DEWALT DCS356D1 Variable 20V MAX XR Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool

Last updated date: June 24, 2020

DWYM Score
9.9

DEWALT DCS356D1 Variable 20V MAX XR Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool

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We looked at the top Oscillating Multi-Tools and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Oscillating Multi-Tool you should buy.

Overall Take

The wide variety of blades on this multi-tool can handle most any surface material thanks to the powerful motor. The quick-change lever allows users to switch between them smoothly and safely. With a long-lasting, rechargeable battery, this is one tool that can be used all day without powering down. In our analysis of 15 expert reviews, the DEWALT DEWALT Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool placed 1st when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note June 24, 2020:
Checkout The Best Oscillating Multi-Tool for a detailed review of all the top oscillating multi-tools.

Expert Summarized Score
10.0
1 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.6
1,244 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Quick-change lever allows for keyless blade changes. Cuts through sheetrock like "a hot knife through butter" with minimal dust kicked up. The rechargeable battery offers versatility and convenience.
- BestReviews
What experts didn't like
Some reports of faulty batteries that lasted only one charge. Tends to run loud, and vibration is sometimes an issue.
- BestReviews

From The Manufacturer

This 20V max* cordless kit includes one Brushless 3-speed oscillating multi-tool, 28 popular cutting and sanding attachments, two wood cutting blades, Universal accessory adaptor, one 2.0Ah battery, charger, and tool bag. The DCS356 oscillating multi-tool has a powerful Brushless motor providing up to 57% more run time over a similar brushed tool. The 3-speed selector allows users to choose their speed setting based on application. The quick-change™ accessory system allows you to Change blades quickly and easily, and with the universal accessory adaptor, it's compatible with most oscillating tool accessories. The dual-grip™ variable speed trigger provides ultimate speed and application control. The DEWALT oscillating tool guide system allows you to customize the depth or height for accurate repeatability, and the bright LED light illuminates dark work spaces.

An Overview On Oscillating Multi-Tools

Walk into any hardware store and you’re likely to see aisles full of specialized tools for all manner of home improvement jobs. There are sanders, grout removal tools, vinyl strippers and electric blades of various sizes and shapes depending on what they’re meant to be cutting. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one tool that could handle all of these jobs?

Savvy handymen know that there already is. It’s called the oscillating multi-tool, and although it’s only been a staple in the contractor’s tool chest for the past decade or so, many home repair specialists now wouldn’t dream of tackling a job without one.

So what does it do? As the “multi-tool” name implies, there isn’t much it can’t do. The basic design of this handheld device incorporates a motor that can move a blade (or any one of several accessories) in a rapid side-to-side motion. That motion is known as oscillation, and it’s well suited to portable cutting devices. Unlike circular saws and other comparable tools, oscillating cutters tend to “grab” less and are easier to handle for detail jobs.

As with any interchangeable bladed tool, a secure fit is key. Many older tools might require an allen wrench or some proprietary accessory in order to remove the old blade and sub in a new one. Newer models typically have some lever system such as Bosch’s Starlock that allows users to change accessories on the fly without unscrewing.

As with any power tool, the big attraction for most buyers is going to be the power. A good general measure of that power is the motor’s maximum oscillations per minute, typically abbreviated as OPM. Any decent multi-tool should have that number listed prominently, but it’s hardly the only measure of quality. If you’re doing light-duty jobs like drywall cutting or sanding, you might not even need all that much torque. In that case, you might look for a multi-tool with variable settings that be adjusted down. Less OPM might not cut through masonry so well, but it will make your tool easier to handle for detail work.

The next big factor is portability. If you need to tackle jobs in multiple areas of the house on the same day, you might want to invest in a cordless multi-tool. The battery will need to be recharged periodically, but there have been great strides in lithium-ion battery technology in the last few years. You can expect plenty of use out of a charge on most mid-range or better tools.

Corded multi-tools, of course, will only have a range as long as their cord. That’s fine as long you’re working indoors, or in reasonable range of an outlet — but you will want to be wary of cutting through your own cord or other mishaps in messy work areas. That said, corded multi-tools are generally able to squeeze a bit more power out of their motors. The results may vary, and might be negligible if you’re not doing consistently heavy work. Still, every little bit counts.

Most multi-tools will come in a kit with an array of fittings and blades suited to a variety of jobs. There are blades for grout removal, drywall, concrete and more plus various sizes of sanding pads, to name just a few. You may not need all of them, so pick the kit that suits your work the best. Still, if you’re just starting out in home repair you might want to grab a larger bundle. After all, why have a multi-tool if you’re going to limit its uses?

DWYM Fun Fact

Today’s oscillating multi-tools are used to handle every job from furniture finishing to tile work, but the technology wasn’t always so versatile. The first oscillating blade was invented by German electrical engineer Wilhelm Emil Fein in 1967, specifically for the purpose of removing plaster casts from hospital patients. It wasn’t until the mid-80’s that the hardware industry started to realize its true potential, and it would take until the late 2000s for oscillating multi-tools to become affordable and commonplace.

The Oscillating Multi-Tool Buying Guide

Buying new accessories for your multi-tool is fairly easy, and can even be fun. Still, check your manufacturer’s guide for details. Many multi-tools have adapters that will allow them to use blades and pads from other brands. Others are somewhat more proprietary with their gear. Whatever you do, make sure the fit is secure no matter what head you use. Operating a tool with a loose blade can result in harm to the blade, the tool — and possibly the user.