Some people reload as a hobby; to some, it becomes a necessity. Regardless of the category you fall under, if you want to reload like a pro, a brass tumbler is a must-have for you.
But the question most newcomers might have on their mind is what exactly is a brass tumbler and what it does. Well, you see, a lot of prep work goes into reloading. And before you can cut down the case length or fill it with gunpowder, you need to make sure the brass is squeaky clean.
Now you can always clean it by hand. But it is not very practical when you are cleaning hundreds of casings. However, having the best brass tumbler can make this job extremely simple. Just toss it in the tumbler along with the media, mix detergents, and turn it on. It will come out perfectly clean out the other end.
In this article, I will talk about some of the top brass tumblers that you might want to look at if you want to make reloading easier on yourself.
Top 7 Best Brass Tumbler Reviews
Here are my top picks for some of the finest brass tumblers available on the market.
1. Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ 110V Case Tumbler Kit for Cleaning and Polishing for Reloading
The Quick-N-EZ by Frankford Arsenal is a fan favorite for many gunsmiths and reloading enthusiasts. For me, this was one of the first brass tumblers that I owned. So naturally, it holds a special place in my heart. But putting bias aside, it boasts a host of great features that makes it well worth the number one spot on my list, especially if you are a beginner.
Of course, this one being a budget-friendly product has its fair share of weaknesses. But at a price tag well below a hundred dollars, the performance it delivers is top-notch. If you do not plan on doing intense, large-volume reloading, you should be pretty happy with its performance.
Now, this is a vibratory tumbler, and as opposed to rotary tumblers that use rotational motion, this unit uses vibrations and frictions to clean the brass cases. The advantage of this design is that it is cheap yet pretty effective, but the downside is that it takes a bit of time to clean your cases.
For what it’s worth, though, this brass tumbler is designed to deliver quick and aggressive cleaning to ensure you can clean a full bowl of casings in a short period. It has a simple design with only an on and an off switch placed in an accessible position. They did not name it Quick-N-EZ just for the sake of it.
The bowl capacity of the tumbler is also pretty decent. If you are using 9mm cases, it can hold up to 600 units, while for .223 calibers, it can hold up to 350. This might be an issue for those who reload professionally, but for casual reloaders, this capacity should be pretty decent.
I am also a huge fan of its cleaning speed. When the bowl is filled with 9mm cases, you can get it cleaned properly within only 3 hours. The unit comes with a clear glass top that helps keep the media inside the bowl and also lets you monitor the inside as it works.
But as I was saying, it does have some issues. The material is made of plastic which does not exactly reflect confidence in its durability. But I personally had no issues with it breaking since I handled it with care. And if you are careful with it, you too should be able to make it last quite a while.
- Comes at an affordable price
- Perfect choice for beginners
- Quick and effective cleaning
- Decent media capacity
- The bowl is made of plastic
2. Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler
Now, before you put me on a stake for being biased and going with another Frankford Arsenal product, hear me out. This brand has been in this business for a long time, and while the Quick-N-EZ may have been a great starter option for beginners, professionals might not find it all too exciting.
If you are a seasoned reloader, then the Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler by Frankford Arsenal would be a much better fit than the Quick-N-EZ. Sure, it is a bit pricier, but the leap in performance you get with this model is quite astounding. And since the quality is that great, I had no choice but to give it the second spot on my list.
Since this is a rotary tumbler, you can expect a much deeper level of cleaning with this unit compared to the vibratory Quick-N-EZ model that I reviewed just now. And the cleaning speed is also much faster, and you also get a lot of controls as to how long you want the device to run.
At the front part of the device, a handy timer dial allows you to dial in exactly how long you want to clean the brass and keep the device running. The timer option lets you choose 30 mins to up to 3 hours to make sure the cleaning goes as thorough as you want.
But speed and time adjustment are not the only fields where it outshines its competition. The bowl capacity of this brass tumbler is a true marvel giving you up to 7 liters of case capacity. This means you will be able to clean up to 1000 cases of .223 brass in one go.
One thing that caught me off-guard about the unit is how absolutely silent it is when it’s running. Brass tumblers can make a lot of rackets when you use them, and this feature was a welcome addition, in my option.
The build quality of the unit is also quite solid, and it comes with a clear-viewing window to help you see inside as it is running. However, one thing that I did not love is how the steel media pins can fall off if you do not seal them on tightly. But if you have a magnet, you can scoop them up quite easily, so that’s not a complete dealbreaker
- Amazing build quality
- It can hold up to 7 liters of brass
- Low noise operation
- Fast and efficient cleaning
- Steel media pins can fall off.
3. Lyman Pro 1200 Tumbler
Now that I have talked about two of my favorite brass tumblers by the brand Frankford Arsenal, it’s time I give you a look into some of the other brands. And there are quite a few good ones out there. But perhaps no other brand has made as much impact in the industry as Lyman did with their Pro 1200 Tumbler.
This used to be my go-to brass tumbler for a long time, and the main reason for it was that it was extremely affordable. In terms of pricing, it falls in the same category as the Quick-N-EZ, but there are quite a few differences between the two in terms of capacity and features.
Similar to the Quick-N-EZ, this model comes with a vibration design, meaning it uses friction to separate the dirt from the brass. The speed of this unit, while not as fast as the Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler, is still quite decent, at least if you are staying within the recommended capacity.
Now, as for its capacity, I was quite happy with how much it offered. The advanced bowl design of the unit can easily handle up to 350 38spl. cases each cycle, and in terms of media, it can hold up to 2 pounds. It might not seem much, but for the price, the capacity is quite phenomenal.
The electric motor that powers this device is thermally protected. This means you can stay confident that it will not overheat or overload if there are sudden weird power issues when you are using it. In other words, the device will last longer and require less maintenance.
To make case separation easier, the unit features a built-in sifter lid. While the entire device is made with plastic, the material is extremely sturdy and should last you quite a while if you take care of it. At this price point, you can’t really expect metal construction anyways.
All in all, I would say this is a fantastic tumbler for the money. Of course, it does get loud on full power, but that is a common problem with most vibration tumblers out there. As long as you are okay with that, this brass tumbler’s performance will not disappoint you.
- Sturdy build quality
- Built-in sifter lid for easier case separation
- Can hold up to 2 pounds of media
- Can clean 350 38spl. cases per cycle
- A bit noisy during operation
4. Hornady M-1 Case Tumbler
Another name that made it big in the reloading industry is Hornady. Those who have been reloading their own ammunition or prepping cases know about the high-quality equipment that this brand offers. And for case separation and cleaning, their M-1 case is one of the best ammo brass tumbler out there.
Now, why did I go with this vibratory tumbler? After all, they have an even better rotary tumbler, right? Well, yes, and I will talk about that one too, but for now, I want to talk about this one, as I believe this offers a greater return on your investment, especially if you are a newcomer to this line of work.
The overall performance of the unit is pretty satisfactory. It cleans well and offers decent speed, but the thing that I love most about it is that the brass that it cleans often boasts a better lifespan. If you are the type who cleans brass and shelves it for later might find this feature extremely useful.
But most people who prep the casings immediately after cleaning it will not notice it, and that’s fine too. The brass comes out spotless once the device has its way with it. So they will be ready to be primed and turned into new ammunition whenever you want.
The unit boasts an impressive brass capacity, though, which is something that everyone can appreciate. If you are cleaning .38 caliber casings, then you can fit about 400 of them inside the bowl. And the time it takes to clean through the entire volume would be under three hours.
Of course, the speed and capacity can vary depending on the type of cases that you are cleaning. But this should give you a rough estimate of its performance and speed. Other than that, the quality of the bowl is pretty good for the price, and it also has a clear-view lid for easy monitoring.
Since it is a budget-friendly unit, it does feature a plastic construction, which some might find off-putting. Personally, I don’t mind it much, and if you handle it with care, it should be able to survive for quite a long while. As an affordable brass tumbler for enthusiasts, this unit offers amazing value for the price.
- Comes at an affordable price
- Quick and efficient cleaning performance.
- Good carry capacity.
- Suitable for both dry and wet tumbling
- The plastic construction might not be very durable.
5. Lyman Pro Magnum Tumbler
If you liked the design and features of the Lyman Pro 1200 model that I reviewed already, but want something with a bit more power in the tank, then I have the perfect option for you. The Lyman 2500 Pro Magnum tumbler is the bigger and better version of the base 1200 model and brings a lot of great improvements.
Now the 1200 model that I talked about was pretty affordable, and don’t get me wrong, that’s a fantastic option at that price point. But a seasoned reloader who works with large volumes of cases would not find its capacity and speed all that impressive.
With the Pro Magnum, you will be getting more than double the capacity of the 1200 model, but of course, the price would be a bit higher. Still, I love the fact that the manufacturers kept it under a hundred dollars, which means you will not be breaking the bank if you decide to go with it.
Like the Pro 1200, it is a vibratory tumbler. But the performance that it delivers is pretty close to what you would get with a rotary model. Its speed is amazing, and the two-gallon case bowl can handle up to 1000 .38 special cases making it a fantastic choice for high-volume users.
To achieve the level of speed that it does, the manufacturers equipped it with an advanced drive system. The motor in the unit is extremely powerful, but despite its superior performance, it manages to be pretty quiet. So you will not have to put up with loud noises that often come with vibratory tumblers.
But you do have to manage your expectations, though. It will never be as quiet as a rotary tumbler, and neither does it try to be. Still, if you want a unit that works well and does not blow out your ear drums, this can be a great addition to your case making arsenal.
The build quality of the unit is also pretty decent, but as usual, I didn’t like the plastic bowl all that much. Still, if you are a fan of vibratory models, this is undoubtedly the best brass tumbler for reloading. At this price tag, its combination of performance, power, and pricing are hard to find elsewhere.
- Impressive bowl capacity
- Relatively low operating noise
- Easy to use
- Powerfully advanced drive system for better cleaning
- A bit on the pricey side
6. Extreme Tumblers Rebel 17 Ammo Reloading Tumbler
If you are the type who settles for nothing but the best regardless of how much it costs, then none of the options that I talked about would fit well with you. Don’t worry; I got your back. With the Extreme Tumblers Rebel 17 Ammo Reloading Tumbler, you will not even consider any other options on this list.
Now, when I say expensive, I do not use this word lightly. It is almost double the price of the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler, which is by far the second most expensive product on this list. But if I am being honest, it is fully worth the steep price tag, especially at the hands of professional reloaders.
It boasts an impressive 17 pounds of bowl capacity, which can accommodate up to 700 .223 brass shells without any issues. Now you might think that it is less than some of the other options on this list. Well, before you come to a verdict, remember that this is a rotary tumbler, not a vibratory model.
What that means is that not only will it have better cleaning performance, but it will also clean your entire capacity a lot faster. So you will be able to put in another batch the moment it gets through the first one. Overall, you will be saving a lot of time with this unit.
The construction quality of the tumbler is quite solid. Even though it is made of plastic, I found no reason to doubt its durability. The plastic boasts excellent structural strength and should survive just about any abuse you throw at it. So expect it to last you quite a while.
In addition, the inside of the drum is lined with rubber which dampens the noise during operation. It comes with sealed ball bearings and heavy-duty stainless steel media materials to ensure your accessories remain functional for a long time.
The motor in the unit is extremely powerful and is capable of reaching up to 3000 RPM for fast and thorough cleaning. Every bit of this brass tumbler is designed to ensure a true enthusiast would find nothing worth complaining about if he decides to buy it.
- Constructed using high-quality plastic
- Features rubber lining on the inside to dampen noise
- Has an impressive warranty period
- Excellent cleaning performance
- Not very affordable.
7. Hornady Rotary Case Tumbler
I will be wrapping up my reviews with one final rotary case tumbler, but this time I will be going back to the brand Hornady. Yes, the vibratory model that I talked about already seems a pretty great pick for beginners, but for professionals who want a bit more power under the hood, the Rotary Case Tumbler seems like a better fit.
For one thing, it is a rotary model, which already means it delivers a superior cleaning performance compared to the last one. The trade-off here is that it costs a lot more than the M-1 vibratory tumbler, but if you are using it professionally, that should not be too much of a factor here.
In terms of performance, it is comparable to the Extreme Tumblers Rebel 17. And if you have read the high praises that I gave to that model, then you should already go into this model with high expectations. Frankly, I do not think you will be disappointed with what you find.
This model features a fantastic drum capacity of up to 6 liters of media. It supports aggressive cleaning to make sure your brass comes out fully cleaned. And the unit also features a digital touch interface to access the timer and other functions that come with it.
The inside of the drum is lined with rubber, so if you are using stainless steel media, it should be well-protected against cracks or chips. Sure, the drum itself is made of plastic, but the quality is uncompromising. If you take care of it, it will last you a lifetime.
In addition, it boasts a powerful motor that is also cooled by a built-in fan. The fan protects the motor against overheating and allows it to run much quieter than other tumblers on the market. And as a bonus, it can run continuously for up to 8 hours without interruption.
Of course, the only thing holding it back from newcomers is its price. But for seasoned reloaders, this is a must-have option that can greatly enhance their overall reloading experience.
- Amazing build quality
- 6 liters of media capacity
- Comes with a digital control panel
- Low operating noise
- A bit on the pricey side
The first step to reloading is to pick up the spent casings and clean them thoroughly. And cleaning a large volume of brass without the right equipment never bodes well for anybody. With a brass tumbler, this tiresome job becomes almost effortless.
I hope my complete review of the best brass tumblers could help you figure out which unit you want for yourself. Good luck!