Choosing the best oscillating multitool used to come down to a few brands. no longer. Advances in batteries, motors, and vibration control technology offer more viable options than ever before.
When we consider the landscape, our team unanimously chooses the Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool. Wired models are definitely relevant, and there are some excellent options available. However, when we listed the requirements to earn the "best" label, everyone wanted the convenience of battery power.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Oscillating Multi-Tool 2836
Let's clear the air here — if cutting speed is your highest priority, then Milwaukee is, and then everyone else. With a single cut, Milwaukee's M18 Fuel is far ahead of the competition. In addition, there is almost no vibration when cutting.
Combined with the physical design, the overall control of the control tools is better, allowing you to cut faster because they help you reduce errors in the cutting process.
While Milwaukee's performance ranks among the top in our tests, it's not completely out of control. This model still uses a more bulky accessory change system. There are several other interface designs that we prefer to use.
This generation of multitools has some notable improvements in vibration control, with multiple brands making huge improvements. Two models stood out in our tests with less vibration than the others.
Makita 18V LXT Brushless Ultra-Compact Oscillating Multi-Function Tool XMT04
Makita's XMT03 is of good quality but has been in need of an upgrade for some time. When we first saw the XMT04 (Makita's updated subcompact), we weren't 100% sure what to expect. Then we cut and sanded… what a difference!
Makita nailed the vibration control in this model, bringing it down to a level that beats nearly every competitor. At the same time, they significantly increased cutting and sanding speeds. On top of that, this model has a StarlockMax interface, although it still has a pin that holds the blade in place, so it's not completely hands-free.
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Oscillating Multi-Tool 2526
The big story in Milwaukee is that their design finally surpassed Fain's. Their M18 Fuel version is pretty close, but Milwaukee's M12 Fuel with the Makita has the best oscillating multi-tool vibration control of the group we've tested.
Milwaukee's M12 Fuel oscillating tool scored another major win for its ergonomic design. Its 12V base is lighter than 18V models, its length is short enough to better reach tighter spaces, and its slim handle makes maneuvering into awkward positions easier.
Best Value Oscillating Multitool
Flex 24V Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool FX4111-1A
The Flex brings legal professional-grade cordless vibrating multi-tools to the table with performance and design we didn't expect from first-generation tools. It's one of the fastest cuts in our test, with a choice of five electronic speeds. Its isolated head design does a good job of reducing vibration, although it's not as low as the Fein, Makita, and Milwaukee.
The ergonomics of this tool are also excellent. Its handle is slimmer than many handles with overmolding to promote a secure grip and comfort. Add a Starlock hands-free accessory interface and you've got yourself a compelling package.
The best part is the price. $199 gets you the tool, a 2.5Ah battery, and a fast charger, making it a great option for professionals.
DeWalt 20V Max XR Oscillating Multi-Tool DCS356
There's a difference between getting the cheapest swing multi-tool and a good tool on a budget. We didn't bother to test the cheapest model. We've been down that road before and were disappointed. DeWalt's XR brushless multi-tool has been around for a few years, but it's a fantastic design. Cutting speed and vibration control are far superior to the brushed models it replaces.
Despite better performance, the physical design hasn't changed much. The handle fits comfortably in the hand, and the variable speed paddle triggers let you control speed and grip position.
Between this model and the 20V Max Atomic, we still prefer the DCS356. It has three speeds instead of one, and has a higher top speed. There's also a $99 kit, making this the best value oscillating multitool on the market.
Price: $159 bare, $99 kit (1 x 1.5Ah battery), $219 kit (1 x 2.0Ah battery)
NOTE: DeWalt has a 12V Xtreme Oscillating Multi-Tool in a lighter and more compact design.
Starlock (multiple makes and models)
Since Starlock still reigns supreme in terms of speed and ease of use, it's no surprise in our blade-replacing review. Just press the interface into the blade, it snaps into place and you're ready to go. When it's time to replace it, the release pops it out of the tool without any additional assistance.
Bosch and Fein collaborated to create the Starlock interface and use it extensively. We've also seen it on Festool's cordless Vecturo, Flex's 24V, and Makita's 18V subcompact multitools.
While Starlock has significant advantages, Craftsman and DeWalt have clip-on interfaces that are also very easy to use.
For our testing, we primarily used Milwaukee oscillating multi-tool blades. They have a very deep line that covers almost anything you need for cutting, scraping and sanding. As far as utility blades go, we haven't come across anything Milwaukee doesn't have that we need. Here's a snapshot:
- bimetallic blade
- Titanium coated bimetallic blade
- High carbon blade
- Titanium reinforced carbide inserts
- Japanese dental tablets
- plasterboard blade
- sanding pad
- Emery (grout removal) blade
- Sealant Cutter
What they don't currently have is a blade for the Starlock multi-tool. For these models we turned to Imperial Blades (owned by Milwaukee Tool) for the corresponding blades with the Starlock interface.
The elephant in the room: Where's Finn?
Fein has been our favorite multitool for a while. We still use the cordless MultiMaster and SuperCut models we've had for years. However, Fein moved on to the MultiMaster cordless only products, and we couldn't get our hands on them to see how they compare to the models we own and love.
Chances are, these are still some of the best oscillating multitools available. We can only inherit Fein's excellent reputation until we can use them to be sure.
Best Oscillating Multi-Tool Recommendations From Brands We Trust
Best Bosch Oscillating Multitool GOP18V-28N
Bosch was part of the team that developed the Stalock system, so it's no surprise that our favorite Bosch models feature it. With 12V and 18V models, what we're drawn to in this case is the higher performance of the 18V system.
While its speed is tempered by the 2.8° swing angle, we like the increased efficiency and longevity of the brushless motor provided by the 8000 – 20000 OPM controlled variable speed dial. Pair this battery with a 4.0Ah Core18V battery for the best balance of runtime and weight.
Price: $199 bare metal
Best Craftsman Oscillating Multi-Tool
The CMCE501 Cordless Multitool from Craftsman isn't as polished as some of the other options, but it sure works. The slim handle is comfortable to use and it's one of the lightest options you can get your hands on. Also, the blade change system is our favorite style of clamp, second only to the Starlock. It's easier to use than most other designs.
A variable speed dial allows you to set a range from 10000 to 22000 OPM. While it doesn't have a brushless motor, it can do just about anything we've asked other multitools to do. That's more than enough for DIYers looking to cut the cord. Normally retailing for $99.99, we found this kit for just $79.00 at several different retailers!
Price: $79.00 Kit (1 x 2.0Ah battery)
Best Festool Oscillating Multitool
When Festool made a cordless version of the Vecturo multi-tool, the product team made the big move from a proprietary accessory interface to StarlockMax. The rest are classic Festool tools. As we have come to expect from Festool, this is a highly sophisticated system that goes beyond the tool. It starts with an ergonomically sound physical design with the performance and longevity of a brushless motor.
From there, you can get accessories for dust collection, precision positioning, depth stops and the OSC-A adapters they connect to.
Price: $375 bare, $599 accessory, $799 accessory and battery (2 x 4.0Ah)
Best Fein Oscillating Multi-Tool
Since every multitool in the Fein line falls under the Multimaster name, it's no surprise that we recommend trying MultiMaster. but which one? The best is the cordless MultiMaster 700. And not just because it has the most aggressive cut with a 4° arc (sometimes you actually want the bottom corner). The biggest plus is its brushless motor. You can use the battery more efficiently and extend tool life compared to the 300 and 500 models.
Trade-off? The 700 is the largest of the three cordless options, so if you want something more compact, check out the other models.
Best Hart Oscillating Multi-Tools
Hart makes a convincing case for the DIY enthusiast with the HPMT01. It deviates from standard design trends with its one-finger trigger and comfortable-to-use handle. Using the dial in front of the trigger, you can set its 20,000 OPM top speed lower for a more controlled approach when needed.
At 1.6 pounds, it's one of the lighter models available, and the 1.5Ah battery in the kit doesn't add weight. It's also one of the most affordable options we recommend. The bare tool is only $64, and the kit is $89.
Price: $64 bare, $89 kit (1 x 1.5Ah battery)
Learn more on Hart's website.
Best Kobalt Oscillating Multi-Tools
Kobalt quietly has one of the best oscillating multitools for the money. It cut at top speeds in our tests, and its isolated head design does a good job of reducing the vibration you feel. Its brushless motor up to 20,000 OPM (variable to 11,000 OPM) and 3.6° swing angle help keep it competitive.
Design-wise, the KMT 124B-03 does pretty much everything well, though it doesn't necessarily stand out like some of its competitors. Blade replacement is very simple and the ergonomic design is comfortable. If you're still not convinced, the price might put you off. At $99 for the bare metal and $169 for the kit, it's an excellent value.
Price: $99 bare, $169 kit (1 x 1.5Ah battery)
Best Metabo HPT Oscillating Multi-Tool
Metabo HPT has some notable items on their CV18DBLQ5 Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool. With the variable speed dial, you can set the speed from 6000 to 20000 OPM, when you need the best control, lower speed than most. There is also an automatic mode that adjusts the speed based on the load sensed by the tool. The downside is that its 3.2° swing angle makes cutting a bit slower than some competitors.
This is currently the only cordless model in the line, and it is an 18V tool, so it is compatible with 18V and 36V MultiVolt batteries, but not with AC adapters. Remember, Metabo HPT backs this and other Li-Ion tools with a lifetime warranty.
Best Ridgid Oscillating Multitool
With the latest generation of 18V tools, Ridgid is moving away from the larger Octane in favor of a more compact and lighter model. For the R86240 oscillating multi-tool, it's also out of the JobMax system. The newest multi-tool weighs only 2.0 lbs without batteries and 3.0 lbs with the 2.0Ah max output pack.
Controlled with a slide switch and variable speed dial, the tool's 10,000 – 20,000 OPM and 3.6° swing angle are on par with what we expected. While the physical design differs from the JobMax's ergonomics, Ridgid retains the swivel accessory interface, which we hope to see transform into something else in the future.
As we write this, the kit is only $10 more than bare metal, so be sure to take advantage of it!
Price: $139 bare, $149 kit (1 x 2.0Ah max output battery)
Best Ryobi Oscillating Multitool
Ryobi's 18V HP brushless upgrade has found its way into the PBLMT50 swing multi-tool, making it a more legitimate prosumer choice than before. It has a slim handle profile that slopes up to ensure the battery doesn't get in the way of your flush cuts.
It maintains the same 10000 – 20000 OPM speed as before, but increases the cutting speed due to the increased swing angle of 3.6°. It also features a tool-less attachment interface instead of the hex wrench style found on the P343. Overall, this is a great step forward.
Price: $119 bare, $144 kit (1 x 2.0Ah high-performance battery)
Best Skill Oscillating Multi-Tool
If you're looking for a brushless kit on a budget, Skil's OS5937-10 is an excellent value option. For $149.99, you get a brushless tool with a 2.0Ah battery, an upgraded PWRJump charger, and a nifty blade/sharpening kit to get you started. Combined with its solid cutting performance and low-vibration design, it's a value-for-money combination.
Price: $149.99 Kit (1 x 2.0Ah battery)
Everyone has different priorities when it comes to finding the best oscillating multitool. Some professionals just want the fastest performance, others may value vibration control the most. Regardless, our team looks for the same general features, even if they are in a different order.
Cutting and grinding speed
To test speed, we compared how fast it cuts wood, drywall, nails, removes grout, and sand. We also tested how the blade affects your ability to work as you switch between tasks.
Vibration control has long been dominated by Fein. Their technology is so far ahead of everyone else that it is not competitive at all. That's all changing, though.
When we test speed, we build a first impression of each tool's vibration control. Our three-person test team then spends time cutting and sanding, grouping them and assigning final scores.
When we consider the ergonomics of the best oscillating multitool, weight comes first. Of course, wireless models tend to be heavier than wired models, but using a compact battery saves weight a bit.
If you're working in tight spaces, the length can get in the way, so we measure the length.
We also considered the handle design. Most use grinder style barrel grips of varying diameters. Our feel-good designs are great. However, we also check how it feels to use the tool at various angles that we often need to switch in the field.
There is also the question of how the battery is connected to the tool. If it gets in the way of your grip or forces you to angle your attack for a cut, it could be a pain point. We're looking for a battery connection that can power the tool without losing balance or changing the grip.
A few years ago, Starlock set a new standard for oscillating multi-tools with complete hands-free and ultra-fast blade changes. Still no other system comes close to its speed and convenience.
For the rest of the group, there are several versions of tool-free changes. We put them all to the test to see how well they hold the blade and how easy and quick they are to change.
While it works for some, we generally stay away from models that require tools to change the blades.
When your bank account funds your tool purchase, we know you want your money's worth. For us, value is much more than the cost of the multitool. That's what you get for your money, some give you more than others. We weigh pricing against each model's performance and design trade-offs to calculate a value score.
Other features to look for
- variable speed
- Brushless Motor
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