Functions and Advantages of DREMEL® 4000 (4000-1/45)
High power 175W motor for high performance
Full variable speed control (5.000-35.000 RPM) for maximum precision
Electronic feedback for enhanced torque and performance
Technical details for DREMEL® 4000 (4000-1/45)
Die Grinder vs Dremel Rotary Tool. Which Is Best?
A die grinder and a Dremel tool are similar in appearance and their working principles are also comparable. So what’s the difference between the two?
Something that could potentially be really confusing if you aren’t familiar with the intricacies of various power tools is the difference between die grinders and Dremel rotary tools (also often referred to as “Dremels”). This becomes even more confusing when you consider that quite a few people use the words “Dremel” and “die grinder” interchangeably on the internet. At one point, I also found it very difficult to find a definitive answer as to what the differences are between a die grinder and a Dremel are.
In this article, I’m going into detail of what separates these two tools.
Dremel vs. Die Grinder Comparison
In case you don’t want to read the details, here is a quick comparison chart between the two tools.
For Who? Best for home users and fine detail work.Suitable for heavy-duty industrial operations.
|Power Source||Electricity||Air, Electricity/Battery|
|Power||Less torque and power.||Higher material removal rate|
|Precision||Precision hand grinder||Less accurate|
|Speed||Higher RPM (5000 to 35000)||Less Speed (2500 RPM)|
|Speed Control||Accurate variable speed provides better control.||Air die grinders have less control over speed.|
Speed can be controlled in electric die grinders.
|Price||Dremels are more expensive||Air grinders are cheap.|
Cordless can get pricey.
|Recommended Tool||Dremel 4300 Kit||Ingersoll Rand 3107G|
The 9 Key Differences
So, rather than explaining each tool to you individually, I’m going to jump straight into clarifying the key differences between the two.
1. One Is A Brand
Probably the most obvious difference is that while die grinders are a type of tool, Dremels are not technically tools, they are a brand. While people usually have a very specific kind of tool in mind when they talk about “Dremels,” the reality is that Dremel manufactures a wide array of different tools. Most of them tend to be oscillating tools or rotary tools of some sort.
2. Power Sources
One of the main differences between the two lies in how each is powered. Die grinders come in two types, pneumatic (powered with an air compressor) and electric. Generally speaking, the pneumatic kinds are more popular and a lot more common, but electric models aren’t rare by any means. Cordless versions are also getting popular.
On the other hand, Dremel tools are almost always powered by electricity. Because of the type of tools that they are, they don’t really need the extra power provided by air compressors.
3. Die Grinders Are Larger
In terms of size, the die grinder is a much larger power tool. Your typical die grinder will be a lot larger than your typical Dremel tool. This is somewhat interesting since if you know anything about angle grinders, then you know that those are sort of a bigger “version” of die grinders. In this case, while there are differences between die grinders and Dremel tools, you can sort of think of die grinders as a bigger version of the Dremel that accomplishes much of the same tasks.
4. Dremel Tools Are Faster
As is generally the case with power tools, the smaller the power tool, the faster it works. This is true in this situation as well. Dremel tools, because they are a lot smaller, spin a lot faster than die grinders.
To give you an example of the speed disparity, your typical die grinder will have an RPM (revolutions per minute) of around 25,000. A typical Dremel tool will have an RPM of approximately 35,000 max. So, with an increase of about 10,000 RPM, you can easily see why Dremel tools are so much faster.
Keep in mind that Dremel rotary tool motors are designed for high rpm. The speed of them often starts from 5000 rpm. This means you cannot use for work that requires low speed and high torque. If you force the tool to take the heavy load at the lowest speed you could burn the motor up.
5. Die Grinders Are More Powerful
While die grinders may be a bit lacking in the speed department when it comes to Dremel tools, one area where they aren’t lacking is when it comes to power. Die grinders hold a clear edge here as they are far more powerful than Dremel tools. If you were to compare the torque produced by your average die grinder and the torque produced by your average Dremel tool, it wouldn’t even be a contest, the die grinder would win hands down.
Obviously, power isn’t everything. Some jobs don’t require a lot of torque; instead, they may require more precision instead. Situations like that are where a Dremel tool will shine. If, however, a job requires raw power, then a die grinder is going to be the best option.
6. Die Grinders Are More Versatile
Don’t get me wrong, both die grinders and Dremel tools are incredibly versatile by the standards of power tools. Either one of these tools can be used to complete a wide variety of jobs, including grinding material down, cutting through material, sanding down wood or smoothing out metal, and much more. However, I feel that the size of the Dremel tool (they are generally pretty small as I mentioned earlier) does it hold back a tiny bit. It can be very useful, but the size will mean that isn’t as useful as the die grinder.
Die grinders are a sort of nice, “medium” size. They are small enough to be used in situations that require some degree of precision, while at the same time being big enough that using them on larger objects is possible. Trying to work on a large machine or automobile with a Dremel tool would be difficult because of the size, but that isn’t the case with the die grinder.
The next two factors are not directly related to the design of the tool, but the power source. The air and electric versions both have one distinct advantage each.
7. Tool Bit Size
Do you have lots of cutting and grinding bits lying around that would like to use with your new rotary tool? Then you should know that the maximum shaft size the Dremel will accept is 1/8″ (approximately 3 mm). This is good enough for small cutters and tool bits for fine work. However, most of the larger cutting bits have 1/4″ shank which you cannot use with the Dremel.
On the other hand, die grinders can accept both the small bits and bigger cutters.
8. Variable Speed
Dremel offers variable speed that can be controlled accurately. This enables you to perform a wide variety of tasks on different materials. For example, when you polish a hardened die, you would need the polishing bit to spin at a very high speed. Compare that with woodworking where you have to lower the speed.
The pneumatic die grinders do not have the ability to control the speed accurately. Of course, you could adjust the flow of air to increase or reduce the speed; but it is not accurate. The electric and cordless grinders do provide variable speed options.
One of the advantages of the air tools is that the compressed air that flows through the tools keep it cool. On the other hand, electric and battery-powered cordless power tools tend to get heated when you use it continuously for a longer duration.
Dremel is equipped with an electric motor and it can get overheated. But is it not the case with an electric die grinder too? Yes, but there is a difference.
Since the die grinder is more powerful it can complete the task faster than Dremel. That means even if you are using an electric version, you tend to use the die grinder for less duration and hence less heat.
There you have it. The complete list of differences between a die grinder and a Dremel rotary tool.
You said 9 differences and it is 10 now. Yes, because I added this later. For many of you, the price could be a deal-breaker. Air grinders are inexpensive tools. If your garage is equipped with a decent air compressor, then going for the pneumatic grinder is the most cost-effective option. Dremel with its variable speed electric motor is on the expensive side.
However, if you do not have an air compressor at your shop then you must factor the cost of the compressor as well. This will change the whole equation.
Which one should you buy?
Ultimately it is a personal choice. I am sure you saw the comparison between the die grinder and Dremel in detail by now. Pick the tool that suits your work.
Here is my recommendation.
- If you have an air compressor at your garage, buy a pneumatic die grinder. They are inexpensive and smaller than the cordless die grinders.
- Get a cordless die grinder if you are working large industrial or construction projects where portability is important.
- For small and medium-sized work-pieces that require precision touch, go for the Dremel rotary tool.
- Dremel works best for works that require fine details such as wood carving, glass-working, model making, stone carving, bead and jewelry making, etc.
Tool and die makers who work on large plastic molds, die-casting dies, etc would find that a die grinder is more useful than Dremel.
Ten buck Harbor Freight "pencil grinder" vs Dremel, no competition
some thefts in the area so didn't want to leave it unlocked overnight,
figured getting a locksmith to come out at 8 PM on a Saturday night
was going to cost more than it was worth, thus is was down to Home
Despot for a new lock. The old one was some brand I'd never heard of,
got a new Schlage.
Lock went in fine, but the opening in the old strike plate was too
narrow for the Schlage deadbolt, so went to put the Schlage strike
plate in. Needed to open up the mortise a little and deepen it. Was
going to go down to the basement and get the chisels, then I noticed
the ten buck Harbor Freight "pencil grinder"
sitting on the shelf by the door. Already had a 1/8" carbide cutter
in it that I had been using in the Dremel just before I got the HF
(put the cutter in just to make sure it actually fit and that the
thing actually spun up without throwing it across the room--it is,
after all, Harbor Freight). Hadn't had a chance to really play with
the thing yet so decided to try opening up the mortise with it and see
how bad it was.
Well, I'm a believer. Compared to that little ten buck air grinder,
Dremels are crap. It never bogged down once, got cooler instead of
warmer, never gave any sign of strain, cut through the jummywood of
the door frame with just the right amount of resistance to give me
real control, it's light and really well balanced compared to the
Dremel--it handles like a pencil, not like a power tool. In short it
works the way I _expected_ a Dremel was going to work before I used
one, but the Dremel never really worked that way. And to top it off,
once the strike plate was in I had to adjust it a little as well, and
the air grinder with the carbide cutter sliced through that with no
more fuss than with the wood.
Been toying with the idea of a flex shaft but see no need for one of
those either--with the air grinder I'm not tied to a few feet of
shaft--I can use it anywhere I can run an air hose--and it turns over
Designed so that the air exhausts out the back with a long sleeve so
that it exhausts far from the work piece so no problem with oil
They've got a 1/4 inch die grinder for ten bucks as well--next time
I'm over there I think I'm going to get one of those.
Downside is that it needs a compressor of course.
Die Grinder vs Dremel Rotary Tool: 7 Main Differences
To understand the Die Grinder vs Dremel differences, we should understand some basic facts. And before we examine their unique traits, let’s examine the similarities first.
A Dremel and Die Grinder are both rotary tool variants. Both are versatile and can be used to polish, sand, grind and cut. In short, they are designed to replicate the functions of other tools.
They not only have similar functions, but they also use the rotational force of the bit you attached to the tool to complete a task.
While the Dremel and die grinder have several features in common, there are also significant differences.
We can point out any number of differences, but the following are the most significant.
Table of Contents
#1: Dremel Tools are Mostly Powered by Electricity
The typical Dremel tool runs on mains electrical power, though cordless versions are available too. The majority of Die Grinder are air-powered, pneumatic or electric.
Electric Die Grinders need more power to run than their electric Dremel counterparts. Pneumatic die grinders also need an air compressor or an air supply.
While Dremel tools mostly run on electrical power, the amount of power it produces depends on the specs.
#2: Die Grinders are Often Larger
Dremel tools are known for being compact, but Die Grinders are the opposite as they’re physically larger.
“Compact” Die Grinder are available but they’re still bigger than the average Dremel. Die Grinder bits, attachments and discs are larger.
To illustrate this point, a Dremel tool bit shank is 1/16” or 1/8” whereas on a die grinder it is 1/4”.
Die Grinders are not only larger but heavier too. This is understandable as it packs more power. The more power a tool has, the more it’s going to weight, and this also applies to Dremel corded and cordless tools.
#3: Dremel Tools Spin More Quickly
Dremel rotary tools can go up to 35000 RPMs while Die Grinders average 20,000 to 25,000 RPMs. This holds true even for cordless Dremel tools as they’ve also become more powerful.
Dremel tool performance and speed can be affected by the bits and attachments you use. But they’re always faster than die grinders because the bits are smaller.
Small bits spin faster because there is less distance to cover. That is one advantage of being small.
A faster rotary tool is not always for the best. In some cases, a DIY project needs only a slow speed. That’s why rotary tools and Die Grinders have speed adjustment options. Simply adjust the speed until you get the appropriate level.
#4:Die Grinders are Often More Powerful
When it comes to power, however, electric die grinders are more powerful. Die grinders are built for heavy-duty use while Dremel tools are often for light and medium scale tasks only.
The 4300 is one of, if not the most powerful in the Dremel line with 1.8 amp. In contrast, die grinders are equipped with 11 amps or higher. This alone tells you how much more power a die grinder has.
Whether it is in amps, horsepower or capacity, a die grinder is going to win. The extra power makes the die grinder more suitable for heavy-duty projects and bigger tasks.
A Die Grinder is also appropriate for working on thick metals. It is also a better tool for use in industrial environments and workshops.
However, a Dremel is the more practical option if you only work on small projects at home. There is enough power in a Dremel for small crafts and most DIY work. A small Dremel is also easier to handle.
The bottom line is a die grinder has more power and it’s more suited for heavy-duty work. But if you’re into mall crafts, DIY and home improvement, the Dremel should work.
#5: Dremel is a Brand Name
Yes, Dremel is a company that manufactures oscillating tools, rotary tools, saws, and other hand and power tools. Their rotary tools, however, have become so popular that all rotary tools are now called Dremel.
Die Grinder, on the other hand, is another name used for rotary tools. Back then “Die Grinder” was differentiated from rotary tools because they were all pneumatic. Nowadays, however, there are electric Die Grinders too.
Don’t get confused with the various terms. Instead, just remember that Die Grinder and Dremel generally refer to rotary tools.
#6: Die Grinders Usually Have More Torque
Die grinders have more torque, and the higher the torque power the more tasks you’ll be able to accomplish. Both Die Grinders and Dremel tools are capable of delivering the required torque at the tool’s maximum speed.
While torque speeds vary, it’s always the same force that makes an object turn. Keep in mind that while torque is important, the other specs like horsepower and amps matter as well.
While die grinders have more torque, that does not necessarily mean it’s the best option. In some cases, you’ll be fine with a Dremel tool. It comes down not only to power but also how what you need.
#7: Die Grinders Don’t Overheat as Quickly
All electrical power tools overheat if used for too long without letting it cool down. The difference is that a die grinder can be used for longer periods because it’s more powerful.
Dremel tools have become more heat resistant, but you should always use it only as intended. The same is also true for die grinders; even if it’s a powerful tool, you must always use it only as directed.
A lot of the potential problems that arise from rotary tool use stems from incorrect usage. If you use the tool as indicated there won’t be any problems learning how it works.
Dremel/Rotary Tools vs Dewalt Die Grinder & Accessories
So the comparison isn’t as confusing as it may seem. Now that you know the facts it’s easier to know which type to use and when.
The Die Grinder vs Dremel comparison above has also shown that there is no competition between the two. In fact, you could use both, the Dremel for light work and a die grinder for heavy duty tasks.
Grinder dremel pencil
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