A few months ago, our fearless leader Marc reviewed the Dremel Multi-Max MM20, Dremel’s budget-minded oscillating multi-tool (OMT). Given its bargain price of $59 (which has since gone up to $69), Marc was impressed with its performance, and recommended it as a great entry-level or occasional-use tool. Recently, Dremel provided us with its higher-end OMT kit, the Dremel Multi-Max MM45, to evaluate for this sponsored post. There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to this type of tool, and some bargains to be had, especially with the holidays approaching. If you’re a pro, or a serious do-it-yourselfer, this latest version of their popular tool is definitely worth a look.
Here are the official specs and features from Dremel:
• Quick-Lock feature for fast, tool-free and secure accessory changes
• High Performance 3.5 amp motor – for the most demanding applications
• Quick-Fit accessory interface – for fast and easy accessory changes
• Quick-Hold magnetic flange holds accessories in place for easy tightening
• SmartBoost – maintains constant speed throughout toughest applications and materials
• Oscillation arc range of 3.2 degrees
• Up-front on/off switch – allows one-handed use and maintains speed setting
• 10,000 – 21,000 OPM speed range – for optimal performance in a variety of materials
• Maximum performance tested accessories – over $100 worth of accessories included in the kit (accessories vary)
• Ergonomically optimized soft grip for comfort and control
• 7 foot rubber cord for a wide working range
• Limited 2 year warranty, 90 day return policy
• Weight: 3.2 lbs.
The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 kit comes in a sturdy plastic case. Included in the kit are a variety of accessories to get your project list underway; accessories vary depending on which kit you choose. There are several blades, capable of cutting wood, metal and drywall. There’s also a drywall jab blade (the only oscillating blade that makes both straight and curved cuts in drywall), and a carbide grout removal blade.
To get your sanding projects going, there is also an MM14 hook and loop pad that mounts on the Dremel Multi-Max MM45, along with various sanding pads, good for both bare wood and painted or varnished surfaces. The instruction manual is very well written, and includes a lot of useful advice on how to best use the various accessories, along with tables showing recommended speed settings for each one.
Who Needs An Oscillating Multitool, Anyhow??
Many DIYers, and even some pros, may never have had a chance to use an OMT, and may wonder just how useful it would really be. The short answer? Amazingly useful. Ask anyone who owns one, and I guarantee they’ll rave about it. When I got my first one several years ago, a Bosch (and by the way, Bosch now owns Dremel), it quickly became one of the tools that accompanied me to every job. I’ve used an oscillating multitool to chisel up floor tile and mastic, cut off corroded toilet bolts, and make perfect cuts on a LOT of door trim while installing flooring.
I’ve also made cuts in exterior siding to install electric boxes, cut copper and PVC pipes, cut through armored BX cable, made precise cuts in hardwood trim and flooring, cut a hole in an aluminum gutter for a new downspout, sanded in some very tight spaces, removed hardened glazing compound from old windows, cut galvanized vent pipe…you get the idea. Having an OMT along has saved me time, money and frustration many a time.
There are a bunch of Dremel How-To videos on YouTube, showing how to use the Multi-Max tools in a number of ways. Here’s a sample video, showing a Dremel MM40 removing a broken ceramic tile:
The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 In Action
One of our pet peeves with lower-end OMTs, and tools in general, is the lack of a tool-free accessory changing system. Having to track down an Allen wrench or chuck key, remove a retaining bolt, swap out the accessory, reinsert the bolt and tighten it, and put the wrench back where you can hopefully find it NEXT time, is both annoying and time consuming. And if you happen to lose the wrench… ‘nuff said.
Bottom line: at HomeFixated we are BIG fans of tool-free accessory change setups, and the system on the Dremel Multi-Max MM45 is sweet. Simply rotate a lever on the top of the tool out, to just under 180°. Slide the accessory into the holder, making sure it engages all the pins on the flange. The flange is magnetized, a great feature that helps keep the accessory in position until you lock the clamp. Now just rotate the lever back onto the body, and you’re done! The accessories lock in solidly, no play at all. I timed several blade changes, and consistently came in under 10 seconds. And I’m an old guy with bad eyes!
The specs on the Dremel Multi-Max MM45 are impressive. I wanted to see it in action, though, so I devised a task this type of tool is commonly used for: installing electrical work boxes. I grabbed a couple of old-work boxes (designed to be installed in existing walls or ceilings): one typically used for outlets or wall switches, and a round ceiling box.
I first wanted to see how the Dremel Multi-Max MM45 would do cutting through wood. I grabbed a 1X8, marked out the dimensions, and clamped the board down. This is something you’ll want to do with pretty much anything you cut. By their nature, all OMTs vibrate, so for safety, a neater cut, and to avoid unnecessary foul language, make sure your work piece is secure.
I started in at about a 45° angle, and worked my way along one of the long edges. I’ve used many multitools, and there are some that really require hearing protection. The noise level from the Dremel Multi-Max MM45 wasn’t bad at all; I left the earplugs out. I worked my way steadily around the edges; the tool had no trouble at all making the cut.
I went at a fairly steady pace, but a couple of times put extra pressure on the tool, to see what would happen. The Dremel compensated by ratcheting up the power a bit, and I forged steadily through. After about two minutes, I had a nice, neat hole, and the box fit perfectly into it.
For the next challenge, I wanted to try out the drywall jab blade. I’ve never used one, and was interested to see how it would do cutting a circle. Normally, I would use a spiral saw for that type of cut, but they can be tricky to use, and not everyone has one of those. I marked out my cut line, and plunged in.
It’s a bit tricky working overhead; no matter what kind of tool you’re using, cutting drywall makes a lot of dust. The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 was fairly easy to control; the key is to take your time and try to stay right on the cut line. After a bit over a minute, my ceiling box hole was done; I’ll definitely be keeping a jab blade with my OMT!
Ready To Cut Your Project List Down?
The Dremel MM20 that Marc reviewed was a pretty basic model, as you would expect for such a low price. It had a 2.3 amp motor, and came with two blades and three sheets of sandpaper. The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 includes a lot of notable upgrades. Aside from a 3.5 amp motor, by increasing the oscillation angle to 3.2 degrees, the Dremel MM45 offers 2X faster speed of cut than the Dremel MM20. This increase in speed makes the Dremel Multi-Max MM45 one of the fastest cutting oscillating tools in the market.
The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 has a good, solid feel to it. It’s comfortable to hold, and the power switch is right where it should be, where your thumb naturally falls. The speed, which ranges from 10,000 to 21,000 oscillations per minute, is easy to control with the speed dial, and helps you set the perfect speed for your application. The tool cuts smoothly, it’s relatively quiet, and the included accessories in most kits should give you a good start on your project list.
As I mentioned earlier, the oscillating multitool is one of the handiest tools around; I’m constantly finding new ways to use mine. Once you have an OMT, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it, and kick yourself for waiting so long to get one! If you’re in the market for an OMT, for yourself or someone else, the Dremel Multi-Max MM45 is a solid value, and should provide years of slicing and dicing (and sanding, and grinding…). The Dremel Multi-Max MM45 is sold exclusively at Home Depot, and comes with a two-year warranty and a 90-day return policy. The kit we tested is the Dremel MM45 – 03, and it retails for $129 at The Home Depot!