Fein MultiMaster patent has expired…competitors on the move
UPDATE: I’ve just gotten positive word that Ridgid has an oscillating multi-tool in the works, to be released early 2010. Milwaukee also hinted at a release, though declined to confirm anything one way or another.
Fein has had the oscillating multitool market cornered for almost 25 years now. Sure, remodelers have always griped about the high price of the MultiMaster, and the seemingly ridiculous “kick-us-while-we’re-down” pricing on the replacement blades, which sell for around $20 a pop. But now that Fein’s patent has expired, the oscillating tool market is being turned on it’s head.
Personally, I’m more than OK with this situation, because it means that many more of us remodelers are going to be packing the proverbial (oscillating) heat.
Disregarding the no-name throw-away tools that are likely to burn out on the first go-round, I’ve been tracking this market as it continues to blow wide open. So far there are competitive tools from Bosch, Dremel, Craftsman and Rockwell.
Have you noticed the sudden uptick in infomercials as well? I guess they must be working, because at the time of this writing, the $180 Rockwell SoniCrafter is #1 on Amazon’s Top Sellers list, while the $400 Fein Top holds the #4 spot. The $100 Dremel Multi-Max is secure in the #14 spot, and Craftsman Versa-Tool doesn’t sell through Amazon at all. But the real shocker is that the $200 Bosch Multi-X is not on the list at all!
So many questions remain to be answered:
– How will Fein now justify their higher-than-average cost?
– Does Bosch need an infomercial to stay competitive?
– How will they improve the tool to stay competitive?
…and the most burning question of them all – WHY does every manufacturer show their oscillating multitool being used to cut pipe stubouts flush to a wall? When do you ever need to do this??