Facebook Pixel Code
x
BestReview's Logo
Best For Your Buck Product
Best bang for the buck
WEN
Check Price
Best Of The Best Product
Best of the best
Dremel
Check Price
BestReview's Logo

Best Rotary Tools

Updated April 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. Read more
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How We Decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 73 Models Considered
  • 47 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 194 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide for Best Rotary Tools

    Last Updated April 2018

    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.

    The right rotary tool can engrave designs, shape wood, polish metal, and sand or trim many materials.

    At BestReviews, we never accept products from manufacturers, so you can trust our recommendations to be completely unbiased.

    We also conduct field and expert research, which allows us to pass along all the info you need to make the most educated shopping decision for your tool collection.

    Ready to buy a rotary tool? Check the matrix above for our top recommendations.

    For general tips on choosing a rotary tool, continue reading our shopping guide.

    Scott
    EXPERT CONSULTANT

    Scott completed his first woodworking project in the 5th grade, and he’s been an avid woodworker ever since. For the past 46 years, Scott has enjoyed remodeling homes, building custom cabinets and mantels, installing hardwood floors/trim work, and many other unique projects.


    Scott  |  Do-It-Yourself Guru And Carpenter

    Rotary tool uses

    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.

    • Sand wood.

    • Remove grout.

    • Strip old paint, varnish, and other finishes from woodwork.

    • Cut away protruding nails.

    • Sharpen blades.

    • And much more...

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    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.

    What bits usually come with a rotary tool?

    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.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    The most common sizes for a rotary tool’s bits are ½ inch and ⅛ inch.

    What should i look for in a rotary tool?

    Power

    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.

    EXPERT TIP

    To cut glass with a rotary tool, you’ll need a diamond bit.


    Scott  | Do-It-Yourself Guru And Carpenter

    Speeds

    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.

    Professional Quality

    The Dremel 4000-6/50 is a superbly engineered tool with an excellent set of quality accessories. It’s perfect example of why, when you say "rotary tool," most people will probably answer, "Oh, you mean a Dremel." You don't get that kind of stellar reputation overnight, and you don't get it without consistently delivering exceptional design and construction. If you want a professional-grade kit that you can depend on, this is it.

    Corded vs. cordless

    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.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Always turn off and unplug a rotary tool before changing or adjusting its attachments or accessories.

    Weight

    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.

    Ergonomic design

    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.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you plan to use your rotary tool for cutting materials, opt for a model with a larger motor.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Ease of use

    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.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Carbide bits allow you to etch and carve with your rotary tool.

    Accessories and attachments

    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.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you mainly plan to use your rotary tool on plastic or melamine board, you’ll want a tool that works at a lower speed to avoid damaging the material.


    Scott  | Do-It-Yourself Guru And Carpenter

    How much should i pay for a rotary tool?

    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.

    Features and Affordability

    You get more accessories than you might expect with the inexpensive WEN 2305, but it is basic in terms of features. You get two collets (2.3 mm and 3.2 mm; the equivalent of 3/32 and 1/8 of an inch) and a carrying case. The WEN necessitates a straightforward approach that many users are perfectly happy with: choose the appropriate collet, tighten with the small wrench provided, and away you go.

    Tips and tricks

    • 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.

    A rotary tool with variable speeds allows you more control, which can be very important if you’re working on a detail-oriented project.

    Faq

    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.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bob
      Bob
      Writer
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jeff
      Jeff
      Editor
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor