My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.
Because I don’t have all my buildings at the farm wired for convenient plug-ins everywhere I want to use tools, battery power has become king. This cordless rotary tool, paired with the 32” Flex Shaft Attachment ($25) is pure awesome. It’s ideal for sanding and polishing, and is capable of cutting and grinding on a small scale with the right attachments. I keep it with my blacksmithing tools (currently located on the porch far away from any outlets) and it comes in really handy to polish my hammer heads and tools. It doesn’t offer the same power and versatility as my stationary rotary tool in the wood shop, but as something I can easily toss in a bag and use for all kinds of random stuff, it’s a good buy. The tool itself retails for $75, with the flex shaft for $25, you’re right at the $100 price point for a great little tool. So far, the battery has held up well, but I’m interested to see what it’s like in 6 months after regular use.
Home depot has several starter kits right around the $25 price point:
If you can be tethered, the Dremel 4300 Series Rotary Tool
… offers Dremel’s most powerful 1.8 Amp motor, giving more power for cutting, sanding, grinding, drilling and carving. Because I have a stationary rotary tool in my shop, this one hasn’t seen a ton of use, but I did use it to polish the damascus paring knife I forged (humble brag) and it made quick work of it. These rotary tools are great for cleaning rust off of stuff in tight spaces, cutting off rusted out screws, polishing trim and cutting plastic. And speaking of cutting plastic…
Let’s talk about the Dremel SawMax!
While I really love the concept of this tool, a handheld saw that cuts straight and can be safely used single-handedly, I couldn’t really justify purchasing one, even at it’s $110 price point because it’s corded and I simply don’t have enough jobs it’d be uniquely suited to anywhere I have easy electrical access. I have been doing a lot of re-plumbing around the farm the last few weeks and used it quite a bit for that, but I eventually tired of making trips back and forth to the shop for each cut and grabbed a battery operated tool. If you’ve got trepidation about using bigger saws, and want an affordable, ergonomic saw that provides a lot of safety and comfort in use, this is a great option. I’ve been told by several contractors that this is a fantastic saw for cutting grout, but since I’ve yet to convince Adam of No Trades to let me tackle the bathroom and kitchen remodels, the jury is still out on this one :)