The Best Oscillating Tool Choices for 2018

The oscillating tool is a relatively new device, but it has quickly found its way into the tool chests of thousands of professionals around the world. Part of this popularity is due to the incredible versatility of the device—slicing, sanding, grinding, cutting, polishing, and scraping are all well within the capabilities of the better models.

Best Oscillating Tool Choices

This versatility often means that the tool is in for a hard life, and many models being sold today aren’t up to the task. The cheaper and less hardy oscillating tools may only last through a few jobs, but even higher-end devices are prone to specific pieces snapping or loosening over time—this is all assuming you bought a tool that was good enough for the job in the first place. Oscillating tools can be a fantastic boon, but you have to make sure you do your research and buy the correct one.

There are a lot of useful tools out there but the higher costs, when there are much cheaper options available, often lead to people buying an oscillating multi-tool and being disappointed with its performance or lifespan. The truth is, buying a higher-quality tool will usually save you money down the road due to you not having to replace it every few months. Replacing tools is one of the more expensive necessities many contractors face.

To help you find a tool that both helps you tackle the tasks ahead of you, and also has the longevity to justify the investment, we have put together a guide for some of the best oscillating tool options out there. Every tool on this list is a worthy choice, and we have tried to break down both the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Best Oscillating Tool Reviews

1. DEWALT DCS355D1 20V XR 

DEWALT DCS355D1 20V XR

The Dewalt DCS355D1 is a cordless oscillating multi-tool with enough power to make you forget it's cordless. The tool is compatible with a variety of attachments and comes with a great quick-change accessory system that allows you to jump between grouting, cutting, sanding, detail-sanding, and more quickly and efficiently, without a wrench.

It has quite a few useful features like an LED light useful for working in tight spaces or dimly lit areas, as well as a dual-grip variable-speed trigger that allows you to both control the speed of operation as well as how you hold the tool. The brushless motor means you can expect less internal friction and a longer lifespan—Dewalt claims up to 57% longer.

The DEWALT DCS355D1 weighs in at 3.2 pounds and runs on the 20V MAX* XR 2.0 Ah battery. It is recorded at 0-20,000 (variable speed) oscillations per minute.

If you already utilize the 20V MAX batteries then this tool is an obvious choice for the value it brings to the table. But if you don’t use the Dewalt series, this device may just make you a convert.

What we liked

  • Cordlessyet with good power
  • Long battery life will save you recharge time and reduce job delays
  • Easy quick-change system allows you to handle a multitude of tasks fast

What we didn't like

  • Loud
  • Gets hot fast
  • Some reports of battery/charging issues

2. Makita TM3010CX1 Multi Tool

Makita TM3010CX1 Multi Tool

The Makita TM3010CX1 is easy to use, comfortable for long periods of use, and durable. This is a powerful corded device running on a 3.0 AMP motor, yet it weighs in at 3.5 pounds and has a smaller barrel grip which makes it a pleasure to use.

The soft start feature gives you steady starts and an increase in performance for sanding, fast cutting, scraping, etc.,while the electronic speed control (6,000-20,000 variable OPM, five-speed knob) helps you maintain consistent high-quality performance.

The tool’s ability to utilize a large number of attachments and the clamp system with multiple tightening settings means that it will let you tackle a large assortment of tasks. Additionally, it's OIS compatible with any blade manufacturer. All in all, the Makita TM3010CX1 gives you a tremendous amount of value for your dollar and is a great all-around buy if you are looking for a multi-role oscillating tool.

What we liked

  • Engineered for reduced vibration and low noise
  • Comfortable
  • Multi-purpose makes it great for a DIY homeowner

What we didn't like

  • Plastic top gear case cover is prone to damage

3. PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52 Oscillating Multi-Tool

PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52 Oscillating Multi-Tool

If you decide to buy the PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52 with the full kit and not just the bare tool, you will be getting a massive package of over 50 accessories—this makes for a great entry into professional-level oscillating multi-tools. Made from high-quality materials and unlikely to break down on you anytime soon, this corded Porter-Cable is a powerful and rugged tool.

It is a bit large and unwieldy, and may take some getting used to, but the dominant 3-amp motor, three-position over mold, and tool-free blade change system more than make up for any shortcomings. The variable speed dial will let you operate between 10,000 and 22,000 OPM.

Besides these powerful features, this oscillating tool also comes with some additional benefits like a 10 ft cord and cutting guide. 

What we liked

  • The full kit has tons of accessories
  • Well-built anddurable
  • Key features like variable speed and tool-less blade changes

What we didn't like

  • Unwieldy—will need some time to adjust to it
  • Some heating issues

4. Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max

Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max

The Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max is what you are looking for if you need an oscillating multi-tool able to handle the truly tough tasks like wood, metal, cement board, etc.

This beastly 6.3-pound tool that runs on a powerful 3.8 Amp motoris packed with a number of “quick” features—Quick-Lock, Quick-Boost, Quick-Hold, all designed to make your job as fast and comfortable as possible. The Quick-Lock is just another name for the ever-useful tool-less accessory changes. The Quick-Boost electronic feedback lets you maintain a constant speed even when trying to cut through dense materials, and the Quick-Hold magnetic flange helps you to hold accessories in place. 

Also worth mentioning is the 3.2-degree oscillating angle and variable speed control.

What we liked

  • Powerful workhorse
  • Packed with features that will make your life easier

What we didn't like

  • Heavier than some other options
  • Corded, and with a fairly short cord at that

5. Bosch MX30EC-31 Multi-X Oscillating Tool

Bosch MX30EC-31 Multi-X Oscillating Tool

The Bosch MX25EK was already one of my favorite tools but it used to lacka tool-less accessory change. The corded Bosch MX30EC-31 makes a number of improvements including adding a durable accessory change lever (used OIS oscillating tool accessories) that will save you both time and the need for extra gear. This 3.0 Amp tool provides considerable power and also allows for a nice amount of control with a variable speed (8,000-20,000 SPM/OPM) knob as well as a slow-start feature.

The Bosch MX30EC-31 is also quite comfortable. It is compactly designed and sports a soft grip with a small grip circumference. In addition to sitting in your hand well, its design also allows you to position the cord out of the way nicely with a ball-joint cord swivel.

The Bosch quality shines through when it comes to the overall design of this tool—the “stacked construction” allows for reduced vibration and improved durability, while additions like its flat nose will enable you to make a full 13/16 In. depth of cut. The metal housing and gears are also reinforced for added longevity.

What we liked

  • Clearly crafted with the worker in mind
  • Good power
  • Multiple comfort features
  • Durable

What we didn't like

  • Very loud
  • Included attachments (accessory kit) may need an upgrade if you have some tougher jobs lined up

6. FEIN FMM350QSL MutliMaster

FEIN FMM350QSL MutliMaster

The first thing you’ll notice about the FEIN FMM350QSL before you even turn it on is that it weighs in at less than four pounds and has a nice, soft grip. It’s a pleasure to hold, and when you factor in the soft start and electronic speed control, you realize it will also be a real treat to use this tool. It was designed around being high precision, comfortable to hold, and with ample power.

The FEIN FMM350QSL sports a powerful 350 Watt FEIN “high-performance motor” for easy cutting speeds and increased efficiency. The motor paired up with independent tool housing, a metal gear case, and vibration decoupling leads to a tool that is both low in vibration and noise, and high in power.

The Starlock Plus tool mount allows you to attach any Starlock and Starlock Plus accessories—this mounting system is a pin-less, tool-free quick change technology with an excellent range of accessories designed for a myriad of applications.

This is a corded (16 ft) tool.

What we liked

  • Low vibration and noise
  • A significant amount of well-controlled power
  • Good accessory system

What we didn't like

  • Attachment blades can be an issue—brand changes and supplier changes have confused it

7. Rockwell RK5151K F80 Oscillating Multi-Tool

Rockwell RK5151K F80 Oscillating Multi-Tool

The Rockwell RK5151K is a unique tool for a number of reasons, one of the most standout features being the 1 ton of clamping force it puts on the blade to prevent slipping. This accessory-securing system allows you to attach and use the blades of competing tools with little issue, giving you a wide range of versatility right away. They refer to the attachment system as the “Hyper lock Tool-Free Design.”

Now the tool itself is also admirable, with variable speed (10,000 to 19,000 OPM) adjustments and constant speed control working in tandem with the powerful 4.2 Amp motor; Max cutting load of 35 pounds of force.

The 5º and 3.4º Duotech Oscillation™ feature lets you switch up angles depending on whether you are looking for quick or well-controlled cuts.

This is a corded (10 ft) tool that comes in at almost exactly 4 pounds. The comfort/cord factor is relatively standard.

What we liked

  • Solid power and control
  • Unique clamping system that lets you use a wide array of blades

What we didn't like

  • Not great for working in small areas
  • Some complaints about the weakness of the sanding pads

8. Genesis GMT15A Oscillating Tool

Genesis GMT15A Oscillating Tool

The Genesis GMT15A is a well-designed multi-purpose oscillating tool intended for home repair, remodeling, and restoration. It is excellent for tasks like close-quarters sawing and other confined space work.

This is a lower-end model but still has enough power, OPM (21,000), and accessory compatibility to help you get a multitude of tasks done quickly and efficiently. 

The die-cast aluminum gear housing helps increase the longevity of the tool, making it a bit more sturdy than the price point would suggest, and also works to dissipate heat.

This tool is rated at 1.5 amps and 120 volts.

What we liked

  • Good for close-quarter usage
  • Inexpensive

What we didn't like

  • Loud
  • Needs some patience and finesse for making more difficult cuts 

Final Thoughts

It may be tempting to buy the lower-cost oscillating tools as a quick fix to a pressing task, and if you opt for a device like the Genesis GMT15A, it won’t be a wrong decision. However, if you are expecting to be regularly pushing the tool to its limits,then investing the money in a more superior product can actually save you money down the road.

An oscillating machine can handle a wide range of tasks—slicing, sanding, grinding, cutting, etc., are all well within the capabilities of the better devices. Since some models handle specific jobs better than others, you should look for one that is specialized in your most important/likely uses, but is still able to take on the occasional unexpected side job here and there. While versatility can be valuable, you need to make sure that the tool is perfect for your most common needs before you commit to a purchase.

Evaluate each of these tools for yourself considering the workload ahead of you, and make a rational decision about what you will be paying, the features you want, and what you expect out of the tool. A creative mind can find many uses for an oscillating multi-tool—they are a staple of a well-stocked and versatile tool chest.

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