October 24, 2020

Dremel 3000 vs 4000: Find Out What YOU Need

Dremel 3000 vs 4000

You are looking to buy a rotary tool for one of your DIY projects, but you haven’t picked one yet. You’re already halfway there since you’ve decided to get a Dremel. This is one of the best companies out there making that kind of equipment. A good reason to choose Dremel is the almost unlimited number of attachments and accessories you can buy for your rotary tool.

There are a lot of safe choices you can make between Dremel tools, but today we are going to do a full Dremel 3000 vs 4000 comparison.

To be honest, there aren’t that many significant differences. If you are buying your first rotary tool, you should probably get a Dremel 3000, since it’s cheaper and more comfortable. It would probably be the best way to start.

If you need some additional power, and money isn’t a problem, then you should get a Dremel 4000. But don’t forget that these all in one tool are suited for doers. With one purchase, you can do a lot of different things and save some money. If you are a professional, you should probably get a more specific tool for the job you intend to do (grinding, cutting, polishing, etc).

Now let’s get to the core of the matter. First, I’m going to give you a general introduction to this kind of tool.

What is a Rotary Tool?

A rotary tool is a power tool that comes with a tip where an attachment can be placed. It’s pretty much the same as a die grinder, but in this case, it’s an electric, lighter version. They are used for a variety of jobs: grinding, polishing, sanding, honing and so on. For each of those, there’s a specific attachment. Therefore, a rotary tool is a very versatile piece of equipment.

It’s important to understand that every kind of job requires a different approach. You wanna apply a different amount of force when you are polishing a jewel than when you are grinding to remove some rust on a car.

Dremel 3000 vs 4000: a Full Comparison

Now, we will get to the similarities between these two rotary tools. Then, we will go into detail about the differences, which are the most important thing to consider when deciding between two pieces of equipment.

Similarities

  • They are both powered by electricity. This is the main difference between a rotary tool and a die grinder: the power source. A die grinder is usually powered by an air compressor, so it’s a pneumatic tool. That makes it more suitable for heavy-duty work. A rotary tool, like these Dremels, performs better when used for lighter work.
  • They both come with a 6 feet long cord. I forgot to tell you: they are both corded. If you need a cordless tool for maximum portability, there are other Dremels available. The corded tools are more powerful, though.
  • The plastic case of both these tools is covered in soft rubber where you need to place your hand. This makes the use very comfortable, even after a long period of time. You can experiment with the way you keep it in your hand: for some finer jobs, you may wanna hold it like a pen, for example. You can do this without worrying about hurting yourself. The rubber is very grippy, so the chances of the tool slipping out of your hand are low.
  • They both have an “Ez Twist System“, which is a built-in spanner. This makes changing the attachment easier (you won’t need a separate key to do the job). To use this system, you need to press the spindle button that blocks the spindle rotation first. Then, while holding that button down, you unscrew the ez twist nose cup and slide it over your knot. In this position, you can use it as a spanner to unlock the knot. Then, you can remove the attachment and plug in the new one, and tighten it with the ez twist system. After you’ve finished, you can screw the ez system again in place.
  • Although they both offer variable speed, the model 4000 also has electric feedback. We will get to this later on.
  • Both these tools come with a hard plastic case, that makes them easier to carry around.
  • They both come with a hanging hook in the back of the tool, which is useful not only for resting the tool, but also when using the flexible shaft attachment (we will get to that later on).

Dremel 3000 vs 4000: Differences

After talking about the similarities, let’s get to the differences.

Performance

The Dremel 4000 is more powerful than the Dremel 3000. The model 3000 comes with a 130 Watt, 1.2 Amp motor. The model 4000 got a 175 Watt, 1.6 Amp motor.  It’s not a huge difference, but it’s there and you can feel its influence. A model 3000 doesn’t endure as much pressure as the 4000. When it comes to speed, both tools got variable speed (5000 to 32000 rpm for the model 3000, 5000 to 35000 rpm for the model 4000). So there’s a little difference in top velocity.

When you add those differences up, the result is that the Dremel 4000 guarantees better control and precision on the job. You get a more professional finish than the 3000. Obviously, this comes at a higher final price. The difference is not that high, though.

The performance level influences the type of activity each tool can do better. If you are planning on doing a lot of polishing projects, then a 3000 is probably the right choice (since it’s more comfortable in the long run). For cutting, grinding and sanding, you will probably need the additional power the model 4000 gives you.

Switches

dremel 3000 switch

The Dremel 3000 has 5 different levels of speed, that you can select with a switch (see image above). The Dremel 4000 is instead equipped with electronic feedback. Basically, the Dremel 400 can adjust the speed automatically, based on the job that it’s doing. This allows the Dremel to increase the power applied under load so that the speed is more consistent. The output is more uniform, especially when grinding and sanding. Furthermore, the model 4000 is equipped with a separate on-off switch, which lets you turn off the tool immediately, instead of having to go through all the lower speeds.

The model 3000 has neither the electronic feedback and the separate on-off switch. These are features that were introduced with the model 4000, which is a more recent version of the tool. These are big differences that you need to consider. Keep in mind that a lot of users reported that the model 3000 tends to underperform at a lower speed, which means that you need to keep it constantly at a higher speed to get consistent output. This could be detrimental for the tool durability in the long run.

Design

Now, let’s talk about the design of these tools. They look pretty much the same. The only difference is in the color: one is darker than the other. They both come with ergonomic design: you can use them for a long period of time without worrying about a repetitive strain injury.

The ergonomics is a good thing about both these Dremels. For a lot of projects, you will need to hold this tool in an awkward position for a long time, so it really comes handy.

Furthermore, both these tools come with a hard case, which makes it easier to carry them around without losing any of the attachments. Another design specific they have in common is that they are both corded. I talked about this in the similarities paragraph, so you can check that for more considerations.

Since I already touched on it, let’s talk about comfort.

Comfort

Ergonomic-wise, both models are very comfortable. They come with a soft rubber coating that makes them nice to hold in your hand and prevents a lot of aches if you need to work with them for a while. So that’s a good point for both of them.

Another thing that influences the comfort of a tool is the weight and the dimensions. The model 3000 is 7.5 inches long and weighs 1.2 pounds; the model 4000 is 9 inches long and weighs 1.4 pounds.  So they have pretty much the same weight, but the model 4000 is 1.5 inches longer. This added length makes it less comfortable to use.

In the end, the model 3000 is slightly more comfortable than a model 4000.

Durability

Let’s talk about the durability of these tools. If you are a hobbyist, and you use them every once in a while, they will last you a long time. Users reported that they left their Dremels out in the cold, under the rain and sun for years, but they still worked just fine after that. On the other hand, if you are a professional, and you plan to use them frequently, then you need to know that these pieces of equipment are not durable enough for that. You need to get more heavy-duty tools.

Now that we got these considerations out, let’s compare these 2 Dremels. The best thing to do to check their durability is to ask the buyers. Apparently, the model 4000 is more durable than the model 3000. That’s not a surprise: it comes with a bigger motor, so it’s expectable that it will last longer.

Another thing to consider is the durability of the attachments: apparently, the model 3000 comes with some plastic attachments that don’t last as long as those provided with the 4000. That’s only true for some of them: a lot of attachments are in common, and they are easily replaceable.

In the end, if you are a hobbyist, both these tools will last long enough for the money you are going to use to get them.

Attachments

Let’s talk about the attachments for a second. This is a strong point in favor of Dremels. If you take a minute and check their site, you are going to see a wide variety of attachments and accessories available. I bet you didn’t know the existence of half of them. If you want to do a specific project, there’s probably the right attachment out there.

A couple of interesting ones are the detailer’s grip and the flexible shaft. The first one is an additional handle to add under the ez twist system, which makes the tools even easier to handle (especially for certain activities like polishing). The flexible shaft is another good addition: it’s a long hose that allows you to work in hard to reach places, since the head is smaller compared to the actual Dremel. It’s the ideal attachment for precise, detail work since it guarantees much more control. Furthermore, it’s a lot more comfortable than the Dremel, because it’s much lighter and easier to hold with your fingertips.

So, attachment-wise, which of these two dremels is better?

You need to remember that the model 3000 is an older version of the 4000. The latter has more attachments since it’s a recent model, and it’s compatible with all the older Dremel attachments and accessories. The model 3000, on the other hand, comes with fewer attachments than the 4000, and it’s not compatible with the newer ones. This is a strong point in favor of getting the model 4000. To solve this matter, If you already know what kind of projects you are going to do, you could check and see if the model 3000’s attachments are adequate.

Toolkits

When you get a Dremel, you not only need to decide what model to get, but you also need to choose between a lot of different toolkits. When buying online, you will see something like this attached to the model number:

“4000-4/36”

It might be confusing at first, but it’s pretty easy to understand: in this example, we are talking about a model 4000, that comes with 4 attachments, and 36 accessories. This is a list of all the possible toolkits you can get:

  • Model 3000: 2/28 – 1/25H – 1/24 – 1/25 – 2/25 – N/18
  • Model 4000: 6/50 – 3/34 – 2/30 – 4/34 – 4/36 – 1/26

There are 6 possible toolkits per model. If you want to save some money, you can get a smaller toolkit now, and then buy separate attachments in the future when you need a specific one.

Here you have the biggest toolkit you can get for both the model 3000 and 4000:

4000 6/50

Model 3000 2/28Model 4000 4/65
• Sanding/Grinding Guide
• Multipurpose Cutting Guide attachment
• EZ600A Easy-Twist Nose Cap
• 107 3/32" Engraving Cutter
• 191 High Speed Cutter
• 401 Mandrel
• 402 Mandrel
• 403 Bristle Brush
• 407 Coarse 1/2" Sanding Drum
• 408 1/2" 60 Grit Sanding Band (2)
• 414 Small Felt Wheel (3)
• 415 Dressing Stone
• 421 Polishing Compound
• 426 1-1/4" Fiberglass-Reinforced Cut-Off Wheel (2)
• 428 3/4" Carbon Steel Brush
• 429 1" Felt Polishing Wheel (2)
• 432 1/2" 120 Grit Sanding Band (2)
• 445 1/2" 240 Grit Sanding Band (2)
• 561 MultiPurpose Cutting Bit
• 7144 Diamond Wheel Point
• 84922 Silicon Carbide Grinding Stone
• 932 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stone
• 953 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stone
• 90962 Wrench
• Planer attachment
• Flex Shaft attachment
• Circle Cutter/Straight Edge Guide
• Sanding/Grinding Guide
• Multipurpose Cutting Guide attachment
• Lawn Mower and Garden Tool Sharpening Attachment
• Detail Nose Piece
• Storage Case
• Quick Start Book
• 107 Engraving Cutter
• 150 Drill Bit
• 191 High Speed Cutter
• 194 High Speed Cutter
• 401 Mandrel
• 402 Mandrel w/ Screw
• 405 Bristle Brush
• 407 Coarse 1/2" Sanding Drum
• 408 1/2" 60 Grit Sanding Band (2)
• 411 3/4" Sanding Disc, 180 grit (2)
• 412 3/4" Sanding Disc, 220 grit (2)
• 413 3/4" Sanding Disc, 240 grit (2)
• 414 Small Felt Wheel (3)
• 420 Heavy Duty Emery Cut-off Wheel (4)
• 421 Polishing Compound
• 428 Carbon Steel Brush
• 429 1" Felt Polishing Wheel
• 432 1/2" 120 Grit Sanding Band (2)
• 442 Carbon Steel Brush
• 445 1/2" 240 Grit Sanding Band (2)
• 481 3/32" Collet
• 540 1-1/4" Cut-Off Wheel
• 541 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Wheel (2)
• 561 MultiPurpose Cutting Bit
• 8193 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stone
• 84922 Silicon Carbide Grinding Stone
• 90962 Wrench
• 932 Aluminum Oxide Grinding Stone
• EZ402 Mandrel
• EZ409 Thin-Cut Cutting Wheels (2)
• EZ423 1" Cloth Polishing Wheel
• EZ456 1 1/2" Reinforced cut-off wheel (2)
• EZ476 Plastic Cutting Wheel (2)
• EZ511 Abrasive Buffs, 180 & 280 Grit (2)
• EZ512 Abrasive Buff, 320 Grit

As I anticipated, the Dremel 4000 comes with the 3000 attachments and more. You also get multiple pieces of the ones that tend to worn out faster, which is pretty neat. Check them carefully before deciding which toolkit to get.

Now let’s talk about the price and wrap it up.

Price

Finally, two words about the price. The model 3000, as you may expect, it’s cheaper than the 4000. It’s still a good tool, but it’s not as good as the 4000, especially power-wise. The model 4000 is overall a better tool, but that comes with a higher price.

Summary

Here you have a quick infographic, to sum the differences up before taking a decision.

Dremel 3000 vs 4000 infographic

What do Users Have to Say?

One of the best things to do before buying something is asking a friend who already got that thing/piece of equipment for his opinion. This is probably better than reading a thousand reviews online. This time, I did the job for you: I went out there and read through A TON of comments submitted by people who got to test these tools. Here is what I learned.

For the Dremel 3000:

  • People who already had older dremels appreciate the presence of a slider switch for speed control. So you can now use light speed for fine work and high speed for heavier work.
  • The additional space in the case that allows you to put in extra attachments that you buy separately.
  • People love this Dremel because it doesn’t take up much space, and you can avoid spending money on a lot of different tools.
  • Another user reported that having a Dremel 3000 made his life easier since this rotary tool is easier to control when doing detail work than common power tools, like a die grinder, a scroll saw, etc.
  • Some users reported bad experiences with this tool. A common problem is that some of them didn’t turn on when first started. That’s bad luck, but it can happen also when you buy a phone, a dishwasher, etc. It’s not Dremel’s fault. Faulty tools happen all the time. Luckily, all Dremel tools come with a 2-year warranty. You may have to pay for shipping when returning it. I’m pretty sure that’s not the case if you get it via Amazon.

For the Dremel 4000, there’s a lot in common with the model 3000 reviews. Here you have some more things users pointed out:

  • People noted that finer dust gets stuck pretty easily on the rubber placed on the tactile surface. The rubber may worn out too fast. To prevent that, you simply have to wipe the tool off with a cloth after you finished using it.
  • There’s a common problem, that regards the collet size. A lot of users reported that most of the attachments that came with their 4000 would not fit inside the collet. So they assumed that their Dremel came with the wrong-sized collet. But there is an easy fix for that. Usually, it’s just the collet nut that is screwed too tightly, and so the attachments’ shank wouldn’t fit in the collet. To solve it, unscrew the collet nut, push the collet out of the back of the collet nut with a screwdriver, and tighten the collet nut. Now you should have enough space for your bigger shanks.

These are the things that were pointed out the most. As you can see, most problems are easily fixable. Like the model 3000, the model 4000 comes with a 2 years warranty, so you don’t need to worry about getting a tool that doesn’t work.

Dremel 3000 vs 4000: Why you Should Choose One Over the Other?

After all this talking, I think it’s time to wrap it up. To help you decide, I will list you all the points in favor of a model, and then the other.

Why should you buy a Dremel 3000?
  • You are a beginner, and this is the first rotary tool you get;
  • You want to save some money;
  • You are planning on using this rotary tool for a specific project, or not that much;
  • You need a tool for wood, plastic. In general, for light tasks.
Why should you buy a Dremel 4000?
  • You have used a rotary tool before, and you need an upgrade;
  • You are not short of money;
  • You want higher speed and precision;
  • You need the added power because you want to work on metal and ceramic.

Conclusion

Now, you should have all the information you need to take a weighted decision. A couple more things to consider:

  • The Dremel 3000 is slightly more comfortable than the Dremel 4000;
  • If you are worried about the attachments, you need to know that there are actually minimal differences in the toolkits (if you consider similar dimensioned toolkits, of course).

If I were you, I would definitely get a Dremel 4000 with an appropriate toolkit to my needs. The 2/30 toolkit it’s a good place to start. You can always get more attachments later on. 

If you are like me, and you get a Dremel 3000, the first time it struggles to get the job done, you are gonna regret not getting the other one. All things considered, I think the power addition on the model 4000 is worth the money.

You can get the Dremel 4000 2/30 on Amazon (link to Amazon).