These attachments are handy for cleaning the ornate corners of jewelry and other small objects.
If you don’t have a coping saw, a rotary tool can do the job for both crown and baseboard molding. Wood can be shaved with a multipurpose cutting bit, and the results are better compared to a hand saw.
These are just some of the ways rotary tool functions, and it is not an exhaustive list. You should refer to your owner’s manual for other ways to use the tool, and experimenting helps too.
How to Use a Dremel Tool
Rotary Tool Maintenance Tips
Even the best homeowner toolset won’t last without proper maintenance. Here are some tips to keep your rotary tool in good shape.
- Always unplug the tool once you’re done using it.
- Inspect the tool before and after use.
- Most rotary tools have been lubricated at the factory and don’t need any further lubrication.
- Use only the bits and attachments that are designed for the tool.
- Do not let liquid get in your rotary tool. Wipe with a clean cloth to remove dirt, and if necessary, damp the cloth.
- Use soap only if the tool damp cloth can’t remove the dirt. Use only mild soap.
- Do not immerse any part of the tool in water to remove dirt. You should also make sure any openings are well ventilated.
- Rotary brushes get worn out and need to be replaced. If necessary, have an expert go over it.
- The ventilation slots have to be cleaned regularly for optimum performance. Use only a dry cloth or soft brush for this task.
- If your rotary tool suddenly makes strange noises or doesn’t function like before, stop using it and check for signs of damage.
- Do not open the rotary case or attempt to fix it. That will void the warranty.
- Don’t mix old and new batteries in cordless rotary tools.
- Make sure the power source for corded rotary tools are working properly and that’s it’s plugged in.
- Only use accessories that are designed for that specific model.
- Corded rotary tools have to be grounded. In case there is a short circuit, grounding cuts down the possibility of electric shock.
- Don’t press too hard, as rotary tools only need a little pressure to work.
- Remove debris and dirt off the bit end to prevent clogging and failure. Having a clean workspace helps too.
Top Rotary Tools Brands
How much does a Dremel cost? That depends on the type and also the brand. The following are the most popular and trusted brands for rotary and power tools.
What Dremel to buy? That’s what a lot of people say when they want to buy a rotary tool, because the company’s name has become synonymous with it.
Dremel manufactures a wide range of rotary tools, with special features designed to accommodate users with varying needs. The company was founded in 1932 and also manufactures screwdrivers, scroll saws and other power tools.
Black and Decker:
Black and Decker is an American company that specializes in power tools, technology-based fastening systems, and home improvement products. The company was founded in 1910 and is a subsidiary of Stanley Black and Decker.
The company has undergone a lot of changes over the years. However, it remains a leader in the field of power tools, cleaning equipment, and hardware tools.
Dewalt is well known for their power tools and hand tools for home improvement, woodworking and manufacturing industries. Dewalt was founded in 1924 and in 1960 was purchased by Black and Decker.
Dewalt is one of the largest manufacturers of home improvement tools in the world, with more than 800 accessories and 200 unique power tools. Their products are popular in both the consumer and commercial markets.
Wen was founded in 1951, and since then it’s become known for their low cost and efficient power tools. Apart from rotary tools, Wen also makes chainsaws, wet wheel sharpeners, electric jigsaws and soldering guns.
Since the 2000s, Wen has expanded their product line with generators, miter saws, nailers, bench grinders and more. The company is based in Elgin, Illinois.
Milwaukee was established in 1924, and it has become renowned for their durable and comprehensive power tool products. The manufacturer makes its mark in the power tools, instruments, hand tools and accessories markets.
The company is also known for innovation as evidenced by their Lithium-Ion technology, diamond coring tools and thermal imaging utilities.
This is a German based company founded in 1977 in the town of Niersbach. From its humble beginnings, the company has gone on to become one of Europe’s most respected brands.
Their power tools were built for both consumer and commercial markets with emphasis on high performance. All their power tools are widely recognized for precision engineering.
Kawasaki may be best known for their motorcycles, boilers and defense equipment. However, the company also manufactures a wide array of hardware and home improvement tools.
Hitachi, along with Kawasaki, are among the biggest companies in Japan.
So when someone asks what is the best Dremel for wood carving, you will understand why people have different answers. As I have shown here, there are a lot of brands to choose from.
Must-Have Rotary Tool Accessories
Cutting bits are among the best Dremel accessories because they let you work on ceramic, wood, metal, glass, plastic and other materials. There are also cutting accessories for marble, stone, hardwood and other materials.
Cutting attachments come in different shapes and sizes. There are also cutters specifically for wood, stone and electrical components.
Sharpening accessories lets you hone implements, objects and various materials. The best sharpening attachments are made from carbine or diamond and can be used for scissors, knives, screwdrivers and other tools.
These sharpeners also keep the edge of your other rotary tool accessories sharp.
Standard Drill Bits:
There are many types of drill bits, with some designed for ceramics, plastics, hardwood or metal. There are also drill bits meant for woodworking.
There are some drill bits that can go through drywall, concrete and mortar. Drill bits are sold in different widths and have small holes used for pinpoint works.
Sanding accessories are crucial for smoothing plastic and wood edges. There are three grades, fine, medium and coarse.
Coarse sanders are used to take out large surface material, but they’re rough. Medium sanders take out smaller pieces but have a smoother finish.
A fine sander offers the best finish, but it’s only going to remove little pieces. The usual procedure is to start with a rough or medium sander and use fine as the finishing touch.
This attachment is meant to cut ceramic tiles, which makes it crucial if you make mosaics. You can also use this to cut a tile’s inner parts, shape or otherwise make it fit in the wall or floor.
Garden Tool Sharpener:
Rotary attachments for gardening come in the form of sharpening tools. These are often used to hone lawn mower blades, hoes, spades and brush hooks.
These attachments also sharpen scythes. There are not a lot of people who use rotary tools for gardening, but you can use this to hone those tools.
This is used to grind hard surfaces and is similar to a sander in function. The difference is a grinding attachment is designed for use on metal.
The grinding head has very small grits that allow it to remove metals efficiently. However, you cannot use this on plastic or wood because the debris will block the grit.
A burr is used to take out the unwanted elements from a material. A burr attachment can be used on tubing, pipes and ceramics.
Burr attachments can also be used on wood, plastics and metals. Burr also removes metal rust and shape models or sculptures.
The best Dremel for jewelry making needs an engraver to etch patterns on names on the surface. Diamond-tipped bits are most suitable for marble and glass due to its durability.
Engraving tools are often used by hobbyists, but there are also attachments meant for professional use. What they share in common is durability and being able to maintain the cutting edge for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a rotary tool and a die grinder?
Both are rotary tools, but electric die grinders are often more powerful. Dremel rotary tools however, spin faster.
What is the difference between a Dremel and a rotary tool?
Dremel is a manufacturer of rotary tools, like Dewalt and Black and Decker. However, their products have become so associated that people call all rotary tools Dremel.
What can I do with a rotary tool?
Cutting, drilling, cutting into, polishing, cleaning, sanding, grinding, engraving and sharpening are among its most common applications.
What materials can a rotary tool work on?
Hard and soft wood, marble, tile, soft metals, semiprecious stones, plastic, fiberglass, grout, drywall, copper, ceramic and many more.
Is it true you can use a Dremel on a dog’s nails?
Yes, some rotary tools are designed for that. Refer to the owners’ manual on how to go about this.
What is the maximum speed of a rotary tool?
Corded rotary tools can reach up to 35,000 RPMs, while cordless models are slower. Some rotary tools do not have variable speed however.
Can all rotary tools cut, sharpen, grind, etc.?
The power and versatility of a rotary tool depends on the attachments and accessories that come with it. The more attachments the tool can work with, the more you’ll be able to do.
What is the proper speed to use a rotary tool?
It depends on what type of project you’re working on. Usually you start at the slowest setting and speed up until you reach the level the material needs.
How will I know when I have reached the optimum speed?
With wood it’s usually when there is that burning smell or it gets really hot. With plastic, slowly increase the speed until the plastic starts heating, and slow down.
Rotary tools have come a long way since they first came out. There was a time when they were limited to professional and commercial use, but now DIY buffs can easily get their hands on one.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you make sense of the many options available for you. As I pointed out earlier, the number of options can overwhelm a beginner.
That’s why I prepared this guide to help you find the best rotary tool. You can pick from the top 3 or from any of the list, what’s important is you’re now a more informed consumer.
If you don’t own a rotary tool yet, maybe you should check out this post about 10 Cool Things to Do With a Dremel Tool.