BEST ROTARY TOOLS | JANUARY 2021

Rotary tools are lightweight, handheld power tools that use special attachments to do everything from cutting and sanding to polishing and shaping. They’re popular among DIY enthusiasts and hobbyists who want a compact tool that’s both versatile and easy to use. There are several types of rotary tools to choose from, and some are better at certain tasks than others. Our team has evaluated the many different options available in order to help you find the rotary tool that fits your needs and budget. Read more about our methodology.

Best Overall

95

Our top pick for rotary tools, the Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool is ideal for everyone from the average DIY enthusiast to the seasoned woodworking pro. Variable speed settings, toolless attachment swapping and an ergonomic design make this rotary tool tough to top.

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89
RUNNER-UP

The Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E proves that not all power tools need to be noisy or unwieldy. Its ball bearing assembly virtually eliminates excessive motor noise and vibration, making it ideal for delicate projects like polishing, cleaning and engraving.

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Best Value

90

The fact that the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit matches up well against other rotary tool models while selling for significantly less makes it an easy choice for our best value buy. It’s a steady performer that offers impressive features in a budget-priced package.

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88
RUNNER-UP

By offering well over 100 more accessories than its nearest competitor, the Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit is a great value for those looking to purchase a rotary tool set. It also has a compact, lightweight design and variable speed control to take on many different tasks.

Read full review.

Best by Category

Best Rotary Tool for Beginners

92

For those who are new to the world of rotary tools, the Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit is a great place to start. This three-speed tool is lightweight, yet has a powerful motor that can take substantial abuse as you learn to use it effectively.

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Best Rotary Tool for Engraving

89

The Proxxon 28512 Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool is ideal for jewelers, model builders or artists looking for a precision engraving tool. Its unique design separates the power transformer from the tool itself, making it incredibly light and easy to use for delicate work.

Read full review.

Best Rotary Cutout Tool

94

Carpenters, electricians and contractors who need a simple, industrial-grade tool for cutting drywall, sheetrock and other building materials should check out the DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool. It has a powerful motor, compact design and tool-free bit changing to help you work smarter, not harder.

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Best Cordless Rotary Tool

95

The Dremel 8220-2/28 Cordless Rotary Tool is a prime example of how versatile a cordless rotary tool can be by offering all the same features you’d expect from a standard rotary tool with the added portability of battery power.

Read full review.

Best Heavy Duty Rotary Tool

95

The Dremel 4000-6/50 Variable-Speed Rotary Tool has a more powerful motor and special electronic circuitry to help users make light work of even the toughest tasks, which puts it ahead of its class for woodworkers and aggressive home improvement enthusiasts alike.

Read full review.

Rotary Tools BUYING GUIDE

  • KEY CONSIDERATIONS

    Speed Settings

    Most rotary tools operate at speeds between 5,000 and 35,000 rotations per minute (RPMs). The correct speed to use depends on a number of variables, like the type of material you’re working with and the specific attachment you’re using. While some rotary tools offer only a handful of speed settings, others have variable speed functionality, which allows you to dial in the exact RPMs you need for your task.

    Amps

    For rotary tools, the size and power of the motor is measured in amperage, or amps. This is the amount of electrical current the motor draws in order to operate. As a general rule, the greater the amps, the more powerful the motor. Basic rotary tools start around one amp, which is enough for simple projects like polishing, engraving and light cutting. More heavy-duty rotary tools can go as high as three to five amps, allowing them to tackle more aggressive tasks like cutting and drilling without bogging down.

    Corded vs. Cordless

    The majority of rotary tools are corded, requiring you to plug them into a nearby outlet or extension cord to use. However, cordless rotary tools with rechargeable lithium ion batteries are becoming more and more popular. Not having a cord means they are much more portable than other rotary tools, but they may need to be charged often.

    Attachment Compatibility 

    Rotary tools are nothing without their attachments, sometimes called “bits,” which allow them to perform a variety of tasks. Certain models of rotary tools only accept attachments specific to that brand, but others allow you to use heads from any other model of tool regardless of brand. This saves you money in the long run if you happen to own several different models or brands of rotary tools.

  • PRICE BREAKDOWN

    Rotary tools are priced to make them affordable for the average hobbyist or amateur handyman. However, they can become exponentially more expensive depending on the number of accessories and attachments necessary to complete your intended projects. A basic rotary tool with a handful of accessories can be had for around $30, and add-on kits or extra batteries can run another $40 to $50. Keep an eye out for rotary tools that are sold as part of a kit, which will net you anywhere from 20 to over 100 extra attachments for much cheaper than purchasing them separately. Top-of-the-line rotary tools with more powerful motors can be priced as high as $150, but this extra cost usually means you can tackle larger, construction-grade projects with ease.

FULL product reviews

We research hundreds of products in order to bring you a final, unbiased list of the very best. We also use a proprietary algorithm to score each product in terms of quality, value, and brand reputation. These subscores are then weighted to calculate our overall scores. Read more about how we calculate our scores.

1K products
considered
53K RATINGS
ANALYZED
28 research
hours

Best Overall

TOP PICK

Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool

The Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool is a compact and powerful tool that can take on any task from cutting and drilling to grinding and sanding. Weighing just over three pounds, it has a symmetrical design with a 360-degree grip zone that’s comfortable and easy to use in any position. It also has variable speed settings between 5,000 and 32,000 RPMs, and an upgraded venting system that keeps the tool running cooler during extended use. Replaceable motor brushes help keep the inner-workings clean and extend the lifetime of the tool.

  • 95overall
  • 96quality
  • 94value
  • 92brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Lightweight, ergonomic design. Reviewers note that the Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool is much lighter and easier to control than other Dremel models, and runs with limited vibration.
  • Upgraded venting and cooling fan. The Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool sports an improved venting system that keeps the tool from heating up during extended use. Many users say they’ve noticed that it runs cooler than other models.
  • Integrated wrench. Several commenters mention getting extra use out of the Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool’s nose cap, which has a built-in wrench that can be used to tighten accessories without an extra tool.
  • Accessory compatibility. Many users are pleased with the Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool’s ability to use attachments from all other Dremel rotary tool models, which helps cut down on operating costs.
  • Variable speed settings. The Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool allows users to set their desired rotations per minute (RPMs) anywhere between 5,000 and 32,000 RPMs to fit whatever the project calls for.

Other Considerations

  • Short cord. Several users say they wish the power cord was a bit longer, as some other rotary tools boast an eight-foot cord to the Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool’s six-foot cord.
  • Cheap storage case. Many reviewers like that the Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool comes with a storage case, but they also wish it was made of a more durable material than hard plastic and had more room for bit storage.
  • Lack of accessories. While the Dremel 3000-2/28 Rotary Tool comes with a handful of attachments, many commenters say they are not all that useful and require you to spend more money on additional accessory kits to make the most out of using the tool. 
RUNNER UP

Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E

The Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E is a high-quality rotary tool that can tackle even the toughest tasks a hobbyist can throw at it. With a die-cast aluminum head and hardened-steel collets, it can use a wide array of attachments in addition to the 34 industrial-quality bits that come with it. Variable-speed control between 5,000 and 20,000 RPMs is as simple as adjusting an electronic dial, and even at full speed the tool runs exceptionally quiet and with minimal vibration. This is especially handy for model builders, jewelers and electronic enthusiasts who need a rotary tool that can handle very delicate projects.

  • 89overall
  • 91quality
  • 73value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Quiet running. The Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E uses a ball bearing design that significantly reduces motor noise and vibration during use. Many users say this is one of their favorite features of the tool.
  • Solid construction. Several commenters note how well put together the Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E feels, and based on reviews it appears to hold up well under extended use.
  • Multiple sizes of collets. The Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E comes with six hardened-steel collets of varying sizes, which allows you to use a wide variety of attachments.
  • Variable speed dial. Many reviews mention how easy the Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E’s electronic variable speed dial is to use when trying to find the right operating speed for their projects. 

Other Considerations

  • Not intended for industrial use. The Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E is designed as a hobby-grade rotary tool, and several users claim that it does not perform well when tasked with more heavy-duty projects.
  • Poor case design. Many reviewers say they wish the Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E came with a better-designed storage case that holds attachments more securely. When the case is picked up, the accessories often come loose and scatter all over the inside.
  • On the expensive side. Though many users are happy with the features of the Proxxon 38481 Professional Rotary Tool IBS/E, they point out that it’s almost twice as expensive as comparable rotary tools from other brands.

Best Value

TOP PICK

WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit

If you’re not a rotary tool power user and are looking for an inexpensive option for occasional use, the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit is the perfect option. With a price point that’s about four times lower than its competitors, it’s surprisingly versatile, and comes with 80 accessories including a flex shaft attachment for more detailed work. It’s also lighter than some other rotary tools on the market, and offers variable speed control via an electronic dial. It may not be considered a top-of-the-line rotary tool, but you certainly can’t beat its value.

  • 90overall
  • 90quality
  • 95value
  • 85brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Budget price. Many reviewers are amazed that the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit performs so well considering it costs up to four times less than its competitors.
  • Additional accessories. The WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit comes with 80 accessories, including a flex shaft attachment, which is significantly more than other brands provide in their rotary tool kits. It is also compatible with many Dremel tool bits as well.
  • Variable speed control. A majority of users like that the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit has a variable speed dial that allows them to set speeds anywhere from 8,000 to 30,000 RPMs.
  • Excellent customer service. Several reviewers who returned their units under warranty say WEN’s customer service is extremely helpful and fulfills their product exchanges promptly.

Other Considerations

  • Uncomfortable to use. Compared to other rotary tools, the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit produces a lot of vibration during use, which some commenters claim made it difficult to operate for extended periods.
  • Accessories are cheap. Many reviewers claim that the included discs and sanding bits do not hold up under use and will quickly wear down or break.
  • Lacks precision control. Though the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit comes with a flex shaft attachment that’s meant for detailed work, several users report that it doesn’t fit that securely into the tool, and produces enough vibration to make projects like engraving difficult.
RUNNER UP

Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit

The Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit has everything the average hobbyist or DIY enthusiast needs to complete their projects quickly and efficiently. It’s small and light enough to fit into those hard-to-reach places, while still packing enough power for cutting, grinding or sanding. You can control the tool’s operating speed using the variable speed dial, selecting settings between 8,000 and 30,000 RPMs. And if the included accessories aren’t enough, it comes with three different collet sizes so it’s compatible with attachments from other rotary tool brands as well.

  • 88overall
  • 88quality
  • 89value
  • 82brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Long warranty. While most rotary tools we researched offer a standard two-year warranty, the Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit has an impressive three-year warranty, which many users indicate is a big plus.
  • Compact design. Many users like how the Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit is small enough to fit into tight spaces, even if it’s ultimately not as portable as a cordless rotary tool.
  • Great value. Reviewers say the Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit provides tremendous value by offering the tool and so many accessories for the same price as other brands charge just for the rotary tool.

Other Considerations

  • Not for heavy-duty use. Several users report that the tool bogs down under heavy use, and is really only acceptable for more moderate projects.
  • Short power cord. A few users wish the cord should be longer, and say an extension cord is necessary for work more than a few feet from a power outlet.
  • Lack of accessory variety. Though the Kawasaki 840589 190-Piece Rotary Tool and Accessory Kit comes with 190 attachments, many users say that the majority of them are simple cutting discs that wear down quickly. The kit also does not come with a flexible shaft tool, so it must be purchased separately.

BEST BY CATEGORY

Best Rotary Tool for Beginners

why buy?

With so many different models and brands of rotary tools out there, it can be intimidating for first-time users to know where to start. However, brands have stepped in to fill this market by offering entry-level models with limited features that have a shallower learning curve. These tools come with a few accessories for simple tasks like sanding and drilling, and often only have a handful of speed settings to choose from. They emphasize lightweight, vibration-free designs that are easy to handle for users of all skill levels.

Top Pick

Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit

The Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit is an excellent example of a rotary tool that’s easy to use for beginners but strong enough to find a place in any handyman’s toolbox. Its flip-and-lock bit changing system makes swapping out attachments a breeze, and it has a universal collet that accepts standard rotary tool accessories from other brands. The tool has three operating speeds, letting you select between 12,000/24,000/30,000 RPMs for “set it and forget it” convenience. It’s also significantly lighter than competing rotary tools, and provides less vibration feedback during use.

  • 92overall
  • 93quality
  • 91value
  • 87brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Quiet operation. Several users say they were surprised that a tool as powerful as the Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit could run so quietly and without excessive vibration.
  • Simple bit changing. The Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit has a flip-and-lock switch that stabilizes the tool head while changing attachments, which makes it fast and easy to swap out bits on the fly. 
  • Powerful motor. Many users point out that the Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit’s two-amp motor is twice as powerful as most other rotary tools they have used, which makes it less likely to struggle with heavy-duty projects like drilling, cutting or grinding.
  • Comfortable grip. A number of reviewers say they enjoy how comfortable the soft rubber grip is on the Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit, and that it allows them to use the tool for longer periods.
  • Universal accessory compatibility. The Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit comes with a universal collet that allows for the use of any standard rotary tool accessories regardless of brand.

Other Considerations

  • Lack of accessories. A few reviewers say they are not satisfied with how few accessories come with the Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit, and that it only comes with a storage bag instead of a full-sized case.
  • Runs hot. Because the motor exhaust is placed near the grip, several users say the Black & Decker RTX-B Rotary Tool Kit can become hot to the touch during extended use.

Best Rotary Tool for Engraving

why buy?

While most rotary tools claim they are great for engraving, they are often held back by bulky designs with too much vibration for precision work. If you’re looking for an engraving tool, it needs to be light and easy to maneuver, giving you the amount of control you would expect from analogue tools like a scalpel or pen knife. Some rotary tools achieve this with pen-like attachments that extend from the head of the tool, while others are specifically designed to be separate from the motor in order to cut down on weight and eliminate vibration.

Top Pick

Proxxon 28512 Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool

By separating the transformer from the tool body, the Proxxon 28512 Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool is able to achieve an almost unprecedented lightness that makes it perfect as an engraving and precision rotary tool. It has variable speed settings from 5,000 to 20,000 RPMs, and even at its highest setting the vibration is surprisingly minimal. Its pen-style body design gives users exceptional control and dexterity, with woodcarvers, artists and model builders as its primary user base. The tool also comes with six different sizes of hardened-steel collets that can fit almost any type of specialty bits you may need.

  • 89overall
  • 90quality
  • 79value
  • 83brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Superior build quality. Similar to the Proxxon 38481 rotary tool listed above, many users are impressed by how sturdy and well-made the Proxxon 28512 Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool feels to use.
  • Very little vibration. A number of comments reference how little spindle runout there is while using the tool, which makes it ideal for building models or other delicate work.
  • Inexpensive for the brand. Several reviewers point out that the Proxxon 28512 Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool is relatively inexpensive compared to other products in the Proxxon line, which is considered a high-end brand.
  • Extremely lightweight. Users say that while they were initially skeptical of the Proxxon 28512 Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool’s separate transformer design, they love how light the tool is because of it.

Other Considerations

  • Not for industrial use. Because the Proxxon 28512 Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool is designed for precision, it’s not powerful enough to use for other rotary tool tasks like cutting or grinding.
  • Transformer sold separately. The Proxxon 28512 Micromot 50 EF Rotary Tool requires a 12-volt transformer to operate, but it does not come packaged with the tool.

Best Rotary Cutout Tool

why buy?

Rotary cutout tools are a specific subset of rotary tools that are popular among contractors, electricians and carpenters who work with drywall, sheetrock and other building materials. These tools use spiral bits to drill into walls and other surfaces to cut out holes for things like wall outlets and recessed lighting. Unlike normal drills, rotary cutout tools offer increased maneuverability with handheld designs and depth adjustment guides to keep users from accidentally drilling into hidden electrical wires. They also have sealed motor compartments to prevent drywall dust and wood shavings from clogging the motor.

Top Pick

DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool

The DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool is as comfortable on the job site as it is in your home, offering industrial-grade power with consumer-grade ease-of-use. This rotary cutout tool is surprisingly light for such a rugged piece of equipment, and has excellent shock-absorption to dull vibrations from its five-amp, 30,000-RPM motor. It has several features like a turn-on/bump-off switch and a tool-free bit changing system that are designed to make operation as quick and painless as possible, and DEWALT offers a truly impressive three-year warranty with one year of free service on the tool.

  • 94overall
  • 95quality
  • 92value
  • 92brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Exceptional warranty. Many reviewers are pleased that the DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool comes with such an impressive warranty – three years, with one year of free service and a 90-day money-back guarantee. They claim it makes them feel more confident that the brand stands behind its products.
  • Durable and reliable. A number of users report that the DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool works great right out of the box and remains an important piece of equipment in their toolbox.
  • Can cut almost anything. The DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool has a powerful five-amp motor that helps it power through virtually any material. Several commenters say that with the right bits, it can cut through anything from drywall to tile to metal.
  • Tool-free bit change. Many reviewers love how easy the DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool’s tool-free bit change is to use, and how much time it saves them while swapping bits during projects.

Other Considerations

  • Single-use tool. By design, rotary cutout tools are meant to cut holes in walls, ceilings and other building surfaces during carpentry work. They are not like other rotary tools that can handle a wider variety of tasks.
  • Loud operation. Reviewers say the DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool is very much a power tool, and is more concerned with performance than running quietly. Ear protection is suggested.
  • Cheap cutting guide. Several users say that the included cutting guide felt cheap compared to the durability of the rest of the DEWALT DW660 Cut-Out Rotary Tool.

Best Cordless Rotary Tool

why buy?

Cordless rotary tools operate much the same as normal corded rotary tools, with the added benefit of portability and ease of use. Because they are not tethered to power outlets or extension cords, they can be used almost anywhere, and are especially handy in tight, hard-to-reach areas. However, the trade-off for this portability is often a slightly bulkier tool, lower power output, and a need to recharge the battery often. To combat this, many cordless rotary tool kits come with an extra battery that can be swapped in if your tool runs out of power during use.

Top Pick

Dremel 8220-2/28 Cordless Rotary Tool

Users who want a rotary tool that can go practically anywhere yet still offer similar power and performance will be happy with the Dremel 8220-2/28 Cordless Rotary Tool. It offers variable speed control from 5,000 to 35,000 RPMs, and accepts all standard rotary tool attachments from other Dremel models. By removing the power cord in favor of a 12-volt max lithium-ion battery, this tool really shines as a portable option for users who need to work in tight, hard-to-reach places where a corded tool can’t go.

  • 95overall
  • 96quality
  • 88value
  • 92brand

Why We Recommend It

  • Comes with extra battery. Likely because of concerns over battery life, the Dremel 8220-2/28 Cordless Rotary Tool kit comes with an extra battery included. Many users say this is helpful because it allows them to charge one battery while the other is in use.
  • Accessory compatibility. The Dremel 8220-2/28 Cordless Rotary Tool is designed to be compatible with all current rotary tool accessories and attachments from that brand, which is especially nice for users who have multiple Dremel rotary tools.
  • Portability. The majority of reviewers like how portable the Dremel 8220-2/28 Cordless Rotary Tool is due to its lack of power cord. They say this makes the tool more versatile because they can use it almost anywhere.

Other Considerations

  • Heavier than normal. Because the body of the Dremel 8220-2/28 Cordless Rotary Tool contains a 12-volt lithium ion battery, this makes the tool heavier than some other corded rotary tools, and it’s the heaviest in the Dremel cordless line.
  • Short battery life. While Dremel claims that battery life for the Dremel 8220-2/28 Cordless Rotary Tool is two hours, many users claim they get less than half that amount, and the batteries take a while to charge.

Best Heavy Duty Rotary Tool

why buy?

Most basic rotary tools have smaller motors and more delicate attachments, which are perfect for making quick work of small- to medium-sized tasks. On the other end of the spectrum, heavy duty rotary tools are beefed up with larger motors, come with more durable attachments, and are designed to vent more heat from their increased motor output. These tools are designed with industrial applications in mind, and won’t bog down under heavy use.

Top Pick

Dremel 4000-6/50 Variable-Speed Rotary Tool

For those who need a rotary tool that can stand up to more intensive projects, the Dremel 4000-6/50 Variable-Speed Rotary Tool fits the bill. It uses an upgraded 1.6-amp motor and electronic feedback circuitry to power through the hardest woods while carving, drilling or cutting, and has variable speed settings from 5,000 to 35,000 RPMs. It also comes with a quick-start guide and 50 accessories so you can put it to work right out of the box. Its ball bearing assembly keeps motor noise and vibration to a minimum as well.

  • 95overall
  • 96quality
  • 87value
  • 92brand

Why We Recommend It

  • High-performance motor. Unlike other rotary tools with one-amp motors, the Dremel 4000-6/50 Variable-Speed Rotary Tool boasts a beefed-up 1.6-amp version. Many commenters claim they notice the difference when working on more aggressive projects like carving, cutting or drilling.
  • Can use other accessories. Like most of the Dremel line of rotary tools, the Dremel 4000-6/50 Variable-Speed Rotary Tool can use any standard rotary tool attachments, which adds value for users with multiple tools in their toolbox.
  • Consistent power. The Dremel 4000-6/50 Variable-Speed Rotary Tool has a unique electronic feedback circuitry that keeps it from bogging down at low speeds during strenuous work.
  • Excellent customer service. Several users say they had extremely pleasant experiences with Dremel customer service, and their tools were repaired or replaced very quickly and without much hassle.

Other Considerations

  • Cheap accessories. While reviewers agree that the Dremel 4000-6/50 Variable-Speed Rotary Tool itself works well on larger, more intense projects, they claim the included accessories do not hold up well at all and will wear down or break easily.
  • Can get hot. Users report that the Dremel 4000-6/50 Variable-Speed Rotary Tool can heat up considerably during extended use, including the flex shaft attachment. Touching these areas can cause burns if not wearing protection.