In this guide we’ll take a look at the best rock tumblers.
We’ve compared performance, durability, noise level and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Are The Best Rock Tumblers for Beginners?
More Detailed Rock Tumbler Reviews
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National Geographic Rock Tumbler Kit Review
The National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit is a fantastic purchase and takes the number one spot for best rock tumbler, thanks to its ease of use and exceptional value for money.
If you are looking for the best rock tumbler that is affordable and easy to use (especially with kids) then this might just be the best rock tumbler for you.
As opposed to just a simple tumbler, the hobby rock tumbler kit includes everything you need to get started with rock tumbling – that’s right, everything.
That means there’s no need to shop around for different types of grit, or even find your own rocks!
This rock tumbler kit includes a rotary tumbler, four polishing grits, an entire learning guide plus nine types of real, rough gemstones.
It’s a total bargain and the best rock tumbler beginners or those who want an introduction to rock tumbling without the full commitment.
The learning guide is one of the best things about this kit. With information and facts about a range of semi-precious gems, you can get stuck into the nitty gritty of what you’re doing – great as an educational but extremely enjoyable Christmas or birthday present for kids.
The included jewellery fastenings allow you to you make beautifully personalised earrings and necklaces for your friends and family.
Finally, the barrel is designed to be noise reducing and leak-proof, while National Geographic also provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
If you’re looking for the best rock tumbler on the market – look no further than the National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit.
- Best rock tumbler for kids
- Easy to use
- Rubber barrel much quieter than plastic equivalents
- Good value for money
- Not as good at polishing as other tumblers
- Can only hold 1Ib of rocks
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Lortone 33B Rotary Rock Tumbler Review
The Lortone 33B Rotary rock tumbler is one of the best rock tumblers on the market.
The double barrel unit makes this an extremely practical rock tumbler as abrasives can be used in one barrel while polishing can be done in the other.
Two sets of rocks on the go at once means a much greater output than just one set, although this rock tumbler can also be used in single-barrel mode. So why do I love it? Well, it’s easy to use, at a great price and good quality.
The moulded-rubber barrels have a 3lb capacity each which, although not enormous, is more than enough for the beginner or someone who just wants to have a bit of fun – although if you are planning on tumbling rocks on a larger scale you might want to find something larger.
In terms of noise, rest assured that this is the best rock tumbler for quiet operation and it is unlikely to wake the neighbours.
The rubber barrels absorb most of the noise so it’s unlikely you will even hear it running unless you are in the same room – handy considering it’s likely to be running for a good few weeks!
Anything else you need to know? This rock tumbler polishes and smooths stones, jewels, sea glass and beads – perfect for individual and creative gifts for family members.
It’s rotary which means it takes slightly longer than vibratory tumblers to get the finished result – but it’s a lot cheaper and I think the process is all part of the fun!
This is the one of the best rock tumblers on the market right now and it has served me well!
- Dual-barrel run 2 sets of rocks at the same time
- Best rock tumbler that is also very quiet
- High-quality and durable
- Not for large scale tumbling
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Heavy Duty Rotary Tumbler Review
This heavy duty rotary tumbler by Tru-Square is one awesome piece of kit!
A rotary rock tumbler, this model has a 15lb capacity, making it ideal for tumbling rocks on a larger scale.
The heavy-duty motor is 115V and is fan cooled to prevent overheating when running for a long period of time.
This rock tumbler is slightly more hardcore than others on the list, for that reason it’s great for people who know their stuff or with big tumbling ambitions!
The motor is exceptionally quiet which is great if it’s running for a long period of time, and the product is easy to use.
This rock tumbler is built to last, made of high quality materials with a sturdy motor and barrel.
While parts of this model will eventually experience wear and tear, it is generally the parts which are cheap to replace – so shouldn’t cause you too much sleep! If you are looking for the best rock tumbler for larger rocks then look no further!
- Very quiet
- Great for tumbling on a large scale
- Good quality
- Fan cooled
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National Geographic Starter Rock Tumbler Kit Review
Next up, we’ve got the National Geographic Starter Rock Tumbler Kit which has all the features of the National Geographic Hobby Kit minus a select few, and costs a fair amount less.
Like the hobby kit, this starter kit is a great introduction to rock tumbling, providing everything you need to get cracking.
The kit includes a rock tumbler, four polishing grits, a sifter, jewellery fastenings, a full-colour 8-page learning guide and nine types of real, rough gemstones including Amethyst, Agate, Dalmatian Jasper, and Aventurine.
The kit is easy to use and perhaps slightly more geared towards beginners than the hobby kit, as it’s cheaper and lacks a couple of the more advanced features.
The included rock tumbler is leak-proof and the motor relatively powerful. While you tend to get what you pay for with these kits, I certainly found the tumbler to be of a good standard, polishing and smoothing all the included gemstones plus a few more.
The one thing this tumbler lacks however (and parents take note!) is a noise-reducing barrel. While the hobby kit includes a rubber barrel, the tumbler included in this starter kit is plastic. This means that when the motor is running, you really know about it!
For this reason, the starter kit is best purchased if you have a separate room for tumbling – ideally a sound-proof room! It also lacks the automatic shut off timer which other National Geographic tumblers have, but this is more of an added luxury, as opposed to a necessity!
Finally, this rock tumbler kit has a 100% satisfaction guarantee and many of National Geographic’s proceeds go towards exploration, conservation, research and education programs – so you’re doing your bit while you shop!
All in all, this is one of the best rock tumbler packages on the market that is perfect for beginners and offered at a fantastic price.
- The perfect beginner starter kit, no fuss, easy to use
- Great price for what is included
- A trustworthy, reliable and generally great quality brand
- Noisy! Plastic barrel
- Not very durable
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Hobby Rock Tumbler Review
Last but certainly not least, is the Hobby Rock Tumbler by Discover with Dr. Cool, another neat little kit which gets my vote as one of the best rock tumblers out there!
The rotary rubber barrel is high-quality and durable, seamlessly turning dull, ordinary rocks into sparkling gems with minimal noise and fuss.
The rock tumbler kit includes half a pound of semi-precious stones including quartz, tiger’s eye, jasper and agate – a great range if you or your family want to start learning about the different types of stones.
It also includes polishing grit, jewellery fastenings, an adventure guide, activity booklet with puzzles and games, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Phew.
Another one of the best rock tumblers for kids, this tumbler has a programmable timer meaning you can set it and it’ll turn off later on.
This makes it a great energy saver, something many people worry about when they first start rock tumbling.
Like the National Geographic kit, it holds 1lb of rocks making it great as an introduction to rock tumbling, but not suitable if you want to take it a little more seriously.
- Great for kids, bundles of information, puzzles and games
- Programmable timer to save energy
- A lot included for a good price
- Belt that spins the tumbler not particularly durable
If you are on the hunt for the best rock tumbler on the market, by now you have probably realized that it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Now that you have read the reviews for our top tumblers, take a look at this buying guide to make the process easier for you. So, let’s get started!
What to Look for When Buying a Rock Tumbler
Using rock tumblers to turn rough and jagged rocks into smooth and aesthetic stones will really make your project run smoother. Not all rock tumblers produce smooth and round stones which can be very frustrating, so hopefully the following information will guide you to the best rock tumbler for your needs.
The tumbling process is simple and shouldn’t take a long time with the right tool. The following three barrel features are the most important when it comes to rock tumblers, whether you are looking for a tumbler for yourself, or as a gift for a friend, getting a high-quality tumbler will put a smile on all of your faces.
A 3-pound barrel capacity is a great barrel size to go for if you are a beginner. Rocks between 0.25 inches and 1.25 inches are appropriate for rock tumblers with a 3-pound capacity. This should be appropriate for the majority of hobbyist jobs, and even for professionals.
There are two materials that are most commonly used for tumbler barrels and they are plastic and rubber. Rubber is most people’s number one choice of barrel material as they tend to last longer and make far less sound during the tumbling process than tumblers with a plastic barrel.
Typically, you will find two types of barrel configurations for you to choose from. Here is an explanation of the two:
A rotary barrel configuration uses water and abrasive grit to smooth out the stone by turning the barrel. This method works by causing the rocks to collide with one another as well as with the abrasive grit to smooth out the stones.
A vibratory barrel system shakes that are inside the barrel to smooth them off. The barrel does not turn, and because of this, the process may take a little longer.
Other Things to Think About
Rock tumblers are used when you want to make something creative and fun such as jewelry or display pieces, so there are some more important factors that you should consider before choosing your rock tumbler. If your rock tumbler ticks the following boxes, then your experience will stay fun and lighthearted and you will glide through it with little frustration.
- Ease of use
- Price point
- Frequency of use
- Who is using it (beginners, kids, professionals)
- Rock size compatibility