As part of our oscillating multi-tool blade comparison (which is funded by Bosch), the first thing we looked at was cutting speed for each of the three Bosch, Dewalt, and Imperial metal-cutting blades. We discussed those results last week in our oscillating blade best cutting speed post.
Here, we’re going to take a closer look at cutting performance, or ease of use. I will also refer to this as the ease of cut. This is important because it closely relates to the user experience you can expect to have when using each blade.
The testing fixture, discussed in Part 4, involves a horizontally-mounted oscillating multi-tool that is pulled with constant force towards a vise holding a 16D common nail. How fast each blade cut through these nails was discussed in Part 5, and this post examines how easily each blade cut.
The original plan was for each blade to cut through (20) nails or nail sections.
Bosch OSC114C Blade (Carbide Teeth)
Bosch’s blade was problem-free and cut each nail effortlessly. Cutting times lengthened slightly every couple of nails, but there were no signs of trouble.
I couldn’t decide which cut to show you, so I went with number 10. This was the fifth cut made in nail #2, making it the tenth cut for this blade.
The smooth performance of the Bosch blade did not prepare me well on what to expect with the other blades and what was to come.
This is the same Bosch blade whose cutting speed was discussed in the last post.
Imperial MMT340 Blade (Bi-Metal and TiN-Coated Teeth)
The Imperial blade started off cutting nicely, but it seemed to dull really quickly, to where it stopped cutting and started kind of grinding. It’s a sign of diminishing performance when you start seeing fewer chips being produced, and more dust.
This video shows cut number 4, which took nearly 10 seconds. As you can see, it is heating up, the teeth are dulling, and sparks start flying towards the end of the cut.
This is the fourth cut in nail #1. This is the same blade that had the fastest cutting speed for cuts #1 and #2, as discussed in the last post.
Dewalt DWA4209 (Bi-Metal and TiN-Coated Teeth)
The Dewalt blade that managed to cut through a nail in a little over 12 seconds didn’t do so well on cut number 2. It sparked a bit on the first cut, but on the second it sparked more and seemed to get stuck halfway through the blade. I stopped the blade after 40 seconds. It didn’t do any better on the third attempt.
Thinking there was maybe something wrong with the blade, I took a few minutes and set things up with a new blade.
Maybe it needed a little push? I gave the sled a few gentle nudges, but nothing changed. I stopped the test after 45 seconds.
For reasons I don’t yet know, the fresh Dewalt blade could not cut a single nail at all. The same unpredictability was mirrored by several more Dewalt blades.
Maybe there was something wrong with the tool or the setup? I swapped in a used Bosch blade that had already made 19 cuts, swapped in a fresh nail, and the Bosch blade made its twentieth cut in about 8 seconds.
Note: The video is not continuous. I cut out a ~1-minute section where nothing is happening. I left the nail in the vise during this time so that you can see nothing has changed with the setup during the time gap.
I was really expecting for a more even comparison, at least at first, but that just wasn’t possible. The Bosch blade was the clear winner.
In testing, I ran a couple of Bosch blades through 19 cuts, and expected to do the same for the two other blades. Then, I would do a final 20th cut for each blade in a single video to show the different cutting times. That was the plan, but none of the other brands’ blades could make that many cuts!
Here, the blades are all being pushed (or rather pulled) into the blades with a constant force of about 8.5 pounds. That the Dewalt and Imperial blades aren’t cutting the nails that well and are heating up and creating sparks means that they’re working a lot harder than the Bosch blade.
In real-world use, you can still cut metal with all of these blades, but after the first few passes cutting tougher metals, the Imperial and Dewalt blades will probably have to be pushed into the work with greater force.
Actually, there will be three options: 1) reach for a fresh blade, 2) push the tool and blade into the work with greater force, 3) deal with progressively longer cutting times. There’s also option #4: swap the Imperial and Dewalt blades for a Bosch blade.
Though the difference isn’t as striking in handheld testing, as with speed of cut, this testing translates to real-world performance as well.
Initially, the Imperial blade doesn’t show any signs of trouble. It cuts through the first few nails with the fastest cutting times. But after those first few nails, the Imperial blade slows down and works a lot harder.
To be frank, I haven’t a clue what’s going on with the Dewalt blade. One blade will cut through one or two nails, another can’t make a single cut. Cutting nails with each blade in a handheld oscillating tool is a little different, as you can expose the nail to a greater number of fresh teeth, but it requires more effort to move the tool back and forth horizontally. Eventually, the Dewalt blade will probably still be the first to dull and fail, as we repeatedly experienced during our tests.
Which blade provides the best and most consistent cutting performance? Out of the three blades tested, the Bosch OSC114C was the only one to be able to cut 20 nails, the only one that didn’t spark, and the only one that didn’t fail unexpectedly.
Buy Now: Bosch OSC114C, Imperial MMT340, Dewalt DWA4209 via Amazon
Table of Contents
Part 1: Comparison Overview
Part 2: Testing & Measurement Tools
Part 3: Test Setup Optimization
Part 4: Final Test Setup
Part 5: Best Cutting Speed
Part 6: Cutting Performance (current page)
Part 7: Durability
Bosch funded this comparison testing project. They did not tell us what to say, and made it clear that it was not their intent to influence the results in any way. We were given full control over how the OMT blades were to be tested, and how the results were to be presented.