An oscillating multi-tool is the answer to a thousand questions you didn’t even know you had – it’s basically a problem-solving tool that allows you to tackle challenging situations that no other tool can handle. Especially if you’re an avid DIYer, an oscillating tool is a handy item to have on-hand – and the more (and more ambitious) projects you tackle, the more likely you are to need it. Oscillating tools used to be fairly rare and/or pricey, but as more brands have made options available, you can find more and more oscillating tools in both at-home and professional toolkits.
Before you make a purchase, you should check out oscillating tool reviews so you can make sure you’re choosing the best oscillating tool for your needs. To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a few of our favorites below – keep reading to find out more about their pros and cons and how they can help you with your toughest projects.
Oscillating Tool Comparison Chart
|Brand/Model (Click Item Text to Scroll to Review)||Rating|
|1. DeWalt DCS355B 20V XR Oscillating Multi-Tool|
Our Top Pick for 2019
|2. Makita XMT03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Oscillating Multi-Tool||9.7/10||CHECK PRICE|
|3. Bosch GOP40-30C StarlockPlus Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit||9.6/10||CHECK PRICE|
|4. Dremel MM50-01 Multi-Max Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit||9.6/10||CHECK PRICE|
|5. Milwaukee 2426-20 M12 Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|6. Rockwell RK5151K Sonicrafter F80 Oscillating Multi-Tool||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|7. Porter Cable PCC710B Oscillating Tool||9.3/10||CHECK PRICE|
Best Oscillating Tool Reviews
1. DeWalt DCS355B 20V XR Oscillating Multi-ToolCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Our No. 1 pick for oscillating tools, this model by DEWALT comes with a quick-change accessory system for wrench-less changes, a dual-grip, variable-speed trigger that provides up to 20,000 OPM, a bright LED light, a 1.6-degree oscillation angle and a universal accessory adapter. To help you get started on your home-improvement projects, this tool also comes with two wood-cutting blades.
With its brushless motor, this tool can deliver up to 57 percent more run time than comparable versions with brushed motors. And its ability to accommodate attachments from most oscillating tool brands means you have hundreds of options for how best to use this tool. In addition, it provides unparalleled precision and control – and it’s extremely light, weighing in at just under three pounds. This tool is lithium-ion battery-powered and comes with a three-year, limited manufacturer’s warranty. You will need to purchase both the battery and the charger separately.
Reviewers say this tool doesn’t disappoint and delivers plenty of power for even the hardest of woods – they say it’s incredibly compact and powerful. It’s also well-designed so that it’s comfortable to hold while using – it doesn’t feel awkward or cumbersome even though it’s relatively large. Some users wish the LED light had more spread, while others report some difficulty using other brands’ attachments. Others report that the trigger is somewhat sensitive, but just takes some practice to perfect a slower start. Overall, users report that this tool is easy to use and highly effective – a solid product from a brand you can trust.
2. Makita XMT03Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Oscillating Multi-ToolCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
With a tool-less clamp system for fast accessory installation and a large on/off switch, this model proves user-friendly and effective. Plus, its 3.2-degree oscillation angle is specifically engineered for more powerful and faster cutting and sanding – it delivers a corded level of power without the cord. Its variable-speed control – from 6,000 to 20,000 OPM – and its soft-start feature also let you match your speed to the particular project application, and its lithium-ion battery will give you up to 20 minutes of continuous run time.
This model is also uniquely engineered for a lower noise and vibration level, and it proves highly effective for sanding, scraping, grout-removal and more – and it boasts the fastest battery charge time in its class, which ensures that you’ll spend more time actually using your oscillating tool than charging it. This model is heavy enough both to feel professional-grade during use and to stand up to any worksite-related abuse it might encounter.
Reviewers love the fact that this tool can handle just about anything you throw at it – from bathroom remodeling to removing home siding, this model can handle a variety of challenges. Some users report awkwardness with the placement of the quick-change feature, which can sometimes get in the way and prevent deeper cuts. And some reviewers lament the lack of an LED light for use in dark spaces. But overall, users report that this oscillating tool delivers professional-grade performance on a variety of projects – it’s easy to use, easy to change attachments and gets high marks.
3. Bosch GOP40-30C StarlockPlus Oscillating Multi-Tool KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Boasting that it sets a new standard for performance, this oscillating tool provides 4.0 amps of power, plus advanced electronics that let it deliver premium quality. With up to 20,000 OPM, this tool can handle heavy-duty projects and applications, and its variable-speed control lets you set optimal speed. This tool also features constant-response circuity, which helps maintain speed under load. In addition, it boasts the best blade grip and torque transfer in its class. The GOP40-30 is also compatible with all other Starlock and StarlockPlus accessories from Bosch, which lets you mix and match for projects like sanding, plunge-cutting, flush-cutting, grout removal, scraping, grinding and more.
With your purchase, you’ll receive one oscillating multi-tool, five separate blades, one sanding pad, 25 sanding sheets, one accessory box and one carrying case. With this tool, you can easily attach and remove blades for various applications. It’s an ideal addition to your tool kit, whether you’re a contractor, kitchen or bathroom installer, or a homeowner with a long list of DIY projects to complete.
Bosch is a well-known brand that promotes quality power tools and products, so it’s a name you can trust. The company offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty for this tool.
Reviewers love the light, compact body that makes the tool easy to use, plus the extra-long, 13-foot cord. However, they are quick to point out that this model only will work with blades and accessories specifically designed for it. The upside is that Bosch produces a wide selection of various attachments and blades.
4. Dremel MM50-01 Multi-Max Oscillating Multi-Tool KitCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
With its robust design and low-vibration operation, this oscillating tool gives you better control for your most clean and precise cuts. It’s a smooth, comfortable tool. Its compact head is 30 percent smaller than other comparable tools in its class, which allows you to work in hard-to-reach spaces that other tools might not be able to fit. Its unique and exclusive angled body design also gives you a much-improved user experience, especially during flush cuts – largely due to better control and more room to fit your hands underneath the tool.
With its best-in-class 5.0-amp motor, you can tackle the toughest jobs like cutting baseboards, door jams, trim or any other major restoration-related projects. In addition, this tool’s tool-less blade change system means you can change out accessories simply by twisting a knob, pushing it down and inserting the appropriate accessory – but make note that this tool accepts only other Dremel attachments. Its variable speed – from 10,000 to 21,000 OPM, delivers superior performance and control, no matter your project.
With this purchase, you also receive a storage bag for your oscillating tool, plus a range of 30 accessories you can use for sanding and cutting drywall, wood, metal and more. It comes with a two-year product warranty.
Reviewers say that this is one of the quietest oscillating tools you can find. They also love that it is able to maintain a constant speed throughout even the toughest of jobs, and the front-and-center on/off switch allows for one-handed use.
5. Milwaukee 2426-20 M12 Cordless Oscillating Multi-ToolCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This oscillating tool features 12 speed settings that allow you to switch between 5,000 and 20,000 OPM by simply turning a knob. A nice feature is also the included sanding head with sanding pads, which will allow you to put finishing touches on any woodworking projects without having to purchase a separate sanding tool. This model is also especially good for clearing grout or trim because of its multi-purpose head that can slice into extremely tight spaces. And since it comes with both a blade and sanding options, you can get started on projects as soon as you open the box.
With an LED panel that lets you see how much battery life you have left, you can always make sure to recharge when you need to. And this model offers the added convenience of being compatible with accessories from a variety of other brands, dramatically increasing its versatility.
Reviewers say this is a solid, reliable tool that delivers top-quality performance and durability. It’s good for the DIYer for home projects or for the professional contractor, plumber, floor installer and more. Some users wish this version had a quick-change option for switching out accessories, but overall, users report that this tool is versatile, easy to use, durable and a great value. Milwaukee is a brand known for delivering quality and performance, and this oscillating tool is no exception.
6. Rockwell RK5151K Sonicrafter F80 Oscillating Multi-ToolCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
With this tool, the kit you purchase includes 10 accessories, a carrying bag and the oscillating tool itself. Its variable-speed dial and duotech oscillation technology mean you can calibrate this tool for optimum oscillation angle, plus speed, to guarantee ultimate precision. The F80, in fact, is the only oscillating tool on the market that offers two different oscillation angles within the same tool – either a 3.4-degree or a 5-degree version.
With power ranging from 10,000 to 19,000 OPM, you don’t have to worry about this oscillating tool stalling out under heavy loads. Plus, its hyperlock, tool-free blade-change system can shell out a full ton of clamping force, which keeps it from slipping during use, no matter the blade angle. When you combine all of this with the F80’s industry-leading 35 pounds of force for cutting load, you have a formidable addition to your at-home or professional power tool collection.
Featuring a universal fit system, this tool can accept all major brands of accessories, including sanders and blades, which greatly expands its level of versatility. In addition, as part of the Rockwell line, this tool is designed to withstand extreme conditions and to work hard under heavy loads without stalling.
Reviewers are drawn to this tool’s performance, price and value – it delivers on its promises and works as advertised. The blades are easy to load and the tool is extremely user-friendly. Some users do advise wearing hearing protection during use since the tool is a bit loud.
7. Porter Cable PCC710B Oscillating ToolCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
With this tool’s two-finger, tool-free system, you can change and adjust a wide range of accessories quickly and easily. With this purchase, you also receive 11 accessories and a storage box; this version is part of Porter Cable’s complete 20V MAX system. Accessories included comprise three blades, a variety of sandpapers and a sanding pad, so you’re ready to get to work as soon as you unpack the box. This model also features an eight-foot extension cord and comes with standardized accessories and blades that reviewers say are extremely easy to change – it also accepts accessories and blades from other manufacturers and comes with a three-year, limited warranty.
This oscillating tool ranges from 8,000 to 18,000 OPM, and it also features an integrated LED work light that lets you work on projects even in dim spaces.
Reviewers say that this tool offers big value at a small price, citing its convenience and ease of use. Users love the versatility of interchanging accessories from other manufacturers, though some users report that the tool can run extremely hot after extended use – you may want to consider this a good tool for use in short bursts, with plenty of time to cool down in between uses. Some reviewers report a level of irritation with the tool’s vibration, but also note that this is to be expected with a tool of this type. Other users note that a battery-life indicator light also would be helpful and well-received.
How an Oscillating Tool Works
An oscillating tool can do just about anything you need – it sands, it scrapes, it saws, it polishes and then some. And it can plunge-cut, flush cut and remove grout like a champ. The oscillating tool’s appeal lies in the versatility of its attachments – basically, the motor can power anything that’s attached to it, from scrapers, grinding disks and sanders to blades and cutting tools, so that it can help you with a wide variety of home improvement projects. And because of its unique design, it can also get into tight spaces that many other tools can’t. You may see this item also referred to as an oscillating multi-tool, which is simply a nod to the versatility you get by changing out various attachments and accessories.
As you might guess from its name, an oscillating tool is a bit different from conventional power circular saws, jigsaws or reciprocating saws. Rather than sawing back and forth or cutting while spinning in a circle, the oscillating tool features a flat metal blade that oscillates rapidly from side to side – as many as 20,000 times per minute – allowing it to cut flush with a surface. An electric motor connects to an oscillating base that holds various attachments, including sanders and blades. The oscillation is very slight, at about three degrees, along with being extremely fast, so for the user it feels like more of a vibration. The oscillating motion means the user has the utmost, precise control.
This rapid oscillating mechanism creates either lightning-fast cutting motions – with a blade or grinding attachment – or tremendous friction – with a sanding attachment. The oscillation angle also creates additional friction farther from the tool’s center. This friction is perhaps most apparent when using the triangular-shaped sanding and grinding attachments – they allow you to reach into corners and other awkward spaces, which is a feature unique and specific to the oscillating tool. Saw blade attachments can employ the oscillation angle in much the same way.
Because of its unique system of movement, the oscillating tool won’t kick back during your cutting project like some other saws might have a tendency to. In addition, its small size and offset blade shape lets you make detailed, intricate curved or straight cuts within very tight quarters – like within corners or even flat against the floor.
What makes the oscillating tool so versatile is the number of attachments it can accommodate for various tasks. For example, you can use either metal-cutting or wood-cutting blades, sanding pads, carbide- or diamond-edged blades that cut through masonry and much more. Usually with your base oscillating tool, you’ll also receive a few basic blades and other accessories, plus a bag or hard case that will hold everything. Typically, you can attach an accessory via a bolt that you can adjust with a simple allen wrench. And some models are even designed so that accessories are interchangeable with no tools at all.
An oscillating tool will often allow you to be successful in tight situations where other tools aren’t helpful – for example, you can use an oscillating tool to cut pipe within cramped quarters, to section out dry rot in a beam that’s hard to reach, to cut out damaged flooring, to trim shims and to scrape away stubborn dried construction adhesive, joint compound and other difficult-to-remove substances.
Oscillating Tool vs Rotary Tool
Users often get stuck on – or even confused by – the differences between an oscillating tool and a conventional rotary tool, but they really only differ in one key way. At the end of the day, the two power tools perform almost exactly the same tasks – they just do so by an entirely different mechanism. Whereas the oscillating tool moves back and forth rapidly, the rotary tool spins in a circle incredibly quickly.
A traditional rotary tool can do a lot of the same things as an oscillating tool: sanding, cutting tiles, grinding, etc. At the tool’s tip, you can also add an attachment or accessory, like a sanding bit, and this piece will spin rapidly. Besides the tasks that an oscillating tool also can complete, a rotary tool can polish, rout, clean and carve a wide variety of materials. A rotary tool will also allow you to complete precision work like etching.
If you’re choosing between the two, carefully consider the size and scope of your typical projects – when it comes to larger-scale projects, an oscillating tool may better meet your needs. Despite the similarities in their design, an oscillating tool may outperform a rotary tool when it comes to sanding, cutting and grinding larger pieces of material for more complex projects. Because an oscillating tool can cut through materials more quickly and easily, you’ll also see that it will produce less dust over the duration of your project – larger attachments mean they move through materials more easily and create less dust. Because it’s typically larger than a rotary tool, you can also expect an oscillating tool to give you more accurate cuts – the oscillating tool is ideal if you’re looking for high-precision accuracy.
And if you’re a novice user, you may find the oscillating tool significantly easier to operate; its design makes it ideal for beginners. Both tools are easily purchased at your local home-improvement store.
Best Oscillating Tool Buyer’s Guide
Especially if you’re making your first oscillating tool purchase, you’ll want to consider several different qualities before making your choice. Below are a few you should think about.
You can find oscillating tools across a wide spectrum of prices, but with surprisingly little difference in how well they perform. However, you will find differences in convenience and comfort – the more you spend, the more likely you are to get bells and whistles like tool-free accessory attachment, reduced vibration and a tool that’s more comfortable to use for long periods of time. Your price point should reflect your project needs – if you anticipate a lot of projects or overly complicated work, you should consider investing a bit more than if you think your oscillating tool will enjoy only occasional use for smaller projects.
Blades, cutters, grinders and other accessories will wear out over time, so the ability to affordably purchase replacements is an important consideration. Also consider whether your oscillating tool can accommodate attachments made by other manufacturers. Battery costs are also a worthy consideration – many of the oscillating tools reviewed here are sold as a tool-only option, meaning you’ll need to purchase a battery separately. Consider that cost, along with whether you already own any of the same brand’s devices and can interchange batteries without necessarily needing to purchase a new one.
As with cost, think about what kind of power you need to determine how much you should expect from your oscillating tool. More power isn’t necessarily a key factor for your purchase, but it can be for some users. In general, tools with lower-amp ratings might get bogged down if you press too hard while sanding or cutting, but they typically work well under normal loads.
This tells you how far an accessory will move from side to side during use. The higher the angle, generally the more powerful your oscillating tool – some users even say that oscillating angle is more of an indicator than the amp rating as to what kind of tool will cut faster. If speed is less important to you than comfort, though, consider that models with lower oscillating angles will typically run smoother, plus allow you greater precision and control, largely because of the reduced vibration.
Corded vs Cordless
Many users love the convenience of a cordless saw, but with that convenience comes limited battery life – anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, in fact. If you’re working on a big project, you’ll need to change out batteries multiple times, and it’s good to remember that batteries, overall, have a limited lifespan and can sometimes be expensive to replace. While using a corded version adds the inconvenience of needing to be close to a power source at all times, it also means your oscillating tool can run continuously for the duration of a job and can last for decades of DIY projects – corded oscillating tools also are generally more powerful than their cordless counterparts. So that means they’re likely most appropriate for high-power users that need to use their oscillating tool all day, every day – professional carpenters, contractors, plumbers or even small-scale house-flippers, for example. On the other hand, most DIYers who tackle various home improvement projects from time to time are likely well served by the convenience of a cordless model, like many of the oscillating tools reviewed here.
Summing It Up
Oscillating tools are champions for tackling jobs like grout-removal, undercutting trim or making drywall cutouts – they can make short work of a task that at first may seem insurmountable, and are an ideal power tool for the DIY novice. With a wide array of attachment choices, there’s virtually no limit to what a reliable oscillating tool can equip you to take on. Their versatility and ease of use make them true superstars of the power tool universe – and with their recent rising popularity has come a dramatic increase in your choices of models for purchase.
Ultimately, the best oscillating tool for you is a personal choice based on your home-improvement and/or business needs, plus your personal preferences. It might be easy to feel overwhelmed by the array of choices, but don’t be daunted – if you read through the oscillating tool reviews presented here, you have a solid start on defining the one that’s right for you.