Ryobi ups the power of this next-generation oscillating multitool
Ryobi's High Performance (HP) series of 18V tools increases performance beyond the high end DIY/entry level Pro series. We've seen a lot of the tools in the series so far, and we're generally impressed. With the Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multitool, the brand told us to expect better performance than their previous 18V multitool, as well as a few other improvements.
- better cutting speed
- Add tool-less blade replacement
- Use an on/off switch instead of a trigger
- Brushless Motor
- lightweight design
- Comfortable handle design allows the tool to cut upright
- The stop lever can be a little tricky on the sanding pad
- Handle ergonomics are lost when you have to hold the tool at different angles
The Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool features a brushless motor that the company says allows the tool to cut 30 percent faster than its previous-generation 18V multi-tool, the P343.
Considering that both tools have an OPM rate of 10,000 – 20,000, you would probably expect them to have similar performance. What makes the difference is the swing angle. The old version only had 3° of swing travel, while the HP Brushless has 3.6°. This is the same angle used by many popular Pro models.
After a few trial cuts, the difference became apparent. Digging a little deeper, we worked our way through door frame undercuts, drywall cuts, pop-up nails that hold trim in place, grout removal, and sanding.
Over the course of these applications, Ryobi has demonstrated that it has significantly improved performance. The best premium models still cut faster, but the cutting speeds we've seen put the Ryobi at a level where it matters more than ever.
Vibration control is about the same as what we felt in the last model. It's not as smooth as the Milwaukee and Fein, but it also doesn't vibrate our nails like some other models.
Ryobi has stuck with the upward-sloping handle we've seen on previous models, and it's a double-edged sword. They improve overall comfort and fit nicely in your hand when you're cutting with the tool in an upright position.
But that changes when you need to hold it at a different angle. We've found it's often more comfortable to find a completely different grip.
variable speed dial
The Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool, like the P343B, also has a variable speed dial to set your speed. No more "0" settings thanks to the on/off switch instead of the trigger with a locking button. We appreciate this change from triggers to switches.
Another major improvement involves accessory replacement. Older models require a hex wrench to change blades and accessories. The Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool replaces that tired old system with tool-free blade changes. Simply pull up on the release, slide the metal stop bar over, and flip it up.
However, the design has some quirks. If the stop bar is pushed out a few millimeters more, you can change the fitting with the rear cutout without flipping it over.
Because this action requires you to slide and turn, it can be a little tricky when you switch to or from its recessed sanding pad. Ridgid is designed to just pivot from the center, where it's a little easier.
The Ryobi HP Oscillating Multi-Tool also features brighter LED lights to keep your projects bright while you work. It's not a noticeable improvement over the last multitool, but we're glad it's here.
| HP Brushless
| 18V A+
|engine||18V brushless||18V drawing|
|OPM||10,000 – 20,000 OPM||10,000 – 20,000 OPM|
|swing angle||3.6 degrees||3.0°|
|blade replacement||tool free||Requires a hex wrench|
|variable speed dial||Yes||Yes|
|switch; power switch||slide switch||Trigger with lock button|
|length||11.7 inches||11.7 inches|
|bare weight||1.9 lbs||1.7 lbs|
|Bare metal price||$99||$49|
Pricing and Availability
You can buy the Ryobi HP Oscillating Multi-Tool exclusively from The Home Depot. It's available as a bare-bones package for $99. While you have to buy the battery and charger separately, you do get some accessories. It comes with a plunge-cut blade, a flush-cut blade, a sanding pad, and 3 sheets of sandpaper. It also comes with a 3-year warranty.
the bottom line
While retaining the same basic looks as previous models, the Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool takes a big step forward in both performance and design. Of course, there is still some room for growth, but we are very pleased with the improvements to the model.
Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool Specifications
- Model: Ryobi PBLMT50B
- Motor: 18V brushless
- Oscillations per minute: 10,000 – 20,000 OPM
- Oscillation arc range: 3.6º
- Parts replacement system: tool-free
- Variable speed: yes
- Length: 11.7 inches
- Net Weight: 1.9 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 years
- Bare Metal Price: $99