The Fein Multimaster has been around for a while now and many people have purchased one from the Fein infomercial. Many others sent their money to the Rockwell Sonicrafter infomercial. Others found a less expensive oscillating tool at their local Harbor Freight store. Then there is the Dremel, the Bosch, the Milwaukee, and the list goes on. At this point there are problably some thirty brands of oscillating tools. I want one, but which one should I choose?
For the most part the comparisons will start with the pitch of the salesman's voice as he echoes the watts, the amps, the speed, and all of the features which makes his oscillating power tool "the best one on the market". We then take this report and lay it at the feet of our fellow forum members. Every little tidbit is put into the pot of public discussion and we find out who likes what and why. From here we usually make a decision based on others likes and dislikes.
Instead of looking for answers about tools, let's first look at the questions about our needs. These new oscillating tools are not really used to build something new. They are generally used to repair something, remodel something, or just generally get you out of a tight spot. Here are a few questions I would ask:
Do you live in an older home?
Do you have rental property?
Do you own a boat?
Are your children moving back in with you?
A "Yes" to any of the above questions qualifies you for an oscillating tool.
Which is the best one? Let's look at which one would be the best for your application. Is it one project, many projects or an ongoing project? If it's only going to be one project there's no need to spend a great deal of money. For less than $100 you can purchase a decent corded oscillating tool. Here you would be looking at tools such as the Harbor Freight and the Dremel. At this point the cordless tools do not have the power of the corded tools. Yet in their defense, there are times when only a cordless tool will do. Milwaukee, Craftsman, Bosch, Harbor Freight, and a few others offer cordless oscillating tools. As you move up the dollar tree, the tools become a little heavier duty. Oscillating tools have a tendancy in general, to generate a lot of heat, so the heavier the tool, the more copper in the motor, the better the bearings, and so forth. Basically, if you are going to use the tool on a daily basis, go for the Bosch or the Fein at this time. These two machines seem to be at the top of the power curve when you put them in tough cutting situations. The Fein has a quick release for the attachments, but the Bosch is a good bit less in price. In all fairness to the Rockwell, many are happy with this tool also. Check with your local tool dealer to make sure there are plenty of accessories available for whichever tool you choose.
I have used many of the oscillating tools and with the proper technique any of the tools can be made to do the work. It just depends on how much work there is to be done.
As with other tools, the blades and accessories can make a huge difference. How many different accessories do you need? Next we will look at the different accessories available for oscillating tools.