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Where can you get Rock Tumblers in the UK?

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

Rock tumbling is a great hobby which can be incredibly satisfying. Here is our summary of the best equipment you can get to polish rocks, without having to get kit shipped in from America.

Taking up rockhounding isn’t the hobby for everyone. It’s great fun and we love it – but there have been times when mobility issues stop us getting out. The other end of the hobby is not in hunting the rocks, but in polishing them. Anyone can use a rock tumbler and there’s no walking involved. You can even have all the parts you need shipped to your door. But best of all? There’s no hiking up a mountain in the rain.

Now we are not tumbling experts, but we have been travelling in this circle for a while now, and we know that there is a big gap between British supplies and – well – the rest of the world. Much of the heavy duty crystal polishing equipment comes from the states, Germany, or China. If we want good supplies, we therefore have to turn to the international sales websites… and that’s what brings us to Amazon.

Here are our top picks mixed with a bit of advice on buying a rock tumbler when you live in the UK. Some of the links below use our Amazon associate account.

How much does a Rock Tumbler Cost?

On average, we find that a good, reliable rock tumbler in the UK starts from £75 and upwards. It’s not unusual to pay £90 for a good starter set. The bigger barrel machines can go for over £100. The bigger and more powerful the rock tumbler, the higher the price.

How much does it cost to run a Rock Tumbler in the UK?

Once you have your rock tumbler, you want to know how much it costs to run it. The bigger the tumbler, the greater the electricity cost. Although you run it 24 hours a day, a small motor doesn’t take that much to run. Guesses range from the same as a lightbulb (one reviewer on Amazon) to one kilowatt hour per day. If you run a house with four people in it, you probably won’t notice.

There are other things you should think about, too. You could pay more for a quieter machine because rock tumblers are a little noisy. Alternatively, do what we do and close it in a cupboard in the spare room.

Where is the Best Place to Buy a Rock Tumbler if you Live in Britain?

There are few places. You can go to your local lapidary club and ask them for advice. In Scotland the main one is in Edinburgh. It is the Scottish Mineral and Lapidary Club. We were going to list the rest but Rock N Gem Magazine have already done it here.

Otherwise you can pick up rock tumblers on the big sites like eBay and Amazon. We listed a few below and tried to pick out the good quality ones by UK/UK-friendly sellers, which would arrive the quickest. We looked at the reviews and put our ear to the street a little to pick out the best ones.

Where do you get Stones to Tumble?

You can buy Scottish minerals and crystals to tumble right here with the Stone Circle. We have agate, Cairngorm Quartz, Scottish Jasper, and a few other rough crystals for sale that you can pop in your new rock tumbler.

You can buy tumble mixes from the people who supply your rock tumbler too. The National Geographic tumbler has 2.27kg rock tumbler refill kits that will arrive in just a few days. There is a 1.3kg (3lb) pack too, but it takes a little longer to get to you. It’s called the Madagascar Mix because it contains rose quartz, labradorite, jaspers and other crystals. Both of these packs have the replacement grits.

We are reluctant to testify to the quality of the products we haven’t used yet when it comes to the crystal mixes. Other reviewers, though, really like this Dan&Darci Mega refill kit. It’s a good price and it has 4.5 out of 5 stars. Again, it promises to arrive quickly. If anyone wants to send us rock tumbler refill in the UK, we will happily use it and review it. They’re pro rock tumbler gets really good reviews too.

You can find your own rocks to tumble from out and about your local area. Go to your local river and have a look around. Learning which stones polish best is part of the fun of rock tumbling. You can learn more about where to go to hunt rocks in your area in our blog.

Lastly, you will need to replace your grits once in a while. The pros don’t like the foam media or some of the grits. Again, Dan&Darci grits get a good reputation. We use ones that look like this.

What is a Good Rock Tumbler to Buy as a Beginner?

You have to love the National Geographic. It crosses the barrier between adults and kids because it’s designed for everyone. It comes with all the rocks and grits you need to begin. It has good reviews and, if it does break, they replace it immediately. Customer care isawesome. Once you have been tumbling for a while, you realise why pro rock tumble accounts all have five drums running in their garage and they are all massive. This one is a good tumbler for beginners, but once the hobby consumes you, you want to scale up. It’s also one of the better ones for quiet running since it comes with the rubber barrel, not a metal one.

What is the Best Rock Tumbler to Buy?

The best rock tumbler you can get in the UK depends on what you want it for. Are you going full crystal shop and want to smooth polish healing crystals? Or are you feverish to churn through dirty driveway stones to find their hidden beauty? Whether it’s small scale or mass production, we tried to sort the best rock tumbler into categories, below.

Best stone polisher for Kids

There is a hobby tumbler specifically for kids which we think looks a little like a UFO. The Science Mad! Rock tumbler has a bad press over the noise level. This is one for the garage. Still, it’s fun and kid-friendly, plus it’s a STEM toy, and we are all for children in STEM.

You must remind your kids before they order it that it takes anything up to a week per stage to polish rocks, so they shouldn’t expect instant results. It’s still cool to see the rocks before they go in and learn their names. Consider holding one or two back so you can see the before and after once they finish tumbling.

Best Value for Money

For an extra £20 or so on the other model, you can upgrade your barrel capacity to 3lb or 1.36kg on the slightly larger Nat Geo. This isn’t a sponsored post, by the way. In the world of UK rock tumblers, you need to go with what’s available and you have limited choices.

Best Rock Tumbler for Experienced Rock Polishers

This Advanced Professional Rock Tumbler comes with all the starting materials, 3 polishing speed settings, a timer that works up to nine days, and free returns if you’re not happy. It has over 11k reviews at the time of writing and has come out with a 4.5/5 star rating. That’s good going. This is a Dan&Darci product with a 1lb drum. They ship quickly to the UK. If we are honest, this looks like a nice step up from beginner models, although we would prefer a larger drum size… Let’s go big or go home.

Best Model for Large Volumes of Rocks

Now… if the bug has bitten you and there’s no turning back, you can only go up. That means multiple tumblers and no room for your car in the garage, or a bigger barrel and more power. If you have the space and your ears can stand it, take a look at the Leegol Electric Rock Tumbler Machine. This is crazy. It turns two barrels of rocks at once so you can tumble multiple types of crystal in one batch. This machine takes more electricity than the rest. Advanced users only…

Best Rock Tumbler on a Budget

If you really want to start but you really can’t afford it, the cheapest rock tumbler we could find was this starter rock tumbler from Nat Geo. It’s smaller than the regular one and comes with a rubber lined metal barrel. The one we linked earlier comes with a fully rubber barrel, so it’s a bit quieter.

Can you Tumble Rocks Without the Tumbler?

It is difficult to tumble rocks without a tumbler, but not impossible. If you start with a flat surface, you can achieve a high shine using progressive grits of sandpaper. You can learn how to in our digital guide.

Remember too that rock tumblers are not the only type of lapidary equipment out there. If you want to polish agate in a fraction of the time that we do it, invest in a flat lap machine. You could even buy a faceting machine and get into making jewellery worthy gems.

Further Research…

If you want to learn about rock tumbling, get onto social media. If you want good examples of tumbling experts, get onto Insta or TikTok and follow @Kdarn89 (Kelsey) or Karl & Rock & Stuff for tips. There are loads of great accounts out there that will talk you through the stages to help you get the best tumbled polish possible. And of course, you can follow the Stone Circle on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok while you are there.

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