Opinions on oscillating multi-tools

Over the past few months, Family Handyman and other such magazines have been printing ads for oscillating multi-tools (a review of Dremel Multi-Max vs. Bosch Multi-X vs Fein MultiMaster). The apparent reason a number of different manufacturers (including Dremel, Sears/Craftsman, Chicago) now offer them seems to be that Fein’s patent on such tools has run out, and so a bunch of lower-cost copy-cats are now out.
On paper, oscillating tools look even better than sliced bread, and our local Lowes had one on display you cut test cut trim wood with (unguarded Dremel, wood-cutting blade which really did cut wood, on a display table just at the right height for curious little kids to hack their fingers off with - but no blood around, so I guess it’s all good).
Anyway, who here has one, and do you find it useful or is it a over-hyped little power tool - it looks cool for certain (smallish) chores, but before I plunk down cash, I’d like to know.

I bought one from Harbor Freight. I bought it for a specific task, which it performed admirably - trimming the bottom of my door casings so I could install tile. It seems to be a useful tool - it can cut places where the bodies of other tools would get in the way. But, it’s slow and not very powerful, so it’s really only good for small jobs. I wouldn’t put it at the top of my “must have” list, but it’s always nice to have every tool ever invented in one’s shop…

I’d expect to find such displays in any home improvement store. I worked for Home Depot for number of years and all I have to say on the matter is don’t bring your kids there. Children have a history of dying at home improvement stores.

I think they are over hyped. While they can be used in a variety of tasks they are the worst tool for any one. There are better tools to be purchased that can do any of the tasks your looking at. All the tasks they are capable of doing can be done with an equal value of hand tools.

I got my dad a Dremel some years back. They’d been out for a while, but he hadn’t bought one yet. My mother said that he went around the house for several weeks, looking for things to use that tool on. He was happy with it, and in fact, my mother was happy too, as he’d been putting off a lot of small repairs.

My sister was a manager at a Harbor Freight. Unofficial motto: “We sell cheap, crappy tools. What did you expect?”

Oh, absolutely.

I always tell people that they sell cheap junk - but sometimes that’s exactly what you need. Still, I have bought some power tools (like a huge low-speed drill for mixing mortar in a 5 gallon bucket) that seem to be reasonably well-made, work fine, and cost about 1/4 of a name-brand tool. Even if they only last 25% as long, I still figure I’m ahead.

Didn’t the Dremel Multi-Max come out in late 2008 (at least that’s what I saw from reading various websites about oscillating multi-tools)?
Although even that doesn’t seen to explain why the sudden interest by Family Handyman and other magazines about these tools, nor why the Lowes near me is now pushing the Dremel w/ 3 displays (including the self-try table display I mentioned before).
Some of the ‘reviews’ on-line mentioned Harbor Freight selling kind of it’s own branded multi-tool (apparently a rebranded Sacco…or maybe that’s the rebrand I don’t know, they both come from the same Chinese manufacturer).
I wish we had a Harbor Freight outlet on Long Island (It’s nice to actually see the tools in person vs. a catalog), but apparently the closest one is in North Jersey (near a Sonic drive-in, which we ALSO don’t have on Long Island :mad: ). One big problem I think is that npwadays most retailers have copied the first part of Harbor Freight’s main raison d’être (sell imported consumer-grade tools of so-so quality) without following up on the second part (at commensurately low prices).

When you say ‘Dremel’ what immediately pops into most peoples minds is their high RPM rotary tool by that name. Dremel makes a number of different tools but they named their trademark tool ‘dremel’ too.

May be better off referring to it as the Multi-Max by Dremel.

True, I even own a Dremel rotary tool, have owned it for decades when you basically found them in Hobby stores and hobby catalogs (e.g. Micro-Mark). Few years back, I suddenly started to see big selections of Dremel bits and cut-off wheels, as well as the rotary tools (sorry, ‘Multi-Pro’) themselves, in the big box home improvement centers’ (Home Depot & Lowes) hardware/tool section, next to the pnuematic drills and angle griders. Couldn’t really figure out what serious woodworkers would want with them (as opposed to, say, routers), but anyway the Oscillating tool I am interested in hearing about are defintely NOT for hobby use only, but for (smallish) D-I-Y task like cutting, sanding, scraping etc.