Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating Tool Review

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Written by Chris     May 13, 2009    

I don't know that there has been a single type of tool that has been more popular at a given time, then the oscillating tool is today. The main reason behind this, is the fact that most of these tools have all come out at around the same time. Rockwell, unlike Bosch and Dremel, is relatively unknown, but has a few things that are helping them out. One being the popularity of their JawHorse which I have seen discussed in a number of tool related message boards, another is their infomercials. Which is also how the Fein MultiMaster was first sold.

The Rockwell SoniCrafter is right up there with the more expensive Fein MultiMaster in terms of power. The MultiMaster is listed as having 250 watts, and the SoniCrafter is listed as having 2.3 amps. We multiply the amp times the volts to get the watts. 2.3 amps x 120 volts = 276 watts. This is probably the peak output, so I am going to call them even at 250 watts. I have never used the MultiMaster, so I can not do a side by side, but the specs seem to be pretty much equal with the same oscillation angle of 3.2 degrees, and a similar speed range of 11,000-20,000 oscillations per minute.

The SoniCrafter feels really solid in my hands, and is well balanced. It is comfortable to use with either hand or both at the same time. I was actually surprised at how well the body of it is built, and doesn't feel cheap in any way. The location of the variable speed dial is near the back of the tool, which does make it almost impossible to adjust with one hand. I assume it was placed in the rear to prevent accidental adjustments.

The little things make me happy. The 10 foot cord is really nice, and in my opinion should be the minimum size included on most power tools. 6 foot cords don't cut it. In addition to the good size cord is a built in hook and loop tie that will keep that long cord manageable. One of my complaints about the Dremel was the lack of a good Allen wrench holder. This is not a problem with the Rockwell as they have a holder built in to the back of the SoniCrafter.

The 72-piece SoniCrafter kit I am reviewing also comes with a dust extraction kit, that can also be purchased separately later if you buy one of the smaller kits. As seen in the photo, the dust kit attaches to the bottom of the SoniCrafter using a clip, and is held in place by the sanding pad at the other end. It comes with a couple different size fittings that allow you to fit it to your vacuum or dust extractor. It works surprisingly well for sanding, picking up most of the dust. This is probably due to the tight fit of the dust attachment against the back of to sanding pad. The Dust attachment can be used while cutting, although it doesn't work as well and it will limit your cutting depth. Only taking a few seconds to remove and attach makes it easy to switch between tasks. Continued After Read More

The 72-piece SoniCrafter kit is mostly made up of sanding sheets, but you do get quite a bit for your money. It comes with both a 3-1/8" HSS Segment Saw blade, and a Standard End Cut 1-3/8 blade for your cutting needs, a Rigid Scraping Blade, Sanding Pad, a Finger Sanding Pad, 2 Felt Polishing Pads, a Carbide Rasp and a Carbide Grit Segment Saw Blade, 2-1/2". The Carbide Saw can be used to cut out grout, cut cement board, plaster etc, and it does it all with a lot less dust then a regular saw.

I pulled out the sanding pads and sheets to do some testing on the sanding aspect of the tool as well as the dust collection. One thing you will notice is how well the sanding pad holds the sanding sheets. It takes a good deal of effort to remove them, which probably means you don't have to worry about them coming loose during heavy sanding. I have never had a hook and loop product hold so well.

One complaint I have about the saw blade attachments, is that the teeth are not actually sharpened. It looks like they are just stamped out, which means they probably just scrape their way through. While they do cut OK, I think it would be worth it for them to sell a blade that has a better cutting tooth. Rockwell offers a few more attachments that are not included in the kit, but they don't have any that can cut through hard metals such as nails and screws. Another complaint I have is with the storage bag, while it is a nice way to store the SoniCrafter, is is too short to hold the tool with a blade attached. You will have to remove your attachments before you put it away. If the bag were a couple inched longer, this would not be a problem.

During all of my testing I never ran into any problems, and was generally satisfied. The SoniCrafter was able to cut in places that other saws could not. Including electrical cutouts that were buried behind installed cabinets. When my Father needed to do a tricky cut for one of his projects, I was quick to suggest the Rockwell SoniCrafter. One thing I did notice, is the metal head does get a little hot during long periods of use, but is does cool quickly.

The basic 20-piece SoniCrafter Kit is only $20 more then the Dremel Multi-Max at $120, so it is really a no-brainer to spend a little more a get the Rockwell. The only problem with the Rockwell, is that you will have to buy your replacement attachments online from Rockwell or another store such as Amazon. Rockwell's 37-piece kit is around $140, and the 72-piece kit is around $180 on Amazon. - [:cicn:] Amazon

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