Dremel has a new cordless rotary tool (12V Max), the 8260, which they’re calling the World’s 1st Brushless Smart Rotary Tool.
The new Dremel 8260 is designed to help you “unleash your potential.” The “Smart” part refers to Bluetooth connectivity, where the rotary tool can communicate with smartphones, tablets, and similar devices.
The Dremel 8260 cordless rotary tool is accompanied by an app, available for Android and iOS devices, which can report on “tool performance & more.”
From the screenshots, it looks to report on battery life and temperature conditions of your tool and battery.
The Dremel app also gives “project guidance & more,” with speed recommendations for different materials and types of cutting, grinding, and sanding accessories.
Dremel boasts that the 8260 can deliver 20% more power than their 4300 corded rotary tool.
Not only that, it delivers 100% more runtime than their 8220 cordless rotary tool under specific application
The 8260 helps you “do more with less downtime” thanks to its “2X more battery life” compared to the 8220.
A lot of these claims have to do with the 8260’s brushless motor, which – as expected – delivers more power, runtime, and longer tool life compared to the brushed motors used in their other cordless rotary tools.
The Dremel 8260 is available in a rather spartan kit, with the tool, a couple of cut-off wheels, a 3Ah battery, charger, and tool bag.
Dremel 8260 Thoughts & Discussion
Dremel launched the 8220 cordless rotary tool nearly 10 years ago. They have come out with compact models since then, such as the Dremel Lite 7760, but this is their first 12V Max model in quite a long time.
While claims of 2X the runtime seem impressive, keep in mind that they’re comparing a brushless-motored tool that’s powered with a 3.0Ah battery with a 10-year-old brushed motor tool that’s advertised as being kitted with a 1.5Ah battery. To me, this suggests that the main benefit is in the power delivery.
Brushless motors have higher efficiency than brushed motor. Depending on the motor selection and power tuning, a brushless tool can draw less current for the same power, contributing to longer runtime, or they can deliver more power at comparable current draw.
If the 2X longer runtime claims are tied to the 2X greater charge capacity, then does the brushless motor contribute any runtime gains? If not, then it’s possible the motor contributes more towards higher power capabilities.
What I find curious is why Dremel is comparing the 8260’s power to their corded model rotary tool, rather than the 8220 cordless model that all of their other claims are based against.
Additional or replacement Dremel 12V Max batteries seem to be hard to find right now, and I also have not seen any indication that the 3.0Ah battery will be available separately. So, what happens when you do run out of battery power?
The 8220 comes with a 1-hour charger, and that charging time is presumably for the 1.5Ah battery. If the 8260 is bundled with the same charger, does that mean you’ll have to sit through 2 hours of downtime waiting for the 3.0Ah battery to fully recharge?
If you buy the 2-battery 8220 kit, or 2x of the 1-battery 8220 kits – which will leave you with $10 more in your wallet at current pricing compared to the new 8260 kit – you can have one battery on the tool and one on the charger. With the 8260, having to recharge the battery in the middle of a project will inevitably lead to downtime.
Looking closer, the 2-battery 8220 kit is advertised as being bundled with 2.0Ah batteries. In theory, aside from a moment to swap batteries between the tool and charger, that kit should result in less downtime than the new 8260 kit that comes with a single 3.0Ah battery.
I must say, I’m disappointed that Dremel still insists on their own separate battery platform. It’s time for Dremel to make 12V Max tools that are cross-compatible with Bosch’s 12V Max cordless power tool platform.
The specs are also a little strange.
Dremel 8260 Speed Range: 5,000 to 30,000 RPM
Dremel 8220 Speed Range: 5,000 to 35,000 RPM
The 8260 is said to deliver “20% faster cutting speed” than the 8220, but the 8220 max RPM speed us 16.7% higher. For a lot of tasks, you let the tool’s speed do the work, and so power delivery isn’t as important except for tasks where you apply greater pressure.
I can see how the 8260 can deliver faster cutting speed despite being slower than the 10-year-old brushed motor model, but might there be times when that extra 5,000 RPM are missed?
More frequent corded rotary tool users might prefer a tool that matches up to their tools’ speed ranges, otherwise they might have to relearn optimal speed settings and ranges for common tasks.
The 8260 is without a doubt a very interesting and innovative tool, I just need more time to better understand its placement within Dremel’s rotary tool product family.
This is a “Smart” Tool
The Dremel 8260 can connect to smartphone apps via Bluetooth connectivity.
Will beginners benefit from having an app guide them on speed selection for different combinations of work materials and accessories? Absolutely.
But on the other hand, although an app can be a convenient place to access this type of information. Such information is also easily accessible online.
Some users will appreciate having the Dremel app report the exact battery charge capacity, compared to a couple of on-tool LED indicator lights.
If you look closely, you don’t need the app to see tool and battery temperatures, as there are new on-tool gauges right next to the battery charge capacity gauge.
The “never-before-seen smart capabilities” seem a bit underwhelming to me, to be honest, as it doesn’t look to enhance the tool with respect to any customizable power or speed controls.
However, there do look to be some neat innovations packed into the tool.
Given its $169 price tag, this isn’t a tool for beginners, at least in my opinion, it’s a cordless rotary tool for more experienced users or users who want a cordless option to complement their corded work.
More demanding users tend to burn out Dremel rotary tools over time. Will the temperature gauges and brushless motor tech on this cordless tool be up to their needs and typical usage habits?