This is a post that I didn’t really want to write. For one, “Review” sounds so authoritative: “Listen to me, I know what I’m talking about!” In a way, it’s the antithesis of this blog, which was started as a counterpoint to all the professional reviews of the Dremel rotary tools. I also didn’t appreciate the flood of linkbait sites that popped up in my searches for “Dremel 4000 review” when I was doing my research.
Nevertheless, I have decided to go ahead with the post. Searching for a “Dremel 4000 review” is probably how most people begin their research, and I honestly believe that my experiences, detailed in this blog, can be of use to a certain category of Dremel users. I also hope that my other posts have established this blog as a genuine effort to share and connect with other Dremel amateurs, and not a half-assed attempt to make a quick buck.
So, with that preamble, here it is – my amateur, non-professional (and unprofessional?) Dremel 4000 review. However, I won’t write a multi-page comprehensive analysis of every aspect of the tool. Instead, I’ll keep posting short entries under the “My Dremel 4000 review” heading that, taken together, will give the reader an ongoing picture of my feelings about it.
Still with me? Good!
I think of purchasing any Dremel 4000 kit as buying two things – the rotary tool platform and a bunch of things you can use with it (that would be the accessories and the attachments). Here’s my take-home message: the platform is very good, the other stuff you’ll get is hit-and-miss, pretty much by definition.
Let’s start with the tool itself. Based on my experience with it so far, I expect to use my Dremel 4000 happily for many years to come. It has more power than I will probably ever want. It is compatible with a million different accessories, including all of those in Dremel’s own line-up and those made by many third parties. This rotary tool is almost certainly future-proof for a very long time, meaning that when that new accessory X or attachment Y comes out, I’ll be able to use it if I so choose. The 4000’s adjustable speed makes it capable of working with pretty much any material out there. Put simply, this tool is a Jack of many, many, many trades and happens to be very good at most of them.
Dremel 4000 has good ergonomics. It is still a substantial tool, though, so holding it with a single hand, pencil-style, only works for short stretches of time. It can be held single-handedly further up its body as well, but you give up fine control of the bit by doing so. Of course, it is best to hold the tool with both hands for ultimate stability, but I find this to be less than practical in most situations as I need my left hand for holding and manipulating the object I’m working on. Speaking of left and right hands: I’d be weary of using the Dremel 4000 if I were a lefty. The tool’s direction of rotation means that if you ever lose control (and this can happen often to the inexperienced), the friction of the accessory against the material being worked on pushes the tool rather violently to the right. If you are holding the Dremel in your left hand, your right hand might just happen to be in the path.
The 4000 comes with a collet rather than a chuck for gripping various accessories. An adjustable chuck (sold separately), like those found on conventional drills, makes swapping accessories easier and can accommodate accessories with different shank sizes. I initially wondered about this decision by Dremel, but have since found this forum post, explaining that collets provide a more secure way to grip things like cutters, grinders and sanders, which experience lateral forces (i.e. which are used sideways rather than straight up/down). I expect to be able to use the included 1/8″ (3.2mm) collet for ~90% of accessories I’ll use. However, I will probably soon get a set of differently-sized drill bits, which will require that I also purchase the 4485 collet kit. The collet will then have to be swapped every time I use a bit with shank of another size. In light of this, the new Dremel 4200 with its EZ Change mechanism (what else can Dremel make EZ? 🙂 ) will offer an advantage over the 4000. Still, I don’t expect this to be a major pain. On Dremel 4000, the housing cap can be used as a wrench to tighten and loosen the collet nut. Since the cap itself must be unscrewed first and then screwed back on, I find using the included wrench to be a simpler solution (until I lose it, that is).
I addressed the corded vs. cordless question in my first post. Briefly, I find the corded version of the Dremel rotary tool to be somewhat restrictive, while the advantages it offers are not likely to come into play for an amateur user. The 8200 model is the cordless analogue of the 4000.
In short, that’s my current opinion of the Dremel 4000, which earns it the rating of “very good”. Stay tuned for more observations etc. My next post in this series will deal with the accessories included in the Dremel 4000 kit. (Edit: the second part of the review is here.)