Hobbies. We all have them. Whether it’s scouring the beach with a metal detector
scarves for every member in your family or rushing down a mountain on your cruiser
. You can’t deny hobbies are a wonderfully productive way to pass the time. Have you, however, ever thought about turning precious stones into lasting treasures? Below is a little bit of information about why rock tumbling could be your next, favorite hobby.
Rock tumblers are machines used to polish rocks, gems, stones, metals and glass. The use of these machines has become increasingly popular in recent years and is no longer just a profession but a hobby. Hobbyists often use rock tumblers to shape rocks for display or even for jewelry purposes with many kits these days including jewelry making tools as well. Since there is such a wide spectrum of people using these machines, the tumblers themselves are now available in a variety of styles. They can range from desktop models for amateurs to industrial models for use in large studios.
Many people tumble rocks and gems simply for display purposes but there are actually a whole host of things you can do with your tumbled goodies that you may have never even thought of. Tumbled gems are great for making jewelry whether you are a professional or simply trying your hand at something new. They can also be used for a whole host of decoration purposes such as mosaics, picture frames, ornaments, vase fillers and sooo much more!
When looking for the best rock tumbler for you there are a few things you may want to consider beforehand. Firstly, rock tumblers come in two different styles - rotary and vibratory. It’s important to figure out which style of tumbler you are after before making your purchase.
- Rotary rock tumblers- These are probably the most common type of tumbler for creating tumbled stones. Rotary tumblers often have barrels made from rubber to help them run quietly. We recommend purchasing this type if you are a beginner to the world of tumbling as they are easy to use and often come with instruction guides and accessories.
- Vibratory rock tumblers- These are a lot faster in comparison to rotary tumblers and are usually more economical to operate. Often, vibratory tumblers are more expensive and require a certain level of skill and practice to operate them successfully. We recommend purchasing a vibratory tumbler if you have been using tumblers for a while and are looking to improve your skills.
When it comes to the price of your new rock tumbler, this is going to come down to the type you choose (rotary of vibratory) and the features and accessories you want included. As discussed earlier, vibratory machines are often more expensive due to their professional style. You can expect to pay between $100 and $200 on these types of machine. A rotary machine, however, is slightly less expensive due to the fact it’s for beginners. You can expect to pay anywhere from $60-$100 for these types of products.
If you are after a cheaper rock tumbler, we recommend buying a product that doesn’t include accessories such as stones, jewelry making kits and grit. Although these features are great and make your hobby easier to start, they do add cost to the machines. If you look around online you may be able to buy these accessories separately for less. However, buying machines that have these items included makes the whole process that little bit easier and also helps you to understand how to make jewelry products too. If you are a beginner to rock tumbling or buying a machine as a gif then we recommend choosing a product with accessories included.
When trying to find the best rock tumbler for you there are a few things we recommend looking out for to ensure you choose the perfect product to get you started.
Here are some key features to look out for…
- A rubber lined barrel
- Tumblers that can polish a variety of materials
- Noise reducing barrel
- Leak proof motor
- Kits that include stones and accessories
- Shut-off timer
Construction and Design
When choosing the best rock tumbler, we recommend buying a product with a rubber lined barrel as this means the construction is durable and well built. It’s also a great idea to choose a tumbler that can polish a variety of materials as you will have more variety in the products you can create. Plus, it’s more fun too!
Noise reducing barrels are a wise choice in our opinion as all those rocks and stones rolling around can create quite a racket! This way you won’t annoy your neighbors, parents or yourself! Leak proof motors are also a great feature to look out for as rocks can create quite a lot of dust when tumbled. A leak proof motor will prevent any nasty spillages meaning you can spend more time tumbling and less time cleaning!
Finally, we suggest looking out for a product that’s made of a sturdy material such as steel. This will mean your chosen product is built to last and can be enjoyed for years to come rather than falling apart after the first few uses.
Performance and Ease of Use
When it comes to caring for your rock tumbler it’s important to keep the barrel clean to ensure you produce the best stones and rocks possible. A clean barrel also stops the product from leaking. Now, don’t worry - rock tumblers don’t actually require much effort when keeping them clean. Simply use an old toothbrush to wipe down the rim and sides of the barrel to ensure any excess grit has been removed. Easy!
If you have purchased a rock tumbler with a rubber barrel and quality material then you won’t have to worry about the maintenance of your product. These types of machines are designed to take a bit of a battering so they are purposefully made with durable materials. Many tumblers these days also come with 1-5 years’ warranty too, so keep a look out for for that.
Rock tumblers also don’t require any installation. What a relief, eh? Most machines come ready and raring to go so you don’t have to worry about spending hours piecing your product together. If you are after a particularly high quality machine then we recommend purchasing a vibratory rock tumbler. Although they are trickier to use, they create finer quality products that will look stunning in jewelry or as part of a mosaic.
When it comes to choosing the best rock tumbler for you this is going to totally depend on your skill levels in the area already. If you’re new to the hobby, you’ll want to go with a product specifically designed for this. If, however, you’ve been using rock tumblers for a while or use them in your profession then a higher-end product is what you will be going for. To help you make the right selection, we’ve picked a wide range of rock tumbler products covering all skill sets to help you choose your ideal product.
National Geographic is a society that’s been up and running for over 126 years! Its aim as a brand is to inspire people to care about the planet they live on, with all the proceeds supporting exploration, research, conservation and education too. National Geographic is one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational and scientific organizations.
We wanted to feature National Geographic’s Rock Tumbler Kit due to the good name of the brand, the fact it’s perfect for beginners and its amazing reviews online. This kit includes everything you will need to get started such as the machine itself, 9 types of rough gemstones, four polishing grits, jewelry fastenings, educational guide and instructions. The tumbler itself is made from high-quality metal with a leak-proof, noise-reducing barrel and powerful motor. The machine is also incredibly easy to operate with an automatic shutoff timer that saves energy and creates great results.
Tru-Square Metal Products creates professional style tools such as rock polishers, tumblers, case polishers and vibratory tumblers. Its products can be used for a variety of operations including laboratories, industry and schools. As well as this, Tru-Square stocks a whole range of polishing accessories such as brass cleaner, rock polishing supplies, manuals and kits. This is a brand with everything you need to start a new hobby today!
Tru-Square’s Rotary Tumbler is ideal for professionals looking for a high-grade product by a well-known and trusted brand. The tumbler itself features a whopping 15lb. capacity and includes a steel hexagon barrel with a removable rubber liner. This product can be used for a variety of mixing and tumbling uses such as polishing rocks, brass and many other metals too. The 115V heavy duty motor of this product is also fan cooled to prevent overheating and issues with overloading. This machine is used by hobbyists, laborites and schools across the world and offers an impressive 5 year guarantee.
Fingers crossed, by now, you should have a better idea about what you are after in your new rock tumbler. If you aren’t particularly fond of the selected products we have featured, then all is not lost! The brands we chose are renowned for their wide variety of products. All you have to do is simply browse through their collections to find something that rocks your world … sorry, we had to!