Best Rotary Tool: 2020 Buyer’s Guide and Top Products

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The best rotary tool is versatile, powerful, and comes equipped with a fast-spinning motor tip that’s used to polish, hone, sand, and grind a variety of materials. With this type of tool, you can use attachments for different tasks. But finding a model that’s designed for heavy-duty use, one that’s reliable and can be used daily, is not always easy. There are several best-selling models to choose from, which can make it difficult to narrow down your choices, especially if you’re a beginner and you’re not sure what features to look for. That’s where I come in.

I’ve tried out many of the leading models, and I’ve managed to narrow it down to four that are tough enough to get the job done. I’ve also put together a buyer’s guide, which discusses all the must-have features to look for in your next model, how to choose a tool that’s designed for pros or beginners, and exactly what makes these tools so versatile.

Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of the four models that have made it onto my list, their best features, and how they rated.

Rotary Tool Comparison Chart

ProductCorded or CordlessAttachmentsDesigned forRating
GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit

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Corded140Hobbyists
Avid Power Cordless
Rotary Tool

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Cordless60Hobbyists
WEN 23190
Rotary Tool

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Corded190Pros
TACKLIFE Rotary
Tool Kit

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Corded150Beginners
and Pros

GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit


Our Rating: (5/5)

This model comes with a three jaw universal chuck, which offers improved stability, making changing out attachments fast and simple. This set includes 140 pieces of attachments and accessories. The shaft of the rotary is very flexible, so it’s perfect for projects that require fine details. The included drill locator is a big plus for precision woodworking projects. The diamond cutting wheel can be used for tile, ceramic, glass, and other types of tough materials. The variable speed settings will allow you to choose the perfect level of speed based on application. This set has everything the beginner needs to get started, including a huge selection of attachments and a tool that’s durable and powerful.

Pros

  • 140 piece set
  • Includes three jaw universal chuck
  • Flexible base
  • Low price

Cons

  • Not designed for pro use

Conclusion

This is a high-performance rotary tool that’s designed for hobbyists. This model isn’t designed for pro use, but for beginners and hobbyists, the size of the set makes it a steal for the price. This model is not only durable, it’s also very powerful, offering a variable speed adjustment range of 8000-30,000 RPMs, which is pretty impressive for a model that’s designed for beginners.

Avid Power Cordless Rotary Tool


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This model comes equipped with variable speed settings and a powerful motor, offering an eight-volt output. It runs on a lithium-ion battery that’s designed to generate steady, strong power. The variable speed settings range from 5000-25,000 RPMs, which is excellent for a cordless model. The ergonomic design will promote longer use. Despite being cordless, it’s surprisingly light and features a design that’s flexible and comfortable to hold for long periods of time. On the front of the tool you’ll find four LED lights that can light up your dark work space. The variable speed indicator and battery life lights will allow you to keep a close eye on the speed setting and how much runtime you have left.

Pros

  • Cordless
  • LED lights
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible

Cons

  • Limited runtime

Conclusion

Since this is a cordless model, while you aren’t limited in terms of where you can go and where this model can be used, due to it being battery-powered, you will be limited in terms of the runtime. The ergonomic design of the tool makes it more comfortable to hold and use, which is a big plus for all users. While it’s not quite a pro-quality model, it does have a lot to offer in terms of features and versatility.

WEN 23190 Steady-Grip Rotary Tool


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This model comes with a removable steady-grip handle that’s designed to maximize control during use. This set includes 190 pieces, so it’s a great choice for the beginner who’s just getting started or the professional in search of a model that’s both powerful and reliable. The variable speed motor has a range of 8,000-35,000 RPMs. Users can attach the included flexible shaft for certain jobs such as precision woodworking tasks. This model is very versatile and allows you to use bits that measure in at 1/32 of an inch up to 1/8 of an inch.

Pros

  • 190 pieces
  • Powerful motor
  • Steady grip handle
  • Low price

Cons

  • Not designed for pro use

Conclusion

This is one massive set, so it’s perfect for beginners and pros on a budget in need of a variety of attachments for a price that’s affordable. The durable motor combined with the ergonomic flex shaft will make this tool comfortable use for extended periods of time. This model is also covered by a one-year warranty, so you can be confident that you’re purchasing a high-quality tool that the manufacturer clearly stands behind.

TACKLIFE Rotary Tool Kit


Our Rating: (4/5)

This model by Tacklife comes with a keyless chuck for fast and easy attachment changes. It also includes 150 pieces of accessories and special attachments, making this package versatile and a great buy if you’re looking for a serious upgrade. The variable speed controls and 135-watt motor can handle a wide range of applications. There are a total of six speed levels to choose from at 10,000 RPMs to 35,000 RPMs, so it’s suitable for woodworking and DIY projects. While powerful, the big issue with this particular model is comfort. The tool is very wide, which can make it uncomfortable to hold for a long period of time. Additionally, the width can make this model a poor choice for people with smaller hands.

Pros

  • 150 pieces included
  • Six speeds to choose from
  • Perfect for beginners and pros
  • Keyless chuck

Cons

  • Wide design can make this model uncomfortable to use

Conclusion

The high-performance motor and the variety of attachments and accessories make this one of the best starter packages on the market, however, the width of the tool can make it difficult to grasp and control and can make it uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. It can also make this model a poor choice for people with smaller hands. The tool itself is very versatile, which will make projects around the home or in the workshop a breeze. Considering the versatility and type of power this model offers, it’s a good buy for beginners, hobbyists, DIYers, and the pros.

Rotary Tool Buyer’s Guide

tools on a chunk of wood

These tools are compatible with a variety of attachments that can handle a wide range of tasks around the workshop. This is just one of the reasons why these tools are considered a staple in every garage. With the right bit, the rotary can be a beginner friendly multipurpose tool that you’ll find yourself relying on time and time again.

There are many different types of these tools to choose from. Some are designed for pros and are used for metal cutting, electrical work, and cutting through drywall. Models designed for amateur or hobby use will be much lighter, smaller, and easier to handle.

What is a Rotary Tool?

They’re handheld power tools that you can use for:

  • Cleaning
  • Deburring
  • Grinding
  • Routing
  • Polishing
  • Sanding
  • Cutting
  • Etching
  • Engraving
  • Carving

These tools utilize a spinning motion, at high speeds and in a fixed position, to work through a variety of materials, such as:

  •       Drywall
  • Ceramic
  • Grout
  • Glass
  • Laminate
  • Paneling
  • Marble
  • Steel
  • Soft metals
  • Stone
  • Tile
  • Hardwood
  • Softwood

Hobbyists and professionals often use this tool because it provides a type of all in one solution and can easily replace a variety of hand tools. They’re often used for flooring, construction, woodworking, crafts, tile work, finish work, and remodeling projects.

These versatile power tools can be used for many different types of jobs around the home, in the workshop, and on the job. However, there are also a couple of different styles to choose from. The type you choose should be based on application and your skill level.

Benefits of Rotary Tools

Using one of these tools can make your life easier, whether you need one for work, your workshop at home, or a small DIY project. These tools offer a wide range of benefits, which I’ll go over below.

Pro-level engraving-If you enjoy engraving, then purchasing a rotary tool will be a good investment. With this tool, you can enjoy trying out all types of engraving on different materials including metal, PVC, plastic, and wood.

Cutting power-This tool is versatile and able to cut through all types of materials. Regardless of the type of material you want to slice through, a rotary tool can handle the job, as long as you use the right attachment.

Sanding-You can also use this tool to sand even the most delicate woodworking project. Since you’ll be getting a tool that comes with several different attachments, you can find one with a sanding ring, which will allow you to sand woodworking and DIY projects to remove rust, paint, metal, or smooth out a rough surface.

Polish- Polishing is another thing this tool excels at, with the right attachment. You can use a rotary to polish up metal instantly, for a beautiful finish.

There are many reasons to buy one of these tools for your next woodworking or DIY project. It’s considered one of the most versatile power tools around and most models are very beginner friendly. By adding one to your tool arsenal, you’ll be able to cut the time it would usually take you to handle several different tasks in half.

Types of Rotary Tools

The rotary is available in corded and cordless style options. Each type has its pros and cons, but regardless of the type you choose, you should select a model based on the power you need.

Corded

If you purchase a corded model, then runtime won’t be an issue, just as long as you have a power source that’s accessible. Electric models are able to take on bigger projects and often come with more powerful motors compared to their cordless counterparts. Electric rotary tools are also very lightweight, which can help to minimize user fatigue.

The biggest downside to choosing this type of tool is that you may be somewhat limited in terms of range of motion, while you work. You may also run into issues on the job site, if you don’t have access to an outlet, or you may have to rely on extension cords.

Cordless

This type of tool is simply more convenient to use. It can be used pretty much anywhere, just as long as the battery has been charged. Since it doesn’t run on electricity, it also means this type of tool is highly portable, which is perfect if you’re working at a rural work site, or you want to complete a task quickly. However, since it runs on a battery, this also means the runtime will be very limited. You’ll only be able to work for as long as the battery is charged. Should you forget to charge the battery, or you didn’t plug it in all the way, then you’ll be stuck with a tool that’s useless. Additionally, because of the battery pack, these tools tend to be heavier than the corded variety.

Application

carpenter working

Before your buy, there are many factors that you need to take into consideration. First off, consider the type of work you’ll be doing. If you’re a pro in need of a tool for daily use, then you probably need a model that’s packing more power compared to a tool designed for hobbyists. In this case, an electric model will be a good option, since they’re more powerful and you won’t have to worry about runtime. A portable model will be difficult to use due to the limited runtime. However, if you only need one for occasional projects around the home, then a moderately powered cordless model should be sufficient.

Ease of Use

Ease of use is also important. Some electric models will weigh significantly less than cordless ones, but because they have a cord it may limit where you’re able to work, since you’ll only be able to use the tool as far as the cord stretches, and you’ll always need to work with an outlet nearby. A cordless model may be easier to use simply because you won’t be bound by a cord. However, as I mentioned above, they can weigh significantly more than a corded model, which can quickly lead to user fatigue.

Attachment Options

Based on the type of applications you will use this tool for, you will also need to shop around for attachments. You can purchase a kit of attachments, or you can purchase a rotary that comes with some basic attachments included.

Attachment options include:

  • Grout removal instruments
  • Tile cutters
  • Saw attachments
  • Engraving equipment
  • Sanding pads
  • Cutting wheels

If you’re a beginner and on a tight budget, then look for a model that’s sold as a kit, one that comes with several types of attachments.

Below is a list of the most commonly used attachments, so be sure that the kit you purchase includes at least the basics:

Sanding Drum

This attachment is used for carving and sanding bevels. When using a sanding drum, the tool’s speed should be set to medium.

Buffer/Polisher

This attachment will add a nice shine to most types of metal surfaces. To use, you’ll want to first apply a small amount of polish or wax to the bit before you set the tool to a medium speed.

Carbide Bit

You’ll find a variety of bit sizes that are specifically used for carving or etching. This type of attachment can be used on a medium speed in order to help it smoothly cut through small pieces of metal. In order to reduce heat use cutting oil on the metal’s surface.

Wire Wheels

Wire wheels can be attached to one of these tools to remove rust buildup on metal. When you’re using this type of attachment, the tool should be placed on the highest setting.

Sharpening Wheel

A sharpening wheel can also be attached to this type of tool to sharpen shears, scissors, knives, and more. Place the tool on the highest speed when sharpening. Make sure you sharpen any tools away from yourself since sparks will begin to fly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between a Dremel and a Rotary Tool?

A Dremel tool is much faster than a rotary tool. Dremels are also much smaller and can spin significantly faster. However, they’re designed for high RPMs, with a speed starting from 5000 RPMs. This means that you will not be able to use them for projects that require a high torque and a low speed.

Can You Use a Drill as a Rotary Tool?

No. You can’t use rotary bits in a cordless drill and the standard drill’s hex shaft and driver bits will be too wide to fit into a rotary tool.

Can I Use a Rotary Tool to Cut Wood?

Dremels are a type of multipurpose tool that can be used to cut, sharpen, polish, and sand. It can be used to cut through a wide variety of materials including plastic, wood, drywall, and metal.

Can a Rotary Tool Cut Metal?

Yes. With the right type of attachment, you can use your rotary to easily cut through all types of metal. You’ll need to use a thin cutting disc that’s made out of a hard abrasive material. It can be used for cutting and slicing cleanly through hardened metal.

Final Thoughts

Many people are surprised to learn just how versatile these tools really are and how they can be used for jobs around the home, in the workshop, or at the job site. But as you can see, there are many important factors that you’ll need to consider before you hit that buy now button.

Choosing the best rotary tools should be based on your skill level, application, and your portability and power needs. This guide and the product’s I’ve included will help you find the perfect tool, one that can help to get the job done, a powerful model that can make your work much easier, and one that will offer the reliable performance all buyers are looking.