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Oscillating tools are, in fact, multi-use tools. They give you the opportunity to cut, shave, trim, sand, and scrape different materials. That’s why they are also known as power multi-tools. In this guide, we will set you up with all things oscillating tools so that your job of finding the best oscillating tool is not a challenge but a simple process. We will look at the top brands and their offerings of the best oscillating multi-tool models. Presenting easy digestible yet comprehensive oscillating tool reviews for the top models. And we will go over factors to consider, discuss your potential plans and uses, and give you a few necessary features to consider.
Best Oscillating Multi Tool Reviews – Top 6[go_pricing id=”best_oscillating_tools”]
1. DeWalt DCS355B 20V Oscillating Multi-Tool
Dewalt is a household name in power tools. Their line is often well-respected. This is due to their continued issuance of fine tools that do the job right. Their oscillating multi-tool DCS355B 20V MAX XR is exceptional in most regards.
The 20 volts are plenty powerful. You won’t find yourself stalling out often, if ever. That depends, of course, on how hot and how hard you run this tool, but we never had issues with this.
Variable speed hits a max of 20,000 oscillations per minute. That’s a great ceiling for almost all projects. The minimum oscillations per minute is 0, this gives you an idea of the great range that this cordless multi-tool has to offer.
The DeWalt DCS355B guide system allows you to adjust the height or depth for accurate repeated cuts. Additionally, it comes with a universal accessory adaptor. No matter what blade you want to attach, it should accept it with no fuss.
- For starters, the DCS355B features a dual-grip. This gives you maximum control, providing stable cuts and high work speed.
- It weighs just 2.3 pounds and is painless to use for long sessions.
- A dependable brushless motor which allows for longer run time on the battery.
- Tool-free accessory system for quick change of blades and attachments.
- The LED light up front brightens up the surface you are working with making it much easier to handle precise cuts in dark spaces.
- The power button and quick change lever are placed next to each other so if you try to change the blade while the battery is connected, you can accidentally turn the tool on.
- Battery and charger are a separate purchase.
2. Makita XMT03Z Cordless Oscillating Tool
The Makita XMT03Z 18V LXT cordless multi-tool is next on our list. Right off the bat being cordless is a necessary feature for many users because it opens up possibilities for working in tight spaces, as well as, working in different outdoor locations.
The 18-volt lithium-ion battery brings about 20 minutes of continuous use to the table. This is not particularly great. However, we don’t think you’ll be cutting for 20 minutes straight too often, and if you do, you can always grab more batteries.
There is often a debate between cordless versus corded oscillating tools. We usually go for cordless with brushless motors, just like the XMT03Z. Brushless motors give longer run time on battery-operated tools and they produce less vibrations and noise. Not to mention, having to worry about a cord can be troublesome. Additionally, it is equipped with a battery indicator light to notify you of the battery status.
- The XMT03Z features a variable speed control of 6,000 to 20,000 OPM. This is a great range for a large variety of tasks.
- A soft starting motor for smooth and safe start ups.
- Offers an oscillating angle of 3.2 degrees for extra efficient sanding and cutting.
- For attaching different blades, Makita uses a clamp instead of a system that requires tools. This locking mechanism is fast and super convenient in securing the blade.
- Very comfortable ergonomics. Has a little over 2 inch diameter barrel grip making it very easy to handle.
- The battery is a separate purchase. And with the battery attached, it can feel too long and chunky in hand.
- Not equipped with front LED lights. You may find it hard operating in dark areas.
3. Milwaukee 2426-20 M12 Cordless Oscillating Multi Tool
A reliable motor powered by a 12-volt lithium-ion battery. This super lightweight oscillating tool offers versatility to cut, grind, sand, and scrape at awkward angles or in difficult areas. Additionally, it’s compact and ergonomic size is ideal for a plethora of uses and won’t ever feel like a strain.
It features a 12 variable speed range settings knob to let you match the speed according to the material you working with. Delivering between 5,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute. Maintaining a slow start for a gradual and safe application. It’s ideal for light to medium-duty use.
The Milwaukee 2426-20 also features a universal attachment adaptor. As we have gone over before, this saves you time and money because you won’t have to shop specifically for this brand when it comes to blades. If you already have blades on hand or just need some in a pinch, they should fit just fine.
- A battery gauge to give you a visual representation of how much juice left in your tool, this should be on all cordless multi tools. It works in 25% increments.
- Weighs in at just 1.63 pounds, making it the lightest on our list. It is very handy allowing you to easily pack it with you along your work locations.
- The variable speed range is one of the best out there. You can tackle multi purposes and tasks with this tool.
- Backed by a 5 year limited warranty which shows the trust they have for their product.
- Short battery life about 15 minutes max of continuous use (battery not included). You may also find it not suitable for heavy-duty work.
- Blade attachment could be easier, can only be done with the Allen wrench.
4. Rockwell Sonicrafter F80 RK5151K Oscillating Tool
The Rockwell RK5151K is another example of a well-made, professional-quality oscillating multi-tool. The Sonicrafter F80 is known for its Duotech oscillation angle technology. This is the only tool that lets you choose between 2 oscillation angles. For you, this means more power, more precision, and more reliability.
The variable dial starts at 11,000 and heads up to 20,000 OPM. This is a little lower of a range than the other tools we’ve reviewed. While not a total deal-breaker, we can see how this is not a wide enough variable range for some users.
The Rockwell Sonicrafter is a corded multi-tool. This may limit its range of movement, but it makes up for that limitation in raw oscillation power. The 4.2 amp motor is more powerful than other multi-tools. It can handle heavy loads with ease. Also of note is the blade change system. It is tool-free and not a hassle to change attachments most times.
- The Sonicrafter F80 has more than enough motor power for work ranging from intense scraping to plunge cuts in wood.
- The Duotech system is a fine addition for more precision on different cuts. It lends this multi tool saw two oscillating angles, 3.4 and 5 degrees.
- The universal fit system is also great. The F80 accepts almost any attachment from other manufacturers.
- Do not expect stalls or hiccups with use. Expect constant speed under load and less vibrations.
- The included user manual is very poor. You may find it a challenge to understand the instructions for installing or changing a blade.
- Loud during operation, we advice you to always use proper ear protection.
5. Bosch StarlockPlus GOP40-30C Oscillating Multi Tool
Bosch is a popular name in power tools. They’ve been around since 1886. Clearly, they understand the power tool world, what workers want, and how to deliver quality at all times.
The GOP40-30C uses Bosch’s Starlock Plus accessory interface. This interface is great for attaching blades with an enhanced grip. Allowing for more contact between the tool and the attachment. Thus, having more torque, transferred over an expanded work capacity.
Its 4 amp motor is powerful, as is the oscillating saw. Expect to cut, scrape, grind, sand, and grout with no hassle. Providing an oscillating arc of 3 degrees, there is more than enough room to get the job done.
It’s also equipped with constant response circuitry to maintain an optimum speed under different loads. As well as, illuminating LED lights to help you make precise cuts in dark areas.
- It has a variable speed range of 8,000 to 20,000 OPM, making it the tool to grab for a variety of projects.
- No-touch blade changing system. If a blade breaks or you simply want to swap one out, this is done without having to touch the blade. This enhanced safety makes this tool one of our favorites in that regard.
- Great build quality, lightweight, sits around 3.3 pounds. It feels solid in your hand without breaking your wrist.
- Great accessories included. Such as, plunge blade, segment blade, scraping blade, sanding pad, 25 sanding sheets, and a carrying case.
- Expensive replacement blades. Bosch makes top of the line blades, however, they tend to be high-priced compared to other brands.
- Applying even a little pressure when sanding just makes it too hot, it can melt the sanding pad.
6. Genesis GMT15A Oscillating Tool
The Genesis GMT15A multi-purpose oscillating tool lives up to a good reputation. This little power multi-tool has proven to become handy to many homeowners, repair workers, and private contractors.
It’s the best oscillating tool for the money, bringing a combination of power in a compact lightweight package. This little multi-tool almost replaces the job of a detail sander, power scraper, hand saw, and grout remover.
Offering 21,000 OPM (oscillations per minute), the GMT15A is a great companion for a wide variety of woodworking tasks. It sits in an aluminum case and weighs in at just 2.5 pounds. This makes it ideal for long use without getting hand fatigue. Not to mention, makes it super portable for moving to different job sites.
The 1.5 amp motor is great for trimming, sanding, cutting, scraping, and more. This grants more than enough power for most use cases. Like a multi-tool, the GMT15A does a fine job.
- The GMT15A is lightweight. Having a light tool is an advantage over heavier alternatives in some cases.
- Despite being lightweight, this oscillating tool is durable. The aluminum housing is solid and strong. It is also comfortable to hold even for those long sessions of scraping.
- Easy to use and makes minimal vibrations.
- It also includes a few necessary accessories. This includes: a sanding pad, a scraper blade, a flush cut blade, a wood and drywall blade, and an Allen wrench.
- Variable speed control adjustment is not available with this tool.
- Due to the small motor of this tool, it tends to overheat in a short amount of time.
Best Oscillating Tools Comparison
|Product/Feature||Variable Speed||Soft Start||LED Light||Blade Change||Dimensions|
|DeWalt DCS355B||Available||Available||Available||Tool-Free||12.3 x 5.2 x 2.8 In.|
|Makita XMT03Z||Available||Available||N/A||Tool-Free||13 x 5 x 4 In.|
|Milwaukee 2426-20||Available||Available||N/A||Allen Wrench||12.2 x 4.6 x 4.3 In.|
|Rockwell RK5151K||Available||Available||Available||Tool-Free||11.6 x 4 x 3.5 In.|
|Bosch GOP40-30C||Available||Available||Available||Tool-Free||11 x 3.8 x 2.5 In.|
|Genesis GMT15A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Allen Wrench||12.7 x 5.2 x 4.6 In.|
Features of the Best Oscillating Tools (Complete Guide)
No matter the purchase, there are always factors to consider. This holds true – especially true – when dealing with power tools. A bad choice can even mean a halted project because you need the right tools if you want to get to work on anything. Power tools should be a smart investment into your crafting future. The last thing that you want to deal with is a faulty tool that was bought on impulse or with a lack of knowledge.
Do you plan to do shaving, grouting, cutting, trimming, and sanding often? If you can answer yes to that question an oscillating multi-tool would serve you well. A good oscillating tool will be sturdy and adaptable to multiple use-cases. Like most crafting projects, more than one tool is often needed to get the job done. An oscillating tool covers more than a few areas of expertise. You will find yourself swapping around tools less often. In fact, swapping a head is easier than looking around for that sander or hand planer.
Perhaps you work in a tight, cluttered space. The area has little room for movement. A corded oscillating tool might be your best bet here because you will not be moving around much. If you work in a larger construction site or workshop, you may be better off with a cordless oscillating tool. You won’t have to worry about finding that outlet (and we know how outlets like to hide). You can just grab your tool and get moving. Now, let’s take a look at some of the most important features of the best oscillating tool for sanding, polishing, cutting, molding, and grout removal.
Whether corded or cordless, your tool will take power. Both of these types have their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
Cordless Oscillating Tools
Using cordless oscillating tools gives you the freedom to use them anywhere. As long as you have a charged battery, then you can take your tool wherever the project requires you. On the downside, you are restricted with the run-time. You can only work as far as your battery lasts. Which somewhat limits the length of the projects that you will be working on.
Now, when it comes to battery ratings, there are two main things to consider; amp-hour (Ah) and voltage (V). Ampere-hour tells you the amount of amps you can draw from a battery per hour. So, the higher the amp-hour, the better. For example, a battery rated 8Ah will last twice as much as a battery rated 4Ah when under the same workload. As for the voltage, a battery rated at 20V is offers twice the power as a battery rated at 10V, even though both have the same amp-hour. Finally, the battery should be compatible with your best cordless oscillating tool model. Battery options such as lithium are a good choice, however, the most expensive. Also, check out the battery’s charging time and weight.
Corded Oscillating Tools
On the other hand, using electric oscillating tools gives you the ability to work freely for a longer duration without having to worry about the charging time. As long as there is a nearby power outlet, then you can work as long as your project requires. On the downside, you can only work as far as the power cord goes which somewhat restricts your movement and the places that you will be working in.
When it comes to power rating, the best corded oscillating tools use between 3 to 7 amps. However, we also tested motors that were at 1.6+ amps. And apart from stalling a little if you press hard against the workpiece, they work surprisingly well under normal loads. Yet, a good average for heavy-duty multi-tools is about 4+ amps.
These oscillating saws vibrate thousands of times per minute to create the cutting motion with a specific oscillating angle. This makes it capable of doing precise cuts while leaving a relatively low footprint. The oscillation angle tells you how far the blade moves from side to side. More oscillating angle means more forceful cutting speed. While lower angles mean more controlled cuts and better precision.
Ergonomics & Comfortable Grip
As sound and vibration, ergonomics are important. You will more than likely use a tool more than once. That is the point of buying a multi-tool. We found that the more comfortable a multi-tool was, the higher the chance we would reach for it.
Focus on finding a tool that is easy to grip. The grip should be firm but soft enough to provide comfort. Long hours of use can lead to blisters, though, so wear gloves if you need to.
Oscillations Per Minute & Variable Speed
Oscillation speed is another variable to consider. The speed of your cuts will determine how much work you can accomplish. Oscillations per minute (OPM) are high-velocity swings or oscillations from side to side carried out by the blade. Some applications or accessories require different speeds. A good speed to target is 20,000 OPM. Of course, you will find those that are higher than that, but for everyday use, it’s a fine ceiling to aim for.
Look for oscillating tools that have variable speed adjustments. You need to be able to dial in at different speeds for different jobs and projects. Most will include this feature, but always make sure to check what they do before making a purchase.
Vibration & Noise Level
Working with a tool that moves too much, is too loud, or vibrates like an earthquake is no good. It is, in fact, quite miserable. A tool that is poorly optimized for comfort will be a tool that goes unused.
Oscillating tools will vibrate. That is a fact. Oscillations are very fast fluctuations. Blades move from side to side at incredibly high rates. However, a good oscillating tool will not vibrate too much to where your hands feel like jelly afterward. Go for the multi-tools that are ranked high in comfort because chances are you will find yourself reaching for this tool often. You want to enjoy using it.
Noise is another key factor. A tool that is too loud is fine if you are on a site where everything is loud. But for home use, you need an oscillating tool that is at a comfortable volume while working. Most oscillating tools are loud, they can screech and whine. Always wear proper ear protection when using an oscillating tool – regardless of the reported sound level.
Extra Useful Option
Common accessories include cutting blades, triangular sanding heads, and scraper blades. If your device is cordless consider extra battery packs and chargers. Other useful features include:
- Blade changing system: important for making a variety of cuts and each brand uses a special blade changing system. The best of these systems are the ones that allow for a hands-free blade change.
- Universal adaptor: essential for using blades and accessories of other oscillating tool brands.
- LED lights: helpful for working in tight or dark spaces, they help you see the cutting tool and make more precise cuts.
We’ve given you a complete buying guide for oscillating tools. With it, you are now equipped with the proper knowledge to make smart additions to your power tool repertoire. Couple this guide with our reviews and you are set for many hours of excellent crafting.
Main Accessories & Attachments
Like plenty of other power tools, oscillating multi-tools have accessories. Whether said accessories are included with your purchase varies, but many different ones are out there. They exist to make your tool more useful and your job easier at various tasks.
Let’s go over a few of the main types of accessories and what they are used for. Remember, though, that accessories enhance your tool, not make it.
The most common accessory for a multi-tool saw is the cutting blade. This standard blade is what is used for cutting, trimming, and precision work against all sorts of materials.
A good blade will be made of high-quality material. Plenty of accessory packs also include blades of varying lengths and shapes. Some are geared for metals, some for PVC, others for wood, and more.
Use the right blade for the right material. Don’t use, say, a blade for metal on a door jam. This wears down the blade and makes it less reliable for its proper job.
Removing grout can be necessary for your project. Thankfully, oscillating tools are made for that.
These types of oscillating tool heads move at high speeds and with great precision. They remove grout with ease. Again, carbide is the preferred material here. Diamond is also common.
Uses include removing grout from tile, concrete, masonry, plaster, ceramic, and stone. The uses are varied, and you will find heads for any material that you need to do grout work on.
The best multi oscillating tool will work for multiple use cases. This includes sanding. Why carry around a sander if you have a multi-tool at hand? But you will need a good sanding head and some good sandpaper sheets.
A sanding pad with a good sanding sheet can be attached to your oscillating tool. Using this, you can sand down surfaces without having to rely on a separate tool, like a sander or an electric hand planer.
Sandpaper types vary depending on the use case. Some are coarser than others. We found it wise to have some of each type just in case a job called for one or the other. Regardless, load up and have different sandpapers on hand.
Batteries & Chargers
If you went the cordless route then you will more than likely need extra battery packs. This rings true if you engage in many long hours of work with your cordless oscillating tool. The last thing that you want to happen is to run out of battery power while you are midway through a cut, sand, or grouting job. High-capacity battery packs are also available so you can get extra run-time from one charge. Usually, a standard 12-volt battery will do 3/4 work force for 20 minutes.
Lithium-ion batteries exist as accessories. They can usually be charged on a proper charging station. If your device is cordless, it more than likely came with a charging station.
Certain brands offer charging stations and batteries as separate purchases. If you think you will run into power issues, buy another charger to keep around your job site.
What Is an Oscillating Tool?
Simply, an oscillating tool is a power tool in which the blade – either round or straight – oscillates at very high speeds to perform smooth trims, excellent cuts, quick shaves, and much more. Their uses are immense.
Try to imagine making a cut, by hand, in order to trim down the sides of a door. It just won’t fit. Using your hands and a simple saw would be insane. An oscillating tool will knock it out in no time and with amazing accuracy. We’ll get into that more in a bit, but for now, let’s go deeper into where oscillating tools came from!
Created in 1967 by Fein Tools to remove plaster casts from medical patients, oscillating tools have since gained immense popularity among woodworkers around the world. It wasn’t until 1985 that Fein brought their oscillating tool to the construction and home departments.
Fein held a patent on their tool until 2009. Since then many big-name companies, like Bosch, Porter Cable, and Milwaukee, have put out their own take on the simple-but-effective oscillating tool.
Oscillating Tools vs. Oscillating Multi Tools, Is there a Difference?
As we mentioned above, an oscillating multi-tool (OMT) oscillates – moves back in forth at a consistent speed – in order to cut wood, trim edges, shave, and more. The benefits of such a tool are immense.
You receive those benefits because an oscillating tool oscillates at thousands of oscillations per minute. The average speed for a tool like this is about 20,000 oscillations per minute (OPM). That’s usually way more than enough for most jobs.
You have probably heard the term “multi-oscillating tool” as well. Is there a difference between that and a regular oscillating tool? The short answer is no, there is not.
Multi-oscillating tools and oscillating tools are the same things. It can get confusing while shopping around for the best oscillating power tool but don’t worry. Just understand that they are one and the same. Different companies will use different terms to try to set their brand apart. The tool functions the same.
You will also see an oscillating tool called a multi-tool. This is a common name for this type of power tool. Multi-tool is also interchangeable with oscillating tools!
See also – Circular Saw
Top Uses of an Oscillating Tool
There are plenty of uses for an oscillating tool. This is true for the handyman, the carpenter, the construction worker, the professional, the hobbyist, and anyone in between. Depending on the attachment, it can be used for plunge cuts, flush cuts, buffing, and much more.
The first and most common use of an oscillating tool is cutting. They specialize in making some cuts like no other saw can effectively accomplish. Also, the compact design makes it possible to carry out precise cuts in hard-to-reach areas without any problem. Power multi-tools come with heads that are interchangeable. Blades can be changed depending on the job.
Perhaps you need to cut some tough PVC pipe one day and plywood the next. Swap the blade and get to work. Simple. Because of the high OPM, oscillating tools are also apt at cutting metal. This opens up more use cases and widens the functionality of a multi-tool.
Have a piece that needs to be sanded down? Grab a good oscillating tool. Multi-tools are also great at shaving. Special heads can be attached to them that open up sanding possibilities previously thought impossible. These heads are triangular in shape and are made to sand and shave down materials.
Oscillating tools are solid alternatives to the usual hand sander. Hand sanders are fine, but there are times when you may need the extra adaptability of a multi-tool. That is partially why the name electric multi-tool is used: it has multiple tools built into one.
Another practical application for an oscillating tool is scraping. Whether it is grout, paint, glue, silicon, or some other thick substance, an oscillating tool will do just fine as a scraper.
It is true that a grinder, in most cases, will do a better job overall at scraping grout, but that does not mean that a multi-tool loses its use here. On the contrary, the best oscillation tool can handle scraping and removing of icky substances with no issues in most cases.
Of course, if you require something more dedicated and you have the budget, time, and space, go for a tool that is geared towards a single job. They typically outperform multiple-use tools in the long run. That is not to say, however, that a multi-tool will be inefficient. The top-rated oscillating tools will do the job and more.
Overall, we hope we could sum up all the important factors to choose from, as well as, the top options of the best oscillating tools on the market today. We presented to you only the most reliable models from the most popular brands. Remember that comfort and functionality are key. Both are attainable! Consider our unbiased oscillating multi-tool reviews to be a jumping point you can make a sound, reasonable, and smart purchase. Our guide and comparison charts aim to plant your feet on the path to that bright new chapter with the best oscillating multi-tool.