Rock tumbling is a fun and educational activity for kids. It helps them develop an interest in studying different types of stones, and it presents them with an opportunity to make precious gems from rough, formless rocks.
Nonetheless, this fun activity comes with one key downside—picking the best rock tumbler for kids from the numerous models sold in toy stores. While they all come with an assurance of being the best, only a few can serve your kid as required.
Given that, we have assessed 8 of the best rock tumblers you would want to buy for your kid. Our picks operate with minimal noise, have an excellent customer satisfaction score on Amazon, and they have a reasonable price tag.
As well, our picks are designed from durable materials, and they are safe for kids. At the close of our review, we have proposed top buying tips to save you from investing a substandard rock tumbler for your kid.
1 National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit
Is your kid a first-time rock tumbling enthusiast? If yes, this hobby rock tumbler kit from National Geographic would be an ideal mate. It comes with a detailed learning guide to introduce your kid to the basics of geology and rock tumbling.
The comprehensive learning guide has colored pictures and easy to read texts to encourage your budding artist to read through. It has reliable facts about each stone that comes along with this tumbler.
Besides the detailed learning guide, this rock tumbler comes with the necessary accessories that your kid will need to start tumbling stones. It comes with nine rough gemstones to be tumbled, a sieve, and four polishing grits.
Different from those tumblers that work with a select type of stones, your budding artist can use National Geographic’s hobby rock tumbler to polish any kind of rock into a dazzling gem. It works with jaspers, agates, and quartz.
This best rock tumbler boasts of a powerful motor that will last for many years to come, and an automatic timer to turn off the unit automatically after each complete rock tumbling cycle. Its rubber barrel minimizes noise output while the stainless steel lid eliminates leakage.
- Backed by a 24-month manufacturer warranty
- Comes with easy to comprehend rock tumbling instructions
- Easy to operate
- Safe for kids
- Less noise
2 Dan and Darci Advanced professional Rock Tumbler
Dan and Darci designed this rock tumbler with cutting-edge features that are suitable for kids who have already perfected their skill in rock tumbling. However, if your kid is a quick learner, do not shy away from investing in this best rock tumbler for kids.
It features three-speed settings that help your kid regulate the unit’s power output and a programmable nine-day timer that turns off the unit automatically after a predetermined period. These functions are displayed on an attractive LCD screen located on the unit’s front side for easy accessibility.
Dan and Darci’s advanced professional rock tumbler comes in a complete kit with different types of rocks, a storage bag to store polished gems, and jewelry fasteners to let your kid make attractive pieces of jewelry from the polished stones.
Into the bargain, this best rock tumbler for kids comes with four grit packets, a spare motor belt, and a mesh strainer. A quick instruction guide in the rock tumbler’s pack guides your kid through the entire rock tumbling process.
Dan and Darci professional rock tumbler features a heavy-duty mortar that can operate continuously for several weeks without issue. This heavy-duty mortar can last for several years before it wears out.
In addition to the heavy-duty mortar, this best rock tumbler for kids features a leak-resistant barrel with a 1-lb capacity. The barrel is made from rubber to minimize the noise and vibrations resulting from tumbling.
- Easy to use
- Low noise production
- Comes with an instructional manual
- Durable and stable
- The belt might slip off when tumbling at high speed.
3 Nature Bound Starter Rock Tumbler for Kids
Equipped with a sound cover, Nature Bound’s rock tumbler for kids stands among the quietest units sold in stores. It is, therefore, an ideal pick if you or your kid is highly sensitive to the distracting noise associated with rock tumbling.
It features an attractive green and red-colored finish to make it more appealing to your kids. Your lovely ones would love to have it as a gift, and they wouldn’t hesitate to show it off to their friends.
Nature Bound rock tumbler for kids comes with everything required to kick start your kid’s rock tumbling creativity. It has a polishing powder to give ordinary stones a professional-like appearance, three sachets of unpolished stones to be used as samples, and jewelry settings to let your kid make beautiful pieces of jewelry from already polished gemstones.
Furthermore, this best rock tumbler for kids comes with an easy-to-read instruction manual to guide your budding geologist through the rock tumbling process. This makes it an excellent buy for kids who are just starting.
A programmable inbuilt timer on this unit turns it off after a predetermined tumbling cycle. Thus, you can confidently leave it running while you are away from home. You can set it to turn off this rock tumbler for kids after one, two, or three days.
Its fast motor provides sufficient power to get the job done, and its sturdy plastic barrel with a leak-free lid eliminates leakages that can mess your kid’s working space. On the downside, this unit’s parts are made of plastic, a material that may not take up heavy use and abuse for many years.
- Attractive enough for kids
- Comes as a complete kit for rock tumbling
- Releases minimal noise
- Easy to use
- Not as sturdy as rivals designed from metal
4 Discover with Dr. Cool Hobby Rock Tumbler
Manufactured by Dr. Cool, a brand honored by Learning Magazine, Creative Child Magazine, and Academic’s Choice, this hobby rock tumbler brags of a high-powered motor that will serve your kid for many years to come.
The rock tumbler comes with a rock tumbling kit with nine different types of gemstones to kick start your kid’s rock tumbling process, and four grades of polishing grit to accelerate the rock tumbling process.
Additionally, the kit contains jewelry fastenings to help your kid make beautiful pieces of jewelry from the polished gemstones. A learning guide in the package will furnish your kid with the basics of tumbling.
Dr. Cool’s technicians designed this unit’s barrel from a sturdy rubber to minimize vibrations and noise occasioning from rock tumbling. The barrel’s stainless steel lid locks all the contents safely, thereby reducing leakage.
The rock tumbler’s front side has easy to operate controls that let your kid regulate the unit’s run time. This feature gives you the confidence you need to keep the rock tumbler running while you go away from home. The timer will switch off the unit after the preset period.
- Attractive for kids
- Comes with a two-year warranty
- Noise and leak proof
- Easy to operate
- Can be used to polish all stone types
- Belt comes off when tumbling at high speed.
5 NSI/Smithsonian 49005
Smithsonian rock tumbler features a compact design, ideal for kids who want a unit that they could carry along when traveling or camping. It consumes less storage space and cuts off unnecessary weight.
Despite its compact size, this best rock tumbler for kids has every feature required to polish those rough stones to attractive gems that your kid can use to make necklaces, charms, and key chains.
Its mortar delivers a reasonably powerful mechanical tumbling action to shape those rough stones. The mortar is powerful enough to run for several weeks without developing mechanical issues. It will last for a reasonable period when subjected to moderate use.
Smithsonian’s technicians designed this best rock tumbler for kids from a premium grade plastic material to endure heavy use and abuse. The construction’s attractive yellow color finish makes it an excellent gift for your kid.
The rock tumbler comes in a pack containing one plastic barrel, one bag of stones, two bags of grit, one bag of polish, and replacement parts. Furthermore, the rock tumbler’s package comes with a colored poster to guide first-timers through the rock tumbling process.
On the downside, rock tumblers who have tried this unit claim that it is quite noisy since its barrel is made of plastic. Though, this downside shouldnt be a bother if you don’t intend to use it in a study room, bedroom, or any other place where silence is required.
- Attractive enough for kids
- Uses a UL-listed electric system
- Highly portable
- Less costly
- Easy to operate
- Quite loud
- Lacks a programmable timer
6 Classic Crafts NSI Rock Tumbler
Classic Crafts rock tumbler features a minimalist design, ideal for kids who are looking to use a rock tumbler for the first time. It lacks the timer, speed control, and other sophisticated features found on models designed for professional rock tumbling kids.
It comes with extra rock tumbling essentials which your young one will need to start their journey to professional rock tumbling. It comes with a sachet of rough rocks to be tumbled, a packet of grit to accelerate rock tumbling, and polish to give the tumbled stones a lustrous appearance.
A detailed guide in Classic Crafts Rock Tumbler’s package guides your kid through the rock tumbling process step by step. Therefore, your budding artist will not need prior knowledge to operate this educational toy.
Featuring a UL listed electrical system, this best rock tumbler for kids is safe to use within your premises. It won’t expose your kid and the entire family to risks associated with the use of substandard electronic gadgets.
While this best rock tumbler is designed from plastic parts, it is durable enough to last for several years before it gives up. However, it may not handle massive and regular rock tumbling projects for as long as its metallic rivals.
- Attractive design
- Great for starters
- Light and compact
- UL listed to be safe
- Leakproof barrel
- Noisy plastic barrel
- Not ideal for professional rock tumbling enthusiasts
7 Tumble-Bee Rotary Rock Tumbler
Equipped with a 4-lb capacity rubber barrel and a heavy-duty fan-cooled motor, this rotary rock tumbler stands among the most robust rock tumbler for kids the market has to offer. Your kid can use it to polish all types of stones, metals, or even glass.
Unlike those low capacity rock tumblers, this model’s 4-lb barrel presents your kid with an opportunity to tumble over 3 lbs. of stones in a single cycle. The rubber barrel minimizes the noise and vibrations occasioning from rock tumbling.
This best rock tumbler for kids comes along with oca pre-measured rough rocks to start tumbling, grit to accelerate the rock tumbling process, and polish to give the rocks an attractive professional like appearance.
Into the bargain, this rock tumbler comes with oil to lubricate moving parts, an Allen wrench to tighten loose bolts, a comprehensive guide to sail your budding artist through the rock tumbling process.
Its powerful fan-cooled mortar has a thermal overload protector to shield the unit from thermal damage. Also, the overload protector and protects your home from the risks associated with thermal overloading. It can tumble your kid’s stones whole year long without issue.
The unit’s mortar and cooling system are housed in a rust-free metallic case that can survive heavy abuse for many years. The construction’s rounded corners protect your kid’s hands against injuries associated with sharp edges.
- Durable construction
- Excellent barrel capacity
- Designed to handle heavy rock tumbling project
- Easy to operate
- Can handle all types of stones
8 Lortone Hobby Rotary Rock Tumbler
Lortone’s rotary rock tumbler is another great unit for kids who want a unit that can handle a large capacity of stones in one cycle. It features a 3-lbs barrel that can tumble 2 lbs. of rocks, and it is made of rubber to minimize noise and vibrations.
Apart from the reasonably sized rubber barrel, this best rock tumbler for kids comes equipped with a 3A motor, which can run the whole day long without issue. The engine is enclosed in a metallic case that can endure abuse from your kids for long.
Unlike those hard to use rock tumblers, this model features an easy to use design which is ideal for starters as well as professionals. It leaves out complicated features like a programmable timer and speed regulator. However, if your kid is a seasoned rock tumbler, then this unit would be too basic for them.
This rock tumbler comes with three sachets of different types of grit, rough rocks, a rock polish, and plastic pellets. Also, the rock tumbler’s package contains an instruction manual to help your kid operate the rock tumbler correctly.
- Easy to operate
- Constructed to last
- Comes with one year warranty
- Releases less noise and vibrations
- Reasonable barrel capacity
Factors to Help You Buy the Right Rock Tumbler for Your Kid
· Barrel Capacity
Various rock tumblers for kids have differing barrel capacities, usually indicated in weight (lbs.). Many rock tumblers for casual use have a capacity of 1- 6lbs., while those for professional use can have a higher capacity.
Since barrel volume dictates the number of stones your kid can polish at a time, we suggest that before you purchase one, make sure that it can tumble enough rocks for your kid’s specific needs.
For newbies and kids who just want to pass time, purchase one with a 1-3lbs barrel. If your kid is more about rock tumbling, shop around for a rock tumbler with a barrel capacity of 4 or more lbs. Such a generous volume will help them polish enough stones at a time.
While rock tumblers are a great educational toy for kids, the noise arising from the tumbling process can be a real nuisance if you stay in an apartment or a small house without a designated place for rock tumbling.
Therefore, before you purchase one for your kid, make sure that it operates silently. Probably, you should shop around for a unit fitted with a rubber barrel to absorb excess noise and vibrations.
Also, you can search around for a rock tumbler with plastic barrel and sound cover to minimize excessive noise. A noisy stone tumbler can discourage your kid from ever using the unit for a second time.
· Construction and design
A rock tumbler’s construction and design is another crucial factor to consider when looking to pick the best from the thousands of rock tumblers in stores. If you want a unit that will survive for years, we propose that you invest in one constructed from premium grade plastic or metal.
If you are buying a rock tumbler for your kid who is starting, we recommend that you invest in a unit that is easy to operate or one with a detailed instructional manual to guide your kid through the tumbling process.
However, if your kid has some experience in rock tumbling, don’t shy off from buying a unit with advanced features like an inbuilt timer that turns the unit off after a predetermined period and or a speed regulator to control the unit’s rock tumbling power.
· Check out the extras that come with a rock tumbler.
Many best rock tumblers for kids don’t come alone. But, they come with multiple accessories that your kid will need during the rock tumbling process. For instance, some come with different types of rocks to be tumbled, grit to accelerate the rock tumbling process, and polish to give tumbled stones a lustrous appearance.
Additionally, some best rock tumblers for kids come with oil to lubricate moving parts, a guide to introduce your kid to the basics of tumbling and geology, as well as spares to replace worn out parts.
Thus, if you want good value out of your dollar, look around for a unit that comes with several extras to get your kid started without buying any other rock tumbling accessory separately.
Ideally, stores have a rock tumbler for every budget. However, rock tumbling experts commend that you steer clear from lowly priced rock tumblers. Why? Most are designed from cheap components that can hardly survive when subjected to substantial and regular rock tumbling projects.
· Intended purpose
Who are you buying the rock tumbler for? Are you buying it for a first-timer who is yet to develop an interest in geology and rock tumbling? If yes, go for a small-sized and affordable rock tumbler instead of an expensive one.
That way, you will not regret buying one just in case your kid doesn’t develop an interest in rock tumbling.
In case your kid has already developed a strong passion for rock tumbling, shop around for a powerful, durable machine that would keep them inspired, as well as last for a reasonable period. Basic models would discourage them or even wear out quickly if your budding geologist subjects them to heavy use.
As can be seen, the market has lots of best rock tumblers for kids. While they all come with a promise of being durable, silent, and easy to operate, not all can live up to this promise. A majority of them are likely to let you down.
For that reason, we picked some of the best rock tumblers for kids that stores have to offer. Our picks have an excellent customer score on amazon and other independent review sites, they are designed from premium grade materials to last, and they are powerful enough to run the whole day long for several weeks.
Moreover, our best rock tumblers produce less noise and vibrations. Operating them won’t be a nuisance to family members or your neighbors. We hope that you found a suitable model for your kid who is looking to start or advance their passion for rock tumbling.