Last Updated on August 23, 2020
Choosing an oscillating tool presents a formidable challenge. With so many products on the market, how does one decide which is the best oscillating tool?
In the first part of the guide, you’ll find a list of oscillating tools that represent the best options available on the market. After reading these oscillating tool reviews, you can pick a product confidently. But, if you want to know the basics of picking out an oscillating multi-tool, you can learn more by reading the buying guide.
|Best Overall||Dremel MM40-05||
|Best Value||Rockwell RK5141K||
|Best Cordless Pick||DEWALT DCS355D1||
|PORTER CABLE PCC710B||
Compared to other products on our list, the MM40-05 is moderately priced. At the same time, thanks to a 3.8 A motor and 3.2-degree oscillation, it’s quite powerful. With 36 accessories, you can use this model to cut, scrape, sand, and remove grout out of the box. However, we did not find any adapters that let you use accessories from other models with the MM40-05.
Additionally, this multi-tool’s Quick-Lock and Quick-Hold system lets you change accessories quickly and without any tools. It also has the Quick-Boost technology that maintains constant speed while the machine is in use. One other thing, at 4.5 lbs, this machine is moderately heavy.
This multi-tool comes with a 2-year limited warranty against material and manufacturing defects. This is not great, but it’s also not bad. Overall, the MM40-05 balances price and performance perfectly. That’s why, in our opinion, it is the best oscillating multi-tool on the market.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Sonicrafter F50 is how compact it is. And, this model is as light as it is compact. But, don’t let its size fool you! This machine boasts the most powerful motor among the products on this list.
With a 4 A motor powering the multi-tool and 5 degrees angle of oscillation, this model is one of the most powerful oscillating tools on the market. The machine also has systems that reduce vibration and maintain speed during operation. However, unlike the Dremel machine, these systems are not trademark features, if that means anything to you.
Another great thing about this product is its Universal Fit system. Using this system, you can use accessories from other manufacturers with this machine. It also has the Hyperlock system that allows for tool-less accessory change. And all this comes with a 3-year limited warranty.
Perhaps the best thing about the Sonicrafter F50 is its price, as compared to other products on this list, the F50 is inexpensive. For this reason, the Sonicrafter F50 is the best oscillating multi-tool for the money.
If you’re looking for a cordless oscillating multi-tool, the DCS355D1 is the one you want to get. With a 20 V and 2 Ah battery, this multi-tool is powerful for a battery-powered unit. However, the battery adds extra weight and volume to the unit, making this the heaviest and the largest machine on our list. The DCS355D1 comes with a set of 28 accessories that let you cut, sand, and scrape.
The model also has a universal accessory adapter that helps you use accessories from other manufacturers. Courtesy the Quick-Change system, you can switch accessories on the DCS355D1 without any additional tools. Oh, and DEWALT’s Fast Charger technology gets the battery up and ready in 20 minutes. That’s a truly huge plus point when it comes to cordless machines.
The DCS355D1 also comes with a 3-year warranty, 1-year free service, and a 90-day money-back guarantee. If it weren’t for the weight problem, this product would have been the ideal cordless multi-tool. But, this machine comes pretty damn close to ideal. That’s why it’s our top pick as the best cordless oscillating multi-tool.
PORTER CABLE PCC710B is another great cordless oscillating multi-tool that merits your attention. It’s nearly as powerful as our top pick for cordless oscillating tools, but it’s a little cheaper than the DCS355D1. Although the website prices this product very cheaply, there’s a critical factor that they fail to include in the price – the battery. More on this later.
The accessories that come with the PCC710B allow you to cut, scrape, grout, and sand. But, the accessories don’t include any adapters. As is the case with top multi-tools, the accessory change mechanism in this oscillating tool is also tool-less. The machine is about 33 percent lighter than our top pick for cordless multi-tool. So, if the DEWALT machine’s weight is a problem, you can go for the PCC680L. The warranty on the machine is for 3 years.
Now, let’s talk about one of PCC710B’s main issues. This model does not come with a battery. Instead, you must buy a PCC685L or a PCC680L battery. The former is a 4 Ah battery and the latter is a 1.5 Ah battery. It goes without saying, you must buy the charger too. So, although the unit itself is cheap. The total cost works out to be nearly the same for the two cordless machines in our list.
This machine compares favorably with our top pick among cordless multi-tools when it comes to performance. But, because of the battery and charger issue, we’ve decided to give the PCC680L an honorable mention.
The Makita TM3010CX1 comes close to matching our top pick in terms of performance. But, it suffers from a few issues that caused us to put this product as an honorable mention. It has a 3 A motor that provide 6000 to 20,000 oscillation per minute with an angle of oscillation is 3.2 degrees.
Like the MM40-05, this machine also has systems that dampen vibration and maintain steady speed. The accessory change mechanism on the Makita is tool-less too. If you consider the multi-tool alone, the Makita and Dremel machines are close.
However, the difference comes in the accessories. The Makita multi-tool comes with a limited selection of accessories. You’ll have to buy additional accessories to expand the machine’s capabilities. And there’s the problem with the pricing. Not only is the base unit of the Makita more expensive than the Dremel’s but also, you’ll have to spend extra money on accessories.
Another downside is that Makita offers only a 1-year warranty for this product. For these reasons, the Makita TM3010CX1 deserves an honorable mention, but not the top spot.
The oscillating tool is such a versatile piece of equipment that there isn’t a limit to what you can accomplish with it. The reason it’s so multifaceted is that you can use a wide array of accessories with the tool to produce different results. From cutting to sanding or grouting to scraping, the multi-tool provides a single platform that gets the job done.
When choosing a product as versatile as the oscillating multi-tool, you must account for a wide number of variables and balance them perfectly. This is a tricky endeavor. But, if you work things out systematically, you can make all the right decisions while avoiding potential pitfalls. The first step in your search begins with a simple question – what do you want to do. So, let’s look at the possibilities that the multi-tool offers.
As I said before, the oscillating tool performs many functions. The most common function that people use it for is cutting. But, unlike traditional cutting tools, the multi-tool allows you to cut things that are hard to reach and cut at angles that are hard to work with. For instance, imagine that you want to trim the extra bit of carpeting sticking out at the edge. With an oscillating tool and the right attachment, you can use the tool like a blade to trim the excess portion.
Next, you can use the tool as a sander. Most oscillating tools come with multiple sanding pads that allow you to select the degree of smoothness required. The pads are shaped in a triangular shape with curved sides. This lets you sand across corners and curves without any problems.
You can also use the tool as a grouting tool. This is useful when you want to remove the grouting around tiles to install new tiles. Lastly, the multi-tool acts as a scraper. If you want to remove putty, rust, or mortar, the scraper provides the perfect alternative to manually scraping the unwanted portions.
These are the basic functions you can perform with a multi-tool. In a way, you can think of this tool as a pre-work tool that helps you prepare the workpiece or a post-work tool that helps you add finishing touches to the workpiece. Of course, depending on your skills and accessories, you can do a lot more with an oscillating tool. These are just the basic functions.
Once you’ve decided to buy an oscillating tool, you must make some critical decisions regarding power, performance, versatility, control, durability, and cost. These factors are common to cordless and corded oscillating tools. Later, I’ll explain factors specific to cordless tools. But, let’s look at the common factors first.
The most important factor when choosing a cordless oscillating tool is the battery. But, battery ratings are hard to understand. So, let me take a moment to explain how batteries are rated. The two most common battery ratings that manufacturers advertise are Ampere-hour (Ah) and voltage (V). Let’s get to the bottom of these ratings with the help of an example.
That’s all there is to it. Voltage determines power and Ampere-hour determines battery life. Now that you know how to interpret a battery’s ratings, you can choose one without difficulty. Also, watch out for the battery’s weight, charging time, and compatibility.
We’ve tried our best to make things as easy as we can for you. If you want to use the information in the buying guide to do your own research, you can pick a product from our review section. If you’re doing your own research, make sure you check out the range of products from, Bosch, Milwaukee, and Craftsmen. And don’t forget to check other products from DEWALT, Porter-Cable, and Makita.
You could also read this article where we show you our favorite cordless models. (the winner, the bargain, etc.):
Here’s a quick summary of things. Firstly, the Dremel MM40-05 is our top pick because it perfectly balances price and performance. Now, although the Rockwell RK5141K 4.0A Sonicrafter has a slight edge over the Dremel in terms performance, the Dremel deserves the top spot because of the company’s reputation, Dremel has been making tools since 1932. Also, the MM40-05 is made in the USA and the RK5141K is made in China.
If you’re looking for a cordless unit, buying the DEWALT DCS355D1 is the best option. This multi-tool also offers an incredible purchase protection scheme. But, if you find that it’s too heavy for you, you can go for the Porter-Cable PCC710B. Remember, the PCC710B does not come with a battery and charger. So, you must buy them separately.
Oscillating tools have developed a lot since they first came out in the late 1980s. Today, the product has matured as a safe, versatile, and powerful tool. Due to advancements, there are many products at different price ranges. Choosing one can be difficult. But, with the right information, you can accomplish the task with less effort and within less time. We hope that we have made it easier for you to choose the right oscillating tool for you!
More buying guides:
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!