Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best rock tumbler 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated January 1, 2020
Best rock tumbler of 2018
I want to find something that’s designed well (both for aesthetic purposes and efficiency). The “Total” indicates the overall value of the product. Customers need to be careful on how they spend their money on these products. If you get well acquainted with these basics, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing a rock tumbler that suits your need.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this rock tumbler win the first place?
I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The material is stylish, but it smells for the first couple of days. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch!
Why did this rock tumbler come in second place?
Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.
Why did this rock tumbler take third place?
This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.
rock tumbler Buyer’s Guide
The Tumbler Ultra-Vibe 1Vibrating Rock Tumbler from Thumler has a 1.gallon (approximately 1lb.) capacity, measuring 11.5” across and 12.5” high. There is also a ball-bearing 115V, 1.amp motor that has thermal protection. This rock tumbler comes with a one-year warranty and there is also a removable heavy polyethylene bowl. The ball-bearing motor vibrates 3000VPM.
The Mini Sonic Tumbler
Those who are just starting out in the world of rock tumbling will find that a tumbler in this price range is most likely ideal. You might not get the same overall build quality as with more expensive tumblers, but there are a lot of them that can certainly get the job done just fine.
For those who like their whiskey on the chilled side, this rocks glass is the perfect option. Each set comes with a silicone mold that, when filled and frozen, forms a single solid ice ball that outlasts regular ice cubes. The glass itself also features a shape conducive for the ice ball, allowing the sipper to swirl with ease minus the worry of spillover.
Corkcicle Whiskey Wedge
The warm whiskey burn can end up deterring many from enjoying one of the world’s finest spirits. Here’s a fantastic solution to that obstacle. The Whiskey Wedge is an artful way to chill but not water down the dram, as the wedge is designed to melt at a much lower pace than floating ice cubes.
Orrefors ‘Intermezzo’ Old-Fashioned Glass
Truly one-of-a-kind, each Intermezzo glass features a drop of color in the stem that distinguishes the glass from anything else you’re ever encountered. It’s made from crystal, is dishwasher safe, and designed by Erika Lagerbielke; add a touch of modern to the bar.
Riedel VINUM Whiskey Glasses
World-famous glassmakers produce this fine whiskey vessel that’s made of 2percent lead crystal for enhanced clarity, a capacity of seven ounces, and features a short stem and elongated thistle-shaped body in order to enhance the characteristics of the whiskey for every drinker’s enjoyment.
Get your hands on this glass that was just given the green light for production after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s a transparent, double-walled sipping vessel formed from a specific glass-blowing technique. The Norlan weighs in at 12grams and features a faceted base to eliminate fingerprints on the bowl.
Dorset Double Old Fashioned Glasses
Looking a bit like a shot glass rather and your typical Old Fashioned, the wide mouth facilitates a fuller sip capacity without any drip and the whole piece is made from mouth-blown glass, designed by Goran Hongell. Its mid-century design is one of elegance and simplicity, marrying it well with any number of fine whiskeys.
Library Hand-Cut Double Old Fashioned Glass
Suited for a cool winter’s night next to a warm fireplace, the rough-hewn glass makes this vessel a fantastic addition to your wet bar. It’s crafted from molded blown soda glass, boasts a hand-cut design, and comes in a set of six that also includes a shot glass, highball, wine glass, flute, and martini glass as well.
Ox Horn Double Old Fashioned Whiskey Tumbler
If you’re not satisfied with drinking an after-hours pour out of glass then look to this Ox Horn built tumbler. Built from ethically-sourced horns, it hosts ounces of capacity, is polished to a bright finish, and handmade in England. Easily a more macho option for those whiskey drinkers out there.
Blade Runner Whiskey Glasses
If Harrison Ford drank whiskey, which we’re sure he does, he would certainly own a pair of these Blade Runner glasses. They feature a square design with diagonal cuts at the angles and were modeled after the exact same tumblers used by Deckard himself in the movie.
The Lowball Machined Whiskey Tumbler
As a hard working individual you appreciate the time and effort it takes to get something done correctly. The Lowball was conceived with this notion in mind and is crafted for that special moment when the day is done. The interior features CNC Lathe contours to create a perfect hourglass snifter profile and the tumbler boasts optimized geometry so it fits perfectly in your hand.
Thumler Rock Tumbler Ultra-Vibe 18V Big Unit
A lot of collectors choose to polish their petrified wood to give it a cleaner, smoother appearance. Not only does this make it look more attractive, but it generally makes it worth more money as well. Given the fact that polishing is an expensive and fairly easy process, it’s well worth the minimal investment in most circumstances. Whether you plan on selling your petrified wood or just keeping it, you should learn the proper steps to polishing it.
The main reason why you should polish your petrified wood is to make it cleaner and more vibrant. Depending on the type of rocks the wood is made of, petrified wood can feature a wide variety of vibrant colors. Unfortunately, however, the rough surface oftentimes masks the natural beauty and colors in petrified wood. Thankfully, polishing it can help reveal and intensify the colors found in petrified wood.
If your collection consists only of small petrified wood pieces, you should use a rock tumbler to clean and polish them. It’s cheap, easy and much easier than using some of the other cleaning processes. Just pick up a general rock tumbler, add in your petrified wood pieces with some grit, and let it run for 3-days. Once the tumbler is done running, take your petrified wood pieces out and run them underneath the water faucet for a minute to remove and grit or rock debris. Remember, though, running your petrified wood in a rock tumbler for too long can literally make it smaller, so keep your tumbling sessions to no longer than days.
Unfortunately, a lot of petrified wood pieces are too large to place in a small rock tumbler. If this is the case, you’ll have to use an alternative method to clean them, such as rotary polisher. These large handheld devices allow you to buff out any and all imperfections on your petrified wood, no matter how big it is. Another advantage to using a rotary polisher over rock tumbler is that it instantly polishes your petrified wood.
After you’ve picked up your rotary polisher, you’ll need to familiarize yourself on how to use it. Take a few minutes to read through the instruction manual and learn what all features it comes with. Once you’re ready to start polishing your petrified wood, take it and your rotary polisher to the garage or outdoor workshop where you aren’t going to mess up anything. Sit down on a stool or in a chair, turn your polisher on and start running it across the surface of the petrified wood. While it’s buffing the surface, keep it sprayed down with water to keep the grit pad working in optimal condition. Continue going back and forth over the surface until you’ve covered every square inch of the petrified wood.
Tips on Using a Rotary Polisher on Petrified Wood
One of the keys to successfully using a rotary polisher on petrified wood is start with a high-grit pad and slowly work your way down to finger grits. This is a rule that holds true in polishing nearly every surface or material, petrified wood included. The high-grit pad will allow you to quickly knock off stubborn rock pieces that otherwise wouldn’t come off. Switching to a fine-grit pad, however, gives it a cleaner polish that really brings out the best in the colors of your petrified wood.
These were some of the first efforts at “rock tumbling”. Unfortunately, all of these methods were very labor intensive, required months to complete and had a very limited output.
Shortly after Edward Swoboda’s success, Herb Walters was experimenting with rock tumbling and developed a process that could produce tumbled stones in large enough quantities to support a wholesale trade. This effort was very successful and his business, Craftstones, of Ramona, California, produced “baroque gemstones” that were used in a variety of jewelry and craft projects.
Paint Can Tumbler Barrels
Many of the small inexpensive rock tumblers of the 1950s and early 1960s used metal paint cans as barrels. They made an enormous amount of noise and didn’t last very long. The cans would wear out quickly. Also, any dent in the can became a point of attack of the grit and tumbling rocks in the barrel and quickly was worn into a hole. These problems with metal barrels inspired several manufacturers to produce rubber barrel-liners to reduce the noise.
One company offered a “tire tumbler” that used auto tires instead of a barrel. The tires ran on a pair of long shafts. Each tire was supposed to hold and process about six pounds of rock and provide “fast, quiet and continuous operation”.
Several companies offered plans that could be used to “build your own” rock tumbler that would run metal paint cans as barrels.
The First Rubber Tumbler Barrels
Running a paint can rock tumbler was noisy business and the smooth inside walls allowed the load of rocks to slide instead of tumble.
By 1970 several companies were producing much quieter rubber and plastic barrels, some with faceted interiors to facilitate a tumbling action.
Scott-Murray offered an “all rubber hexagonal barrel tumbler” that improved tumbling action over the paint can barrels.
At about the same time Lortone introduced a new ten-sided barrel that “gives almost twice the tumbling action of conventional six-sided barrels”. Thumler’s Tumblers introduced a fifteen-sided rubber barrel.
The multi-sided rubber tumbler barrel was a significant improvement over the paint can. The companies willing to invest in producing these superior tumbler barrels distinguished themselves in the market place. Noise and leaking barrels were the primary complaint of people who lived in a house with an operating rock tumbler.
Rubber tumbler barrels solved these problems – or at least reduced them significantly.
Lots of Small Manufacturers Disappear
In the late 1950s and early 1960’s every rockhound wanted a rock tumbler. That immediate demand from rockhounds across the United States supported a large number of rock tumbler manufacturers. However, by 1970 almost all of the long-time lapidary enthusiasts who wanted a rock tumbler had one running happily in their garage or basement. That caused a slowing of tumbler sales in the United States.
As the sales spike subsided there was not enough room in the market for dozens of tumbler manufacturers. Those who did not have a superior product received fewer orders and stopped manufacturing.
Three recessions in the 1970s and early 1980’s produced a difficult economic environment for both hobbyists and manufacturers.
They innovated to produce quiet rubber-barrel machines that worked well.
Also, their machines were not intimidating for the hobbyist who didn’t have a background in maintaining machinery.
Lortone and Thumler’s.
The hobbyist tumblers made by Lortone and Thumler’s in the 1980s had a metal base, quiet rubber barrels and durable construction that would stand up to years of continuous use.
The plastic tumblers were very noisy, tumbled less than one pound of rocks, leaked frequently, rarely produced an excellent polish and were typically broken or worn out by the time they tumbled two or three batches of rocks.
Smithsonian have placed their brand name on them. They are manufactured to target the novelty and Christmas gift market where a low-priced toy will produce volume sales.
The Future of Rock Tumbling
Rock tumbling and tumbled stones continue to attract many people. “Rockhounds” are the largest group of people who buy rock tumblers.
Even with competition from electronic devices and other modern hobbies, people still have a strong interest in tumbling rocks.
These are a few of the many tumbler manufacturers advertising in the Lapidary Journal during the 1960’s.
Industries, Ltd. This same model is also sold under the name “Smithsonian” rock tumbler, “SciEd” rock tumbler and the “Edu Science” rock tumbler. These toy tumblers had a limited life-span and tumbled a few ounces of rock.
In the late 1960s Lortone introduced a rubber rock tumbler barrel with a faceted interior. The rubber barrel produced much less noise than metal or plastic barrels. Thumler’s and Scott-Murray also developed innovative rubber barrels. This and other improvements distinguished these companies and helped them persist in the marketplace while other companies stopped producing rock tumblers.
Internet searches for “healing crystals”, “energy stones”, “chakra stones” and related topics return an enormous number of vendors selling tumbled stones and books about using stones for personal benefit.
Although none of these benefits have been scientifically proven, a very strong public interest in them continues in the United States. Tumbled stones fit nicely into this market because they allow a person to obtain specimens of historically popular gemstones such as agate, amethyst, bloodstone, carnelian, citrine, chrysoprase, jasper, lapis, and moonstone at a price that anyone can afford.
The Thumler’s A-Rrock tumbler of today looks almost exactly like the machines that were produced in the early 1960s. Replace the rubber barrels with metal quart-size paint cans and position the rollers a little differently and it would be hard to tell them apart! the Lortone “Gem Sparkle” tumbler of the 1960s. Just change the paint color and use a smooth plastic barrel and it would be hard to tell the difference between them.
Who this is for
You may ask, “why do I need a tumbler?” Well, what we’ve discovered in talking to our readers is that there is—apparently—infinite curiosity about what to carry a beverage in. Over the past year, we’ve offered guides to water bottles, hydration packs, wine glasses, coffee mugs, and more, and still, we get questions about things like tumblers (hence this guide) and growlers (a jug for beer; we’ve got a guide to them in progress). We don’t expect to go further down that soggy road into lesser-known vessels—no goatskin botas or maté gourds (we hope)—but the idea of owning multiple means of avoiding landfill-clogging disposable bottles and cups is one we like. We hope you do, too.
The cold test
We pulled our fast-to-heat-up-on-the-inside black sedan into the parking lot in front of the 7-Eleven in downtown Salt Lake City. The outside temperature gauge read 9°F—typical for the high desert of Utah mid-summer. With the closest watering hole slightly out of range for a quick dip, we opted for a tried-and-true American classic instead—the 7-Eleven Slurpee. Conveniently, we had 1insulated tumblers to fill.
Our control Slurpee in the standard 7-Eleven plastic cup lasted about an hour, while the insulated counterparts were continuing to hold form at approximately 50 percent the original density into hour three.
We filled them to the brim with 26.°F icy Slurpee and capped each with a lid and straw.
All 1sat in the front seat of a black car on the roof of a downtown parking garage, where the internal temperature topped out at 11°F. We checked the progress of melt every hour without opening the lid to verify there was still some bit of slush in the tumbler. If the Slurpee turned to pure liquid, its tumbler was out.
Our control Slurpee in the standard 7-Eleven plastic cup lasted about an hour, while the insulated counterparts were continuing to hold form at approximately 50 percent the original density into hour three. By hour four, the Corksicle was the first to have its contents fully liquified and the Coleman was on the verge. At hour five, the Reduce, Mizu, and EcoVessel contained liquid.
The Ecco Vessel 16-ounce tumbler is superb in all ways from insulative performance to hold ergonomics and lid sealing, however we felt it was just too small. They are coming out with a larger size in 2018, and we’ll test it then.
Pelican Travel Tumbler: A top performer in insulation, plus we really liked the splash guard on this lid. It’s just a very big vessel, too burly (like, way burlier than the Yeti) for most. If you’re a big person that likes big stuff (and Pelican even chatted with us about this), this is the tumbler for you.
Otterbox Elevation 20: Feels massive in-hand, and since stainless steel is the only option, it requires an extra rubber sleeve to hold comfortably or to avoid getting too hot in the sun.
Reduce Cold Vacuum Tumbler: The lid felt fussy, with multiple flips for the mouth piece and the straw hole.
Zoku 3-in-Tumbler: Our testers were really affected by the rounded—perhaps voluptuous?—shape of this tumbler. That may seem overly dramatic, but unlike other, straighter designs, our testers tended to set the Zoku aside.
Coleman Brew Insulated Steel Tumbler: We wanted to love this design, as it fit well in the hand and had a rare, no-skid bottom. But it did poorly in insulation tests.
Primus Tumbler: Set for release next spring, we set it aside early since it only comes in stainless steel, which can get uncomfortably hot to the touch.
Mizu Tumbler: Also only available in stainless or black, uncoated metal. Performed at the lower end of our insulation tests.
Corksicle: One of the only tumblers with a no-skid bottom, and in possession of some other good design elements as well, including a splash resistant lid, ergonomic grip, and approximately one billion colors to choose from. Performed on the lower end of the insulation tests.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your rock tumbler wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of rock tumbler
- №1 — NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Professional Rock Tumbler
- №2 — NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Starter Rock Tumbler Kit
- №3 — NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit