We hate being tardy, but we’re awfully late to the game on reviewing this entry in the oscillating multi-tool category. Skil shipped us the Multi-Tasker several months back, and we just haven’t been doing many projects that require an oscillating tool. For the projects that have required one, we’ve been using our Rockwell Sonicrafter or Dremel Multi-Max, interchangeably. Getting around to a third (nay, fourth – not to forget about our Ridgid JobMax cordless model) hasn’t been top of mind.
Now, don’t go crying any tears for us. It is pretty cool to have multiples of these tools around. It definitely saves time on swapping out blades and/or sanding pads. The downside is that we have to pick which style blades to buy, since each manufacturer has their own take on the optimal blade attachment design. Even though all of these tools offer a universal adapter, the blades designed for each specific tool work best with that tool.
Since Fein’s MultiMaster patent expired in 2009, many of the major tool vendors have been releasing their competition for the MultiMaster. Given these tools have been common for two years, we expected Skil might bake in something unique to make the Multi-Tasker stand out from the crowd.
They did. It has a dust port. (We were hoping for tool-less blade change. Shucks.) The dust port is nice, though. It’s a passive channel to the front of the tool, so collection requires a shop vac or dust management system.
Beyond the dust port, the Multi-Tasker is similar in just about every way to the Sonicrafter, which served as our side-by-side comparison model. The only other noticeable difference is that the Sonicrafter has a 2.3amp motor, while the Multi-Tasker delivers only 2.0amps. As a result (and probably also due to some internal gearing differences), the Sonicrafter makes full speed in about 4 seconds, while the Multi-Tasker takes close to 9 seconds. The Multi-Tasker also slows down a bit more when encountering resistance. Both have roughly the same output range, climbing to 22,000 oscillations/minute. It’s worth noting that competing models from Bosch and Dremel boast a full 2.5 amp motors, 25% more than the Multi-Tasker.
For a quick test, I grabbed a nearby piece of plywood and used both the Multi-Tasker and Sonicrafter to cut divots in the wood. Neither saw a big performance advantage, although the Multi-Tasker tended to slow down a bit at lower speeds (likely do the lower power).
Given the tools are very similar (save for the dust port), the real competition comes down to price. And here, Skil has a slight advantage. The Multi-Tasker commands $80 for a 12-piece kit. The Sonicrafter costs about $115 for a 37-piece kit, but the extra pieces in the Sonicrafter kit are primarily sanding pads. The blades are the most expensive parts of these tools, and the Multi-Tasker actually comes with three, while the Sonicrafter includes only two (but also adds the scraper attachment and grout remover).
Interestingly, Skil chose a larger sanding pad for the Multi-Tasker, bigger than any of the other models we have on hand. It’s about 30% bigger than the Sonicrafter’s by our estimation. Whether or not a larger pad is better depends on the application.
The Sonicrafter does feel a little bit more solid, and the motor is heftier. Still, if we were paying for one of these tools and not planning to use them on a wide variety of projects (which we are), we’d be really tempted to buy the Skil. It is a savings of about $35, which gets you at least four more blades at the big box stores.
We figure that in this case, most folks will make a decision based on price and brand loyalty. Dust port notwithstanding, there’s just not very much new or interesting in the Multi-Tasker.
Where to Buy
The Multi-Tasker, Sonicrafter, and Multi-Max are available at a wide variety of stores. Amazon serves up all three with free shipping. Here’s the links @ Amazon: