In this guide we’ll take a look at the best oscillating multi tools.
I've compared power, performance, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
In this guide we’ll take a look at the best oscillating multi tools.
What Is The Best Oscillating Multi Tool?
More Detailed Oscillating Multi Tool Reviews
Simply put this is one of the best cordless oscillating multitools out there! In our buying guide we talk about how build quality is one of the over-riding factors you should consider when purchasing an Oscillating Multi-Tool. Well this tool has it in spades.
First off it comes with a brushless motor. This means some of the motor’s components are modified in such a way as to eliminate friction and reduce heat, so not only do they last longer but they work more efficiently delivering more power and making your jobs run smoother and quieter.
Secondly it has a soft start, meaning the initial power surge the tool experiences when starting up is controlled and this makes the starting process more comfortable. This tool also has a dual-grip variable speed trigger to provide extra control over the 22,000 OPM the tool can deliver through its powerful 300 Watt motor.
The DCS355D2 comes in a rigid storage box with 35 accessories for cutting and sanding that can easily be attached to the tool or swapped over without the need for tools. It also comes with a universal accessory adaptor that can be used to mount non-DeWalt accessories.
It also comes with 2 18 Volt 2Ah batteries and a charger. Rather than 1 4Ah battery, the choice of supplying 2 is clever because not only does a 2Ah battery weigh less that a 4Ah one, it also means that you should never be without power since the spare battery will always be on charge or charged. If you can stretch your budget far enough this should be your Oscillating Multi-Tool of choice.
If you are after a cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool and your budget cannot stretch to the DeWalt DCS355D2 XR then the Ryobi 1801M presents a strong case. It comes as a bare tool or, unusually for Ryobi One+ tools, as a kit, complete with 18 Volt Lithium-Ion battery, charger and an assortment of accessories.
So if you were considering another Ryobi One+ bare product (one that does not come with a battery) then maybe it makes sense to go with this Oscillating Multi-Tool, buy the second bare product and start by sharing the battery between them.
This is a powerful yet incredibly lightweight Oscillating Multi-Tool that can deliver up to 20,000 OPM. In fact at 1.5 Kg, including the supplied 2Ah battery, it is the lightest of the multi-tools we have reviewed. It would be fair to say though for prolonged periods of work you would likely need a second battery.
One of this tool’s neatest features and what makes it incredibly versatile is its detachable head – it comes with 2 – one for cutting and one for sanding, and the fact that the head can rotate through a full 360 degrees, giving you access to pretty much position you want.
Accessories are secured to the head with a magnetic hex key that can be attached to the base of the tool and the universal adaptor means there is no limit to your choice of accessory from non-Ryobi brands if needs be.
From a comfort and control perspective we’ve already mentioned the Oscillating Multi-Tool’s light weight but it is also nice and compact, with over moulds for better grip, a lock-on power switch to combat fatigue and variable speed control.
You know you want a quality cordless 18 Volt Lithium-Ion battery Oscillating Multi-Tool but you’re unsure about how much hard-earned to commit? Makita give you this great option – buy it completely bare at a really competitive price!
OK you need at least one battery and a charger, but maybe you already have a Makita-compatible battery or charger. And if you don’t you have complete freedom to choose whatever battery, charger and range of accessories you want, Makita-branded or after-market. You’ll be ahead of the game price-wise and you will have a quality Oscillating Multi-Tool.
This Oscillating Multi-Tool is incredibly versatile – its rotating head can swivel through 360 degrees with 12 stops at 30 degrees apart, so pretty much any nook or cranny is in reach, and its Oscillating Interface System (OIS) accommodates accessories (secured using a hex wrench) from both Makita and other brands.
The DTM50Z is a little heavier than some of its competitors (2.2 kg with 2 Ah battery) but this solid build does mean it vibrates less. It also has a soft-start and variable speed control to manage the 6,000 – 20,000 OPM, and overload protection that cuts in if the motor gets too hot. The on-off trigger sits conveniently under your thumb and there is an anti-restart function to prevent accidental starting.
If a cordless tool is not top of your priority list when selecting an Oscillating Multi-Tool then you need to check out the Makita TM3010CK.
The build quality of this tool is immediately evident. Weighing 1.6 kg it is a little heavier than some other corded Oscillating Multi-Tool’s but it feels perfectly balanced and easy to hold and control with its sturdy barrel grip. Its 320 Watt motor generates more than enough power for more demanding Oscillating Multi-Tool tasks, and with noticeably reduced noise and vibration levels compared to other models.
With the soft start, variable speed control and thumb-activated contant speed lock-on / lock-off trigger you have all the control you need to manage the 6,000 – 20,000 oscillation rate. Like its cordless Makita DTM50Z cousin it has a 360 degree rotating head with 12 incremental stops and an (OIS) interface that can accept non-Makita branded accessories, but this time the accessories are attached using a more convenient tool-less quick-release level and clamp. It also comes with a nice long lead and a sturdy carry case.
If DeWalt is your preferred brand and cost is more important to you than going cordless, you need to check out the DeWalt DWE315KT. Taking the cost of batteries and charger into account, the DWE315KT sells for not much more than HALF the price of our top cordless kit, the DeWalt DCS355D2 XR. Like the Makita TM3010CK, this is a high quality corded Oscillating Multi-Tool with a powerful 300 Watt motor that delivers up to 22,000 OPM.
The tool is comfortable to hold and control with what DeWalt describe as “Superior Ergonomics”, and this is enhanced with a large lock-on / lock-off trigger for managing its variable speed control. A tool-free quick release accessory key replaces a hex wrench for securing accessories and a universal blade adaptor accepts cutting accessories from non-DeWalt brands.
A dust extraction port is a handy extra when sanding, and the DWE315KT comes with a long cord in a strong stackable case with a selection of accessories including a very useful depth stop.
Next up in our Oscillating Multi-Tool reviews is the Bosch PMF 350 CES. This model is Bosch’s top of the range multitool and its 350 Watt motor makes this one of the most powerful Oscillating Multi-Tool’s on the market. The tool weighs 1.6 kg and its solid build is specifically designed to handle heavier duty applications such as cutting through more resilient materials, but its bulkier profile does not detract from its versatility.
The tool comes with an auxilliary handle that can be fitted to either side of the tool to make it steadier to control and absorb vibration when faced with those longer jobs. A soft start and variable 6 speed setting control the oscillation rate (max 20,000 OPM). Accessories attach to the tool head using Bosch’s tool-less AutoClic system – you simply pull a lever to release one accessory and push and click to attach a new one.
The AutoClic system only works with Starlock accessories – the Starlock mounting interface is a newer (rival) version of the OIS (oscillating interface system) that other brands of oscillating multi-tool use, so you do need to be careful about ensuring you use Starlock-compatible accessories.
The tool comes with a handy 4 step depth stop to ensure you don’t overdo your plunge cuts, a strong carrycase and just to re-emphaisize the quality of this tool Bosch include a 3 year guarantee.
The Worx WX680F30 Sonicrafter provides serious competition for the Oscillating Multi-Tool’s from Makita, DeWalt, Bosch and the like. This is a well-engineered powerful tool with a 350 Watt motor, and an aluminium gearbox, yet it weighs just 1.3kg. This combination gives it a better power to weight ratio than many of its competitors and along with a dual grip soft handle, ergonomically enhances handling and control.
A lighter weight tool often means power is compromised but that is definitely not the case with the WX680F30. Oscillation rates ranging from 11,000 to 20,000 OPM are controlled by a variable speed dial with 6 speed settings to be used dependent on the accessory and application, plus constant speed control is available for longer more tiring tasks.
The WX680F30 features the Worx “Hyperlock” attachment clamping system that delivers over 1 ton of clamping force to ensure that accessories never dislodge during use and the Universal Fit system means you have a huge choice of accessories available that are compatible with this tool. It comes with a long lead and a durable carry case.
The VonHaus 15/049 Oscillating Multi-Tool is the bargain multi-tool of the century! So it has a 280 Watt motor compared to the 300-350W motors of more expensive brands but this tool is sturdy, weighs 1.4 kg and oscillates between 10,000 and 21,000 OPM, has a variable speed rotating wheel and best of all it cuts, scrapes, grinds and sands just like any other way more expensive oscillating multi-tool!
OK it doesn’t have a tool-less accessory attachment feature so you do need to apply a wrench to change accessories. It does come with a starter pack of accessories but you may get better results if you upgrade to better quality ones (the accessory fitting is compatible with other brands).
If you are planning to be more of an occasional user and want the convenience of an Oscillating Multi-Tool just on standby it is hard to see where you can go wrong with this model and VonHaus even supply a 2 year guarantee!
Oscillating Multi Tool Buying Guide
Ever felt you’ve got all the kit? the drills, the saws, the electric screwdrivers, but there’s still that annoying job where none of these tools will do? Enter the Oscillating Multi-Tool!
The Oscillating Multi-Tool is a small hand-held power tool that can cut, scrape, grind, sand and saw in places that you could only dream your more conventional power tools could reach.
Believe me when you’ve had one of these at your disposal for any time at all you start asking yourself if you can fix it using your Oscillating Multi-Tool before any of your other tools, and also why on earth didn’t I get one of these things years ago!
The truth is they actually haven’t been around that long in the UK, maybe 10 years or so. They actually derive from a tool designed and developed by the Fein manufacturing company in the US to remove plaster casts from hospital patients!
Today all major power tool brands offer a range of Oscillating Multi-Tool’s and they have developed into a very versatile and sophisticated tool, and pretty much an essential piece of kit for both professionals and DIY’ers.
The tool’s key feature is it’s incredible versatility; its small footprint, its compact but solid profile, the fact that it can be controlled with one or both hands and its ability to run off a corded or cordless power supply, all make this is a power tool that can operate in places few other conventional power tools can. And for its size it can pretty much do anything! It can cut, saw, scrape, grind, sand, polish and more!
How Does an Oscillating Multi-Tool Work?
The Oscillating Multi-Tool’s unique selling point is there in its name – it’s ability to oscillate. As you hold the body of the tool and switch it on, the head of the tool moves from side to side in a narrow arc or angle at a very rapid rate. The oscillation rate (which can be over 20,000 RPM), is usually controlled through a speed dial with presets or a variable speed trigger.
The maximum angle of oscillation ranges narrowly between 2 to 4 degrees across most brands. When using the Oscillating Multi-Tool for making cuts a larger oscillating angle results in a faster more aggressive cut whilst a smaller angle ensures a slower cut and allows for greater control and less vibration.
Whilst on the subject of sawing, another great feature of the Oscillating Multi-Tool is the almost complete lack of kickback you get. This is due to the tool’s oscillating motion. Conventional power saws deploy rotational movement and it is this that can induce kickback.
The head of the Oscillating Multi-Tool is designed to accept a wide range of accessories.
Back in the day oscillating multi-tools first became mainstream the most common method of attaching a blade or accessory to the tool was with a bolt and an Allen wrench. Add to that the fact that most manufacturers had their own accessory mounting system you can imagine both the frustration involved when changing blades or accessories on a regular basis and the extra limitation incurred because you could not choose an accessory offered by another manufacturer that yours didn’t happen to make.
Today all that has changed! More and more brands are now offering a quick and efficient ‘tool-free’ accessory change. Their Oscillating Multi-Tool’s come with universal adaptors that can accommodate most accessory-mounting configurations out there and hence a huge range of both branded and after-market accessories. Such versatility is one of the main reasons this tool’s popularity has increased so much in recent years.
No matter the attachment mechanism the accessory itself protrudes forward from the head of the tool and in many cases is also stepped downward from the head so that its range of movement is not impaired by the body of the tool. It’s bottom surface can therefore rest flush on the material being worked on. This arrangement is fantastic for getting into those places other tools simply cannot reach!
So what about the accessories themselves? As previously mentioned they can come in all shapes and sizes and can be grouped by their main applications – cutting, scraping, sanding and grinding.
There are two main shapes of cutting blades, straight and semi-circular. Straight blades let you make plunge cuts whilst circular blades are better for making longer cuts through sheets of material. Blades with less teeth produce coarser cuts whilst those with more teeth produce cleaner cuts but can get clogged with waste material and take longer to make the cut.
There are of course many blades available for cutting different types of material such as wood, plastic, masonry, tiles, fibreglass and some types of metal. Carbide and diamond edged blades are more suitable for cutting through masonry for instance and bi-metal blades are popular because they can cut through wood embedded with nails.
You can use wood-cutting blades for indoor projects such as creating recesses in walls or floors for installing switches or vents, cutting through plaster ceilings to install light fittings or fans, trimming wood flooring or door frames to allow tiles to fit underneath, cutting away sections of plasterboard or masonry to install cabinets, trimming plaster coving or mouldings, cutting through panels to create openings for wires to pass through, cutting notches out of beams to fit joists, or cutting through PVC pipes or acrylic panels. The examples are endless!
With metal cutting blades you can cut through nails and screws, corroded nuts and bolts, metal tubes and copper pipes.
One very useful accessory you can use to help you achieve a perfect cut is a depth guide. This is used to limit the depth of cut and also acts to steady the tool as it cuts.
Scrapers come in both rigid and flexible forms – they are effectively blades with no teeth. Common uses for rigid scrapers include scraping away rust, old mortar, adhesive, tiles, putty, carpet and lino. There are also specialist blades for removing grout. Flexible scrapers are good for removing old paint.
One of the main reasons people buy Oscillating Multi-Tool’s is for sanding because there are so many nooks, crannies and crevices that orbital sanders just cannot reach!
Pretty much all Oscillating Multi-Tool’s come with one or more triangular-shaped sanding pads or an attachment to which you can affix a range of velcro-backed sandpapers of various grades. The pad is a neat solution because it’s soft edges prevent collateral damage when undertaking precision work.
General uses include finishing off cuts, furniture restoration and even sanding down metal edges (all with the appropriate grade sandpaper of course).
Grinding discs or blades are another useful attachment. Their edges are usually reinforced with tungsten-carbide or diamond grit, and this greater resilience often makes them a better choice than scrapers for tougher jobs like removing old mortar or adhesive from the back of ceramic tiles or other masonry work.
Corded or Cordless
One of the biggest decisions you will have to make when choosing your Oscillating Multi-Tool is whether you want to go corded or cordless. There is no right or wrong answer to this, it is more a case of weighing up the pros and cons that apply to your individual circumstances. Here we outline the main considerations.
Progress in the development of Lithium-ion batteries over the last few years has meant that many cordless power tools, not least the Oscillating Multi-Tool, can now run off battery-generated power to perform many of those tasks that previously could only be performed by their corded equivalents.
Only a few years ago this would not have been possible – Lithium-Ion batteries were too expensive for most consumers and their NiCad predecessors would have been too cumbersome and heavy to use in smaller cordless tools such as the Oscillating Multi-Tool.
Lithium-Ion batteries have smaller profiles, are significantly lighter in weight, last much longer per charge, take less time to charge, and have much lower discharge rates (i.e. it takes them ages to go flat if left standing) than NiCad batteries.
Furthermore their prices these days have dropped considerably. When going cordless in general though the two things you must consider are the power (Voltage) and capacity (Amperes / Hour – Ah) of the battery to use. It should be fairly obvious that 18 Volt batteries are more powerful than 12 Volt ones but the downside of this is that 18 Volt batteries are heavier.
It’s a similar story for capacity. A 5 Ah battery will last you much longer than a 2 Ah one but again it is that much heavier. If you are going to be working a large part of the day with a cordless 18 Volt, 4 or 5 Ah cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool that is vibrating incessantly your arm is going to get pretty tired! You need to find a happy medium.
If you are serious about cordless power tools in general one way to mitigate long-term costs is to purchase a charger and a small number of batteries and swap them between your tools. Two Lithium-ion batteries should keep you up and running for long periods (using one battery whilst the other is on charge). But you might need more than two batteries due to different voltage and capacity requirements of the tool you are using / application you are working on.
Another possible downside of this approach is that you could be restricted to buying the products of a limited number of brands, although to be fair some manufacturers do produce batteries that can be used across brands, plus there are generic after-market offerings too. You do have to eventually factor in the cost of replacement batteries too, but the argument against this is that most power tools are guaranteed for a maximum of 3 years and if they fail after that time you would be looking to replace the complete tool anyway, regardless of whether it is cordless or corded.
Of course the other main advantage of cordless tools is no trailing power cord to watch out for and with it the complete freedom to go wherever your power tool takes you!
The advantages of corded power tools? Like for like they tend to be more powerful than cordless tools and of course the power supply is unlimited and constant. No changing or charging batteries either. Plus corded tools been around longer, there are more options out there and they are cheaper.
The motor in corded tools tends to be larger and so the corded tool does have a larger profile. From an ergonomics perspective when comparing it to a cordless tool with a larger battery, the corded version will feel more balanced because the heavier battery in the cordless tool will make it feel bottom-heavy.
If cordless is still your priority it is better to work with 2 x 2 Ah batteries rather than one 4Ah one. The cordless tool will feel lighter and better balanced.
So there you have it, no right or wrong answer! If budget is your main concern corded will give you more options. If not cordless becomes a serious contender!
So how do you take all this information and make the right choice? Well everyone’s circumstances are different so this is just some general advice. Most Oscillating Multi-Tools perform similar tasks so from a technical perspective there’s not too much to differentiate between them. Maybe more important is how well made the tool is, the quality of its components, how long it is likely to last, its look and feel, its size, weight and profile, how comfortable it is to grip and control whilst in use and how much it vibrates.
These last points are particularly important since the essence of this tool is its incredibly fast oscillating motion so of course there will be associated vibration. Therefore the tool needs to be insulated well enough to absorb as much of this vibration as possible and this will be down to the build quality. You should also consider the corded versus cordless debate described above, and last but not least seeing if you can extend your budget to get hold of one of these great tools!