A Toolstop Guide to Buying Multi-Cutters

which oscillating multi-tool should I buy

In this Toolstop Buying Guide you'll learn about oscillating multi-tools from:

Feel free to jump to whichever manufacturer you're most interested in! And if we've got a Toolstop TV demo of the tool, you'll see our YouTube icon to click on.

Why Should I Buy an Oscillating Multi-Tool?

Multi-cutters, or multi-tools, have been around for a few short years, now, but for many tradespeople they're the proverbial "get out of jail free" card. It appears that for those jobs your "regular" professional power tools aren't quite right for, a multi-cutter can come to your rescue.

The idea behind multi-cutting tools is simple; create a tool that, via an oscillating head, can cut, grind, sand, scrape and more.

The head oscillates (ie. moves from side to side, but not in a circular motion) whatever accessory or tool has been attached to it, thereby providing you the means to scrape, cut, grind and so on, but to do so in tight spaces and where power cords can't go.


Watch out for the degree of oscillation; the lesser the number the more precise the oscillation which gives you more control over the application you're working on.

The versatility of these tools is dependent on the cutters and accessories that are fitted to the oscillating head. Therefore having the flexibility to use different brands of accessory is important, and potential cost-saving. See our Bosch GOP accessory buying guide here.

With the right accessory fitted to your machine you'll be able to sand, grind, cut and scrape in areas impractical for most other tools, or for jobs where - perhaps traditionally - hand and elbow power may be preferred!

Another important factor to consider is the speed of oscillation, measured in oscillations per minute, and whether this speed is variable. The higher the top speed of oscillation is, the more powerful the multi-cutter is. However, being able to dial the speed down allows for more considered or delicate tasks.

What are the benefits of buying a cordless multi-tool?

Like any cordless power tool, not being dependent upon a tethered power supply gives you the freedom and flexibility to work anywhere, particularly in tight or difficult to reach places, typically where a good quality oscillating multi-tool comes into it's own.


But as with any cordless tool, the main drawbacks for you will be in sacrificing the motor power available to you from a corded multi-cutter, coupled with the amount of runtime your battery will provide.

Therefore, it's wise to look for a cordless multi-cutter from a manufacturer who's batteries you already own. And definitely look for larger capacity batteries; 4 or 5Ah is best.

What's is the Best Oscillating Multi-Tool for Me?

We've split our buying guide in manufacturer to make it easy for you to decide on the best for you, particularly if you're already loyal to your favourite power tool brand. If a manufacturer has a cordless version, we'll make that clear.

Fein Oscillating Multi-Tools

Up until around 2008, there was one - and only one - multi-cutter tool. It was - and is - known as the Fein Multimaster.

Developed by C & E Fein GmbH, the Multimaster was the father of the multi-cutter tool range, and when the company's patent on the idea expired in October 2008, other manufacturers developed their own versions.

Fein describes their multi-cutters as "efficient, precise and always full of surprises".

Fein FMM350Q MultiMaster Top Kit with Accessories

Fein FMM350Q MultiMaster Top Kit with Accessories

Key Specs:

  • 350W motor
  • 10,000 - 19,500 oscillations per minute @ 1.7
  • Variable speed control
  • QuickIn tool holder, compatible with other manufacturer's accessories


Key Benefits:

  • Metal gear box
  • 70% reduction in hand/arm vibration over previous model
  • 50% quieter than previous model
  • Speed is tachogenerated; maintains oscillating speed even under load
  • Supplied in carry case with loads of accessories

Read more here.



Fein ASB14/AFMM 14.4V Cordless li-ion Combi Drill + Multimaste

Fein AFMM 14.4v Cordless Multimaster (Part of a cordless kit)

Key Specs:

  • 11,000 - 18,000 oscillations per minute @ 1.6
  • Variable speed control
  • QuickIn tool holder, compatible with other manufacturer's accessories


Key Benefits:

  • Supplied as part of a kit with the excellent ASB14 combi-drill
  • Runs off the supplied 14.4v 4Ah li-ion batteries, covered by Fein's warranty
  • Speed is tachogenerated; maintains oscillating speed even under load


Makita Oscillating Multi-Tools

Makita have joined the multi-cutter stable with, as you'd expect, a corded and cordless version. With Makita's 18v batteries saturating jobsites around the world, there's a good chance you'll already have a few in your kit, hence buying a Makita cordless multi-cutter could be a top choice for you.


Makita DTM50Z LXT 18V Li-Ion Cordless Oscillating Multicutter

Makita DTM50Z LXT 18V Li-Ion Cordless Oscillating Multicutter (Body Only)

Key Specs:

  • 6,000 - 20,000 oscillations per minute @ 3.2
  • Variable speed control
  • Uses OIS tool interface, compatible with other manufacturer's accessories


Key Benefits:

  • Accessories can be installed at 30 increments, across 360
  • Easy to reach on/off switch
  • Great ergonomics and comfortable grip
  • Body-only (no batteries or charger supplied), save cash and use your existing Makita LXT batteries

See also the Makita TM3000CX3 supplied with 42 accessories


Makita TM3000C

Makita TM3000CX4 320W Oscillating Multicutter with 33 Accessories

Key Specs:

  • 320W motor
  • 6,000 - 20,000 oscillations per minute @ 3.2
  • Variable speed control
  • Uses OIS tool interface, compatible with other manufacturer's accessories


Key Benefits:

  • Accessories can be installed at 30 increments, across 360
  • Available in 110 and 240v
  • Easy to reach on/off switch
  • Great ergonomics and comfortable grip

See also the Makita TM3000CX3 supplied with 42 accessories


Bosch Oscillating Multi-Tools

Bosch endeavoured to make the world of oscillating tools their own with the launch of the cordless 10.8v GOP (click here to learn more about it), and since then they've capitilised on how well the GOP has sold by launching new GOPs with higher capacity batteries and 110 and 240v corded versions.


Bosch GOP18VECLi 18V Cordless li-ion Professional Multi-Tool

Bosch GOP18VECLi 18V Cordless li-ion Professional Multi-Tool - 4Ah Batteries and 20 Accessories

Key Specs:

  • 8,000 - 20,000 oscillations per minute @ 2.8
  • Variable speed control
  • Uses OIS tool interface, compatible with other manufacturer's accessories


Key Benefits:

  • Slim grip, great ergonomics
  • Available in 110 and 240v
  • Constant electronics keeps the motor at the speed you choose, even under load
  • Integrated cable ball grommet increases flexibility and prevents cable breaks





Bosch GOP300SCE Multicutter in L-Boxx with 48 Accessories

Bosch GOP300SCE Multicutter in L-Boxx with 48 Accessories

Key Specs:

  • 300W motor
  • 8,000 - 20,000 oscillations per minute @ 1.4
  • Variable speed control
  • Uses OIS tool interface, compatible with other manufacturer's accessories


Key Benefits:

  • Slim grip, great ergonomics
  • Supplied with 2 CoolPack 18v 4Ah batteries and a 45 minute charger in an L-Boxx
  • Brushless motorprovides better runtime per charged battery and longer tool lifetime (click to learn more)
  • Key-less SDS quick tool-free accessory change




DeWALT Oscillating Multi-Tools

DeWALT is new to the oscillating tool game, but they arrived with a bang late in 2013 with some very high-spec models that have proven to be huge sellers.

The cordless versions are very powerful and incredibly ergonomic, and both benefit from being kitted out with brushless motors, and they accept DeWALT's XR li-ion batteries.

We've highlighted the 4Ah version, but there's also a 1.5kg 2Ah kit available here.

Dewalt DCS355M2 18V li-ion Cordless Brushless Oscillating Multi-Too

Dewalt DCS355M2 18V li-ion Cordless Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool

Key Specs:

  • 300W motor
  • 0 - 20,000 oscillations per minute @ 1.6
  • Variable speed control
  • Dual-grip system for better control
  • QUICK-CHANGE™accessory system, compatible with other manufacturer's accessories
  • Bright LED job light


Key Benefits:

  • Slim grip, great ergonomics via the rubber over mold handle
  • Supplied with 2 18v 4Ah batteries, a charger and 35 accessories in a TStak box
  • Brushless motorprovides better runtime per charged battery and longer tool lifetime (click to learn more)
  • Quick-fit depth stop for "ultimate control"
  • Quick-fit dust extraction, compatible with the Airlock system

Read more on our blog

Dewalt DWE315KT Oscillating Multi-Tool

Dewalt DWE315KT Oscillating Multi-Tool with Quick Change Tool

Key Specs:

  • 300W motor
  • 0 - 22,000 oscillations per minute @ 1.6
  • Variable speed control
  • Dual-grip system for better control
  • QUICK-CHANGE™accessory system, compatible with other manufacturer's accessories
  • Front mounted LED


Key Benefits:

  • Slim grip, great ergonomics via the rubber over mold handle
  • Available in 240v
  • Quick-fit depth stop for "ultimate control"
  • Quick-fit dust extraction, compatible with the Airlock system

Read more on our blog

How to Get the Most from Your Oscillating Multi-Tool


Regardless of which make or model you go for, corded or cordless, there's no doubt that your new multi-tool will enable you to do loads of jobs that would perhaps be a struggle for conventional power tools.


As mentioned above, though, getting it to do the right job in the right way is always dependent on you using the correct accessory.

Most of the tools we've listed here come with accessories supplied in the box. That in itself can be a little confusing at times, so we've put together some further guides to help you choose the right accessory:

If you've got any questions about the tools in our buying guide, or general questions about choosing and getting the most from an oscillating multi-tool, then get in touch with us via the comments section below.

Comments

John on Wed, 10 Jun 2015 12:23:18 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

On the Bosch tools, you have the image and text for the corded and cordless version swapped over. (e.g. the picture of the cordless tool says "Available in 110 and 240v" under it...


FEIN Power Tools UK on Wed, 20 May 2015 08:50:03 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

If you're still looking Larry the FEIN MultiTalent fits into that price category and you still get the FEIN's great build quality and expertise.


FEIN Power Tools UK on Wed, 20 May 2015 08:48:22 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Dust extraction is available for the Multimaster


FEIN Power Tools UK on Wed, 20 May 2015 08:47:20 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Hi Richard - probably missed the boat, but this will probably be useful to someone. We invented this technology and thus have a 40 year head start in terms of development and its a tricky technology to get right. What you'll find is that you'll buy the machine for two maybe three tasks - but then you'll discover that it will do a number of other jobs. Each application requires differing amounts of the machine's power. With the FEIN you know you'll have the build quality and the durability to be able to do more tasks and for longer.


FEIN Power Tools UK on Wed, 20 May 2015 08:31:20 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Hi, the blades' prices are due to the materials we use and the fact they are manufactured in Germany alongside the machines. Prices have been realigned the last couple of years but we'll never be the cheapest. Why reduce the performance of the machine by lowering the performance of the blades?


Skeetstar on Mon, 20 Apr 2015 09:13:20 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Richard, it may help you , it may not, but I bought a Bosch multi tool to do a job, it worked and I recall paying £65.00 or so at b&q. A month or so later I came across an in store demo of the fein tool.. I echo mark's comments. The fein was heavier, felt more solid, but the biggest revelation was the much reduced vibration in the fein. The fein is a tool you can us all day. My son in law has the Bosch now, and I have a fein... Nuff said


Smudgesmiff on Tue, 07 Apr 2015 09:54:55 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Hello, I hope you and yours are well;
Thank you for the informative article.
I have owned a Feim Multimaster for a number of years which fell from favour as a result of the ridiculous cost of the cutters, which I assume was due to Fein's monopoly on such products.
Is it possible to fit other manufacturer's (hopefully more sensibly priced) cutters and accessories now ? And if so, which ones will fit ?
Best regards,


Nigel M on Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:58:12 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Hello
Thanks very much for the buying guide. I would be grateful if you could inform me about a few things...
Firstly, I'm likely to use the tool a lot for sanding in tight spots. For example I need to sand along the top of a timber purlin where it meets a 22.5 degree sloping ceiling (on the side with the tight apex). I looked at a couple of the Bosch multi-tools in B&Q and I noticed that the distane between the sanding pad and the top of the head of the body was smaller on the cordless 10.8v LI than the corded 190E. Obviously this distance is crucial with regard to how tight a corner you can sand in (assuming the sanding pad is always triangular 95mm). So please could you tell me which of all the multi-tools is the best for this.
Secondly, am I right to assume that any of these tools will allow you to chase out plaster/render/mortar for installing hidden cabling or pipework? And if so, what kind of blade is best for this? I realise it won't be as easy as with an angle grinder but that's ok as long as it can be done.
Finally, and sorry if this is supposed to be obvious, but what does GOP stand for?
Thanks very muc in advance.
Nigel


larry on Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:55:31 +0000 (Likes: 9 / Dislikes: 0

hi
I am looking to purchase a multi cutter and am trying to decide between the bosch gop250ce and the makita tm3000c
unfortunately i am unable to find a guide that actually compares these two as like your guide it only mentions the bosch gop300
Could you please point me in the direction of which you feel is the better OMT the makita seems to be more powerful other than that they seem the same
thankyou
larry


postable_mark on Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:31:39 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Sorry about that, all the Fein blades we stock are here - http://www.toolstop.co.uk/?q=f...


postable_mark on Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:31:04 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

As with anything, you get what you pay for. Typically more expensive cutters will have more durable motors. However, as we state in the guide and elsewhere, make sure you're using the correct blade for the job, regardless of the cutter you buy.


Dave on Tue, 04 Nov 2014 17:05:50 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Hi - your link to the Fein blades guide seems to be broken, just linking me to the homepage - can you point me at it please?


Richard on Sun, 26 Oct 2014 10:18:32 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 1

I appreciate I've stumbled on an old guide but hope you don't mind me asking a question anyway.
I'm initially purchasing to trim the bottom of door frames and some skirting so that tiles can be laid underneath.
Looks like the Fein 350 is now the expensive option.
Are the circa £200.00 models really that much better than those you can get for around £100.00?


postable_mark on Tue, 10 Dec 2013 17:20:25 +0000 (Likes: 1 / Dislikes: 0

I'm sure the jeans will look fantastic. Yes, the recip will blast through the big jobs, the multi-cutter is ideal for the fiddlier jobs. Keep us posted, and if we can offer any more help/tips let us know.


Sue Ashdown on Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:56:31 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Steady! May have to have a lie-down as I contemplate buying both! Thanks for the offer of a discount - always welcome, esp. at this time of year. Like the idea of blasting through this job so I can get on with all the others. I guess the reciprocating saw would be better at cutting the tops off small round fence posts, but the multi-tool would be good for cutting notches in a few of them to fit hinges. And getting the old sealant off around the bath (hate to think what was used, but it's not silicon!) and maybe cutting the first stair riser at ground level (also rotten)......and sanding the rough edges of the chicken perches ......Have I talked myself into getting both?????? (Wry face! Jeans again for Xmas as I wave the new dress goodbye!)...in that case, thanks again for the discount and the advice.....and now I have no excuses not to get on with the job!
Ps thanks for the amazingly detailed reviews - I may come back to check I've made the right decision before I buy, tho, if that's ok?


postable_mark on Tue, 10 Dec 2013 11:18:13 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Hi, great question Sue. Both tools will do the job, obviously. The multi-tool will take longer to get it done, the recip saw will blast through it (click here for our recip saw guide - http://www.toolstop.co.uk/how-... ).

Both tools are capable of performing other jobs as well, so think through the other jobs you'll be doing in the future and way up which of the two tools will best serve you going forward.

Use goog13 when you check out and we'll give you a 5% discount. Why not buy an oscillating tool AND a recip saw!


Sue Ashdown on Mon, 09 Dec 2013 13:30:05 +0000 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Although I do have some other jobs that the multi tool would be suitable for, the main task I have is the removal of a large section of a partition wall which is made of 15mm tongue and groove (original 1910, pine I think, the bottom is rotten) on which has been stuck some thin plasterboard. A length of about 6m in total. I wondered if an oscillating tool would do the job as it would be lighter for me to use or whether I would be better to get a reciprocating saw instead. Your advice will be much appreciated as I'm aiming to save money and effort!


FEIN on Thu, 09 May 2013 14:12:32 +0100 (Likes: 2 / Dislikes: 0

Hi Mark,

With the FEIN machine you can purchase a depth stop. It fits directly onto the gear head of the machine and comes with a foot for doing straight linear cuts and a rubber stopper for plunge cutting. Toolstop will happily supply you with one.

FEIN Team


Marky Mark on Sat, 20 Apr 2013 16:46:57 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

This is a great article and I am almost convinced to buy one. My one issue is depth control of the cut. If you are 'chasing' can you control the depth that you go down to?


Ogee skirting on Thu, 11 Oct 2012 09:31:35 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

This cutting machine is so great,because you can select what type of blade you will use according to your need.And makes your work more easier.


cutting tools on Sat, 04 Aug 2012 12:51:31 +0100 (Likes: 0 / Dislikes: 0

Great article really helps when buying a Multi-Cutter because there are so many to choose from!


Around Mike on Tue, 24 Jan 2012 21:32:01 +0000 (Likes: 32 / Dislikes: 1

Thanks for this. I am just looking round for one of these and your article was very helpful.  My main use would be chasing (speaker wire, not mains) and cutting out for back boxes.  The Bosch green version has a vac outlet which seems like a good idea. I wonder why the pro version does not?
Mike


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