Power tools, when they work well, can make your life so much easier. When they don’t work well, however, they can be the bane of your existence. It’s not just that you grow to rely on them. It’s that you begin projects that you never would have begun had you known that the tool was going to fail on you halfway through! Even worse is when you can’t even get it serviced under warranty because they want you to pony up the shipping costs to their repair center and back without even guaranteeing that it’ll be fixed or replaced in a reasonable time frame. Gah!
The Dremel 8000-03 10.8-Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Rotary Tool is kind of a mixed bag. On the one hand, some customers get really great models that get years of use with all of their major functionality intact. On the other hand, there are so many duds that they don’t really qualify as duds anymore – they’re design flaws. Additionally, Dremel’s customer service track record isn’t the most consistent. So buyer beware!
Great idea, but the execution leaves A Little to be desired
Who wouldn’t want a 10.8-volt cordless rotary tool? It must be one of the most useful tools ever invented. Dremel was onto something when they released the 8000 years ago. Everyone loved the lithium ion batteries for their light weight, long life, and portability. (Remember when we all got excited about batteries without “memory” that could be charged anytime?) But then people began to get frustrated when the motors started burning out. The real problem is that there’s no way to tell if you got a good one or bad one before you try using it.
- Motor provides good power, but fails too quickly
- A good first-draft design, but doesn’t hold up
- Lithium ion batteries are great, but do these last?
- Nice selection of accessories
Best for lighter work
If you do light work, and only light work, without a lot of pressure, your motor will probably be fine. Maybe you use your rotary tool for feather dusting or for hole punching. If you increase the load on the Dremel 8000, though, chances are your motor’s going to get bogged down and automatically shut off. Then you have to wait for it to spin down, then restart it again, then try to find the previous speed you were at, and then watch your pressure very carefully so it doesn’t happen again. The good news is that it doesn’t seem to actually break the motor – just shut it off. If you’re working with fine dust, like drywall, that’s when you have to worry about breaking the motor.
I’m not qualified to talk about the internal mechanics of the Dremel 8000. I’ve never built a power tool motor, and I’m not likely to start anytime soon. The external design, though, the user experience, now that’s fair game. The attachment system is OK. It’s got four collects in different sizes that can be changed out rather easily and changing accessories is quite quick if you’re using the same size collet.
Variable speed control was a great idea. Rather than having a low/high switch, Dremel created a dial to control the speed, which ranges from 5,000 to 35,000 rpms. There are just two problems. First, the dial goes from 0 to 10, 0 being “off”. Any time you turn the tool off, you’re going to lose your speed setting. Also, it’s a lot easier to bump the dial away from the off position than it would have been with a switch. This can be potentially dangerous – really dangerous. Second, a lot of customers have reported the variable speed burning out within a short time of use. They’re left with two speeds: 0 rpms and 35,000 rpms. A rotary tool is definitely useful at 35,000 rpms, just not as useful as it would have been if it had other speeds as well.
Lithium batteries are wonderful
Ahh, lithium ions. They’re light (this rotary tool is only 14 oz.), they’re long lasting (this unit will run for as long as an hour depending on what setting you’re using), and they hold a charge for a long time. Unfortunately, since this is a pretty old model, the battery takes a couple hours to charge. Other than that, they’re your basic lithium ion batteries and there’s nothing bad to say about them. Some people complain that the batteries suddenly die after a few months. Is it the batteries or the motor? Hard to say. There are proven motor problems, but a lot of older lithium setups have problems too.
Enough accessories to get the job done, probably
The Dremel 8000-03 cordless rotary tool kit comes with 40 accessories, which is more than some of their smaller kits, but doesn’t contain quite as useful a selection. For example, you’ll get no cutting guide attachments in this kit. You will, however, get the following, which is a good starting point for most cutting, sanding, cleaning, and polishing jobs (get the polishing compound separately):
- Drill bit
- Two mandrels
- High speed cutter
- 18 sanding drums, bands, and wheels at different grits
- 6 emery cut-off wheels
- 2 emery wheels
- 7 felt polishing wheels
- 4 aluminum oxide and silicon carbide grinding wheels and stones
- You’ll also get a nice, sturdy case that holds everything and a pretty good manual.
If you’re keen on getting a Dremel, check out the Dremel 8220-2/28 12-Volt, which is the tool they released after getting all the complaints about the 8000. If you don’t mind getting a corded tool, the Dremel 4000 is another really good one, and it comes in a variety of kits with different attachments and accessories. Try the Dremel 4000 3/34 rotary tool kit, the mid-level entry in that line.
If you’re ready to deal with customer service in case you get a lemon, you can get a Dremel 8000 at a really good deal.
- Lithium-ion battery holds charge while in storage for two years so light is always ready when you need it
- Includes 40 genuine Dremel accessories
- Variable speed from 5,000 to 35,000 rpm to match the proper speed required
- High capacity 10.8V Lithium-ion battery for longer run times
- Comfort grip housing for easier handling and better tool control
- Rotary tool
- 40 accessories
- Carrying case
- Instruction manual
- 1 year manufacturer warranty