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The 4 Best Reloading Tumblers for the Money [Vibratory, Rotary]

Best Reloading TumblersWhen you’re reloading your own ammo, you’ll first need to use the best reloading tumbler you can get before you go with your reloading press.

That’s because the reloading tumbler cleans your brass before you work on it, and cleaning the brass helps a lot. You’re more likely to end up with accurate reloaded rounds when you take the time and effort to clean your cases first before you reload it.

You don’t have to manually clean each case after all. A reloading tumbler does this for you more efficiently so you don’t waste time and you save yourself the effort.

But not all reloading tumblers are as good as another. Some are definitely better, which is why we have a list of the best:

Top 4 Reloading Tumblers: Comparison Chart

Here’s a quick overview on the crucial features you can find on our recommended reloading tumblers.

Brass Tumbler Type Capacity Special Feature View on Amazon
Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ 110V Vibratory Case Tumbler Vibratory 600 9mm or 350 .223 cases Media separator (optional) Check Price
Lyman Pro 1200 Tumbler Vibratory 350 cases of 38 Special Built-in sifter Check Price
Hornady 50200 Hornady M2 Case Tumbler Vibratory 500 cases of 38 Special Built-in sifter Check Price
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler Rotary 1,000 cases of .223 brass Built-in timer, noise dampening rubber lining Check Price

Best Picks for Reloading Tumbler

With so many available reloading tumblers available these days, which one should you go with? You can save yourself a lot of time and trouble by starting with these excellent options. These all come from the most reputable brands, and they all have terrific ratings with reasonable prices.

Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ 110V Vibratory Case Tumbler

Features
  • RELIABLE: Unique bowl design to increase brass agitation for fast, aggressive cleaning that reduces wear on reloading dies and extends brass life
  • EASE OF USE: Clean lid for monitoring tumbling action with cord-mount ON/OFF switch for saftey and convenience
  • CONVENIENT: Removes fouling, lube and oxidation quickly and conveniently; Use in conjunction with Frankford Arsenal Walnut or Corn Cob Medias
  • RELIABLE: Tumbler holds up to 600 9mm or 350 .223 cases
  • SPECS: 110 Volts with 13.25 Liter Drum/Bowl Capacity

Last update on 2020-10-29 /  Affiliate Links (#ad)  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can go with the basic case tumbler, or for an extra ten bucks ($9.11, to be exact) you also get the media separator.

This media separator is a plastic bucket with side walls going 4.75 inches high, to hold your brass and cleaning media. It sits atop the 3.5 and 5-gallon buckets, while its holes at the bottom let the media fall through so your clean casings remain.

Even without this media separator, this is a fine tumbler. The design is unique, as it boosts how it shakes the brass to really clean the casings efficiently.

This can hold 350 cases of .223, or 600 9mm cases. The bowl has a 13.25L capacity, so it should be able to hold plenty of media as well.

Just put in the corncob or walnut media, and you’re good to go. For best results, you may want to go with the media that Frankford Arsenal also offers.

The lid is transparent, so you can monitor the cleaning action inside. That way, you know when you can turn it off.

This also comes with an On/Off switch at the cord, which isn’t actually a feature you find in every tumbler. Some of the other tumblers turn on and off only when you plug it in or out.

Pros
  • Has an on/off switch
  • Cleans a lot of cases
  • You can get a media separator if you want
  • You can monitor the cleaning action inside
  • It’s fairly quiet, especially with a rubber mat underneath it
Cons
  • Other people in the house may not like the noise
  • You may have to put in a funnel over the venter post to make it more effective
  • Best results after 8 or more hours

Lyman Pro 1200 Tumbler

Sale
Features
  • Used by serious shooters and reloaders
  • Tools and accessories for any shooter
  • Innovative and easy to use
  • Sifter lid for quick and easy media separation
  • Holds 2 pounds of media and will clean up to 350 cases per cycle

Last update on 2020-10-29 /  Affiliate Links (#ad)  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is an upgrade over the regular Lyman 1200, and the price is still reasonable. But now it comes with a built-in sifter to separate the media from your brass more efficiently.

This can clean up to 350 cases at one time, while it also holds up to 2 pounds of cleaning media. This works well enough with walnut shells, but it’s really great with corncob.

This works very effectively, and sometimes you end up with clean cases after only 2 hours.

The difference between a cleaned brass after using this tumbler is quite a contrast with a fired case that hasn’t been cleaned yet. In fact, it may even come out cleaner and shinier than a fresh round right out of the manufacturer’s box.

It’s very quiet as well. Try using this in another room and leave the door open, and when you go outside, you’ll hardly hear the cleaning action.

The main drawback is that there’s no on/off switch. You’ll have to pull the plug to turn it off, though you may want to use an extension cord with a power switch instead.

This model has been around for decades, and it’s a proven tumbler for lots of reloaders.

Pros
  • Proven model
  • Holds plenty of media and casings
  • Works very quickly and efficiently
  • The shiny results are more impressive than even brand-new rounds
  • It’s very quiet
Cons
  • There’s no on/off switch

Hornady 50200 Hornady M2 Case Tumbler

Features
  • Includes tumbler, product manual
  • Power 110-Volt
  • Cleans brass to look like new
  • Helps maintain the quality of your dies

Last update on 2020-10-29 /  Affiliate Links (#ad)  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hornady is another famous brand in the firearms accessories industry, so you can trust it for your various reloading tools. This can effectively get rid of abrasive particles that can scratch up the insides of your fired cases.

This comes with a 3.31L bowl, and with it you can clean up to 500 cases of the 38 Special. use this with the Hornady media, which is good for 2,000 cases.

This works nicely, as it gives you great results in just 4 hours or so. For best results, try it for 6 to 8 hours at a time.

This comes with a built-in sifter, though it’s a bother to use. That’s because you have to turn the whole thing upside down and then give it a little shake.

The base of this tumbler is terrific, as it absorbs the vibrations nicely. It doesn’t “walk” off when it’s working, either, while the lid also doesn’t rattle off.

These also all mean that it’s not too noisy either. The motor just hums around nicely.

This also comes with a power switch in a cord, which should really be a considered a standard feature. Now you don’t have to pull the cord out of the outlet to power it off.

If you’re sticking with vibrating models, this may be the best tumbler for reloading.

Pros
  • Comes with a power switch
  • Not too noisy
  • Very stable
  • Works very well
  • Hornady has an excellent reputation for durability (and for dealing with warranty issues)
Cons
  • The sifter isn’t as effective as the optional media separator from Frankford Arsenal
  • Older rounds may need 8 hours of tumbling

Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler

Sale
Features
  • SPECS: With a large 7-liter capacity this tumbler can clean up to 1,000 cases of .223 brass at a time
  • EASE OF USE: Features a maintenance-free drive train that eliminates the chances of needing to replace a belt and has a built-in timer in the base that can be set to run for up to 3 hours, shutting off automatically
  • VERSATILITY: This tumbler can effectively clean without the use of stainless steel media pins and can clean using a mixture of brass cleaning solution and water
  • QUIET: This tumbler features a dual-layer drum with noise dampening rubber lining for minimal noise while running
  • CONVENIENT: Works great with Frankford Arsenal Stainless Steel Media (1097884), Cleaning Packs (110040), and Cleaning Solution (878787) sold seperately

Last update on 2020-10-29 /  Affiliate Links (#ad)  / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Now this is a bestseller in the industry, even though it’s a rotary which is often more expensive than your usual vibrating tumbler.

Yet even though you pay more than twice the prices of the other tumblers on this list, people buy this in droves. Some say there’s a budding rivalry between the Lyman Cyclone vs Frankford Arsenal, but we like this rotary tumbler.

Part of the reason for that is its huge capacity, which is great for high-volume reloaders. This can handle a thousand .223 cases at one time, as it features a 7L drum.

Since this is a rotary, you can also use this with steep pins along with a soap and water solution. Your purchase actually comes with a free 5-pound pack of 304 Stainless Steel Media along with a sample packet of the Frankford Brass Cleaning Solution are included

Durability isn’t a problem either, because this comes with a maintenance-free drive train. You won’t ever need to replace the belt at all, since there are no belts to replace.

Lots of people have mentioned that they’ve used this tumbler regularly for a year, cleaning thousands of cases during that time. But complaints about breakdowns are few and far between (if you can even find any).

The drum here has rubber lining molded on the inside. This protects the brass from scratches and other damages, while it also dampens the ruckus when it’s operating.

This rotary tumbler works very quickly, so there’s no need to run the tumbler the whole day or even overnight. It actually has a built-in timer, and you can set it for 3 hours at the most.

This cleans very well, and in fact the results look better than brand-new ammo.

If there’s a drawback on this thing, it’s the somewhat noisy motor. Even if you use this in another room and you close the room with an insulated steel door, you can hear its high-pitched noise easily.

Pros
  • Cleans lots of cases at one time
  • The bowl has a rubber lining that minimizes the inside noise and protects the brass
  • It works very quickly, and its built-in timer has a max setting of 3 hours
  • The resulting brass look cleaner than brand-new ammo
  • This works for a very long time, with no belt to replace
  • For less than $20 extra, you can get the transfer magnet to separate the steel pins
Cons
  • The motor is quite noisy

 

What is the Best Reloading Tumbler?

The best brass tumbler for reloading depends on your needs and preferences. But in general, you have 2 options to choose from.

Rotary Tumbler

First, have the rotary tumbler. This machine turns and the barrel turns with it, so the cleaning media clean the casings inside the barrel.

This lets you use both dry and wet cleaning media. You can use steel pins with cleaning liquids, or stick with walnut shells or corncob media.

On the other hand, it’s a more expensive option. This may still be the best for you, if you can afford it and you want to go with steel pins and wet media.

Vibrating Tumbler

Vibratory Case TumblerAs the name indicates, this vibrates to rub the casings against the cleaning media. It’s very effective in cleaning the cases, plus it’s a much more affordable option.

Still, you’re limited to using only dry cleaning such as corncob media and walnut shells.

Some say that this is the best option, since the results are virtually the same as with the rotary but this type of tumbler is much more affordable. In some of the better vibrating tumblers, you clean the brass much more quickly.

Things to Consider Before Buying Reloading Tumbler

How do you know which tumblers are best for your needs? You ought to read the reloading tumbler reviews, and while you do so you should focus on the following factors.

Rotary or Vibrating Tumbler

Rotary TumblerEach type has its own set of pros and cons.

Most want to use the vibrating tumbler, as it’s cheaper. A lot say that the rotary tumblers don’t offer better results, especially in light of their added cost.

If you’re going with mainly dry cleaning agents such as corncob or walnut shells, then this is a great option for you.

But rotary tumblers still have a lot of fans, though they’re mainly the users of steel pins and wet cleaning agents. Just be aware that this type will cost you a lot more money, even if it is the best case tumbler for you.

Brand Name of Reloading Tumbler

If it doesn’t have a famous brand name, it’s safe to ignore it and go with a better-known manufacturer.

Going with unknown brands is just too risky when it comes to getting a reloading tumbler, because you simply can’t be too sure about the quality of the product and how the brand responds to warranty issues.

Case Capacity of Reloading Tumbler

How many cases can you clean at one time? Obviously, it’s a lot more efficient if you’re able to clean a larger number of cases at one time.

Of course, the size of the tumbler must also be able to accommodate an ample amount of cleaning agent for all these cases inside.

Convenient Features of Reloading Tumbler

The tumbler should be easy to use, with features that minimizes the effort, frustration, and time needed.

You may want to go for a media separator or built-in sifter, so that you can easily get off the media from the cases.

Another nice feature is a built-in timer, so that you won’t risk over-running the tumbler and stressing the motor if you leave it on for too long.

Quality and Durability of Reloading Tumbler

It doesn’t matter how nice and great the tumbler is at first, if it doesn’t stay that way for long. That means everything should work as intended for several years, so that you don’t have to buy one of these things too frequently.

Check for high quality materials, along with a motor with protection against overheating.

Noise of Reloading Tumbler

It’s obviously better if the tumbler doesn’t raise a ruckus when you use it, though you can save a lot of problems just by using this in an empty room (like in your garage).

Most spec sheets don’t mention noise levels, so you need to read brass tumbler reviews from customers.

It shouldn’t be too noisy, especially when you have other people in the house trying to study or watch TV.

How to Use a Reloading Tumbler

How to Use a Reloading Tumbler
Photo By Frankford Arsenal

This will depend on what type of reloading tumbler you got and the cleaning agents you plan to use. Still, the steps are similar.

Picking Your Media

You can use corncob and walnut shells for both the rotary and vibrating tumbler. Just don’t mix it with any wet cleaning media, but it’s a very cost-effective solution.

Go with corncob media if the casings aren’t too dirty. If the brass casings are severely tarnished or haven’t been cleaned for a long while, go with the more invasive walnut shells.

For some, the best tumbler reloading media option is steel pins, if you have a rotary tumbler. Add a packet of premade cleaning solution, though you can use your own solution of soap and water.

Some people even use car wax inside the rotary tumbler.

Cleaning the Brass

Just turn the tumbler and wait for it to clean the brass. That may take at least 4 to 5 hours.

Once you’re done, sort through your casings. If you’ve used a wet cleaning media, air the casings out first or use a hair dryer on them to dry them out.

Storage and Maintenance

Store the tumbler in an out of the way place, where it’s safe from high humidity. Clean it regularly as well, according to the manual instructions.

Who Makes the Best Reloading Tumbler?

This is actually a question that’s been discussed endlessly in online forums. Each brand has its own set of devoted fans, so it’s really a matter of opinion.

Of course, the results will also differ depending on the cleaning media.

What seems obvious, however, is the fact it’s best to stick to famous name brands when getting your reloading equipment, and these will include your brass tumbler.

The famous brands have a long history with the reloading industry, and they’ve all earned their well-deserved reputation of offering effective reloading solutions. They’re very likely better than any cheap Johnnie-come-lately brand that might tempt you instead.

So, stick with Lyman, Frank Arsenal, and Hornady.

Final Verdict

It’s true that the vibrating tumblers work very well, and for very little money. They’re also quieter than your usual rotary tumbler.

But we were truly impressed with the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler, because it really was that good.

Sure, it’s more expensive, but you sure get your money’s worth. Besides, this tumbler will last for a very long time, so it’s a worthwhile investment.

It’s also noisier, but you can just use this in your garage and the problem’s solved. The results are simply fantastic, and you get these results very quickly.

For us, the best reloading tumbler is the Platinum Series rotary tumbler from Frankford Arsenal.

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