Fein 250Q START MultiMaster Kit - Review
The whole "Fein owned the patent to the oscillating tool" thing has been well documented. The eventual fall out is that now that the patent has expired, there are all kinds of oscillating tools on the market; some for $40 and some for $400. We've always admired Fein for sticking to their guns with their own product during this onslaught of competitors. Seeing company after company undercut them on price (and quality), they never blinked. Their tool remains what it always was: a hand-held piece of finely engineered cutting, sanding, and grinding goodness. They didn't release a DIY version made from cheaper materials and they didn't make a less functional one for short money.
But economics are economics (and the economics ain't so good these days), so Fein is faced with a reality of dealing with a consumer who thinks, "why should I pay $400 for a tool when I can get something similar for half that price?" They now have an answer for those discerning buyers and it's their FMM START kit. The concept is painfully simple: just sell the tool, no case and a bare minimum of accessories.
So the FMM START Kit has no pops, buzzes, or bling (other than the grand inner workings of the MultiMaster itself). The tool is the exact same as the one sold with other kits; it has the same quick change chuck, the same rubberized body, and the same motor. It's just that now the tool is all you're getting. Instead of the giant case and the overload of accessories, this one comes with a medium sized duffel bag and very limited accessory set (one blade, a scraper, and a handful of sanding sheets).
We give Fein the thumbs up for this maneuver. It's the accessories where you really get dinged on cost and there's no sense getting the full kit which includes things like the carbide rasp, if you're not going to use them (and if you do need something, just go to the store and buy it). Our Fein usage is about 95% cutting, so we're all about the blades. There are accessories in our full Fein kit that we've never even used.
Like we said, along with the accessories, the hard case is missing. It's a fine case, but if you've never had it, you won't miss it. The START duffel is pretty nice and even has a small zippered pouch on the outside (but it also has a bizarre and useless divider inside...huh?). If you go with the START, we suggest investing a couple bucks in a few blade containers because fishing around the bottom of the duffel is no fun at all.
And there you have it. A Fein for about $200. When compared to the rest, the price makes sense, but it's still on the expensive end of the spectrum, but that's to be expected for such a fantastic tool.
We just realized that we didn't mention the functionality of the tool at all in this review. We sort of assume that if you're reading this, you already know a little about the tool, but if you need a refresher, here's our original review of the MultiMaster.
The bottom line here is that $200 for a Fein is a pretty sweet deal.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at August 6, 2012 6:20 PM