Table of Contents
- Our Top Picks
- Comparison of the Best Brass Tumblers for Reloading
- How We Choose + Our Must-Have Features
- Best Overall: Lyman Pro 1200 Tumbler
- Best on a Budget: Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ
- Highest Capacity Brass Tumbler: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series
- Hornady M-1 Case Tumbler
- Hornady Rotary Brass Tumbler
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Top Picks
Lyman Pro 1200 Tumbler
This vibratory tumbler is highly recommended.Check Price
Best on a Budget
Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ 110V Case Tumbler Kit
This affordable tumbler easily and quickly cleans your brass.Check Price
Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler
This rotary tumbler can hold as much as 7 liters of brass.Check Price
If you’ve been reloading for a while, you probably noticed how much debris and dirt you have to remove from those cartridges before you can reload them. Cleaning used cartridges is as important as the reloading process because dirty and moist brass can be a safety hazard. Thanks to brass tumblers, we can now clean cases quickly and efficiently. In this article, we’ll review the best brass tumblers for reloading.
Comparison of the Best Brass Tumblers for Reloading
How We Choose + Our Must-Have Features
If you’re on a limited budget, you can choose a tumbler made of plastic instead of steel, since they’re less expensive. However, steel brass tumblers are costly for a reason, because they guarantee years of high-quality results and performance.
Brass Tumbler Type
You also need to decide on the tumbler type – vibratory or rotary. A vibratory tumbler cleans brass through the friction produced by its vibrating motion. It typically works with dry media such as walnut shells and corn cobs.
While a rotary tumbler polishes brass by a rotating motion. It usually works with wet and dry media and is more expensive than vibratory tumblers.
Both rotary and vibratory tumblers are efficient in polishing brass. Once you’ve decided on the tumbler type, choose the brand that’s most efficient for your needs.
Another feature to consider is the brass tumbler’s capacity. This would depend on how much you’ll be reloading. There are tumblers that can handle as many as 1000 .223 cases per cycle. If you want your brass cleaned in no time, then choose a tumbler with that capacity. But if you don’t have that many cartridge cases to polish, then you can go with a tumbler that can handle 350 to 600 cases of .223 brass per cycle and clean them over time if you have larger batches.
If you’ll be doing high-volume reloading, make sure that your brass tumbler is of top quality and can last a long time. And we’ve listed only the best tumbler brands in this article so we got you covered.
While it’s true that most brass tumblers can handle all case types, there are brands that handle some cases more efficiently; so make sure to look out for those.
When choosing which type of media to use, ensure its compatibility with your tumbler and consider to which extent your brass needs cleaning.
If your cases need extensive cleaning, then choose walnut media which works best with a vibrating tumbler. If your brass is just slightly tarnished, then the corn cob will do. Corn cob media is compatible with both tumbler types. If you prefer wet media, we suggest you get stainless steel pins.
Best Overall: Lyman Pro 1200 Tumbler
Lyman’s most popular tumbler is first on our list. The Turbo Pro 1200 can hold up to 2 pounds of brass and can clean 350 cases per cycle.
It’s equipped with a built-in sifter lid for quick media separation, so an additional media sifter is no longer needed.
The Turbo Pro 1200 removes fouling and oxidation from used cartridge cases. You may also use the machine as long as you want without worrying about overheating, thanks to its thermally-protected electric motor.
- Rubber feet prevent the unit from walking
- Built-in sifter lid
- Thermally-protected motor
- It can be a little loud
What Customers Say
“This is a nice, fairly compact tumbler that seems to get the job done well. It is not too loud, does not “walk” at all as some other brands have been known to, and seems to handle a relatively large load of assorted pistol brass with ease in about two hours.”
“Just started doing Ammo reloading and have made a good choice for my first tumbler.”
Best on a Budget: Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ
We recommend the Frankford Arsenal Quick-N-EZ rotary tumbler if you’re on a budget but still want top-quality brass cleaning.
It can handle up to 350 cases of .223 caliber. It’s also compatible with walnut and corn cob media.
The tumbler comes with a rotary media separator and a transparent lid so you can check your cases while they’re being cleaned.
Most customers gave compliments about how reasonably priced the Frank Arsenal Quick-N-EZ tumbler is. However, some people complained about how loud the machine was. In the end, it depends on where you’re going to keep the tumbler in your home if the volume is really important to you.
- Comes with rotary media separator
- Motor is a little loud
- Extremely dirty brass takes a long time to clean
What Customers Say
“This kit is GREAT! I’m new to reloading & decided to go for the gusto. I cleaned up 100 rounds of rifle brass and about 250 rounds of pistol brass in about an hour. They went from horribly dirty and splotchy to a shiny factory finish in about an hour.”
“Works as advertised, not sure I would use 600 rounds of 9 in it, but I did overload it with 45 and let it run for 4 hours, the shells came out looking brand new. I remove the primer, wash them in a special recipe of my own making, then run them thru this thing. When I don’t overload it, I run it for 1 hour and then come out super clean.”
Highest Capacity Brass Tumbler: Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series
The Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler takes brass cleaning to a whole new level. Aside from its capacity of 1000 cases of .223 brass per cycle, this incredible tumbler is equipped with noise-dampening rubber lining for noise-free cleaning.
We also love this wet rotary tumbler’s clear end caps which make the brass visible while tumbling. That way, you can keep an eye on the progress as it runs!
It also comes with sifting end caps to quickly separate the media from the polished brass.
The Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler also allows you to set its built-in timer up to 3 hours and will automatically shut down once the cycle’s done. This way you can do other tasks while getting your brass cleaned.
One downside that many customers complained about was that an additional ring seal is needed between the screw cap and the window to prevent leaks.
- High capacity
- Very quiet
- Comes with a built-in timer
- The cap seals tend to leak
What Customers Say
” It’s been almost a year since I purchased this tumbler. I’ve run thousands of cases through it and it’s still going strong. I still love the results I’m getting, and I still stand behind my original statement that it takes a little more work post-tumble. Just thought it’s good to know that it still runs great after a year of continual use.”
“Absolutely a great product….works perfect, no leaking. I used to sonic clean and dry tumble….neither come even close to how clean wet tumbling with stainless steel pins gets the inside and the primer pockets clean.”
Hornady M-1 Case Tumbler
The Hornady M-1 Case Tumbler is specifically designed to handle large quantities of brass. It can hold up to 400 cases of .38 caliber.
It’s also equipped with a sifter for quick and easy media separation.
We also love how Hornady’s One-Shot Metal Polish produces a shiny finish when paired with corn cob media. You may also set the running time based on how tarnished your brass cases are.
- Incredibly quiet
- Easy media separation
- Short cleaning time
- Motor tends to get hot when used for a long time
What Customers Say
“I wish I bought this sooner . It is so quiet you can stay in the room with it . You could watch tv in the same room ( but why would you). It cleans the brass as well as any other I have seen. I buy corn cob media from Grainer industrial supply and add some Nu Finish car polish. Buy it and Hornady i s a great company.”
“This is an excellent tumbler. If you don’t overload the tumbler, you will be very happy with the results. I’m very satisfied with this tumbler as I can polish my brass to a high gloss in 1 to 1-1/2 hours in corn cob media”
Hornady Rotary Brass Tumbler
The Hornady Rotary Case Tumbler is known for its capacity; as it can hold up to 5 pounds of brass in a single cycle.
This tumbler works perfectly with the One-Shot Cartridge Case Solution and stainless steel pin media, giving your brass casings a brilliant shine.
It’s also equipped with a digital timer that can run up to 8 hours, and a fan-cooled motor to reduce the risk of overheating.
- Fan-cooled motor
- Large capacity
- Gives brass a shiny finish
- Rubber lining gets easily worn out
What Customers Say
“This is a great tumbler. I’ve used it for rocks, brass cartridges, and just for fun some metal tools. Worked great. Better than the others I have, perfect size, great price for it and it includes the stainless steel pins!”
“My brass is clean. A few drops of dawn dish soap and a teaspoon of lemon shine. Can’t beat it. Even cleans the primer pockets. Works perfectly.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Brass Tumbler?
A brass tumbler is a machine that cleans and polishes tarnished brass cases so they can be reused.
How does a brass tumbler work?
A brass tumbler uses the friction produced by its vibrating or rotating motion to scrub off dirt and debris from your brass cartridge cases. Brass tumblers also use dry or wet polishing media for more extensive cleaning.
Do I need to tumble my brass?
Your cartridge performance won’t be affected if you choose not to tumble your brass as long as they’re free of dirt and water. However, tumbling your brass will save you a lot of time compared to cleaning them by hand. It will also make your cases look brand new. If you’d ask us, it’s an investment worth making.
Can you tumble brass too long?
Tumbling for too long won’t affect non-plated brass negatively, but it can cause damage to nickel-plated brass and media. To avoid this, we suggest you get a tumbler with a timer.
There you have it, folks, the best brass tumblers for reloading. Make sure to choose one of these and your bullets will be good as new in no time. If you want to do more research about reloading, our article on the best reloading blogs should help.
If you have yet to complete your reloading equipment, you’ll love our recommendations from these buyer’s guides:
Last update on 2023-11-26 / Images from Amazon Product API