Best Oscillating Multi-Tool of May 2017: Reviews & Buyers Guide

“Mark, can you pass me the oscillating tool”, I asked.

He looked at me with a blank stare – “what the heck is that”?

From this day forward, I vowed to always explain what my power tools are to friends who are helping me with projects. I was down behind my washing machine trying to cut off some small copper pipe, a job where the multi-tool totally shines. It’s small in size, and has a variety of attachments.

Anyways, that is how the story ended… so now onto real talk about what I consider to be the best oscillating tool. The stuff you came here for.

Did you know the first oscillating multi-tool was developed in the 1960’s in order to slice through casts without hurting patients?

Since its creation, the tool has evolved quite a bit. There are many companies producing them, loads of different units, and even more attachments!

Types of Multi-tools

A cordless mult-tool is exactly what it sounds like. Typically they operate off chargeable battery packs similar to ones you would see used for a battery powered drill. With electric alternatives becoming more popular to corded options, we expect to see these gain more popularity.

Our Recommendation: Dewalt DCs355B

An electric multi-tool is simply one that still requires it to be plugged into a wall outlet using standard 120V AC power. You can also attach these to extension cords to enlarge the reach from the outlet.

Our Recommendation: PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52

Top Rated Oscillating Multi-Tools

Dremel MM40-03: Editor’s Top Pick

s_dremel-mm40-main-lg._V383990895_-300x143Dremel is an extremely well known brand, almost entirely exclusive to rotary tools. The MM40-04, has a 2.5 amp motor and comes with a whole suite of multi-tool accessories perfect for a variety of projects from woodworking, to craft projects, to home improvement projects.

You will also notice that within our Dremel MM40-03 review analysis, we found that its power switch was easy and we approve of the variable speed control that it comes with. Think of this like a cruise control type of solution. Another neat feature of this tool is the fact that it has “soft start”, which basically ramps up to the desired speed rather than immediately starting at it, allowing you to be efficient and minimize risk of damage to your project. It is capable of handling up to 21,000 oscillations per minute, and comes with a two year manufacturer warranty.

  • Comes with 29 accessories
  • Variable speed control (aka cruise control)

  • Only compatible with Dremel accessories

Dad’s Note: This is our top pick for dremels in regards to performance, accessories, and price. Customer data around the internet shows that others tend to agree, it’s a product well worth the purchase.

Genesis GMT15A: The Budget Friendly Option

s_086a3f5a-497f-439b-8321-ce3df812053d_1000-e1436777368474-150x104The GMT15A features a 1.5 amp powered motor and outputs up to 21,000 oscillations per minute. I really like that this unit is built well for the price, we’re talking about an aluminum gear housing and four pin flange, that’s durability right there. It’s also very lightweight and a great option for weekend projects.

It weighs in at under 4 lbs and is compatible with standard 120 volt wall plugs. The Genesis model comes with some neat accessories such as a scraper blade, sanding pad (3 inch), and an allen wrench to help with accessory changing. Also includes a two year manufacturer warranty.

  • Lightweight
  • Budget friendly

  • Limited compatibility with other brands accessories
  • Only one speed

Dad’s Note: It’s not packed full of bells and whistles, but if you are on a budget and just needing something for at home projects it is a great option. My advice would be to be aware of the possible accessories you may need before purchasing, and make sure they exist for this tool.

What to look out for when buying 

Oscillating multi-tools come in handy when you want to cut, sand, scrape or grind places that are impractical to access, or where power cables cannot reach. Multi-tools are designed to many applications, and you have to carefully choose one that is best suited for your projects. The following are some of the factors to look out for when buying an oscillating multitool:
The versatility
The versatility of a multi-tool depends on the accessories that are fitted to the oscillating head. It is important for the multi tool to have a universal fitting system that is compatible with accessories from different companies, and thereby ensuring flexibility and cost saving
The speed of oscillations
The oscillations made per minute should be variable, for it to attain different speed levels. When buying a multi-tool, it is important to note the top speed it can reach while it is operating. The higher the oscillations made at top speed, the more powerful the tool is.
Corded or cordless versions?
Cordless tools are more convenient because they are not bulky, and allows one to work effortlessly and easily in agile places. However, they use rechargeable or replaceable batteries that might run out before completion of a task. They are suitable for simple short-time duties. On the other hand, the corded versions are slightly more powerful and do not have a limited run-time. When buying corded tools, you should consider its length. The longer the cord, the more working distance it can cover
The more the voltage, the more powerful the tool is. It is, therefore, important to buy a high voltage multi-tool when working on time and power consuming projects
The multi-tool should have a comfortable, flexible and firm grip. This allows for good control of the tool, for detail work and for working in hard-to-reach places.
The tool should have a warranty cover with favorable terms and conditions
Bag casing
A good multi-tool should come with its case for storage and transport

Frequent Asked Questions

How does an oscillating multi-tool work?
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When should I use a multi-tool?
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Will attachments from other brands work with my multi-tool?
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Russ Kannigan

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