Differences Between Die Grinders And Dremel

Differences Between Die Grinders And Dremel

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

Are you in search of a rotatory tool, but you don’t know whether to go for a die grinder or a Dremel? Then you might have come to the right guide. In this guide, we’d be discussing the differences between die grinders and Dremel.

Die Grinders

Die grinders are rotary tools that are handheld and used for grinding, sanding, honing, polishing, or machining. Most rotary tools are similar but when it comes to a die grinder, it is mostly associated with being pneumatically driven.

Also, it is mainly used for heavy-duty tasks. They are different types of die grinders. They include electric die grinders, pneumatic die grinders, and air die grinders.

When using die grinders, it is important to adhere to personal protective equipment such as safety goggles, earplugs, paper or gas masks and among others.

Features of die grinders

  • Powered by air compressors
  • Feature large sizes
  • Produce more power
  • Can be used on large projects
  • Weighs above 30 lbs
  • Are durable


The word ‘Dremel’ is actually the name of an American brand that manufactures power tools. Dremel’s rotary tools are similar to the pneumatic die grinders used in the metalworking industry by tools or mold makers.

This is a company that has been in the game for a while, which means that they have perfected the art of manufacturing these tools over the years. Since they make the Dremel rotary tool, the name was adopted.

Features of Dremels:

  • Powered by battery or electricity
  • Has higher speeds that max out at 35000 pm
  • Compact sizes
  • The most powerful has a 1.8 amp motor
  • Relatively quiet operation
  • Lightweight at an average of 25 lbs

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 pm. This means you cannot use it 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.

  1. 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. 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.

  1. 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 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.

  1. 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 a 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.

  1. Variable Speed

Dremel offers a 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.

  1. Overheating

One of the advantages of the air tools is that the compressed air that flows through the tools keeps them cool. On the other hand, electric and battery-powered cordless power tools tend to get heated when you use them 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.

  1. Price

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 in the cost of the compressor as well. This will change the whole equation.

Die Grinder vs. Dremel – Which One Should I Pick?

The truth is that purchasing a Dremel or die grinder is totally up to you. I believe, by now, you have already understood the difference between a die grinder and a Dremel tool. Pick any of the tools that suit your project most.


So there you have it. The main differences between a die grinder and a Dremel rotary tool. The most important thing to take away from this is that purchasing these tools is a matter of preference and the type of task at hand.

If it is a small task, it is best to go for a Dremel rotary tool. On the other hand, if you require more power to cut through your thick metal surface, an electric die grinder will serve you better.

Now that you have a clearer idea of the two, you can make an informed decision on which one to purchase.