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Thread: Oscillating Multi-tools: What do you have? What's good? What's bad?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Rutherford Co., NC
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    1,126

    Oscillating Multi-tools: What do you have? What's good? What's bad?

    Question: Which oscillating multi-tool(s) do you have and what do you like and not like about it?

    Background:
    I am looking to replace an older Fein Multimaster with the hex key post to hold the blades. I keep having to buy replacement posts because the hex hole wears out, and even when the post is new it takes a lot of force to hold the blades in place and my wife just can't do it.

    We're using the multi-tool a lot right now doing renovations, but when we're done with that it will sit for months, so I don't want to spend a mint on it, but I need something relatively reliable.

    I bought the new Bauer from HF to get us by. I liked it, generally - reasonably powerful, tool-less blade change, soft start, 6-speed, but right out of the box it had a problem. After the first few seconds it would stop oscillating. Something in the drive mechanism, I guess. We got a replacement, but while I was doing that a bystander said that he was on his second one. The cutter would just flop around loosely like the drive was completely broken. I have a little under 90 days to return it.

    So, I started my research, and after watching the only real head-to-head test and review that I could find on YouTube (which is two years old), I thought I wanted the Dremel MM45. Then I learned that the attachment mount only works with Dremel and Imperial One-Fit. Other aftermarket blades don't work because the head on the mounting post is too small.

    For what we do and no more than we use it, those two blade brands are expensive, and I live in a tool desert. We have a HF, and a poorly stocked sLowe's, so having a tool with limited attachment options isn't good. Right now they have very little select in Dremel brand and no one around here has Imperial.

    So, I am looking for a reasonably reliable brand with easy, tool-less attachment change, that will accept most aftermarket attachments, and inexpensive as possible.
    Last edited by Charles Wiggins; 09-16-2020 at 11:30 AM.
    "Live like no one else, so later, you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!"
    - Dave Ramsey

  2. #2
    I had an early model of the Fein....it always seemed underpowered to me and eventually the little fork that creates the oscillating motion broke, and Fein wanted 90$ for the tiny piece.
    So I bought the dewalt cordless and love it. It gets intermittent use on various home improvement projects, but it works better than the fein ever did, and cordless is ideal for a tool that often gets used in odd places for odd jobs.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    53,843
    I bought the Ridgid last year, ostensible for a one-time home improvement use. I pull it out every once in awhile for that same kind of activity and the tool, for the price and the lifetime warranty is just fine. I grab the cutters from Harbor Freight.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    I purchased the DeWalt cordless. My other tools are cordless so when I went to purchase the multi-tool I went DeWalt to share the batteries.

    Having it cordless is nice. I had a corded one previously.

    The DeWalt is tool-less blade changes but you have to get the blades with the open end. It came with an adapter to use the blades that are not open ended. If I remember correctly you have to use a tool to use those blades.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    WV
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    4,100
    They are a lame tool that is too often being used for a precision tool, I dont really know how there would be a need to shop for one unless you had a need for a specific task. I never thought I would own one in a million years and trying to hit free shipping on an order I pulled the pin on a Makita LXT cordless version. I cant count the times its bailed me out. That said, I see people cutting miters, holes (circles), and using them on a daily basis like its a precision tool. They do nothing well other than chop something off, a bit of scraping, great at grout removal, but they pretty much fall short on anything else. Speed=terrible, quality of cut=horrendous, blade cost=mortifying, right on down the line.

    Id say just pick whatever you have reasonable availability to. The "for as much as we use them" to me would mean stick to a cordless or corded format of a tool brand your happy with. Sorting out the best of the best would seem to suit someone who uses one for hours a day. I feel for that individual.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    250
    I have the Ryobi multi-tool, which also uses the Ridgid heads. I get blades from everywhere - Home Depot, Harbor Freight, eBay, Amazon, search and ye shall find. I don't use it a lot but it works great when I do. I'm currently using it to install flush-mount electrical receptacles in my living room floor. Makes the rectangular cutout very easy to do.
    Jon Endres
    Killing Trees Since 1983

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Okotoks AB
    Posts
    2,148
    There are not many times there isn't a better tool to do the job, but when you need it, it's a life saver. I bought a Fein Multimaster several years ago that has the starloc post & it is a very good tool. So smooth & reasonably powerful. I haven't had to use it much but I have given it a real workout on several occasions. It doesn't get overly hot in the hand like I've heard some do.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
    Posts
    36
    I have a corded Rockwell and find a use for it on quite a few projects. I wouldn't want to go without one; they're so easy to whip out when cutting or notching things in awkward places.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wenatchee. Wa
    Posts
    321
    For as often as I use it around the house the HF one is fine and actually quite compact b

  10. #10
    I have the Rockwell one and it works well. It vibrates a decent amount but I don't use it for hours a day. It's *fantastic* at cutting drywall. It also saved my bacon when I had the head of a screw round off in some subfloor. One of the wood/metal cutting combo blades cut the screw and wood out in a few minutes.

    Note that Milwaukee's cordless lines differ in a few features (if you decide to go that way). Some have hex screws to change the blade and some are toolless.

  11. #11
    It's my favorite tool to hate. It's loud it cuts horribly and it burns through blades. I went through 2 HF cutters the motor on one and the mounting head on the other. I got a cordless Dewalt to go with my other cordless tools. It's head and shoulders above the HF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Rochester, Minn
    Posts
    148
    I have the Fein. No complaints at all.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Smyrna Mills, Maine
    Posts
    77
    I have an 18 volt Makita, it gets used allot. It has tool-less blade change, has worked well for 4 years now of heavy use and no problems of any kind.

  14. #14
    One lesson I have learned: The blades heat quickly because they don't clear the sawdust well, they just move it back and forth. Using the coarsest blades you can helps, as does backing the blade out often. I only use the fine blades when I know I am cutting nails. Holding a vacuum hose close helps a lot too. Not forcing the cut, but being patient and letting the blade cut slowly minimizes heat build up. I usually run the blade near the slow end of the speed range to avoid heating it quickly.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
    Posts
    12,852
    I have the Bosch and I love it. I've had zero problems with it and it accepts a lot of different brand blades. It has plenty of power and variable speed.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

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