6 Best Rock Tumblers | December 2016

6 Best Rock Tumblers
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★★★
We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Whether you're a professional jewelry maker or just looking for a new hobby, these rock tumblers can polish up stones of every type for any application. We've included models ideal for hobbyists thorough to a couple that are sturdy enough to handle regular industrial use. Skip to the best rock tumbler on Amazon.
6
The Lorotone 33B features two three-pound hard rubber barrels and promises smooth, whisper-quiet operation. This workhorse of a tumbler is ideal for professional jewelers or for serious home hobbyists who don't mind spending a lot on a quality machine.
  • great for glass bead polishing
  • durable steel construction
  • no on-off switch
Brand Lortone
Model 1V_004-091
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
5
The Discover with Dr. Cool PRO is designed for teens who are ready to step up to a heavier-duty tumbler. It comes with 1 pound of tumbling stone, so they can get started right away. Kids looking to start a unique rock collection will certainly appreciate it.
  • multiple speed controls
  • auto-shutoff when finished
  • comes with four polishing grits
Brand Discover with Dr. Cool
Model PROTUMBLER
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
4
The Lorotone 3A offers reliable operation in its 3-pound barrel. It can handle hard to polish stones because of its dependable motor that allows one to run the unit nonstop for days on end. It is also UL approved for safety.
  • hard rubber barrel
  • excellent build quality
  • not suitable for large stones
Brand Lortone
Model 001-092
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
3
The Tru-square Metal A-R2 offers a six-pound capacity with its dual rubber barrels. Its fan-cooled motor is designed to help prevent any chance of overheating, so you can enjoy extended tumbling sessions without the worry of damaging the unit.
  • comes with a polisher's guide
  • ideal for single type stones
  • can tumble two batches at one time
Brand Tru-square Metal Produc
Model 115
Weight 7.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
2
The National Geographic Hobby Kit makes a good gift for teens and preteens who are showing an interest in geology. It comes with 9 types of rough gemstones that can be polished, which should hopefully increase their interest in rock tumbling.
  • 100 percent money-back guarantee
  • sealed barrel minimizes noise
  • includes an educational guide
Brand National Geographic
Model NGHOBBYTUMBLER
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
1
The Tru-square Metal THU140 is a high-end, professional-quality machine. It has a 15-pound capacity steel barrel with a rubber lining that can withstand regular heavy-duty use, which makes it ideal for jewelers, schools, and laboratories.
  • overload motor protection
  • removable liner for easy cleaning
  • works well for rifle casings
Brand Tru-square Metal Produc
Model THU140
Weight 15.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Tumbling is Inevitable

Make me a T-shirt that says, "Erosion Happens," and I'll buy it from you.

Truisms make good T-shirts, and few scientific phenomena are more consistent or on more ready display than erosion.

Erosion is more or less the gradual process by which wind, water, or fine particles can wear and shape what seem to be among the sturdier substances on the planet. It's also the main principal in rock tumbling.

Keep in mind that even the hardest stones are made up of moving parts, atoms traveling at such a rate of speed or in such specific formations that they appear as a solid mass to our senses. Have you ever tried to put your hand through a moving ceiling fan and had it painfully rejected by the fast moving blades? It's kind of like that.

In an interesting way, when you put small stones into a rock tumbler, along with water and grit, you're creating a closed environment in which a kind of concentrated erosion takes place, essentially altering the atomic state of the stones in question. Pretty cool, huh?

"His Eyes Were Bigger Than His Rock Tumbler"

Trust me: You do not need a rock tumbler of this magnitude. You are not engaged in mountain top removal, nor are you a raw earth industrialist. This is simply too much tumbler for any one person to handle.

The good news is that of all the tumblers we've gone over here one of them is sure to be just the right fit for your needs.

If you're engaged in this kind of research, the chances are that you're on your way to a more capable rock tumbler than the simpler plastic models with which most folks start out. They're all pretty much the same quality unit for pretty much the same price.

The tumblers you're interested in are probably at least one step up from these starter units.

The smaller capacity models might be a good place to start if your foray into professional tumbling is more curious. If you have a plan of action that includes the refinement and even the sale of your tumbled stones, especially if you're looking to make jewelry on a consistent basis, I'd recommend a dual barrel model.

These dual barrel units are good not only for doubling the capacity of their single barrel cousins, but they can also be cross purposed to work through batches of stones that are at different points in the process, meaning you can work your tumbler like a little assembly line. This ought to increase your overall productivity if productivity is a concern.

Manhattan For a Handful of Tumbled Rocks

There's a little bit of fun to be had connecting rock tumblers with the notion of American economics, but that fun is grounded in some pretty real history. Let's not forget that when European explorers first encountered American Indian tribes they traded many items, including beads, which are essentially weathered stones.

And that great city, Manahattan–the city that never sleeps, wherein if you can make it, you'll make it anywhere–was bought for a handful of these beads. Or so the story goes.

There's something uniquely American about the hobby itself, and even more so about the business of stone craft and jewelry making. Manifest Destiny took us farther and farther west, into lands with an ever increasing abundance of natural resources, new kinds of rock and stone among them. To connect with that source material is, in a way, to connect with the origins of today's America as we know it.

Which is to say nothing of the business angle. When a hobbyist rock tumbler sells his or her first piece, or fashions and sells that first necklace or pair of ear rings, that hobbyist is making the smooth transition into the very core of American values. Specifically, this is the idea that anyone with a modicum of skill or knowledge, however acquired, can turn that ability into a means by which their life can be supported or enhanced.



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Last updated on December 15, 2016 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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