Cordless Multi-Tool Review – DeWalt Makita Milwaukee

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A multi-tool uses a variety of attachments in an oscillating motion for sanding, cutting, and scraping. In this DeWalt vs. Makita vs. Milwaukee multi-tool review we compare the three cordless models against a 3 amp corded Makita.

Models Tested

  • DeWalt Model DCS355 – UPDATE: the new DCS356 is out. Retails for $119 bare tool. Same specs as the 355 but they added a 3 speed selector switch (Correction April 2021- someone pointed out to me the 356 specs less vibration, but I couldn’t feel any difference.)
  • Makita Model XMT03
  • Milwaukee Model 2626 – UPDATE: Milwaukee has released a new top shelf Multi-tool model 2836-20. it retails for $229 bare tool. They are still selling the 2626, which retails for $129 bare tool.

Power and Speed

Using fully charged five amp hour batteries and new Dremel carbide multi-tips all of the tools performed to within a second or two of each other. The Milwaukee took first place in the three nail test. The corded Makita was faster through 1×8” beveled pine. And all of the cordless units were close enough to the corded Makita to justify ditching the cord.

Noise and Vibration

All of the tools are extremely loud. Vibration is pretty even across the board, unless you hold the DeWalt by the pistol grip, in which case it has more vibration than the others, but still good.

Size and Weight

The weights listed above are with a five amp hour battery attached.

Operation

The Milwaukee and Makita use an on/off switch and a variable speed dial. The dial can be set from 11-18k oscillations per minute on the Milwaukee and from 6-20k on the Makita.

The Dewalt has a variable speed trigger and no on/off switch. The trigger goes from 0-20k oscillations/minute which, when brought up to full speed, can be locked on high with the trigger itself being the release. The newer DSC356 has a 3 speed selector switch that locks into high at each of the three settings.

Accessories

The DeWalt uses universal, open end type, accessories available from DeWalt, Dremel, Rockwell and others. All three models have a tool-less blade change: The Milwaukee and Makita use a lever and pin system, where the DeWalt uses a much faster quick-release mechanism.

Oddly, the adaptor ring that comes with the DeWalt does not line up with Makita, Milwaukee, or Bosch accessories. Meanwhile, the Makita and Milwaukee take each other’s accessories, as well as universal blades, with no adaptor needed. Even so, I would use universal blades on all three models because they install faster than closed end blades.

Bottom Line


Of the three tested here, the Milwaukee 2626 had the best grip and was the easiest to control, but I prefer the DeWalt for its quick blade change and lighter weight. The Makita’s larger size, weight and missing work light put in a distant third place.

That said, if you want a next-level multi-tool that cuts like a reciprocating saw check out the new Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2836-20.

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For more information, and to see the tools in action, check out this video:

Hey, I'm Alex and I love tools. Having worked in carpentry and as a painting contractor I have a great appreciation for tool innovation. The freedom of cordless is amazing. These days, when not traveling with my wife Zhou, I remodel houses and write tool reviews. Enjoy the website. :)

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