Best Oscillating Tools Reviewed & Compared
The first oscillating tool was developed in the 1960s for effortlessly slicing through casts without harming patients, but over the years, this handy medical tool has evolved into the multi-purpose DIY tool we’ve come to know and love.
Today, there are basically two types of oscillating tools: cordless and electric. Both have their pros and cons, and when you add dozens of different electric and cordless models into the mix along with numerous oscillating tool reviews all pointing you in different directions, finding the best oscillating tool for your DIY needs is easier said than done.
However, since every do-it-yourselfer should have a quality oscillating tool in their garage or workshop to help them tackle an endless variety of jobs, we’ve decided to pull back the curtain on these life-changing tools and make you the “DIY King” you’ve always wanted to be.
Our Top 3 Picks
- GENESIS GMT15A
- Versatile Tool
- Bosch MX25EC-21
- Powerful Motor
- Dremel MM40-03
- Ergonomic Design
10 Best Oscillating Tools
1. GENESIS GMT15A
1.5-amp motor ideal for small jobs
Four-pin flange firmly secures accessories in place
Die-cast gear housing for increased durability
Weighs in at under four pounds
Weighing less than four pounds, the Genesis GMT15A Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool is lightweight and easy to use in the tightest of spaces. Although lightweight, it also features an aluminum die-cast gear housing for improved dissipation and durability as well as a four-pin flange to safely secure accessories in place.
Meanwhile, the UL listed Genesis features a 1.5-amp motor and is rated for 120 volts, providing enough juice to create up to 21,000 oscillations per minute and tackle most minor cutting, routing, grinding, and sanding tasks. Whether you need to strip old paint, make precise cuts in hard-to-reach places, sand wood, or grind metal, the Genesis GMT15A is a worthy tool capable of getting the job done.
In addition to the oscillating tool itself, the Genesis also comes with a rigid scraper blade, three-inch drywall and wood blade, flush cut blade, three-inch sanding pad, and an Allen Wrench for changing out accessories.
On the downside, finding blades that fit the device is easier said than done. Although Bosch makes an attachment that can be used to fit any blade or accessory in the Genesis, for the added cost you could purchase another oscillating tool with universal fit technology. It also lacks a variable speed control function, which along with its lack of accessory options, makes it less versatile than other models.
Nonetheless, with nearly the same performance capabilities as more expensive models but with a much lower price tag, the Genesis GMT15A Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool is a worthy choice for any handyman or part-time DIYer.
The Genesis GMT15A Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool is an inexpensive option designed to tackle a number of DIY tasks. Although it lacks many of the features found on more expensive oscillating tools mentioned here and in other oscillating tool reviews, its low price and solid construction make it a popular choice for novice craftsmen and casual DIYers.
- Durable gear housing
- Easy to use
- Only compatible with certain blades and accessories
- A little noisy
- Only one speed
- Tool required for changing accessories
2. Bosch MX25EC-21
2.5-amp motor for medium to heavy applications
Continuous circuitry for optimal speed under load
Variable speed dial adjusts from 8,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute
OIS 12-point accessory contact system
OSCAD1 adapter for more accessory options
The Bosch MX25EC-21 2.5-Amp Multi-X Oscillating Tool Kit is powered by an impressive 2.5-amp motor, making it able to perform a variety of applications like plunge cutting, flush cutting, wood cutting, scraping, grinding, rasping, and sanding the toughest of materials. Unlike cheaper models, the valuable tool is also equipped with a variable speed control that oscillates each accessory from 8,000 to 12,000 times per minute, depending on the material and the application needed.
The perfect blend of power and speed, the Bosch MX25EC-21 is able to cut nearly 20 percent faster than many other oscillating tools, allowing you to get any job done quicker and easier. The handy tool is also designed with constant response circuitry, which enables it to maintain a constant speed under heavy load.
While an Allen wrench or hex tool is needed for changing accessories, there are plenty of accessories for the Bosch MX25EC-21. In fact, the kit comes included with plunge cutters, circular cutters, saws, scraping blades, sanders, and polishers. Moreover, it’s compatible with any OIS accessory and comes with an OSCAD1 adapter for use with accessories from other brands, making it one of the most versatile oscillating tools on our list.
Bosch is well-known for making quality tools and other great products, and the company’s MX25EC-21 2.5-Amp Multi-X Oscillating Tool Kit is no exception. From its powerful 2.5-amp motor with variable speed dial to its lightweight design and OIS technology, the Bosch leaves little doubt about its quality construction and performance capabilities. The only drawback is the need for a hex tool in order to change out accessories, which can be a pain for contractors and serious DIYers who use the tool often. Aside from this, it’s hard to go wrong the Bosch MX25EC-21 2.5-Amp Multi-X Oscillating Tool Kit.
- Reputation for excellence
- Powerful 2.5-amp motor
- Plenty of accessories to choose from
- Great range of speeds
- Quiet operation
- Lack of a plastic carry case
- Hex tool needed for changing blades and accessories
- Questionable durability
3. Dremel MM40-03
High-performance 2.5-amp motor for the toughest of applications
Variable speed dial for up to 21,000 oscillations per minute
Comprehensive kit with 29 accessories for a variety of tasks
Quick-change accessory release feature
Dremel is famous for its rotary tools, but the MM40-03 2.5-Amp Multi-Max Oscillating Ultimate Tool Kit proves that the company can make a solid oscillating tool as well. With a powerful 2.5-amp motor and a comprehensive set of accessories, you can effortlessly tackle a number of woodworking, home improvement, or craft projects. Like any quality oscillating tool, it’s ideal for cutting, sanding, grinding, polishing, refinishing, and a whole lot more.
In addition to its powerful 2.5-amp motor, the Dremel MM40-03 is equipped with an easy-to-use on/off switch and a variable speed control, allowing you to maintain the ideal speed for a particular task or material. The Dremel also has a unique soft start feature, which reduces sudden starts and allows you to safely and comfortably work up to your preferred speed.
Unfortunately, the Dremel MM40-03 2.5-Amp Multi-Max Oscillating Tool isn’t compatible with universal-fit attachments or accessories from other brands. However, it comes with 29 attachments and is also compatible with dozens of other Dremel accessories, so this shouldn’t be an issue with most casual DIYers.
Dremel also designed the MM40-03 with a quick-change accessory feature that allows for quick and easy changing of accessories without the need for a hex or Allen wrench. Speaking of design, its ergonomic and lightweight design makes it comfortable to use and able to reach the tightest of spaces.
The Dremel MM40-03 2.5-Amp Multi-Max Oscillating Ultimate Tool Kit is a comfortable and easy to use tool for cutting, scraping, sanding, grinding, and refinishing a variety of materials in tight spots that would be nearly impossible with traditional tools or larger models. Although it only accepts Dremel attachments, its quick-change accessory attachment system and other smart design elements make the Dremel a top contender in the oscillating tools category.
- Comprehensive kit that includes 29 accessories
- Robust motor
- Variable speed control to tackle a range of jobs and materials
- Quick-change accessory release feature
- Lightweight and ergonomically designed
- Only compatible with Dremel accessories
- Questionable durability
4. PORTER-CABLE PCE605K
Powerful 3-amp motor capable of producing up to 22,000 OPM
Tool-free accessory change system for quick and easy accessory changes and adjustments
Three-position over mold provides an enhanced gripping surface
Cutting and depth guides allow for faster and more controlled cutting and plunging tasks
Extra-long 10-foot power cord
The PORTER-CABLE PCE605K comes equipped with a powerful 3-amp motor typically seen on much more expensive models, immediately making it a favorite tool for many DIYers. However, the folks at PORTER-CABLE didn’t stop there, because the PORTER-CABLE PCE605K 3-Amp Corded Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit is jam-packed with useful features as well.
Thanks to its speed control dial, the oscillating multi-tool can deliver between 10,000 and 22,000 oscillations per minute, providing you with the right amount of power for each application and type of material. For comfort and even more versatility, the PORTER-CABLE is also equipped with a three-position over mold, allowing you to grip anywhere on the tool. When you also consider its tool-free accessory change system, 10-foot power cord, and three-year limited warranty, it’s easy to see why the PORTER-CABLE PCE605K is mentioned in numerous oscillating tool reviews.
On the downside, the blades that come with the PORTER-CABLE are not as strong as the blades found in many other oscillating tools. The lack of accessory options is also a slight drawback, especially for avid DIYers.
All in all, the PORTER-CABLE PCE605K is a powerful oscillating tool at an affordable price. Although some users have reported having problems with its blades and a general lack of available accessories, its strong motor and smart design make it a great value and arguably the best oscillating tool in its price point.
- Robust 3-Amp motor provides superior power
- Tool-free accessory change system
- Speed control dial
- Extra-long 10-foot power cord
- Rubber body with three-position over mold for maximum grip and comfort
- Nice storage case
- Inexpensive compared to other 3-amp models with similar features
- Blades could be stronger
- Lack of compatible accessories
5. Black & Decker BD200MTB
Powerful 2.5-amp motor capable of powering through the toughest of applications and materials
Tool-free accessory release
Variable speed dial with six speed settings to deliver 10,000 to 20,000 OPM as needed
Comfort grips for optimal handling
13 accessories included for a variety of applications
The Black & Decker BD200MTB 2.5-Amp Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool provides a lot of bang for your buck. Not only does it have a robust 2.5-amp motor typically seen on much more expensive models, but it’s also equipped with a handy variable speed dial that allows you to cut, sand, ground, strip, and refinish a variety of materials. Capable of running at six different speed settings and producing between 10,000 and 20,000 oscillations per minute, there are very few tasks the BD200MTB can’t complete and even fewer tight spaces it can’t reach.
The value-priced Black & Decker oscillating tool also features a convenient tool-free accessory release system typically found on much more expensive models, making it a breeze to swap out accessories when needed. Speaking of accessories, the main drawback of the Black & Decker BD200MTB 2.5-Amp Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool is the lack of included accessories.
While 13 different blades and attachments may be fine for an occasional DIY job, avid handymen and DIYers will definitely be left wanting more. Nevertheless, it’s motor, speed control dial, and tool-free accessory release system make it a great entry-level oscillating tool for the average Joe.
It may be a bit noisier than more expensive oscillating tools and come with fewer accessories, but the Black & Decker BD200MTB 2.5-Amp Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool has many other redeeming qualities, namely its price. For under $60, it’s hard to go wrong with a 2.5-amp oscillating tool with a tool-free accessory release system and variable speed control dial.
- Inexpensive and a great value
- Convenient tool-free accessory release feature
- Variable speed control dial
- Comfortable to use
- Lack of included accessories
- A bit noisy
6. Rockwell RK5140K
Powerful 3-amp motor
Universal fit system
Hyperlock feature for tool-free accessory changes
Variable speed control
Microsonic oscillating technology
45-degree or 90-degree offset angle for access to hard-to-reach places
If you have yet to use an oscillating tool, the Rockwell RK5140K Sonicrafter Hyperlock will be a breath of fresh air. In addition to being a sturdy, well-built tool designed to withstand years of abuse, the Sonicrafter is powered by a 3-amp motor, providing you with enough power to easily tackle almost any job. From sawing and sanding to scraping, polishing and stripping, the Sonicrafter can be used for hard-to-reach places traditional tools can’t get to and accomplish almost any task with the right accessory.
Speaking of accessories, perhaps the greatest feature of the Rockwell RK5140K Soncrafter Hyperlock is its universal fit system, which accepts blades, sanders, and other accessories from Fein, Dremel, Porter Cable, and a myriad of other manufacturers. Although all of Rockwell’s blades perform up to par, this allows you to use accessories from your favorite brands as well.
Unlike many other oscillating tools on the market, the Sonicrafter also doesn’t require a hex tool in order to change out accessories. Not only are these tools easy to misplace, but the quick-change locking mechanism makes it possible to change out accessories in mere seconds.
While the above features are impressive in their own right, the Sonicrafter has a number of other thoughtful design elements as well, including an extra-long 10-foot power cord, speed selector, and one of the best oscillating tool cases you’re going to find anywhere.
The Rockwell RK5140 Sonicrafter Hyperlock comes with a 3 1/8-inch semicircle saw blade, 1 3/8-inch end cut blade, rigid scraping blade, carbide semicrircle grouting blade, shear attachment, sanding pad and sanding sheets, universal adapter, and hard-sided case. Although these alone are more than sufficient for most DIY jobs, as mentioned, the beauty of the Sonicrafter is its compatibility with an endless list of useful attachments.
The only downfall of the Sonicrafter is the location and design of the speed selector, which makes it awkward to adjust. The tool’s powerful motor also tends to wear out blades quicker than some of the other less powerful models out there, but this trade-off is well worth it for the added power and performance of the Sonicrafter.
The Rockwell RK5140K Sonicrafter Hyperlock tops our list for its power, versatility, and ease of use. With features absent on similar tools made by the most expensive brands, the Sonicrafter is a great oscillating tool for any novice or experienced DIYer. From cutting in hard-to-reach places to flush sanding and everything in between, the Sonicrafter can just about do it all.
- Universal fit system makes it compatible with a wide variety of accessories from various manufacturers
- Powerful 3-amp motor with variable speed control for smooth and quiet operation
- Hyperlock system allows for tool-free accessory changes
- Extremely easy to use and maintain yet powerful enough to tackle almost any job
- Comes with a great case
- Blades tend to wear quickly
- A little louder than some models
- Speed selector can be inadvertently bumped
7. Bosch MX25EK-33
Powerful 2.5-amp motor
Speed control dial adjusts from 8,000 to 20,000 OPM
Continuous circuitry for optimal speed under load
OIS 12-point accessory contact system
OSCAD1 adapter allows for plenty of accessory options
The Bosch MX25EK-33 120-Volt 33-Piece Oscillating Tool Kit is similar to the first Bosch on our list in nearly every way. For instance, both feature a strong and more than capable 2.5-amp motor and a variable speed dial for wood cutting, plunge cutting, flush cutting, scraping, grinding, rasping, and sanding a range of materials.
The Bosch MX25EK-33 120-Volt 33-Piece Oscillating Tool Kit, however, is a more complete set designed with serious DIYers in mind. With a whopping 33 accessories, there’s no stopping the MX25EK-33 from accomplishing any task that needs done.
You may need a hex tool or Allen wrench to swap out accessories or make adjustments, but many users consider this a decent trade-off for the versatility that the tool provides.
Like Black & Decker, Makita, and other top names in the tool industry, Bosch is revered by many for making quality products, and the Bosch MX25EK-33 120-Volt 33-Piece Oscillating Tool Kit certainly lives up to the brand’s reputation. With a 2.5-amp motor, speed control dial, cutting-edge OIS technology, and 33 blades and accessories, this top-notch oscillating tool is made to perform in every way. If you can look past the lack of a quick-lock accessory changing system, the Bosch MX25EK-33 120-Volt 33-Piece Oscillating Tool Kit may be for you.
- Dynamic 2.5-amp motor
- Lightweight design with soft grip areas
- Speed control dial for ideal operation regardless of the application or type of materials
- Soft start capability
- Staggering number of included accessories for tackling nearly any job
- Nice storage case included
- Questionable blade durability
- Hex tool needed for changing and adjusting accessories
How They Work
Often referred to as “oscillating multi-tools,” oscillating tools are simply power tools that generate rapid back and forth movements, allowing them to move a multitude of attachments back and forth or side to side at a high velocity to scrape, sand, cut, grind, and polish a wide array of materials in the tightest of spaces.
Although they are sometimes confused for rotary tools, because they are similar in nature and can both be used for a wide variety of applications, oscillating tools are quite different from their rotary counterparts. Rather than move accessories back and forth, rotary tools spin accessories at a high rate of speed, making them ideal for routing, sanding, and similar functions. While oscillating tools can perform these tasks as well, they require less precision and serve far more uses.
Oscillating Tool Applications
Thanks to oscillating tools, there’s no longer a need to litter your garage with several different tools to tackle a variety of DIY projects. As an all-in-one solution, oscillating tools are becoming increasingly popular amongst professionals and DIYers alike for their versatility and ability to handle an assortment of tasks, such as flush cutting, plunge cutting, grouting, sanding, buffing, refinishing, and restoring. This makes them ideal for construction, remodeling, woodworking, finish work, tile work, flooring, and so on.
While oscillating tools can handle numerous projects, the type of tool you choose and the number of available accessories will largely determine what and how much you can accomplish. Therefore, it’s vital to choose a model that can handle a specific job or a number of jobs you may need to tackle in the future.
There’s no denying the fact that oscillating tools are some of the most versatile tools out there for today’s DIYers. However, some come equipped with more accessories or are compatible with a wider array of cutters, grinders, sanders, routers, and other accessories that attach to their oscillating heads. Thus, it’s important to thoroughly read up on oscillating tool reviews and select one that’s compatible with different brands. With the right accessories, there’s almost no limit to what an oscillating tool can do. That being said, some typical applications include:
- Cutting drywall, wood, and PVC
- Grinding masonry, metal, and plastic
- Removing grout
- Sanding wood
- Stripping paint and varnish
Why You Might Need an Oscillating Tool
As you can see, oscillating tools are terrific for certain specific tasks, but they’re also problem solvers for almost any DIY situation. In fact, if you talk to a contractor or avid DIYer, they probably won’t be able to name the last dozen or so things they used an oscillating tool for. However, nearly all of them will tell you they don’t know if they could live without one.
Image Credit: Charles Hudson w/CC License
Despite being relatively unheard of a few short years ago, oscillating tools have exploded in popularity as more and more contractors and DIYers are freeing up room in their toolboxes by using these compact and easy to use multi-purpose devices. After all, why would you waste your hard-earned money on dozens of different tools that take up valuable space when a single oscillating tool will do?
There are dozens of oscillating tools on the market these days, and trust us when we say we’ve tried them all. With price, popularity, craftsmanship, ease of use, and versatility in mind, here’s an inside look at seven of the best oscillating tools for DIYers on the market today.
We may have only discussed one type of oscillating tool in the reviews above, but in addition to corded electric oscillating tools, there are cordless battery-powered versions as well. Electric models are generally more popular, but both have their pros and cons.
- Electric Oscillating Tools – With an electric model, you can run as long as you like and accomplish any job without worrying about running out of juice. All you need is a power outlet nearby. This also allows you take on bigger or lengthier projects. Unfortunately, however, electric oscillating tools are somewhat more limited in where they can go. That being said, the need for an extension cord or two generally isn’t a big deal for most DIYers, making electric oscillating tools more popular than cordless battery-powered models.
- Cordless Oscillating Tools – On the surface, cordless oscillating tools are more convenient to use. After all, you can use one anywhere you can think of as long as you have a charged battery to power it. However, you can only work as long as the battery will allow and you’re pretty much dead in the water if you can’t find the charger.
Before You Buy
As you can clearly see by now, there are plenty of things to consider when deciding on an oscillating tool. Firstly, it’s important to determine what qualities you need the most. For example, is portability more important to you, or would you prefer a corded model that can be used all day for hours on end?
Along the same lines, you should also consider the type of work you’ll primarily be doing. If you’re a professional contractor or avid DIYer, you’ll probably be better off springing for a powerful 2.5-amp or 3-amp corded model with advanced features and a slew of accessories. On the other hand, if you consider yourself an occasional craftsman or novice DIYer, a slightly less expensive and powerful oscillating tool with the necessary features may be ideal.
Everyone loves power, ourselves included, but ease of use should also be a main consideration. While we mostly chose sleek and lightweight oscillating tools for our best oscillating tool reviews above, some oscillating tools are bulkier or heavier than others and lack convenient features found on higher quality models. Since everyone ends up using their oscillating tools more than they ever expected, it’s important to consider a tool’s ease of use before pulling the trigger on a purchase.
Also check out this short guide on oscillating tools with a bunch of useful info gathered in one compact article.
Q: What are the uses for an oscillating tool?
Oscillating tools are perhaps the most versatile power tools being made today. With the right attachments, an oscillating tool can be used for plunge cutting, flush cutting, wood cutting, sanding, buffing, grouting, refinishing, and more. Needless to say, oscillating tools are incredibly popular amongst professionals and hobbyist alike for remodeling, construction, woodworking, finish work, tile work, flooring, and a ton of other applications.
Q: Can oscillating tools be useful for large projects?
Whether you pick the best oscillating tool ever made or opt for an inexpensive cordless model, oscillating tools are designed to primarily tackle smaller projects like cutting bolts and nails, cutting out drywall, trimming flooring, sanding small sections of wood, making straight-edge cuts, removing grout, and the like. The size and efficiency of oscillating tools makes them ideal for these types of applications. That being said, they can also be used for certain aspects of large-scale projects, such as a kitchen or basement remodel.
Q: Should I choose an electric or cordless model?
As discussed above, you need to consider how you plan on using an oscillating tool in order to decide on the best type for you. If you plan on tackling any long-term, heavy-duty projects, you will want to go with an electric model. If you like the idea of owning a portable battery-powered oscillating tool and don’t plan on becoming Bob Villa anytime soon, than a cordless model may be ideal.
Q: Can attachments from other brands be used?
This is an important question that most newbie DIYers neglect to ask. Unfortunately, the answer really depends on the brand. Some oscillating tools utilize universal-fit technology and can use attachments from any brand or manufacturer. Others can only use accessories made by a particular brand or a couple of different brands. Regardless of whether you’re a hobbyist or serious DIYer, it’s obviously best to choose an oscillating tool that’s compatible with as many different accessories as possible.