The Best Rock Tumblers
Why Rock Tumblers?
When I was growing up, my Grandpa lived on a river. He would take me to the river bank and we would explore for the “shiniest” rocks that we could find. I would look for ‘agates’ by holding the rock up to the sun to determine if the sunlight went through the rock. We found all kinds of rocks, including agates, arrowheads, shiny river rocks and even a ruby. Once we compiled the best 10 or so rocks, we would take them upstairs to the rock tumbler and really make them shine. The time I spent with Grandpa looking for rocks was great. I anticipated my return to Grandpa’s so we could open the rock tumbler and see the progress of changing the Rough Stone to the Beautiful Rock.
TOP 5 Reviewed Rock Tumblers
Creating Memories and Building Relationships with Rock Tumblers
You wouldn’t think that something as simple as a rock tumbler could change relationships and create memories? Rock Tumblers are not a forgotten pastime. I would say that the process of gathering rocks and shining them up is a hobby that will bring Fathers/sons, Grandfathers/Grandsons close together. It is an easy, relatively inexpensive hobby that can really create good memories. The process of finding neat rocks and changing them into even neater rocks is something that you can enjoy together.
Making money with Rock Tumblers
Rock collecting and shining can be profitable. Many people sell shined, tumbled and polished rocks online and in specialty stores.
Rock Tumbling – A Perfect Inexpensive Family Recreational Activity
Before I was married and had kids I had hobbies. Most of those hobbies required time away from home. As my children grew older it became increasingly difficult to be away from home. My children wanted me home and I wanted to be at home. The problem was finding something fun and constructive to do while I was at home with my kids. Kids get restless when I would open the computer, look on my Iphone or even turn on the TV. I started looking for hobbies that I could enjoy with my children. Rock Tumbling was it. It has been a perfect past time that will build memories and create opportunities to be together. Finding the rocks takes time, patience and is fun. Watching the rocks shape and shine gives satisfaction for a job well done. The bottom line is that Rock Tumbling with your children is Great!
Ultimate Rock Tumbling Guide and Review
Included in the Internet’s Best Guide of Rock Tumblers available on Amazon is as follows:
1). Photos of the Rock Tumbler;
2). Tumbling Photo;
3). Dimensions and Weight;
4). Materials Needed and Included with the Rock Tumbler;
5). Price: Meaning the general range of the rock tumbler cost on Amazon. These prices are subject to change and do change often (make sure you check back); PRICE NOTE: ”Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on bestrocktumbler.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.”
6). Rating: Which includes a mixture of the average review of Rock Tumblers on Amazon with my take based on my experience.
|For an amateur Tumbler, The Model T is perfect. It comes with a 115 V Continuous Motor which is small compared to higher priced tumblers. The tumbler comes with a kit containing polishing rock, 4 Grades of Polishing abrasives and Jewelry Findings. It is enough for one tumbling. This is a great, quiet, effective tumbler.||$95.00 to $100.00||★★★★☆ Learn More|
|HEAVY DUTY and QUIET. Great Tumbler. I would say one of the best. Made of stainless steel, with a powerful motor for continuous tumbling and shortened polishing time. 15 Pounds of rock capacity. Comes with a 5 Year Guarantee.||$205.00 to $220.00||★★★★★ Learn More|
|ONE BARREL with 3lbs capacity. Not a Downgrade from the AR-2. THIS IS A GREAT Rock Tumbler and for the price it is a beautiful Value. GOOD Tight no Leak Barrel||$105.00 to $115.00||★★★★★ Learn More|
|Heavy Duty Two barrel tumbler. Comes with a heavier duty motor. Separate barrels for each polishing step. Makes sense for small hobby use.||$120.00 to $125.00||★★★★★ Learn More|
|COMMERCIAL ROCK TUMBLER. If you have a rock store and want to polish your own rocks. This is what you are looking for. You get 3 36-lb Capacity hoppers for heavy duty, quick cleaning. Built Tough.||$1,150.00 to $1250.00||★★★★★ Learn More|
|115 V Motor. This is the Rock Tumbler that we used. Good capacity, good shine, A good value for the price. I would not consider it the top choice, but some would.||$130.00 to $140.00||★★★★½ Learn More|
|Again, only a 115v Motor. Be careful of burnout. Probably one of Lortone's best valued models. Twin 3-lb barrels. Maybe a little overpriced for what you get.||$115.00 to $120.00||★★★½ Learn More|
|MARKETED AS A JEWELRY CLEANER! Reviewed as a jewelry cleaner and probably not a heavy duty rock cleaner. Quiet and cool jewelry cleaner for all of your wife's jewelry and for your belly ring. (just making sure you were still reading).||$115.00 to $120.00||★★★★★ (Jewelry) Learn More|
|'Not a Toy, but a Tool' Nothing but great things to say about this Tumbler. It has good capacity, decent motor strength and cleans and polishes well. It is a great alternative and a top 5 on our list.||$165.00 to $175.00||★★★★☆ Learn More|
|120 V Electric Motor with a 2 lbs Barrel. Good Tumbler for Small Stones and Small Children.||$75.00 to $85.00||★★★½ Learn More|
|This is the only rock tumbler that I would consider a Toy. It is made of plastic with Rubber Gaskets for the drive shaft that all wear out quickly. You can polish your stones for about a year and they will look about as good as a spit shine. Better to spend more money on a better Tumbler.||$44.00 to $50.00||★☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Learn More|
Accessories with Rock Tumblers
Some rock tumblers come with the accessories that you need to start grinding, polishing and cleaning your rocks, stones and jewelry. Some Don’t. Make sure you review them well before buying so that you get everything you need to start.
Along with the tumbler, rocks and patience, you will need some of the following:
Includes 1 lb Course grit, 1 lb Fine grit, 1/2 lb Pre Polish, 1/2 lb Polish
2 POUNDS OF A 12 Stone Mix from Madagascar
Includes: rough gemstones labradorite, rose quartz, septarian, green opal, desert jasper, apatite, amethyst, petrified wood, girasol opal, red jasper, yellow jasper & chrysocolla
How do Rock Tumblers Work?
My Grandpa used to explain it to me like this, rock tumblers are just a quick way of manipulating natural erosion. Over long periods of time (millions of years), river rocks move and bump against other rocks and abrasive surfaces, eroding, shaping and polishing them. In a rock tumbler, the rocks collide with each other and fall down the edges, causing friction and shaping the stones. Rock tumbling is generally a four step process:
1). Tumbling with Coarse Grit for shape;
2). Fine Grit to further break down imperfections;
How Long does a rock tumbler take?
Have you ever seen the commercial about ‘set it and forget it.’ That’s about what you will be doing with your rock tumbler. A tumbler generally takes between 3-8 weeks for the process to be complete. The fun thing is when you forget about it for a couple of weeks and than check the progress. Take photos and keep a scrapbook of before and after rocks.
A vibration tumbler only takes up to two weeks and some claim to work in hours, not days. (See discussion below for vibration tumblers)
Vibration Tumbler vs Rotary Tumblers
Most of the rock tumblers/polishers on the market are rotary tumblers. Rotary tumblers have a barrel that spins the rocks like a spinwheel. The rocks collide with each other and with the inputted grit to shape the rocks and than they are polished for a finish. Rotary tumblers are more popular because they create the circular shaped rocks.
Vibration Tumblers work by shaking the stones/jewelry, causing friction and removing imperfections. Because the stones do not move in a circular motion, the stones do not come out circular shaped but are rather jagged and have their original general shape. As vibration tumblers do not need the time it takes to shape a stone, it generally only takes a couple of weeks for vibration tumblers to complete their process. Some vibration tumblers even say that they can finish the job within hours.
Many serious rock people use a rotary tumbler first to shape the stone and than a vibration tumbler to finish the polish. For most amateur hobbyists, a rock tumbler is generally a better value and better result.
Here is an example of a Vibrating Rock Tumbler:
Frankford Arsenal Quick-n-Ez Case Tumbler
More fun Things to do with a Rock Tumbler
Maybe you have run out of rocks for your tumbler? Maybe you are bored of rocks and want to move onto crystals? On Amazon, you can buy a Crystal Mining Kit which comes with 8 crystals embedded in plaster that need to be excavated. It comes with a specially designed digging tool. Once the crystals are carved out, you are encouraged to put them into your rock tumbler for a shine. This comes highly reviewed with 5 stars on Amazon.
4M Crystal Mining Kit
Books and Resources
When you begin looking for rocks to tumble, it is nice to have a resource book to help you identify the rocks. I prefer the Smithsonian handbook below. The photographs of the rocks in this book are large, in HD and help you easily identify what you find. If you are giving a rock tumbler present to your son or daughter you will be amazed at how curious they will become with this book. The Smithsonian Handbook is the best rock tumbler beginner reference book that I know of.
Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & MineralsThe owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking GiftsForMormons.com to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com. “Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.” Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”