Rock Tumbler Guide – Best Rock Polishers in 2024

two rock polishers with polished rocks in the background with the title "the best rock tumblers"

Use this guide to find the right rock tumbler for you. Learn about all the different kits, sizes, and accessories.

Table of Contents

If you’re looking for a fun hobby that can also be used for unique gifts, a rock tumbler is a great idea. Rock tumbling is the easiest way to take rough, unpolished stones and turn them into beautiful, shiny gems. All you need is a rock tumbler kit and some patience (it can take weeks or months for the rocks to reach their final polish). 

Follow along as I guide you through the process of selecting the ideal rock tumbler to start with or upgrade your current setup. This comprehensive list, coupled with a straightforward buying guide, will ensure you’re well-equipped for success.

Dive into my expertly curated roundup of the top rock tumblers out there, perfect for beginners eager to learn or experts seeking to refine their craft. Check out these recommendations for the finest rock tumblers that your money can invest in!

Note: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn a commission.

What is a Rock Tumbler?

A rock tumbler (also known as a rock polisher) is a machine that polishes rocks, stones, and minerals, through an abrasive process. This process mimics naturally polished river stones. The rock tumbler slowly grinds down the stones, gradually removing imperfections and making them smooth and shiny. Rock tumbling usually takes anywhere from 3 weeks to several months to complete depending on the size of the rock and how much shaping needs to be done.

Rock tumbling machines are a great way to polish stones for jewelry or other crafts. They can also be a fun way to display your rocks if you collect them. In testing all of these rock tumblers I have officially become obsessed and have most definitely spent weekends searching for rocks to tumble and polish.

two rock polishers (tumble bee tb22 and komestone rock tumbler) with polished rocks

What Can You Make with a Rock Tumbler?

As it turns out, rock tumblers are not just for rock polishing – though that is certainly their primary purpose. Aside from polishing stones, gems, and minerals, you can actually use a rock polisher to make sea glass, which could be used in all kinds of creative projects.

They are also great for cleaning up antique jewelry or other items made from metal and stone. So thankfully rock tumblers aren’t actually a single-use item.

holding various stones after the first polishing step

How to Choose a Rock Tumbler

There are a few factors you need to consider when choosing a rock tumbler. Answering each of these questions will help you decide on the right one for you.

1. How many rocks will you need to polish at a time?

The size and capacity of the rock tumbler should be taken into account when purchasing one. Choose a rock tumbler that’s large enough for your needs, but not too large or you’ll need to purchase plenty of extra fillers (these are ceramic pieces that you add to the tumbler if there aren’t enough stones).

2. Who will be using the rock tumbler - children or adults?

There are a few rock tumblers that are specifically designed for children, using fun designs and colors. Therefore you want to ask yourself if kids will be the ones to use the rock polisher or is it for an adult? Typically the machines made for kids aren’t actually the best at polishing and aren’t the most durable – but they’re easy to use and visually appealing to kids.

3. Do you need a full rock tumbler kit or will you be collecting your own rocks?

Rock tumbling kits come with everything you need to get started rock polishing, including rocks grit, and sometimes filler media and jewelry settings. If you have access to grit and resources for rock collecting and prefer to find your own rocks, then a full kit may not be necessary. 

4. How much do you want to spend on a rock tumbler?

Rock tumblers can range from $40 to several hundred dollars, depending on how professional of a tumbler you want. Cheaper models will work just fine, but you might not get a perfectly polished rock without purchasing additional items such as fillers. Therefore if you want something that will last a long time and give a great polish, you’ll need to spend a bit more.

5. Are you looking to get beautifully polished rocks or are you looking for more of a toy?

For rock tumbling, you want to make sure that the rock polisher can actually give the rocks a good polish. If you’re looking for more of a toy rock polisher, the cheaper models or the ones for kids will still do the job. But if you’re looking to make beautiful jewelry or other craft items, then it’s best to invest in a rock tumbler that’s more durable and more properly polishes the rocks.

Rotary Rock Tumblers vs Vibratory Rock Tumblers

There are two main types of rock tumblers – rotary and vibratory. Rotary rock tumblers are the most common type (and the one I’m primarily focused on).

Rotary Rock Tumblers

Rotary rock tumblers are the most common and are easy to use for both beginners and experienced rock polishers. This type of rock tumbler works by using a rotating barrel filled with the rocks and abrasive grit you wish to polish, which slowly grinds away any imperfections on the rock’s surface, smoothing it and giving it a polished finish. These are two examples of the rotary rock tumblers I tested.

Vibratory Rock Tumblers

Vibratory rock tumblers are less common, but they tend to produce better results in a shorter amount of time. This type uses an electric motor that vibrates the rock around inside a round “bowl,” with added grit. They can be a bit pricier and require more skill. They’re also more difficult to find and offer fewer options as they’re less common.

Don’t forget to pin it so you can come back to it later!

two rock polishers with polished rocks in the background with the title "9+ best rock tumblers, abcrafty.com"

The Best Rock Tumbler Kit in Each Category

To make it easy, I’ve compiled a short list of the best rock polishers for different categories:

  • Best Performing Rock Tumbler (and my favorite): Tumble-Bee TB-22 (Amazon)
  • Best Rock Tumbler for Kids: Bryte (Amazon)
  • Best Beginner Rock Tumbler Kit: Komestone K1 Pro (Amazon)
  • Best Rock Tumbler for Adults / Professional Kit: Tumble-Bee TB-22 (Amazon)
  • Quietest Rock Tumbler: Komestone K2 Elite (Amazon)
  • Best Rock Tumbler Under $50: Bryte (Amazon)

Best Rock Tumblers for Adults / Professional Rock Tumblers

The machines and kits are the best on the market and give the best results. Some I would say are best for adults as they’re more complicated and not as “fun” looking as the ones designed specifically for kids. That being said, most can certainly still be used by kids and can be a great family activity. I’ve also included images of the rocks that come with the most of the machines so you can get a clearer picture of what you’ll get with each rock tumbler kit.

Tumble-Bee Rotary Rock Tumbler TB-22

I’ve recently discovered the Tumble-Bee, and it has quickly become my top choice out of all the machines I’ve tested. If you’re serious about rock polishing and want a high-quality machine that will last for years, the Tumble-Bee is the one to get. It’s available in single barrel version or an extra large single barrel, but I highly recommend the two barrel machine for the ability to run two different types of rocks at once (that’s the one I have). Whether you want two different polishing stages or polish rocks of different hardness, the two barrel machine offers versatility.

What sets the Tumble-Bee apart is the amazing variety of agates, jaspers, and petrified wood that comes with the kit. It includes the most rocks out of any of the machines I’ve tested. Plus, the barrel is super easy to open, making the whole process hassle-free. 

Barrel Size: 4 lbs Total – 2 x 2 lb Barrels

PROS

  • Two Barrels – This machine comes with two separate barrels, so you can polish two different rock types at the same time.
  • Easy to Open – This is one of the easiest barrels to open as it comes with a washer that you use to lift the lid.
  • Durable – It’s made of high quality rubber, making it extremely durable. Even simply holding the barrel it feels more secure and professional than the other machines I tested.
  • Comes with Oil – This is the only kit I tested that actually came with oil for the machine, ensuring it will last a long time.
  • Rock Variety and Amount – This kit has the most unique rocks out of all of them and a lot of them. It has more than enough for multiple polishes.
  • Simple and Accurate Instructions – They keep the instructions simple and accurate and a more clear explanation as to why you need each step.

CONS

  • No Strainer or Mesh Bag – It doesn’t come with a strainer or mesh bag so you need to provide your own way to clean the rocks.
  • Only One Speed – There is only one speed to this machine, but it spins at an appropriate speed to get a professional polish.
  • Price – The Tumble Bee is one of the more expensive rock tumblers on the market, but if you’re serious about rock polishing it’s well worth the price.
  • No Filler – It doesn’t come with any filler so the stones aren’t protected throughout the process, leading to broken or very small stones.

KomeStone K1 Pro Rock Tumbler Kit

The Komestone K1 Pro is an awesome rock tumbler for beginners who want more than just a toy. I’ve been amazed by this one’s durability, considering it’s an entry-level machine. It’s built to last! The best part? It comes with everything you need for a fantastic polish. Oh, and they even offer a coupon for a free refill rock kit. So you can keep on polishing!

BARREL SIZE: 2.5 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Durable – This machine is built from durable materials so it will last a long time.
  • Large Size – This is a larger machine that can hold 2.5 lbs of rocks.
  • Easy to Open – This was one of the easiest barrels to open and didn’t require extra tools.
  • Includes Ceramic Media Filler – It comes with ceramic media, which protects the stones and gives a better polish.
  • Jewelry Settings – It comes with jewelry settings to make a keychain, necklace, earrings, and a ring.
  • Rock Variety and Amount – There’s a good variety of rocks that comes with the kit. It also comes with a coupon to redeem a refill pack of rocks and grit.
  • Strainer – It comes with a strainer to easily clean a few rocks to check their progress.
  • Good Instructions – The instructions are great and easy to read. They also include some tips and tricks that will ensure you get a great polish each time!
  • Multiple Speeds – There are 3 speeds you can use, allowing for more flexibility in the process.
  • Good Slow Speed – The slowest speed is not too fast so it can still be used as an every day tumbler.

CONS

  • Moves Around –  This rock tumbler tends to move around during use, which can be a bit annoying. Though I ended up finding it amusing to see where it ended up each day.
  • Fast High Speed – The highest speed is very fast, making it more likely that the rocks will break. I often found little pieces of stone in the rim of the barrel. I recommend starting at level 2 instead of 3 (or even level 1 for the whole process!).

Vevor Plus Rock Tumbler Kit

Another large capacity option is the Vevor Plus kit. This tumbler comes with everything you need, including a large amount of ceramic media which is always great (you can never have enough!). It also has some unique rocks that come in a storage container that you can use to display your polished stones. It’s cheaper than some of the other high capacity machines so if volume is your goal, this is a great option.

BARREL SIZE: 3 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Durable – This machine is built from durable materials so it will last a long time.
  • Large Size – This is a large machine that can hold 3 lbs of rocks.
  • Includes Ceramic Media Filler – It comes with ceramic media, which protects the stones and gives a better polish.
  • Jewelry Settings – It comes with jewelry settings to make a keychain, necklace, and a ring.
  • Rock Variety and Amount – There’s a good variety of rocks that comes with the kit.
  • Strainer – It comes with a strainer to easily clean a few rocks to check their progress.
  • Multiple Speeds – There are 3 speeds you can use, allowing for more flexibility in the process.
  • Good Slow Speed – The slowest speed is not too fast so it can still be used as an every day tumbler.

CONS

  • Difficult to Open – I found this barrel difficult to open. The screw itself is easy, but the insert is sealed in tight.
  • Small Stones – Even though you get a good variety of stones, they’re all incredibly small so will be tiny by the end of the polishing process.
  • Not Enough Stones – Because of the size of the stones and large barrel capacity, it’s missing a bunch of stones to fill the barrel. Thankfully they provide the media filler, but it would be better if they provided additional stones as well to fill it.

Komestone K2 Elite

The Komestone K2 Elite rock tumbler is the newest addition to the Komestone family, and it certainly lives up to its name. This model boasts a large 3 lb capacity, making it perfect for tumbling a large amount of rocks. But what sets this tumbler apart from others is how quiet it is – I actually kept it indoors! It’s still by no means silent, but it absolutely is the quietest tumbler I’ve tested. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but if you don’t have a garage or are concerned about the noise, this is the one to get!

Barrel Size: 3 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Quiet – This is by far the quietest machine I have tested. I had it running inside for several weeks and was able to tolerate it. It basically sounds like if you left your dishwasher running 24/7.
  • Large Size – This is a large machine that can hold 3 lbs of rocks.
  • Jewelry Settings – It comes with jewelry settings to make a keychain, necklace, and a ring.
  • Rock Variety and Amount – There’s a good variety of rocks that comes with the kit. It also comes with a coupon to redeem a refill pack of rocks and grit.
  • Strainer – It comes with a strainer to easily clean a few rocks to check their progress.
  • Good Instructions – The instructions are great and easy to read. They also include some tips and tricks that will ensure you get a great polish each time!
  • Multiple Speeds – There are 3 speeds you can use, allowing for more flexibility in the process.
  • Good Slow Speed – The slowest speed is not too fast so it can still be used as an every day tumbler.

CONS

  • No Ceramic Media Filler – It doesn’t come with ceramic media filler so you would want to get that in addition (this is the one I use).
  • Difficult Place Barrel – The barrel is awkward to get in and out of the machine as it’s somewhat of a tight fit.
  • Not Enough Stones – Even though the barrel is a huge 3 lbs, not enough stones are provided so you have to either get your own (I got mine on Etsy) or find them.
  • Price – This rock tumbler is very expensive, especially since it doesn’t have ceramic media or enough stones, making it effectively an incomplete kit.

Lortone Rock Tumbler - 33B

The Lortone rock tumbler is one of the most popular rock polisher brands on the market. They’ve been around for many years and are often considered THE rock tumbler. Therefore it’s a rock tumbler used by many rock-hounds, rock collectors, and rock enthusiasts. They make single and double barrel machines so out of these options I recommend the double barrel one.

The main thing is Lortone rock tumblers are very expensive – often 2x the price of their competitors. While they’re certainly durable, they don’t have an on/off switch, making it cumbersome to turn it on or off as necessary. But if brand recognition is important and you need the larger size, then this is definitely the machine to get. But there are now plenty of competitors out there (such as Tumble-Bee) so depending on your needs you may want to go with one of the other options.

Barrel Size: 6 lbs Total – 2 x 3 lb Barrels

PROS

  • Two Barrels – This machine comes with two separate barrels, so you can polish two different rock types at the same time.
  • Easy to Open – This is one of the easiest barrels to open as it comes with a washer that you use to lift the lid.
  • Durable – It’s made of high quality rubber, making it extremely durable.
  • Rock Variety – This kit has a good variety of unique rocks.
  • Reputable Brand – This brand is well known in the lapidary community and is often the go-to brand for those looking for a more professional rock tumbler.

CONS

  • Price – This is the most expensive machine of all, nearly 2x its competitors.
  • No Strainer or Mesh Bag – It doesn’t come with a strainer or mesh bag so you need to provide your own way to clean the rocks.
  • Only One Speed – There is only one speed to this machine, but it spins at an appropriate speed to get a professional polish.
  • Not Enough Rocks – It only comes with 2 lbs of rocks, which likely won’t be enough to fill one of the barrels
  • No Filler – It doesn’t come with any filler so the stones aren’t protected throughout the process, leading to broken or very small stones.
  • No On/Off Switch – There isn’t an on/off switch, making it cumbersome to turn it on and off.

National Geographic Rock Tumbler Kit - Platinum Series


While I haven’t personally given this one a try, the National Geographic Platinum Series rock tumbler stands out as a top-quality machine with unique features not commonly found in other rock tumblers. This particular machine comes with foam filler and a special lid designed to reduce noise, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a quieter rock polishing experience. Plus, its sleek and modern design will add a touch of style to any home

Barrel Size: 2 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Quiet – Thanks to the unique lid this rock tumbler is said to be much quieter than other machines. It’s still very likely you’ll want to put it in the garage to be completely silent.
  • Foam Filler – The foam filler not only helps a bit to reduce the noise, but it also acts as a filler to protect the stones and give a better polish.
  • Modern Design – The overall design of this rock polisher is simply beautiful. It looks sleek and modern.
  • Includes Mesh Bag and Strainer – This one comes with both a mesh bag and a strainer, making it very easy to clean the rocks between cycles.
  • Jewelry Settings – It comes with jewelry settings to make a keychain, necklace, earrings, and a ring.
  • Multiple Speeds – There are 3 speeds you can use, allowing for more flexibility in the process.
  • Reverse Setting – It has the ability to reverse the direction of the rotation so it gives more options.

CONS

  • Price – This rock tumbler is extremely expensive for what it is. You’re very much paying extra for the design and some noise reduction.
  • Difficult to Open – For some reason they made the barrel with a screw on lid, which can be extremely difficult to open.
  • Made of Plastic – The outer shell of the barrel and top are made of plastic, making it less durable.

Vevor Rock Tumbler / Jewelry Polisher

This is definitely one of the most unique machines out there. While its primary use isn’t for rock tumbling, it’s perfect for polishing jewelry. The best part about this polisher is its clear design, allowing you to see what’s happening inside. However, after the first run, the barrel becomes frosted, so it’s not crystal clear anymore (pun unintended!).

Since it’s mainly focused on jewelry polishing, the polishing kit doesn’t come with any rocks or grit. Instead, you get tiny metal ball bearings, which I wouldn’t recommend using with rocks. Cleaning the hexagonal-shaped barrel can be a bit tricky, but if you’re looking for a machine specifically built for jewelry polishing, this is an excellent choice. Just remember to get a set of grit to go along with it!

PROS

  • Large Size – This is a very large machine that can hold up to 5 lbs of rocks (though I likely wouldn’t go more than 3-4).
  • Clear Barrel – The clear barrel lets you get a glimpse at what’s happening without having to open the lid, which can be fun to watch.
  • Versatile – since it’s technically a jewelry polisher, it can be used for more than just rock polishing.
  • Reverse Setting – It has the ability to reverse the direction of the rotation so it gives more flexibility in the settings.
  • Multiple Speeds – There are 5 speeds you can use, allowing for even more flexibility in the process.

CONS

  • Difficult to Clean – Because of the hexagonal shape of the barrel and the design of the lid, it can be a bit tricky to clean.
  • No Stones or Grit – Since this is intended to be used for jewelry polishing, it doesn’t come with stones or grit so you will need to buy those separately.
  • No Instructions – It does not include instructions for how to polish rocks, but you can use my guide on rock polishing.

Get the latest DIY tutorials, reviews, and crafting updates

You'll never be spammed and can unsubscribe at any time

Best Rock Tumblers for Kids

If you’re looking for a rock tumbler that’s perfect for kids, don’t worry – there are plenty of rock tumblers out there that are designed with kids in mind. They come in fun colors and shapes, and are usually made of durable materials for safety. All of these come with everything you need to get started tumbling rocks – the rocks themselves, grit, polish, and some even have additional accessories.

Bryte Rock Tumbler Kit

The Bryte rock tumbler is seriously great for both kids and adults! You can choose between pink or green for the machine and it even comes with stones and glass to make beautiful sea glass. I haven’t found any other kit like it! The instructions are super helpful too, so it’s a fantastic choice for a gift or if you’re just looking to try out rock tumbling yourself.

 

The Bryte rock tumbler is an amazing option for kids (and adults)! You can get the machine in pink or green and it comes with both stones and glass to make sea glass, which no other kit I’ve come across has. The instructions are great as well so all around a fantastic option for a gift or even for yourself if you want to dip your toes into rock tumbling.

Barrel Size: 1 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Rock Variety – There’s a large variety of rocks that comes with the kit as well as glass to make sea glass.
  • Jewelry Settings – It comes with jewelry settings to make a few accessories.
  • Price – The price point is great at around $50
  • Start/Stop Button – The polisher doesn’t immediately start when you turn it on so you can choose when you want it to start spinning.
  • Strainer – It comes with a strainer to easily clean a few rocks to check their progress.
  • Multiple Speeds – There are 3 speeds you can use, allowing for more flexibility in the process.
  • Good Slow Speed – The slowest speed is not too fast so it can still be used as an every day tumbler.

CONS

  • Small Barrel – You can only polish a small number of rocks at a time.
  • No Filler – It doesn’t come with any filler so the stones aren’t protected throughout the process, leading to broken or very small stones.
  • Large Base – For such a small tumbler, the base is quite large.

AliKids Rock Tumbler Kit

The Ali Kids Rock Tumbler Kit is an awesome rock polisher for kids (and adults too!). It’s actually one of the more affordable rock tumblers out there, but don’t let that fool you – it gets the job done! Plus, this kit comes with a great variety of rocks and even includes some jewelry settings. And the best part? It’s compact, so it won’t take up much space. Overall, I really dig this one, as long as you don’t follow their instructions and get some filler.

Barrel Size: 1 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Jewelry Settings – It comes with jewelry settings to make a keychain, necklace, earrings, and a ring
  • Rock Variety – There’s a large variety of rocks that comes with the kit (9 types)
  • Price – The price point is great at around $50
  • Start/Stop Button – The polisher doesn’t immediately start when you turn it on so you can choose when you want it to start spinning.
  • Strainer – It comes with a strainer to easily clean a few rocks to check their progress.
  • Information on Stones – The booklet includes some fun information about the stones included in the kit
  • Compact Size – Because it’s a smaller baller, the machine itself doesn’t take up much space. It was the smallest machine out of the ones tested.
  • Multiple Speeds – There are 3 speeds you can use, allowing for more flexibility in the process
  • Good Slow Speed – The slowest speed is not too fast so it can still be used as an every day tumbler.
  • Easy to Open – This was one of the easiest barrels to open and didn’t require extra tools.

CONS

  • Small Barrel – You can only polish a small number of rocks at a time.
  • Bad Instructions – There really aren’t instructions for this machine. It has the a chart for the length of each cycle and which grit to use, but doesn’t explain the process step by step.
  • No Filler – It doesn’t come with any filler so the stones aren’t protected throughout the process, leading to broken or very small stones.
  • Smaller Finished Stones – Following the chart given, you’ll end up with smaller finished stones than if you use lower speed settings.

Cayama Snail Rock Tumbler Kit

 

This rock polishing kit is absolutely adorable! The designers have created a snail-shaped kit that adds a fun twist to the polishing process. It’s refreshing to find a polisher that not only does the job but also brings a smile to your face. And if snails aren’t your thing, they also offer a slightly larger option (3 lb barrel) without the snail design.

Barrel Size: 2 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Larger Barrel – While there is a smaller version that’s 1.5 lbs, this 2.5 lb one I tried has extra capacity so you can polish more rocks at a time (which is especially good since it can take a month).
  • Includes Mesh Bag – This one comes with a mesh bag, making it easy to clean the rocks between cycles.
  • Includes Plastic Pellets – It comes with plastic filler pellets, which protect the stones and give a better polish. That being said, the plastic pellets are a little annoying vs ceramic media.
  • Fun Design – This is by far the most fun looking rock polisher with the adorable snail face.
  • Decent Instructions – The instructions are pretty decent, however it doesn’t include instructions about using soap to wash the stones. So by following these instructions you risk having rocks that don’t have a good shine in the end.
  • Multiple Speeds – There are 3 speeds you can use, allowing for more flexibility in the process
  • Good Slow Speed – The slowest speed is not too fast so it can still be used as an every day tumbler

CONS

  • Hard to Open – This is the only polisher that was nearly impossible for me to open. Even using a screw driver, it was extremely difficult.
  • No Start Button – It only has an on/off button so when you plug it in and turn it on, it immediately starts, even though you haven’t put in the days/speed yet.
  • Minimal Rock Variety – There are only 2 kinds of rocks included in the kit.
  • No Jewelry Settings – It doesn’t come with jewelry settings so it just makes the stones.
  • Loud – Because of the large barrel size, this is one of the noisier of the polishers.
  • Frequent Error Messages – I found this tumbler turned off the most with no clear reason as to why. The error message said the barrel was unbalanced, but even after trying countless adjustments, it still is prone to error messages. Therefore this one needs to be checked more often than once per day.

Zcvtbye Rock Tumbler Kit

The Zcvtbye rock tumbler kit is a great option for those looking for an affordable kit for kids. It’s easy to use and operates at a higher speed, resulting in quicker stone polishing. However, keep in mind that the stones may become very small and some may get destroyed in the process. To prevent this, you can use separate filler. Overall, if you’re more focused on the experience rather than the final outcome. This no-fuss machine is an excellent choice on a budget.

Barrel Size: 1 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Jewelry Settings – It comes with jewelry settings to make a necklace, 2 pendants, earrings, 2 rings, and a keychain. It also comes with glue to attach the rocks to the settings.
  • Rock Variety – There’s a decent variety of rocks that comes with the kit.
  • Price – The price point is great at around $35.
  • Easy-Open Tab – This is the only barrel that includes a pull-tab that makes it easy to open.
  • Simple Settings – The timing of the machine is controlled by blue buttons on the front of the machine and it doesn’t require a speed setting. This simplicity makes it easy for kids to use. I actually fondly referred to this tumbler as “Blue Buttons.”
  • Fast – Because the speed of the machine is so fast, it polishers the stones pretty quickly as well.

CONS

  • Only One Speed – There is only one speed to this machine and it’s way too fast to give a proper polish without breaking the stones.
  • Small Barrel – You can only polish a small number of rocks at a time.
  • Bad Instructions – The instructions are in Chinese and English, making it difficult to read. It also doesn’t have a nice chart for the timing of each stage so you need to hunt for the information.
  • No Strainer or Mesh Bag – It doesn’t come with a strainer or mesh bag so you need to provide your own way to clean the rocks.
  • No Filler – It doesn’t come with any filler so the stones aren’t protected throughout the process, leading to broken or very small stones.
  • Smaller/Few Finished Stones – Because of the fast speed of the machine, the lack of filler, and small starting stones, most of the rocks were destroyed and the ones remaining were tiny.
  • Non-Intuitive Buttons – Rather than having buttons that clearly show the time set, the buttons only show 1, 2, or 4 days. Therefore if you want 5 days, you need to select the 1 and 4 buttons. That being said, it may be preferable for children.

National Geographic Rock Tumbler - Starter Kit

The National Geographic Rock Tumbler kit is a classic starter kit. I have to say, this machine is pretty basic, but that’s what makes it so easy for kids to use. It may not be the most high-end polisher out there, but it definitely gets the job done. Plus, the fact that it’s from National Geographic adds a nice focus on science and learning. It somehow makes it feel more special, especially if you’re looking for a gift. So, if you’re in the market for a lower-end machine that’s more of a toy than a serious polisher, this could be a great option.

Barrel Size: 1 lb Barrel

PROS

  • Fun Color – The bright yellow color is fun and inviting for kids.
  • Easy to Use – Because there is only one speed, you simply plug it in without having to worry about any settings.
  • Rock Variety – There’s a good variety of rocks that comes with the kit.
  • Jewelry Settings – It comes with jewelry settings to make a keychain, necklace, earrings, and a ring
  • Price – It’s one of the more affordable machines at a price point around $40-50

CONS

  • Only One Speed – There is only one speed to this machine.
  • Difficult to Open – For some reason they made the barrel with a screw on lid, which is extremely difficult to open. Most kids will likely not be able to open it.
  • Made of Plastic – Even though the inner barrel is made of rubber, it’s soft and flexible. The outer shell is what provides the structure and the outer shell is made of plastic, making it less durable.
  • No Strainer or Mesh Bag – It doesn’t come with a strainer or mesh bag so you need to provide your own way to clean the rocks.
  • No Filler – It doesn’t come with any filler so the stones aren’t protected throughout the process, leading to broken or very small stones.

Nature Bound Rock Tumbler Kit

This kit is more like an honorable mention, but I wanted to include it because it’s really designed for kids and it has a cool plastic cover that helps reduce noise. It’s a polish-only kit, which means it doesn’t start with a coarse grit. They advertise it as a time-saving option, but the trade-off is that you won’t get the smoothest rocks. However, if you’re looking for a kit that’s truly meant for kids as more of a toy and less about functionality, then this is the one to go for.

Barrel Size: 2-3 lbs of stones

PROS

  • Fun Design – The colors and design are great for kids with the bright green and orange.
  • Size – It can hold a lot of rocks at 2-3 lbs.
  • Plastic Cover – It has a plastic cover to help reduce noise (though remember that all polishers will still be noisy)
  • Rock Variety – You get 3 different types of rocks and a reasonable amount of each (though they are a little small).

CONS

  • Only One Speed – There is only one speed to this machine.
  • No Grit – This polishing kit skips some steps by jumping directly to polishing instead of slowly grinding and then polishing so stones don’t come out as smooth and shiny.
  • Made Just for Kids – This is the only kit made specifically for kids and is not really suited for adults as it skips steps and the overall appearance is made for kids.
  • Made of Plastic – The barrel is made of plastic so it’s less durable.
  • No Jewelry Settings – It doesn’t come with jewelry settings so it just makes the stones.
  • No Strainer or Mesh Bag – It doesn’t come with a strainer or mesh bag so you need to provide your own way to clean the rocks.
  • No Filler – It doesn’t come with any filler so the stones aren’t protected throughout the process, leading to broken or very small stones.

Get the latest DIY tutorials, reviews, and crafting updates

You'll never be spammed and can unsubscribe at any time

More Craft Supply and Gift Guides

Daniela Kretchmer

Daniela Kretchmer

Daniela is a lifelong crafter who loves to share her passion for crafting. Through classes or learning on her own, she likes to say she'll do pretty much any craft aside from scrapbooking. Her current personal obsessions include garden crafts, felting, and spinning yarn.

More Craft Projects and Ideas

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *