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Rock Tumblers: Where to Put Them & Proven Safety Tips

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Rock tumbling is a rewarding hobby if you have patience. Remember that what you are doing in a couple of weeks, nature has done so for hundreds of years. But where should you put your rock tumbler, and are they safe?

Rock tumblers are best stored near a water source and need electricity. Since they work for countless hours, you will need to check up on them occasionally, so you need good light to check both the machine and the specimens you are tumbling. You need a secure place where the device won’t create problems and children or pets won’t disturb it.

Now that may sound easy, but there are plenty of places in your home where you can store your rock tumbler and ensure it doesn’t get out of control. Here is what you should consider!

Where To Put a Rock Tumbler?
Where To Put a Rock Tumbler?

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Where To Put a Rock Tumbler?

A rock tumbler will work countless hours and days to give you the desired results. Because of this, you need to consider its safety so that you can quickly check up on it and that no other factors disturb your machine or the machine doesn’t disturb you.

The best places to put your rock tumbler include your garage, basement, closet, or shed. Visiting these areas shouldn’t be inconvenient because you must check your rock tumbler several times daily. At the same time, the machine shouldn’t disturb you or your family members while it works.

Think About a Secure Place With Electricity and Water

If you have children or pets, you can imagine how their curiosity can get the best of them and might interfere somehow or by accident with your rock tumbler. This can be potentially dangerous, not just a setback in your efforts to have shiny rocks. Who knows what will happen if the pets or children trip on the rock tumbler’s power wire and fall? 

Because of this, consider placing your rock tumbler in a secure place where you have everything you need to work with your specimens when they reach particular stages.

Also, remember that these machines can get loud, so a closet might not be a good idea depending on how your house is structured. 

You must store your rock tumbler in a dry place with electricity and a water source since you regularly use water to load the barrel or clean it up. Avoid using an extension cord to get electricity for your rock tumbler as it is easy to trip on it or spill water on it.

Noise Levels

Plastic barrels are the noisiest types of barrels you can get for rock tumblers, so you should consider opting for something else, such as rotary tumblers with soft rubber barrels. They are among the quietest barrels, but vibratory barrels are more efficient.

However, they do make a humming sound that can be disturbing. Because of this, you should store the rock tumbler in a detached garage, heated shed, or any part of your house that is away from your bedroom and has the necessary tools to work.

At night, you might be able to hear this type of rock tumbler, so you should consider adjusting its working schedule a bit differently, such as rinsing the rocks in the evening and restarting the process in mourning.

TIP: Rock tumblers require maintenance; you must oil them regularly to keep them running smoothly. Find out the complete guide about oiling rock tumblers in the article below:
Step-By-Step Guide: How To Properly Oil Your Rock Tumbler

Consider Temperature Levels

Your rock tumbler should be stored in an area where it isn’t too cold for the water to freeze or too hot. The machine will also get hot as it works, so if you place it in an already hot environment, its thermal protection might make it shut off and end the process prematurely.

The mud will be harder if you aren’t aware that the tumbler shut off, and you will have a lot of work to do to clean it off if you don’t restart the process soon.

In other instances, some rock tumblers don’t have thermal protection, which means that when temperatures get too high, it can result in motor failure, and you will have another expense.

There Will Be Some Mess

It’s easy to see why working with a rock tumbler can result in a mess, especially if you accidentally knock it down. So you need to store your rock tumbler in an environment where there isn’t much clutter, you can move around freely, and where cleaning is easy such as an area with concrete or tile floor.

You will regularly work with git and polish, muddy water, and oils. There is no way to avoid creating a small mess, so you should consider this when choosing where to place your rock tumbler.

TIP: Kids love seeing ordinary rocks transform into dazzling gemstones before their eyes. It brings science to life for them. Check out the best tumblers for kids in the article below:
Best Rock Tumblers for Kids in 2022: Options For Diff Ages

Don’t Use the Rock Tumbler Outdoors

You might be tempted to place your rock tumbler on your porch or patio to eliminate the noise and not make a mess inside your house. However, this isn’t a good move. Since rock tumblers use air to cool off, running them outdoors is risky, especially in summer when temperatures get high.

You can risk overheating your rock tumbler quickly, but even direct sunlight can lead to this. If the temperatures are too low, the water in your rock tumbler can freeze, leading to leaks and disturbing the barrel’s balance, leading to falls and machine damage.

Apart from this, there is also the electricity issue. You can’t always anticipate rain, dew, or snow. Even outdoor precipitation can lead the rock tumbler’s electrical cords to become wet enough to cause damage or even hurt you in the process as well.

Don’t Place The Machine on Workbenches

Don’t place your rock tumbler on a workbench because it could slide off and damage it. Apart from this, it will create a mess. Rock tumblers make vibrations and move a lot. It’s easy for them to fall if placed high above the ground.

TIP: One of the most important aspects of rock tumbling is to use the instructions with your tumbling machine or search for them online. Check out great tips on rock tumbling in the article below:
13 Clever Tips & Tricks For Rock Tumbling You Should Know

Are Rock Tumblers Safe?

Are Rock Tumblers Safe?
Are Rock Tumblers Safe?

Rock tumblers are generally safe machines to use, but you do need to be careful. Some devices have more protection features, such as thermal protection, so you should choose your rock tumbler wisely.

Overheating can be dangerous, leading to fires or other electrical issues. That is why investing in a suitable rock tumbler is essential as checking up on it several times a day or preventing children or pets from interacting. Check the outlet if your rock tumbler is very hot and emits smells commonly associated with burning.

Call authorities if the outlet plastic seems affected, the wall is hot or emitting smoke, and don’t try to touch the outlet. Also, you should be careful when working with water near outlets and ensure that the rock tumbler works in proper conditions and under the correct temperatures.

These machines are harmless if you store them properly, check them, and take care of them, but remember that they are a fire hazard like any device operated by electricity.

Regular maintenance can help you reduce the risks. Consider cleaning your rock tumbler regularly to prevent dust or dirt accumulation on the motor that can lead to cooling issues.

Don’t place your tumbler in dusty environments, as their engines require significant air volumes to function correctly, and they can quickly gather too much dust.

Keep the bearings and motor lubricated and clean, or replace them if they don’t work correctly. Another aspect to consider is not to overload the barrel because it can lead to overheating and other potentially dangerous situations. 

TIP: Rock tumblers must run continuously for weeks or months to do their job, so their motors work very hard and must be durable. Check out the cost breakdown of tumbling in the article below:
Is Rock Tumbling Expensive? Complete Cost Breakdown

FAQ About Rock Tumblers Safety

Still did not find the answer to your questions about rock tumblers’ safety? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:

Is it Safe to Leave a Rock Tumbler On?

You can leave your rock tumbler on for several hours, even days, as long as you check up on it regularly and ensure that nothing interferes with the machine, such as high temperatures in the room. Check your rock tumbler for overheating and the outlets as well. Consider taking a break if anything gets too hot.

Are Rock Tumblers a Fire Hazard?

Rock tumblers operate through electricity, making them a fire hazard like any other electronic device. Starting a fire isn’t risky as long as you take care of your rock tumbler through regular maintenance and ensure it doesn’t overheat.

Will a Rock Tumbler Freeze?

The water in your rock tumbler barrel can freeze if you place the machine in unfavorable conditions, such as unheated rooms in the winter or outside. Freezing will damage the device, and you might need to replace it.

TIP: If your rock tumbler is leaking, some grit or debris might cling to the lid’s rim. Check out the main reasons why your rock tumbler is leaking and how to fix it in the article below:
6 Reasons Why Your Rock Tumbler Leaks and How to Fix it

Can I Turn My Rock Tumbler Off at Night?

Every rockhound has its technique when it comes to rock tumbling. Some enthusiasts work with their rock tumblers for days, even a whole week, without pause, while others prefer to turn off their machines at night and only let them work through the day.

While you can turn off your tumbler at night, you need to consider that you might lengthen the process by doing so, and you will use more electricity in turning it off and on than letting it run all the time.

Turning your rock tumbler off at night might cause the grit to settle and create other issues in the tumbling process later.

The best way to tell if it’s worth turning your rock tumbler off at night is through trial and error. Use some rocks you don’t care about too much and try to tumble them for seven days in a row to see the results, or tumble them in on-and-off cycles and compare them.


Rock tumbling is a fun hobby as long as you take care of your machine and place it correctly in your home not to disturb you and others or cause a mess.

They are safe machines if you store them in protected environments, check up on them regularly, and provide them with maintenance.

TIP: Rock collectors know how hard it is to find perfect specimens for tumbling. Check out the best places for finding these rocks in the article below:
7 Best Places to Find Rocks for Tumbling in Nature