Tool Test: Oscillating Multitools
Fein dominated the market for decades, but their patent has expired. With competitors on the move, just how do the new tools stack up?
Synopsis: In the decades when Fein’s patent on the MultiMaster was in effect, the company had a lock on the oscillating multitool market. But that patent has expired, and now other companies are promoting their own models. Brent Benner, a finish carpenter and cabinetmaker, put five of these tools to the test. He concludes that the MultiMaster remains the best overall. However, this performance comes at a price, and models made by Dremel and Rockwell provide decent performance at a much lower cost. Benner also tested two cordless tools, made by Bosch and Craftsman, but found that their convenience didn’t make up for their shortcomings. In a sidebar, he takes a detailed look at the types of attachments that come with these multitools, as well as their cost.
A couple of years ago, I was installing interior trim on a new home when a heated discussion between the general contractor and the electrician spilled over into my workspace. It seemed that the rough wiring was in place for some exterior lights, but nobody had asked the siding crew to install the necessary cedar mounting blocks. The siding crew had finished months ago, and the electrician argued that it wasn’t in his contract to spend hours cutting the dozen or so mounting blocks into the cedar with a utility knife and a Japanese saw. The general contractor argued that the siding crew was not coming back. There was an awkward silence as they both looked at me to take sides. I said, “You’re both right. Why don’t you borrow my MultiMaster?”
Oscillating multitools are a fairly unconventional category of power tools. Although they cut, sand, and grind, they won’t replace your jigsaw, reciprocating saw, circular saw, orbital sander, or angle grinder. They’re also not made to…