Bosch MX25 Oscillating Multi-X Review vs Vintage Fein MultiMaster

Bosch mx25ec 21 Kit


The last couple years have seen so many new oscillating tool releases that I wouldn’t be surprised to find a press release saying that Starbucks was bringing one to market. They’d probably call it the Venti-Double-Decaf-Oscillatiatoccino. Catchy, huh? Rest assured if Starbucks starts selling it, we’ll review it. Imaginary Starbucks multi-tools aside, we’re actually here today to review Bosch’s new corded Multi-X oscillating tool, in particular, the MX25EC-21 kit. As an added bonus, we’re giving away our review tool and kit in this month’s free stuff giveaway! Since the new Multi-X is one of the more serious corded multi-tool contenders, we also thought it would be useful to make some comparisons with the original and still highly-regarded Fein MultiMaster. One disclaimer here, the Fein MultiMaster we used in our comparison testing is a bit old, and it’s pre “QuickIn” (Fein’s quick, tool-less accessory change mechanism). Since the MX25 lacks a quick-change feature (more on that later), it’s not a huge disadvantage however.

man purse

Man purse fans will rejoice at the use of a soft case for the multi-x

First, lets start with the unboxing. The MX25EC-21 kit includes a soft case (which also has a plastic box inside to safely house the OIS accessories). Soft cases, also known as a Man Purse to some, have both fans and haters. I’m secure enough with myself to say I don’t mind a good man purse. Take this one for example, it’s got velcro to keep your tool in-place, outside pockets for quick access to more tools, a metal rim that creates a wide opening to the bag, and a little accessory box inside to keep blades from chewing up your prized Multi-X. However, if you like hurling your tools into the back of your truck from a Trebuchet 300 yards away, you might be disappointed the Multi-X doesn’t have the heavy plastic case (or metal like my vintage model) that Fein uses.

bosch mx25 multi-x and fein multimaster

Bosch MX25E and Fein MultiMaster mano y mano

Once out of the soft case, I found the feel of the MX25 to be extremely solid, not unlike the Fein 250 MultiMaster. However, with a solid feel comes some weight. I conducted one of our typically unscientific tests and weighed both the Fein 250 MultiMaster and the Bosch MX25EC while attempting to mitigate any weight from the actual power cords. The Fein weighed in around two pounds nine ounces, and the Bosch at around three pounds four ounces. If you’re doing a few plunge cuts or quick projects, the weight difference is unlikely to really matter. However, if you’re planning on sanding for long time periods, the additional heft of the MX25 might be noticeable to you. On the plus side, you’re arms will look more ripped. Part of the reason we didn’t want to weigh the cord is due to the length difference between the two tools.

bosch power cord

Bosch engineers one-upped Fein with a pivoting power cord

In an era where tool companies try to minimize on materials used for tools, Fein bravely includes a 16 foot power cord with their MultiMasters. The Bosch MX25EC includes a more traditional length 8 foot cord. Even though using an extension cord is not the end of the world, I love the fact that I almost never need to use one with my Fein MultiMaster. Some might prefer the easier storage and less tangle with Bosch’s shorter cord. Although it doesn’t feature a Venti length power cord, the Bosch MX25 does have a unique ball-joint feature where the tool meets the cord. The little bit of play you get there makes the MX25 more nimble and easier to work with in tight spaces or simply when maneuvering the tool around.

From a numbers standpoint, the Fein runs at 11,000 to 20,000 OPM (Oscillations Per Minute) and the Bosch MX25 at 8,000-20,000. Since I pretty much never run my oscillating tools at the lowest setting (although I’m sure there’s a reason for it), I’ll go out on a limb here and say their OPM stats are pretty comparable. Interestingly, the power dial on the Fein runs 1-10 and on the Bosch runs 1-6. Clearly Bosch engineers/marketers did not study this critical scene from the movie Spinal Tap:

Speaking of volume, I also ran some tests on how loud these oscillating tools operate. The whine of an oscillating tool can get annoying, especially if you’re sanding or grinding for extended periods of time.

bosch mx25 volume dial

HomeFixated (and Spinal Tap) to Bosch - This should go to 11

I ran sound level tests on both the Fein and Bosch tools at their lowest and highest settings:

Bosch MX25E (No Load) – 60db to 73db
Fein 250 (No Load) – 73 to 80db

The Bosch was substantially less noisy than our vintage Fein, and, at low speeds, the MX25 was downright quiet. Of course actual volume in-use will vary depending on what you’re cutting, scraping, sanding or grinding.

Here’s the breakdown of available kits, straight from Bosch:

The Bosch MX25E will be [is] widely available at leading tool dealers and home centers in March 2011 in two different kits, the MX25EC-21 and the MX25EK-33. The MX25EC-21 includes 4 high-quality cutting, grinding and scraping accessories, 16 sanding accessories, an accessory box and carrying bag. The MX25EK-33 includes 6 high-quality cutting, grinding and scraping accessories, 26 sanding accessories, an accessory box and carrying case.

ois accessories

Bosch includes OIS accessories to get you cutting, sanding, scraping and grinding

Once I got over the fact that I could only crank it up to “six”, I found the Bosch MX25EC-21 to be a very solid contender. The lack of a quick-change tool feature is a bit of a disappointment, despite the really fantastic feel you get with OIS accessories (they are rock-solid by the way, especially compared to old style accessories which always seemed to come loose). With so few oscillating tools offering a quick change (I can only think of Fein and Porter Cable off the top of my head), it’s a feature that could have really set the MX25EC apart from its competitors.

Performance-wise, these are great oscillating tools. Both the Fein MultiMaster and the MX25 handled plunge cuts in hardwood with ease and very minimal vibration. Random oscillating tool tip: As with many tools, you want to let them do the work. If you’re feeling strong vibration from the tool, take a deep breath, relax and lighten up on the pressure. The MX25 paired with OIS accessories has a cutting action that’s remarkably smooth and predictable, exactly what you want in an oscillating tool. An optional dust collection accessory is also available if you like to keep things tidy and breathable.

Our sponsor Ohio Power Tool always has a great stash of Bosch tools on hand. They’ve got the Bosch MX25EC-21 for just a hair under $150. Definitely a bargain for a high-end multi-tool like this.

Buy Now - via Ohio Power Tool

You can also find Fein MultiMaster kits on Amazon starting at about $100 more.

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Comments

  1. I have owned a number of Fein tools for many years. I still have the MSx636.Multimaster. I think it goes back at least ten years. My newer multimaster was in a fire so I sent it to Fein and chose their trade in for the Q model rather than a rebuilt. I really love the Q model but hate the box it came in. So happy that the old metal box was not in the fire. Does anybody want the box? it’s about to go out in the rubbish! I have a lot of Bosch tools but I think that the Multimaster still leads the pack and is worth the price.

  2. Since I have this model now I can comment on two questions raised above:

    - The heat on the Bosch is noticeable but not so much that you think the tool is bogging down. I would imagine the gears do some serious mashing when cutting drywall like I was so I am not surprised but the built-in fan seems to blow a lot of air out of the tool and it seems well-cooled. The manual recommends that you keep your hands away from the cooling ports and this is very true to life. If you hold the tool over the vents you can feel the hot air coming out even through your gloves.

    - As far as needing one I feel that it upped my game to the next level now that I have one. When I did a demo on my bathroom I used it to flush cut the subfloor, cut through vertical studs, peel away laminated drywall and chop through nails. I could have done all these things with a chisel and a hacksaw but it would have taken easily three times as long. The angled cuts you can make with this can save you some serious time and effort.

    One thing I do agree with is the quick-change function. I was using four different bits and switching back and forth often so I had to keep the hex key handy. I am thinking about getting a hex screwdriver just for changing the bits. Maybe the next version of OIS will have something like that. My two cents.

  3. Michael Andrus says:

    I recieved a craftsman multi tool as a gift. Wore it out in less than a year. working on second one now.(sears replaced with new) As a contractor, I have found extreme uses for this tool. I just purchased a bosch online. Seemed like the best for the price. Purchased a MX25EL-37. Cheaper brands and cordless multi tools get extremely hot under load and I understand that the bosch as well as fein do very well under heavy long usage.

  4. I’m glad to see this article, as my old Fein (10+ years) just had its first problem ever, and I’m weighing repair bill vs a new tool.

    Did you test or compare heat buildup in the motors?
    It’s never been an issue w my sturdy old Fein, but I’ve seen the motors on cheaper tools (Dremel, Chicago) get hot very quickly.

    • Hi Joseph. We didn’t specifically test heat built-up, sorry. However one huge difference between your 10+ year old Fein and the newer models like Bosch is how the accessories attach. With your old Fein, you likely just have a metal bushing and allen bolt that hold the accessory. I find those inevitably loosen under heavy use. The newer OIS from Bosch keeps the accessory locked in place. It’s simply a much more positive connection between the accessory and the tool. As much as I love my old Fein MultiMaster, I’d consider that reason enough to upgrade from your older model, whether it’s to another Fein, Bosch, Milwaukee, etc.

  5. Jerrick says:

    “But this one goes to 11.” Love it.

    I have Rockwell’s version of the multitool. I saw the new Bosch at the big orange store recently and thought it looked great. As a fan of Bosch tools, I wish I would have held off on the Rockwell and purchased the Bosch. I much prefer Bosch’s OIS attachment method.

  6. Everyone I know seems to have an oscillating tool or some variety and loves it. For the life of me I can’t find a use to even borrow one.

    I am told that once you get one you find uses for them. This looks like a nice set but the recently announced inexpensive skil one might be a wiser option.

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