20 Tips to Consider When Deciding Which Dremel to Buy

It's a Dremel 300 Variable Speed Rotary Tool

Photo by Dremel.com

Which Dremel to buy? That is the question every DIY enthusiast asks. Dremel tools are widely used by hobbyists and professionals alike owing to their versatility.

But how do you decide which of these Dremel tools is the best? No worries as we have rounded up the top 20 tips so you’ll get your money’s worth.


#1: Do You Need a Rotary Tool or Die Grinder?

Dremel tools are for home-based projects, DIY and home improvement. The most powerful Dremel tools have a 1.8 amp motor.

A die grinder is a more powerful rotary tool with 6 to 11 amp motors. This allows die grinders to cut thicker materials, so decide if this is the power you need or if it’s too much.

If you’re only going to use your Dremel for light work, there’s no need to buy one of their higher end products.

But if you see yourself doing larger, more complex DIY work, it’s best to purchase one of their more powerful tools or a die grinder.

You can also both: buy a die grinder and use that for heavy work and a Dremel for the typical DIY project.

#2: Dremel is Not the Only Option

Dremel is synonymous with rotary tools, but it’s not the only available brand. Wen, Proxxon, and Dewalt are some of the other companies that manufacture rotary tools.

These other rotary tools are usually compatible with Dremel bits, attachments and accessories.

Even if you limit your options to just Dremel, there are a lot of products to choose from. This means you still need to do some research to find out what the right rotary tool to use is.

#3: Cordless vs. Corded Dremel

We can make a long list of the advantages and disadvantages of each, but the major points to consider are:

Corded Dremel Pros

Corded Dremel 400 High Performance Rotary Tool

Photo by Dremel.com

  • Won’t run out of power
  • More powerful
  • Usually more affordable

Corded Dremel Cons

  • Your movement is limited by cord length
  • Can’t be used outside without an electrical outlet

Cordless Dremel Pros

It's a Cordless Dremel 8050

Photo by Dremel.com

  • Portable
  • Smaller and easier to carry
  • Easy to store

Cordless Dremel Cons

  • Usually more expensive than corded versions
  • Can only be used as long as there’s a battery charge

#4: How Much Power Do You Require?

Rotary tool power is usually measured in horsepower, but in Dremel amps is used instead. The higher the amps the more powerful the Dremel, but overall performance also depends on the other specs.

The power in cordless Dremel tools is measured in volts. The higher the volts the more powerful the tool.

The cordless Dremel 7300 has 4.8 volts while the 8220 has 12 volts so it’s more powerful. The Dremel 100 has 1.15 amps while the Dremel 4300 has 1.8 amps so the 4300 has more power.

#5: RPMs and Speed

Dremel tools come in a variable, one and two-speed designs. Speed is measured in RPMs (revolutions per minute) through a minimum and maximum speeds vary.

The Dremel 4000 series, the Dremel 8220, 8100 and 3000 are variable speed. Other Dremel models are 1 or 2-speeds. Some Dremel tools have a low RPM but make up for it with ha higher amp.

Speed is important but you also need to consider torque, ergonomics and more.

#6: Portability

Portability hinges on the tool’s physical dimensions and weight. If your main concern is portability check out the Dremel 100 and 200. Majority of cordless Dremel all sport compact designs.

Larger Dremel tools are heavier but have more power such as the 8100, 8220, 3000, 4200 and the 4300, so you need to strike a balance between weight and power.

#7: Know Your Dremel

Dremel tools are built for specific purposes. To find out what you need, note all the activities you want to do.

Next, check out the different Dremel models and decide which one fits your needs.

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  • Dremel 7300: suitable for light projects, grooming pet nails, grinding and sanding
  • Dremel 9100 Fortiflex: this tool has low speed, high torque, high power. A handpiece and flex shaft are included for detailed carving and engraving.
  • Dremel 200: this is a two-speed rotary tool for new users. It is suitable for precision carving.
  • Dremel 4300: this is a high-end Dremel rotary tool designed for cutting, carving, grinding, sharpening and other tasks.

These are just some of the many Dremel tools available. These tools are compatible with other Dremel bits and accessories to extend its functionality.

The 4000 and the 4300 can be hooked up with a flex shaft to enhance its functionality. You also do this with smaller Dremel tools.

#8: Dremel Bits and Accessories

Your Dremel tool may come with a couple of accessories or a hundred. Dremel bits are divided into the following:

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  • Polishing and Cleaning
  • Grinding & Sharpening
  • Cutting
  • Sanding
  • Carving & Engraving
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Among the most popular accessories are:

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  • Cutters and Carvers: for detailed carving and cutting
  • Nylon Bristle Brush: for polishing and cleaning
  • Sanding Discs: for removing corrosion, paint and rust on wood, plastic, metal and other materials
  • Abrasive Discs: this is used for plastics, minerals and other materials
  • Felt Polishing Pads: for polishing different types of materials and surfaces

#9: Chuck vs. Collet

Some Dremel tools are equipped with a chuck system and others with a collet. These collet and chuck systems have variants.

The most notable difference is the chuck design lets you use all kinds of shanks. A chuck accessory also lets you use it on a Dremel collet rotary tool.

A collet system comes in four sizes, with each collet designed for a specific shank size. If you want to use another shank you’ll need to modify the collet size cover.

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#10: Bit Changing

Dremel rotary tools use different systems for changing bits. Some don’t need tools, and others necessitate the use of a wrench.

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  • Dremel 9100 Forti Flex: uses a 3 jaw lock with wrench change mechanism
  • Dremel 4000: this uses the EZ Twist Nose Cap bit changer
  • Dremel 4200: this is equipped with the EZ Change mechanism
  • Dremel 4300: the 4300 is fitted with the 3 jaw lock system: doesn’t require a collet or tools

#11: What Accessories Do You Need?

Dremel tools like the 4000 come with several accessories.  You can also purchase all-purpose accessory kits.

Dremel accessories and attachments are not the same. An accessory consists of the bit that is on the chuck or collet.  A Dremel attachment is used for a particular task.

Among the most popular Dremel accessory bits are:

Cleaning & Polishing Accessories:

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  • Detail Abrasive Brushes
  • Rubber Polishing Points
  • Abrasive Brushes
  • Brass Brushes
  • Stainless Steel Brushes
  • Bristle and Steel Brushes
  • Polishing Cones
  • Polishing Wheels
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Grinding & Sharpening Accessories:

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  • Abrasive Point and Abrasive Wheel
  • Sharpening Stone
  • Grinding Wheels
  • Rasps
  • Grit Paper
  • Surface Prep Wheels
  • Dressing Stone
  • Silicon Carbide Grinding Stones
  • Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stones

Routing & Drilling Accessories:

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  • Drill Bits
  • Router Bits
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Etching & Engraving Accessories:

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  • Diamond Wheel Points
  • Carbide Engraving Cutters
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Cutting & Scraping Accessories:

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  • Tungsten Carbide Cutters
  • High-Speed Tungsten Carbide Cutters
  • Diamond Points
  • High-Speed Carbide Cutters
  • Fiberglass Cut Off Wheels
  • Cut Off Wheels

Sanding Accessories:

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  • Flapwheels
  • Sanding Discs
  • Sanding Bands
  • Sanding Drums

#12: Consider Dremel Attachments

Some Dremel tools come with several attachments while others only a few or none at all. Keep in mind that some attachments like the flex shaft work only with certain models. If you want to use an attachment make certain it’s included or the rotary tool is compatible with it.

Some of the most useful Dremel attachments are:

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  • Dremel 220-01 Rotary Tool Work Station: attachments include a tool holder and drill press. These are for light work only such as thin metal, thin wood and drilling plastic.
  • Dremel 225-01 Flex Shaft Attachment: this consists of a handpiece and a flex shaft. It’s very flexible and provides a good deal of motion essential for engraving and carving.
  • Dremel 575 Right Angle Attachment for Rotary Tool: this attachment converts the rotary tool into a right angle utility. This is a convenient feature for use in making perpendicular cuts and working in tight spots.
  • Dremel 335-01 Plunge Router Attachment: this attachment gives your rotary tool the capabilities of a plunge router. This is useful for shaping plastic and wood edges and smoothing the shape. It’s also good for in letting, hollowing and routing surfaces.
  • Dremel 4486 MultiPro Keyless Chuck: this allows you to change bits without a collet or tools. This is ideal for the 4000.
  • Dremel 2500-01 Rotary Tool Multi-Vise: this attachment is for soft and light materials. You use this to fasten materials so it’s more stable.
  • Dremel 7300 PT Pet Grooming Tool: this is used to trim your pet’s nails. The Dremel 120 Grit Sanding Bands shape your pet’s nails.
  • Dremel A679-02 Attachment Kit for Gardening Tools: this attachment is used to sharpen garden shears, shovels, hoes, tool blades and chainsaws. Dremel grinding bits can also be used as sharpeners.

#13: Look for Extras

Apart from accessories, bits and attachments, check if the kit has any extras. Some of the more useful are:

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  • Battery and charger for cordless Dremel
  • Wrench for changing bits
  • Mandrels
  • Storage case for the rotary tool
  • A case for the accessory bits

#14: Do You Require Other Accessories?

Some users are worried of buying a Dremel that doesn’t have enough accessories, while others don’t want to end up with bits they won’t need.

You can avoid this situation by making a list of all the functions you need from a Dremel. Use that as your guide when buying. And if you find yourself needing another accessory you can always buy it.

#15: Consider Any Special Requirements You May Need

Are you looking for a specific feature on the Dremel? A pivot light will come in handy if you work in dimly lit areas. A tooless bit changer is convenient if you use work with different bits.

Other features that you may find useful:

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  • Replaceable Motor Brushes
  • Ball Bearing Construction
  • Separate Speed Dial And On/Off Switch
  • 360 Degree Grip
  • Electronic Feedback Circuitry

#16: Extra Batteries

Cordless Dremel rotary tools usually come with one battery. But it’s best to have a spare so you can keep working even if the battery runs out.

#17: An Extension Cord

Corded Dremel tools are powerful, but just like with any corded tool your movement is limited to the cord’s length. Get an extension cord if the cord is impeding your movement.

#18: Matching Tools and Materials

Materials need different speeds, some high and some low. They also require different bits so you have to make sure that Dremel matches the materials you’ll be using.

#19: Skill Level

Get a basic Dremel rotary tool like the Dremel 100 if you’re new to DIY. There’s no need – and no point – getting the Dremel 4000 as you don’t yet have the skills to maximize its power.

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#20: Ease of Use

Dremel rotary tools are known for their intuitive design. However, some models are easier to use than others. Take a good look at different Dremel rotary tools, taking note of its capabilities and handling as well.

Can’t decide between two Dremel models? Read and compare reviews of the two products and use the feedback as a guide to determine which is the better choice.

The more you use a Dremel the easier the tool becomes to operate. It’s necessary to read about how Dremel tools work, but the only way to be good at it is to use the tool.

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Final Verdict

With so many products to choose from, deciding which Dremel to buy can be overwhelming. Hopefully, these tips were able to help you decide which of their products is the right one.

Featured Image by Gareth Halfacree/ CC BY

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