The oscillating tool has recently become a valuable device that is capable of performing various tasks that we may need to cope with from time to time. Both handymen and contractors often look for the best oscillating tool to widen their repair skills. It’s a portable device with several attachments that are powered by a battery or electricity. The attachment does oscillating motion providing accurate curved or straight cuts in hard-to-reach areas.
Its prototype was a medical tool for removing casts. The modern consumer models are developed to scrape, sand, saw, polish, and do tons of other home improvement repairs.
In this article, one can find the oscillating tools of both cord and cordless models and check their features to assess their value to the required types of jobs. Besides, it’s crucial to pay attention to the set of accessories and their quality. For example, if somebody is going to work with a wooden object, it’s important to get a model with a wood-cutting blade in the kit. Bearing in mind the possibility of the attachment’s affordable replacement is also crucial.
By accomplishing a thorough and meticulous analysis, we managed to find amazing products that can meet the expectations of even the most demanding customers. After reading this article, there will be no need for you to spend hours near your laptop reading various blogs and rankings in pursuit of a high-quality product, as our team of professionals has already tested dozens of options to come up with this helpful guide. The article containing concise and informative oscillating tool reviews will also educate you on what are their core purposes, what are the types of attachments used in them, and what issues to keep in mind when trying to find the option in the market of multi-tools.
Oscillating Tool Reviews
Best Cordless Oscillating Tools
In search of the best oscillating multi-tool, don’t miss the DEWALT DCS355D1. Unlike the basic models with only a switch on/off option, it features a regulator to change speed and an ergonomic handle that is usually more typical for drills. Besides, it has an enhanced brushless motor for more efficiency and better performance.
What I really like about this unit is that it goes with a 28-piece Dewalt accessory kit that makes it possible to perfectly saw, sand, grind, cut, scrape, and polish. Every attachment item is called to make a product more versatile and choose the most appropriate option for a certain task. However, this multi-tool looks rather bulky weighing as much as 7 pounds. This may create some additional load on your hands if you work for more than 30 minutes.
This DCS355D1 is rather lightweight considering its decent power of an 18/20V that allows working with a single hand effortlessly. This credit goes to a 2.0 Ah Slim XR battery that lasts for a long period. By the way, its level of power is always visible on the LED indicator that displays three green stripes when the battery is full. Note that the charger is included in the set to feed the battery.
A large area of its surface is covered with a rubber coating that makes it more convenient to use. In addition, it has a LED light on the front, this feature lets work in the dark corners. The cordless DEWALT DCS355D1 comes with a bag that keeps all your stuff in a spot.
This Dewalt 20V oscillating tool isn’t the fastest one, but it does 20,000 oscillations per minute that are quite enough for the majority of home improvement repairs. It’s a versatile model since it has many attachments for different cutting and sanding. The DCS355D1 works quietly in the lower speed ranges and not too noisy at max.
At the same time, I would like to compliment the DCS355D1 on its powerful 20V XR lithium-ion battery and a DEWALT brushless motor, which can together deliver more than 55% of run time over brushed. One more upside of the model is that its quick-change system is located in the right place, so deep cutting can be still performed easily.
- This multi-tool has a reliable universal accessory adaptor allowing you to use non-Dewalt accessories on a regular basis, which is totally great if you have some decent attachments left from your previous tool.
- The DCS355D1 has a smart rubber placement, which prevents you from unexpected bumping.
- The item has a comfy but still very reliable lock/unlock system making it possible to lock or unlock the button easily.
- Quick Change lever works flawlessly and provides fast blades and accessories replacement.
- The model has a trigger switch mid handle activating the motor and front-facing LED light.
- The trigger isn’t perfect since it’s necessary to hold it constantly in the position manually when working at an average speed. It holds itself only at full speed.
- The model seems to have some belt clip problems as the belt holes are not threaded appropriately.
- The battery may quickly lose its full capacity requiring more frequent charging sessions.
Video Dewalt DCS355D1
When thinking of the best oscillating saw, take a look at the Makita XMT03Z with the lightest motor on the market that has lots of output to manage large projects. It can handle even 26 gauge sheet metal but requires slow operating in this case. It’s fitted with the quick-change lever that does its job when holding the blade firmly in place, but its location precludes cutting deep enough and leaves no place for a LED light.
This model may be very beneficial to those people who often need to work outside as this cordless multi-tool may guarantee up to 20 minutes of run time thanks to a powerful Makita’s 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 3.0Ah battery. Actually, I appreciated the efforts of the manufacturers in delivering a multi-tool, which works rather quietly with lower noise and reduced vibration features. You know how awfully noisy an oscillating multi-tool can be, but this is not the case with the XMT03Z.
The sharp oscillation degree is another upside of the tool as uncommon 3.2 degrees provide the model with very fast and aggressive cutting to allow you to work confidently with dozens of different materials. However, I think that the product lacks some adjustability to ensure precise cutting, especially when it comes to cutting in corners. That is why I can recommend the Makita oscillating tool to work in normal conditions with the minimum necessity for processing hard-to-reach places. Otherwise, it may be very difficult to adjust your blade or other accessories to safely and precisely work with the hard-to-reach surfaces.
It also cut nails in a second without damaging anything if attaching a dedicated metal blade. In general, considering this assembly’s versatility and frequent usage, it’s crucial to buy top-quality blades to keep them sharp for a long period.
The assembly has a sturdy design with the low-vibration tech that enhances the accuracy of cutting significantly. It’s also a reason for its solid weight that might be inconvenient for some customers. Still, its cabinet is well-balanced and doesn’t let you get tired too fast.
- The model’s variable speed control positively impacts its performance when it is necessary to work at a different pace.
- Its tool-less blade change system for changing accessories enables you to quickly put a necessary blade, which is especially useful when you need to combine several actions (e.g. cutting and sanding) at once.
- Fast and rough cutting is possible due to its 3.2-degree oscillation angle.
- The unit features adapters to attach accessories of other manufacturers.
- You should pay for battery units separately if you want to use a cordless model.
- Batteries of the Makita oscillating tools are capable of just 20 minutes of the run (however, the feeding is fast) and gets hot.
- Considering the fact that in the set there are no bag, a battery, and a set of attachments, this model is a bit pricey.
- The model lacks the LED light, which makes it challenging to work in dark areas.
Video Makita XMT03Z
This model could become the best oscillating saw despite the lack of the brushless engine that produces continuous rotation for being more efficient. Still, it has an extremely ergonomic design when providing comfortable holding due to the convenient diameter and LED light in front.
It’s rather heavy but well-balanced that facilitates long-term operating. Besides, its speed is as high as the plenty of pro-models’ speed and it’s possible to regulate it within 12 levels to let the user match it with the application. However, this model doesn’t have a quick-change system so the user needs the bolt to replace the attachment. In other words, it’s necessary to involve hands. In this case, one should be careful not to contact hot blades. Besides, it takes time to handle the bolt.
The Milwaukee oscillating tool is also noticeable for its brand RedLithium batteries that are well known for their ability to “inform” a charger when they’re full to escape overcharging. In addition, it is based on the corporate Constant Power Technology to keep the blade speed stable. This model has an adapter that allows attaching any kind of accessories.
- It features an all-metal gear case for higher durability.
- This unit is developed to reduce vibration and it really does its job.
- It works completely quiet in any mode.
- The unit comes only with the sanding pad and sandpaper pads, no blades in the box.
- Its battery life is short, that’s why an extra battery should be at hand.
Video Milwaukee 2626-20
The Ryobi P340 One+ is possibly the top-rated oscillating tool, it’s really worth attention since it’s compatible with other third-party accessories. In addition, it’s easy to replace the unit’s head with Ridgid JobMax powerheads. The tool performs well while it’s giving a smooth edge along the definite pillars and peeling them up well in the process.
This model can cope with wood, soft metals, and plastic. It is well-balanced, lightweight, and allows the hand to stay firm while cutting, even in difficult areas.
The Ryobi oscillating tool has an adjustable speed of up to 20,000 oscillations per minute, but this model is fitted with the trigger instead of a dial. So it’s necessary to hold the trigger down in order to keep a certain level of speed and this spec decreases the accuracy of cutting.
The unit has a LED light to let the user see the work area clear. It also features a magnet below its handle to hold tiny nails and other small parts at hand while working.
- It’s possible to use diamond pads for light concrete polishing since the back of the tool features Velcro to attach to the diamond shape holder.
- It doesn’t come with a battery.
- Not very powerful since many efforts are required for cutting through hardwood floors. In other words, it fits more for easier home projects.
The oscillating multi-tool reviews can’t dispense the FEIN AFMM18QSL that comes with its brand StarlockPlus mounting system for quick attachments’ replacement. It is a special lever that disconnects the blade and lets the user avoid touching hot accessories. This model is fitted with a standard power clicker and variable speed dial.
The Fein oscillating tool contains a couple of 2.5 Ah batteries that are more lightweight than 5.2 Ah that is placed in some other models. However, their lifespan gives enough time (35-45 minutes) to make a good piece of work. Nevertheless, the total mass is significant. Note that it’s possible to use 4 Ah and 5.2 Ah batteries if desired.
Despite its six speeds, this one isn’t the fastest model, but still, it features perfect vibration control (due to a self-supporting motor) which means more control on the cut and low-noise level while working at any speed. In addition, it provides maximum transfer of torque and high precision of cutting and other operations that are critical on expense wood trim, for example.
- Other brands of blades work with this model.
- It’s powerful enough to handle heavy loads.
- It lacks LED light that makes it difficult sometimes to cut and sand in tight access areas.
Video FEIN AFMM18QSL
Best Corded Oscillating Tools
This model has every chance to be the best corded multi-tool due to its Starlock system that allows changing accessories almost without touching them. Besides, it features a convenient handle to let a hand keep a natural and convenient position while cutting.
Although the unit comes with the trigger to regulate speed, it also has a good lock-on switch system. This provides good control and cutting accuracy so that the user can start working slowly, increasing the speed as the cut progresses.
The Dewalt oscillating multi-tool is really fast and can reach 22,000 oscillations per minute. Its motor is powerful and demonstrates strong performance for cutting and sanding. Besides, it has a fence guide option to keep the cutting tool on target and pre-set the depth of the cut.
- It comes with a dedicated adapter to attach any other manufacturers’ accessories.
- The contractor bag and accessory storage box are in the package.
- The assembly is perfectly balanced which makes it easier to hold it despite a solid weight.
- This model isn’t able to dampen vibrations completely.
- It works as a sander but isn’t suitable for sanding large areas since it requires working slowly without applying much pressure.
- The blades included aren’t of the best quality.
When dealing with the best corded oscillating tool, the Rockwell oscillating tool comes to mind with its unique Duotech feature. This tech allows picking the proper angle of oscillation within a range of 3.4–5.0 degrees to reach the ideal outputs when performing a certain task.
The first aspect I would like to emphasize is the powerful 4.2 Amp motor, which is a rare guest in the models in this price range. Actually, 4.2 Amp is more than enough to easily deal with very firm materials, such as concrete or nails, without any signs of a stall. The second positive aspect is Rockwell’s Duotech oscillation technology, which is called to empower its users with an opportunity to select an appropriate oscillation angle straightforwardly to get maximum impact from the RK5151K.
However, I must declare that the model is very noisy and contains only 10 accessories, although this problem can be partially solved due to its Universal Fit System that accepts almost all attachments made by popular brands.
The Hyperlock clamping system is another brand feature that is developed to replace the accessories fast when locking all of them firmly to a set. The user can use a blade and all the others stay attached to a tool. A dedicated screw tightens up the fitting between two steel discs to keep the blades in their place while one of them is working.
The variable-speed RK5151K is very powerful since it is able to handle heavy-duty objects with high accuracy and stable speed. The latter is adjustable and can be changed smoothly for a rough cut or finishing via a dial on the back panel.
What also impressed me is that its manufacturers managed to make it rather compact (11.6 x 3.5 x 4 inches) and lightweight (4 pounds), though the product is staffed with a very powerful motor.
- You will definitely enjoy how easily blades can be changed while staying very securely due to tool-less blade change.
- It is very versatile as it allows users to choose the oscillation angle from 3.4° to 5° to find an appropriate position for cutting in hard-to-reach areas.
- The model’s speed adjustment works very well to give users an opportunity to opt for a necessary intensity.
- Long 10-feet cord.
- The additional blades and hard plastic case with two storage compartments are in the package.
- It doesn’t vibrate at all at any speed.
- The LED light is too weak and not helpful.
- Being a corded tool, it cannot be used outside with no electricity source available near.
- The lever for changing the oscillating degree tends to fall out of place to bring lots of discomfort during your work.
Video Rockwell RK5151K
This model is remarkable for its high power and the ability to withstand heavy loads that makes the tool suitable for both handymen and contractors. Besides, it’s fast (runs up to 22,000 oscillations per minute) and can handle large projects on short notice. For example, the unit moves fast even through a rough place and it makes it completely smooth.
This is a rather cheap option compared to other discussed models, though it confidently outperforms most of them in many significant features. Its 3-amp motor is a sufficient power source ensuring effective and stable work of the oscillating tool. However, this results in a situation where such a powerful motor adds a lot of weight to the item. Just imagine, a tool has relatively compact dimensions (15 x 4.3 x 11 inches) but weighs 7.65 pounds, which is very uncommon for tools with a less powerful motor. Its size, weight, and rubber grips are well-balanced to make it convenient to use.
In my opinion, another positive feature of the PCE605K52 is that it goes with a huge number of accessories, namely 52 attachment pieces. This is where the Porter-Cable oscillating tool extensively outperforms competitors. As most of their products (including the PCE605K52) are very flexible and functional due to a generous bag with accessories sold together with oscillating multi-tools. Also, it has no bolts to change accessories since it features a tool-free system to replace attachments.
It runs without vibration to be holding up well. However, the machine is getting warm or even hot if using it for a long time that’s why it’s better to work in gloves.
On the one hand, the model has a 10-foot cord, so you will unlikely face any problems with reaching some distant places in your house with your tool. On the other hand, it also means that you will not be able to normally work in the yard of your house without having an extension cord at hand.
- Lasting blades remain sharp long enough minimizing the necessity to replace them with newer and sharper ones.
- The oscillating tool still works very softly with little vibration even though it has such a powerful motor.
- The PCE605K52 has well-designed oscillating saws making it possible to work even in hard-to-reach areas.
- The case is in the box and it has a compartment for the full set of blades and sanding pads.
- It’s possible to regulate the depth of cutting.
- It accepts any blades of other manufacturers.
- Being a corded device and having no battery capacity, the model can be used only in a 10-foot range provided by its own cord.
- The model is rather noisy and becomes hot quickly, so you can easily get burnt by just holding it in your hands.
- The tool has a very strong spring, so changing your attachments may irritate you easily.
- It moves too slowly through hardwood.
- No built-in light.
Video Porter-Cable PCE605K52
Its Starlock 3-D tool-accessory interface is mostly used in best oscillating multi-tools to hold all the accessories tightly and ensure 100% power transfer. This technology not only raises the speed, precision, and effectiveness of the oscillating tool but also increases energy consumption.
However, keep in mind that it will use only Starlock blades, which are way more expensive than OIS blades are. Moreover, just imagine how powerful this functional oscillating tool can be as it is stuffed with a 5.5 Amp motor with reinforced metal gearing. Even best-rated oscillating tools rarely have such an extremely powerful motor. This feature gives it so much power and intensity to easily cope with rock-solid materials. This offering also goes with as many as 40 different accessories aimed to allow users to accomplish such actions as plunge-cutting, flush-cutting, sanding, grinding, and many others.
The Bosch oscillating tool is also rather small (11 x 2.5 x 3.8 inches) and lightweight (3.5 pounds), which is again a pleasant bonus for such a powerful tool.
Nevertheless, I am a bit disappointed with a very loud noise following the performance of the unit. Surely, it is common for powerful professional tools, but its manufacturers could have achieved greater progress in noise reduction.
- The model is very compact and light with a low vibration rate, so you can work effectively even when standing on a ladder with your arms fully extended.
- The model has a high-end oscillating frequency working excellent even under heavy loads.
- The model has a variable speed at the backside, so you can easily switch speed options while the product is still working.
- The locking mechanism fixes accessories very tight.
- It lacks LED light and a battery, which makes a model less functional in dark areas.
- With 40 items of accessories sold with the GOP55-36C2, 25 of them are different sheets of sandpaper of medium quality.
Video Bosch GOP55-36C2
In my opinion, this is a decent oscillating tool for those individuals who would take it occasionally just to fix something in their house. Although the model is pretty cheap, it is stuffed with a high-performance 3.8 Amp motor designed to give enough power to the tool for different demanding activities. I can also say that the manufacturers of the MM40-05 did a good job with locating the up-front on/off switch, so the user can maintain speed setting while keeping the tool in the same hand.
While having such a powerful motor and rather big dimensions (17.2 x 4.2 x 10.5 inches) as for a conventional and a solid structure, the Dremel oscillating tool weighs only 4.5 pounds, which is definitely a good result. Plus, it goes with a sufficient amount of different accessories (36 pieces) ranging from cutting blades to sandpaper sheets.
I would also like to mention that the model has a Quick-Boost option intended to maintain constant oscillation frequency when needed. At the same time, I did not like the level of vibration, especially when I had to deal with very firm and thick materials as it got my hands tired quickly.
- The model is very handy and offers a wide range of speed.
- Quick-Lock can be activated easily to allow you to change accessories quickly.
- The MM40-05 lacks LED light and a battery to ensure interruptive work in dark places and far from the electricity source.
What really impressed me in this model was its small dimensions (11.3 x 2.3 x 4 inches) and lightweight design (2.9 pounds). The product is very handy, so you can use it for a long time without getting your hands tired quickly. With a powerful 3.5 Amp, the RK5132K is capable of ensuring stable work with no stalls. I also liked the way how easy it was with variable speed selection to find a suitable oscillation rate. Additionally, the product’s Universal Fit System worked pretty well with accessories produced by other brands, while the manufacturer also sends you 32 accessory pieces. However, it was sometimes very difficult to work in hard-to-reach or tight spaces having only a 4° blade oscillation angle at hand.
- The model works very smoothly and quietly with a minimum vibration level.
- This oscillating tool rarely becomes overheated due to a wise choice of materials made by its manufacturers.
- Hyperlock technology effectively prevents attachments from slipping.
- The sanding attachment is of very poor quality as it quickly loses its form and structure.
- The oscillating multi-tool kit still has no LED light to provide effective work in dark places.
Video Rockwell RK5132K
How does an oscillating tool work?
Whether it deals with the best cordless oscillating tool or the cord modification, the operating modalities are the same. All the models have a cabinet that doubles as a handle and a head for attaching a wide array of accessories to do various jobs — cutting, sanding, removing the floor covering, etc. There is a motor inside this machine and it implies the tool’s power and acceptable loads.
The cabinet has different diameters and lengths and the head sometimes features the adapter to make all the attachments interchangeable. However, as it was mentioned in the cord and cordless oscillating tool reviews, not all models have them. Some units accept only brand accessories. Note that no attachment can work endlessly. They lose their sharpness rather quickly and require replacement.
So, to start working, it’s necessary to choose the suitable blade from the kit, insert it in the head, and switch on the machine.
Unlike a saw and other similar narrow-profiled instruments, this machine moves a side-to-side but not back-and-forward manner. The number of such movements per minute determines its capacity. The fastest models can boast up to 22.000 oscillations per minute. The average oscillation reaches three degrees. That’s why the machine seems to vibrate while operating and those vibrations should be minimal to provide high precision of cutting and other applications.
So, an oscillating tool works due to a side-to-side movement. The oscillation itself is very slight (usually about 3-5 degrees) but very quick (it can be up to 25,000 strokes per minute). The vibration created during the oscillation allows cutting with a blade, scraping with scrapers, sanding with sanding paper, etc.
How to choose an oscillating tool?
There are so many brands and models on the market of oscillating multi-tools, so picking the most functional tool in the ocean of ultra-modern devices with myriads of different technical characteristics is a very scrupulous and time-consuming task. Nevertheless, there are some aspects that you should definitely look at when trying to find a high-end product that will last you for years.
The first thing I would like to say is that there is no product or brand that meets the demands of all consumers. Every brand has its own features but you should better pay attention to details rather than simply look for a particular brand.
The second important thing is to keep in mind your purposes for buying an oscillating tool. If you need it just for sanding, opt for those models offering high-quality sanding attachments. If you are going to use it for multiple purposes (grinding, cutting, sanding, etc.), search for those products having perfect functional characteristics.
Furthermore, it can be useful to look at the following aspects when trying to find the best oscillating tool: motor power, compatibility with accessories made by other brands, weight, corded or cordless (depending on what you need), the number and quality of accessories sold with the tool, oscillation angle, and set of functions.
What can you do with an oscillating tool?
In general, the tool is developed to cover a range of delicate operations for house renovation when it’s necessary to cut small niches or get to the hard-to-reach places without damaging other details on the surface.
Now, let’s take a look at the multifunction tools’ basic opportunities:
- Trims and cuts in pieces of material (wood, plastic) with surgical accuracy, for example, trims the corners or the joints of furniture to make them look neat.
- Undercuts door jambs to install new flooring.
- Makes flush cuts easily and trims screws.
- Removes old sealants.
- Cuts grout, caulk, and tile in the bathroom or kitchen.
- Cuts slots and squares to install a sink, a pantry, and other similar stuff.
- Renovates old wooden window frames.
- Prepares a surface for painting.
- Gets rid of mastics and vinyl floor adhesives.
- Narrows edges and other similar surfaces.
- Removes rust from the metal objects.
- Sticks moldings without damaging the surfaces.
- Polishes wood surfaces.
- Makes plunge cutting way easier.
- Can replace an orbital sander.
- Makes flush cuts in drywall, wood, and metal.
- Strips, scrapes, and peels.
The number of options is variable and depends on the machine’s quality and power. For example, the professional assemblies allow plunging cuts when working on heavy decking boards. Remember that it’s crucial to know what type of blade should be attached to succeed with a definite application.
What about cutting metal with an oscillating tool?
Yes, you can easily cut metal using your favorite oscillating tool. The only thing you need to do is attach the metal cutting blade made of bi-metal. Such a bi-metal blade usually has teeth with no offset, which helps them easily cut through metal and withstand tough working conditions.
Actually, tough materials are beyond the control of the most powerful multi-tools and subject to the attachment of dedicated carbide teeth. In this case, it manages stainless steel bolts, galvanized pipes, and sheet metal. If using a typical saw blade, it will burn out fast and blow the whole work. The bi-metal blade is also acceptable if cutting both wood and metal. When working with harder metals, a semi-circular blade is required. If the user is going to make plunge cuts on a steel surface, he/she should take a dedicated plunge cut blade.
Cord and cordless oscillating multi-tools — diversities and peculiarities
Cordless assemblies are battery-powered and they can work nearly an hour maximum. Then the user should charge the battery. To escape downtime, it’s better to keep a spare battery on hand. When choosing a cordless modification, it’s important to pay attention not only to the battery lifespan but also to the speed of its powering. Besides, it’s highly recommended to get a top-quality feeder.
Such units allow operating in an environment where the electricity isn’t available but all of them tend to heat fast while working.
Cord models are usually more powerful and allow working for a long period without a break. They require a socket as a source of power. Bear in mind their cable length since if its’ too short, it’s necessary to get an extension cord.
Both battery-powered and electrical models can feature a good set of accessories. So, the number and quality of blades and teeth aren’t dependable on their source of power.
Obviously, excellent performance always goes hand-in-hand with following safety measures even if you own the best oscillating tool. These are the main safety precautions that you must follow directly if you want to prevent serious problems and stay healthy:
- Carefully read the user manual and strictly follow its recommendations;
- Always wear protective gear;
- Keep the tool away from water;
- Keep your children away from your oscillating tool;
- Be precautious when changing accessories;
- Avoid working in loosened clothes;
- Never use it after taking medications affecting your job performance. The same refers to avoiding alcohol at your workplace;
- Always check your cutting tool for any damage or defects before starting to work with it.