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Top 4 Best Rotary Tools of 2018

Best rotary tool reviews 2018

Best-in-class
Dremel 4300-9/64

Dremel 4300-9/64 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit

Perfect for heavy-duty tasks

Variable-speed motor with electronic feedback ideal for a wide range of hobbyist and professional applications.

Dremel 4300-9/64 Review

Whether you need a rotary tool for professional use or your home workshop, the Dremel 4300-9/64 could be your best bet. This device is built for performance; it comes with a powerful 1.8-Amp motor that spins up to 35,000 RPM and is perfect for cutting, carving, engraving, grinding, sharpening, and cleaning or polishing workpieces. Its universal 3-jaw chuck is compatible with a wide range of accessories and allows for hassle-free changes between them without the need of a wrench.

Convenience and comfort are ensured by the rotating pivot light that offers optimal illumination during use, and the ergonomic body which allows for a 360° grip. Thanks to a smooth and quiet operation, the Dremel 4300-9/64 is more than enjoyable to use, while its adaptability to almost all projects makes it one of the most versatile tools on the market. No doubt, the best rotary tool you could find.

Best value
Dremel 3000-1/25

Dremel 3000-1/25 Variable Speed Rotary Tool Kit

Toolkit with 25 accessories

Top-end tool perfect for high-demand hobbyist applications like carving, cutting and grinding.

Dremel 3000-1/25 Review

The Dremel 3000-1/25 is perfect for the amateur liking to work with soft and hard materials including hardwood, plastics, and soft metals. Powered by a variable speed brushed motor that spins at 32,000 RPM, our best-value pick comes at a price that won’t break the bank. Suitable for a wide range of applications and withstanding high-volume demands, the Dremel 3000-1/25 comes with a cool-running ball bearing design that ensures a smooth and quiet operation, an EZ Twist nose cap and a wrench for fast changing of the attachments.

The replaceable motor brushes extend the unit’s lifespan while performance is also ensured by the Tungsten Carbide cutters that can handle most materials. Lightweight and easy to handle due to an ergonomic design, the Dremel 3000-1/25 can power all your projects – all you could wish from a rotary tool at an attractive price point.

Also great
Dremel 8220-1/28

Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool

Cordless performance

Perhaps the best rotary tool for those aiming to work in all settings, even when there is no power outlet around.

Dremel 8220-1/28 Review

The Dremel 8220-1/28 is one of the most versatile rotary tools on the market thanks to its cordless capability. Powered by a reliable 12V-Max battery the device is capable of handling whatever you’re throwing at it, be it cutting, sanding, cleaning, engraving, carving, polishing, and more. Twenty-eight accessories are easy to change when needed thanks to the convenient EZ Twist Nose Cap present on our best-value pick too.

Compact size and reduced weight abate operator’s fatigue while the Li-Ion battery recharges in approximately an hour, guaranteeing minimal downtime. Perfect for a wide range of tasks but more expensive than our best-value pick, the Dremel 8220-1/28 is an excellent rotary tool if you need limitless mobility.

Best budget
BLACK+DECKER RTX-B

BLACK+DECKER RTX-B 3 Speed RTX Rotary Tool

Three-speed operation for precise applications

Flip-lock and spindle-lock systems ensure a fast and easy change of accessories and a smooth transition between services.

BLACK+DECKER RTX-B Review

The BLACK+DECKER RTXB could be the perfect rotary tool if you’re looking for an affordable and reliable unit. A robust 2-Amp motor is designed to offer more power than our best-in-class pick, but the fewer accessories and harder transition from one head to another cut down on operation ease and versatility. Nonetheless, the RTXB boasts a convenient 3-speed operation and a maximum spinning speed of 30,000 RPM.

Fatigue is reduced by the soft, non-slip grip, while the compatibility with all standard rotary tool accessories make the unit ideal to use in a wide range of projects. Coming with five accessories of its own and powered by a heavy-duty, high-torque motor, the BLACK+DECKER RTXB is perfect for amateurs and novices in search of a highly-capable yet low-cost tool.

2. Why invest in a rotary tool?

A rotary tool is a versatile instrument to have in your workshop. This tool performs a wide range of operations but it’s adaptability to a specific demand is dictated by the number of accessories it comes with. In broad lines, a rotary tool can be used for:

  • Cutting
  • Scraping
  • Engraving
  • Etching
  • Sanding
  • Grinding
  • Sharpening

3. Types of rotary tools

We can distinguish between two kinds of rotary tools, the basic models, and the cut-out rotary tools.

  • The basic rotary tools are ultra-compact and very easy to handle. They are ideal for hobbyists and beginners, but also for those professionals who don’t use such a tool frequently. These instruments are usually powered by small motors of up to 1.8-Amp and are perfect for etching and engraving, cutting, and sanding restricted surfaces. Slower than the cut-out tools, these basic models are easier to control and more flexible to use.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, there are the cut-out rotary tools equipped with larger motors of up to 5-Amp. Cumbersome and heavy, these tools are typically used for commercial or industrial applications, usually to cut through hardwood and metals. Despite coming with a wider range of attachments, the cut-out rotary tools are rarely considered by home users.

4. Corded vs. cordless tools

Like most workshop equipment, the rotary tools come in corded and cordless variants. There are endless debates on which is better, as they both have their own pros and cons.

  • Corded rotary tools: Are the most popular due to their limitless power. They are also more powerful than their cordless counterparts and capable of spinning the attachments at higher rates. This ensures suitability for a broader range of projects, but the unit’s mobility is conditioned by the length of the power cord and position of the socket.
  • Cordless rotary tools: Come with some advantages as far as mobility is concerned. They can be used anywhere, no strings attached. This is one of the main reasons why more and more DIYers turn from corded to cordless. On a downside, the cordless rotary tool is heavier than the corded one due to the battery. You’ll also have to settle for a limited runtime and weaker capabilities.

5. Power & Speed

Amateur rotary tools are powered either by motors that vary from 1.2 to 2-Amps or by batteries between 4.8 and 18 volts. The mid-range and higher end units have typical speeds between 5,000 and 35,000 RPM, with the cordless models spinning slightly slower than the corded units.

The best rotary tools come with variable speed settings that usually cover the whole range mentioned above. These tools are incredibly versatile as they allow you to adapt the speed to the task, such as:

  • Polishing, etching, and craving – 5,000 to 15,000 RPM;
  • Cleaning rust or sanding surfaces, shaping acrylic nails – 15,000 to 20,000 RPM;
  • Removing old paint, cutting – 20,000 to 30,000 RPM;
  • Drilling holes – 30,000 to highest speed setting.

Some low-end models may have a single speed, but it’s quite rare to come across such a tool.

6. What accessories would you need?

If you need a rotary tool for one determined task, perhaps the accessories the instrument comes with are the least of your worries. But since this apparatus is so versatile, it would be a pity investing in a tool that comes with few or no attachments.

Here are some of the essential attachments to look for:

  • Cutting bits: Allow you to cut holes and shapes through wood, plastic, and soft metals.
  • Cutting guide: A useful accessory that guides your cutting line. It comes in handy when you have to respect a predetermined pattern or intricate shapes, but also when you have to cut in a straight line.
  • Engraving tip: Perhaps the most praised by crafters. It allows you to engrave or etch wood and other materials.
  • Grinding wheel: As its name suggests, it is used for grinding of the surfaces, such as stone, wood, glass, ceramic, and more.
  • Sanding drums: Useful if you want to smooth a surface before passing on to the next step of your project.
  • Brushes: Typically used for polishing metals and other materials.

Some rotary tools include a more extensive range of attachments like drill bits and diamond points, while the best rotary tool must also come with a convenient carrying case.

7. Other features to look for on a rotary tool

  • Weight is an important thing to consider. Some projects, such as engraving wood or polishing jewelry can require you to hold the tool for an extended period of time, and a heavy instrument can easily become unmanageable. As a rule of thumb, remember that cordless models are heavier.
  • The grip is as important as the heft. Even the most lightweight tool won’t do you good if it requires you to hold it in an odd position. Invest in an ergonomic rotary tool that comes with a 360° anti-skid grip.
  • Another critical aspect is the ease of use, especially if you have to change between accessories frequently. Some models use chucks that allow switching from an attachment to another without the need for a wrench.
  • If you decided to invest in a cordless model, you should also consider the battery. Li-Ion is the most performing as it lasts longer than NiCad. Some rotary tools come with interchangeable batteries that work with all compatible tools, and that can be replaced by a charged one when fully drained.
  • On a corded model, it is important to check the length of the cable. If you have to move a lot around the workbench, choose a model with a longer cable to avoid plugging the apparatus into an extension cord. On the contrary, choose a shorter cord if you want to use the tool in a fixed position next to a wall outlet.
  • A carrying case is not essential, but it’s nice to have as it provides you the perfect storage space for the tool and its accessories.
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