A Dremel is useful for so many different things.
Rotary tools, also known as a Dremel by many, are one of the best multi-use tools and should be in every toolbox. With so many accessories and different attachments, a rotary tool can help you with DIY tasks at home or make jobs easier at work.
Most people have a drill, maybe an impact wrench, and several other tools and screwdrivers, but if you don’t have a Dremel tool, you’re missing out. Why? Because this one power tool can cut, drill, sand, grind, write on wood and other materials, groom your pet’s nails, and more.
With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about a rotary tool, how it’s different from an oscillating tool, and why you’ll want one.
What is a Rotary Tool?
So, how does a rotary tool or Dremel work? These versatile little handheld power tools have a fast-spinning motor that rotates a spindle tip. That tip can accept a wide range of different bits, wheels, and other attachments to complete all sorts of tasks. You can add a drill bit, a wire wheel, cutting wheel discs, sanding tips, or even a little cutting circular blade.
Thanks to a high RPM, a rotary tool can spin incredibly fast and complete all sorts of jobs you’d otherwise need a big heavy-duty power tool for. Then, most offer adjustable speeds for improved performance or precision. The most common brand is Dremel, but they’re not the only ones making this helpful gadget.
Rotary Tool vs. Oscillating Tool
The oscillating multi-tool is often considered one of the most versatile tools you can own, and sometimes people confuse it with a rotary tool. However, I have more scenarios where a Dremel comes in handy, and I don’t have an oscillating tool, at least not yet.
There are a few things to remember when considering which one to buy. For one, an oscillating tool doesn’t spin the tip or bit. Instead, it oscillates back and forth rapidly, so fast that it’s more of a vibration than anything. Most oscillating tools move upwards of 20,000 times per minute, side-to-side, and are highly effective. The different blades and sanding attachments work great on an oscillating tool due to the increased speeds and “vibration” it creates.
Without getting too technical regarding use cases, differences, or preferences, remember that a rotary tool spins while an oscillating tool doesn’t. An oscillating tool is great for bigger jobs, but you’ll want a rotary tool for smaller tasks or where you need more accuracy. Or, depending on the attachments needed for the job.
When to Use a Rotary Dremel Tool
If you frequently work with wood, metal, plastic, stone, tile, leather, and other materials, you’ll want a rotary tool or Dremel. Many people assume they’re for woodworking and great for cutting and sanding wood, but you’ll find several other jobs where one would come in handy.
As shown in the image above, rotary tools accept countless different attachments. You can even get bits that cut glass, and people all over Etsy sell etched glass art and home goods created using a Dremel.
A rotary tool will be perfect if you need to cut a small metal pipe, stone, or tile. Additionally, you can quickly smooth out rough edges on dozens of different materials or even polish stone to a beautiful shine with polishing cones.
I’ve used mine to cut copper pipe, PVC for lawncare, woodworking, trimming the plastic fenders on my off-road vehicle, smoothing out metal edges, drawing designs on Terra Cotta clay pots for plants, and yes, I also use my Dremel to sand my pet’s nails.
Hot tip: Use a rotary tool and a small grinding attachment to carve pumpkins. It’s fast, easy, and not nearly as messy as those other tools during Halloween.
Some models double as a router (not the internet kind), and with the proper attachment, you can easily use a rotary tool for small wood router jobs. You can even use a Dremel in place of a drill. However, it’ll only accept a few smaller drill bits, so you probably still want a full-size power drill.
What Rotary Tool to Buy?
In closing, I wanted to recommend a few excellent options for those looking to add a rotary to their toolbox. And again, while there are several different brands, Dremel is still one of the biggest. Plus, some rotary tools have different feature sets than a Dremel, but they’re readily available, work great, and are easy to recommend.
Before you choose the right tool, you’ll want to consider what types of projects you’ll be doing. Rotary tools come in varying speeds and sizes, and some may be fine with a low-power rotary, while others will want the highest RPM possible.
So, give these a try, whether it’s for a DIY project, arts and crafts, or part of your full-time job.
HARDELL Mini Cordless Rotary Tool
Those on a budget will love the HARDELL Mini cordless rotary. It has five different speeds, 50+ accessories, and is USB rechargeable.