Canadian Woodworking

DEWALT XTREME 12V brushless cordless oscillating tool 

The DCS353 has all the essential features you'll need in a lightweight oscillating tool along with DEWALT's well earned reputation for durability.


The DCS353 has all the essential features you'll need in a lightweight oscillating tool along with DEWALT's well earned reputation for durability.

Author: Carl Duguay


Oscillating tools are often referred to as ‘multi-tools’ because they can be used for a variety of cutting, sanding, scraping and grinding tasks. Unlike the rotating or reciprocating motion that you find on drills, saws, sanders and most other power tools, oscillating tools use a side-to-side, arced motion. The range of motion, referred to as the “oscillating angle”, is only a few degrees, but the oscillation is very fast, upwards of 18,000 times per minute. This narrow and fast angle of movement makes these tools very easy to control.

Renovators, cabinet and flooring installers, electricians, plumbers and avid DIYers love these tools, finding them indispensable for a host of tough jobs –  undercutting door casings and jambs; making plunge or pocket cuts into drywall, paneling or flooring; cutting mortises for hinges and door knob striker plates; cutting out sections of molding or trim work; cutting nails so that trim work can be quickly removed; flush trimming copper or plastic piping, screws and nails; scraping away paint, grout, caulking and adhesives; sanding into tight corners; and a bevy of other tasks.

The new DEWALT Xtreme 12V oscillating multi-tool, available as a bare tool (DCS353B) or kit including battery and charger (DCS353G1) features a brushless motor, tool-free blade clamp, 3.2° oscillation angle, 18,000 OPM speed, variable speed trigger with a trigger lock and an LED work light.

Manufacturer: DeWALT
Price: $159.00 (bare tool); $n.a. (kit)
Warranty: 3 Years
Made in: China
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Battery platform: 12V
Oscillations per minute: up to 18,000
Oscillation angle: 3.2°
Brushless motor
Universal accessory adaptor

Tool-free blade clamp
Variable speed trigger
LED light

Includes: tool, wood blade. wood/metal blade, universal accessory adaptor (the kit also includes a battery, charger and carry bag)

One of the first things I noticed with this tool is how light it is – barely 2.4 pounds (with battery installed).  And from head to toe it’s just under 10-3/4″.  It’s also very well balanced, which makes it super convenient to use for extended periods – especially overhead or in tight confined spaces.

Installing an accessory is quick – simply depress a clamp lever located on the bottom of the tool and insert the accessory. Piece of cake. And of course you can install most accessories at various angles. When removing an accessory you need to be a tad more careful as some accessories (notably saw blades) get very hot in use.

dewalt DCS353
Press a lever and insert the accessory

The accessory holder has a number of pins that engage holes in the accessory making for a tight, wobble-free connection.

dewalt DCS353

You can mount accessories from other brands on the DCS353. Place the supplied dimpled washer on the accessory holder, install the accessory on the washer and then secure everything with the adapter nut using the the supplied hex wrench.

dewalt DCS353

Just above the variable speed trigger is a lock button. In the “on” or “lock” position (button pushed to the left) it prevents the trigger from activating.  However, if you hold down the trigger and then push the button to the “on” position it locks the trigger on (at maximum speed). This is convenient when you have a lot of cutting or sanding to do – you don’t have to maintain constant pressure on the trigger. The tool automatically shuts off after operating
for five minutes with the lock-on button engaged though you can always lock it back on if needed.

dewalt DCS353

The LED light, which you find on just about all handheld power tools today, is convenient if you’re working in a confined space or where the lighting isn’t that good.

The DCS353 isn’t any louder than other oscillating tools I’ve reviewed. Plus, there’s not much vibration when cutting or sanding. I like the more aggressive 3.2° arc, and when coupled with a fresh battery and the right accessory I found the results impressive cutting and sanding wood and cutting nails.

There are a variety of accessories you can get for the DCS353, including a cut guide, depth guide, dust extractor adapter and belt clip.

Whether you’re an avid DIYer, tradesperson, renovator, or carpenter, the DEWALT DCS353 is sure to please. It has all the basic features you’ll need in a lightweight oscillating tool, ample power to get the job done and peace of mind you get from DEWALT’s well earned reputation for durability.

dewalt DCS353

Last modified: August 12, 2022

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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