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
I’m a proud owner of the Lortone 33B Rotary rock tumbler so it makes sense that this would be first on the list.
The double barrel unit makes it extremely practical, 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 model 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 tumbler 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 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!
- Dual-barrel run 2 sets of rocks at the same time
- High-quality and durable
- Not for large scale tumbling
This heavy duty rotary tumbler by Tru-Square is one awesome piece of kit!
A rotary 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 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 model 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!
- Very quiet
- Great for tumbling on a large scale
- Good quality
- Fan cooled
The National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit is another fantastic purchase and one of my favourites on this list, thanks to its ease of use and exceptional value for money.
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 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 perfect for 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.
- Perfect 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
The Hobby Rock Tumbler by Discover with Dr. Cool is another neat little kit which gets my vote.
The rotary rubber barrel is high-quality and durable, seamlessly turning dull, ordinary rocks into a sparkling gems with minimal noise and fuss.
The 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 that’s ideal for the 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
Last but certainly not least, 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 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 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 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 a great kit, perfect for beginners and 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