Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Rotary Tool

Rotary tools are a terrific asset for any home DIY project.

Rotary tools are the Swiss Army knives of the power tool world. The compact tools can work with a range of materials, from the softest wood to the hardest stone. With the right bit, they can cut, carve, sand, polish, and engrave—even sharpen chainsaws and cut perfect circles. While you don’t need to be a pro to use a rotary tool, there are a few things you should consider when you’re shopping for one.

Some kits come will everything you need to cut or trim your way through your projects. Dremel

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Cordless tools don’t tether you to an outlet, making them much handier. If you plan on spending a lot of time working away from your home or shop, a battery-operated model makes sense. But battery life limits how long you can use the tool. If you’re going to need to work for extended periods, pick up a corded model. You’ll never worry about losing power before the job is done.

When it comes to rotary tools, faster doesn’t always mean better. Dremel

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If you plan on doing any freehand carving or engraving, pick up a model with a flexible shaft. This attachment gives you stylus-like control over whatever you’re carving or cutting, allowing you move smoothly across the work surface. It also cuts down on fatigue by getting the heavy body of the tool out of your hands. Whether or not the rotary tool you select features a flexible attachment, make sure the chuck allows for easy bit changes.

If you’re thinking about a cordless rotary tool, remember you will have some down time as your batteries recharge. Dewalt

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Rotary tools usually don’t produce a ton of power, but rather rely on the speed the bit or blade is spinning to make cuts. Some rotary tools achieve speeds of 30,000 rotations per minute or more, though faster isn’t always better. How quickly the bit should spin to make a clean cut or smooth groove depends on the material, so opt for a model that allows you to adjust rpms on the fly.