18v Cordless Multitools
Modern batteries make this problem-solving tool even more useful.
As a remodeler, I use my oscillating multitool to cut, sand, and scrape in places where no other power tool can go. In recent years, modern high-capacity batteries have come to multitools, making them even more useful than the corded versions. Now you can set up quicker and can cut, sand, and scrape while working on ladders and in awkward spaces without having to drag a cord around.
Fine Homebuilding recently asked me to test 10 18v cordless multitools from all the major manufacturers. I used them in a variety of real-world settings: plunge cutting in hardwood, plywood, and melamine; scraping glue, silicone, and mastic; removing grout; and light sanding. I also tested their relative power by timing how long it took them to flush-cut 10 8d galvanized nails. To level the playing field, I used Imperial Titanium Storm blades on all the tools except the Fein and the Bosch, which only accept Starlock blades. On these two, I used Bosch StarlockPlus carbide blades. Both manufacturers’ blades cut fast and lasted a long time.
Three tools stood out: the Fein, the Bosch, and the DeWalt, but Bosch’s and Fein’s proprietary blade-mounting system knocked them out of top billing because I don’t like not being able to easily find blades that fit the tool. The DeWalt, which accepts blades from most manufacturers, performed at or near the top in every category, from ergonomics and power to quality of cut and ease of blade changes. It’s also a good deal. For less than $200, you get a full kit with plenty of extras, which also makes it my best-value pick.
Steve Smith is a remodeler in Seattle. Photos by Patrick McCombe.