Best Rotary Tools to Buy in 2021 (EXPERT REVIEW)

Best rotary tools: a review

Looking for the best rotary tool? You can’t go wrong with the super versatile and all-around performer Dremel 4300. Want to know what makes it so good? Join me on this journey through the best rotary tools on the market and I will explain.

The rotary tool is the one thing that sees the most use in my workshop. Given my penchant for woodcarving, I downright abuse the tool on a regular basis. I have also broken a couple of them, so I am happy to share some of that hard-earned wisdom with you and save you some money in the process!

There are three main performance points that you look for in a good rotary tool – power, build, and longevity. The Dremel 4300 scores top on all three. Even though it is the more expensive option, it saves you from having to buy a replacement tool once a year or two. Dremel sizes are industry standard, so most third-party accessories fit it. Bosch is the mother company behind this brand and provides good service and support.

All that said, there are certain cases where your best choice would be some of the other options on our list. For those who like to move about a lot, a battery-powered cordless option is the way to go. If you are tight on the budget side, you may want to stick to cheaper alternatives and go for third-party accessories. There’s one for everyone.

So are you excited to get to know the best rotary tool for you? Let’s begin!

Top Rated Rotary Tools Compared

Best Overall
Dremel 4300-5/40 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit...
The Runner-Up
PROXXON Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E, 38481
Best Cordless Rotary Tool
Milwaukee - Portable and Cordless Lithium-Ion...
Best Budget Rotary Tool
GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit with MultiPro Keyless...
Title
Dremel 4300-5/40 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit...
PROXXON Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E, 38481
Milwaukee - Portable and Cordless Lithium-Ion...
GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit with MultiPro Keyless...
Type
Corded
Corded
Cordless
Corded
Power
1.8 Amps
12-Volt Battery
12-Volt Battery
‎1.3 Amps
RPM range
5,000-35,000
5,000-20,000
5,000-32,000
8,000-30,000
Best Overall
Dremel 4300-5/40 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit...
Title
Dremel 4300-5/40 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit...
Type
Corded
Power
1.8 Amps
RPM range
5,000-35,000
The Runner-Up
PROXXON Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E, 38481
Title
PROXXON Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E, 38481
Type
Corded
Power
12-Volt Battery
RPM range
5,000-20,000
Best Cordless Rotary Tool
Milwaukee - Portable and Cordless Lithium-Ion...
Title
Milwaukee - Portable and Cordless Lithium-Ion...
Type
Cordless
Power
12-Volt Battery
RPM range
5,000-32,000
Best Budget Rotary Tool
GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit with MultiPro Keyless...
Title
GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit with MultiPro Keyless...
Type
Corded
Power
‎1.3 Amps
RPM range
8,000-30,000

1. Best Professional Allrounder Rotary Tool – Dremel 4300 5/40

On Sale
Dremel 4300-5/40 High Performance Rotary Tool Kit...
  • Premium rotary tool kit - Includes 4300 high performance rotary tool, 5 attachments, 40 high-quality Dremel accessories, and plastic storage case.
  • High performance motor – Our most powerful motor delivers maximum performance even in the most demanding applications.
  • Variable speed - 5,000 – 35,000 RPM with electronic feedback for consistent performance and accurate tool control

OVERVIEW

As I said in the very beginning, you simply cannot go wrong with a Dremel. Whether you are a beginner, serious hobbyist, or seasoned professional, Dremel has you covered. As long as the price tag is not an issue with you, you can get an attachment and accessory for any kind of project.

The company has been in the market for decades and more or less started the whole rotary tool market for craftsmen and hobbyists. Rotary tools were used mainly for industrial or construction work, such as drywall cutting before Albert J Dremel realized that there was a market for a smaller but more versatile rotary tool.

PROS

  • 1.8 Amp gives ample power and torque.
  • 5,000-35,000 RPM (revolutions per minute) variable speed makes it supremely versatile.
  • Soft, rubberized ergonomic perfect for close gripped detail work.
  • LED light for spot illumination.
  • Two sets are available, each comes with a storage box.
  • Universal 3-Jaw chuck makes it quick and easy to fit any tool on the fly.

CONS

  • One of the most expensive options in the market
  • It can get noisy, earplugs are a must at higher speeds
  • Accessories are equally expensive

You might be tempted to save a few bucks and go for the cheaper, Dremel 4000 option. Word of advice – don’t. The extra amps and other improvements are absolutely worth the small difference in cost. Read the manual, use it properly and your tool should last a long, long time.

2. Best Alternative Rotary Tool For Professionals – Proxxon Rotary Tool IBS/E 38481

On Sale
PROXXON Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E, 38481
  • Compact precision machines with aluminum die-cast head, quiet, precise and efficient
  • Usable for extended periods when grinding, polishing, cleaning, cutting and engraving
  • Ideal for mechanics, model builders, jewelers, opticians, artists and electronic enthusiasts

OVERVIEW

While most professionals swear by their Dremels, some are very vocal about this lesser-known brand – Proxxon. The difference between the two seems to be more of taste than actual usability. In fact, the Proxxon is slightly less powerful and slower than the Dremel. But it offers top-notch build quality and machined metal attachments, making it a workman’s choice.

PROS

  • Powerful yet quiet, full-revving 100W motor
  • Compact, precision-oriented design with die-cast aluminum housing
  • Designed for comfortable use over long hours
  • Collet goes from 1/32” to 1/8″
  • Full-wave speed controller offers smooth speed change
  • Die-cast aluminum gives rock-solid stability and precision

CONS

  • Speed range of 5,000 to 20,000, low top speed may be unsuitable for some users
  • Comes with fewer accessories (but they are of high quality)
  • Aluminum head and grip can be slippery to hold
  • Only 0.9amp

Even though it is priced the same as the Dremel 4300, it is actually more expensive because it provides fewer accessories, much lower amperage, and top speed. It makes up for all these shortcomings with an extremely well-made machine.

This is possibly the best-made rotary tool on the market in terms of material quality and engineering. So if you want high precision and quiet, long hours of work, this is the piece you should go for. The quality makes sure it will last for decades.

3. The Best Workshop Cordless Rotary Tool – Milwaukee M12TM Cordless Rotary Tool

Milwaukee - Portable and Cordless Lithium-Ion...
  • Powerful 12-volt motor: Delivers 5,000-32,000 RPM for superior speed and performance under load
  • Compact, lightweight design: Allows you to work comfortably in tight spaces and all day
  • 1/8” Collet: Accommodates all 1/32” - 1/8” shank accessories for thousands of applications

OVERVIEW

This is a tough one because there is always a debate raging between Dremel purists and others about whether Milwaukee is the best cordless rotary tool or not. The real answer here is that they are both solid tools and the only reason I am choosing the Milwaukee M12TM over the Dremel 8220 is the price.

The M12TM is just over $100 whereas the 8220 is almost $200. Since you will have to buy Dremel accessories no matter what brand you go for (that is if you want quality and reliability and enjoy having intact fingers and face), you might as well save some money on the actual tool.

PROS

  • 5,000 – 32,000 rpm speed range gives full versatility
  • 1/32” to 1/18” fits all common accessories
  • 3Ah (amp-hour) battery with optional 6Ah battery gives loads of power
  • Front bearing protection gives stability and long life
  • Cheaper than Dremel 
  • M12 Battery is easily available and fits other Milwaukee products

CONS

  • Noisy, you should wear ear protection
  • You will need to buy Dremel accessories anyway if you want high quality
  • Battery life could be better but it also depends on usage
  • Rubberized exterior is a dirt magnet
  • Only 1 battery included

You might want to spend some of your savings on the 6Ah battery pack. It is chunkier but gives more juice for longer operations.

4. Best Cordless Rotary Tool Kit – Dremel 8220

On Sale
Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool...
  • Compact, portable, and powerful: 12V Lithium-Ion battery provides maximum performance and run time at all speeds (5,000-30,000 RPM).
  • Versatile rotary tool kit: Includes 8220 cordless rotary tool, 1 attachment, 28 high-quality Dremel accessories, charger, plastic storage case, and accessory case.
  • Quick accessory changes – Patented EZ twist nose cap makes accessory changes fast and easy without the need of a wrench

OVERVIEW

If you want a full kit, a fast charger, longevity and superb construction quality, you are looking at a Dremel yet again. Even though the best workshop cordless rotary tool status has been given to the Milwaukee M12TM, Dremel bags this one because of the accessories that the kit comes with and the overall quality and design.

PROS

  • Full kit with accessories that give you a wide range of uses.
  • High-quality construction.
  • Ergonomic design for close gripped uses.
  • 12-Volt battery with a one-hour fast charger.
  • Comes with a carrying case and 2 batteries.

CONS

  • Expensive – you do pay for the accessories and extra battery.
  • 2Ah battery is weaker than other options.

Once again, you cannot go wrong with Dremel if you want to have a variety of tasks that you want to handle with the same tool. A more powerful 3Ah battery would have really helped but they have already improved the battery power from the previous model and there’s the 1-hour fast charge.

Full Review: Dremel 8220-1/28 Review

5. Best Budget Rotary Tool Kit – Goxawee Rotary Tool Kit

On Sale
GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit with MultiPro Keyless...
  • ★ Quick Change Drill Chuck - Come with 3 Jaw Universal Chuck applying better stability on your projects, allows you to quickly and easily change accessories on Rotary machine tool freely. GOXAWEE...
  • ★ 140pcs Attachment & Accessory - Flexible Shaft holds like a pen for your precise projects. Cover Shield provide better protection for cutting and grinding. Drill Locator helps for precision work...
  • ★ Variable Speed & Compact - Variable speed dial is easy to use. The Variable Speed Adjustment Knob showing 5 Step Speeds from 8,000 to 30,000 RPM. By adjusting the speed you can make delicate...

OVERVIEW

The Goxawee is a Chinese-made tool (like the majority of all power tools are these days) that sits comfortably in the mid-range. It comes with all the accessories and bits that any hobbyist and DIY enthusiast would like. 

PROS

  • 1/64” to 1/8″ collets accommodate the tiniest and all common burrs and bits.
  • Keyless chuck makes it easy to change bits.
  • 1.3Amp delivers a decent amount of speed and torque.
  • 8,000 to 30,000rpm gives a good speed range for all purposes.
  • A wide variety of accessories is included.

CONS

  • Lifespan may not be as good as more expensive brands.
  • Accessories are of lower quality so heavy use might break them.

If you are looking for a cheap alternative to Dremel to get you started on your crafting journey, or just as a tool for random DIY and cleaning around the house, the Goxawee may be the best fit for you.

This rotary tool comes with a 140 pc accessory kit that includes a flex shaft, giving it a wide range of possible uses from engraving to grinding, cutting and polishing. As long as you go easy on the tool, it should last you a relatively long time.

6. The Cheapest Yet Usable Rotary Tool Kit – Wen 2305

WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft
  • Perfect for cutting, sanding, polishing, shaping, drilling, deburring, grinding and more
  • Variable speed goes anywhere from 8,000 to 30,000 RPM
  • Includes an 80-piece accessory set of bits, sanding discs, polishing pads, mandrels and more

OVERVIEW

If you just don’t want to spend that much money or maybe you are an absolute beginner and just want a kit to get you started, the Wen 2305 is ideal. At just over $20, it has all the accessories and attachments that you might want to get with a rotary tool.

PROS

  • Very cheap.
  • Comes with a lot of accessories.
  • Variable speed 8,000 – 30,000 is suitable for diverse applications.

CONS

  • Low-quality construction of the tool and accessories.
  • 1Amp motor is not very powerful.

Get the Wen if you don’t know what you are doing and want to learn on a piece that you are not going to regret breaking. It will serve you well for your first forays into DIY But don’t expect much out of it. You are getting what you are paying for.

7. Best Cordless Engraving Rotary Tool – KeShi Cordless Rotary Tool

KeShi Cordless Rotary Tool, Upgraded 3.7V Li-ion...
  • [3 Powerful Speed Settings + Great Ventilation ]: 3 powerful speed selections with scattered vent holes. 5000 rpm all the way up to 15000 rpm speed that makes your artwork DIY creation a quite easy...
  • [Recessed Power Button Design]: With the groove power button design, you no longer have to worry about the rotary tool being stopped due to accidental touch on the switch, all the engraving/polishing...
  • [42 Premium Swap-able Heads]: Comes with 42 attachments and accessories in total that makes it a great deal, while shifting from one bit to another is so easy. Collets x 3(1/16",3/32",1/8"), Mandrel x...

OVERVIEW

This is a cheaply priced little rotary tool that can be the best option for many hobbyists and even some professionals out there. This piece is perfectly priced and specced for being your go-to engraver. It is small, USB-powered, slim, and lightweight. If you want a pen-like grip for projects that require fine detailing work but not much power, this $20 rotary tool is ideal.

PROS

  • Cheap and affordable.
  • Comes with a small collection of tips and bits.
  • USB powered, so you can recharge on the go.
  • Slim and light, ideal for fine details and light materials.
  • 5,000 – 15,000 RPM gives enough variability for most tasks.

CONS

  • Not meant for any kind of heavy work.
  • 2-hour charge gives 90 minutes of runtime.
  • Speed range may be limiting for certain materials.

If you just want to etch and engrave on various materials like wood, plastic, metal and glass, this tool will serve you well. You can even do cleaning, polishing and sanding with it. Just don’t expect to cut or grind anything. Best part is that it is super portable while being very affordable. Hello Kitty nail engraving anyone?

8. Best Hobbyist Rotary Tool – Teccpo 1.8 Amp Rotary Tool

TECCPO Rotary Tool Kit 1.8 amp, 10000-40000RPM, 6...
  • [ 200W/1.8AMP POWERFUL MOTOR ] - The powerful 200W/1.8Amp motor increases the efficiency of the TECCPO Rotary Tool by 30% compared to conventional Rotary Tools. It allows you to finish the job...
  • [ 6 ROTATION WITH ADJUSTABLE SPEED ] - Multi-use rotary tool with 6-speed mode, With 5+ MAX mode, the rotation speed is 40,000rpm max. You can freely adjust the rotation speed of 10,000rpm to...
  • [ COMPACT DESIGN + KEYLESS CHUCK ] - Flexible shaft for easier use in tight spaces. Extendable practical rotary clamp holder. Protective cover helps avoid debris and sparks during cutting, grinding,...

OVERVIEW

It’s a 1.8 amp tool with all the bells and whistles you would want from a rotary tool, priced extremely well. With just a little extra money, those who are thinking of getting the Goxawee but want more power could get the Teccpo instead. The higher power also means a greater risk of injury, so this tool is not recommended for those who have no experience with power tools. So this is for the serious hobbyist with some experience under the belt.

PROS

  • 1.8 amp delivers substantial torque and speed.
  • Variable speed tops at 40,000 rpm which is faster than most brands.
  • 200 piece accessory kit.
  • Keyless universal chuck always makes me happy.
  • Comes with a table clamped hanger for use with the flex shaft.

CONS

  • The accessories and attachments are low quality
  • Not very ergonomic for closed gripped use
  • Cannot go lower than 10,000rpm, making it unsuitable for some delicate operations

Teccpo checks most of the usability boxes when it comes to hobbyist rotary tools, with just a few drawbacks as mentioned above. At this price point though, you can’t wish for a better deal. They have a great range of rotary tools and compete directly with Dremel. Support seems to be good and users love their products.

How to buy the best rotary tool

Having trouble in choosing the best rotary tool for your needs? Here’s a quick guide to sail you through.

Corded vs Cordless

If you are working in an environment where you are moving around a lot with your tools, such as a garage or around the house, cordless is the way to go. If your work is more on the bench or in a fixed place, corded is the better option.

What you sacrifice in mobility, you gain in constant and more power. One word of caution – cordless tools are meant for short bursts of work under moderate pressure. Overloading a battery-powered device can cause much more damage than a directly powered one.

Amperage

More amps translate to more torque (the force of turning). So if you are looking to do some heavy work like cutting hardened steel, more amps are a good idea. But if you are looking for delicate, precision work, then lower amps mean less noise, lighter weight and fewer chances of drifting and slipping.

RPM Range

RPM range is something to consider if you are working with various materials and taking them from start to finish. You will need higher RPM for cutting hard things like metal and moderate to lower RPM for polishing, buffing etc. Most hobbyists and professional craftspeople would benefit from a wide RPM range.

Accessories

Even though you have a lot of options for accessories, there’s only Dremel for high-quality ones. There are also a few special brands like Kutzall who make specialised rotary burrs and attachments. These are often as expensive as the tool itself and sometimes even more. Most users get by with cheap kits for general purposes and buy the expensive bits when they need long lasting quality. This is where the money actually goes in this trade.

Attachments

With the right attachments you can use your rotary tool to sharpen your axe, trim your toenails, take off rust, do milling and routing and much more. So getting a kit that has good attachments might be useful for you.

Cheaper kits will have cheap attachments but are good for learning and rough use. Just remember – your partner may not appreciate your offer to give them and the dog a pedicure. But you could make up for it by polishing the silverware like a pro.

Ergonomics

If you are into carving or engraving or similar things that have long hours on a regular basis, ergonomics are a concern. For this, you might want to get a flex shaft – a long flexible attachment that gives you a lightweight, pencil-like tip to work with. Otherwise, if you need more power, you will need to look at tools that have good grips. Dremel has this down pat but there are other options that also work well.

Safety

Eye and ear protection are a must when cutting, grinding and generally working at high speeds. And in certain cases, masks are also necessary. There’s a difference between fiberboard dust and fresh mountain air. You most definitely don’t want lungfuls of the former.

The Best Rotary Tool for the Money

The Dremel 4300 is the clear winner overall because it expertly balances all the aspects. The versatility, reliability and longevity of the tool are probably only outweighed by its relatively hefty price tag. As an investment in your hobby or your career, it is absolutely worth it. They make some of the best accessories and attachments in the market and have inspired a whole line of “inspired by Dremel” tools. Imitation has always been the best compliment you see.

The ergonomics on the Dremel along with high power motors are the main advantage. As I have often found out during my own sessions of carving moderately sized logs, a flex shaft reduces the power delivered to the tip, will heat up and wear out quickly. Working in a tight space while requiring full power, using the tool directly in a pen grip is the best way to go.

Dremels are also time tested. Many happy users have been using their pieces for decades. So when you divide that cost into the amount you pay per year of use, Dremels are actually some of the cheapest tools out there.

So there you have it, the world of rotary tools demystified. Did I help you make up your mind about which one to buy? Do you already own one of these tools? Tell me in a comment below.

Check out the video below if you want to do a deep dive into the evolution of the Dremel line and take a look at some industrial alternatives meant for heavy duty usage.

About the author

Shailpik Biswas

Shailpik Biswas

I have been into woodworking and wood carving since around mid-2017. Creating new art pieces and functional projects for use around the house gives me immense pleasure. Wood carving is my go-to way to escape the hectic pace of everyday life.

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