Bigger. Faster. Stronger. Have you ever noticed that every year, car companies use the same words to describe their new models? Words like sleeker, faster, efficient, aerodynamic, etc. When they say this year after year, it makes me wonder why they didn’t just skip the last 10 revisions and jump straight to the “sleekest.” It’s kind of like men’s shaving razors. First, they started off with one simple razor, then they added a second. Now, we are up to 5 razors that pivot and vibrate to give you the “closest shave ever”—at least until next year when they add 2 more razors.
This is why I have an appreciation for companies that don’t bother you with small updates to their products every few months. This year, Fein is releasing their newly improved MultiMaster, the Fein MultiMaster FMM 350 Q —and the good news is that it comes with some updates worth our time and money.
Fein MultiMaster FMM 350 Q New Features
- 35% More Powerful
- 50% Quieter
- 70% Less Vibration
- *100% Awesome
(*statistic added by reviewer)
The Rubber Meets the Road
In my previous review of the cordless Fein MultiMaster AFMM 14, I go over all the important features and details of this wonderful tool. In this review, I am going to look at the new features and see if Fein’s numbers line up with their performance. Since the Fein MultiMaster FMM 350 Q currently only comes in a corded version, I will be using my older model ( FMM 250) which is also corded. I will not be comparing it to other oscillating tools on the market, because to me it would be like comparing a BMW to a Hyundai. I truly believe that Fein is miles above the other companies and have “mastered” the oscillating tool.
The Fein MultiMaster FMM 350 Q Goes to 11
I have the FMM 250 Q, which I purchased back in 2005. As the name states, the FMM 250 is 250 watts. Fein has added 100 extra watts of power to the newly designed MultiMaster FMM 350 and it’s easy to see. There are times I can’t tell if it’s more powerful or if there is just less vibration. For example, when I do a plunge cut into a piece of laminated wood, I notice the power is driving the blades faster into the wood, but somehow it is still quieter because the vibration is reduced. Either way, it’s still amazing how they did this. The end result is a smoother and faster cut that leaves the tool feeling very solid and comfortable in your hand.
I tested the two units back to back with the small wood blade and found a noticeable improvement on all ends. When cutting through a 2 x 4, the FMM 250 did a great job and felt smooth. It took a little longer than I hoped, mainly because the wood was wider than the blade, but this is to be expected in real life application. When I switched over to the FMM 350, it all happened so fast and smooth I couldn’t believe it. It cut through at least twice as fast and with little to zero vibration. The noise level was roughly the same for the actual cutting process, but I did notice that the motor was louder on the FMM 250 even at the same speed. The times that I notice how loud the MultiMaster can get is when I’m underneath a cabinet or a confined space that bounces the noise and rattles my brain. In the tests that I did with the starter kit accessories, I did not find any of them that required hearing protection. However, as with any power tool, it is recommended that you always use hearing protection.
To me, the greatest improvement on the new MultiMaster is the way they redesigned the metal drive head to reduce vibration. The anti-vibration system completely separates the housing of the motor from the drive head. They used the same principles that apply to soundproofing a room where you have to keep two surfaces from touching each other. It looks like they attached the motor to the vibrating head with rubber grommets in order to reduce the transfer of vibration. This not only keeps your hand from vibrating on the motor, but it also reduces the noise level. Hand vibration was only noticeable when the motor speed was below 1, but from 2-6 I could barely sense any vibration. Nicely done guys!
Not only does the redesigned head make it more comfortable to hold, but it also allowed them get more ventilation by opening up the body and using a larger fan to keep the motor cool. I did notice on my FMM 250 that the entire unit would heat up after prolonged use. While it never got to the point where I couldn’t hold it, I was still glad they improved the internal cooling system. The motor is overload-proof, so I’m not worried about ever overheating it.
Because the newly designed head sticks out further from the body, now there is a nice place to rest your index finger and thumb for stability. The older model was level all the way from the back to the front, so there wasn’t a definite place to hold it where your hand couldn’t slip forward. I’m very impressed how the designers at Fein took the problem of making the head bulkier and used it to create a better feeling grip without increasing the weight. They also, extended the black rubber grip further around, so now it has better contact with your palm.
Fein MultiMaster FMM 350 Q Application
The FMM 350 exceeded all of my expectations and even included some new features I described above that Fein doesn’t mention. Overall, it feels just as solid as the previous models, but has a smoother operation due to the added power and reduced vibration. There’s no way to describe the feeling you get while effortlessly plunge cutting into a piece of wood. I noticed on my other MultiMaster I would have a hard time starting a smooth plunge cut because the blade would chatter on the initial contact. With the FMM 350, I was able to hit my line dead on and not leave any marks, creating a beautiful, clean cut.
Since I am a plumber, I primarily use my MultiMaster for cutting and scraping, but I did test it’s sanding capabilities just to see how compared to the FMM 250. Other than the new plastic / rubber pad, I didn’t notice a huge difference during operation. They both performed about the same to me, which I would describe as silky smooth and quiet. I’ve never used my MultiMaster for a big sanding job, but the times I needed to get into tight corners where other sanders can’t reach, it has come in handy. Honestly, I don’t see any need for improvement in the area to begin with. It runs very quiet and—as expected—has zero vibration!
My only complaint on the starter kit is the carrying case. The bag that comes with it feels thin and cheap as if the design were an afterthought. The size is also odd to me because it’s really deep and tall, so when you carry it, you feel like you’re carrying your tool in a grocery bag. It does include a separate pocket to store your blades, but I was hoping they would at least include the small plastic box like in the other kit. In my opinion, if you are going to sell a top-of-the-line oscillating tool, then you should include the hardshell case with every kit, even the starter kit. Even though Fein is miles above the rest of the oscillating tool market, they still have a stiff competition for people who like accessories and bargains.
Final Thoughts on the Fein MultiMaster FMM 350 Q
If Fein added a “sleeker” body style or made the new MultiMaster available in 3 colors, I would be a little annoyed, but I think they made some great improvements. You can tell that Fein is taking the feedback from their customers and updating their products with features we actually want and need. By adding an extra 100 watts and separating the motor from the head, Fein has drastically improved their flagship tool once again. It’s refreshing to see a company at the top of their class and still striving to improve their products.
I had a friend that used my Fein once and immediately went out to buy his own oscillating tool. He came back and bragged to me that he got his for half the price of mine and it “worked fine.” The next day, he used it on a big job and returned it because it made his hands go numb and was so loud he couldn’t take it. Some people will overlook minor flaws to save a few bucks, but the rest of us want a good quality tool that performs consistently and will stand the test of time—like that new 10 blade shaving razor with the LED light for night shaving!