Oscillating Multi-tools: What do you have? What's good? What's bad?

cpw

Charles
Corporate Member
Question: Which oscillating multi-tool(s) do you have and what do you like and not like about it?

Background:
I am looking to replace an older Fein Multimaster with the hex key post to hold the blades. I keep having to buy replacement posts because the hex hole wears out, and even when the post is new it takes a lot of force to hold the blades in place and my wife just can't do it.

We're using the multi-tool a lot right now doing renovations, but when we're done with that it will sit for months, so I don't want to spend a mint on it, but I need something relatively reliable.

I bought the new Bauer from HF to get us by. I liked it, generally - reasonably powerful, tool-less blade change, soft start, 6-speed, but right out of the box it had a problem. After the first few seconds it would stop oscillating. Something in the drive mechanism, I guess. We got a replacement, but while I was doing that a bystander said that he was on his second one. The cutter would just flop around loosely like the drive was completely broken. I have a little under 90 days to return it.

So, I started my research, and after watching the only real head-to-head test and review that I could find on YouTube (which is two years old), I thought I wanted the Dremel MM45. Then I learned that the attachment mount only works with Dremel and Imperial One-Fit. Other aftermarket blades don't work because the head on the mounting post is too small.

For what we do and no more than we use it, those two blade brands are expensive, and I live in a tool desert. We have a HF, and a poorly stocked sLowe's, so having a tool with limited attachment options isn't good. Right now they have very little select in Dremel brand and no one around here has Imperial.

So, I am looking for a reasonably reliable brand with easy, tool-less attachment change, that will accept most aftermarket attachments, and inexpensive as possible.
 

mquan01

Mike
Corporate Member
I have an older (about 8 years I believe) battery powered Bosch. he battery doesn't last a real long time and its quite noisy, but it works well. I also purchased an adapter to allow it to use any blade..
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
I have the Dremel, it works well. Plenty of power, low vibration (compared to the HF model at least), and easy to use. As for blade compatibility, I ordered this set -> https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07W54PSBB/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and it worked fine with the adapter clip. But I get what you're saying about not wanting to fiddle with that. My 2nd/ 3rd choice were the Bosch and Porter Cable corded models, but I have no experience with them.
 
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JimD

Jim
Senior User
I have a pre star lock fein that lets me replace blades without tools. It is better than my other two and a DeWalt cordless I sometimes use volunteering at church. My other two are a HF and a Ryobi cordless. The DeWalt is the next best with the Ryobi the worst. But I still use it sometimes to cut holes in drywall for electrical boxes and other undemanding jobs. I also like Fein blades and the Bosch carbide blade is very good. I have a bunch of Milwaukee blades and their carbide is about as good as the Bosch. I do not see much difference in bi metallic or wood cutting blades. But they all work in all my tools.

I also bought the Festool plunge cut base and did a little adapting so it works on my Fein. I used it to make square holes in a stair tread for a newl post. Other things too.

For what you describe, I would seriously consider the DeWalt but only if you already have batteries and a charger. Tool only it is close to $100. If you go to the corded tool or need batteries you are getting up around the price of my Fein, $200. I don't know of one close to $100 that is much better than the bauer. One thing I should mention about the DeWalt is blade change is pretty stiff. You need strong hands.
 
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Wolfpacker

Brent
Senior User
Admittedly I don't use it to earn a living, but I've been using the Chicago Electric variable speed model from Harbor Freight for many years. It hasn't failed me yet.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
I thought these were a gimmick, but bought a cheap Sears to see. It took years, but it eventually burned up. So I read the reviews and bought the corded Dremel. Hate it. It makes so much noise and vibration I don't want to use it. I have to use a tiny c shape shim for the universal blades and it is a royal pain. So if you need an adapter for your blade, it should be one that stays in place. The blade does the cutting. Search online and you will find objective tests of blades. They make a difference.

I am thinking about cordless. Maybe the Makita 18V as I have those batteries. The 4AH are big and heavy even in my drills. I want some 2's. Maybe I should just spend the bucks for the Bosch or Fein. Hard to justify when I use it maybe once a month. Could be a better tool I would use more often. I wish the M12 was updated with a brushless/tool-less version. Small and light would work for most of my tasks and I have M12 batteries.

Not being to turn it on in a store makes it hard. For all I know, they are all as horrible to use as the Dremel.

To be confusing, they make two Bosch star-lock systems. With all cordless, the newer brushless motors run about twice as long.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
I have had three - first a corded Dremel (12-15 years ago?) that I replaced with a corded Porter Cable refurbed tool (8-12 years ago?) - when I saw the PC was <$50 and has a toolless head. Both have reasonable power but PC is is bit heavier I think (never did a side-by-side); PC gets nod on both power and vibration, and takes almost any blade I have bought without an adapter (one exception there I think; I've been buying Imperial blades lately). EDIT - I agree with Richard below that the lever for tooless blade changes on the PC is quite stiff - end EDIT

Finally I have added a cordless Ryobi (as part of a refurb set) - and only thing I don't like about it is the head needs a hex key for blade changes (had an adapter on it when I purchased - doesn't necessarily stay on the head. I LOVE having a cordless, as many places I use it involve ladders. Have not noticed power issues with the Ryobi - it has done what I have asked of it. I'd prefer a variable speed dial paired with on/off trigger rather than a variable speed trigger; it's hard to maintain a slow speed using a variable speed trigger, and sometimes you want/need to maintain a slower osc speed. I have a bunch of the smaller capacity batteries, so weight and balance have not been issues.

Second EDIT - I would highly recommend a toolless head - and testing usage of the same - as they are considerable more convenient. Maybe not an issue for home shop use, but anywhere but the shop finding that hex key always takes some time End EDIT
 
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marinosr

Richard
Senior User
I also have the Porter Cable and I am satisfied with it for what it does, though I don't find myself using it very often. I use my angle grinder w/ cutoff wheel for cutting metal most of the time, and unpowered tools for the wood cutting tasks people normally use it for, so I really only use it for when a cut needs to be made in a very tight spot. The Porter Cable spring-loaded lever that releases the blades is VERY STIFF. I really have to bear down on it, and I could envision it being too stiff for some people to successfully open with one hand while putting a blade in.
 

Mrfixit71

Board of Directors, Treasurer
Rich
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have a cordless Milwaukee. ($100 at Home Depot for bare tool. I already had Milwaukee drill and driver with an extra battery.} I've only used it a few times but have been very happy with it. No tools needed to change blades.
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Corporate Member
I’ve owned and used up two of the Harbor Freight models. I’ve used the Milwaukee cordless and the Mikita cordless, both are very good. I ended up with the Dewalt cordless and it’s comparable to the others in price and performance.
 

spartyon8

Peter
User
I have the Porter Cable version and abused the snot out of it during my boat rebuild. It never skipped a beat cutting through all of that fiberglass and resin.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
The concord carpenter did a review of the cordless tools and had some good advice, I think. He said to get the one that you already have batteries for. They liked the Bosch and DeWalt the best with Milwaukee close but they were all good enough it doesn't make sense to switch battery platforms. They did not test Ryobi or Bauer, however. I just saw a 12V Milwaukee without a battery for $57 on Amazon. Seems like a good deal to me. But only if you already have 12V Milwaukee batteries and a charger. But I think Home Depot had a set with two batteries for $99.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
I have a cordless Milwaukee. ($100 at Home Depot for bare tool. I already had Milwaukee drill and driver with an extra battery.} I've only used it a few times but have been very happy with it. No tools needed to change blades.
M12 or M18?

I have an M12 Hacks-all that is now my go-tool for metal. I grab it now more often than my angle grinders. M22, driver, drill, stapler. Happy with all.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
HD has the old M12 tool-needed non brushless for $50. Cheaper than the two batteries it comes with!
New "Fuel" $150 preorder from CPO available the end of the month.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
I have the Fein star lock (corded) and have been very happy with it. Uses the Fein and Bosch starlock blades, which are good quality, fit tightly, and wear slowly. The blades are very easy to change. The Bosch diamond blade is very good for cutting tile, (the reason I bought it to start with) and lasts much better than the standard carborundum blade.
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
I started out with the Horrible FRIGHT model as I had an immediate use for this type of tool. It did the job but it was not a Cadillac. More like a yugo
I found more and more uses for it so I bought the Fein corded and never looked back. Tool less blade change is nice and the noise level is much better.
 

skyline933

Jim
Senior User
Question: Which oscillating multi-tool(s) do you have and what do you like and not like about it?

Background:
.....

So, I am looking for a reasonably reliable brand with easy, tool-less attachment change, that will accept most aftermarket attachments, and inexpensive as possible.
I have the Makita Multi-tool (XMT03Z), used it to cut channels in about 120 over the road trailers to install wiring and cooling lines. Was basically indestructible until it walked off the job-site. I replaced it with the same model, as we had some HF ones in the shop that didn't hold up as well. I already had the batteries, and it was $89 on sale at HD.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Went to HD to see if they cheap M12 package was in the store. Nope. Only the old tool for $90! Came away with the older Makita 6 1/2 inch left side circ saw to use with a yet to buy track. $112.
 

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