Dremel Multimax a low cost alternative?

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Review by EricWrights posted 07-06-2009 09:39 PM 28810 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Dremel Multimax a low cost alternative? No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

A very useful customer’s review I found.

Credit: Camera Shy (Baltimore, MD USA) at

Good Tool and Recommended (with some room for improvement)

I received my Dremel Multi-Max about a week ago and was anxious to try it out on a serious project. The Project: Cut out exterior window molding that had begun to rot. The tool did the job as expected; in fact I felt like a surgeon cutting out a tumor. However, after just a few minutes of use, the blade came off – not good. The tool oscillates at a high rate of speed which also means it vibrates. I must admit when I installed the blade I was skeptical that a simple hex nut and beveled washer would hold the blade in place. Obviously, it didn’t (and yes, the beveled washer was installed correctly per Dremel’s clear warning). I reinstalled the blade and re-tightened the hex-nut (forcefully to the point the amount of torque made me wonder how long the hub mount would last).

I contacted Dremel and they admitted the loosening blade was a known issue and a fix had been developed in the form of another washer (I presumed a lock washer, but the customer service rep was not sure). She offered to overnight express the washer to me and of course I declined the generous offer and suggested they simply drop it in the mailbox.

Aside from this mishap, I’m pleased and the prospects of the tool are very good. As the first reviewer points out, the blades that come with the kit are wood only blades. However, metal and grout blades are available. Here’s my rating of the various aspects of the tool:

1. Ergonomics – 5-star. Ergonomically, this tool feels good in your hand. Not too big with enough heft to feel like a quality tool. I have used the Fein Multi-master which is bigger and heavier than the Dremel version. However, I like the feel of the Dremel.

2. Power – 5-star. Although I cut through relatively easy-to-cut pine, the tool never felt under-powered. For most projects where you’d use this tool, I don’t think power will be an issue. The ability to cut through materials is likely to be dictated by the blade used (true of any saw).

3. Durability – ?-star. Time will tell. My guess is that the blade changing hub will be the first to go if you end up changing blades frequently.

4. Blade Change Feature – 2-star. In the era of quick blade change everything, Dremel missed the mark with a conventional hex screw setup. It is a slow process of switching from one blade to another. This is where the Fein tool has a distinct edge.

5. Carrying Case – 5-star. Surprisingly nice, well made, attractive, and can hold a few extra blades.

6. Cord Length – 3-star. It’s 6’ feet long and of avg quality. Would have been nice if longer and more rubbery than plastic (just doesn’t uncoil like you’d expect from a good quality electric tool). However, tools with long cords can introduce some baggage.

7. Dremel Customer Service – 5-star. My experience exceeded my expectations. Other companies should take notice.

8. Value – 4-star. In case you’re unaware, Fein had the patent on the oscillating saw until September 30, 2008. This is why it cost $400+ all these years. On October 1st, Dremel, Bosch, and Chicago all came out with competing versions. The Chicago version is on sale at Harbor Freight for $39 while the Bosch (which is battery operated) is just under $200. At just under $100, the Dremel is likely a little over-priced, but, still a decent value. I suspect once Hitachi, Makita, Milwaukee, Ridgid, and others get in on the act, the price will get closer to $50. Their money is made with the replacement blades.

Washer Update – I received the washer from Dremel. As I said above, their customer service was impressive; at least over the phone. The washer I receiver appears to be more of a passifier instead of a solution. It is a flat washer that is significantly over-sized; not fitting the hub’s shaft. I finally bought a right-sized lock-washer and it appears to have done the trick. I retract my 5-star Dremel Customer Service rating above, however, I still recommend the product.

$99.00 is its selling point in this economic crisis era.

-- Sawing, sanding, scraping, cutting? Let Rockwell Sonicrafter do the job. & A more general blog at

View EricWrights's profile


94 posts in 4019 days

14 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4345 days

#1 posted 07-06-2009 09:58 PM

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4353 days

#2 posted 07-06-2009 10:01 PM

I wonder just how good it is sometimes these ad’s show us what they think we want to see but I have to say next to their equivelent models $ 99.00 is not bad. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View EricWrights's profile


94 posts in 4019 days

#3 posted 07-06-2009 10:02 PM

to a1Jim:
You’re welcome. :)

-- Sawing, sanding, scraping, cutting? Let Rockwell Sonicrafter do the job. & A more general blog at

View EricWrights's profile


94 posts in 4019 days

#4 posted 07-06-2009 10:06 PM

Yeah that’s why we have to read tons and tons of reviews before making decision. Often, I have had bad experience when I went to stores and bought things right away without reading what others think about a certain product. Now I’ve learned that I should be careful and plan more before buying something. :)

-- Sawing, sanding, scraping, cutting? Let Rockwell Sonicrafter do the job. & A more general blog at

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4353 days

#5 posted 07-06-2009 10:16 PM

Eric don’t misunderstand me Dremel make great tools it’s just that the photographs displayed are very clean and clinical we know when cutting off cement, plaster ,etc it’s not like that in real life, and the blades don’t look like that five miutes after even medium use. So I am just being realistic thanks for showing us this.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View EricWrights's profile


94 posts in 4019 days

#6 posted 07-06-2009 11:23 PM

I got the picture now. That’s true. It’s really a mess when you sand things.

-- Sawing, sanding, scraping, cutting? Let Rockwell Sonicrafter do the job. & A more general blog at

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4542 days

#7 posted 07-07-2009 03:53 AM

As you said time well tell. Keep us posted. Great tool review. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Dusty56's profile


11858 posts in 4456 days

#8 posted 07-07-2009 04:00 AM

You must have an engineering degree to out smart Dremels designers and utilize a lock washer to hold a nut in place ! Go figure !! LOL Nice review : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4654 days

#9 posted 07-07-2009 04:53 AM

With the luck or bad luck describes it better, I’ll never buy another Dremel tool. Their rotary tools have a very short life so enough is enough.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 4865 days

#10 posted 07-07-2009 06:53 AM

Late last year, in 2008, I purchased this Dremel because I was going to install a new floating floor in my parents’ house and I wanted to cut the jambs so the flooring would slide in. I’ve always wanted the Fein but I can’t justify spending $300 on the tool so I was excited to see Dremel’s version come to market.

Unfortunately, the very first day that I used it on the jambs, it burned up on me and started smoking. At first, I didn’t think anything of it but the casing became very warm while using it and I hadn’t even finished cutting through the first jamb yet. I even let it cool and went onto the next. It started smoking a little. Then, I cut another jamb and it started smoking even sooner and even more. These were only pine boards. I was able to finish the job without using it anymore but returned it and got a refund. I would’ve exchanged it but I’ve NEVER had a tool burn up on me—not even a Harbor Freight (Chicago Electric) tool—and I didn’t want to take my chances. I didn’t even have the RPM’s set to their highest level.

Good luck with yours though.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 4461 days

#11 posted 07-07-2009 02:32 PM

How many of these are in the market now?

Fein, Dremel, Bosch, Rockwell, Harbor Freight did I miss any?

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View newguy's profile


59 posts in 4695 days

#12 posted 07-07-2009 04:26 PM

Just purchased the dremel and used it last nite. I was disappointed with the tool as it became very hot to the touch and very slow. I’ll have to try it again and see if it is worth the price. I’d rate it as a 3 at best.

-- Fred, Parker, Colorado

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 4164 days

#13 posted 07-07-2009 07:21 PM

I’ve been using Dremel rotaries for years, wouldn’t want to do without either of the two I have. Got the MultiMax about 6 months ago and I’m quite pleased.
If these little tools are pushed too far, and that’s not hard to do, they won’t last long. Remembering that they’re miniature tools will keep them working for many years.


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View Viking's profile


882 posts in 3963 days

#14 posted 01-05-2010 08:29 PM

For those interested, CPO Central is offereing reconditioned Dremel MultiMax for $59.99 with free shipping and one year warranty.

We have had very good results with reconditioned tool such as this as guess they all get looked over closely.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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