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Best Rotary Tool

Updated on May 10, 2013

A comprehensive guide to rotary tools. Read this to find out more about their many uses and various applications for your current projects! I'm sure you will find more creative uses than you thought. Read on to see why I chose this tool as my number one pick.

How I Prepared My List

A week of data gathering

A buddy of mine at work stated he needed to get a Dremel to do some work around the house for his wife and didn't know what to get. I told him I use one for my projects and that it would be a good investment. Not only do I get to share the information I found with my friends, I'm passing it along to you!

I created this list because my friend didn't know what to look for and I wanted to offer my help. I thought it would be easy to just buy the first one I saw. I started to notice that some features were missing on one model but available on another that I felt was important. I also took into consideration the reviews and ratings from other users. Did I want something that was corded or cordless? Did it come with enough accessories or would I have to buy more? It was starting to become a complicated process.

After a solid week of sifting through user comments, forum questions and various product factors people were looking for in a good rotary tool. I was surprised at the amount of time it took to just get a list of the best 5. Although 2 come in pretty close to being on the top, it will be your decision regarding your personal preference.

I looked at information that was important to buyers and took notes and then started compiling a list of the things people liked and didn't like. I looked closely at each of the products and information I found to enter them into a spreadsheet and compare features and basically graded each one.

My goal is to help you sort out the information so you don't have to spend hours and days digging through the information like I did. I hope this list helps you make an informed decision and any of these will make a great Christmas gift or Father's Day gift too!

I'm willing to bet some of the ladies would like this also, especially if they are into crafting of any kind!

Rotary Tools Comparison

Model

Dremel 4000-6

Dremel 8200-2

Dremel 3000

Dremel 1100

Dremel 8000

Corded

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Battery

No

12V Max x 2

No

7.2V Internal

10.8V

Accessories

50

28

28

25

40

Attachments

6

2

2

No

No

Weight

18.8 oz

22 oz

20 oz

9 oz

14 oz

Case

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes


The 5 Best Rotary Tools From My Research - Continue reading to see the reviews of each model listed here

Dremel 8220-2/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool with 28 Accessories
Dremel 8220-2/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool with 28 Accessories

12-Volt Cordless has a good battery gauge and comparable to the corded model above.

 
Dremel 3000-2/28 2 Attachments/28 Accessories Rotary Tool
Dremel 3000-2/28 2 Attachments/28 Accessories Rotary Tool

A good mid-range tool if you don't need a lot of attachments or accessories.

 
Dremel 1100-N/25 7.2-Volt Stylus Lithium-Ion Cordless Rotary Tool Kit with Docking Station
Dremel 1100-N/25 7.2-Volt Stylus Lithium-Ion Cordless Rotary Tool Kit with Docking Station

You can tackle a lot of crafts from jewelry making to clay beads and more.

 
Dremel 8000-03 10.8-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Rotary Tool
Dremel 8000-03 10.8-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Rotary Tool

If you already own a corded model, why not get a cordless so you have more freedom.

 

I chose the Dremel 4000-6 because of all it's accessories and included attachments. Granted I have not used all my attachments I have with my kit. I like to be prepared none the less. I would rather spend a little extra now than to spend a little more later for an accessory or attachment I did not foresee needing at the time.

This rotary tool from Dremel is also corded, so I don't have to worry about charging batteries. I have never had much success yet with cordless tools because after about a year my batteries are dead and need to be replaced. But those were the regular NiCad rechargeable type. You might have had better luck than I did.

Offers the highest performance and versatility

Works with all Dremel accessories and attachments - You don't have to worry about attachments or accessories fitting. If you already have some accessories that you use in your drill press or hand drill, they'll work with the 4000-6!

Separate speed control and on/off switch - Are you putting some finishing touches on your carving project and need to take a break or stop for a moment? Just turn it off and when you are ready to go back to work, the speed is right where you left it. No need to adjust the speed again.

Quick Collet Lock - Some accessories can be changed out quickly without using the included wrench.

6 foot cord - The 6 foot cord won't keep you tied down too much. I've never had a problem finding an outlet to use near my work area.

Replaceable Motor Brushes - Now you can replace those brushes that eventually wear out over time without replacing the tool!

5,000 to 35,000 RPM - With the Dremel 4000's newly designed motor you can expect smooth operation through all the speeds. The electronic feedback circuitry will maintain a constant tool speed while under load.

Don't have the sharpest tool in the shed - Now you can with a lawn mower blade and yard tool sharpener attachment. You can also use the Sanding/Grinding Guide. Now who has the best manicured lawn on the block!

With the 50 different accessories you're bound to find something you need to work on - Let me spark your imagination a little! Do you make handmade necklaces or bracelets? You can polish beads and stones. Sanding models or airplane wings; doll house furniture. Hint hint Grandpa! Need another outlet in your tile wall or cutting sheet-rock for a recessed light. How about your wood carving project to add some finishing touches to it. Your imagination is the limit with this rotary tool!

I want to share a few cons that I found.

Just over a pound in weight - A pound doesn't sound like much, but when holding it in your hands for long extended times without proper breaks, it can be surprisingly heavy. Just remember to take some breaks between and you'll do just fine.

All the threads are plastic - Remember when using the attachments that screw onto the tool everything is plastic, so don't over tighten them or you'll be replacing attachments. If you manage to strip out the plastic threads on the tool, you may end up purchasing a new one, so be firm, but gentle at the same time.

Low speed setting may not be best - While using low speed settings and the tool starts to jump and sputter around your workpiece or breaking the pieces you are working on. Remember that speed is sometimes better and lighter pressure. With most accessories you need to use a light pressure and let the tool do the work with it's speed.

As I told you before in the beginning this tool almost made the top of the list and it all comes down to your personal preference. Don't let me stop you. If you have had better luck than I have with battery operated tools before, you'll do just fine.

The Dremel 8000-2 comes with a 12-Volt Lithium-Ion battery, so I might have better luck than in the past. These batteries last longer when stored with a full charge, so it will always be ready when you are.

Offers the highest performance and versatility of all Dremel cordless rotary tools

Uses all available Accessories and attachments - Do you have an older corded model laying around, why not get an upgrade to cordless and go places you never imagined before. You won't have to look far for an accessory or attachment that will work with this tool.

12-V Max Lithium-Ion Technology - A lightweight battery won't make holding this tool any harder or awkward. It comes with a one-hour charger and an extra battery so it will more than keep up with the demand of any project.

Includes a right angle and cutting attachment - Nothing is out of reach anymore and accessible with the 8200.

Very versatile for the extreme hobbyist or occasional do-it-yourselfer - Weather you are into carving out a jack o' lantern or engraving glassware this product will fill the need. Let your imagination go because you are not tied down with a cord anymore.

Included battery fuel gauge - Just a quick glance will let you know when it is time to recharge the battery. No more guessing or running out of charge unexpectedly in the middle of something important.

Separate speed and on/off controls - No more guessing the speed where you left off after your break or following day. Just set it and forget it.

Comfort grip - With the comfort grip housing you'll enjoy better handling and tool control.

Comparable to corded model - You won't have to worry about power with this cordless 8200. It has about the same power as a corded model.

Here are a few of the cons.

Small accessory package - Although the 8200 comes with just 28 accessories and a small box to keep them in, it does however have 2 good attachments and a spare battery. Most likely people who have a corded Dremel rotary tool have plenty of accessories lying around, so this would be an extension of their corded model to go places where their corded model couldn't.

Batteries do go bad - I know we all would like batteries to last as long as possible, but they do need to be replaced after repeated charging and use. Lithium Ion batteries should be stored with a full charge, so make sure when you finish your project just pop them in the charger to top them off before putting them away until next time.

Having to put everything on hold - If you are using the tool for a very big project that requires a long running time and you just swapped out the battery. You may end up putting everything on hold waiting for the battery to recharge if you don't have a corded rotary tool to fall back on.

The last 2 rotary tools from Dremel were very versatile in using all the accessories and attachments that Dremel has to offer. The 3000-2 can also be used with all accessories and most of the attachments. We'll get to that in a moment.

The 3000-2 ranks in at number 3 and we'll continue with our in-depth examination. If you're new to rotary tools this might be a little better to get your feet wet. You might end up splurging later on and getting another that has all the extras and a little more powerful. You be the judge.

The 3000 is a result from user feedback and suggestions to upgrade their most popular model like ergonomics and design. The redesigned side vents and more efficient fan makes the tool run a lot cooler during extended use.

Easy Twist TM nose cap - The nose cap has an integrated wrench so you don't need to use the small Dremel wrench when changing out accessories.

Includes 2 attachments - You have a sanding guide and general purpose cutting guide. The sanding guide will glide along surfaces to help you keep the tool perpendicular to your work surface.

Variable speed - You can control the speed from 5,000 to 32,000 RPM

Replaceable motor brushes - You can replace the brushes extending the life of your rotary tool.

Includes 28 accessories - You get 28 accessories to get you started on your next project weather it be sanding, grinding, cutting or polishing. You're ready to go.

Soft Grip - For comfort and control 360-degrees around any way you want to hold it.

Workhorse - The 3000 is the workhorse of the Dremel Brand making it a popular choice.

Some of the cons I have picked out.

Only 28 accessories - Granted they are not super expensive, but if you are looking to do a lot of things, you might need to get a few more.

MS400 Attachment - The 3000 will not work with the MS 400 Multi-Saw attachment turning your rotary tool into a jig saw. So if you have a jig saw, this might not be a problem for you.

PL400 attachment - The 3000 will not work with the PL 400 attachment letting you trim those sticky, hard to open and close doors in your home. Or if you are looking to put a nice smooth edge on your shelves. If you have a hand plane, sander or no sticky doors, this might not be a problem for you.

This rotary tool from Dremel comes in at number 4 on my list. While this product won't complete a lot of DIY home projects it is designed with crafters in mind.

If you like finish work, this tool will also give you the control you need without the bulk of a larger tool. The Dremel 1100 is cordless and has a convenient docking station that will keep your tool charged when you set it down for a minute.

If you are passionate about hands on crafts or you do intricate detailing, you'll love this Dremel stylus.

Pistol grip design - It provides outstanding balance that fits in your hand for maximum control.

Docking station - Convenient dock to hold your tool during projects to keep your stylus charged.

Soft grip housing - Allows comfort and control while working on your projects.

Integrated 7.2 Lithium Ion battery - Holds a charge better than traditional Ni-Cd batteries. No memory effects and can be charged at any time.

What can it be used for - Perfect for finish sanding any carving work. Engraving many different materials. Polishing crafts or jewelry.

Nose tip control - On off switch at the front of the tool for easy one handed operation.

Uses premium accessories - You can use all of the Dremel accessories with this tool, except for router bits. Included are 25 accessories for fine detailed work.

Variable Speed - The Dremel Stylus operates at 5,000 to 25,000 RPM for your most delicate project.

Not all Rotary Tools are created equal.

Patented nose tip design - The Dremel stylus tool cannot be used with any of the Dremel line of attachments due to the tip design.

Integrated 7.5V Li-Ion battery - The stylus does not have a removable battery. There are instructions in the manual for replacing the battery if you're comfortable enough. If you have a Batteries + store nearby you can probably get a new battery there and or have them change it out.

Caution using cut off wheels - The tool will work with cut-off wheels, but the reduced speed of this tool will not allow them to work optimally. It is recommended to only cut soft materials such as wood or plastic and cutting metals should be avoided.

Dremel 8000-03 Review

Final Review

While this is my last rotary tool review it doesn't always mean it is the worst. You'll just have to shuffle through the reviews to see what you are more comfortable using and the particular application you are needing this tool for.

With new features and a totally different design. You can easily replace your very first Dremel with this one and feel right at home with it. It's lighter, stronger and faster.

Let's review some of the great features.

10.8V Lithium Ion - Freedom for those on the go. With a battery fuel gauge you won't be left guessing how much charge you have left. This tool is rated as having the longest running time of the Dremel cordless line. 3 lights - 100% charge remaining, 2 lights - 50% charge remaining, 1 light - 25% charge remaining, 1 "Flashing" light - tool is about to shut off. Includes charger.

Includes 40 accessories - The 8000 uses all the Dremel accessories and most attachments. Attachments sold separately.

Compact kit - Offers a more convenient and less expensive kit than relying on a range of accessories and attachments to meet your needs. Attachments can be purchased as needed.

Variable Speed - Offers a wide range of speeds from 5,000 to 35,000 RPM for any demanding project and accessory speed.

Versatile Performance - The 8000-03 has the strength to handle a wide range of crafting projects, household DIY projects and automotive projects. Here is a sample of what you can do. Sharpen: a chain saw blade, lawnmower blade, garden tools. Model railroading projects. Cut a variety of materials. Handcraft a necklace or beaded bracelet, polish jewelry. You can even groom your dog's nails.

Comfort grip housing - Offers better handling and tool control.

Handy carrying case - It has a place for an extra battery and extra accessory storage.

Comparable to corded models - This tool would make a great addition to a corded model you might have. Now you can go places you never could before. It's about the same weight as a corded model and has plenty of RPMs and torque.

What's not to love about the 8000-03

No extra battery - If you really use rotary tools a lot, then you might want to purchase an extra battery to keep you going. Compare this to the the features of the 8200-2. It comes with 2 12V Max Li-Ion batteries.

No attachments - While this is not entirely a bad thing, you might already have some attachments or don't see any uses for the ones offered. You get to choose what you like and need.

Does not work with MS400 and PL 400 attachments - Just like in the review of the Dremel 3000-2, the multi saw and planer will not work on this model.

Choosing The Best Features

Which model is best for me?

While any of the models I reviewed will be good for first time users and second time purchasers. You must look at what you need the tool for and what uses you will use it for so that you can get the most satisfaction out of the tool you choose. I hope this information helps you make a better informed decision.

It’s decision time; ask yourself a few questions so you will make the best decision. Let me give you a few examples:

For what and where will you be using your rotary tool? Do you prefer corded or cordless? Is the amount of accessories important to you? Do you want more attachments or none at all so you can choose? Does having an extra battery mean a lot to you? Do you engrave, etch glass, do detailed finish work, carve wood or make jewelry? Do you do DIY projects and crafting around the home or automotive work? Is this your first rotary tool or are you considering a second?

Should you choose a corded model?

How many cordless tools do you have with dead batteries that need to be replaced? Do you mostly do your projects in one area or room? Do you sharpen your tools in one area? Is this your first rotary tool?

If you answered yes, then you might want to consider any of the 2 corded models I listed.

Should you choose a cordless model?

Do you do projects around the home and yard or automotive work? Can you see yourself using this rotary tool at your place of work to make your job easier? Is this your first rotary tool or are you considering a second one to go where you want to?

If you answered yes, then you might want to consider any of the 3 cordless models I listed.

Do you only need a few accessories to work on your projects? Are you working with fragile items needing precision and control like electronic or robotic projects? Do you have just one specific project you will be working on without doing anything else like engraving or fine finish details?

If you answered yes, then the Dremel 1100 would be a good start.

Do you need a bunch of accessories to work on your projects? Will you grind, sand, polish, carve, engrave, cut, drill, and do finish work and other tasks? Do you want to sharpen your lawn mower blade or garden tools? Do you do lots of DIY projects around the home or extreme crafting or carving? Are you looking for the biggest bang for your buck? Do you want to be prepared for a wide variety of projects?

If you answered yes, then I would suggest the Dremel 4000-6.

Do you already own a rotary tool and are looking for a second or want a newer one? Do you already have a bunch of accessories or attachments?

You might want to consider the following models: 8200-2 cordless, 3000-2 corded or the 8000-3 cordless.

Dremel 4000 Rotary Tool - A Quick Intoduction

This video talks about some of the various projects you can do and talks about the many attachments that can be used with this tool. Some attachments shown are sold separately and not included with your kit.

Disclaimer

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    • Frankie Jr profile image
      Author

      Frankie Jr 5 years ago from Texas

      @Sojourn: I know what you mean, I have 2 myself! I'm considering purchasing a third now since starting this project!

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Sojourn 5 years ago

      My husband said he wanted a Dremel for Christmas one year. He must have mentioned it to everyone because he got THREE of them. Each of them is different, though, so he's hung on to them and found variations where one is better for some job or other and another is better for something else. Very handy to have around, though!