Dremel 8200 12V MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Rotary Tool @ ModSynergy.com
By: Michael Phrakaysone

It has been about eight years since we last shared and reviewed the Dremel MultiPro 395 rotary tool device here on ModSynergy.  When you think of the rotary tool, the name that comes to mind right away is Dremel.  You remember this because Dremel completely owns this segment, there are no other significant brands that offer the same device.  Since 1993 Dremel is a division of the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation.   When we reviewed the MultiPro 395 right years ago, it was a corded rotary tool that offered the performance, but with a cumbersome cord that could not offer the portability. 

There have been numerous copies of Dremel rotary tools under various names and features throughout the years, but none of them come close to the quality and functionality of a real Dremel and its accessories.  There is nothing like using the real thing.  I've used off branded Dremel copies and they significantly worse in just about every respect.  They should be considered disposable.  The same is said for its accessories such as cutoff blades, the inferior brands don't last very long. 

The Dremel MultiPro 395 I reviewed 8 years ago still lasts to this day without any mechanical issues.  Only the exterior body suffers the abuse of neglect of proper storage (thrown in and out of the tool box), and though the switch is beginning to have troubles due to excessive wear and tear, it'll still works without a fuss.

Many years have passed and Dremel has gone through generational upgrades of both corded and cordless versions of all shapes and sizes.  The issues with previous generations of Dremel cordless devices were said to have been because of battery technology at the time (NIMH), it didn't quite offer the performance because NIMH batteries cannot handle high amperage, have poor operational battery life for such a high draw device because of heat, the size was bulkier than it needed to be, and the battery would eventually die sometimes prematurely because of all these various factors.  It's interesting to see the number of results on Google for rebuilding Dremel battery packs.

Well today Dremel has given us the opportunity to share with you how far they have come these eight years with one of their newest additions, the Dremel 8200.  The 8200 is completely cordless with the use of a 12V Lithium-Ion battery technology instead of old NIMH battery technology.  Out with the old, in with the new is the focus with the 8200, everything Dremel has learned has been tweaked many times over and gone into this new 8200 and its accessories.  Read on to see how the Dremel 8200 12V MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Rotary Tool performs and if it's worth your hard earned money, we'll see how far it has come from the old MultiPro 395.

About Dremel

Rotary tools are hand-held power tools that use high-speed and low torque to undertake a variety of useful tasks with control and precision. Since AJ Dremel invented the first rotary tool over 75 years ago, no other brand has worked harder to bring users a more complete and innovative system of rotary tools, accessories and attachments. Over the years Dremel rotary tools have become the gold standard in versatility, performance, and quality by which all other rotary tools are judged.

Dremel 8200 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Product Overview

The Dremel 8200 variable-speed cordless rotary tool offers the highest performance and versatility of all Dremel cordless rotary tools. The increased strength of its motor facilitates maximum performance at all speed levels. The ability to use all existing Dremel accessories and attachments let the Dremel 8200 complete the widest range of projects. A slim ergonomic body provides a 360-degree rip zone for control in any position. Powered by 12VMAX Lithium-ion battery technology, the Dremel 8200 has a speed of cut that is 2X times faster than the leading cordless rotary tool.

  • Fastest, strongest performing cordless rotary tool available
  • Can be used with all Dremel accessories and attachments
  • Lithium-ion battery maintains charge up to 2 years while in storage

Dremel 8200 12V MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Rotary Tool Product Features

  • Variable speed from 5,000 to 30,000 rpm provides maximum control and precision
  • Separate on/off switch and speed control retains speed setting for the perfect speed every time
  • Quick collet lock for fast accessory changes
  • Cool-running ball bearing construction for smooth and quiet operation
  • Comfort grip housing for easier handling and better tool control
  • Compact and lightweight for easier handling and less fatigue
  • Battery fuel gauge lets you know when it's time to recharge
  • High-capacity 12V MAX Lithium-ion battery for longer run times
  • Always Ready--Lithium-ion battery holds a charge 6 times longer than standard NiCad batteries
  • Two-year warranty

Dremel 8200 12V MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Rotary Tool Product Specifications

  • Model Number: 8200
  • Battery: 12V Max Lithium-ion Battery
  • Battery chemistry: Lithium Ion
  • Battery voltage: 12
  • Charge time: 1 Hour
  • Speed: Variable (5,000 - 30,000 RPM)
  • Tool level: 5 - Cordless – variable speed high
  • Versatility: High (Can be used with all Dremel accessories and attachments)

First Impressions

First of all the Dremel 8200 can be found for about $99USD and $120CAD across Home Depot, Lowes and other similar Home Improvement stores, or through online shops such as Amazon.  At this regular price of $99, it's very affordable and within most people's reach of possibly owning.  Needless to say, once on sale it will be even better value.

Dremel

Walk in stores and you will see that the Dremel 8200 Cordless 12V MAX High-Performance Rotary Tool comes in quite the package and is easily recognizable on store shelves.  Have to give Dremel package designers credit because it comes in a great looking exterior package with a clear indication of the tool and the accessories that are included with color coded matching information that informs you on specific use of each accessory included in the box which allows the 8200 ability of carving, engraving, cutting, grinding, sharpening, cleaning, and polishing.  So you don't even need to open the box to know what you are receiving. 

Sides of the box contains specifications of the 8200, features, and precise information such as the tool being made in Mexico, battery made in Malaysia, charger made in China, storage case made in Mexico, accessories and attachment made in Canada, China, Germany, Israel, Italy, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland, Taiwan or USA.  Talk about flying all over the world!  It's like the whole world is involved in the Dremel.  Excellent execution by Dremel on the informative box!

Rotary

Even the kit contents are clearly displayed with an image showing that this bundle includes the 8200 cordless rotary tool, 1 cutting guide attachment, a one-hour charger, 1 12V Lithium-Ion battery, 28-piece accessory kit case, and the Dremel branded sturdy storage case.

The cordless Dremel 8200 comes with a 2-year limited warranty, and should you have any issues or questions you can call the Dremel Experts hotline with USA and Canadian toll free numbers shown.  My old Dremel MultiPro 395 had a 5-year warranty, though that was many years ago.

Once you rip open the package, admire and pop open the storage case, you are presented with all of the included goodies.  I have to say this storage case is very sturdy and strong, this is not the cheap dinky cases you get with other tools.  The plastic construction it's made from is really thick, even the Dremel branded handle feels substantial.  When open, you will notice labels that are beside each compartment which tell you the specific accessory or tool that the compartment is supposed to hold; very neat and helps takes out the guess work.  The Dremel Users Guide and provided papers are slotted in the top portion of the storage case.

Even looking at the charger, its ABS plastic construction is top notch feeling so confident in the hand.  The charger has slots that allow the charger to exhaust heat outwards passively keeping the charger as cool as possible when charging, therefore the charger is made for dry location use only.  A single green LED informs you of the charge status and charge complete status. Note that this is the included one-hour quick charger.  Safeties are built-in to prevent over-charging, over-temperature while the charger stops automatically when completely charged.  Look at the bottom reveals plastic feet that raises it off the ground to allow the bottom slots to exhaust heat furthermore.  The charger plugs in via 2-prong plug without a ground wire.  The charger is good up to 26W and outputs from 3.6V to 10.8V DC, 1.6A for use with only Dremel 875 style battery packs.

Crystal

The included Dremel 12V MAX Lithium-Ion battery pack is designated as type 875 so it's easy for the owner to search for replacements.  There are 3-cells of 3.7v INR-18650 inside in series to make 12V and each has a capacity of up 1.3Ah (1300mah) or 14Wh.  The battery pack seems simple enough to open as it has tabs on three ends of the casing, and once dead you can possible rebuild your own battery pack with matching chemistry and capacity Lithium-Ion batteries if you are into that sort of thing. How do I know the battery pack has specifically 3 INR-18650 cells inside? Well its engraved into the battery pack casing! Dremel made it easy to know what is inside without opening. These INR types are capable of handling very high amperage loads (vary in amperage load capacity) and are composed of Nickel Cobalt Aluminium. They are likely to be Samsung cells.

Lithium Ion 18650

The small blue accessory case contains 28-pieces of various accessories related to the carving, engraving, grinding, sharpening, cleaning, polishing, sanding, while including the collet, collet wrench/flathead screwdriver and different shank size bits that is needed for operation.  A single attachment in the multipurpose cutting guide is included that allows for sturdy, controlled cuts in a variety of materials including drywall, laminate, fiberglass, plastic, vinyl siding, and more. 

This cutting guide screws on easily and gives different depth adjustments up to 3/4" so you can control how deep you want to cut depending on the material you are cutting and the window provides great visibility (and some protection) for better control cuts.  Installation is as simple as unscrewing the cover just below the collet, slipping and screwing on the cutting guide attachment into place, while the spring loaded screw on the cutting guide allows you to control the depth adjustment with visual guidelines indicating the depth within the center core.

The Dremel 8200 Visual Overview

Dremel

The Dremel 8200 sports a grey and black color scheme exterior aside from the blue colored buttons, switch, slider, and the Dremel sticker on the unit.  With the battery attached it measures approximately 9-inches in length, when you hold it its about 1.8" wide, and the overall height is about 2.5" tall. 

Lithium-Ion

With the battery attached my scale reads 618g (1.36lbs), without the battery only 453g (0.99lbs).  Without the battery it feels top heavy as the motor is situated in the upper portion of the unit, once the battery is inserted in the bottom, the extra 165g allows the imbalance to be offset and thus under operation feels balanced from front to rear while in your hands. 

The ergonomics are really spot on with you having to hold the Dremel with your hands clasped over the top of the RPM speed slider.  That hump over the battery indicator allows your thumbs to sit over it perfectly and the rest of your fingers are clamped over the black rubber strip at the bottom.

RPM Speed

The exterior grey color casing is entirely made of hard ABS plastic and it's super tough.  There's literally no flex in this two piece design.  The two sides of the plastic exterior are bolted on one end to the other.  The black accents you see over the Dremel 8200 up top and the lower portion are rubber strips glued on to the casing to provide extra grip when under use. 

If using your bare hands the rubber grips are a little slippery and doesn't grip on your skin tight enough, its best to wear padded work gloves with material such as in Mechanix Wear gloves to obtain maximum grip from the rubber on the body of the Dremel 8200.  The safety sticker on the Dremel advises you to wear safety glasses, read the manual before usage, wear respiratory protection, and use accessories that are 2" or less in diameter and rated for at least 30,000RPM/minute as the ones provided by Dremel are tested to comply with.

Throughout the Dremel 8200 body there are numerous slots that allow the Dremel motor's heat to be exhausted passively.  This ensures the motor runs as cool as possible and won't burn out from excessive operation.  It also ensures that any shavings from the materials you are cutting are spread away from the motor as the airflow generated from the motor blows everything outwards instead of inwards.

There are only 3 buttons on the Dremel 8200. From top to bottom is the lock button for locking the  collet into place while your accessory is inserted into the shank.  The collet/shank rotates continuously unless you press and hold the lock button while tightening it.  You must lock the accessory into place to avoid the accessory from jumping out when it's spinning from 5000 to 30,000RPM, failure to do so is just stupidity and asking for an accident to happen.  Below that is the ON/OFF switch, and at the bottom is the RPM speed slider that allows you to precisely control the speed based on RPM that you desire to use. 

Above the RPM speed slider is a three bar battery indicator which is straightforward, three green LEDs mean full battery, two LEDs mean half charge, one LED blinking means low battery.  And with the safeties on the Lithium-Ion battery, once the battery is "empty", the rotary tool shuts off completely.  This means you must recharge right away.  Dremel adds these safety precautions for a reason.  They included a buffer to prevent its batteries from ever over discharging, which can be very dangerous. 

Most smart safety systems for Lithium-Ion battery operation will automatically cut when the battery reaches a certain point, sometimes at 3.0v per cell.  This is the same as using a "protected" Lithium-Ion battery.   When the battery is depleted/drained, the rotary tool cuts off completely.  There is no more cheating and being greedy in running the tool for an extra couple of minutes until the battery runs flat.  Once the tool shuts off, there's nothing you can do, its time recharge.  This is a crucial safety feature to have.  Old NiCad or NIMH battery packs never had these safety features and thus always eventually died prematurely.  You cannot run those packs over discharged and expect them to ever be the same, the difference with over-discharging a Lithium-Ion battery pack compared to those NiCad/NIMH is that it can be deadly if protection doesn't kick in, the battery can catch on fire or explode in extreme cases.

Another reason why Lithium-Ion batteries are greater than NIMH/NiCad battery packs is the ability of having greater capacity and handling higher amperage loads, something such as a motor exhibits.  A motor requires lots of amps to operate and drains batteries quickly.  NiCad's and NIMH batteries do not fare well under these conditions, another reason why they die quickly.  Another reason why when using NIMH or NiCad's their power delivery drops off immensely.  Under operation when the battery starts to decline, the power you experience from the tool also slows down.  But with Lithium-Ion battery technology, the power delivery is linear and is always at the highest output from start to finish. 

A metal clip around the battery indicator and RPM slider can be flung out to be used with an optional accessory called the Flex Shaft

How's the Performance?  How does it work?

As you can imagine, the Dremel 8200 12V MAX lithium-ion cordless rotary tool is very simple to operate.  Simply lock in the accessory you want, set the RPM speed slider to the value you desire, flick the OFF/ON switch from 0 to 1 and it starts rotating away.  Under operation the Dremel gets a bit noisy depending on the speed, but that is to be expected.  If it bothers you, you can wear ear plugs.  For me the noise was never an issue, with the MultiPro 395 or with this 8200 Cordless. 

Compared to the old corded Dremel MultiPro 395 that still works to this day, the 8200 is indeed the larger Dremel physically.  It's taller, larger, thicker, but the ergonomics of the cordless 8200 is so good that you don't really miss anything.  It's balanced in the hand, it fits in the hand beautifully, I never noticed that the added size difference was a detriment.  I could still use the 8200 under the car to cut off metal without any issues, and not having a cord that was dangling was very convenient.

The new 8200 has the improved collet lock button as opposed to the one that was on the old MultiPro 395, the old MultiPro 395's collet lock button wasn't really a button, it was just a piece of metal sticking out.  This new one is actually a real button that encompasses the metal lock.  Therefore it doesn't hurt your thumb as much as the old one did.

Power with the lithium-ion battery is the same throughout full to low battery, it's a complete joy to use, and refreshing to experience coming from tools that used old NIMH/NiCad battery packs.  I really never want to go back to using the old battery packs now that I've used a lithium-ion pack on the Dremel. 

While in use, changing the RPM speed slider on the fly to the value I want is so simple and easy.  This decision to use a vertical slider than a horizontal gear step switch like the 8-year old Dremel MultiPro 395 utilizes is really an upgrade.  With the old Dremel, the switch didn't move as freely as each step was another speed level and you had to lift off from operating the Dremel, and really look, feel and see where you wanted to change.  With this new Dremel 8200, you don't have to lift off from cutting or drilling to be able to change speeds, it's just right under your thumbs.  I think this has been the biggest improvement without a doubt.  It also never shifted or moved itself during high speed operation, it always stayed put where it was set.

I used the Dremel to cut aluminum, metal (thin and thick ) and various materials and it never skipped a beat.  I used to cut metal with the brown cut-off discs on the old Dremel, even though you were not supposed to.  I was glad to see that Dremel includes a dedicated metal cutoff disc in the bundle that has a simple quick release.  This quick release is different from the normal one you use.  The normal one requires the wrench/flathead screwdriver to unscrew, pop on the brown cutoff disc, put back and screw down, this other new metal cutoff disc has a quick release EZ Lock mechanism where you just press down and twist into place.  The metal cut off disc makes such a difference. 

When I cut metal with the brown cutoff disc, it became useless quickly once the disc got eaten away after grinding on metal.  It's simply not thick or strong enough for metal or aluminum.  The dedicated metal cutoff disc and quick release EZ LOCK accessory and mechanism are definite upgrades that I will from now on continue to use.  It doesn't get eaten away as quickly as the brown cut-off disc does.

I also used the sanding bit to smoothen metal edges that I cut away and it worked like a charm.  Polishing the chrome bits on my car went very well, but mostly for those small locations where you can't reach effectively with your own hands.  And polishing with a small polishing wheel that is included in the package will take too long, it's better to polish by hand and use the Dremel for the tight areas.  But if polishing small items, the Dremel is your best friend.

I used the included cutting guide attachment to route the end of wood and it worked beautifully.  Changing the depth is as easy loosening the spring loaded lock, changing the depth, and locking back into place.  It helped making sanding of edges very easy without tilting or getting into any wonky positions, the circular edge helps keeps it level with the material you are working on.

Home Improvement

I also used the cutting guide on drywall just like I saw on YouTube, it makes cutting so much easier, I wish I had this attachment than using a box cutter to make a hole in the drywall.  This cutting guide attachment is going to make my life easier in the future.

In terms of battery life, it really depends on the speed setting you are running.  The less speed you are using, the longer the battery life, the faster the speed, the less the battery life.  I will say that it is in your best interests to pick up a second battery as you will hate having to stop and wait 1-hour before restarting your project.    I like how the battery indicator would start blinking for a bit to let you know the battery was becoming low, that allowed you to speed up and get whatever done quickly.  If you didn't have enough time, the Dremel shut off and you had no choice but to recharge and wait an hour before resuming (unless you charged half way).  Again its advised to pick up another spare battery so you don't have any down time.

Where Can It Be Purchased? And For How much?


Conclusion

The Dremel 8200 12V MAX lithium-ion cordless rotary tool is an excellent tool for small and even large tasks.  When you buy a Dremel, you buy into the system and have the ability to use the multitude of attachments and accessories that accompany Dremel. 

The Dremel 8200 12V MAX lithium-ion cordless rotary tool is a definite upgrade from the old MultiPro 395 in terms of ergonomics and overall functionality.  They really have learned from the past and made the best possible Dremel to date, the little things have been tweaked to give a better overall product.  Though physically larger than corded Dremel's, the cordless Dremel 8200 provided everything you want in portable form. 

The Lithium-Ion battery technology allows you to use the Dremel with high-performance from start to end without ever losing an ounce of performance.  It contains all the safeties related to using lithium-ion battery technology, includes a quick one-hour charger that comes into handy, comes in a sturdy storage case that is sure to last throughout the years, everything about the Dremel 8200 12V MAX lithium-ion cordless rotary tool is an upgrade and turns out to be excellent.  I can highly recommend the Dremel 8200 if you are on the market for such a tool.  The only question I have is how can future generations of Dremel's get even better?

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