November 30, 2008

Oscillating Tool Roundup

oscillating_tools.jpg2008 has been the Year of the Oscillating Tool. Fein's patent wore out and a bunch of other companies got their tools to the marketplace. We've done the best we can to keep you up to date with all of these events, including reviews of all of the new tools (including the latest Fein). Because our information is scattered over a number of articles and reviews, we thought it would be a good idea to summarize our findings and give you links to all that we've written.

If you have no idea what an oscillating tool is, Dremel has recently posted up a good selection of videos so you can see their Multi-Max in action. It's a pretty thorough set of projects, so you should be able to get a handle on what these amazing tools are capable of. Dremel's Multi-Max video page is here.

If you're reading this, it's likely that you're thinking about buying an oscillating tool. So as for the question, "which one should you get?" we can offer the following advice.

The Dremel Multi-Max is a nice tool, perfect for around the house tasks. It's the most inexpensive of the new oscillating tools, and from what we can tell, the least durable. But if you're going to keep it in your shop and use it from time to time, we think it would be a good match.
Our review is here.

The Bosch PS50 is a cordless version so it is very portable. It has a great feel to it and, like other Bosch tools, looks like it can take some job site abuse. Unfortunately, it has a very short battery run time, so we don't think it would be a good choice as your only oscillating tool, unless you've bought into the Bosch 12-volt system (which really isn't a bad idea) and can access the batteries from the other tools.
Our review is here.

The Rockwell SoniCrafter really impressed us. It's powerful and durable and has a solid feel in the hands. The price puts it between the Dremel and the Fein and that's exactly where the quality is as well. This tool can take the havoc of a construction site with no problem. If you're a serious DIYer or a tradesman looking to check out an oscillating tool, we think the Rockwell is a good choice.
Our review is here.

The Proxxon Delta Sander is the mini-me of oscillating tools. It's about half the size of the others, making it ideal for model makers and woodworkers who use magnifying glasses to see what they're working on. It's a very nice tool, but not meant for larger tasks.
Our review is here.

The Fein MultiMaster 250Q is the best of the bunch. We can't say enough about how great this tool is. Using it is like driving a really nice sports car; it's just feels good. The high level of quality doesn't come for free and the Fein is the most expensive of the tools. The price will likely scare away any part-time DIYers, and even a lot of carpenters, but if you're a fan of fine craftsmanship and you're willing to invest a little up front for a tool that you're going to have for a long time, we think you should opt for the Fein.
Our review is here.

Full listing of our oscillating tool coverage:
Fein MultiMaster
Bosch PMF 180 E Multi
Proxxon Oscillating Detail Sander
Proxxon Oscillating Detail Sander - Review
Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool System
Bosch PS50 Multi-X Oscillating Tool
Bosch PS50 Multi-X Oscillating Tool Arrives for Review
Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool, Bosch PS50 Oscillating Tool - Review
Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating Tool
Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating Tool - Review
Chicago Electric 120-Volt Multi-Function Power Tool (Oscillating Tool)
Fein MultiMaster - Review
Secco 916 Oscillating Tool, part two

We've also included links for purchase. For details on what accessories come with what kits, see either our reviews or the appropriate Amazon page. The Fein pages at Amazon, particularly, have good information concerning the contents of each kit.

Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool at
Bosch PS50 Cutting Kit at
Bosch PS50 Carpenter Kit at
Fein MultiMaster at
Rockwell SoniCrafter 20-Piece Kit at and Rockwell
Rockwell SoniCrafter 37-Piece Kit at and Rockwell
Rockwell SoniCrafter 72-Piece Kit at and Rockwell
Fein MultiMaster 250Q Top at
Fein MultiMaster FMM 250Q Select at
Fein MultiMaster FMM 250Q Basic at
Proxxon Detail Sander at Garrett Wade, Minicraft, and
Chicago Electric Oscillating Tool at Harbor Freight

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 30, 2008 11:00 AM
Recent Comments

The battery powered Bosche is not a good choice for the home user. Once you discover you need the tool, the battery is not charged. In a couple of years the battery will be useless, and if you can still find a battery for the Bosche, the cost will make you want to retire the tool. A tool that only gets used occasionaly should be corded. That way it is always ready, always powerfull, and never goes obsolete because of a discontinued battery supply.

Posted by: T Borba at April 23, 2010 4:19 PM

Does anyone make a sharpener for the saw blades to get a little more life out of them?

Posted by: bmack500 at December 30, 2009 9:19 AM

I just bought a similar oscillating tool for less than 40 from Harbor Freight. Does anyone have experience with compatibility with other tools and suitability of this tool?

Posted by: John Brunson at August 15, 2009 5:08 PM

Is there any reference material regarding what blades will interchange with what tools [and quality of fit]. I am leaning to the handy battery Bosch unit for minor DIY work, I sure would like a larger selection of blades than bosch seems to offer

Posted by: D. Fox at May 14, 2009 8:34 AM

Selecting the tool that suits your needs and budget are important, but this is only the beginning when it comes to the total cost of operation.

Saw blades become dull very quickly. Blades for the Fein cost as much as $24.95 each and for the Dremel, as much as $8.95. So when selecting an oscillating tool, keep the cost of accessories and blades in mind.

Posted by: T.Lee at January 8, 2009 11:50 PM

Good Question. The Rockwell has a 2.3 amp motor, while the Dremel has a 1.5 amp motor. Also during our use and testing of the tools, we found that the Rockwell worked faster with a wider range of materials than the Dremel. BUT, this isn't to say that the Dremel is weak, it really isn't, But the Rockwell is powered by a stronger motor and is intended for more heavy-duty work.

Posted by: Tool Snob at December 8, 2008 5:56 PM

How can you say the Rockwell is more powerful than the Dremel ? On what objective evidence?

Posted by: Robb at December 8, 2008 8:31 AM

Does anyone know if the Rockwell SoniCrafter and Fein attachments are interchangeable? The anti-rotation fittings look identical, as if manufactured by the same supplier sold to both Rockwell & Fein.

Posted by: Jon at December 6, 2008 7:46 AM

I'm excited to see the future of this type of tool. I have never been one to buy from infomercials but I have wanted the Fein tool ever since I saw it, but could never justify the price. I can, however, justify the 100 or so to buy the Dremel. I think we will see more manufacturers getting into the O-Tool business in the future.

Posted by: Adam at December 4, 2008 12:43 PM

Sounds like a corded Bosch might be the real deal. Don't they have one in Europe. Maybe stateside next year?

Posted by: DP at December 4, 2008 12:11 PM
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