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The modern rotary tool is one of the most versatile tools that a handy man or home owner can have in his tool box. They can be used for fine detail work cutting or sanding or to cut a hole in drywall or cut a piece of copper pipe. There are literally hundreds of attachments for rotary tools, from those as small as dental tools for engraving and shaping to larger blades and disks for sanding. They come in both corded and cordless models and from low torque light weight models for hobbyists to heavy duty rotary saws for professional use to everything in between.

Choosing the Right Rotary tool

Rotary tools can be broken down into a few general categories. First by usage: light weight hobbyist, light duty homeowner and heavy duty professional. Secondly by power source: battery, 110V AC, and pneumatic. These categories give an incredible wide range of choices that will allow you to find the perfect tool to meet your particular needs.

The interactive chart below will show the top rated rotary tools in the various categories. This along with the analysis below is designed to help you find the right tool for the job. Price shown ($) is approximate prices found on Amazon.com.  Prices change frequently but generally: $ = under $50, $$ = $40 to $100, $$$ = $100 to $200, $$$$ = $200+. The rating is the average user rating on Amazon.com.  This can be useful in determining if users are satisfied with their purchase.

Rotary Tool Top Picks

PictureMake and ModelPowerSpeedAccessoriesRating (5)
PictureMake and ModelPowerSpeedAccessoriesRating (5)
Dremel 200-1/15 120VAC / 1.15 Amp15,000 to 35,000 RPM, 2 speed1Tools, 7 Accessories$ / 4.1
Gyros 40-10470 PowerPro 120VAC / 1.2 Amp8,000 to 35,000 RPM Variable1Tools, 85 Accessories, 4 collets$ / 4.0
Dremel 3000-2/28 120VAC / 1.2 Amp5,000 - 30,000 RPM Variable2 Tools, 28 Accessories$$ / 4.5
Dremel 4000-6/50 120VAC / 1.6 Amp5,000 to 35,000 RPM Variable6 Tools, 50 Accessories$$ / 4.6
Dremel 8220-1/28 Cordless / 12Volt5,000 - 30,000 RPM Variable1 Tools, 28 Accessories$$ / 4.8
Milwaukee 2460-21 M12 Cordless / 12Volt5,000 - 32,000 RPM Variable20 Accessories$$ / 4.4

To see a full listing of all Rotary Tools click here.

When choosing a rotary tool you need to consider a few questions. Do you want corded or cordless model? Will you be using the tool at a work bench as a hobby tool or can you see the possibility of using it all around the house or even outside? Will you need the torque required for cutting metal? All must be weighed and balanced to make the best choice for your particular needs.

A power cord offers continuous and generally higher power. AC powered rotary tools range from 1 to 5.5 amps and can range in speeds from 5,000 to 30,000 RPM’s and some models offer multispeed selection. They come in light slim models that can be handled easily with one hand for the finest detail work of shaping, sanding and engraving to heavy duty models designed to cut through dry wall or masonry tiles all day long.

While on the other hand, cordless models range from 4.8 to 18 volts and speeds of 5,000 to 15,000 rpm’s. If you choose cordless how long will you be using the tool before you can recharge. In a cordless model the battery pack might be the heaviest part of the tool. If you are doing detail work you must consider how the battery will affect the balance of the rotary tool. For this kind of work the “feel” of the tool, how it sits in the hand, is very important, whereas for a homeowner or professional torque and battery longevity are more important.