Best Oscillating Tools of 2017 – Reviews & Buying Guide

reciprocating sawAn oscillating tool is essentially a multi-tool. This means that it is an extremely versatile piece of equipment that will undoubtedly prove useful in one way or another! These tools can be corded or cordless and can perform a wide range of functions thanks to the many different attachments available. As such, an oscillating tool can allow you to saw, sand, cut, polish and more.

So the key reason to buy an oscillating tool is in its versatility. Aside from the very clear advantage of being able to perform many different tasks, the best oscillating tool can offer impressive power. This is particularly the case with corded oscillating tools. Going cordless offers that little bit more freedom and the ability to access those hard-to-reach areas. Essentially, there is an oscillating tool to suit everyone’s specific needs. All you need to do is find it! Luckily for you, we’ve made that easy with our reviews and buying guide!


The Best Oscillating Tools of 2017

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONS
ITEM WEIGHT
USER RATINGPRICE
DeWalt DCS355D1 Kit
DeWalt DCS355D1 Kit
17.2 x 5.1 x 9.8 inches
6.6 pounds
4.7/5
$$$$$
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Rockwell RK5141K Kit
Rockwell RK5141K Kit
2.5 x 4 x 11.2 inches
4.6 pounds
4.7/5
$$
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Porter-Cable PCE605K52 Kit
Porter-Cable PCE605K52 Kit
15 x 4.3 x 11 inches
7.8 pounds
4.7/5
$$$$
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Bosch MX30EC-31 Kit
Bosch MX30EC-31 Kit
10.5 x 15.2 x 4.8 inches
4 pounds
4.7/5
$$$
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Genesis GMT15A Kit
Genesis GMT15A Kit
12.6 x 5.2 x 4.5 inches
2.8 pounds
4.2/5
$
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The challenge is not only in finding the best quality oscillating tool for your money but also in knowing all about the various applications and attachments. We want this to be quick and easy for you which is why we’ve compiled a list of oscillating tool reviews complete with all of the pros and cons! Then you’ll find our buying guide which will take you through all of the additional information so that even once you’ve made your purchase, you’ll still gain something from the various hints and tips!

1. DeWalt DCS355D1 Kit – Our Top Pick

DeWalt DCS355D1 KitIt’s nice to know some of the features when you’re paying more for a quality oscillating tool. One of the standout features of the DeWalt DCS355D1 is the quick-change accessory system which allows you to change the various attachments quickly and easily without needing a wrench. Another great addition to this product is the 20V Lithium-Ion battery which has a great lifespan. This means that your power isn’t going to be regularly interrupted when working. There’s also a brushless motor which is designed to offer greater run time over a brushed motor and a dual-grip variable-speed trigger which allows the user more control.

With this oscillating tool from DeWalt, you can perform various functions including sanding, sawing and cutting. Whatever you’re doing, you have the option of lighting dark areas using a bright LED light for greater accuracy. We think that this is the best oscillating tool on the market not just for its many great features but also for the generous 28-piece accessory kit which includes the tool itself, a Lithium Ion battery, charger, storage bag, cutting and sanding attachments and more. Some people have said that the storage bag is not of the best quality and doesn’t offer enough protection since it is soft. A hard case would be better. There aren’t too many other complaints to make about this oscillating tool from DeWalt. Best still, it comes with a 3-year limited manufacturer warranty.

Pros

  • Changing accessories is quick and easy

  • Offers good battery life

  • Comes with a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • Included storage bag isn’t as good as having a hard case


2. Rockwell RK5141K Kit – Best for the Money

Rockwell RK5141K KitAbsolutely packed with features, the Rockwell RK5141K is undoubtedly the best oscillating tool for the money. Firstly we should mention the 5-degrees of oscillation which makes cutting faster. This is a 4 Amp tool so it has plenty of power while variable speed allows for plenty of control. There are a number of features that make this particular tool easier to use. For example, the counterweight technology significantly reduces the vibration experienced. There’s also the tool-free blade changing system which provides 1 ton of clamping force. This means there’ll be no slipping, no matter the angle of the blade.

The RK5141K comes with a 34-piece kit which includes a hard case. We really like that this oscillating tool has a universal fit system which means that there are plenty of Rockwell accessories that can be used with it. As mentioned earlier, this model has minimized vibration which perhaps plays a part in it being less noisy than many other oscillating tools on the market. One area in which it can be improved is in the sanding with some people of the opinion that the sanding attachment is of poor quality. Also, the LED lights on the unit are fairly poor and don’t help a great deal. Otherwise, this product offers tremendous value.

Pros

  • Very low vibration

  • Quick and easy tool-free clamping

  • Offers impressive power

Cons

  • LED lights are weak

  • Sanding attachment is fairly poor


3. Porter-Cable PCE605K52 Kit

Porter-Cable PCE605K52 KitFor a tough oscillating tool for use on job sites and the like, the Porter-Cable PCE605K52 may be for you. The solid construction of this product means that it should be able to withstand the occasional bump or scrape. It should have more than enough power for most of your needs too with the 3 Amp motor and is generally considered to be easy to operate. This is reflected in the tool-free system which allows for quick and easy changes and adjustments without the need of a wrench. We also really like the removable depth guide which makes controlling the depth of cuts so much simpler.

While this is another great value for money oscillating tool, there are some issues to contend with. One of them is that the PCE605K52 can heat up a little too much during prolonged use. However, this is the case with many oscillating tools on the market so moderation is key. Also, some of the blades included aren’t the most durable and wear out fairly quickly. This really will depend on how often you use them and what you’re using them on as this problem is not encountered by everybody. But with the multi-tool kit including a whopping 52 accessories, there’s good value for money on offer making this a solid choice.

Pros

  • Sturdy build for tough environments

  • Quick and easy tool-free changes

  • Comes with 52 accessories

Cons

  • Known to occasionally heat up too much

  • Some of the blades are a little flimsy


4. Bosch MX30EC-31 Kit

Bosch MX30EC-31 KitPower is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an oscillating tool. But one aspect that is often overlooked is comfort. If you’re using the tool for a long time, comfort really should be of greater priority. The Bosch MX30EDC-31 has a slim-line grip as well as a number of other soft grip areas. What’s more, the switch is nice and easy to use. This user-friendly design is complemented by minimal vibration when in use. There’s still plenty of power though with the 3 Amp motor which should still allow for heavier projects.

Aside from the power and comfort, there’s an ease of use provided by the tool-less accessory changes that seem to have become standard for the better oscillating tools on the market. Available with a kit of 31 accessories, this is a good choice for anybody who wants a nice balance between power and ease of use. There aren’t many negatives regarding this product though some of the attachments could be of better quality. Also, there’s no LED light which can be a useful feature if you’re working in dark areas. Thankfully these are only small problems and this is still very much one to consider.

Pros

  • Nice and easy to use

  • Super comfortable grip

Cons

  • No LED light

  • Some poor quality attachments


5. Genesis GMT15A Kit – Cheap and Decent

Genesis GMT15A KitBuying an oscillating tool on a budget is easy enough. Buying one that can also get the job done isn’t so easy! Luckily, the Genesis GMT15A offers a nice balance between the quality on offer and the low price you may be seeking. This is an oscillating tool for smaller DIY projects since the motor is only 1.5 Amp. It is capable of reaching 21000 OPM which makes cutting, grinding and sanding much quicker. There aren’t too many features of note which isn’t surprising considering this is a budget oscillating tool.

The design of the GMT15A includes a 4-pin flange which helps hold accessories in place. There’s also aluminum gear housing which is intended to increase the lifespan of the product as well as help dissipate some of the heat that it generates. Naturally, there are some problems that buyers experience with this value tool. One of the biggest issues is regarding the longevity of the product with some people stating that their unit broke after just a few months. Also, it is known to generate a lot of heat, particularly when sanding. If you’re keen to buy this product but have reservations over such problems, rest assured that this tool does come with a 2-year warranty.

Pros

  • Very cheap price

  • Comes with a 2-year warranty

Cons

  • Not the most durable of products

  • Generates a lot of heat


Factors to Consider When Buying an Oscillating Tool

With the oscillating tool being such a versatile piece of equipment, there are a number of factors to consider before you buy. Taking the time to explore all of these will help you to make an informed decision. This will hopefully result in a purchase that you can be happy with.

Corded or cordless?

The first decision you should make is whether you want an oscillating tool that is corded or cordless. A corded oscillating tool means you don’t have to worry about power running out. You’re able to work for as long as you want as long as there’s a power source nearby. This constant power source allows you to be able to take on bigger projects that a cordless oscillating tool might struggle with. However, one problem of the corded oscillating tool is that your mobility is limited by the length of the cable. One solution is running an extension cord.

A cordless oscillating tool is much more convenient to use in terms of being able to use them anywhere. However, you must remember to always have a charged battery or your working progress will be stalled! Going cordless means better portability which can allow you to finish smaller tasks quicker and easier. But knowing that your power could soon run out is a distinct disadvantage, particularly if you forgot to use or even bring the charger. Luckily, cordless oscillating tools are fast improving and some have very impressive battery life.

5 Key Features

The purpose of an oscillating tool is to help you with a number of different applications. This is why they’re so often referred to as a ‘multi-tool’. Since they all essentially do the same thing, it’s not always easy to identify why one product is better or worse than another. By looking at some of the key features of these highly useful tools, we can get a much better idea.

  1. Speed

Speed is one of the most important factors to consider when buying an oscillating tool. This tool is designed to oscillate at very fast speeds which helps it cut the materials that it needs to. This is linked to the oscillation rate which is itself connected to how powerful the tool is. More speed is often very useful but too much can reduce precision when working. The oscillating angle is how far the accessory travels side to side (usually 2 or 3 degrees). The more travel, the more aggressive the tool and the quicker it cuts! Try to look for a product with variable speed control so that you can adjust the speed for when you want power or precision.

  1. Power

As mentioned before, power and speed are very much linked. If we had to tell you to prioritize one or the other, we would go with speed. More power is always good but it isn’t absolutely essential in the case of the oscillating tool. Performance differences between, say, a 2 or 3 amp motor aren’t huge unless you’re really putting the tool through its paces. If you’re buying an oscillating tool for smaller jobs then power is much less important than speed and will make less of a noticeable difference. Of course, if budget isn’t an issue then feel free to go for as much power as you can handle!

  1. Comfort

Comfort is a big factor with the oscillating tool. After all, you’re going to be wrapping your hand around the barrel. Therefore the circumference and shape are key in terms of your overall comfort. The size of your hands can have some impact on whether a particular product is comfortable to hold or not. It’s not just about size either. It’s important to know if the handle is ergonomic to reduce the risk of hand fatigue. Most oscillating tools have textured grips to avoid your hand slipping and to provide a level of comfort. Other factors to consider with regard to comfort are vibration and weight which we’ll come to next!

  1. Noise & Vibration

To an extent, noise and vibration are linked. The greater the vibration a tool produces, the more of a buzzing noise it can produce. Generally speaking, the greater the vibration of an oscillating tool, the more powerful it is. But nowadays vibration can be reduced somewhat by good manufacturing. While the problem of noise is more evident, vibration may be less obvious. The issue that some people face with vibration is that it can become very uncomfortable. If you’re using a small oscillating tool for a big task, the vibration can cause some pain to the hand over time. It’s, therefore, important to choose the right tool for the right work.

  1. Weight & Balance

In a sense, the vibration and indeed the weight and balance are linked to comfort. This is because the oscillating tool is handheld which is when such factors become more relevant. You’d think that a lighter oscillating tool is better but it’s important to strike a balance. You don’t want to end up with a tool that is nice and light in the hand but too light for the vibrations it generates. This won’t hold up when you put it through its paces. On the other hand, a heavier oscillating tool may seem more durable but it may cause greater hand fatigue, particularly when in use on bigger, longer tasks. Try to find a medium-weight, well-balanced tool that will offer you the greatest comfort.

What can an oscillating tool do?

Now that you know whether you want a cordless or corded oscillating tool and which features are most important, let’s take a look at just some of the specific things that this versatile tool can do for you:

  • Sand furniture

  • Cut pipes and screws

  • Remove paint and glue

  • Remove stubborn grout

  • Access difficult areas

  • Cut openings in drywall

  • Remove rust from metals

  • Make plunge cuts

  • Trim door casings

  • Salvage room moldings

What about accessories?

Above are just a few of the many things you can do with an oscillating tool. The reason it is such a versatile tool is because of the many accessories it comes with. Let’s take a look at just a few of the important accessories you’re likely to come across:

Cutting: There are so many different types of cutting blades available. These are designed more for softer materials while sawing blades would be better suited to woods and metals.

Scraping: Scraping blades can be rigid or flexible and are great for removing old paint and tile adhesive, for example.

Sanding: Another great attachment is the sanding pad which allows you to sand furniture. These are available in a wide range of materials such as aluminum oxide.

Polishing: Polishing pads can be used after sanding to provide a nice finish. These are great on stainless steel, aluminum and stone materials, for example.

Grout removal: These blades tend to have carbide or diamond edges. Carbide edges are better for softer material such as grout and plaster.

These are just a few of the different accessories you can use with your oscillating multi-tool. Before you buy, be sure to check the various accessories that are included with your purchase. Read all about the quality of attachments included and this should help you determine the value of one product over another. Oscillating tool accessories don’t always come cheap so this is certainly something to keep in mind.


Conclusion

Take a look at our reviews above and indeed at the market and you’ll see that there are so many great quality products available. These cover so many different brands and all possible price points. As such, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding an excellent oscillating tool for your cutting, sanding or polishing needs!

The technology of oscillating tools has improved significantly over the years resulting in the extensive choice available today. Our in-depth reviews of oscillating tools are designed to give you all of the necessary information to make a decision quickly and easily. We hope that this is of help to you and that you will soon be enjoying the versatility of this very useful tool.