You can’t accuse us of not being ambitious around here. Our Managing Editor, Kenny Koehler, decided that the world needed to know the best oscillating tools on the market, and rather than test out a piddly 10 models, he brought in 25 models from both the corded and cordless worlds. If that interests you, and it should, you can read about the process and the results in our Best Oscillating Tool Shootout. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the MM45 Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool.
The company has a rich history in the oscillating multi-tool market, as they’ve been making these tools for years. Although they’re well-known as something of a DIY brand, it’s not that unusual to find Pros using them on the job site.
The MM45 gives us a good indication of why that is. Between its ergonomics, vibration control, easy blade changes, cutting speed, general noise level, and excellent value, the Dremel Multi-Max gives even the Pro-level models a good run for their money.
The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 employs a Quick-Lock feature that allows for tool-free accessory changes – a must-have feature in our book. All of the Dremel accessories use the company’s Quick Fit accessory interface. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with only Dremel accessories, though. We turn to Imperial Blades for ours since they fit almost every brand (They don’t have bi-metal options for Festool, but they do have titanium).
The Starlock system on Fein and Bosch models is our favorite, but Dremel’s system still allows us to change out blades pretty painlessly.
Overall, the Dremel Multi-Max MM45 feels comfortable in the hand. At just under 3 pounds, using it doesn’t feel like a burden, even when using it for extended periods. The design and form factor provides a good handhold when using it with either one or two hands. I like a smaller diameter handle like you find on Ridgid and DeWalt, but there are trade-offs that come with it. Overall, the MM45 takes the traditional handle style and finds a good balance to make it both comfortable and maneuverable.
The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 uses a 5.0-amp motor to achieve some of the faster cuts we saw in our testing. In 2″ thick pine using an Imperial Blades 1-1/4″ bi-metal blade, the MM45 averages 14.7 seconds for a full plunge cut. We saw some faster times posted, but not too many – and there were plenty of slower models.
It’s more than just the 5.0-amp motor, though. The MM45 can produce up to 21k oscillations per minute at a 3.2° oscillation angle. Where the increase in power comes in is when you’re looking to cut through hardwoods or other tough materials that smaller motors will bog down in.
The Dremel Multi-Max had a pretty solid showing in the vibration control department. With thousands of oscillations per minutes, vibration is a guarantee. Like a reciprocating saw, that vibration will inevitably transfer through your hands to your arm. The vibration control on the MM45 is pretty effective. You’ll still feel it, but Dremel beats out some pretty big names like Milwaukee and DeWalt.
Oscillating tools get really noisy between the vibration and cutting. Vibrating teeth chattering away against wood and metal can create loud, and almost shrill, levels of noise that can drive you to hearing protection. While we had a few cordless models come in a bit quieter, the MM45 was the quietest corded model we tested at 96 dB. You may still need ear protection on interior jobs where the sound reverberated around the room, but at least the sound levels won’t fill you with seething rage.
Price And Value
The Dremel Multi-Max makes a great impression on us when it came to value. While price isn’t everything when it comes to value, it does help out a lot. And you can pick up this kit for just under $100. It comes with plenty of accessories and a 2-year warranty. This price really is fantastic, especially when considering that it outperformed so many more expensive cordless and corded oscillating tools in our shootout.
Included In Kit
- Dremel Multi-Max Tool
- MM480 Wood Flush Cut Blade
- 2 MM482 Flush Cutting Blades
- MM450 Wood and Drywall Blade
- MM435 Drywall Jab Saw
- MM502 Grout Blade
- MM14 Hook and Loop Pad
- 11 MM70W Sanding Sheets
- 10 MM70P Sanding Sheets
- Storage Bag
At the beginning of our testing, if you’d have asked us who we thought would pull off a top 3 finish, we wouldn’t have picked Dremel. While most Pros don’t consider the brand for any primary tools, the MM45 might be the exception to that, finishing in an overall third place in our shootout.
The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 doesn’t dominate in any one category, but it consistently performs to pretty high standards. We do have a few questions about the overall build quality. While it holds its own with tools that cost 3 – 5 times more, we’re not sure how long it will hold up to job site abuse.
However, it does come with a 2-year warranty, which gives us some confidence. At $100 for the kit, I’m not as disappointed to replace it after two years as I am with a $300 tool. Considering what you get for the price, it’s a compelling choice for remodelers and contractors, and a no-brainer for DIYers.
Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool Features
- Quick fit accessory interface – for fast and easy accessory change
- Quick-boost – maintains a constant speed throughout toughest applications and materials
- Up-front on/off switch – for 1-handed use and maintains speed setting
- 10,000 – 21,000 OPM speed range – for optimal performance in a variety of materials
- Ergonomically optimized soft grip for comfort and control
- 7 ft. rubber cord for a wide working range
- Quick hold – magnetic flange holds the accessory in place for easier accessory tightening
Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool Specs
- Model Number: MM45-05
- Motor: 5.0 Amp
- Depth: 15.25″
- Height: 3.5″
- Width: 7.75″
- Weight: 2.9 lb
- Accessory Change System: Quick Lock
- Compatibility: All Dremel Accessories
- Oscillation Arc Range: 3.2°
- Oscillations Per Minute: 21,000
- Warranty: 2-Year limited
- Price: $99.00