I loaded for a number of years without a tumbler years back. At one point, I decided to invest in one and with the tumbler, media and separating tools, I probably dropped about $75 in to it.
What I found was that I was nuts for waiting so long to do it and knowing what I know now, I would never go back. No way!
1) all brass is cleaner
2) working with you brass is infinitely more pleasing & enjoyable
3) your hands, containers, everywhere you work is MUCH cleaner
4) inspecting the brass is now a casual affair and very easy to do
5) sorting by headstamp (if you do) is easier, better, more enjoyable, cleaner
6) loaded ammo looks infinitely better, much more pride in your product
7) your dies are MUCH cleaner inside, less chance of burrs or minute internal damage
8) carbide sizing dies make a dirty case EVEN dirtier by pressure-squeezing the filth, the cases end up looking worse after sizing if they are dirty
I'm absolutely certain that if you were on a shoestring budget with zero allowable room for expenditures, you can successfully handload without owning or using a tumbler.
But I'd not want to ever again.
I highly recommend the Berry's tumbler, it was a fantastic upgrade to my cheaper Frankford Arsenal tumbler.
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.