For about 2 years now, ever since the patent ran out on Fein for its oscillating multi-tool, we have been hearing about how Bosch was going to come out with corded tool that was going to beat Fein at their own game. Well that day is upon us with the introduction of the new Bosch MX25EC-21 ($149, Ohio Power Tool) and the MX25EK-33 ($194, Ohio Power Tool) kits. How will the Bosch stack up against the Fein specificall as well as the other popular oscillating tools from Rockwell & Dremel? See more pictures in this Photo Album of the Bosch vs Fein.
Quick Look at the Features
Accessories – As a new tool vs one that has been around for many years it is somewhat understandable that the Fein has a much larger variety of kits to purchases as well as individual accessories. Bosch is however making pretty big advances with their OIS accessories in terms of developing significantly cheaper accessories and getting several other major brands to adopt the platform.
Blade Changing – The new Bosch MX23E uses a pretty unsophisticated screw with a hex wrench to change the OIS accessories. Changing a blade with the MX23E took 48 seconds and the possibility of losing the hex key is always inevitable for us. The Fein QuickIN change system is really slick and does not require a key. It took on 14 seconds to switch the blade with the Fein system although the fastener does sometimes shoot out and has almost been lost because of that. The Fein is clearly the winner over the other brands as well.
Dust Collection – When it comes to using any of the oscillating tools there are several applications dust collection might be important especially when sanding. Currently the new Bosch MX25E does not have a dust extraction accessory where the Fein Top and a few other higher end kits include their collector. We are hoping to see a Bosch dust collection option in 2011 as they further develop the OIS accessory line. The Rockwell is another one of the oscillating tools that has the dust collection option stand alone or with their higher end kits.
In terms of how these tools actually performed most have very similar stats in terms of variable speed up to 20-21,000 oscillations per minute. The amps on the Bosch are slightly higher at 2.5 amps vs 2.3 amps on the MultiMaster. In practice both tools did a fantastic job cutting and sanding, cutting nails we used the Bosch OSC138MF with both tools (using an OIS adaptor with the Fein). We were unable to determine any sort of consistent measurable difference between the two in speed after several tests. Our other big concern was the tool overheating as we have seen with others in sanding and grinding applications when using the tool for 20 minutes or more consistently. We had seen this with the Dremel and somewhat with the Rockwell however the Bosch performed very well, more in line with the Fein. After 30+ minutes of continuous sanding on a high setting the MX25E remained very usable, no need for an oven mitt. The Bosch seems to share several of the same parts as the new 7.5 amp 1380Slim grinder which might explain its powerful motor and ability to handle long periods of use. In terms of professional use it looks as though the Bosch will be able to live up to the challenge.
And the Winner is…
While the Bosch is a really nice tool and can hold its own against the Fein in many ways, the Fein remains, in our opinion, the best oscillating tool on the market. The level of refinement, versatility in professional applications and QuickIN accessory changing system simply are not matched by any of the competitors. At the same time the Fein still remains by far the most expensive, well about the cost of the Bosch. If cost is a concern and honestly when isn’t it, the Bosch does seem to offer the best performance/cost ratio of any of the different tools we tested. It really can be used in many professional situations and hopefully the OIS accessory options will continue to grow.