Dremel 101: A Complete Beginner's Guide

A Dremel tool carving a heart out of a piece of wood.

There are a lot of “must-have” tools for DIYers including hammers, nails, and duct tape, but we argue that a Dremel should rightfully take its place on that list. It’s one of the most basic tools out there, but it's able to handle some of life’s most complicated projects. We hope this guide will bring you some clarity into what a Dremel tool has to offer.

What Is a Dremel?

A Dremel tool with attachments around it.

To put it simply, a Dremel tool is essentially a handheld rotary tool. With a variety of attachments available, which we will discuss later, a Dremel can be used on materials such as glass, wood, metal, plastic, and more for all kinds of tasks. In other words, this is one tool that with a simple switch in attachments or accessories can turn into many tools all in one.

What Kind of Projects Is it Used For?

A Dremel tool being used on a glass bottle project.

I mentioned the Dremel tool is functional and versatile, and I meant it. With just a simple swap of accessories, you won’t believe the array of projects that can be done with one handheld tool.

According to the Dremel website, the rotary tool can be used for carving, engraving, cleaning, polishing, cutting, grinding, sharpening, routing, sanding, and the list goes on. The Dremel website is a remarkably helpful guide when deciding which accessories you’ll need for your project.

Simply select the project you’ll be working on and the website will guide you toward the accessories required for that project. Not only are there all sorts of accessories for a Dremel tool, but there are also a range of attachments that will change this simple rotary tool into, as Dremel puts it, “The only tool you’ll ever need.”

The pocket-sized hand tool that looks like a simple rotary tool can change itself into a tile cutting tool, a routing tool, a garden tool sharpener, or a dust blower. Don’t forget, Dremel has more tools besides the rotary tool, so there will be a whole different series of attachments for those mechanisms, expanding your horizon even more.

How Does it Work?

A Dremel tool taking off rust from a metal pipe.

What draws so many customers to purchase a Dremel tool is not only the fact that it's a tool of many uses, but that it's a simple, straightforward tool to use. Dremel requires no other tools to change out the attachments and accessories besides the small wrench that's included.

A simple press of the button is all that's needed to release the attachment. To attach another, simply insert and tighten it with your wrench. It’s as simple as that. According to Dremel, the rotary tool uses a “high-speed and low torque” method which provides “control and precision” to all your projects.

Dremel has a multitude of videos that will show you how to work your rotary tool; we recommend watching those as well as reading the instruction manual to make sure you are taking each step carefully.

What Are my Options in Rotary Tools?

A dremel tool with a cord.

In terms of the tools themselves, the choice is yours on whether you want a tool with a cord or to go cordless. Between those two options, there are varieties of speeds and power levels. All are similar in style and usage. It's all a matter of what you feel comfortable with.

(You can even go so far as to get yourself a pet nail grooming attachment.) Once you've moved onto more difficult DIY projects, Dremel does provide other tools that may one day be useful to you, however, in this article we talk exclusively about the rotary tool as a starting point.

How Much Does a Dremel Tool Cost?

A Dremel tool being used to make a wood toy.

The tool itself it is not going to set you back much at all. A Dremel rotary tool ranges anywhere from $20 to $50. You can purchase a separate package of accessories for about the same price as the tool costs.

If you think that you’ll use the tool for more than one type of project, which we highly recommend, then there are kits that include the tool and all the accessories for around $80.

When it comes to power tools, you can start reaching way up in the hundreds of dollars for each tool and by the time you add on all the accessories that are needed, the cost can escalate from there. Dremel provides an economical price and a resourceful tool all combined into one.