Best Cordless Rotary Tools of 2019 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

a cordless rotary tool

Cordless rotary tools are a handy device to have around the house, as they’re useful for all kinds of tasks. However, it’s not always easy to shop online for them.

While the promise of the internet is that we can get all the information we need at our fingertips, that doesn’t always mean buying tools is a straightforward process. Manufacturers aren’t shy about overselling their products, promising power and value that their tools don’t have. Even if you feel confident that you understand what a tool is capable of, you may not be getting the best price.

If you want to get a great deal on a cordless rotary tool and get one that works very well, too, be sure to check out these reviews. We’ve also created a buyer’s guide which should help those who have never used one of these tools before learn everything they need to know before they buy.

Our Top 5 Picks of 2019

ModelPriceWeightEditor Rating
Dremel 8220-1/28
Dremel 8220-1/28
(Top Pick)

Check Price
2 lbs4.9/5
Milwaukee 2460-20 M12
Milwaukee 2460-20 M12

Check Price
1 lb4.7/5
Dremel 7700-1/15
Dremel 7700-1/15
(Best for the Money)

Check Price
2 lbs4.6/5
Hitachi GP10DL
Hitachi GP10DL

Check Price
1 lb4.3/5
Genesis GLHT72-65
Genesis GLHT72-65

Check Price
2 lbs4.0/5

5 Best Cordless Rotary Tools – Reviews

1. Dremel 8220-1/28 Cordless Rotary Tool – Top Pick

Dremel 8220-1/28

The Dremel 8220-1/28 is the best choice on the market for someone who is looking for a cordless rotary tool. It’s one of the more compact models you’ll find, which is always a plus in a cordless tool. That means you’ll be able to reach more places than you would with a corded tool or a bulkier cordless model. This model also comes with a quick-change collet lock, which means it’s easy to switch out the bits for any of the about two dozen that come with this rotary tool. That’s a lot of bits for the price, and it means you’ll be able to do a lot of different projects without heading to the store to get more bits.

It comes with a one-hour charger, which limits your downtime and means you won’t have to wait on this tool for very long, even if you forgot to charge it overnight. However, this model ships with inconsistent batteries. Some last a long time, while others don’t hold a charge that well. You can always return a bad model, but you shouldn’t have to. Still, this is easily the best model on the market today and one you’ll enjoy using.

Pros
  • Compact
  • Quick collet lock
  • One-hour charger
  • Lots of included bits
Cons
  • Iffy battery

2. Milwaukee 2460-20 M12 Rotary-Tool – The Runner-Up

Milwaukee 2460-20 M12

If you don’t need a lot of accessories, the Milwaukee 2460-20 M12 should be a strong contender for you. It’s a very powerful model, providing up to 32,000 RPM, making it one of the fastest-rotating models on the market. It also uses Milwaukee’s 12V batteries, which means you may already own a tool with a compatible battery, or you could buy extra to raise your total work time. It has a standard 1/8-inch collet, which means you can use accessories from multiple brands that use that size and aren’t locked into buying Milwaukee attachments, which is something we appreciate from any manufacturer.

It’s also lightweight, weighing about 1.3 pounds, so light that you might forget that you’re holding it. The only downside to this model is that it doesn’t come with any accessories. That’s not a huge deal, but given that it costs more than our top model, and doesn’t include a battery or accessories, it doesn’t have enough value to take first place. However, it still works very well and should be a low-frustration device. It’s a great cordless rotary tool, especially if you’re looking to replace or upgrade one you already own and don’t need new bits.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Standard 1/8-inch collet
  • Uses Milwaukee 12V batteries
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • No accessories

3. Dremel 7700-1/15 MultiPro Cordless Rotary Tool – Best for the Money

Dremel 7700-1/15

Dremel used to be the king of cordless rotary tools, and while they aren’t as dominant as they used to be, the Dremel 7700-1/15 MultiPro provides the best value of any rotary tool on our list. It comes with two speeds, running at either 10,000 or 20,000 RPM, which should provide enough power for most kinds of tasks. It also comes with multiple accessories, so you’ll be able to perform all kinds of tasks right out of the box. Best overall is its price. It’s one of the cheapest models on our list and given its power and accessories it’s one of the best overall in terms of value.

It runs quietly relative to other models, which is something many people will appreciate. It also gets decent runtime out of its batteries which is a bit surprising. It uses nickel-cadmium batteries instead of newer lithium-ion batteries, which tend to hold more power and charge faster. While it does have a good runtime, it does take three hours to recharge, which is too long for a tool of this size. If you’re looking for a relatively cheap model that’s good value overall, then this model is a great choice for you.

Pros
  • Two speeds
  • Includes multiple bits
  • Decent runtime
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Substandard battery and charger

4. Hitachi GP10DL Lithium Ion Rotary-Tool

Hitachi GP10DL

The Hitachi GP10DL is a good investment for someone looking for a good “around the house” cordless rotary tool. It’s the lightest model on our list, weighing in at a few fractions of an ounce over one pound. While that may not sound significantly lighter than other models, it’s about 30 percent lighter than the next lightest model, which is a big deal. It also comes with a built-in LED which illuminates the area in which you’re working, which eliminates the need to use a flashlight. It also comes with a case and a ton of accessories, which makes it some of the best value on a per-dollar basis among cordless rotary tools, period.

However, this model has some problems. It’s not very strong. While it bills itself as capable of getting up 35,000 RPM, it struggles to reach that speed under load. It also has poor battery performance, leading to a lot of complaints about having to frequently recharge. Overall, that means it’s not going to be a great tool if you’re looking to do serious work. However, if you need a tool that you can use on light-duty tasks around the house, this is the one for you.

Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • Built-in LED
  • Includes case and accessories
Cons
  • Weak
  • Poor battery performance

5. Genesis GLHT72-65 Rotary Tool (cordless version)

Genesis GLHT72-65

The Genesis GLHT72-65 might catch your eye based on the price tag alone. It’s easily the cheapest model on this list, and the fact that it costs just a fraction of the next-cheapest model could be enough to win people over to its side. And, it may do the job for some people, but it has problems that will make it a frustrating buy for many. The first notable thing about this model is that it comes with dozens of accessories, far more than any other model on our list. It’s also compatible with standard accessories from many other brands as well, which means you can probably use ones you already own.

However, you might be wondering how it could be that you could get this cordless rotary tool so cheaply and get so many accessories. The answer is that the quality is very questionable. This model has poor battery performance, that only gets worse as the model ages, meaning you may only get a few minutes of use out of it at a time after a few months, which is its average lifespan. This will be the wrong model for most people since it doesn’t last long.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Tons of accessories
  • Accepts standard accessories
Cons
  • Poor battery performance
  • Doesn’t last

Buying Guide

Hopefully, our reviews have already helped you understand some of what separates the best cordless rotary tools on the market from those that you wouldn’t enjoy using. It’s possible that you already have a model which you want to buy in mind, but if that’s not the case you’ve come to the right place. This buyer’s guide is packed full of useful information about cordless rotary tools. If you’re looking to learn everything you need to know before you buy and think through all the different features that you can get, then be sure to check out this guide.

Battery

The best cordless tools on the market today use lithium-ion batteries. These batteries have many useful advantages over older battery types, including the fact that they’re lighter, store more energy in the same size, charge faster, and last longer. While they’re not universally better, as they do tend to run on the hot side, they are generally regarded as the best possible choice for a portable tool today.

So, when you’re shopping for a cordless rotary tool, it’s a good idea to invest in a model that comes with a lithium-ion battery. If you’re going to be a heavy user, you’re going to want a model that you can swap the battery on. That means you could buy multiple batteries, and just swap in a fresh one when the current one runs dry.

It’s also worth checking out lines that correspond with tools you already own. Many manufacturers today are creating portable tool lines that can all use the same type of battery, so there’s a chance that you already own a battery that could work with a cordless rotary tool, meaning you could just buy the bare tool and save some money.

Accessories

It’s easy to get blinded by the sheer number of accessories that come with some of these rotary tools. After all, it seems like a model that comes with 40 accessories is better value than one that only comes with ten. However, quality matters.

For instance, getting a case or a second battery would provide far more value than dozens of accessories, as it would give you the ability to take your cordless rotary tool on the road or use it for twice the amount of time without stopping to charge.

You also have to factor in the usefulness of the various bits included in the set. If you’re only going to use four or five bits total, then getting 40 isn’t going to add any value to your purchase and is instead going to take up space in your shop and collect dust. So, if you can figure out which bits you need, you can better select the set you need based on that factor alone. But, if you think you’re going to need a wide variety, it’s fine to buy a kit with many bits, as it will be more expensive to buy them separately after the fact.

Which cordless rotary tool is right for you?

If you caught any trends in our buyer’s guide, hopefully, you’ve realized that we want you to not only get a good cordless rotary tool but get a model that works well for you. That means the most important thing you can do is get a model that covers all of your possible needs. The best to figure out what those needs are is to evaluate both the projects that you know you need to do, but also those that you can see yourself doing in the future.

How much power will you need to get those jobs done? What kinds of bits?

Once you have answers to those questions, finding the right cordless rotary tool becomes a lot easier. The first step is to create a list of all requirements you have, and then match it to cordless rotary tools that meet all of those requirements.

Then, choose the cheapest model from that list. Because it costs the least and provides the same usefulness in terms of your needs, it provides the best value and is the best deal you can get.

Conclusion

The Dremel 8220-1/28 is our favorite cordless rotary tool. It comes with many included bits, a quick-change collet, and a one-hour charger, making it a low-frustration model. The Milwaukee 2460-20 M12 comes in second, with its excellent power and very light weight, those its lack of accessories means it can’t take first place. The Dremel 7700-1/15 MultiPro is the best for the money, due to its dual speeds, quiet running, and long runtime. The Hitachi GP10DL is the lightest model on our list and comes with a great built-in LED light, but it’s weak and has poor battery performance, which drops it to fourth place. The Genesis GLHT72-65 is cheap, comes with tons of accessories, and can accept many standard bits, but it has poor battery performance and often breaks down within a few months, dropping it to last place on our list.

If you’re looking to get a cordless rotary tool, we hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have brought you some clarity. You should be able to use what you learned to find the model that is right for you.