The 9 Best Rock Tumblers

Updated June 03, 2018 by Sheila O'Neill

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We spent 40 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 help you polish up stones of every type for any application. Some can even work on other materials, like metal and sea glass. We've included models ideal for hobbyists through to a couple that are sturdy enough to handle regular industrial use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rock tumbler on Amazon.

9. National Geographic Starter Kit

If you've got a child who's looking to add a little shine to their rock collection, the National Geographic Starter Kit is worth considering. It includes not only the tumbler, but a sifter, nine types of gemstones, and a variety of jewelry settings.
  • simple easy-to-use design
  • very noisy when in use
  • no automatic shutoff timer
Brand National Geographic
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Discover with Dr. Cool Pro

The Discover with Dr. Cool Pro is designed for teens who are ready to step up to a heavier-duty unit. It comes with 1 pound of tumbling stones, so they can get started right away. Kids looking to curate a unique collection will certainly appreciate it.
  • multiple speed controls
  • auto-shutoff when finished
  • plastic base cracks easily
Brand Discover with Dr. Cool
Weight 6.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Tru-square Metal A-R2

The Tru-square Metal A-R2 offers a six-pound capacity between its two rubber barrels. Its fan-cooled motor is designed to help prevent any chance of overheating, so you can enjoy extended sessions without the worry of damaging the unit.
  • comes with a polisher's guide
  • can tumble two batches at one time
  • squeaks when in use
Brand Tru-square Metal Produc
Model 115
Weight 7.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. Chicago Electric Power Tools 3lb

The Chicago Electric Power Tools 3lb has a 120V motor that can run for multiple days in a row with no issues. It can be used to polish rocks, semi-precious stones, glass, and even metals, so you can use it for all kinds of projects.
  • high-quality seal
  • sturdy and durable
  • somewhat noisy operation
Brand Chicago Electric Power
Model 67631
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Thumler's Tumbler Polisher

The Thumler's Tumbler Polisher is a lightweight, yet sturdy, model with a simple design. Its 115V continuous-duty motor is durable and doesn't overheat, even when it's left running for a while. It comes with four different grit packs to help you get started.
  • made in the usa
  • relatively quiet operation
  • stones and jewelry settings included
Brand Thumler's Tumbler
Model 102
Weight 7.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Discover with Dr. Cool Hobby

The Discover with Dr. Cool Hobby comes with a half pound of gemstones, four grades of grit, and a helpful learning guide that's designed to hold a child's interest. It has a programmable shut-off timer, so you don't have to worry about leaving it on for too long.
  • comes with jewelry fastenings
  • activity booklet included
  • great choice for kids
Brand Discover with Dr. Cool
Weight 5.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Lorotone 3A

The Lorotone 3A offers a reliable operation in its 3-pound barrel. It can handle hard-to-polish stones because of its dependable motor that allows this unit to run nonstop for days on end. It is also UL-approved for safety.
  • hard rubber barrel
  • excellent build quality
  • can also be used for coins
Brand Lortone
Model 001-092
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. National Geographic Hobby Kit

The National Geographic Hobby Kit makes a good gift for teens and preteens who are showing an interest in geology. It comes with nine types of rough gemstones for immediate polishing, which should hopefully spur their interest.
  • 1 pound capacity
  • sealed barrel minimizes noise
  • includes an educational guide
Brand National Geographic
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Tru-square Metal THU140

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 15.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

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 June 03, 2018 by Sheila O'Neill

Sheila is a writer, cosplayer, and juggler who lives in Southern California. She loves sitting down with a hot cup of tea and coming up with new ideas. In her spare time, Sheila enjoys drawing, listening to podcasts, and describing herself in the third person.

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