A couple of months ago, we talked a little about the new Bosch (and Fein) Starlock oscillating multi-tool accessory system, and then again with more Starlock details.
The new Bosch Starlock oscillating tool blade interface is supposed to be better for a number of reasons.
Compared to the previous style, the new Starlock interface is now 3 dimensional, which both Bosch and Fein, who jointly launched the new interface, say will allow for quicker blade changes. They also say that the new interface is safer.
To see the full potential of these new accessories, you’ll need one of the new Starlock oscillating tools.
But that does mean you should ignore the new offerings and stick to tried-and-true OIS-compatible accessories?
Over at Amazon, they started carrying a whole slew of new Bosch Starlock accessories, most only available for pre-ordering and not immediate shipment.
So I started looking at prices.
A 3-pack of Bosch OSC114C carbide-toothed blades is priced at ~$42.
A 3-pack of the new Bosch OSL114C carbide-toothed blades is ~$43. (4/30/2017 Price: $34)
But there’s a big gap in individual prices: $22 and change for the Starlock version, $15 and change for the OIS. Maybe this is an example of how Amazon’s preorder/prelisting prices are sometimes a little higher than their available-for-immediate-shipping prices.
(4/30/2017 Price: $16 for one blade.)
So then I looked at the Bosch Starlock OSL212JF blade, shown above. It’s a 2-1/2″ plunge cutting blade with extra-clean-cutting Japanese tooth profile.
The price: around $21. (4/30/2017 Price: $15)
The older generation OIS version, model OSC212JF, is a hair more expensive, at $23 and change.
Check Prices, or Buy: Starlock OSL212JF, OIS OSC212JF
So the new Starlock version is slightly cheaper. Interesting.
But they’re not the same blade.
The new Starlock blade has some of the same features, such as clean-cutting tooth profile. The OIS version is said to have a Japanese-style tooth design, and I’m thinking that the new version is designed similarly, even though it doesn’t seem to be advertised as having Japanese-style teeth.
Apparently the new Starlock version of the 2-1/2″ plunge blade has a new Curved-Tec overall blade shape, with the product description saying it offers greater control and smooth, precise plunge cuts.
That makes some sense. Actually, it makes a lot of sense. For a long blade, why not offer a curved cutting edge?
Oscillating multi-tools swing their blades, or other attachments, at a slight angle. With a smaller blade, the swing isn’t going to be much noticeable. But with longer blades, there is going to be a more noticeable difference in cutting depth at the other edges, compared to the center of the blade.
I can’t tell you whether a curved oscillating multi-tool blade will definitely lead to a “greater controlled, smoother, and more precise” plunge cut as Bosch claims.
At least one reader has previously suggested that gently curved blades might perform better than straight ones. I can’t find the email or comment, or I would have credited them for the foresight.
Update: Thanks to Nathan for mentioning curved blade edges in our recent Imperial Tools right angle oscillating multi-tool blade post, and Fred for the reminder!
Now that these Curved-Tec blades exist, they inherently make sense, although that could also just be wishful thinking being confused for something else. I also don’t recall if I was skeptical or encouraging.
Sorry back to the point.
I don’t currently own a Starlock oscillating tool, and don’t see a reason to upgrade from my Fein 250Q MultiMaster. I’m sure a Starlock tool or three will eventually hit my test bench, but I tend to prefer using my Fein for personal projects.
However, I’ve seen 2 reasons why I might look more closely at Bosch’s Starlock oscillating multi-tool blade and accessory offerings, even if I won’t own a Starlock tool (for some time?).
- Some Starlock accessories are less expensive (others are a little pricier)
- Some Starlock accessories offer new features compared to the OIS versions
Is the Starlock version of your favorite Bosch blade(s) or OMT (oscillating multi-tool) accessories any better or cheaper?
Buy Now(Bosch Starlock OMT Accessories)
The next time I need to buy some more oscillating multi-tool accessories, I’ll definitely check the Starlock versions too. Lower pricing is always good, as are more features. More features and lower pricing is even better! But there will likely be some accessories that are higher priced without offering anything new.
April 2017 Update: It looks like the Starlock blades have completely replaced OIS ones, at least in most cases. The prices have come down a lot too. Since Starlock blades are compatible with OIS-compatible tools, there’s no reason not to buy Starlock blades now.