Best Oscillating Tools Reviews and Buying Guide 2017

Best Oscillating Tools Reviewed

As any woodworker knows, having a solid suite of power tools helps enhance your craft in many ways. You can get things done quicker and with far less effort while also achieving generally superior results.

Today, we’ll walk you through 5 of the best oscillating tool reviews so you can decide for yourself whether one of these multi-purpose beasts would make a worthwhile addition to your arsenal.

First thing’s first then, what is an oscillating tool?

What Is An Oscillating Multi-Tool (OMT)?

Oscillating tools, frequently called oscillating multi tools (OMTs) are hardhitting power tools capable of an astonishing breadth of work on a plethora of materials.

These tools harness the vibrations kicked out by the blade that oscillates from side to side at high velocity, generally around 20,000 oscillations per minute (OPM.)

Whereas jigsaws, circular saws and reciprocating saws have blades that saw back and forth or in circular movements, these oscillations give the OMT the ability to perform tasks other power tools are simply not designed for. The added bonus is that you won’t be blighted by the kickback or grabbing that can be a real bugbear with some power saws.

The ultra-compact design of most oscillating tools allows you to access tight spots or hard-to-reach areas and carry out extremely accurate curved or straight cuts fuss-free.

Why Use an Oscillating Tool?

Oscillating tools come into their own for a wide range of applications. Here are just a few of the types of work where they come fully to the fore:

​​​​Cutting
- Flush Cutting
- Plunge Cutting
- Sanding
- Grouting
- Refinishing
- Buffing
- Restoring


If that looks like quite a list, that’s because OMTs are among the most versatile power tools on the market. Whether you’re a committed woodworker or a casual home DIY enthusiast, you’ll find the best oscillating tool so indispensable, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without one.

OK…

Now you’ve got a solid overview of what these innovative tools are and how you might use one, a shotgun look at the main types of OMTs. While many power tools come in a welter of variants, there are just 2 categories to think about so which should you opt for?

  • Corded Oscillating Tools
  • Cordless Oscillating Tools

Convenience in terms of freedom of movement is the driving reason for most people choosing a cordless oscillating tool. If you place a premium on absolute portability and a full range of motion, a cordless OMT is the smart solution.

Many of the issues with cordless tools have been overcome since the advent of lithium-ion battery technology. That said, you’ll still find that after a few years, your tool will stop taking a charge. New batteries can be ruinously expensive so factor this into the equation and don’t expect a cordless power tool to have a limitless lifespan.

Run-time is something else you’ll need to think about if you go cordless. Consider the scope of work you’ll undertake and decide whether you’ll get enough juice in one session to accomplish what you need to. Also, think about the downtime when you’re charging up. These issues may not be problematic depending on your intended usage.

The significant downside of a cordless oscillating tool is a drop in available power compared to a similar corded model. Again, think carefully about your requirements and decide for yourself if this will be troublesome or a non-issue.

The Best Oscillating Tools Reviews 2017 – Comparison Chart By Mitersawjudge.com

Maybe you’re stuck for ideas completely or perhaps overwhelmed by the seemingly endless selection of oscillating tools to choose from? If so, we’re here to save the day.

Before we kick off, here’s a snapshot of 5 of the very best oscillating tools up for grabs.

Check them out before exploring further. Any one is worthy of a place on your shortlist…

Detailed Oscillating Tools Reviews

1. Genesis GMT15A Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool

We’ve gone out of our way to select a wide array of OMTs for all budgets and requirements so we’ll get things started with an extremely inexpensive oscillating tool from Genesis.

Unlike some of the other OMT kits with a staggering range of accessories, Genesis keeps things simple. This oscillating tool is absolutely ideal for anyone who wants to try their hand with an OMT but doesn’t want the overkill of a million little pieces to bewilder them.

We’ll outline the main features so you can see at a glance how this nifty little unit can transform your home repairs without costing you a fortune…

Genesis GMT15A Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool

I bought this for the specific reason of modding retro game cases...and it worked great for that. I note use it for spot sanding. It did not come with a blade made for metal. It came with one that says bi metal...but that will not even cut a screw. The blades that come with it work well on plastic and wood though. The tool itself seems well made and sturdy.

By Martin Y.

Main Features

  • 21,000 oscillations per minute (OPM)
  • Aluminum gear housing
  • 4-pin flange
  • Sanding pad and sandpaper
  • Scraper blade
  • Flush cut blade, wood and drywall blade
  • Allen wrench

Although this oscillating tool comes in at an incredibly keen price point, build quality is rock solid. Whether you want to press it into action around the house for remodeling or for occasional work in a small cabinet shop, the rugged die-cast aluminum gear housing and overall construction means it won’t give up the ghost and will serve you for years.

The capable 1.5-amp motor will rotate the blades at 21,000 OPM. The motor runs on 120 volts and it’s not just powerful but highly dependable into the bargain.

Since it’s encased in die-cast aluminum, heat coming from the motor is rapidly dispersed meaning your OMT won’t run too hot and it will last you longer to boot.

A simple but effective 4-pin flange ensures attachments are securely kept in place.

You’ll be able to confidently tackle a nice spread of projects with this oscillating tool whether you want to build things, repair them or otherwise enhance their appearance…

Whack on the flush cutting blade and trimming away or cutting in confined areas is a breeze. The flat saw blade is ideal if you need to make cut-outs in wood or plastic, even in drywall. If you want to rip up some old flooring or perhaps prep for painting by chiseling away the exisiting layers, attach the rigid scraper blade for a quick, hard finish. For anyone interested in detail sanding, the
sanding pad is a cinch to use and you’ll even get some sandpaper thrown in. You’ll also get an Allen wrench included so you’ve got everything you need to get going right out the box.

If you prefer a flexible scraper blade or you need to tackle some grouting, these attachments are available but need to be purchased separately.

Although, as you can clearly see, you get genuinely impressive performance and flexibility from this oscillating tool, it weighs in at just over 3 pounds. You’ll be able to use the Genesis GMT15A for extended periods without any kind of strain. The compact nature of its design also lends well to working in hard-to-reach areas of any description.

One serious drawback with the Genesis is that you’ll need to stick with the manufacturer’s own attachments. While this is understandable, it’s also limiting so make sure you’re aware of this before steaming in. Finding the blades is not straightforward so don’t expect to find them on the shelves of a random hardware store.

The other common negative thread in user reviews and feedback is the noise. The Genesis is certainly not quiet but we think this is a pretty small price to pay considering the price point.

We’ll highlight now the principal advantages and downsides of this neat little corded oscillating tool. Make up your own mind if it offers what you’re looking for…

Pros

  • A multi-tasking workhorse perfect for a whole host of repair and restoration or remodeling projects
  • Incredibly cheap without a reduction in speed or general performance
  • Exceptional build quality and durability while weighing just 3 pounds for the double-win
  • Get things done quick smart with 21,000 oscillations per minute
  • Motor housed in die-cast aluminum so you’ll get less heat under load and a correspondingly improved overall lifespan
  • User-friendly flange holds accessories tightly in place
  • 30mm flush cutting blade lets you cut precisely in awkward edges or corners
  • 3-inch flat saw blade helps to make cut-outs in diverse materials
  • Multi-functional rigid scraper blade great for chipping away paint or pulling up mixed flooring
  • 2-year limited warranty also incorporates ongoing technical support which is ideal for beginners

Cons

  • Some users complain about the level of noise generated
  • Forced to use proprietary attachments which is rather restrictive so buyer beware
  • Awkward to find blades so source a supply before you buy

Conclusion

With some of the oscillating tools we review, you’ll be served up with such a range of accessories and attachments it might leave you scratching your head and wondering where on earth to start. With the Genesis OMT, on the other hand, you’ll get a bare bones kit which nevertheless offers you incredible scope for all your remodeling, restoration of home repair needs.

If you’re looking for a reliable and durable oscillating tool at a pocket-friendly price, we can’t recommend the Genesis strongly enough. If you’re looking for something with more add-ons and a resultantly higher price tag, check out some of our other oscillating tool reviews…

The 2-year limited warranty affording you access to a comprehensive level of friendly customer service and savvy technical support is the finishing flourish with the Genesis. Check one out today and start ripping things up tomorrow. What have you got to lose?

2. Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max 3.8-Amp Oscillating Tool Kit

Next up in our look at the best oscillating tool reviews is a more expensive offering from the industry colossus Dremel.

This American company was founded close to a century back and, while primarily known for its rotary tools, the MM40-05 is a superb oscillating tool to complement their range. Whether you’re a home hobbyist or a hardcore professional, Dremel’s tools are dependable in the extreme and build quality is first-rate.

We’ll summarize the main features of the Dremel MM40-05 then dig a little deeper so you can see what you think of this awesome OMT

Dremel MM40-05 Multi-Max 3.8-Amp Oscillating Tool Kit

First bought the smaller version, mostly for craft projects and loved it BUT found I needed something stronger and sturdier for house hold project. This is a reliable easy to use tool with endless uses. So happy, don't have to wait for my husband it grown sons to get things done. I am now much mor independent and love it!!

By Kyle M.

Main Features

  • 3.8-amp motor
  • 10,000 to 21,000 oscillations per minute (OPM) variable speed
  • Quick-Lock tool change
  • Quick-Boost speed control
  • 36 accessories
  • Hard carry case

While they might well specialize in rotary tools, Dremel wasted no time in joining the rush to market when oscillating tools started to gain currency about a decade back. As you’d expect from a brand like Dremel, the MM40-05 delivers in fine style while being sold at an affordable price point.

The ruthlessly efficient 3.8-amp motor punches harder than any other OTM in this class. Whatever the material or application, however demanding or inflexible, you’ll have more than sufficient power at your disposal to work with speed and accuracy all day long.

Unlike many of its competitors, the Dremel comes packing a variable speed motor. You can tweak the OPM from as slow as 10,000 oscillations per minute right up through to 21,000 at the upper end. You fine-tune the speed using a simple switch so you’ll be perfectly placed to deal with every project according to its demands rather than relying on a potentially inappropriate speed.

The 3.2 degree oscillation angle is wider than found on many OMTs which further boosts its impressive speed of operation.

In spite of this jaw-dropping performance, the Dremel is no heavyweight at just 3 pounds. Its size and compact nature means you can beaver away even in tight or hard-to-reach areas without fatigue setting in. You should note that there’s no LED light on the MM40-05 so take this into account if you plan to remodel a dark basement or attic.

You’ll get a grand total of 36 accessories with this OMT

For cutting, there’s a pair of flush cutting blades, a combined wood and drywall blade as well as a drywall jab saw. A grout blade comes in handy for all your tiling needs. A flexible scraper is the only scraping attachment you’ll get so think about this if you need a rigid scraper as there is not one included. With the hook and loop pad and sandpaper sheets for wood and paint, your bumper pack is completed. If you’re looking at that list and wondering how Dremel arrive at the figure of 36 accessories, they have counted 15 wood sanding sheets and 14 paint sanding sheets which, in our opinion, is a pretty cheap marketing trick. Nevertheless, you’ve got all main bases covered with those attachments.

While you’ll undeniably get turbo-charged power from the corded Dremel, it’s worth being aware of the fact the cord is a scant 7 foot long. Only you know if this will give you enough latitude so think about it and the logistics of using an extension cable so you don’t end up disappointed.

Another minor grumble is that the MM40-05 will only accept Dremel attachments. You will not have the same breadth of choice or ability to price-shop so be on your guard if you think this will prove problematic.

Overall, the disadvantages of the Dremel MM40-05 are dramatically outweighed by its plus points so check out our breakdown of the pros and cons then work out for yourself if this is the oscillating tool you’ve been waiting for…

Pros

  • Most powerful motor in class at 3.8 amps so you can cope with the most demanding of applications and unforgiving materials
  • Variable speed from 10,000 OPM right through to 21,000 OPM offering you the ultimate flexibility from your oscillating tool
  • Quick-Boost feature allows you to maintain a constant speed throughout for superior results
  • A staggering 36 different attachments covering just about every eventuality
  • Switching accessories is tool-free thanks to the handy Quick-Lock functionality
  • Rugged hard carry case so you can carry the Dremel around the job site
  • On/off switch front and center for easy access to speed settings
  • Light enough at 3 pounds to use one-handed for prolonged periods without undue effort
  • Choose from bare tool, tool with blade, tool with grit or tool with blade and grit depending on your needs
  • Outstanding brand heritage without needing to take out a bank loan

Cons

  • 7 foot power cord is far too short for comfort
  • Lacks an LED light so take note if you plan to work in gloomy spaces
  • 29 of the 36 accessories are sandpaper sheets which is a mean-spirited way to advertise

Conclusion

Not everyone is looking for the cheapest oscillating tool on the market and the Dremel MM40-05 represents the perfect happy medium if you want a truly multi-purpose piece of kit without needing to bankrupt yourself into the bargain.

The MM40-05 has an exceptional selection of attachments meaning whatever projects you have in mind, from remodeling through to hardcore renovation, this OMT will have you covered.

With all those accessories, a super-powerful motor, variable speed and even a carry case thrown in, you really can’t ask for much more. The Dremel MM40-05 is a serious contender for the best oscillating tool on the market today. It deserves a place on any shortlist so try one out today! There’s a 2-year limited warranty for additional peace of mind.

3. DEWALT DWE315K Multi Material Corded Oscillating Tool Kit with DWA4216 5-Piece Oscillating Accessory Kit

DeWalt is a household name in the power tool space and when you buy into this brand you know exactly what you’re getting… Top-notch tools at a reasonably affordable price all covered by DeWalt’s rock solid warranty.

It’s no surprise that DeWalt make a number of oscillating tools and we narrowed things down to make your life easier by bringing you what we consider the best of the bunch, the DWE315K.

You’ll get the standard oscillating tool kit along with a bonus 5-piece accessory pack known as the DWA4216 so you get plenty of value for money without being swamped by an excess of superfluous attachments.

We’ll show you the main features then examine this nifty OMT in more detail…

DEWALT DWE315K Multi Material Corded Oscillating Tool Kit

By far one of the best tools my husband added add to his collection. He has found so many unintended uses for this tool that it makes light work out of. This has worked great for removing grout, plunge cutting into cabinets, cutting door casing, and most of all drywall work.

By Jill C.

Main Features

  • 22,000 oscillations per minute (OPM)
  • 3-amp motor
  • LED light
  • Variable speed paddle trigger
  • 29 piece kit
  • Wood and nail blade, semi-circle blade, fast-cut wood blade
  • Universal accessory adapter

While the DeWalt’s motor might not have quite the punch of the Dremel, the 3-amp unit serves up more than enough grunt for even demanding applications. While the DWE315K is primarily for home use, it certainly wouldn’t feel out of place in a contractor’s toolkit.

Oscillating at a maximum of 22,000 OPM, you’ll also be able to embrace the variable speed trigger to bring this speed down when required. One thing we would point out is that there’s a body of feedback suggesting the DeWalt runs hot at lower speeds. If you plan to carry out most of your work at the lower end of the speed spectrum, you might want to rethink.

The angle of oscillation is fairly narrow. This means you’ll get a great deal of accuracy combined with very little vibration, a winning combo. What vibration you do experience is mainly dampened down and absorbed by the OMT rather than the end user.

An LED light is a luxury not included on many oscillating multi-tools so it’s particularly welcome to see DeWalt paying attention to this important detail. Much renovation and remodeling is done in dingy areas and, with this OMT, you’ll be able to see your way clearly as you beaver away.

In common with most OMTs, you’ll get heavyweight performance without the corresponding bulkiness so the DeWalt is perfect for extended spells of work. Everything feels comfy and balanced as you would expect from this brand.


As well as a soft carrying bag, you’ll also get a handy little box in which to stash away your accessories and keep everything close at hand.

Like most oscillating tools, DeWalt markets this as a 29-piece kit, 25 of which are pieces of sandpaper. You’ll also get a fast-cut wood blade and a multi-purpose wood and nails blade. Besides this pair of beauties, there’s also a semi-circle blade and a sanding pad. When it comes to sanding, don’t expect to power through large areas although, for smaller projects, you’ll be able to work with precision. Also, the sandpaper attaches with Velcro which can heat up and melt, a very poor element of design we’re quite surprised at. This might not be the broadest overall range of attachments but you’ve got more than enough to get you up and running…

From this baseline, universal fitment means you can choose from any attachments rather than being restricted to DeWalt’s own accessories. This is a selfless gesture and highly appreciated. Changing attachments is quick, easy and tool-free.

The DeWalt guide system means you can easily set the height or depth of cut. This allows you to make even and accurate trim cuts with no damage to the underlying drywall.

Take a quick look at the upsides and drawbacks of the DeWalt before we give our parting shot about this fine oscillating tool…

Pros

  • This model has been in production for years without being replaced so why change a winning recipe?
  • Highly capable 3-amp motor offers all the power you need for pretty much any application
  • Dual-grip trigger paddle allows for variable speed adjustment fuss-free
  • LED light is a nice touch and ideal for renovations in dark areas like basements or attics
  • Rugged construction but still light enough to wield for hours without arm ache
  • Ergonomically designed so you can work with one hand and the OMT won’t feel unbalanced
  • Mount oscillating blade at any angle from 90 degrees left to 90 degrees right for a high degree of flexibility
  • Carrying bag comes in useful if you need to take the oscillating tool out and about
  • DeWalt’s pioneering guide system is a great way to control the depth of cut

Cons

  • Some reported problems with the variable speed trigger so give it a road test and see how comfortable it feels for you
  • Prone to overheating at lower speeds
  • Motor vents poorly positioned causing debris to randomly eject towards your face
  • Blades are relatively expensive so worth considering more rigid blades from other manufacturers

Conclusion

Buying the best oscillating tool is often a case of rolling with a brand you implicitly trust. The familiar black and yellow power tools from DeWalt are tried and true solutions for the home woodworker and professional alike.

This oscillating tool is not flawless but, if you take the attractive price into account and consider the shower of benefits you’ll receive, the gripes about the trigger and vents are not really deal-breakers simply issues worth looking into.

For an efficient and versatile oscillating tool that won’t let you down, the DeWalt DWE315K merits a place on any shortlist. We have no interest in urging you to buy any particular product but we have to say this OMT is certainly a worthy candidate for the best oscillating tool around.

4. Rockwell 3.0 Amp Sonicrafter Oscillating Multi-Tool, with Variable Speed: 31-Piece Kit with Bag – RK5121

Rockwell makes a number of oscillating tools and we’ve selected the Sonicrafter RK5121 as the best of the bunch. Like all our chosen OMTs, the Rockwell is a corded tool meaning you’ll get a great deal of power on tap even though you’ll be tethered to an outlet.

This is a facelift model boasting 3.2 degrees of oscillation and you’ll get a bumper selection of accessories for an extremely reasonable cost.

We’ll run down the Sonicrafter Universal Fit System and much more after a quick look at the main features of the Rockwell RK5121

Rockwell 3.0 Amp Sonicrafter Oscillating Multi-Tool

You couldn't ask for a higher quality or well-built tool... I was quite surprised at the quality and the solidity of this product and I am looking forward to many years of use. The ease at which you change the various tools is a very large plus with this particular system and you will like it.

By Deryl T.

Main Features

  • 5000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute (OPM)
  • 3-amp motor
  • 3.2 degrees of oscillation
  • Universal fit system
  • Sanding pad and sanding sheets
  • Scraper blade
  • Wood end cut blades
  • Soft carrying bag

A combination of a 3-amp motor generating adequate power for most refurbishing and restoration work in the home and the variable oscillating speed makes the Rockwell a pretty competent OMT.

One of the key attractions with the RK5121 is the Universal Fit System. Unlike some oscillating tools that lock you into proprietary attachments, you’ll be able to avail yourself of accessories from any brand putting you in the driving seat.

While received wisdom might have you believing that a wider oscillating angle leads to more vibration, Rockwell has included a nifty counterweight system. This means you can cut with more speed and less tiresome vibration for the double win.

This is another variable speed oscillating tool so you can get started slowly and work your way up to 20,000 oscillations per minute with ease. This gives you a nice degree of control leading to a great finish whatever the application. You’ll get an exceptional 21 pounds of force packed behind each cut so, while not an industrial power tool, for the home user that’s more than enough oomph.

If you need to strip away paint or adhesive, the scraper blade is ideal. Your sanding needs are dealt with thanks to the sanding pad and sheets. As with all oscillating tools in this class, sanding is better pegged to smaller finishing projects. You’ll get some wood end cut blades as well as the F30 Sonicrafter. It’s the 26 sanding sheets that bump the kit up to 31 pieces. This is an almost universal marketing ploy to boost perceived value so don’t kid yourself into thinking you get 31 discrete attachments!

Blades are expressly designed not to slip whatever angle you use and the Hyper Lock system in place ensures that swapping accessories out is a cakewalk.

Despite the significant grunt behind the Rockwell, it’s light enough that you won’t feel uncomfortable wielding it for lengthy stretches. The OMT is comfy in your hand and very nicely balanced into the bargain.

As an added extra, you’ll get a decent 1-year limited warranty so you can buy without a headache.

Before we wrap up with our overall verdict on this cheap but effective oscillating tool, a shotgun summary of where it stands and falls…

Pros

  • Potent 3-amp motor more than powerful enough for most normal applications
  • Variable speed from an ultra-low 5,000 OPM to its maximum 20,000 OPM offering you huge scope
  • Angle of oscillation 3.2 degrees ensures you’ll cut rapidly without sacrificing precision or accuracy
  • 31-piece kit with the F30 Sonicrafter, scraper blade, sanding pad and sheets as well as wood end cut blades along with a soft case to keep everything safe and sound
  • Use other brand’s accessories thanks to Universal Fit System so an adaptable OMT
  • Blades designed not to slip and changing is tool-free due to Hyper
  • Lock system for safety and convenience rolled into one
  • Exceptional value for money so makes sense for anyone with a limited budget

Cons

  • Much more suited to home use than commercial purposes but the price reflects this
  • There are some questions raised about build quality and durability
  • Check that all parts are intact and functional as some shipping issues

Conclusion

When you’re looking at oscillating tools, it’s essential to think about intended use. It’s pointless to invest in a hard-hitting professional tool if you’re a casual home DIY-er who’s going to use it twice a year. Equally, if you work long hours on the job site, you’ll need a rugged high performer…

The Rockwell flatters to deceive in the sense you might check out its powerful motor and variable speed and mistakenly believe it’s cut out for ongoing industrial use. While we won’t knock it’s overall performance, don’t expect this OMT to last for a decade or to serve as a daily contracting tool. For home use, though, it’s more than good enough for a wide number of applications.

If you are operating on a limited budget but you want a nimble and versatile oscillating tool, give the Rockwell a shot.

Keep your expectations reasonable and you might be very pleasantly surprised!

5. PORTER-CABLE PCE605K 3-Amp Corded Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit with 31 Accessories

Last but by no means least in our best oscillating tool reviews is the PCE605K from the highly reputable PORTER-CABLE.

As with anything you buy from this manufacturer, you’re treated to a nice mix of top-tier functionality without the eye-watering price tag you might expect. PORTER-CABLE power tools are ideal for the home DIY-er as well as smaller contractors looking for great functionality at an affordable price point.

Before looking at where this OMT excels, here’s what you’ll get in the package…

PORTER-CABLE PCE605K 3-Amp Corded Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit

The PORTER-CABLE PCE605K 3-Amp Corded Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit meets all my expectations as a excellent addition to my tool set. Cuts great: clean and fast. The quick release blade mechanism is both a plus and a minus. Plus: easy quick changes of blades, MINUS: the patented design means paying a premium for replacement blades. Yes you can buy "bolt on" adaptors then use cheap blades but then you defeat the purpose of the "quick change" design!

By Shane R.

Main Features

  • 10,000 to 22,000 oscillations per minute (OPM)
  • 3-amp motor
  • Depth cutting guide
  • Sanding platen and 25 sanding sheets
  • Scraper blade
  • Wood end cut blade
  • Wood/metal end cut blade
  • Flexible scraper
  • Kit box

This variable speed oscillating tool from PORTER-CABLE rotates at anywhere from 10,000 OPM on up to an extremely impressive 22,000 oscillations per minute to best cope with any project or material. There are 6 settings on the user-friendly dial.

The 3-amp, 120-volt motor has a 2.8-degree oscillation angle. Although this angle might seem a little on the low side, in return you’ll get a nice tight cut you can control with ease. There’s also very little by the way of vibration.

Whether you want to undertake some cutting or sanding, scraping or grinding, the attachments make all of these applications a breeze. The depth-cutting guide helps you to exercise maximum control at all times. There’s a wood end cut blade and a wood/metal end cut blade in line with most similarly-priced oscillating tools. The flush cut blade is perfect for tighter cuts. For sanding purposes, you’ll get a platen and a fairly standard 25 sheets of sandpaper. A flexible scraper completes the ensemble.

Comfort should always be uppermost with power tools you’re likely to use for extended times. The innovative grip is labeled a 3-position overmold and it certainly feels great. We will point out that unless you’ve got very large hands, operating it one-handed is a bit of a stretch. It’s far bulkier and a little more unwieldy than much of the competition.

The 10-foot power cord is a decent length and you should be able to work without feeling shortchanged or restricted in your movements.

The PORTER-CABLE is not without its flaws. If you intend to work the OMT hard, you’ll find it can get quite hot. This can be easily mitigated by taking plenty of short breaks.

If you plan to carry out large volumes of sanding, keep your eye on the pad which can melt if put through its paces too vigorously.

Another tedious limitation is the need to use PORTER-CABLE blades. We always prefer manufacturers that leave the choice in your hands but this is by no means a deal-breaker. None of these drawbacks are reason enough not to buy the PCE605K when you contrast them with the myriad advantages.

We’ll rattle off a summary of the good and bad elements to this outstanding oscillating tool now before we round out our reviews and move on to a handy, concise oscillating tool buying guide…

Pros

  • Variable speed from 10,000 OPM through to 22,000 at the top end affording you a controlled range of operation
  • 3-amp motor rolls out power alongside durability for a hard-hitting OMT built to stay the distance
  • Cutting, sanding, scraping and grinding all taken in its stride giving you all the repair and renovation tools you need in one compact package
  • Easy to hold thanks to 3-position over-molded grip
  • 2.8 degree oscillation angle is a nice happy medium delivering speed without compromising accuracy
  • Slimline design gives you the ability to work in confined spaces without contorting yourself
  • ​​​​Depth and cutting guide means you can cut with a high level of accuracy every time
  • 90-day money back guarantee is the ultimate confidence booster
  • 3-year limited warranty coupled with 1-year service contract for total peace of mind

Cons

  • Runs fairly hot if you use the OMT for long, unbroken spells so be sure to give it a rest
  • Sanding pad prone to melting if overworked so proceed with caution
  • Limited to using PORTER-CABLE blades
  • No forward compatibility with newer PORTER-CABLE tools

Conclusion

If you have some remodeling or repair jobs at home, the PORTER-CABLE is a wonderful way to grab all the kit you need for your project without spending thousands on a full range of power tools that may never again see the light of day. If you’re a small contractor looking for a dependable, no-nonsense oscillating tool that won’t let you down, it’s an equally smart choice.

The 90-day money back guarantee shows clearly the confidence PORTER-CABLE has in its OMT. Simply give it a road test and, if you find it’s not for you or disappoints in any way, send it back for a no-quibbles refund. Beyond that, you’ll get a great 3-year warranty partnered with a year-long service contract so you’re covered in all senses.

That said, we firmly believe if you try the PORTER-CABLE, you won’t be returning it in a hurry!

Check out this great value oscillating tool right now since you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.

OK…

Now we’ve wrapped up our oscillating tool reviews, we’ll give you some guidance on getting the right tool for your needs after an exploration of who needs oscillating tools in the first place…

Who Needs Oscillating Tools?

Best Oscillating Tools - buying guide

It would probably be easier to ask “Who doesn’t need an oscillating tool” since they step in to take care of such an all-encompassing variety of projects.

Oscillating tools are a prized possession at home, in the workshop or out on the job site.

Anyone with any interest in woodworking, remodeling, restoration or repair will find a use for one of these multi-tasking workhorses. To look at, they don’t seem like much and you might be scratching your head wondering if you really need one. Once you’ve invested in the best OMT, you’ll be asking yourself how you ever managed without one.

While you can get individual power tools to accomplish each of the tasks performed by an oscillating tool, that really is the core reason to buy one rather than an excuse not to…

Which would you prefer?

Going out and buying 6 or 7 different expensive tools?

Or…

Investing in one portable, compact little unit that takes care of all of these needs by a simple swapping out of attachments?

Buying the best oscillating tool really is a no-brainer. It’s more appropriate to think of which particular OTM to buy. To that end, we’ll move on now to our oscillating tool buying guide to take all the sting out of your purchasing decision…

Buying Guide

As with any power tool, price plays a important role but your decision should not be driven entirely by the bottom line. Think about overall value for money. Use the general benchmark that holds good for all power tools: buy the best tool for your specific requirements that you can comfortably afford. Accumulating a tool kit is a lifetime’s work so don’t rush in and compromise yourself.

It takes relatively little time or effort to sit down and familiarize yourself with the oscillating tools in general so you can make a more informed decision.

Read through plenty of comparisons and reviews so you can whittle down your options to a manageable shortlist. Any of the 5 OMTs above make a smart choice depending on your needs and budget.

Once you’ve got that nailed, probe into each of the models in serious contention for your hard-earned money. Pay particular attention to any reported downsides. A random negative comment here and there holds little weight. Many such reviews include unfounded and destructive criticism from a competitor or time-waster. If, however, you see a common theme consistently reported, noise or build quality for example, there’s rarely smoke without fire so take this into account.

Once you have all those general areas covered, it’s time to double down and think how your chosen oscillating tools acquit themselves in the following key areas…

 

What To Consider When Buying Oscillating Tools

  • Speed
    Speed is undoubtedly one of the most crucial elements to ponder when you’re looking for the bets oscillating tool.

    OMTs cut most effectively when they oscillate rapidly. You’ll enjoy a better rate of cutting whatever the material if your tool has the ability to ramp up the OPM rate to 20,000 or more.

    The exception to faster being better, understandably, is when you’re engaged in precision work. To this end, looking for a variable speed oscillating tool gives you the best of both pace and accuracy.

    The angle – how far the accessory can travel from side to side – also has a significant impact on overall performance. The greater the travel here, the more aggressive the cut and the quicker you’ll get the job done.
  • Power
    Power and speed are inextricably linked with oscillating tools. Although power is undeniably important, it doesn’t occupy quite the same position as raw speed.

    For most normal applications, there’s not a chasm of difference between a 2-amp motor and a 3-amp alternative. The power only really has an impact if you’re really punishing your OMT, for example on a job site where you’re working throughout the day on often challenging projects.

    Having said this, it doesn’t hurt to have plenty of power on tap so opt for the most potent oscillating tool you can easily afford. It’s better to have that power in reserve than to come up short when you need it and there’s nothing left to give.
  • Ergonomics and Comfort
    Any power tool you’ll use on an ongoing basis needs to be designed with comfort in mind.

    All of the oscillating tools we reviewed offer a very user-friendly experience and they’re nicely balanced, intelligently designed tools.

    Look for an OMT with a textured grip that won’t leave your hands blistered. Linked to the overall idea of comfort is the noise and vibration that will come your way…
  • Noise and Vibration
    As with power and speed, there’s a connection between noise and vibration, too. In this case, it’s more directly linked…

    The more vibration your oscillating tool generates, the louder it will be. More vibration and noise tend to be by-products of powerful OMTs.

    The more technology advances, the more this vibration can be dampened down through engineering so there’s progress on this front but many oscillating tools still fall down in this area.

    Vibration is more of an issue than noise if it’s excessive. You can wear ear defenders to shut out some of the whining but there’s not much you can do if your oscillating tool ends up hurting your hands and arms.

    We can’t highlight enough the importance of choosing an oscillating tool that has a reputation for running without too much vibration. It can transform your operating experience so proceed with caution.
  • Weight and Balance
    With any handheld power tool, making sure it sits nicely in your hand is a prime consideration.

    Don’t fixate purely on getting the very lightest OMT you can find. Although it will feel welcome at first, if too much vibration sets in, that will soon become troublesome in its own right.

    Choose an oscillating tool that’s too heavy for your strength level and you’ll suffer fatigue.

    As with many things in life, striking a happy medium is the best MO. Try to find a mid-weight OMT which has a balanced feel and you’ll be set to work all day.
  • Accessories and Attachments
    The attachments at your disposal fall into 5 broad categories:

    Cutting: A range of cutting blades cater for work with softer materials while sawing blades are ideal for wood or metal
    Sanding: A sanding pad is your best friend if you want to sand down some furniture. These come in many different materials
    Scraping: If you want to get rid of old layers of paint or tile adhesive, you’ll want a scraping blade. These blades can be rigid or flexible
    Polishing: A polishing pad is use after sanding when working with stone or stainless steel. These impart a professional finish without too much elbow grease required
    Grout Removal: Carbide or diamond-edged blades help you to remove grout without a headache

    As with all aspects of your buying decision, focus on what you want from your oscillating tool so you can choose one that best meshes with these needs.
  • Type of Work
    Equally critical is to be clear about the kind of work you’ll be doing with your oscillating tool.

    Whether you’re building something, conducting repairs or buffing things up and restoring them to their former glory, your intended purpose will dictate the type of OMT you should buy. Be honest and use this information to help you whittle down the likely candidates.
  • Price
    Think about how much you can afford to spend and stick to it. Under no circumstances stretch yourself financially in order to get a pricier oscillating tool than you can easily afford.

    In general, spending more means you’ll be plagued by less vibration and you’ll get a comfier OMT. Performance and scope of work is also likely to be enhanced.

    The bottom line, though, is that you can also pick up some highly capable and extremely affordable oscillating tools. We’ve included some budget options in our reviews so there’s something for every pocket.

    Don’t obsess over price and consider it as one element of your decision but by no means the most important one.

Usage and Maintenance Tips

Maintaining OTK

Using an oscillating tool varies considerably depending on the application so we’ll give you a few handy hints to get you started…

  • Straight Cuts: When making straight cuts, use a straight edge to guide you but keep your eye on the blade and make sure it doesn’t come into contact with your guide then veer wildly off course
  • Round and Straight Blades: For plunge cuts, using straight blades works best. Longer cuts respond better to a round blade. Periodically wiggle the blade out to avoid burnout
  • Trim Removal: If you pull the trim very slightly away from the wall, you can slip in your blade and cut quickly through using a metal-cutting blade for a neat finish with minimum effort
  • Be Careful with Metal: If you don’t want to wreck the blades on your OMT intended for softer materials, use bimetal blades when you’re working with metal
  • Be Creative: If you’re struggling to perform certain tasks – cutting pipes in a tight space, for example – break out your oscillating tool to save the day

As far as maintenance goes with oscillating tools, there’s really nothing much to worry about.

Take the usual precautions of ensuring your tool is kept as free of sawdust and debris as possible, make sure all blades are in good nick and your attachments stored away when not in use and your oscillating tool should give you many years of dedicated service.

CLOSING WORD

We very much hope you’ve found this exploration of the best oscillating tools useful and informative.

If you take on board some of the above advice to simplify your buying decision and consider the 5 options we’ve presented as a workable shortlist, getting down to business and finding the best oscillating tool for your requirements needn’t be either tough or time consuming.

Come back next week for our next in-depth guide to milling machines.

Reach out any time with your queries or feedback. We’re very responsive and we’ll always get back to you in a timely fashion.

Now break out that oscillating tool set, fire up the attachments and get down to business!

Before we wrap for the day, we culled through the most frequently asked questions about these invaluable power tools so you can see at a glance some of the common issues…

FAQ:

1) WHAT DOES OPM MEAN?

OPM is the abbreviation for oscillations per minute. This refers to the number of vibrations produced by your OMT in 60 seconds. Self-evidently, the higher this OPM rating, the more powerful your oscillating tool.
2) WHY DO YOU NEED A SAWING BLADE ON AN OSCILLATING TOOL?

These attachments help you to make an assortment of cuts in multiple materials. From wood to parquet, wood paneling to plastic and laminate to drywall, oscillating tools packing the right sawing blade open up an enormous range of applications so look for the best blade for the tasks you have in mind.
3) WHAT IS A FLUSH CUT BLADE USED FOR?

These blades are tailor-made for cutting baseboards and floor trim. You can also press them into action for cutting door jambs, windowsills and wall trim. A top-notch flush cut blade lets you access all manner of tight spots while delivering extremely precise cuts.
4) IS A SCRAPER BLADE NECESSARY WITH AN OSCILLATING TOOL?

It certainly is if you want to remove any old coats of paint or adhesive when prepping surfaces for remodeling. You’ll also be able to chip away silicone and acrylic and any rogue carpeting or vinyl. If you plan to do this kind of work, a scraper blade is essential.
5) WHAT IS A SEGMENTED BLADE?

The core purpose of a segmented blade is to cut out grooves in construction materials like porous concrete or plaster. These blades are also useful if you want to use your oscillating tool to carve out some tile joints. With the right segmented blade, you’ll be able to work with softer materials like leather or polystyrene. As with all oscillating tool attachments, pay close attention to the jobs you’ll be undertaking and make sure you shoot for attachments to match.
6) HOW ABOUT A CARBIDE RASP?

For rough sanding, carbide rasps are available in finger shapes or triangular format. Whether it’s wood or stone, adhesives or filler, opt for a carbide rasp and get that rough sanding done quick smart.
7) WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AMPERAGE AND VOLTAGE?

Amperage is a measurement of the flow of electrical charge in your OMT. Voltage refers to the energy that makes the current flow. 
8) HOW DO ROTARY TOOLS AND OSCILLATING TOOLS DIFFER?

A rotary tool spins the accessory or attachment at high speed. You can work quite precisely but you’ll still need to focus on control. Rotary tools can polish, carve, clean and rout just like oscillating tools.
Oscillating tools move the accessory or attachment back and forth in a quickfire motion. You’ll be able to take on larger projects and you’ll require less effort than if you’re using a rotary tool. As well as the applications it shares with a rotary tool, with an oscillating tool, you’ll also be able to scrape, cut, sand and grind.
9) WHAT’S A CONVEX CUTTER?

This is a specialty blade for an oscillating tool that offers a great solution for cutting softer materials with ease. If you’re working with leather, foam or caulk, get yourself a convex cutter.
10) WHAT’S A CONCAVE CUTTER?

This is very similar to a convex cutter but with a concave cutter, the arc travels in the opposite direction. This lends itself to more precise work. Applications are the same as with a convex cutter.
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