Oscillating tools have certainly become all the rage in the past decade, and a few brands have managed to maneuver themselves to the top of every DIYer’s “must have” list.
But do those more well-known brands really deserve all the glory? We are taking a look at oscillating tools geared towards both the home hobbyist and the professional, and we are sharing our findings with you to help you make the best choice.
The Top 10 Best Oscillating Tools
The Top 10 Best Oscillating Tools
This is a seriously hardworking tool for the seriously hardworking professional.
DYIers will like it as well, but the price point may be above what they are willing to pay. For anyone who has a lot of work to do, this is the best tool for you.
The powerful 350-watt motor is strong enough to barrel through big jobs. The blade changes are fast, easy and completely hands-free, thanks to Starlock technology.
The Fein Multimaster has great ergonomics due to a comfortable hand grip and a lighter weight.
In addition, Fein has managed to design a self-supporting motor that nearly eliminates vibrations, a huge advantage if you are using your oscillating tool for hours at a time.
The price is higher than a hobbyist might pay, but there is definitely value for your money. For these reasons, it is our best oscillating tool.
- Smaller size
- Remote control included
- Easy user interface and filter replacement
- Intuitive sensor
- Cleans a smaller area
- The light can be too bright
- Noise level is high
This tool ranks highly as an affordable choice for home use. It has two modes, power, and precision, that you can adjust to fit your job.
It has a fast cutting speed and a powerful motor to get the job done. Blade changing is also quick and easy, and with the Universal Fit System, you can use other accessories.
The biggest con to the Rockwell is the noise level. It’s one of the loudest oscillating tools out there. If you choose this one, buy ear protection as well.
- Dual angles of oscillation, 5 and 3.4 degrees.
- Variable speed dial helps to control precision in work.
- Sonicrafter F80 withstands the maximum stall force of 35 pounds
- One LED light to illuminate work space.
- Uses a pin that needs screwing.
Dremel is well-beloved by DYIers, and deservedly so. It is one of the best designed for ergonomics and comfort with an excellent hand grip.
It’s powerful and fast with good vibration control and easy blade changes. It’s one of the best bargains on the market and an excellent value for the money.
The main concern with the Dremel is durability for professional use. Pros may wish to buy an oscillating tool with a higher build quality.
However, for home use, it’s a fantastic deal.
- 3.8 Amps – Power to get the job done
- 3.2 Degrees of oscillation – aggressive but precision cuts
- Variable speed dial that controls oscillation per minute between 10,000 and 21,000
- Quick-Boost for maintaining a constant cutting speed
- 7-foot power cord
- No LED light for working in dark spaces
Fein patented the oscillating tool in 1967, so it’s no surprise that two of their products are in the top five.
The Fein Supercut is truly the dream tool for the professional who wants only the best. It makes the highest quality cuts and has the greatest stability, thanks to ball and needle bearings. The blades change quickly with the Starlock system, and the cutting speed is very fast.
So why is this tool not in our number one spot? It is expensive. It is a good investment for anyone who makes their living with an oscillating tool, but it is simply too pricey for the average home hobbyist.
- Excellent Ergonomics
- Excellent Blade Change System
- Failed to Complete Cutting Test
This nicely designed tool has a speed dial that lets you select oscillation rates, which is a rather nice feature when you need precision control.
It offers good vibration control and a lower sound level when cutting, both of which are important to the pro user. The cutting speed is excellent as well, giving it a slight edge over other tools in the same price point.
The Makita is an excellent value for the price, being closer to the DYIer’s budget than the pro’s. Its dependability and quality cuts make it a good choice for everyone.
- Fast cutting
- Low vibration
- Quick charge time
- No battery level meter.
Because this oscillating tool has the Starlock technology, it can use all the Starlock, StarlockPlus, and Starlock Max accessories, making it one of the most versatile tools on the market.
Like the Makita above, it has a variable-speed dial that ranges from 8,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute. This tool delivers outstanding performance on all tasks, including sanding, grinding, plunge-cutting, and flush-cutting.
With a great ergonomic design and excellent vibration control, the Bosch is a good choice for pros who use their oscillating tools for hours a day. It would be ranked higher on the list but for the price. The Bosch is one of the most expensive, just under the Fein Supercut (our number four) in cost.
- checkFastest/easiest accessory change
- No LED
- Bulky and heavy
- Sold without battery or charger
This tool has some nice, practical features that aren’t fancy, but just make the job easier. It has a seven-foot power cord, which means you won’t need that extension cord as often.
It has a well-designed grip that reduces vibrations and provides a comfortable hold. The depth and cutting guide is fantastic for making accurate plunge cuts.
This tool is very noisy, however, which is its main drawback. If you use it for a long time, you’ll want ear protection. It’s powerful enough for DYIers and is an excellent value for the money.
- Well-placed LED
- Stands vertical
- No battery level meter
- Awkward balance
It may seem that a cordless oscillating tool would be a very useful thing to have, but the reality is that most of them are weaker than their corded cousins and perform poorly in comparison.
This Fein is an outstanding exception. The 18 Volt Li-ion batteries really deliver the power needed with the result that this tool cuts as well as a corded machine. It has the Starlock blade system for fast changes and has nearly no vibration.
The only con with this Fein is the price. It is the most expensive oscillating tool on the list, more than double the cost of many of the others.
So, while it performs brilliantly and offers amazing convenience with its cordless design, it’s simply too costly for the average hobbyist and even many professionals.
- Built like a tank
- Easy/quick accessory change
- No LED
- Very expensive
This is an affordable oscillating tool that performs certain tasks, such as cutting and sanding, at the pro level.
It has a well-designed blade and accessory system that allows for quick changes without tools. The handle and grip are comfortable and ergonomic with a smaller diameter and multiple hand positions.
It comes with a universal accessory adapter, so that you can use accessories from other oscillating tool brands.
There is one major drawback to the DeWalt, which is vibration control. It appears to have very little, if any at all. If you use your oscillating tool lightly, for the price, this would be a good choice.
However, if you depend upon your tool for multiple tasks throughout the week, the vibrations just might drive you insane.
- Aggressive cutting
- Brushless motor
- Perfect ergonomics
- Excellent value
- No variable speed dial
- Overzealous protection mode
The Toolman is a nice little workhorse for the home hobbyist. Like some of its more expensive compatriots above, it has a variable-speed dial ranging from 6,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute, giving you greater control.
It performs well across a range of tasks and has a good cutting speed. The ergonomic design and light weight make it easy to use for long periods of time.
The blade changing system is a little convoluted, however. It’s quite an elaborate set-up requiring extra steps that the other tools do not.
For some users, this may be no big deal, and at this price point, this is a great value. Users who change blades frequently may find it frustrating and fiddly.
- Good Ergonomics with Pro-Level Grip and Weight Ratings
- Very Good Value Rating
- Good Vibration Control
- Good Cutting Speed
- Blade Change Feels Over-Engineered
How We Choose Our Ratings
We strive to present an honest and accurate report on the best oscillating tools. To do this, we comb through the following:
- Customer reviews and comments
- Professional ratings and testimonials
- Reputation and performance history of the manufacturer
- Product specifications and price
We combine this information to produce a rating system that you can trust to be fair and unbiased with no incentive other than to create an informed consumer.
Buyer’s Guide on the Best Oscillating Tool
Before buying an oscillating tool, you need to make a list of the qualities and features you want. Here are a few ideas to get you started, explained in greater detail below. Be sure to add your own items to the list.
- What types of jobs will the tool perform? What attachments will you need?
- How easy/difficult is it to change and use those attachments?
- Do you need a professional quality tool? Will it get heavy use?
- Is it worth the investment to go cordless?
- Is ergonomics important to you? How about sound level and vibration control?
- What’s your budget?
If you are thinking about purchasing an oscillating tool, you need to define its purpose. Do you need one that cuts and sands woodworking projects only?
Or are you restoring an old house and therefore removing grout, caulk, and cutting drywall?
Generally, the more you demand from your tool, the more expensive it will be. You can always buy a basic tool first and add attachments later as you discover you want them.
If you know you are going to use all the bells and whistles, you should consider the difficulty of changing blades and adding attachments.
As you can see from our reviews above, there are oscillating tools that switch blades with beautiful ease, and there are others that are clumsy and time-consuming.
Don’t buy a tool that will frustrate you every time you use a new attachment.
Durability is another factor. Pulling out the oscillating tool a few times a year to work on some furniture rehab projects is not the same as remodeling bathrooms for a living.
Don’t expect professional longevity from a home hobbyist’s tool. Read consumers’ comments and feedback for the models you are considering to get information on how long their tools worked well for them.
How do you feel about corded versus cordless? A cordless tool certainly makes jobs easier and they can’t be beat for flexibility and versatility.
However, as our rankings show, cordless tools, with one notable exception, aren’t as powerful and don’t perform as well as the corded versions.
Due to the battery, they are heavier, bulkier, and more awkward to handle. They come in at a much higher price point as well, possibly putting them out of reach of some DYIers.
Don’t forget ergonomics. This is often overlooked because picking up a tool in a home store and holding it for a bit generally doesn’t give you an accurate idea of what it would be like to use it for three hours.
Read reviews and comments to learn about the design, or, better yet, if a friend owns the tool you are considering, ask to borrow it for an afternoon.
Think about the noise level and vibration control as well. Both of these factors can significantly increase or decrease your comfort.
Last, but not least, be realistic about what you want to pay. It’s easy to “go for broke” and get the most expensive tool you can afford, but with so many oscillating tools on the market, that’s not necessary.
If you need to stay within a modest budget, there are many excellent choices that can meet your needs. Do your research and resist the temptation to spend wantonly.
With an oscillating tool, the sky’s the limit. There is no end to the list of creative projects you can try.
While we’ve ranked the Fein Multimaster as the best oscillating tool, the best for you may be another one on the list.
Don’t hesitate to shop around, do your own research and talk to friends and family to find the one that’s right for your future projects.
As always, with any tool, be safe. Wear eye protection and ear protection. Read the instructions and follow them precisely.
Don’t assume that because the oscillating tool is small, it is harmless. “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”
Featured ima?ge: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Dmitry_G via Wikimedia Commons