Dremel has been known for years for their small high-quality rotary tools, and then a little over a year ago the company launched the Dremel Multi-Max oscillating tool. Right off the bat the Multi-Max was a huge success among home owners as well as some professionals, making the Multi-Max the most popular power tool of 2009 (according to their sales rep). When the Dremel Trio 6800-01 was getting ready to launch, Home Depot locked in a 3 month exclusive deal for these units. So you may have already seem them but now they can be found all over and we were lucky enough to get a unit to test out.
When reviewing any tool we do our best to try and remember who the product is targeting, in this case it would be for the occasional home owner user. Our good friend Doug over at ToolSnob is a true construction professional who is out in field everyday and we value his opinion very highly. At times he can be pretty hard on tools especially those perhaps not up to snuff for professional use. The Dremel Trio would be just such an occasion, and the post also serves as a warning to all tool manufacturers who decide to go cheap on the case. Read the ToolSnob Trio 6800-01 Review.
We wanted to look at each of the 3 jobs the “Trio” performed individually and see what the strengths and weaknesses were for each task. In the cutting department the Trio works the same as a Rotozip tool, spinning at speeds, up to 20,000 RPM and using the sides of a bit to shave away the material of wood, metal, drywall, plastic, etc. This style of cutting in general is less effective but can gives more control and tighter turning radius if used correctly. Here is an example of a Rotozip spiral saw Cutting Floor Tile. These cutting tools are more common for use in cutting dry wall and the Trio did a very nice job cutting out drywall. We used the same bit to cut some thin wood paneling and it did this job nicely as well. The strait / round cutting adaptor that is also included is a very nice addition, ideal for cutting out can light openings.
The downside in the cutting department is the unit only came with the 1 bit so we couldn’t test it on ceramic tile, sheet metal or hard woods which it claims to cut as well. There are other Trio bits designed for those tasks but what is really frustrating is that the bits are a very odd size so none of our dozens of 1/8”, 5/32” or ¼” bits would work. Common collet size for Dremel Rotary tools are 1/8” and for Rotozip 1/8”, 5/32” & ¼” so what size did Dremel Make the Trio bits 3/16” of course. Basically you are limited to the 3 cutting bits available for the Trio.
The Trio again came with a single router bit in the case, this one a ¼” mortising router bit which performed very well through some pine 2×4”. For smaller routing jobs the flexibility of the pivoting handle makes the Trio easy to use. Not a powerful router but for miscellaneous routing tasks, such as installing a door hinge this would be a very handy tool.
In the routing department again what holds the tool back is a lack of compatibility with the rest of the world from the Dremel Trio Island. There are only 3 routing bits available at this time for the Trio a ¼” strait, 1/8” corner rounding and chamfer bit. Apparently they were not going after even the light woodworking market here. The telescoping base is also a little awkward and doesn’t have any way to measure depth so might not be a bad idea to keep a ruler handy.
Finally we did find a little compatibility in at least the sanding drum paper work from our other Dremel tools. We also found the sanding drums do a nice job in smoothing out any nicks you may have caused from either the cutting or routing. Since you are using the same tool it’s very easy to switch bits and tidy up your work.
The downside to the sanding is it is very limited. The Dremel Rotary tool we have been using for years does the same type of sanding tasks but allows for much much more versatility and flexibility of motion. The Trio only offers the ability to sand 90 degrees from the base plate so other than smoothing edges it does not have very much functionality.
Overall you can do a fair amount of tasks with this one tool, if your current stash of tools is a little limited and doesn’t consists of much more than a cordless drill, dad’s old circular saw and maybe a dozen hand tools you will definitely get some use of this tool. If that is the case however we would recommend checking out the Dremel Multi-Max (same price) long before this unit as it offers even more overall versatility in a tool. It also is very sad to us that Dremel chose deliberately not to make the bits compatibly with other more popular tool accessories that would have opened the doors to a much wider range of tasks. Perhaps the folks at Dremel were a bit greedy thinking of all the additional accessories they might sell, hopefully it doesn’t hinder the success of the product overall. I am sure more accessories are on the way and hopefully we will see even more good stuff from the Trio. To view more product and test pictures check out this album.