26 oscillating multitools, 1 shootout. Which model walked away with the coveted first place prize? You’ll have to click here to find out. I will, however, save you at least a little bit of suspense about which model finished out all of our performance, ergonomic, noise, and value testing in fourth place: the corded Makita oscillating tool. This multitool, while not topping the charts in any one category, does an admirable job at everything that’s really important. It has a great vibration control system, solid performance and cutting speed, and an incredible value rating. Though we can always find ways to improve a product, we have a hard time making any major criticisms of this tool, as it just works.
Like I said, we don’t have any major criticisms of the corded Makita oscillating tool. One minor tweak that Makita could work on revolves around the blade change system. As it is, you’ll pull back the lever on the top of the unit, which loosens the bolt holding the blade in place. You’ll pull the bolt out of the tool, which allows you to change the blade. Then, the bolt goes back in, and you’ll push the lever back down, locking everything in place.
It’s not a bad system, per se. When everything has locked into place, the accessory feels solid. It doesn’t take very long to change out a blade, and you won’t need a hex wrench. But, there are better blade change systems out there. The Starlock system comes to mind. In the grand scheme of things, this really is only a minor detail though.
Again, some minor tweaking could help with the overall ergonomic design with the Makita oscillating tool. It’s pretty comfortable; it doesn’t feel like holding onto a brick, and it works well for one or two hand usage. Personally, I prefer the Ridgid’s narrow handle style, and if I could change one thing here, it would be to slim down the handle just a bit more.
The corded Makita oscillating tool weighs in at 3.55 lbs. It won’t be the heaviest multitool you pick up, but it’s not the lightest either. Usually, a little bit of weight indicates that the internal components have some “beef” to them, so the weight, in this case, points to some assurance that Makita has built a tool that will last.
The Makita oscillating tool comes with a 3.0-amp motor that can crank out anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute. It has an oscillation angle of 3.2°. What does this translate to in terms of cutting speed? We recorded an average plunge cutting speed of 17 seconds through a piece of 2X pine. That’s good enough to stay in the top half among a group that has a clear advantage over the rest.
Vibration control is another key area where Makita gets it right. Makita has sunk a lot of time and energy into figuring out how to make tools that are comfortable to use, and as a general rule, you don’t feel an obscene amount of vibration with their product line. The Makita oscillating tool settles in nicely behind Fein (who owns the vibration control category) in a tie with Bosch for 5th place.
The idea of a quiet oscillating multitool might be a bit of a laughable notion, as they are just sort of violent, jittery tools, but some are still quieter than others. Makita’s body design, which limits vibration, also limits noise output. It registers 97 dB in use, which falls nicely into the middle of the spectrum.
The corded Makita oscillating tool kit will only set you back $159.00, which is a cool $20 cheaper than the cost we posted in our shootout. Moving up to a Bosch or a Fein will set you back another $200 or more. While there are cheaper models, like the $99 Dremel MM45, it’s tough to beat the combination of performance, ergonomics, and price in this Pro-level option.
Included In Kit
- Makita TM3010CX
- Sanding Pad
- 120-Grit Sandpaper
- 180-Grit Sandpaper
- 1-1/4″ Blade
- Two Adapters
- Accessory Case
- Tool Case
The Bottom Line
Finishing 4th out of 26 places is pretty doggone respectable, especially when 2 of the 3 that finished ahead of it are triple the price. Even the models that finished immediately behind the Makita oscillating multi-tool cost substantially more than it does. But presenting great value isn’t the only thing that Makita does well here.
They deliver a tool that has the cutting speed and vibration control to be the top choice of many professionals – including PTR Editor-in-Chief, Clint DeBoer. It’s not perfect and could use some help in the blade change department along with a tweak or two in the housing design. However, when you put the blade to wood, this is one of the best oscillating tools, especially if you’re looking to spend well under $200.
Makita Oscillating Tool Features
- Speed dial selects oscillation rates of 6,000 to 20,000 OPM
- Electric multi-tool relies on automatic speed controls to sustain performance under load
- Slide switch controls power for one-hand operation
- Body limits vibrations and noise for comfort
- Tool-free installation uses clamp system for security
- Included adapters accept most standard accessories
- Sanding multi-tool includes one-year manufacturer’s warranty against material and workmanship defects
Makita Oscillating Tool Specifications
- Model: Makita TM3010CX1
- Power Source: 120V
- Motor Size: 6.5 Amp
- Oscillations: 6,000 – 20,000 OPM
- Oscillation Angle: 3.2°
- Weight:3.5 lbs.
- Length: 11-1/8″
- Warranty: 1 year limited
- Price: $159.00