With names like Fein, Bosch, and Makita to compete with, you don’t necessarily expect to find the Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool near the top of the cordless heap. But that’s the surprising result we got in our head-to-head review when we compiled all the data. So just how did this Lowe’s brand manage to engineer one of the top-performing models?
- Excellent cutting speed
- Brushless motor
- Excellent value
- Solid scores across the board
- Brushless motor
- 24V Max system uses a 6-cell configuration instead of 5
- No kit option available
If you’re new to oscillating multi-tools, check out our beginner’s guide to what they are and what to look for on them.
- Variable speed dial
- On/off switch (no trigger)
- Brushless motor
- LED light
The feature set on most oscillating tools is pretty basic aside from the accessory change mechanism. Kobalt checks off the two major things we look for – an on/off switch (we prefer that over a trigger) and a variable speed dial. You’ll find an LED light on most cordless oscillating tools while the brushless motor is a nice bonus at this price point.
The handle design on the Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool is nice and slim, making it easy to wrap your hand around, even if you have smaller hands. Rubber overmold helps dampen the vibration and secures the grip.
At 3.5 pounds with the compact battery, Kobalt’s entry is right in the middle of the pack for weight. The heaviest cordless model was just under 5 pounds while the lightest was nearly half that at 2.59 pounds.
Kobalt keeps their accessory changes tool-free, which is an important feature our Pros insist on. It’s not as easy as the hands-free Starlock system, though. You’ll need to flip the lever around on the top to loosen the clamp. You can twist the bolt and remove it if you like, but it’s not necessary.
Vibration control is an area that Fein traditionally owns and that several manufacturers struggle in. The Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool scored well when it came out, though its ranking has slipped some thanks to new models from Milwaukee, Skil, and Masterforce.
All of the multi-tools in our shootout were pretty loud while cutting, even outside in an open field where the noise won’t bounce off the walls. The group ranged from 92 dB(A) to 104 dB(A) in our tests and Kobalt rolls in with 98 decibels.
With up to 20,000 OPM and a 1.8° oscillation angle (left and right), Kobalt is one of the fastest-cutting multi-tools we tested. It also laid down an impressive time on the PTR Oscillating Multi-Tool Test Track. At 1:40, only Bosch and Fein managed to throw down fast times, and they have the advantage of Starlock blade changes.
Here’s what the Test Track entails:
- Undercutting a door jamb
- Cutting out drywall for an electrical box
- Cutting five finish nails to remove trim
- Removing an 18-inch line of grout
- Sanding a 6-inch section of 2×4 pine stud
Along the way, we have to make two blade changes.
Price and Value
If you haven’t taken a look at Kobalt’s 24V Max lineup yet, they’re producing tools at a reasonable price point and backing them up with a 5-year warranty. They’re quietly building out a very nice lineup and there are even advanced tools with the XTR line.
The Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool will set you back $99 as a bare tool. There isn’t a kit option right now.
- (3) 60-grit sanding papers
- (3) 120-grit sanding papers
- (3) 180-grit sanding papers
- Base plate set
- (3) plunge cut blades
- Scraper blade
- Grout removal blade
- Flush cut blade
- Soft bag
The Bottom Line
As we tested the Kobalt 24V Max oscillating multi-tool, there wasn’t a single area that left us disappointed. Sure, you can get lower vibration or faster blade changes. But Kobalt nails a solid value and has excellent cutting speed. If those are your highest priorities, it’s a big win.
Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool Specifications
- Model: Kobalt KMT 124B-03
- Power Source: Kobalt 24V batteries
- No Load Speed: 11,000 – 20,000
- Oscillation Angle: 1.8°
- Tested Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $99.00