What is the best Dremel tool (or other brand) out there to buy?

I've always wanted to purchase a dremel tool, But have heard mixed reviews about different models. So who else better to trust than other Instructable enthusiasts who use them for all their different needs. Obviously multiple use / attachments are a good thing.

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katala5 years ago
Dremel 100 with an external $10 Lutron Credenza light dimmer as speed controller. This is the lowest cost $36 Dremel rotary tool and is very much the Dremel 275 from over 20 years ago, its been proven reliable. The variable speed control 200, 300, are similar to the 285, 395 models but they all suffer the same design issue: premature switch failure if the units overheat and if dirt enters the switch; keep it clean and run it cool should avoid problems. But with the 100 set up I mention, it will run reliably since the controller is outside the unit. The now redesigned 3000 and 4000 are good too, and now several years old have proven reliability, but they have had their share of problems more than the 100 in the 5 years its been around.

The Foredom is a professional tool, made to run continuously from a bench, not very portable, and it is expensive. Its more reliable than Dremel and designed for use professionally, meaning everyday, hours every day. It will start at $300, sans accessories.

There is a Harbor Freight copy of the Foredom for $60. However, it has variable quality control both for when its still under warranty and later failures, there are reviews on the HF site.

The Proxxon offers more precision, but it costs 2x more than a similar Dremel, and it isn't more reliable despite its claims. It work best for precise drilling and milling since less vibration means reduced runout, until the worm gearing mechanism wears from use, a gearing mechanism not present in the Dremel design. The Dremel however, has runout due to any vibration that occurs. The worm gear however, is like a transmission, and will make the drive shaft heat up faster at high speeds or heavier loads.

The Black and Decker RTX is a good Dremel clone, its weakness is the lack of spare parts, so failure of the motor or brushes means you need a new tool. Its the equivalent of the 4000 and costs half as much. However, its made-in-China also means quality control varies, most work as designed, but a good number fail prematurely, with less responsive customer service.

Cheaper still than B&D is the Harbor Freight "chicago tools" models, same issue with quality control except some do not just break but some never reach the speed of a Dremel.

So in summary, if you use it primarily for bench work, Dremel 100. If its precise bench work, the Proxxon. If you'll expect about half time you'll use it for home build projects, or light industrial work, then Dremel 4000 or RTX. If you will use it daily, the Foredom. If you are short on money and are not afraid to use the Harbor Freight warranty, get the HF Foredom clone, and if portability is needed, the HF Dremel clone.

GPS Jones9 months ago

Hi Everyone. This is in response to katala and using a Dremel 100 with a Lutron Credenza light dimmer.

I purchased both a Dremel 100 and Lutron TT-300NLH-WH Credenza Lamp Dimmer, but having difficulty getting it to work. I plug the dremel into the dimmer, and the dimmer into an outlet. I then turn on the dremel, and move the dimmer switch up and down, expecting to control the RPMs. I see only slight movements, and not even full rotations.

I tested the dimmer switch on a desk lamp and see that it works (lamp goes from barely any light to full light).

If anyone has suggestions or could help me out that would be very appreciated. I am trying to get variable speed on a Dremel 100.

Thank you!

cbryan6162 years ago

do you happen to know the name of the Harbor Freight name of the Foredom? Can't seem to find in on their site.

As some of the guys before me were saying, I would also look for a Foredom.

The one I own is the Foredom K.2272.

More details: http://best-gear.org/foredom-k-2272-all-new-sr-motor-general-applications-kit/

If you really want to go for a Dremel then I would recommend the Dremel 4000-6/50

gmxx8 years ago
whatever... i know my craftsmen has served me well, if it is rebranded, so be it. I also know that my dremel branded one doesn't work.
gmxx8 years ago
if you say so. i don't have proof, and havent seen any. For what its worth, i just had a dremel brand dremel die on me. the wiring somewhere in it went bad. And before that, the speed dial didnt work properly, and for the longest time, you had to shake the dremel to get it to turn on.
jeff-o8 years ago
The Dremel I bought over 10 years ago is still going strong. Just the plain old corded model. I also have the drill press attachment for it, it's great for drilling PCBs.
jtobako8 years ago
Fordom flex shaft with foot pedal. Better control of speed, huge assortment of accessories, lasts for years (decades if maintained) in industrial use.
I wouldn't even put the Fordom in a class with the dremel. I'd put it in a class all to itself.
Foredoms are amazing. On one hand they cost 5-10x as much as a Dremel, but you'll easily get 5-10x the use out of one. It's something you'll use for 30 years or more. If you can find one used, jump on it.

Dremels are cheap toys in comparison. That said I've had a Dremel model 395 for a number of years and it's served me well. Durable, plenty of power.
(It was even the star of my recent Instructable)

Don't get a cordless or rechargeable anything. They don't have as much power and the battery always runs low before you're done.
gmxx8 years ago
i like craftsmen tools personally. they have a lifetime warranty, and ive never had one break. it will be slightly more expensive upfront, but you will be able to save money in the long run, because it will last a long time
Re-design8 years ago
I bought a cheaper knock off model and used a few times then bought a dremel and have used it alot. The other one did not have the power of the dremel, but that's not to say that there are none equal to the dremel. I just like mine.