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The Best Rock Tumbler For Beginners!

best rock tumbler

The Best Rock Tumbler For Beginners

best rock tumbler

Rock tumbling, or rock polishing, is a great way for both kids and adults to take their rock collecting hobby to the next level. But if you’ve spent any time shopping around for rock polishers or rock tumblers, you may have quickly become overwhelmed, especially if you’re a beginner!

That’s okay, I felt the same way when I first started.  And since this Rock Seeker has done all the ‘digging’ for you, I want to share what I’ve found to be the best rock polisher for beginner tumblers and rockhounds.

Why Start Rock Tumbling?

Rock tumbling, or rock polishing, is the hobby of collecting a variety of rocks and literally turning them into gemstones you can use for many different kinds of things such as jewelry, crafts, decor or simply just to display at home.  It’s an incredibly easy hobby to get into and it doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s an activity the entire family can enjoy together.  And like other enjoyable hobbies, the more you do it, the better you become.

Things You Might Need

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What We Looked For While Searching for The Best Rock Tumbler for Beginners

While researching the best rock tumblers, there were a number of specific things we chose to pay very close attention to.


Quality might as well be the most important factor to consider when choosing a rock polisher. You’ll be spending your hard earned money and we want to to make sure it lasts for a very long time.  Make certain you buy one that will last.


If you’re like most rockhounds, you probably don’t have an incredible amount of money to spend on your hobby.  So price is a very important factor in determining the best rock polisher. We all want to take our rock collection to the next level, but we don’t want to spend a fortune doing it.

Ease of Use

When it comes to choosing the right rock polisher for beginners, ease of use is an important factor to consider.  The idea is that over time, kids should be able to use the rock tumbler without a significant amount of adult supervision.  Of course, supervision will be necessary during the learning phase of rock tumbling. But eventually, we want this to be an activity kids can do on their own.

Review Of The National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler

After taking all of the above factors into consideration, Rock Seeker has found that the best rock polisher for beginners, without question, is the National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler Kit.

National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler/ Rock Polisher

About The Best Rock Tumbler For Beginners

The reason we chose the National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler as the best rock tumbler is simple.  When we considered all of the areas that were important to us, quality, price and ease of use, this specific one came back with very high ratings for each individual area, making it the best rock tumbler.


High quality metal rock tumbler has a powerful motor, noise reducing leak-proof barrel and comes backed by a 2-year warranty. National Geographic customer service is excellent.


One of the most affordable rock tumblers available at $69.99 (at the time of this writing).

Ease Of Use

Perfect for beginners. Easy to operate. Features an automatic shutoff timer so you can get bigger results and save energy.

 The National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler includes everything you need to get started right away.

  • Tumbler
  • 9 rough gemstones (.5 lbs)
  • All 4 polishing grits
  • Jewelry fastenings
  • Educational guide and easy to follow instructions


  • Affordable and easy to use
  • Comes with everything you need to get started
  • Made of quality material and durable
  • Leak proof rubber barrel which should last longer and be quieter than the plastic barrel some other beginner rock polisher kits come with.
  • Has a timer for automatic shutoff
  • Holds up to around 1 pound of rocks
  • Excellent customer service at National Geographic
  • Great for beginner rock polishers of all ages…kids and adults
  • Can be used for jewelry and brass shell casings


  • Like most rock polishers and tumblers, they can be loud. Best to put it in a garage or shed while in use.
  • Size of the barrel.  Is not as big as alternative rock tumblers for kids, like the Lortone 3A.  But the National Geographic Hobby rock tumbler barrel can still hold up to about 1 pound of rocks.
  • Rubber belt drive which can eventually wear out, but can easily be replaced.

Alternative To The National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler

The National Geographic Hobby Rock Tumbler may not be the perfect fit for everyone.  The main reason being the size of its barrel.  Even though I’ve found that the relatively small size is still perfect for beginners and children just starting out with there rock tumbling hobby, some people may want something with a larger capacity.

In that case, you really want to take a look at the Loratone 3A rock tumbler. I just recently purchased one of these to tumble agates and jasper, and it’s worked just perfectly.

The Lortone 3a has a VERY quiet rubber barrel that has a 3lb holding capacity. And the best thing about the Lortone 3a was just how unbelievably quiet it was.

You can get more information on the Lortone 3A here.

Give the National Geographic Rock Tumbler a try.  And if you are new to the rock tumbling hobby, take a look at my Instructional post, How To Use A Rock Tumbler for basic instructions on getting started with your rock tumbler.

If looking for even more family fun, take a moment to look at my review of the Rock On Geology Game. Your young rock hounds will love it!

  • Give your rockhound the best rock tumbler for beginners to get them on their way?
  • An activity for the whole family to be a part of

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Do you have experience with this rock tumbler? I hope this rock tumbler review was able answer any questions you might have had about the National Geographic Hobby tumbler.  I still believe it’s an excellent choice for beginners, kids and anyone else who wants to get started with the awesome hobby of rock tumbling. 

Have you used this tumbler? Know of a better one for beginners? Share your story with us!  Leave a comment below!

As always…Happy Rock Seeking!

  1. The Best Rocks For Tumbling (Buy Rocks In Bulk!)
  2. The Best Rock Tumbler Grit
  3. How To Use A Rock Tumbler
  4. How To Make Your Own Rock Tumbler Grit Substitute
  5. Harbor Freight Rock Tumbler Review: The Best Economical Rock Polisher
best rock tumbler

Don Gerig

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