But did you know that this versatile tool was first used in hospitals and not in construction sites?
The first oscillating multi-tool was patented by the German power tool manufacturer, Fein. It was launched in 1967, and it was first used by doctors in cutting plaster cast. It was not until 1985 when the first Fein oscillating tools were used in the automotive industry.
The company’s patent expired in 2008, paving the way for other power tool manufacturers to develop their own oscillating multi-tools. These tools are ubiquitous in construction sites all over the world, and it is used by both hobbyists and professionals.
1. PORTER-CABLE Oscillating Tool Kit, 3-Amp, 52 Pieces (PCE605K52) 3-amp motor delivers power to complete applications fast Tool-free system blade change allows quick changes and adjustments for specific applications without wrenches and bolts Depth and cutting guide helps complete plunge and cutting tasks faster and with more control 10-foot cord minimizes the need for extension cords Includes 52 accessories to provide all the essential components for your various projects Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 2. Sale Makita XMT03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Multi-Tool, Tool Only 18V LXT Lithium Ion battery provides upto 20 minutes of continuous run time Variable speed control dial (6, 000 to 20, 000 OPM) enables user to match the speed to the application 3.2Degree oscillation angle engineered for faster, more aggressive cutting and sanding Large on/off slide switch with lock on button for operator convenience Tool less clamp system for fast accessory installation Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 3. Milwaukee 2626-20 M18 18V Lithium Ion Cordless 18,000 OPM Orbiting Multi Tool with Woodcutting Blades and Sanding Pad with Sheets Included (Battery Not Included, Power Tool Only) 12 SPEED SETTINGS: This fully adjustable tool will switch from 11,000 to a whopping 18,000 OPM for a variety of applications, from the delicate to the heavy duty DURABILITY: The all-metal gear case will help this tool resist common impacts on the job, prolonging its longevity HANDLING: A rubberized mold covering the handle allows you to keep a firm grip of this multi-tool, improving handling even in slippery conditions LED LIGHTING: Illuminate your work subject with the help of the onboard LED panel, located at on the head of the tool so it works from any angle REDLINK TECHNOLOGY: The M18 batteries that plug into this tool have technology that allows cross-communication between the two platforms. This means that when the batteries know when the tool is close to overheating, and they’ll ease the amount of power they give out. This, too, improves the longevity of the multi-tool Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 4. Sale Rockwell AW400 Sonicrafter 4.2 Amp Oscillating Multi-Tool with 9 Accessories and Carry Bag Dutch oscillation technology lets you select the optimum oscillation angle for power and precision. Choose the wood setting (5 Degree angle) for fast, aggressive cuts or the metal Setting (3. 4 Degree angle) for precision and continuous control Hyper lock tool-free blade holding system offers 1 ton of holding force for quick and reliable blade changes Variable speed dial for precision control – from 10, 000 to 19, 000 oscillations per minute Powerful 4. 2 amp motor with constant speed control won't stall under heavy load Includes 9 accessories and carry bag Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 5. Bosch Power Tools Oscillating Saw - GOP40-30C – StarlockPlus 4.0 Amp Oscillating MultiTool Kit Oscillating Tool Kit Has No-touch Blade-Change System NO-TOUCH BLADE-CHANGE SYSTEM: StarlockPlus 4.0 amp oscillating saw, easily attaches and removes blades for different application usage. Ideal for homeowners, DIY Projects, contractors, kitchen and bathroom installers, and interior finishing. Our tool kit GOP40-30C provides a tool that sets a new professional standard in oscillating tool performance. The sophisticated, next-generation Starlock 3-D tool-accessory interface, 4.0 amps of power, and advanced electronics deliver premium quality OSCILLATING TOOL AND STARLOCK INTERFACE: Experience more contact surface area from tool to accessory for best-in-class blade grip and torque transfer. In turn, delivering an accurate cutting, grinding, scraping or sanding experience. The GOP40-30 is compatible with all of our full line of Starlock and StarlockPlus accessories for flush-cutting, plunge-cutting, sanding, grinding, grout removal, scraping and more. For compatibility with StarlockMax accessories, we offer the GOP55-36 POWERFUL OSCILLATING SAW GOP40-30C: Provides a new professional standard in performance. The sophisticated, next-generation Starlock 3-D tool-accessory interface, 4.0 amps of power, and advanced electronics deliver premium quality. The multitool motor has top speed of Up to 20,000 oscillations per minute. Use to finish off heavy-duty applications. A variable-speed dial helps set optimal speed, and constant response circuitry maintains speed under load. Weighs 3.3 lbs, measures 11.4 inches long OSCILLATING POWER TOOLS INCLUDES: one (1) oscillating multi-tool, one (1) OSL114C 1-1/4”inch carbide plunge blade, one (1) OSL114F 1-1/4” inch plunge blade, one (1) OSL114JF 1-1/4” inch extra-clean plunge blade, one (1) OSL312F 3-1/2” inch segment blade, one (1) OSL200RS 2” inch rigid scraper blade, one (1) sanding pad, twenty-five (25) sanding sheets, one (1) accessory box, and one (1) carrying case MULTITOOL EASY RETURNS: Bosch manufactures and promotes premium quality power tools and products for wood working projects, trim carpentry, fine wood worker, carpenters, men, women, and adults. We are a global, provider that delivers the best in quality, function, style while providing excellent customer service. We stand by our products and we'll refund the purchase within 30-days on quality-related issues along with our 1-year warranty Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 6. Dremel MM20-07 2.3-Amp Multi-Max Oscillating Tool Kit with 6 Universal Quickfit Accessories Equipped with 2.3-amp motor- as powerful as many professional oscillating tools Capable of variable speed operation (10,000-21,000 OPM) New black color design helps user differentiate between Dremel's MM30 and MM40 oscillating tools Kit includes 6 Universal Quickfit Accessories, including sanding sheets and cutting blades Backed by a limited two-year warranty Check Price Below Buy on Amazon 7. Genesis GMT15A 1.5 Amp Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool and 19-Piece Universal Hook-And-Loop Accessory Kit with Storage Box Multifunctional tool for home repair, remodeling, and restoration 21000 oscillations per minute for fast sanding, grinding, cutting, and scraping 4-pin flange design holds accessories firmly in place Sturdy die-cast aluminum gear housing Includes 3-inch Delta sanding pad, sandpaper, scraping blade, 30 mm E-cut saw blade, HSS segment saw blade, and allen wrench Check Price Below Buy on Amazon
1. PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52 Oscillating Tool Kit Pros: Its 3-amp motor delivers powerful and reliable cutting, scraping, and polishing. Plus, it has a variable speed setting that offers greater control of the tool. Get more precise cuts with the built-in depth and cutting guide. This Porter-Cable Oscillating Tool has one of the easiest blade installation mechanisms. The system is tool-less, too. It includes several blades, a sander, and 25 sandpaper sheets. Cons: It vibrates a lot when set at higher speeds and it is heavy. The weight and the vibration can take their toll on your hand and arm if you’re planning to use the tool all day. Sebring Tip:
It’s easy to see why this PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52 Oscillating Tool Kit is one of the most popular and best-selling multi-tools in the market. This corded oscillating multi-tool has a powerful 3-amp motor with a variable speed setting. The motor is housed in a heavy-duty body to keep it protected from dust and the elements, and the housing is textured to ensure that it will not slip from your grasp during operation.
There are two things that really make this tool stand out. First is the easy tool-less blade change system. Changing the blade was hassle-free for the most part, but with enough practice, I’m sure anyone will get the hang of it. Second is the depth and cutting guide which offers precision cutting, as well as protects the material you’re working on from unintended damage.
The price is pretty reasonable, so it’s a good investment whether you’re a DIYer or a professional.
2. Makita XMT03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Multi-Tool Pros: This is a cordless oscillating multi-tool powered by an 18V lithium-ion battery. The variable speed dial is larger than most and is conveniently located at the side, instead of at the tail. It has a soft-start motor. Changing blades is easy thanks to its tool-less clamp system. It includes one blade and two adapters. Cons: It is heavier than other models, mainly because of the battery attached to it. The battery and charger are not included in the package. Sebring Tip:
Working outdoors or in a jobsite where you don’t have access to an outlet? Then the Makita XMT03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Multi-Tool just might be the right tool for you. This 18V oscillating multi-tool’s main strength is its portability thanks to its cordless design. You don’t need to be stuck indoors or always look for an electrical so you can cut, sand, scrape, or polish your workpiece.
The diameter of the handle is just right, while changing the blades is so easy thanks to the tool-less clamp system. It has a variable oscillation speed that ranges between 6,000 to 20,000 OPM. This variable speed setting offers greater control of the tool when cutting, sanding or scraping different materials.
This Makita oscillating tool is surprisingly affordable, but you’ll need to shell out additional money for the lithium-ion battery and its charger.
3. Milwaukee 2626-20 M18 18V Lithium Ion Cordless Multi-Tool Pros: This is a portable cordless oscillating multi-tool powered by a high-capacity lithium-ion battery. Changing the blade is so easy thanks to its tool-less changing mechanism. The variable speed dial is located at the side. It is large, easy to reach, and easy to adjust. Milwaukee has outfitted it with an LED light to illuminate dark workspaces and lets you see your progress while working. It has a 5-year warranty. Cons: The M18 battery pack is sold separately. Sebring Tip:
If you are a professional builder or you’re a hobbyist who can’t live without working on a project every weekend, then the Milwaukee 2626-20 M18 18V Lithium-Ion Cordless Multi-Tool may be the ideal tool for you. The thing that separates it from the rest is its cordless design which makes it ideal for outdoor or remote locations where you don’t have access to electricity.
It is powered by a high-capacity lithium-ion battery that is conveniently located at its tail. But the M18 battery and the charger pack is sold separately, so that can add up to the cost.
It has a tool-less blade change design which makes changing attachments easy and convenient especially if you’re in the middle of a job. This unit only includes one blade, a sanding pad, and several pieces of sandpaper. You have to buy the extra blades and other attachments, and that can add up to the cost.
4. Rockwell AW400 Sonicrafter 4.2 Amp Oscillating Multi-Tool Pros: It has two oscillation angles. One’s for cutting wood (5.0°) and one’s for cutting metal (3.4°). This oscillating multi-tool is compatible with other blades and other attachments manufactured by other brands. Never fear that the blade will snap off while working because it has a Hyperlock Tool-Free clamp. You’ll receive several blades to get you started. Cons: It is recommended to use ear earplugs when you use this multi-tool as it is very loud. You can use the soft case to protect the tool from dust and the elements, but it is not as reliable for protecting it from impact. Sebring Tip:
Cutting a piece of wood or metal, sanding, and polishing can be easy when you have this handy Rockwell AW400 Sonicrafter 4.2 Amp Oscillating Multi-Tool. Right out of its bag, you’ll notice that it has a nice heft to it. The motor is housed in a textured and durable housing that won’t slip from your grip as it cuts or polishes away.
The on and off switch is easy to access, and there’s a variable speed dial at the tail. The variable speed setting allows you greater control of the tool when working on different materials.
You don’t need to reach for another tool to install or uninstall the blades as its Hyperlock clamp takes care of that. It is difficult to remove and mount the blade at first, but with patience and a lot of practice, I’m sure you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Keep in mind that this is a corded unit. The price is pretty reasonable, especially considering that it also comes with several attachments.
5. Bosch GOP40-30C StarlockPlus®® Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit Pros: This Bosch Oscillating Multi-tool is equipped with a powerful and heavy-duty 4-amp motor with Constant Response circuitry. It has a variable speed setting with an oscillation speed that can go up to 20,000 OPM. It has a hassle-free tool-less blade installation. This multi-tool is equipped with an LED light that lets you see your work surface. It comes with several cutting blades, a sander pad, and several sandpaper sheets. Cons: This multi-tool is compatible only with Starlock or StarlockPlus blades. That’s bad news if you want to try it with universal aftermarket blades. Sebring Tip:
The Bosch GOP40-30C StarlockPlus®® Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit can make cutting, sanding, polishing, and scraping easier. Its powerful 4-amp motor performed well during the test, cutting through wood and metal easily. The housing has a good weight to it without being unwieldy, giving you a comfortable grip.
The on-off switch is conveniently located at the top, but my gripe is the variable speed dial. This tiny dial is hidden underneath the cord, a position that is a hassle to reach sometimes.
Changing blades is so easy as it has a tool-less locking mechanism. But keep in mind that this tool is only compatible with Starlock and StarlockPlus attachments. That can be a hassle if you already have good and ready-to-use blades and other attachments lying around in your garage. The good news? You can purchase these attachments from both Fein and Bosch.
6. Dremel MM20-07 2.3-Amp Multi-Max Oscillating Tool Kit Pros: This is a good oscillating multi-tool with a reliable 2.3 amp motor. The oscillation speed can go up to as much as 21,000 OPM. The package includes a hook and loop pad, two cutting blades, and several sandpaper sheets. This is one of the most affordable multi-tools on the list. Cons: You need an Allen wrench to install and remove the blade. Sebring Tip:
If you’re a homeowner or a hobbyist and you’re looking for an affordable yet dependable oscillating multi-tool, then the Dremel MM20-07 2.3-Amp Multi-Max Oscillating Tool Kit might be ideal for you.
This handy multi-tool features a powerful 2.3-amp motor and variable speed setting. The on-off switch is easily accessible on top of the unit, while the speed dial is at its tail.
Its housing is textured to ensure that it won’t slip from your grasp during operation. It comes with a couple of blades and several sanding sheets to get you started. That might not seem a lot at first, but you can always purchase aftermarket attachments to supplement your arsenal.
7. Genesis GMT15A 1.5 Amp Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool Kit Pros: The motor is housed in a die-cast aluminum housing. This is a little more lightweight than most oscillating tools on the list. It has several finger grooves on the handle which ensure that you’ll get a good grip of the tool during operation. This is the most affordable oscillating multi-tool on the list. It includes several blades, sanding pad, sandpapers, and an Allen wrench. Cons: Changing blades can be a hassle because you need an Allen wrench for the task. Sebring Tip:
The Genesis GMT15A 1.5 Amp Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool Kit is one of those oscillating multi-tools that have been around for many years. It is a favorite among DIYers and homeowners thanks to its reliable performance and sharp blades.
The motor produces little vibration during operation. What I like about this tool is that it can accept compatible aftermarket attachments. There’s no need to buy expensive blades and other attachments when you have this tool.
But keep in mind that it only has a 1.5 amp motor. It is ideal for DIYers who have projects now and then, but not for professionals who will want to use it five days a week.
Oscillating Tool Buying Guide Power
One of the first things you need to check when looking for the best oscillating multi-tool (not to be confused with this multi-tool) is its power, specifically the motor’s Ampere rating (or amps) if it’s a corded tool.
Starter oscillating multi-tools usually have motors that deliver at least 1.5 amps. These types of multi-tools are ideal for hobbyists or homeowners who have occasional or light household projects. Using the tool frequently or using it to cut very tough hardwood or thick metal is not recommended.
If you’re a professional builder or you’re a DIYer who wants to invest in something heavy-duty, then multi-tools with 3 amp motors or higher are ideal for you.
What about cordless oscillating multi-tools? When you look at the product specifications on the tool’s webpage, box, or manual, you’ll see that these tools are powered by 18V or 20V batteries. So, which one’s better?
The good news is there’s really no difference between the battery’s voltages. Tools powered by 20V batteries are no better or worse than tools powered by 18V batteries. You can buy either the 18V or 20V oscillating multi-tool, and its performance will basically be the same.
Check out this article or this video for a more detailed explanation on 18V and 20V batteries.
The oscillation speed of an electric multi-tool is measured in oscillations per minute (shortened to OPM). Most of the oscillating multi-tools that we have in the market right now have variable speed settings. This means that you can cut or sand from a low oscillation speed of 6,000 OPM to as high as 21,000 (and sometimes more) depending on whether you want a smoother cut or finish.
Today, there are only a few single-speed multi-tools in the market. You won’t find a dial in single-speed multi-tools as the machine is automatically programmed to go up to the pre-set oscillation speed the moment you turn it on.
Accessory Changing System
There are oscillating multi-tools that need an Allen wrench so you can change the cutting blade and other attachments. This can be a hassle if you’re in a hurry to finish the job or you’ve somehow misplaced the compatible Allen wrench.
The good news is the majority of oscillating multi-tools you can find today have tool-less blade changing systems. All you have to do is lift or release the clamp or lever on the tool’s nose, install the blade, and lock the clamp back into place. The design of the clamps vary by manufacturer, but in general, this tool-less blade changing system is more user-friendly than ones that need an Allen wrench.
Oscillating multi-tools move from side to side to cut, sand or grind a surface. How far the blade travels from one side to another is called the oscillation angle.
Tools that have a wider oscillation angle are generally more aggressive and can cut faster than those with a smaller oscillation angle. But if you want more precise cuts, then you’re better off with a tool that has a slimmer oscillation angle.
The multi-tools we have reviewed have an oscillation angle that ranges from 3° to 5°. This Rockwell multi-tool is unique because it allows you to switch the angle from 3.4° to 5°. This is ideal if you want to have the best of both worlds.
Corded Versus Cordless Multi-tool
If you’re going to do much of your work indoors or you’re working outdoors but you have access to an electrical outlet via an outdoor extension cord, then a corded multi-tool is recommended. You’ll never have to worry about losing juice in the middle of a project with a corded model. You also don’t need to buy another battery so you can continue working while the other battery is charging.
Cordless models are ideal for outdoor locations or work sites with no access to electricity. A fully charged battery can last anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes. If you’re partial to cordless models and you’re planning on working all day, then make sure that you have a spare in your tool bag.
A good multi-tool is not just one with a powerful motor, variable speed setting, and a good oscillating angle. How much it weighs and how it feels in your hand are also important especially if you’re going to use it throughout the day.
The ideal multi-tool should weigh 3 lbs. or less to prevent operator fatigue. Anything more and you’ll need to stop frequently to give your hand rest in between tasks.
Number and Quality of Attachments Included
High-quality multi-tool blades and other attachments are not exactly known for being cheap. A single Dremel Multi-Max Wood and Metal Blade, for example, currently costs $9.85, while the brand’s Universal Carbide Cut Blade can set you back nearly $20. A pair of Bosch Starlock metal cutting blades costs $19.65, while a set of assorted Starlock accessories costs almost $62. That’s why it’s important to choose a unit that already comes with a complete set of blades and other attachments.
Quality is also important when it comes to choosing blades. The unit might have so many attachments that you could possibly use, but you might as well throw them away if the blades are brittle or if the sanding pads easily wear away.
In addition, when looking for the best electric multi-tool, choose one that is compatible with many blades and sanding pads that are available on the market. Getting stuck with one particular brand of attachments is going to be a problem especially when your favorite retailer runs out of them or if they are going to be phased out by the manufacturer.
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And the best oscillating multi-tool is the PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52 Oscillating Tool Kit. I like the Rockwell AW400 Sonicrafter Multi-tool and the Milwaukee 2626-20 M18 Multi-tool too, but this PORTER- Cable corded tool is, hands down, the best in class.
Let’s take a look at the features of this oscillating that made it stand out.
The PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52 Oscillating Tool has a heavy-duty and reliable 3-amp motor that can take on the toughest of hardwoods, metals, and other construction materials. It delivered an excellent performance when used in a wide range of tasks, including cutting wood and nails, making plunge cuts on drywall, and removing thick carpets. The speed dial allows you to customize the oscillation speed so you can produce smoother and cleaner cuts and finishes.
Another feature that stood out was the built-in depth and cutting guide. This unique feature made making plunge cuts or trimming doors easy and safe. Just turn the red knob at the front to move the depth and cutting guide back and forth.
This particular model comes with multiple accessories, including a sanding platen, wood blade, scraper, wood/metal blade, and flush cut blade. It also includes 25 pieces of sandpaper. All these are kept organized in a PORTER-CABLE plastic box.
I hope that you’ve learned a lot from our oscillating tool reviews, and you now have shortlisted some potential products that you’re going to check out when you visit your favorite online or local store.
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