Up to 30,000 RPM. High torque guaranteed via electronic feedback system. 50-item accessory set.
Some customers have had quality control issues.
Variable speed (8,000 - 30,000 RPM). Comprehensive accessory kit. Highly affordable.
Occasional issues with component quality and durability.
Light and easy to hold. Two available speeds. Pen grip is easy to master.
Accessory selection is small. Battery recharge time can be lengthy.
Plenty of power and torque. Rubberized grip enhances user control.
Does not offer variable speed. Only five accessories included.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
For anyone who’s into DIY projects, a rotary tool can definitely come in a handy.
Whether it’s for home improvement tasks, cleaning, or crafting, this compact, handheld tool can be used for a variety of detail work, such as cutting, shaping, smoothing, polishing, and engraving.
It also works on many materials, including wood, plastic, metal, and even glass, so there’s quite a bit that you can do with just one device from your toolbag.
But if your rotary tool is going to be as helpful as possible, you need to find the right model.
That means knowing how powerful it needs to be, what attachments you need, and what other features can make the tool even more useful.
Ready to buy a rotary tool? Check the product list above for our top recommendations.
For general tips on choosing a rotary tool, continue reading our shopping guide.
Rotary tools have a variety of home improvement, maintenance, and crafting purposes. You can use it to:
Cut wood, drywall, PVC, and other materials.
Grind metal, plastic, and masonry.
Strip old paint, varnish, and other finishes from woodwork.
Cut away protruding nails.
And much more...
Rotary tools almost always come with a variety of cutting wheels, but basic sets include other types of bits as well:
Carbide bits work well for etching or carving.
Polishing or buffing bits can help add shine to metal.
Wire wheels are effective for removing rust from metal.
Sharpening wheels can help sharpen dull knives, scissors, and other blades.
A rotary tool’s power is measured in amps and volts.
For the most effective tool, look for a model with at least 1.6 to 1.8 amps.
When it comes to voltage, choose a rotary tool with at least 4.8 volts for craft or hobby projects, and at least 12 volts for heavy duty work.
A rotary tool’s speed is measured by revolutions per minute (rpm). Some rotary tools only work at a single speed, while others offer a range of speeds.
For the most versatile tool, you should select a model with variable speeds, so you can adjust the speed based on the project that you’re working on.
Look for a rotary tool with a speed range of 5000 to 30,000 rpm for the most versatility.
Rotary tools are available in both corded and cordless models.
Corded models must be plugged into an outlet, which may limit where you can use it and how mobile it is. However, corded rotary tools tend to offer the most power.
Cordless rotary tools run on batteries, so you can use them anywhere without worrying about finding an outlet. A cordless model typically isn’t as powerful as a corded tool, though. Cordless models also require more maintenance because you must change the batteries regularly to ensure that the tool works properly.
To ensure that a rotary tool is comfortable to use, choose a model that isn’t too heavy. Avoid tools that weigh more than about 1.5 pounds, so you can easily maneuver the tool without your hand getting tired.
In addition to a rotary tool’s weight, its shape and design are key to avoiding fatigue in your hand when you’re working. Choose a model with a contoured body that allows for a comfortable grip and proper balance when you’re holding the tool.
A rotary tool will see more action around your home if it’s easy to use.
For most people, that means that changing the tools bits and accessories must be a simple, straightforward process.
Stay away from models that require a wrench to change attachments, and instead opt for a tool that allows you to change bits by simply twisting and locking the attachments into place.
In most cases, a rotary tool is only as useful as its bits, attachments, and other accessories. Some models include as few as five accessories, which limit the tasks you can perform. You can usually purchase additional attachments, but that obviously means paying more money.
Other rotary tool kits include up to 80 accessories, so you likely have every attachment you need to tackle any project around the house.
For a bare minimum, choose a rotary tool that comes with cutting, sanding, carving, and sharpening attachments.
Rotary tools vary in price based on their power, speeds, and accessories, but you can typically expect to spend between $20 and $150.
For a basic, low-power rotary tool, you’ll usually pay between $20 and $40.
You can find mid-range rotary tools between $50 and $80.
For a high-end, powerful tool with plenty of accessories, you’ll usually pay between $90 and $150.
Always read the manufacturer's safety instructions before using a rotary tool. They’re relatively safe, but you can hurt yourself if you’re not careful.
It’s important to wear protective eyewear when you’re using a rotary tool, in case any dust or debris that the tool creates blows back in your eyes.
Be careful not to use the tool at too high a speed. The faster it goes, the hotter the tool will get, which may melt plastic or burn wood.
Don’t put too much pressure on the tool as you use it, or you may wind up with jagged edges. You should let the tool do the work, while you just guide it with your hand.
Make sure that any item you’re working on is secure. If it’s loose, use a clamp to hold it in place.
Turn your rotary tool on before touching it to any material. If you don’t turn it on until it’s already in contact with the object, it may cause damage to the surface.
A more powerful rotary tool works equally well on solid and supple surfaces.
Q. Are cordless or corded rotary tools better?
A. It depends on what you plan to use the tool for. If you are mainly using it for crafts that you’ll be sitting at a table or desk to work on, it’s usually not difficult to find an outlet. For home remodeling projects, it may be a little harder to ensure that there will be an outlet near where you’re working, so a cordless model may be a better option. The main tradeoff is typically power vs. convenience — corded models are almost always more powerful than battery-powered models, but of course, a cordless model can go anywhere with you.
Q. What accessories are important for a rotary tool?
A. Safety glasses are probably the most important accessory for your tool. However, depending on what you plan to use the tool for, you may also want to buy additional attachments to increase the ways that you can use it. Check with the manufacturer to see what attachments are compatible with the model you have.
Q. Can you use a rotary tool to cut glass?
A. You can use a rotary tool to cut glass, but you need a diamond bit or wheel. These typically don’t come with most basic rotary tool kits, so you’ll likely need to buy bits or sets of bits separately.
BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.