Customer Reviews
Rock Tumblers

 Home » Rock Tumbling Library » Comparing Thumler's MP-1 and A-R1

Thumler's MP-1 and A-R1 Comparison

The Big Differences: Barrel capacity, motor quality, frame quality, life expectancy.

Tumbler Descriptions

Thumler's MP-1 Rock Tumbler
Thumler's model MP-1 kit
The Thumler's MP-1 rock tumbler is a small-capacity beginner's grade tumbler that will tumble about one pound of rocks in a quiet rubber barrel. It is designed for a person who wants to try rock tumbling with a quality tumbler at a low entry price. The low price reflects the small size, durable plastic base, and a standard motor.

The MP-1 has been manufactured since about 2009. We have been using one to test tumbling rough since 2010 with no problems. We have been selling hundreds of them every year and only hear from a few people per year who have any issue. These issues are quickly resolved by us or the manufacturer.

The MP-1 just costs a little more than one of the cheap toy tumblers with a plastic barrel that are extremely loud, tumble 1/3 as much rock, and will not last more than a few batches of rock. We refuse to sell the plastic-barrel tumblers because we don't want you, our customer, to experience the noise, the leaks, and the machine failures causing disappointment in rock tumbling.
Thumler's A-R1 Rock Tumbler
Thumler's A-R1 Tumbler
The Thumler's A-R1 rock tumbler is a high-quality, small-capacity hobbyist grade tumbler that will quietly tumble about two pounds of rocks in a rubber barrel. It will last through decades of proper use and an occasional replacement part. It has a higher price than the MP-1 because its barrel is larger, the base is metal and the motor is a high-quality, thermally protected design.

Thumler's has manufactured tumblers with the A-R1 design for over 50 years! Many of our customers received one as a child and now they are using the same tumbler with their grandchildren. In our opinion the A-R1 is the highest-quality, small-capacity tumbler on the market today.

We sell the A-R1 because of the motor quality, metal frame and overall reliability. We sell hundreds of A-R1 tumblers per year and receive almost zero complaints. Replacement parts are available and easy to install. If you run yours for a decade you might need a couple of replacement parts.
Barrel Comparison

MP-1 Barrel
2 pound MP-1 barrel
Thumler's MP-1 barrel has a 2 pound capacity. It will process about 1 pound of rough. The other pound is made up of the water and grit.
A-R1 Barrel
3 pound A-R1 barrel
Thumler's A-R1 barrel has a 3 pound capacity. It will process about 2 pounds of rough. The other pound is made up of the water and grit.
Motor Comparison

Thumler's MP-1 Motor
Thumler's MP-1 motor
The motor on Thumler's MP-1 tumbler is a standard small machine motor.
Thumler's A-R1 Motor
Thumler's A-R1 motor
The Thumler's A-R1 has high-quality thermally protected motor.
Tumbler Base Comparison

Thumler's MP-1 Base
MP-1 tumbler base
The MP-1 has a thick molded plastic base that encloses the motor in it.
Thumler's A-R1 Base
A-R1 rock tumbler base
The A-R1 has a heavy gauge metal base that is powder coat painted
Other areas of comparison

Thumler's MP-1

Life expectancy: Several years of use

Barrel material: Soft rubber

Repair parts available: Yes

Warranty: One year limited from the manufacturer. View a scanned warranty here.
Thumler's A-R1

Life expectancy: Decades of regular use

Barrel material: Soft rubber

Repair parts available: Yes

Warranty: One year limited from the manufacturer. View a scanned warranty here.
Our Opinion

Thumler's MP-1

We would buy this tumbler if we wanted to try tumbling with a small, quiet, quality machine, at a low entry price. It is a basic rock tumbler that saves money with a standard motor and smaller barrel.
Thumler's A-R1

We would buy this tumbler and expect it to last for many years of regular use. The extra cost in this tumbler goes to a much better motor, a durable steel base, and a larger capacity barrel.
Buy The Kit That Is Best For You

Thumler's MP-1
Thumler's model MP-1 kit
MSRP $166.75
Our Price: $119.99

Tumbler and Supplies
Thumler's A-R1
Thumler's A-R1 Tumbler
MSRP $278.99
Our Price: $199.99

Tumbler and Supplies Authors

Hobart King Hobart M. King has decades of rock tumbling experience and writes most of the articles on He has a PhD in geology and is a GIA graduate gemologist. He also writes the articles about rocks, minerals and gems on