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Cordless vs Corded Dremel: Which is Best for You?

cordless-vs-corded-dremelDremels are incredibly useful and versatile tools. Small and compact, yet powerful, these little tools can be used for everything from engraving, polishing, and sanding, to carving, cutting, drilling holes, and more.

There are many different models of Dremel available, offering different levels of power, versatility, and usefulness. But when you’re picking a Dremel to add to your toolkit, the biggest decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a cordless or a corded Dremel.

Both of these devices perform the same basic functions. So, how do you know which one is going to be best for your needs? Don’t worry. We’ve removed the guesswork by compiling all the information you need to compare these two similar tools.

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Overview of Corded Dremel

What Exactly Does a Dremel Do?

Dremels find employment in a wide range of hobbies, professions, skills, and uses. They can work with a variety of materials including metal, glass, plastic, wood, and plenty more. They’re often used for crafts, art, electronics, and many others. They’re even used by nail salons! How many tools have that kind of versatility? Not many.

In order to be useful in such a wide variety of ways, Dremels must be functional and diverse. You can use them for grinding, sharpening, cleaning, routing, carving, engraving, polishing, drilling, and more. When it comes to precise work, the Dremel is practically a one-size-fits-all solution.

using Dremel 100-N:7 Single Speed Rotary Tool Kit with 7 Accessories

Plenty of Power

Corded Dremels will always need to be within reach of an electrical outlet since they must be plugged in to function. There are several advantages to this.

First, because the Dremel is plugged in, it won’t die. There are no batteries that will run out and no fuel to run dry. If it’s plugged in, you’ll have power. This means you can work for many hours straight without being forced to stop and take a break, greatly improving your overall productivity.

The other big advantage is that you have more power available to you. Some applications require more torque and stronger force, which you’ll get from a corded Dremel. They’re more powerful than cordless Dremels of similar quality.

Finally, that power comes with an added bonus — more speed. Corded Dremels tend to be able to spin at faster speeds. For instance, one top-of-the-line cordless Dremel tops out at 30,000 RPM, but equivalent corded Dremels are capable of 35,000 RPM.

Weight and Maneuverability

But there are also drawbacks to that power cord. For instance, it adds quite a bit of weight. If you’re looking for the most maneuverable option so you can do precise work, then the extra weight of that cord is going to be a burden. Likewise, it could potentially cause you to fatigue faster.

Also, think of how that cord affects your ability to move the Dremel properly. There’s always uneven weight pulling on the Dremel in one direction because of the cord, greatly reducing your overall maneuverability, and as a result, your precision.

Pros
  • Reaches higher RPM
  • No batteries to die
  • More power for heavier applications
  • Cheaper than similar cordless models
Cons
  • You’re tied to an outlet
  • Reduced maneuverability and precision
  • They’re heavier

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Overview of Cordless Dremel

Similar Form and Function

If you look at a cordless Dremel side by side with a corded model, you’d have a hard time picking out many discernible differences, apart from the obvious power cord. The same is true in terms of their functionality. Cordless Dremels are basically capable of everything that corded Dremels are capable of.

man using Dremel 8220-1:28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool

Cordless Freedom and Precision

As mentioned, the real difference here is the power cord and how that affects your use of the Dremel. The extra weight and reduced mobility caused by the power cord can make it harder to get absolute precision from a corded Dremel.

However, a cordless Dremel isn’t held back by these things. There’s no extra weight pulling on the back end and the overall weight is substantially lower as well. It’s easy to see how a lighter tool without the uneven weight distribution of a power cord could be used for more precise work.

Light – on Weight, Power, and Work Time

Lightness is a great advantage for the cordless Dremel, but it also comes back to bite it in another area — power. Cordless Dremels just don’t have the same power output as corded Dremels. They also don’t reach the same max speed. They’re still completely capable tools, but they can’t quite hit the same top-end statistics of power and speed that a corded Dremel can since it’s getting power from the electric grid.

But there’s another area where the cordless Dremel goes light as well — work time. Not that the battery life is poor. For the most part, Dremels have a pretty decent battery life. But you’ll still be limited to the life of that battery. Once it dies, your work is on hold until you get it fully charged again.

That said, there is less setup time with a cordless Dremel, though the difference is minimal. Still, if you’re only pulling the tool out for a minor repair, the ease and convenience of a cordless Dremel can’t be understated.

Pros
  • Less setup for small jobs
  • Cordless freedom
  • Weighs less
  • More maneuverability and precision
Cons
  • Dead batteries halt your work
  • Less power
  • Lower top speeds
  • Tend to cost more

It’s About Freedom and Power

While that might sound like a political statement from one candidate about another, in the case of cordless and corded Dremels, these are going to be the deciding factors. The number one thing to remember is that these are essentially the same tools. Truthfully, the only difference comes down to whether it’s powered by a battery that needs charging or it’s plugged into an electrical outlet.

Maneuverability and Precision

Because cordless Dremels are lighter and not held back by a cord, they tend to be more maneuverable, and thus, more precise. If you’re doing intricate work that requires absolute precision, we think you’d be better served by a cordless Dremel.

using Dremel 8220-1:28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool

Power, Speed, and Work Time

Dremels aren’t power drills; they’re not necessarily meant for heavy-duty work. Still, they’re pretty powerful tools that can serve as more precise stand-ins for drills, sanders, and more in many circumstances. If you need a Dremel with as much power as possible, you’ll want to go with a corded model.

Likewise, if you’re grinding, sanding, polishing, or any other activity that requires high speeds, a corded Dremel may be preferable since they can reach higher RPM.

And finally, if you’re working with a Dremel all day, you’ll probably want to go with a corded Dremel to prevent the need for constant battery charging.

When to Use a Cordless Dremel
  • When doing very precise work
  • When you need your Dremel as a mobile tool
  • If you work in short bursts
  • When you need the lightest tool possible
When to Use a Corded Dremel
  • When you need more power
  • If you tend to work in the same place
  • If you work for long periods
  • If power is more important than weight

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Quick Look: Our Top Choices

Image Product Details
Our Favorite Cordless Dremel Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit
  • Lightweight
  • 12V max system
  • Fast charging
  • Our Favorite Corded Dremel Dremel 100-N/7 Single Speed Rotary Tool Kit Dremel 100-N/7 Single Speed Rotary Tool Kit
  • 35,000 RPM
  • Inexpensive
  • Powerful
  • Our Favorite Cordless Dremel: Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit

    Dremel 8220-1:28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit

    This cordless Dremel comes with 28 high-quality accessories, including attachments for carving, engraving, cutting, grinding, sharpening, polishing, sanding, and lots more. Thanks to the hard case, you’ll be able to keep everything neat and organized.

    At just 22 ounces, this is a pretty light Dremel, considering its top-of-the-line functionality. It uses the 12V max system with a removable lithium-ion battery that charges in just an hour.


    Our Favorite Corded Dremel: Dremel 100-N/7 Single Speed Rotary Tool Kit

    Dremel 100-N:7 Single Speed Rotary Tool Kit with 7 Accessories

    This corded Dremel kit is perfect for someone just getting started working with Dremels. It’s affordably priced but still manages 35,000 RPM speeds. Equipped with replaceable motor brushes, you can easily repair this tool when it wears out, greatly extending its useful life.

    With 1.15 amps of power and 7 accessories, it’s not the most diverse or powerful Dremel, but it’s an incredible value that gives you everything you need to reliably get started working with Dremels.

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    Conclusion

    As you can see, these two tools are almost identical. The only real difference is that one has a long, heavy cord attached to the back while the other runs on battery.

    If you need ultimate precision and maneuverability, we recommend the lighter cordless Dremel that’s not tied to an electrical outlet.

    But if you need power and hours of working time, then you’d be better off with a corded Dremel.

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