There are several different Flex Shaft tool brands on the market out there.
Whether you are looking to carve wood, make jewelry, work with ceramics, or port engines – this list has some tips that will save you alot of time, energy and money in choosing the flex shaft tool and kit that is right for you.
We make mention of the some the more popular tool brands like Foredom & Dremel, giving examples of different models and thedesign/features of their different models.
If you have not read it yet, our guide on the Foredom vs Dremel 9100 Fortiflex has some valuable information comparing flex shaft tools.
Let’s get to it …
List of 16 Buyer Tips For Choosing A Flex Shaft Tool
1) Will a flex shaft tool be better for you, or a normal Dremel tool with a flex shaft attachment?
Flex shaft tools are designed and built specifically for detail orientated tasks – like carving, engraving, grinding etc.
Dremel rotary tools are built to do many different tasks, and have much higher speeds e.g. the Dremel 4000 has a max speed of 35,000 RPM (compared to the Dremel 9100 Fortiflex at 23,000 RPM).
If you are not sure whether you want a Dremel rotary tool or a flex shaft tool, these guides might be helpful:
2) Is the flex shaft tool a hang up motor, or bench based motor model?
Most flex shaft tools are hang up motors (the motor has a hook or bale, and it hooks onto a motor stand).
But, there are also bench motor flex shaft tools available from brands like Foredom where the motor rests on the bench.
3) What has the flex shaft tool been designed for by the manufacturer?
Different flex shaft tools are designed for different tasks by different brands – but, all are designed for detail type tasks.
For example –
Foredom says their TX series motor flex shaft tools are for heavier duty tasks like power carving and engine porting.
Dremel says their 9100 Fortiflex is for power-carving, shaping and grinding applications.
4) Does the chuck need a wrench to change bits?
Most flex shaft tools have a 3 jaw chuck.
These chucks usually accept all shank sizes, but need a tool wrench to change bits over.
5) What range of sizes of bit shanks does the handpiece and chuck fit?
The product details should tell you what size bit shanks the chuck in the handpiece fits.
For example, the Dremel 9100 Fortiflex fits bit shank sizes from 0 In. to 5/32 inches.
6) Is the foot pedal plastic, or metal?
The Dremel 9100 has a plastic foot pedal.
Foredom foot pedals that control speed are mostly plastic, but they also have metal foot pedals.
7) What is the horsepower of the flex shaft motor?
The Dremel 9100 has a 1/5 horsepower motor.
The Foredom SR has a max horsepower higher than this, but the TX series is twice as powerful as both of those tool models.
8) What is the speed range, and lowest & maximum speed of the flex shaft motor?
Check the total speed range of the tool, in addition to the low end and maximum speeds.
For example, the Dremel 9100 has a speed range of 0-23,000 RPM.
The Foredom TX on the other hand has a speed range of 500 to 15,000 RPM (but more power)
9) Does the motor work in forward speed, or reverse as well?
The Foredom model flex shaft tools have both forward and reverse speed capabilities.
Benefits of running in reverse speed include:
Left handed users have more control of the cutting tool
Reverse helps to keep dust and other debris flying away from right handed users
Alternating motor direction helps to extend the life of certain abrasives
Reverse helps with accomplishing symmetrical grinding and carving techniques
Reverse makes it easier to back out stuck drill bits
Alternating motor direction makes it easier and faster to polish metals
10) What voltage does the motor come in?
Does the model just come in 115/120, or 220/230 volt as well?
The Foredom SR series is the only model we’re aware of that comes in both – the 115 volt is standard though.
11) What types of kits does the flex shaft tool come available in?
The Foredom SR series has the widest range of kits available – including general application, woodcarving and jeweler kits.
The Dremel on the other hand only has one 21 accessory kit available.
12) What accessories are included in the kit?
The Foredom models have a wider range and more accessories included in their kits.
Each kit has a different number of accessories, and different types of accessories for different tasks – so check that.
13) Is flex shaft grease included?
Flex shaft grease is to lubricate the shaft – check whether this is included.
14) Does the kit or tool come with the hand piece?
If you buy the Foredom for example from some places, it doesn’t come with he hand piece (usually when you don’t buy it in a kit).
The kits usually do come with a handpiece for the shaft and tool, but double check this.
15) Does the kit come with a hanger/stand/holder?
Most tools and kits don’t come with a hanger/stand to hang the motor on.
You can purchase the hanger separately if you want it – it does make working with hang up motor tools easier.
16) What other extras might be needed to use the flex shaft tool?
Other common extras needed might be extra accessories and hangers.