10 Best Oscillating Tools | December 2016

10 Best Oscillating Tools
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you are looking for high quality oscillating tools for use on professional job sites or at home in your garage, then look no further. These handy and versatile items can perform a wide variety of tasks, from cutting drywall to removing tile and linoleum flooring to paint removal and cabinet trimming. Skip to the best oscillating tool on Amazon.
10
The Porter Cable PCC710B has a powerful LED work light that helps illuminate dark spaces behind walls or under flooring. That, combined with its small size, make it ideal for those who often work in tight areas. It also comes with a storage box for safekeeping.
  • handles tight cuts effortlessly
  • build doesn't feel very durable
  • doesn't come with a battery
Brand PORTER-CABLE
Model PCC710B
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
9
The Black & Decker BD200MTB is a low cost option that may not be suitable for contractors, but is perfect for the home DIYer who just plans on using it periodically. It comes with 13 useful accessories and has a 2.5 amp motor.
  • six speed settings
  • cuts wood without chipping it
  • extra blades can be hard to find
Brand BLACK+DECKER
Model BD200MTB
Weight 4.3 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
8
The cordless Rockwell RK2863K boasts a one-ton clamping force on the blade change, so there's less risk of blade slippage, plus an easy release lever that spins to loosen the accessory flange for effortless accessory changes.
  • universal accessory fit system
  • integrated front-facing led
  • head of the tool can overheat
Brand Rockwell
Model RK2863K
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
7
The Fein FMM350QSL is quieter and has less vibrations that most multi-tools, which makes it the ideal choice if you will be using it for a long time every day. It features a tool-free accessory change system that lets users swap out heads in just three seconds.
  • soft start function
  • feels well-balanced in the hand
  • includes a large capacity tool bag
Brand Fein
Model 72295264090
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
6
The PORTER-CABLE PCE605K52 is corded, so you'll never run out of juice when you need it, making it a great job site tool. It also includes depth and cutting guides, which are helpful for sensitive jobs, like cutting over power lines.
  • can cut perfectly straight lines
  • allows for multiple grip positions
  • comes with a sturdy case
Brand PORTER-CABLE
Model PCE605K52
Weight 7.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
5
Coming from one of the most definitive names in power tools, the Makita TM3010CX1 stands up to anything you throw at it. It's under 4 pounds and has a small diameter power grip, so it won't exhaust your arm, and it offers a precise 3.2 degree oscillation angle.
  • adjustable speed control dial
  • can be locked in the on position
  • large on-off slide switch
Brand Makita
Model TM3010CX1
Weight 8.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
4
The DEWALT DCS355D1 features a brushless motor that has less friction and runs 57% longer than brushed ones. It also has a universal accessory adapter that works with most oscillating tool accessory brands, so you can borrow heads from a friend when you need to.
  • uses lithium ion batteries
  • does clean drywall cutouts
  • user-friendly and good for beginners
Brand DEWALT
Model DEWDCS355D1
Weight 7.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
3
Running on a 4 amp motor with constant response, the Bosch GOP40-30B StarlockPlus is ideal for heavy applications. It offers a simple snap-in, snap-out accessory change to jump between tasks quickly, and has a sturdy metal gear housing that ensures it will last for years.
  • doesn't create a lot of vibrations
  • soft and comfortable slimline grip
  • weighs just 3 pounds
Brand Bosch
Model GOP40-30B
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
2
Crafted for precision performance, the Dremel MM20-05 is capable of removing 400 square feet of old vinyl floor tile and linoleum in just six hours. Plus, it has a large fan that keeps the tool cool during prolonged use, and it comes with 20 accessories.
  • dedicated on-off switch
  • adjustable oscillation settings
  • compact housing for tight spaces
Brand Dremel
Model MM2005
Weight 4.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
1
With quality German engineering, the Festool OS 400 is the BMW of multi-tools. It features a 400W motor producing up to 18,500 oscillations per minute, and 4-degree oscillation amplitude that cuts quicker than nearly any other competing brand.
  • optional plunge base
  • depth stop for precision cuts
  • cuts just about any material
Brand Festool
Model OS 400
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

All About Oscillating Tools

Oscillating tools are one of the most versatile power tools one can add to their toolbox. If fact, they are more commonly referred to as multi-tools because of their ability to handle such a wide range of jobs. An oscillating tool can remove grout, sand, cut, grind, flush-cut, plunge-cut, polish and more. As an added benefit, they can do all of these things in extremely tight spaces because of their compact body and minimal range of motion.

The first oscillating tool was patented by Fein in 1967. Its main use was in orthopedics for cutting through plaster casts. It was found that the oscillating rotation was less damaging to a patient's skin. In the early 1980s, Fein developed the Multimaster, which was designed for construction use. Until 2008, when their patent finally expired, Fien completely controlled the oscillating tool market. At this time a number of other well-known tool companies, such as Bosche, Dremel, and DeWALT entered the market with their own versions.

Oscillating tools work via thousands of minute side-to-side movements in fast repetition, somewhere in the range of 20,000 strokes per minute. These side-to-side movements are only about 3 degrees, which makes them very easy to control. In the hand it feels as if it has a vibrating motion and has almost no potential for kickback.

Any number of attachments can be affixed to an oscillating tool, including saw blades, sanding pads, and grinding discs. Unfortunately there is no standard interface for oscillating tool attachments, which means you can rarely use the sanding pad of one manufacturer with the tool of another. Most attachments are secured by loosening or tightening a bolt with an Allen wrench, but some manufacturers such as Festool and Rockwell have devised tool free attachment systems.

Features To Consider When Looking For The Best Oscillating Tool

When comparing any kind of power tool, one of the first specifications to look at is the amperes and volts. These numbers tell you how powerful the tool is. The higher the measurements, the more powerful the tool. The more powerful a tool is, the tougher the jobs it can handle without bogging down. If performance is your top priority, a corded model will often be the best choice, but if you don't mind having a slightly less powerful tool, the convenience of a cordless model is unmatched.

Another thing to look at is the oscillations per minute, or OPM. The OPM refers to the speed at which an oscillating tool operates. This number is important because some attachments require oscillations of a certain speed to be effective. Other attachments may not be safe to operate over certain speeds. To combat this issue, some models offer a speed adjustment dial. This can also be especially useful when performing fine detail work.

One should heavily weigh the size and weight of an oscillating tool when making their purchase decision. Oscillating tools are often used in tight corners or unusual positions where traditional tools cannot operate. Buying a lightweight and compact model makes it easier to perform these types of jobs. Some models feature a headlight which shines down onto the work surface, which can also be beneficial when trying to reach under cabinets or work in other areas where light is limited.

Many models allow for tool-free accessory changes, which can be especially handy as one does not have to worry about having an Allen wrench on hand at all times. As mentioned previously, the majority of oscillating tools do not work with attachments from other brands, but some models do come with a universal adapter. This will allow one to use accessories from nearly any other brand with their tool.

Tips For Using An Oscillating Tool

Unlike power saws, oscillating tools should not be used by just applying steady pressure to a specific area. The best way to use an oscillating tool is to gently move the tool from side to side with uniform pressure. Not only will using one in this manner make it more efficient, it will also help preserve the life of your tool's motor. This technique applies to both sanding and cutting. If too much, or uneven, pressure is used when sanding, the pad will wear down quicker, making sanding less efficient. There are also other techniques that make sanding wood more efficient. For scraping, sanding, and cutting, a high oscillation rate is usually best.

An oscillating tool should only be used for plunge cuts in soft materials, such as plasterboard and wood. When trying to make a plunge cut in harder materials, one should use a drill to bore the initial hole and then make the cut with a jigsaw.

Before using an oscillation tool to cut through any material, it should be inspected for nails, screws, or any other foreign object. If any are found, one should ensure they are using an attachment that is capable of cutting through that type of material otherwise they run the risk of ruining their attachment. If you are unsure if there are any foreign objects in the material being worked, it is best to assume there are and use an attachment capable of handling it.



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Last updated on December 24, 2016 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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