This is our review of the best rock tumbler grit available in 2022.
The key to creating quality jewelry, pendants, and collectibles with your rock tumbler, is sourcing the best grit for all stages to grind down rough rocks until your collection shines with a beautiful polish.
Choosing between two products can be daunting because they seem so darn similar, but teasing out the finer points can help.
I understand your plight. It seems like any old grit would suffice for adding shine to rocks, but that’s not always the case. After years of experimenting with various products, I created a list of my top options based on how they worked on my collection of rocks.
My favorite overall is National Geographic’s Rock Tumbler Grit.
Not only is National Geographic a notable brand, but it also provides a four-step kit with high-quality silicon carbide grit. You get more bang for your buck with this versatile product that works with various elements, including rocks, gems, and glass.
Plus, this bulk product comes packaged in resealable containers. That means you can choose how much to use, like when you work with harder stones or even skip steps if you want.
You can purchase just the refills or the starter kit, making it ideal for beginners and experienced rockhounds alike. It even features instructions to guide beginners through the process.
While the best overall may be National Geographic’s Rock Tumbler Kit, there are others to consider. Read on to learn more about my top picks for best rock tumbler grit.
The Best Rock Tumbler Grit Compared
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Rock Tumbler Grit
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Rock Culture Rock Tumbler Media Grit Kit
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Brave Finder Rock Tumbler Refill Grit Media Kit, Stone Polisher
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Polly Plastics Rock Tumbler Grit Kit and Ceramic Tumbling Filler Media
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Dan&Darci Rock Tumbler Grit Refill Kit
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The Top Rock Polishing Grit Kits Reviewed
Once you begin shopping, you’ll find a lot of rock tumbling grit kits and supplies available. Before you grab the first rock tumbling grit kit you stumble across, it might help to learn more about our top picks and why I recommend them.
Best Overall Grit For Rock Tumblers: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Rock Tumbler Grit
This product isn’t my top overall choice just because it comes from National Geographic, even though that helps a little. It is easier to trust a household name, especially when it comes to STEM products. However, it turns out that National Geographic makes an exceptional product.
You get four containers with convenient twist-on lids for each stage. That’s enough to tumble up to ten pounds of rocks, gems, or whatever else you like to work with for your tumbler.
Each container marks a different stage, and they have clear labels explaining how and when to use them in the process.
It could not be simpler to tumble rocks, but you also get detailed instructions if you need them. The refill kit also includes a grit scoop to make life easier and neater.
No product is perfect, and this one is no exception. Several users note that the final polish on most rocks isn’t the best, but others indicate that adding other fillers can help get a better polish for the final tumble.
Best for Long-Term Use: Rock Culture Rock Tumbler Media Grit Kit
Rock Culture created a four-step kit with coarse, medium, fine, and polishing grit. Since each stage has its own package, you can customize your tumbling process and use more or less of each grit depending on your rocks.
One bonus for this product is that it’s compatible with any rock tumbler, even a vibratory tumbler. That means you don’t have to worry about getting a unique style or brand for this product.
The company notes that this grit is the same quality that jewelers use, and the professionals have high standards for their silicone carbide and aluminum oxide. Rock Culture also guarantees the product and promises a refund if you aren’t satisfied.
Rock Culture provides an excellent rock polishing product that falls short of best overall because of the packaging.
Unlike other brands, this kit uses resealable bags, which aren’t as neat as containers with screw-on lids. Have you ever knocked a bag over and lost some grit? Me too. You also don’t get a scoop with this one, so that’s another opportunity for lost product.
Best for Beginners: Brave Finder Rock Tumbler Refill Grit Media Kit, Stone Polisher
This kit might be better for beginners who need clear instructions for each step and plenty of silicon carbide grit to account for mistakes and spills. Additionally, you get a container of plastic tumbling pellets with this product.
The complete kit includes:
- 5 containers with twist-on lids
- 60 90 grit
- Medium grit
- Pre-polish grit
- Plastic pellets
There’s enough to fill a 15-pound rock tumbler or enough grit for a few smaller batches.
One of the critical features of this product is the clear, concise instruction guide. Those new to the rock tumbling hobby might appreciate the thorough guide through the polish stages and how to use them properly.
There do seem to be some quality control issues with this particular product. Several users noted missing stages, duplicates grit sizes, or half-empty tumbling grit containers.
It’s a good thing that Brave Finder offers a 30-day money-back guarantee!
Best for Creativity: Polly Plastics Rock Tumbler Grit Kit and Ceramic Tumbling Filler Media
This set is perfect for experienced polishers who know what they need to do and prefer to follow custom staging when polishing rocks. This kit includes:
- 1 pound of coarse grit
- 1 pound of medium grit
- ½ pound of fine grit
- ½ pound of aluminum oxide
- 1 ½ pound of ceramic fillers
These containers feature twist-on lids and clear labeling. You also get beginner-friendly instructions, including how much grit to use for your rocks, and the product is made in the United States.
The manufacturer explicitly notes that the grit sizes have unique densities, which account for the different amounts of each. You get more coarse grit because it’s much larger than the fine pre-polish tumbling grit. It’s one of the few manufacturers that breaks down the differences in quantities.
One drawback for this product is that some users have noted receiving the kit in bags instead of containers. It seems to be an intermittent issue but could be disappointing for people expecting neat and tidy containers.
Best for Budget: Dan&Darci Rock Tumbler Grit Refill Kit
If you love polishing rocks but you’re working on a budget, then you might want to check out this four-step kit with filler included. You can use each of these grits with any rock tumbler, including a vibratory tumbler, so you don’t need a specific brand.
Dan&Darci scores significant points for their packaging. Not only do you get cute, vibrant containers with screw-on lids, but each one is also clearly labeled with the contents, like “Step #3 Pre-Polish.”
If that’s not enough to guide you through the polish process, the company includes a detailed instruction guide that explains each item and how to use them.
Additionally, Dan&Darci offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. The company notes that they will refund you if you’re not satisfied, no questions asked.
Speaking of that satisfaction guarantee, this product appears to have some quality control issues. Most people say it does a tremendous polish job on rocks, but others received damaged or incomplete kits.
Buyer’s Guide and FAQs
I’ve spent a lot of time playing around with different rock tumbling products, and I realize that may not be the case for you. So, I thought back to some of the questions I had early on about grits and tumbling and thought I would share them with you as a guide.
What Is Rock Tumbler Grit?
Rock tumbler grit is an artificial abrasive material, which is hard and sharp enough to shape rocks and gems. It’s usually silicon carbide that comes in different sizes, from coarse to fine grind.
What Are the Different Grades of Grit?
The above products have different steps, also known as grinding stages. Each stage represents a unique grade of rock tumbler grit that does something different to smooth the rocks and gems.
Shaping grit or 60 90 grit is used in the first stage of rock tumbling. The 60 90 grit is a highly coarse grind of angular particles with sharp points to work the rocks.
During this process, the coarse grit knocks down the sharp edges and grooves until they are smooth and ready for more delicate polishing.
Medium-level fine grit is slightly softer going into the second stage of rock tumbling. It’s less coarse than shaping grit and prepares the rocks for more delicate, detailed polish.
Pre-polish or fine rock tumbler grit looks a lot like fine sand. The fine grind prepares the rocks for their last tumble, the fourth stage.
We usually use an aluminum oxide polish for the final stage or a final polish such as TXP aluminum oxide. Tumbling the rocks through with this stage gets that smooth polish we desire.
After this stage, carefully remove the tumbled stones from the tumbler barrel. You might want to give them a light wash to reveal the shine! Some people opt to do a bit of dry polishing as well.
Can You Reuse Grit?
While it would be nice to toss a bit of used grit back in your tumbler for a few pieces, it’s not a good idea. Each polishing step breaks down the grit, even with softer stones, so that it won’t polish rocks the same way.
What’s the Safest Way to Dispose of Used Tumbler Grit?
The safest way to discard grit after tumbling rocks is by mixing it with water to create a muddy liquid.
Dump it in your yard a little at a time. It’s essential to keep tumbler grit away from plants and gardens because the silicon carbide may impact their growth. It’s not a bad idea to create a small sandpit for more frequent disposal.
Where to Purchase Rock Tumbler Grit?
Many modern rock tumblers use high-quality plastic and rubber that are durable, easy to maintain and work with almost any good grit. Today, you can find tumbler grit kits through major retailers and online shops.
Considering all the great rock tumbling grit products available, the key ingredient to finding the best option is quality, which delivers stellar shine.
National Geographic’s Rock Tumbler Grit is the top choice for polishing stones and creating beautiful art with your favorite stones. It’s a fantastic choice for all ages, features all necessary grits, and makes an excellent gift for rockhounds who want to polish rough stones.
Whether you are new to the rock tumbling hobby or a seasoned polish pro, try out one or all of the recommendations and see which might be best for your stones!