Which rotary tool is best?

Few tools can match the versatility of a rotary tool. There isn’t much they can’t do. 

If you’re looking for a high-quality option, few manufacturers can compete with Dremel. In fact, their name is so synonymous with rotary tools that many people simply refer to all rotary tools as Dremel tools no matter who made them. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that the Dremel 8220-2/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit stands out as one of the top options for practically any application.

What to know before you buy a rotary tool

Safety

Any time you are using power tools, safety should be a top priority. For rotary tools, this means wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes from dust and debris that may go flying. It is also a smart idea to wear hearing protection since rotary tools can be very loud. Depending on the material you are working with, you may also want to wear a mask so you don’t inhale small particles from the air. Some people may also opt to wear gloves to reduce the vibrations transferred to their hands. However, you need to be careful to ensure that whichever gloves you choose don’t hinder your grip on the tool.

Corded vs. cordless rotary tools

Both corded and cordless rotary tools offer some benefits and cons that should be considered before choosing one.

  • Corded rotary tools: With a corded model, you never have to worry about it running out of power in the middle of a job. They also tend to be more powerful than cordless models, though this gap lessens every year as battery technology continues to improve.
  • Cordless rotary tools: Cordless models are more convenient. You won’t ever find yourself in a situation where the cord is getting in the way as you work. You’ll also never have to deal with running extension cables when there isn’t a power source right next to your worksite.

Features to look for in a quality rotary tool

Speeds

The speed of a rotary tool is denoted in rpm, which stands for revolutions per minute. On nearly every model, you can adjust the speed either using a variable speed slider or dial or by selecting one of a few preset speeds. The wider the range between the fastest and slowest speed, the more versatile a rotary tool will be. Some models have speeds that range from as low as 3,000 rpm to as high as 40,000 rpm.

Power

The power of rotary tools is measured in volts for cordless models and amps for corded models. The higher the number, the more powerful the tool is. Not everyone needs the most powerful rotary tool though, as it depends on your application. If using your tool for arts and crafts or small hobby projects, 1-1.5 amps or at least 4 volts should suffice. If doing heavy-duty construction work or remodeling, it is best to opt for a tool with at least 1.6 amps or 12 volts.

Ergonomics

When it comes to the ergonomics of a rotary tool, you should pay attention to a few important aspects. For example, the lighter the tool is, the less fatiguing it will be to use for long periods. Likewise, a grip with a vibration-dampening, nonslip material or one that is nicely contoured will provide a better hold on the tool and more user comfort.

Included attachments

The more attachments a rotary tool comes with, the more versatile it will be right out of the box. Some models may come with just a single attachment, while others may come with as many as 80 or more. These may include attachments for cutting, grinding, sanding, drilling, polishing and engraving. For most rotary tools, you can also buy additional attachments.

How much you can expect to spend on a rotary tool

Rotary tools range from $20-$200, depending on features and included attachments.

Rotary tool FAQ

How do I know how fast to set my rotary tool?

A. Learning how fast to set your rotary tool involves a little bit of trial and error. Usually, there will be a guide included that gives you a rough idea of what speed is best for specific applications. When in doubt, it is always best to start slow and then increase the speed as needed. This will help prevent you from losing control of the tool.

Can I use a rotary tool to trim my dog’s nails?

A. Yes. Many people use rotary tools to trim their dog’s nails. However, just like when clipping them, it can be intimidating to a dog, especially with the added noise of the machine. That said, using a rotary tool eliminates the chances of accidentally clipping the quick.

What is the best rotary tool to buy?

Top rotary tool

Dremel 8220-2/28 12-volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit

Dremel 8220-2/28 12-volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit

What you need to know: From the brand synonymous with rotary tools, this cordless model from Dremel is a reliable option that comes with a wide variety of useful attachments.

What you’ll love: It retains previously used speeds so you don’t have to fiddle around with anything if performing similar tasks again and again. It also features a high-traction, soft grip that should ensure you have a comfortable and secure hold on the tool at all times.

What you should consider: The battery life could be longer.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top rotary tool for the money

WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft

WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft

What you need to know: It may not be suitable for heavy-duty jobs on a daily basis but for home users and hobbyists, it’s hard to beat the WEN 2305 when it comes to value for the money.

What you’ll love: Its wide speed range from 8,000-30,000 rpm makes it versatile enough for a wide range of uses. It allows for quick and easy bit changes too.

What you should consider: Many of the included attachments wear down quickly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Dremel 4000-6/50 High-Performance Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft

Dremel 4000-6/50 High-Performance Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft

What you need to know: With 50 accessories and six attachments, this is one of the most comprehensive rotary tool kits from Dremel.

What you’ll love: It’s powerful enough to handle practically any task, and it has a maximum speed of 35,000 rpm to help you get through material quickly. Plus, its speed adjusts at 1,000-rpm increments for precision work.

What you should consider: The included case doesn’t hold the attachments very tightly in their slots.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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