Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool Review
With names like Fein, Bosch, and Makita to compete with, you don’t expect to find the Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool at the top of the cordless heap. But that’s the surprising result we got in our shootout when we compiled all the data. So just how did this Lowe’s brand engineer such an impressive win?
- Outstanding cutting speed
- Excellent value
- Solid scores across the board
- Brushless motor
- 24V Max system uses a 6-cell configuration instead of 5
- Somewhat limited scope of tools on the 24V Max battery
Kobalt’s 24V Max multi-tool offers Pro-level performance at a price DIYers and Prosumers can consider. There’s no reason to pass on this model unless the 24V Max line isn’t deep enough for your needs.
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.
Overall, Kobalt walks away with a respectable 83 points for its ergonomics.
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.
It’s a pretty simple system that works well and earns a score of 80 points.
Vibration control is an area that Fein absolutely owns and that several manufacturers struggle in. The Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool holds its own, scoring 80 points and beating out names like DeWalt, Milwaukee, and even Festool.
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. That earns it 75 points.
We tested the cutting speed with a custom-built rig to keep the downforce identical for every tool. The cut itself is a full plunge cut through untreated pine. With up to 20,000 OPM and pretty standard 1.8° oscillation angle (left and right), Kobalt beat out every other cordless model we tested with a 14.4-second average cutting speed. Throw the corded models in and it was the 5th fastest overall – pretty impressive!
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. The Kobalt 24V Max Oscillating Multi-Tool will set you back $99 as a bare tool. The charger is another $40 and batteries run from $20 (2.0 Ah) to $50 (4.0 Ah). There’s also a 1.5 Ah for $16.98, but you might as well spend a few more and get the 2.0 Ah for that price. Overall, those are very competitive battery prices.
Wrapping up the whole package and weighing it against the tool’s design and performance, it earns 89 points for value.
- (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
Where Kobalt takes the crown away from the Fein SuperCut cordless is in cutting speed and value. There’s really not a category we tested that Kobalt is disappointing, making for an all-around excellent product. The only drawback isn’t the tool, but the limited line of tools currently available on the 24V platform. They have all the basics covered, though, and each of them performs at a Pro level. If your cordless needs don’t require 100 different tools, it’s a line worth your consideration.
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 bare