Many woodcarvers, such as myself, enjoy engraving the final product of our work. In the beginning, as engraving tools for wood, I used classic chisels and gouges. Nowadays, I am very fond of electric wood engraving tools, especially when they are easy to use and give good results. These reviews are my quest for the best tools for engraving wood, no matter if you are a beginner or a professional.
A good wood engraving pen gives you the option to decorate your final carving piece by adding texture and life into it, draw facial expressions, or engrave words into the wood. With this technique, you can also carve hair and facial hair on portraits, highlight the different parts of animal and caricature carvings, or add your signature into the piece you’ve created.
- Uolor 108 Pcs Engraving Tool Kit
- This is a solid deal for an electric tool, but it is rather designed for other projects than wood engraving.
- Dremel 290-01 120-Volt Engraver Rotary Tool with Stencils
- Best value. Versatile tool with the ability to adjust depth. Offers a lot of control over the tip of the tool.
- AxPower Electric Micro Engraver Pen
- Well-designed engraving pen, easy to use, and not very expensive. It is good for softwood, but not so much for harder materials.
- Price not available
- Afantti Electric Micro Engraver Pen
- Best price. Handy tool for small and quick projects. Not very durable in the long run.
- FOLAI DIY Pen Electric Engraving Tools
- An elegant cordless power tool with a strong motor. Extra comfortable and light.
In this article, I will be focusing on wood engraving tools and toolsets only. If you are interested in pyrography tools, check out my previous articles – Top 6 beginner wood burning kits and Best Wood Burning Kits For Professionals. Since I will be exploring my experience with electric wood engraving tools, if you are interested in other power tools for wood carving, you can check out my reviews in the Best Power Wood Carving Tools in 2021 post.
What makes a good wood engraving tool?
When it comes to power tools for engraving, like with any other power tools, there are some criteria regarding the machines themselves that I find important. First of all, it matters if the tool is corded or not. When it comes to corded tools, the power is usually better and the manufacturer can guarantee efficiency. The only limitation is the length of the cord. With the other type of tools, battery-powered, it is always tricky because you can’t ever be sure how long the tool will be working for. The positive side is you don’t have any cables lying around while you work.
Secondly, good engraving wood tools should be lightweight, easy to control, and comfortable to hold. Engraving is a process that can take up many hours when you work on details and you want to achieve great results. This is why it matters a lot whether you can hold the tool without hand fatigue and if the tip is easy to focus so you can avoid making mistakes.
For wood engraving hand tools it is also important if you can adjust the speed and what levels you are offered. Different effects can be achieved according to the speed of the tip only. When it comes to the tip of the tool, size matters as well. Some tools can go deeper than the others, while in some cases you can also adjust the depth yourself.
Other factors I have been taking into consideration are the versatility of the tool, and especially how it relates to the price – if the overall value of the tool makes it worth the buy. The accessories that come with the tool are also important and help me understand how many different project types I can do with only one tool, which is always a good thing. When the toolset comes in a box or with some special additives such as stencils, I consider it to be a nice touch, as well.
Uolor 108 Pcs Engraving Tool Kit – Multipurpose tool for different surface types
The shape of this tool is interesting because it was designed to be held like a pen, yet it is not as ergonomic as they say, and not very comfortable for engraving. However, it is good for some other tricks.
With a total of 82 accessories, there are many actions you can take with this wood engraver tool. For example, with the rough round parts, you can easily smooth out the delicate surfaces on your woodcarving, especially if you’re working in caricatures or animals. It can basically replace the sanding paper in the process.
Another positive features of this tool are the ability to adjust the speed, which is very useful. It is easy to switch between different tips, and the tool can be used on nearly any surface you imagine.
That being said, it is often used in cosmetics for a manicure, that it is suited for because the hand position when holding it can adjust the perfect angle.
- Adjustable speed.
- 72 different tips plus stencils included.
- Can be used on different surfaces.
- It is not the best fit for engraving projects because of the way it is shaped.
To Sum Up
When it comes to tools for engraving wood, this set is not among my favorites. The pen is wide all the way and I cannot grip it properly to have the full control that I need for engraving projects.
Dremel 290-01 120-Volt Engraver Rotary Tool with Stencils – A comfortable adjustable depth engraving tool
There is no such thing as a woodcarver who has never heard of Dremel and the collection of the tools this brand offers. Whether the tools are comfortable and provide good value, it is up for discussion. But, one thing that is for sure is the versatility of the machine you buy from this manufacturer.
I’ll start with what I like about this tool. At first sight, I didn’t think this shape was handy to use at all. But once I unpacked it and plugged it in, it turns out it works pretty well. It is very tight at the end and easy to hold, while it guarantees a great deal of control for etching and engraving.
What makes this one of the best wood engraving tools is also the ability to adjust the depth/dial of the tool, which enables me to make really thin layers of writing, and deeper elements for texture and similar effects.
It is heavier than some other pens, but not as much, it is still very easy to use.
- Easy to hold and control the tip.
- Adjustable depth to achieve multiple engraving effects.
- Ergonomic. It has soft material where your fingers should grip.
- Very versatile.
- Doesn’t come with any accessories such as different tips, those can be bought separately.
To Sum Up
Dremel wood engraving tools are a good deal to buy anytime. They guarantee a certain level of quality that is simply rare to find. The only downside here is that you would have to buy additional tips if you want to explore different engraving styles, and they would need to be compatible with this machine.
AxPower Electric Micro Engraver Pen – Compact pen for engraving softwood carvings
This corded engraving pen is a wood etching machine that is thin enough to be comfortable to hold. In my opinion, the micro pen includes what the best tools for wood engraving need to have in one package.
The product includes 30 different engraving tips plus 6 polishing heads to scrape the excess material off the top of your carving, so you can do most of the final pre-waxing work with this tool only.
Other than a compact design and multiple accessories, there is not much more to this tool. You cannot adjust the depth or the speed, and it gets challenging if you start working with hardwood and harder materials. It is not the most durable tool.
- Easy to hold, lightweight, compact.
- Multiple accessories for creative projects.
- Good price.
- Not a versatile tool, and doesn’t work great with hardwood.
To Sum Up
When it comes to engraving tools for wood, this one can be easily applied and give great results with softwood. It is not the best one there is, but for the price, it is a fair value considering the different heads and stencils you get in the pack.
Afantti Electric Micro Engraver Pen – Easy engraving pen with adjustable speed
There aren’t many wood letter engraving tools where you get so much for such a small price. With 30 different bits, this corded electric carving device will help you achieve your texture and letters on any wood type.
You can adjust the speed on this device, according to the material you are carving. In my opinion, this tool is good for light work, details on your carving. However, it is not very durable and I avoid using it for a longer period of time.
It is comfortable to hold, and easy to control, so I manage to finish my work fast anyhow.
On the downside, it doesn’t achieve high speed, and the cord is not very long which can be limiting for your work.
- Comfortable to grip and easy to control.
- The speed is adjustable.
- There are many accessories including stencils.
- It is very cheap.
- Not very durable.
- The speed it reaches could be higher.
- The cord is not very long.
To Sum Up
Perhaps this type of pens are not the best rotary power tools for engraving wood, but if you only need it every now and again, it is a fair choice, especially when we consider the price. It has the essential parts that you need from tools for engraving in wood and that matters.
FOLAI DIY Pen Electric Engraving Tools – Elegant cordless pen for any project type
This is a cordless, battery-powered piece of art from a Japanese manufacturer known for wood carving engraving tools. It is as easy to use as an ordinary pen, so high scores in that department.
It is very safe and you start it by pressing a button while you engrave, so it automatically switches off as soon as you let go. There are several basic bits in the toolkit, including a special tool that helps you change the heads easily.
It achieves high speed, but make sure you recharge your batteries frequently because it uses them up very quickly.
It is powerful for engraving and etching on different materials including metal. The part of the pen where I’m holding it is covered in soft silicone for extra comfort.
- Cordless, battery-powered.
- Small and comfortable to use.
- Extra safe to use and change the heads.
- Very cheap.
- Powerful motor.
- Battery life doesn’t last very long.
- It is not the most durable tool.
To Sum Up
When you find these cordless wood engraving tools for sale for such a small price, it is usually a good idea to buy one. Cordless engraving pens always good to have around in case you want to work on a project outside and corded tools are just not able to perform that.
The Original Easy Etcher – Includes 10 Stencils – Portable engraving pen for travel projects
Another cordless tool, which is even lighter than the FOLAI DIY Pen mentioned above. It is easy to use, portable and fits right into your pocket like any other pen.
It has a switch button that you should hold when you want the pen to work, as a safety mechanism. The handle is ergonomic and comfortable to hold. It achieves relatively high speed, and can work on different surfaces, but not very well though. It is all right for softwood, but for anything harder, you have a challenge.
Like other wood engraving art tools from this manufacturer, it arrives with a 6-month warranty. This is not a long period of time, nor is this tool more versatile than that. In my opinion, this is more of a travel kit rather than something you need in your workshop.
- Lightweight and comfortable to grip.
- Easy to use and control.
- Cordless, easy to pack.
- Works well on softwood.
- Not very durable.
- Good as a carry-on tool, but not as an everyday tool.
To Sum Up
As I have already mentioned, when it comes to comparison of corded and cordless tools, corded ones are evidently more powerful and versatile. However, it is handy to have one of these elegant power engraving tools for wood to carry with you for an outdoor project.
After exploring these six power wood engraving tools and those wood engraving tools with stencils, I’ve decided that it is important to decide what is my priority when choosing the best tools for engraving wood for my conclusion.
I have realized that for me, the most important factors are the comfort of the use and the durability of the tool. I am not a fan of having to buy a new tool every season, and I prefer wood engraving tools that can last a lifetime.
This is why my choice number one from this selection is absolutely Dremel 290-01 120-Volt Engraver Rotary Tool. Even though this tool doesn’t come with many tips and heads, those can be purchased separately, and in the end, it would still be cheaper to use this one tool in the long run than having to replace bad tools whenever they break.
In the category of portable tools for wood engraving, my favorite is the Japanese FOLAI DIY Pen Electric Engraving Tool. It is comfortable and very cheap. It will last long for me because I don’t use cordless tools as much in my workshop where I usually work on wood carving projects.
When you are deciding what are the best tools for engraving wood, it is important that you know what is out of utmost importance to you. Traditional engraving tools for wood such as gouges and chisels offer limited possibilities, and if you yet haven’t considered electric wood engraving tools, now is the time. I hope this post helped you decide which tool to purchase next.