The Smithsonian tumbler represents another child orientated polisher or one which could be ideal if you want to just dip your toe in the water to see what rock tumbling is all about.

Fairly small and compact in dimensions it is easy to locate and easy to add and remove the barrel when required. Various reports about this brand are saying that the container will wear after a few tumbles, generally around the indents in the barrel where the stone puts more pressure on the plastic as it rotates.

This causes the contents to spill out. Not good. Regarding noise, it is fairly quiet compared to some with almost no volume coming from the motor – just the usual bashing sound of the rocks hitting each other – which really cannot be avoided on any tumbler unless external proofing is put into place.

NSI/Smithsonian 49005 Rock Tumbler Review



  • Small – so it is versatile as to where it can be placed – not taking up too much room.
  • Easy to understand guide included along with a large poster to get you up and running.
  • Refill kits can be bought separately containing rocks, grits and polish and this is specifically branded to the Smithsonian model.


  • Clearly, the Smithsonian Tumbler is built as a toy, so again the cons must not be compared to a professional product. However there are a few concerns with this model which – irrespective of the market level – we feel should be mentioned.
  • The barrel tends to leak according to other reports. This can be a disaster with a rock tumbler – there are reports of both the barrel wearing through after just a few tumbles and in addition to this, there are also people who have mentioned that the seals do not fully work and the lid can drip. We have also seen reviews where there was no o-ring supplied in the package, thus the lid could not be sealed at all.
  • The container internal volume is rather small. The size of the container determines both how much of a load it can take, and also the maximum individual piece size.
  • There is only enough grit and polish for a limited number of cycles – however this is not entirely uncommon with toys, and silicon carbide can be purchased at a multitude of online sites and brick and mortar stores, as can cerium oxide. (As mentioned – a branded kit is also available)
  • The smithsonian rock tumbler is the middle of the road in price, however we feel the Elenco is probably more hardwaring with reference to its barrel.

The entire kit comprises Rock Tumbler by Smithsonian.

1 Electric Tumbler Machine
1 Barrel for rocks
2 Motor Friction Rings
2 Axle-Wear Plates
1 Rubber O-Ring
1 Bag of Rough Tumble ready semi-precious stones (8 oz)
1 Packet Coarse Step 1 Grit (0.63 oz)
1 Packet Medium Step 2 Grit (1.02 oz)
1 Packet of Polish Step 3 (0.81 oz)
1 Tub of Glue for Jewelry Making (0.17 fl oz)
12 Plastic Anchors
2 Key Rings : 2 Rings : 6 Cords : Color Poster plus Instructions.