Ryobi Ramps Up the Power on This Next-Gen Oscillating Multi-Tool
Ryobi’s High Performance (HP) line of 18V tools has improved performance that rides the line of high-end DIY/entry-level Pro. So far, we’ve looked at quite a few of the tools in the line and been impressed overall. With the Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool, the brand tells us to expect better performance than their previous 18V multi-tool along with a few other improvements.
- Much better cutting speeds
- Adds tool-free blade changes
- Replaces trigger with an on/off switch
- Brushless motor
- Lightweight design
- Comfortable handle design for cutting with the tool upright
- Stop-bar can be a little tricky on sanding pads
- Handle ergonomics are lost when you have to hold the tool at a different angle
Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool Performance
The Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool features a brushless motor that the company says improves the tool’s cutting speeds by up to 30% when compared to the last iteration of the 18V multi-tool, the P343.
Considering both tools have a 10,000 – 20,000 OPM rate, you might expect them to have similar performance. It’s the oscillating angle that makes the difference. The old version just had 3° of oscillating travel while the HP Brushless shifts to 3.6°. That’s the same angle many popular Pro models use.
Making a few test cuts, the difference was obvious. Digging a little deeper, we ran it through door jamb undercuts, drywall cutouts, popping nails holding trim in place, removing grout, and sanding.
Over the course of those applications, Ryobi proved that it has boosted its performance significantly. The best premium models still cut faster, but the cutting speeds we’re seeing put Ryobi on a much more relevant level than it has been.
Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool Design and Features
Ryobi sticks with the up angled handle we saw on the previous model and it’s a double-edged sword. They improved the overall comfort and it fits nicely in your hand when you’re cutting with the tool in an upright position.
That changes when you need to hold it at a different angle, though. We find that finding a completely different grip is usually more comfortable.
Variable Speed Dial
The Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool, like the P343B, also features a variable speed dial to set your speed. Thanks to an on/off switch instead of a trigger with a lock-on button, there’s no longer a “0” setting. That change away from a trigger to a switch is one that we appreciate.
Another major improvement involves the accessory change. The old model required a hex key to change out blades and accessories. Instead of that tired, old system, the Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool features a tool-free blade change. Simply pull up on the release, slide the metal stop-bar over, and flip it up.
There are a couple of quirks with the design, though. If the stop-bar pushed out another couple of millimeters, you could swap accessories with a rear cutout without having to flip it around.
Because the action requires you to both slide and pivot, it can be a little trick when you’re changing to or from a sanding pad where it recesses in. Ridgid’s design that simply pivots from the center is a bit easier there.
The Ryobi HP Oscillating Multi-Tool also features a little brighter LED light to keep your project lit up while you’re working. This isn’t a marked improvement over the last multi-tool, but we’re happy it’s here nonetheless.
Ryobi Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool Quick Comparision
|18V One+ |
|Motor||18V Brushless||18V Brushed|
|OPM||10,000 – 20,000 OPM||10,000 – 20,000 OPM|
|Angle of Oscillation||3.6º||3.0°|
|Blade Change||Tool-free||Requires hex wrench|
|Variable Speed Dial||Yes||Yes|
|Power Switch||Slide-on switch||Trigger with lock-on button|
|Length||11.7 in||11.7 in|
|Bare Weight||1.9 lbs||1.7 lbs|
|Bare Tool Price||$99||$49|
Pricing and Availability
You can pick up the Ryobi HP Oscillating Multi-Tool exclusively from the Home Depot. It is available as a bare tool for $99. While you’ll have to buy your battery and charger separately, you do get a few accessories with it. It comes with a plunge cut blade, flush cut blade, sanding pad, and 3 pieces of sandpaper. It also comes with a 3-year warranty.
The Bottom Line
While it retains the same basic look as the previous model, the Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool is a big step forward in both performance and design. There’s still some room to grow, of course, but we’re very pleased with this model’s improvements.
Ryobi HP Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool Specs
- Model: Ryobi PBLMT50B
- Motor: 18V Brushless
- Oscillations per Minute: 10,000 – 20,000 OPM
- Oscillation Arc Range: 3.6º
- Accessory Change System: Tool Free
- Variable Speed: Yes
- Length: 11.7 in.
- Bare Weight: 1.9 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 years
- Bare Tool Price: $99