November 13, 2008

Chicago Electric 120-Volt Multi-Function Power Tool (Oscillating Tool)

chicago_oscillating.gifReader Kent B. emailed to tell us he saw that Harbor Freight is now selling Chicago Electric's "120 Volt Multi-Function Power Tool," which is their way of saying "oscillating tool." The price on this is an extremely inexpensive $50, and it will be available on Black Friday for an even lower $40.

We've never touched this tool so we can't really comment on the quality, but with the freakishly low price, we feel confident drawing the conclusion that it's probably not the most durable tool in the world and that it'll likely have some kind of smoke pouring out of it before too long. We've had enough experiences with $20 angle grinders and $15 rotary tools to know what this kind of pricing indicates. You never know though, we could be wrong...

The kit comes with a scraper, sander, plunge cut blade, and circular blade.

At Harbor Freight

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 13, 2008 5:00 AM
Recent Comments

Has anyone used the HF 12V Lithium battery operated multifunction tool? This tool comes with a box and as I recall sells for $60. Just wandering if it works as well as the single speed or the variable speed. Thanks.

Posted by: Robert at August 28, 2010 1:37 AM

Love it. Just picked it up yesterday and with the %20 off coupon coupled with the free 9 led flashlight coupon adding the one year warranty, I got out of there for less than 40 dollars and have used it for cutting out paneling to do some rewiring. Nothing would have done as clean or fast a job. Blade is getting beat up but thats my fault for not avoiding the nails. Great price for this very useful tool. I love Harbor Freight.

Posted by: Rick at August 13, 2010 10:29 AM

so i do a lot of re-glazing of seal fails for windows and shower glass installations. i've just picked up the Chicago Electric variable speed multi-tool to help cut the out the old window glass. freaking awesome compared to using razor blades, sharpened putty knifes and the crl ez-deglazer. cuts out the glass in no time and even lets me cut wooden or aluminum applied to glass SDL bars without breaking the glass. anyways, Ive got a quick question i do a lot of shower glass installations and sometimes i have to notch "ribbon tile" that sticks proud of the other tiles on the wall. currently i use a Bosch non segmented diamond blade on a grinder which works pretty well if u are used to using a grinder to cut notches. i was curious if anyone has tried these electroplated diamond blades for these oscillating tools to notch ceramic, porcelain, marble, etc tiles, usually ill have to make 1/2", 3/4", or 1 3/4" wide notches, so its not like ill be cutting a lot of material with the blades.

Posted by: Jay at May 20, 2010 10:39 PM

I just shelled out for the Harbor Freight variable speed Multi-Function tool. ($70 all told with the 2-year coverage added, after 20% off coupon)

I did a caulk scraping job for a few hours of fairly continuous use, and had no problems at all. I cannot see how the accessories could slip in the fastening system. No need to buy a rubber-backed washer. I was told that the tool is a bit loud, but I had earplugs in and the sound was not disturbing anyone outside of the home. I have sensitive ears -- so if the dremel tool emits the same dB of sound but at a higher frequency, I would probably find the dremel's sound more annoying than the sound from this tool.

Posted by: Patrick Calhoun at May 19, 2010 12:21 PM

Dear "Tool Snob",

Your "review" of the Harbor Freight Multi-Function tool is unbelievably ignorant.

I'm a tool freak, and a picky one, at that. Most of my power tools are Makita, with Bosch number two.

I found myself needing a small flush cut saw for a job (I have the Bosch Flush cut, but it was too big), and I remembered seeing the ugly Chicago Electric model at Harbor Freight. I made the trip, paid 40 bucks, and got the biggest surprise of my life. It worked PERFECTLY, the blade didn't come loose (probably because I know how to use power tools), and I ended up using it for all kinds of things that I never intended.

That was 4 months ago, and that ugly orange thing is the first thing I reach for when I have a difficult cut.

It was cheap, it's ugly, but it's still running strong. That 40 bucks has come back ten times over.

You "Tool Snobs" might consider a new name ... how about "Tool Idiots"?

Posted by: Jerry Ulibarri at March 17, 2010 7:28 PM

Just recently purchased the HF oscillating tool. I got the variable speed model. I chose this one because the "feel" was better: slimmer then the fixed speed model.
I'm very pleased with it so far. The slow start feature where it ramps up to full speed is a nice touch. I have found that I can plunge cut thru 2x4s and cut the framing nails and the sheetrock nails. You do have to ensure that the allen screw is tight: I've had the blade loosen a few times. Overall very pleased so far, esp considering it is 1/2 the price of the next cheapest version.

Posted by: Mark Walter at February 24, 2010 10:48 PM

Im returning my brand new Fein multimaster today. I used it on a small door job and found out that its not that manageable and runs real Hot. So hot I burned my finger when I tried to remove the bolt that holds the the sanding
paper holder. Even the holder itself was hot.
This got me upset that its boxes and sealed and ready to be sent off.

Posted by: Rick at February 15, 2010 10:44 PM

Just bought the Chicago Multifunction Tool at Harbor Freight for $40. Also bought some additional blades and sanding attachments. Worked two weekends on a stairwell demo and refinishing project, cutting through many nails, baseboard, sheetrock and wood. The blades stayed secure and sharp through days of work. I'll replace the metal cutter now, but using this tool sure beats hand-sawing nails with a hacksaw blade! Highly recommend this tool.

Posted by: C Petty at February 8, 2010 3:44 PM

I just bought the multi-speed one with the case for $47.95, its on sale for $59 (1/28/2010) and used the 20% coupon:

The $40.00 is on sale for $34.95 and is no 19k rpm's not 11k, and the new models all have the locking blades.

The checkout lady told me they are selling a ton of them and she has only seen 1 come back (I bought the $5 warranty anyway.)

They also have a lot of blades on display as well, so I picked up a few different ones. they vary from 3.99 to 14.99 for the big diamond tipped ones. I went to the store in Westminster, CO.

Posted by: Mike at January 28, 2010 2:50 PM

To make it clear, there are two HF models, one a single-speed at $39.95, red colored body; and a multi-speed one with a case at $59.95, black-colored body. They are the configurations and prices today, 1/23/10, where I bought the multi-speed one in Brick, NJ.
Opened it & cut a hole in the cardboard box to show it working, and it looks good.
I am also interested in the cross-compatability of blades to widen my choices there.

Posted by: Ed at January 23, 2010 7:24 PM


I just bought the Harden AZ318-2-250W, which I assume is the same as the Voss 911? This one has a built in dust removal system. I also picked up a basic Fein at a great price so I can compare the two.

I am curious how the Voss failed on you first time out?? Or did it just not perform well?

One thing I noticed about the Hardin/Voss is that after the tool replcement warrenty ends, there is NO way to get spare parts for the things. I amm used to tools that I can repair and use for YEARS so this throw away idea kind of bothers me, ha! I guess trying to save a couple of dollars in the short run is really not the way to go. Well, I guess I could buy another for spare parts, ha!

Posted by: Norm at January 21, 2010 8:08 PM

You will probably want to know that the problems the tool used to have with attachments slipping seems to have been resolved. The currently available tool uses slots/holes in the blades to anchor them securely.

BTW, The last review is for the new variable speed tool ($79.99):

I am going to take a chance and order the Versa-Tool bi-metal blades to see if they will work on the $39.99 tool I got for cutting metal.

Posted by: Johnnie at January 20, 2010 5:28 PM

I read all the reviews I could find before making a decision.
The HF varible speed tool is a great buy.
Contrary to some reviews, the blades did not slip, it comes with a case, the cord is long enough, it cuts fast, it cuts where you aim it, doesn't get hot and is a must have for a DIY.
Just remodeled my kitchen, w/70s style stick built cabinets. Flush cut the laminate counter tops without chipping or splintering. Cut out the center cabinets to install a free standing range and OTR microwave. Unbelievable accuracy.
I'm sure all multi function tools accomplish the same tasks, but I see no reason to pay any more than the best deal you could get at HF.

Posted by: John at January 16, 2010 3:10 PM

Well I don't want to harp on the subject, but this past weekend I had a large job and i took the voss 911 and the HF oscillating tool, the Voss crapped out on me and I thank God that I took the HF tool because it saved the day. I know they came out with a new one with variable speed but at this time I am not in the market for a 4th oscillating tool. Voss is sending me a new one so the service is good hopefully the new tool will hold up.

Posted by: larry at January 11, 2010 4:43 PM

Another small contractor here with kudos for this tool. A friend and competitor bought the Fein and was a bit defensive about the price. When we first bought the HF tool he wondered aloud if it would last the week. Three months later the tool is still going strong and my friend doesn't like talking about it.

Posted by: Stan Sanford at January 2, 2010 4:21 PM

Has anyone tried the multi-speed tool from Chicago Electric/HFT?

It varies from 10,000 to 20,000 and retails at $69.965 (from memory, looking at one in the store today) - the standard tool reviewed here is 11,000.

Posted by: neilc at December 31, 2009 4:49 PM

Got mine for Christmas, but I got to try one a while back. I love it. Great tool for the price and attachments are reasonable as well. Whoever started this post should think more before writing assumptions.

Posted by: Dave Q. at December 27, 2009 10:13 PM

Buy it and enjoy! Great inexpensive-but-rugged tool for the once-in-a-while home handyman. Be sure to buy extra blades. Recommended accessory - a small torque wrench that can accomodate a 6 mm hex wrench head and 100 in-lb. HF oscillating tool manual specifies ~ 100 in-lb. to properly tighten the allen nut holding properly seated blades (be sure they seat in properly on the 4 pin studs before hand tightening the allen nut).
Blessings on you - >

Posted by: The Frugal GearHead at December 27, 2009 12:05 PM

I am an avid do-it-yourselfer. I have the confidence and skills to take on virtually any remodel job. I have had the HF multitool for about 2 weeks now. I'm in the middle of a big remodel job and have used the HF multitool for cutting trim (when it's just a couple pieces and I don't want to get the miter saw out), scraping, and tons of sanding. In fact, I've just about worn out the velcro sanding pad, but fortunately (according to others) the Dremel pad will fit. I ordered a new pad, as well as some other parts I needed for another tool. The HF has performed admirably. The various blades I've used have not once slipped or become loose. Sure, it's a little bit more work changing the blades because there's no quick release, but frankly, I don't care. I've found the scraper blade to cut through foam sealant very well. I have recommended the HF to my friends, and would not hesitate to buy it again. By the way, I got it on coupon for $29.

I have read many reviews on-line. People who own one says it's a nice tool that's worth every penny. I've yet to read about it not being a good performer on the construction site. It's working well for me, and I figure if it works for the professional, it should continue to work for me too.

Reviewers like David and Larry above, who have used or own the Fein, have nothing negative to say about the HF multitool.

Of course, you can be a tool snob and throw your money elsewhere if you'd like.

Posted by: James at December 16, 2009 3:53 PM

I now own 3 different oscillating tools 1st I bought a harbor Frieght, then I bought the Voss 911 made by Secco a new improved 250watt tool replacing the old one and now I am a proud owner of a fein 250Q top. Specialty diamond on ebay sells blades that will work on all 3 tools for a lot less then Fein. The quality of the blades are good. The harbor frieght tool has paid for its self 100 times over it really is a great tool. If you buy the warranty you just take the tool back and they give you a brand new one no questions asked. I have not had to take it back. I just bought 2 more @ $34.99 ea. for Christmas presents. I bought the HF because I wanted to see if I really needed an oscillating tool. Now I think what in the world would I ever do with out one. I still use the harbor frieght tool alot and my employees can only use the HF. If you use better blades the HF is excellent.
I bought the fein because I have always wanted one and since I can justify its many uses I bought one, thanks to HF inexpensive tool it made me realize that I need an oscillating at every job. The hardin/ Voss has a variable speed and it too is a great tool for the money, it has a good feel too it, but I really think its louder then the HF.
I like the fact that with the Fein I dont have to waste time changing out the blades thats a big plus for me.
Harbor Frieght $34.99 to 59.99
Voss/Hardin @79.00 to $109.00 with a nice assortment of blades.
Fein the top model 250Q 327.00 to well over $400.00 of course Fein with no doubt is a superior tool with a hefty price.
You dicide how much use the tool is going to get and how much you want to spend. Hope this helps Larry LJMConstruction

Posted by: Larry Moya at December 3, 2009 11:44 PM

As a new comer to this tool I sure would like to have the information that David can supply!!

Thanks to all.

Posted by: Bob T at November 29, 2009 8:23 PM

I have both the Dremel and the HF oscillating tools. I like them both, but I use the Harbor Freight one more because I don't fear making myself poor by sawing through a nail.
Some observations:
The HF tool is bigger, chunkier and heavier than the Dremel. The blade widths are, on the average, much wider than the Dremel blades.
I have to assume that acoustical dampening adds a lot to the price of a tool because the HF version is LOUD. I wear earplugs if I'm in an enclosed area like a bathroom. The Dremel isn't quiet but your eardrums don't buzz when you turn it on.
The biggest advantage that the other multitools have over the HF model is variable speed. With the Dremel you can start at a lower speed and crank up the dial as needed. With the HF tool you point it in the right direction, turn on the switch and then hang on. This forces you to pay attention to what you're doing, but probably results in a longer life of the tool.

The regular HF HSS steel blade sets were, as of last week, on sale at stores in PA for $5.99. This includes both the saw blade and the scraper blade. This is about a third of what these blades would cost for the Dremel
I just bought the half moon diamond blade for HF tool for $14. This is, once again, less than half of the price of the Dremel.
Blades have been hard to find up until recently. I assume this is because the tool has sold well.

There's no case and only one (that I've seen)flat blade for the HF tool. You aren't going to get the huge variety of attachments that you can find for the other more expensive models.
The sanding pads for the HF tool are the same size and velcro orientation as the Ryobi and Dremel pads. This helps a lot.

I haven't used the high-end OMT's but I've found that the HF cuts quickly and evenly through anything that I've pointed it at. It's not as accurate or refined as the more expensive tools but, for the most part, does all the construction-related tasks that I've needed it to do.

I wouldn't use it for cutting dovetails or making relief cuts in a woodcarving but, for the price, it's almost a no-brainer.

TIP! - For $3 you can save $20 off of this tool at retail. Just buy an issue of Popular Mechanics and look for the ever-present Harbor Freight coupons. The latest issue had the aforementioned tool for $39.

Posted by: CB at November 20, 2009 9:36 AM

I just purchased the Chicago Multi Tool. But where are the instructions? Tools are new to me, but I recently became a homeowner and decided I needed some tools for odds and ends jobs. How are you supposed to know what each blade, etc. is for? And how is everything supposed to fit together?

Posted by: Dixie at November 19, 2009 9:53 AM

I bought the HF Multi Tool about three weeks ago while doing some renovations in the basement. The tool was absolutely invaluable to me in the speed in which I was able to complete the job. I made cuts in door casing, paneling, laminate wood flooring, and only once did the blade slip. I re-tightened the blade and finished the job. Would highly recommend this product.

Posted by: Jon at November 18, 2009 6:46 AM

Bought the HF Chicago Multifunction Tool 2 weeks ago. Fired it up today for the first time. Started cutting very nicely for about 1 minute. Cut it off for a second. Tried to turn back on and it is DEAD..... This unit has 1 minute on it and now it is going back to HF. These multifunction Tools look very useful so I'de really like one, just not sure if I should look elsewhere now.

Posted by: NC-HLZ at November 15, 2009 12:23 PM

Ha! Apparently not! And those of you upset with these guys not reviewing the Harbor Freight tool, why would they? They're Tool Snobs.

Posted by: Susan at November 13, 2009 4:26 PM

Does anybody ever answer questions posted on this site?

Posted by: jak at October 31, 2009 9:32 PM

Bought mine over a month ago, at the HF on Cicero Avenue in south Chicago, while visiting the US.

I live in Quezon City, the Philippines.
After our ground floor was recently ruined, by horrific flooding, (and after power was restored,) this tool was incredibly crucial in getting bad wiring and rotted wood out, as well as precision cutting new bits of panel and hardwood to put in.

Different voltage here (220v) so I needed a small step-down. If you don't force the tool, and tighten appropriately, the blades won't come off. I doubt it can cut metal, and as someone has mentioned, the forward end gets hot; but for the price, it has been great over the past 4-odd weeks of sometimes-heavy use. Glad I bought it.

Posted by: Horge Cortes Jorge at October 27, 2009 3:39 AM

I recently purchased the HF multifunction tool and soon wore out the half moon saw blade cutting backerboard for a tile job and the angle blade plunge cutting door jambs. The HF blades are rather a poor quality. Do other brands (Dremel,Bosch, Fein) accesories fit the HF tool?

Posted by: jak at October 24, 2009 7:34 PM

I looked at the fein infomercials and just wished alot. Then I got a HF tool magazine and saw Chicago Tool had one for 1/10th the price! I had to get it! My wife thought another tool he'll never use or really need sitting around. Boy was she wrong! I've had occasion to use it in several different applications from cutting out wood for hinges to cutting out rotted wood in a door archway to actually making a screen door fit the door frame. I've also used it for sanding. It even came with an extra set of brushes! I just wish they had a carrying case for it and the attachments. Perhaps that will be next? Also, you so called testers need to do your homework and not make unwaranted negative comments about a tool you knew hardly nothing about. Be fair and do the research before making assumptions. For the price, you could have bought one and tested it yourself so you'd know first hand! I too wish there were more attachments and better ones. I'd like to know more about making your own and perhaps you could get one and try competitor's attachments to tell us which ones are interchangeable? That would go a long way in redeeming yourselves in my book on this tool review.

Posted by: Frankie Perdue at October 15, 2009 2:36 AM

I own a small kitchen remodeling business. Our employees provide their own hand tools and we provide the power tools. When we first started purchasing tools from Harbor Freight I had the impression that since they were cheap they would not last very long. There has been some truth to that assumption, but I've been surprised at how rugged most of the tools have been, such as the $30 reciprocating saws. So far, the multi function tools we've purchased have been great.

Posted by: Sarah Smith at October 9, 2009 1:58 PM

I am so glad I found this site, because I was looking into buying the tool but didn't know which brand to get and need to stay on the inexpensive side. I am going out this week to get the HF Chicago one. It has helped greatly to read all these reviews.
thank you

Posted by: donna at September 28, 2009 7:28 PM

I purchased two Chicago Multi Tools last week and cut out all of the 3/4 inch pressboard subfloor right up two the walls of a 60 square ft bathroom. The tool worked extremelywell. I bought two just in case one broke before the job was finished.

Both tools worked flawlessly. Having two proved benificial because we did not need to flip the blades over to get up to the corner of the walls.

This tool saved alot of time and is so easy to control you can make very exact cuts. We normally use a saws all but have had to do a lot of extra work and run the risk of hitting unknown plumbing or ducting.Be sure to replace the flat washer with a split washer and the blades will stay secure.

Posted by: Robert at September 9, 2009 11:18 PM

I've used the Chicago Multifunction tool for
1: sanding (good over a small area),
2: sawing (very controlled cuts, will cut a 2x4 if you cut from both sides but stay away from nails, cuts luaun, masonite, wall board, thin plywood very well),
3: cutting with the straight saw (good)
4: cutting with the knife edge (very handy)
It's a very handy tool, but put ear plugs if you have to use it in tight places.

Posted by: Luis M. at September 2, 2009 10:19 PM

Does anyone know if the HF Multifuntion Tool has the triangle blade for thinset? I already purchased this tool and awaiting it's arrival. Spoke with their Tech support, they have the grout removal tool, however she could not tell me if they have the thin set carbide blade.

Posted by: Ray W. at September 1, 2009 9:16 AM

Does anyone know if the HF Oscillating tool can be used to cut through sheet vinyl and particle board underlayment in a toe-kick, or do I have to use a toe-kick saw?

Bob D.

Posted by: Bob Dickey at July 25, 2009 8:46 PM

Can someone tell me if the HF oscillating tool will work as a toe-kick saw?

Bob D.

Posted by: robert at July 25, 2009 8:24 PM

So far the tool is working, but the sandpaper HF sells for it has gotta be the worst I have ever used. The grit comes right off the paper with a little use.

Posted by: bill at July 25, 2009 6:57 PM

I just got a fantastic deal on this tool! Harbor Freight has an ad in the August issue of Popular Science that includes a coupon to buy this tool for $29.95! At that price I just couldn't pass it up, especially since most of the reviews I've read indicate that its a fine tool.

Posted by: Peter B. at July 21, 2009 7:02 PM

I have used this tool on 4 different construction jobs with many hours of use. My Fein dropped 3 floors and the housing broke, so I bought a Harbor Freight unit to finish my job. I probably won't buy another Fein because this tool works just fine. I bought extra assy's on line at the HF website and if you need a special blade the Fein old style blades work just fine on the HF. Here are the Sku's for the HF:

65979-3 blade set.........$5.99 ea set
65981-Halfmoon cut blade..$5.99 ea
65983-Diamond blade.......$5.99 ea

BTW, I also use a rubber backed washer and the blades stay put if you cinch the hex nut down tight.

Posted by: AL WILLIAMS at July 1, 2009 11:12 PM

Got one last week but the saw blade is dull already. I like to know where I can get a bunch of saw blades. David said he makes them from miter saw blades. I'd like to know more. What make? How does he bend them?

(sorry if this is a repeat)

Posted by: John at June 17, 2009 3:48 PM

Would like to know where I can get a bunch of the saw blades. David said he makes his own. I'd love to know more: what make, how does he bend them?

Posted by: John at June 17, 2009 3:46 PM

This question is directed to Jeff (see review dated 12/10/2008); Is the $6 diamond cutting disk the one you need to remove old grout with (using the multi-max tool)?

Posted by: Ray at June 16, 2009 11:19 PM

My sincere thanks, as well to the reviews offered. They were pinpoint, non-biased and extremely helpful (not to mention spell-checked; unlike some other review sites). Kudos and many thanks Gentlemen. -- RL (DIYer)

Posted by: Ruel at June 9, 2009 7:34 AM

Thanks to all who posted their opinions of this inexpensive tool....It is at a price where it allows me to relax when it is in the home shop not being used.....I do own a number of HF tools so my comment is accurate.....they are typically not pretty, but all have performed well enough to justify their purchase. The much lower speed and price of this tool had me concerned, but neither the quality or the cutting ability seems to suffer according to the posts.....This means a trip to the HF store today to purchase one...Thanks again folks.......

Posted by: R Wincz at May 19, 2009 10:00 AM

I picked up one of these today - This is a great tool. In the 9 hours that I've owned it, I've already flush-cut moulding, scraped up old tile, and cut out a 3'x3' section of laminate flooring for repair. It performed flawlessly at all of those tasks. My only con is that the head runs hot, but since you don't touch that part, I don't find it to be an issue. The key to using this tool successfully is to not apply much pressure while cutting. Let it do the work and it'll cut/scrape through things like a hot knife through butter. Not to mention at $39.99, it's less than half the price of the Dremel model!

Posted by: Eric at May 17, 2009 12:32 AM

Having first learned of this type of tool via the FEIN Multi-Function Tool TV Commericals, I had wanted something like this for some time. I then read about Dremel coming out with a similar tool and added that to my tool wish list. Being a frequent Harbor Freight customer, I was quite thrilled when they came out with the Chicago Electric version and decided the price was right to give this tool a try.

All I can say is that the Harbor Freight version made by Chicago Electric was well worth the money. Yes, blade slippage can sometimes be an issue if not locked down tight. But my wife and I are remodeling our kitchen and this tool has been a God send in taking up old floor tiling, cutting plaster board as well as concrete board. It also does a great job with getting into tight spaces like cutting trim and door jambs. My only minor issue has been I wore out one cutting blade, but considering I was cutting concrete board, this was not at all unexpected. All told, this tool has quickly become a favorite in my extensive tool collection and I would gladly recomment the Harbor Freight version to anyone who is looking for a great tool at a value price.

Posted by: Bruce at May 10, 2009 12:08 PM

I compared the Chicago tool with the Dremel. The Chicago tool motor does not buzz as much as the Dremel, which is almost piercing to the ears. The drawback of the Chicago tool is that it lacks power needed to cut into harder material. Ergonomically, the Chicago tool is clunky in one's hand, while the Dremel feels nice. The blades do come loose if you don't tighten the nut well enough, but I didn't seem to run into the problem too many times. For $30-$40, the Chicago tool would probably satisfy the DIY who does projects once in a blue moon. I think I might just opt for the Rockwell IMO.

Posted by: JT at May 8, 2009 1:28 PM

David...Can you post which miter saw blade you use and how you get the blade? Thanks.

Posted by: John at May 1, 2009 1:30 PM

After using the tool for 7 months I have found many valuable uses for it and it has saved me alot of time as well as put out a nice cut in places nothing else except a like tool could do. Many people have witnessed me using it and have gone out and bought one. I make my own blades from miter saw blades, cutting them to length and drilling a 25/64 inch or 10 mm hole in them. I can make them for about $ .80 a blade and they last. Found a foreign made miter saw that has teeth that cut in both directions and have found it to make the best blades. Most miter saws blades are designed to cut in one direction. I solved the blade slipping problem by putting a rubber backed metal washer under the allen head screw and it prevents blade slippage. The earlier Feins also had this problem and they solved it with the new blade configuration. I just wish I had this tool 30 yrs ago and could have solved alot of my difficult cutting problems.


Posted by: David at May 1, 2009 12:57 AM

I bought the Chicago multifunction tool and quickly returned it. I tried to make an eight foot cut in sheetrock. I had to stop to tighten the blade three times as the vibration kept loosening the blade. If you compare the poor design of the Chicago blade attachment to the other three manufacturers (Fein, Rockwell, Bosch) you clearly understand why the blades become loose continuously. They definitely need to re- engineer this achilles heel. If they do, this could result in an extremely good value.

Posted by: jhandy at March 23, 2009 1:47 AM

I just bought the Multifunction tool at Harbor Frieght and i have to say that it is not bad for 40 bucks. The only thing that i was skeptical was of it cutting metal. So i tried it on a screw that was sticking out of a 2x4 and it immediatly broke some of the teeth off. So i went to Home depot and i bought a Dremel Metal/wood blade and tried it out but nothing happened. i bet if i would have worked at it some more i would have eventually cut through but i did not want to ruin the $10 dollar Dremel blabe i had just bought. I guess it does not have enought power or something. But for $40 bucks you cant beat it. I also bought the 1 year warranty for $5 dollars.

If you sign up for the weekly e-mails you get a 20% off coupon.

Posted by: Juan at March 22, 2009 10:18 PM

I bought the Chicago Multifunction tool and have used it for cutting ( very clean cuts), sanding and scraping with no problems. The only con I can think of is the lack of accessories for the machine never the less I recommend it for the home user.

Posted by: Vito Segura at March 5, 2009 2:56 AM

I bought the Chicago Multifunction because I couldn't think of another tool that could do the cut I needed, and I was 6 blocks away from Harbor Freight with a black Friday raincheck in my pocket. I thought it paid for itself on that job, but it did the same thing again next time I used it... Pros: Power, cheap blades, seems well built. Cons: Allen screw and washer holds blades. It must be very tight or it vibrates loose. Blades wear out quickly. I don't know what brands interchange.
I see an oscillating tool in every tradesman's toolbox! Now if we could see some competition in the blade market...

Posted by: Dan at January 31, 2009 9:00 PM

Yet another oscillating tool manufacturer has shown up on eBay. Type in "SECCO 916 Oscillating Tool" and you can get a look at it. I was going to order the Chicago Electric but I saw the SECCO which has a higher oscillating speed and variable speed. I won the bid on it for $150 including shipping!

Posted by: Andrew H. Bittinger at January 12, 2009 9:03 AM

Ibought the Fein style knife W/4attchments for $39.oo in aheartbeat W/a spare set of brushes,HA!back in the dayit was usedto cut heavy glue from the perimator of car windsheilds the cost about $300.00.the blades arejunk/needa little modifying,since I'm not using it to make my living &it's fun,easy to use & i could own one for everyday of the week @$39.00 what the hay! PS.I agree W/Jeff concearning your jump the gun assumptions.

Posted by: Bill at December 20, 2008 11:04 AM

I can't believe what a useless "review" and inclusion of these comments in your "roundup" about unfair. How 'bout bothering to do just the slightest on-line research on the Harbor Freight tool before saying such biased comments?! "Sealed," long-life bearings, and a 2.1 amp motor on the Harbor Freight tool, compared to the Dremel 1.5 amp motor you're a "big fan" of...this is pretty basic research available on the web, you could have done, instead of including a comment like "we've never seen this, but...." in a "RoundUp." I'm a big fan of Dremel too, but thanks to your review of the Rockwell, and mention of the Harbor Freight too, it's nice to know we have some significant options. One really nice feature of the Harbor Freight tool is that they have a diamond cutting disk for $6. If you're going to do this site, take it seriously.

Posted by: jeff at December 10, 2008 6:26 PM


I purchased one at the Black Friday sale at Harbor Freight and got home to discover the one I ordered a month earlier also had arrived of which I thought they had cancelled my order.

I am in the home improvement business and have used it this past week on many projects never to be let down. Even though it is single speed I did not find this to be a problem. I have used Fein Multimaster's and find them comparible, just not in price. The blades for the Multifunction tool are also very cheap in comparison to the Fein's. If you are thinking of getting one I would recommend it to anyone.

Merry Christmas,


Posted by: David at December 6, 2008 10:39 PM
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