DeWalt’s DCS350 line-up mainly consists of oscillating multi-tools. The two very famous products from this series are the DCS355 and DCS356, the former being the older version while of course, the latter is the latest technology.
As we talk about the DCS355 and DCS356, it is impossible not to mention the atomic model DCS354 which is here to serve as a replacement for the older DCS355 but hasn’t been a hit among people so far.
Anyway, we’ll be talking about the DCS355 and DCS356 cordless oscillating multi-tools by DeWalt over here. For the review, we’ll be considering the DCS355C1 and DCS356C1 from the product line, to be exact.
So let’s get started!
Well, thankfully both the DCS355 and DCS356 are equipped with the highly anticipated brushless motors. Brushless motors are not only more efficient and high performing but also, are less prone to wear and tear.
That is exactly why brushless motors are an obviously expected feature in professional and advanced tools. DeWalt has lived up to our expectations with its brushless motor systems in both the models that provide increased run times as well as enhanced power.
As per DeWalt’s claim, you get a 57% longer run time with their brushless motors. Yet overall, in terms of motor systems, we really don’t see a step up in DCS356 from the previous model but we certainly can’t count it as an issue either.
To our surprise, the latest DCS356 fetches a price lower than the older model of the tool. Despite the addition of the very convenient 3-speed tool which makes it a better choice overall, the DCS356 outclasses the DSC355 in terms of price as well.
You can find the DCS356 bare tool at a price of $99 only whereas, the DCS355 costs around $139 just for the tool. Apart from this, if you’re choosing variants of these base models then, of course, you’ll find different prices.
For the DCS356C1, which is a complete toolkit including a universal accessory adapter, two blades, battery, charger, and kit bag, you’ll have to pay around $142 only.
Likewise, the DCS355C1 which includes a battery, charger, kitbag, and cutting attachments will cost you $179 and more, at certain places.
So clearly the DCS356 is a better choice in terms of the price as well. You get the added speed controls in the latest model, that too at a reduced price point so I guess there isn’t much we can argue about!
The DCS355 features an ergonomic variable speed trigger that sets you free from adjusting the knobs or speed dials and promotes a break-free function. You simply need to push the trigger harder if you want to increase the speed and release it slightly to lower the speed.
The cherry on top is the lock system for trigger so you don’t have to pull it continuously at a set speed during long work sessions. But also keep in mind that the lock works only when the trigger is pulled at max.
However, not everyone is a fan of the trigger alone and most people consider the speed dial as a missing feature in this model.
For those of you who like to have a greater control on the speed, the DCS356 will be a better choice. DeWalt has introduced the 3-speed controller along with the variable speed trigger in this latest model.
The 3 speeds are configured as:
- Low (1): 0-13k oscillations per minute
- Medium (2): 0-17k oscillations per minute
- High (3): 0-20k oscillations per minute
This feature serves well especially when you want to operate the tool at a lower speed without having to constantly pull the trigger slightly. So you can set DCS356 on level 1, pull the trigger completely, lock it, and voila! Set your hands free.
On the contrary, operating the DCS355 at a low speed means a continuous control of the trigger (as the lock isn’t any good except for a fully pulled trigger).
The improved speed control is the only prominent change in the latest DCS356 and the only feature which can have us call it a step up from the previous model.
There is not really a noticeable difference in the size of both the models. However, the older DCS355 is an inch longer at 12.2” than the latest DCS356 which is 11.2” as per DeWalt’s website.
So we can’t actually call it a considerable difference. Also, holding either of them in the hands doesn’t feel any different either. Both of them are an appropriate size and feature ergonomic designs which make them quite easy to maneuver.
Just like the size, there isn’t a noticeable difference in the weight of DCS355 and DCS356 as they weigh 1.1kg and 1.05kg without batteries, respectively.
So you can probably imagine what it feels like to hold a 1kg tool in your hands. However, the weight does slightly increase as soon as you add the batteries. Yet overall, both of them are quite easy to handle and do not cause much strain even during long work sessions.
Well most of us were expecting a better or rather decreased vibration frequency in the latest DCS356 but sadly, DeWalt didn’t live up to our expectations in that regard with its latest release.
The vibration in both DCS355 and DCS356 is pretty intense which is why we would have loved to see a vibration control in the latest model. The intense vibrations will be rattling up your arms and cause quite a lot of fatigue when working for longer periods.
But of course, we also do expect high vibrations when working around with high-power professional tools. So the vibration isn’t a deal-breaker for any of us, I’m sure!
Yet another factor where most of us were anticipating an improvement was the sound level but really that expectation is not as realistic. Because let’s face it, the crazy noise level comes with just about any oscillating multi-tool.
The DCS355 and DCS356 are similar in terms of the noise levels too with the former at 102dB and the latter at 100.5dB during the cut. So you’ll want to keep the earplugs handy when working with either of them!
The batteries are somewhat of a disappointment. The batteries that come with DCS355C1 and DCS356C1 are 1.5A which is okay for small tasks. But actually, the batteries are pretty lousy and last 20 minutes at max when you’re dealing with power-hungry tasks.
So definitely if your work demands more power then, by all means, I’d recommend you to step up with the batteries and just ditch the included ones unless it’s for smaller tasks.
By now it is pretty clear that the DCS355 and DCS356 do not vary largely in terms of their features except for the added 3 level speed control in the latest version. The cutting speeds for both models are the same at 20,000 OPM, the vibration frequency, noise levels, and everything else too is just the same. Despite a lot of similarities, the edge goes to DCS356 because of the added 3-speed control alongside the variable speed trigger which will definitely give you greater and more precise control over the tool!