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All you need to know about Oscillating Multi-tools

If you’re a DIY fan or hobbyist, an oscillating multi-tool is a must-have addition to your toolkit. And in this guide, you’ll discover why. We guide you through all the functions a multi-tool can serve to help get you inspired about the jobs you could use it for.

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What can an Oscillating Multi-tool do?

An oscillating multi-tool is a versatile power tool that comes with a variety of attachments, each suited to different tasks. Its oscillating function moves the attachment back and forth quickly to make light work of any job you’re doing.  

Investing in an oscillating multi-tool means you won’t need to buy different tools for different jobs if you don’t have the budget or the space to keep them. And, because they’re smaller than most other power tools, they can be used in difficult-to-reach places and for intricate work. 

With the proper attachment, an oscillating multi-tool can be used for many DIY tasks around the home. And some smaller models (called hobby tools) have a more diverse range of attachments, suitable for crafts, such as engraving and polishing.

Let's look at some of the most common uses of multi-tools 

Cutting & Sawing

An oscillating multi-tool with a blade attachment makes light work of cutting or sawing jobs. The blade quickly cuts through wood, plastic, metal and even tiles. It’s much less cumbersome to use than a jigsaw or circular saw. And the head allows the blade to be offset at different angles, making it ideal for getting into tight and awkward spaces. A battery-powered model, such as the Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi-tool, lets you move about with ease. And you don’t need to worry about being near a power socket.

There are many different types of cuts an oscillating multi-tool can make, here is a list of just a few of them.

Plunge cuts

If you need to make cutouts in the middle of materials, an oscillating multi-tool is your best friend! You’ll need a multi-tool with a straight blade attachment, such as the Black & Decker MT300KA, and you simply stab the blade into the surface you want to cut. It makes the job easier and safer than using a standard power cutter.

The plunge cut function is useful for numerous jobs. Use it to modify kitchen cabinets to fit pipes, make holes in decking for lights, make notches in bannister rails to support railings, and much more.

Flush cuts

A flush cut is when you cut something down to the same level as the surrounding area. For example, a poking out nail, a piece of pipe or cutting the tops off rusted bolts. It’s best to use a bi-metal blade to cut metal, like the one that comes with the MYLEK oscillating multi-tool. This model has 6 speeds to give you excellent control and a quick-release function for the attachments – so there’s no messing around with Allen keys to slow you down.

Pipe cutting

With the right cutting attachment, an oscillating multi-tool can effortlessly slice through pipes, whether copper, plastic or galvanised metal. A cordless multi-tool, such as the Lumberjack cordless 20V multi-tool kit, is perfect. It’s small and lightweight and lets you get into all the tight spaces you usually find pipes, such as inside cabinets, under floorboards, and in the ceiling.

Undercutting doorways

If you’ve ever laid flooring and laboriously trimmed doorjambs by hand, you’ll kick yourself when you see how easy it is with an oscillating multi-tool. You need an under-cutting blade attachment to get the job done quickly. Place a scrap of flooring next to the doorjamb as a guide, then run the blade where you want to trim.
The Lumberjack MT300 multi-tool is ideal for this. It also has a dust extraction function, so there will be less mess.

Cutting holes in drywall and decking

Need to cut holes for new power sockets, light switches, or decking lights? An oscillating multi-saw, such as the Stanley FatMax KFFMES650K, is the best tool to do it with. Using the wood or metal plunge-cutting blade, you can make perfect, square cuts every time (but don’t forget to check for pipes and electric cables first!).

Scraping

Using a power tool for scraping might be something you didn’t think was possible. But it is with an oscillating multi-tool. A tool with a scraper blade, such as the Erbauer EXT 18V cordless multi-tool, removes any stuck-on debris you want to get rid of, whether that’s flooring adhesive, high-strength mastics or flaking paint.

Sanding

Sanding is a painstaking job to do by hand. Of course, you could use a dedicated sanding power tool to do the job, but that’s all they can do. And their size means they aren’t the best for intricate sanding.

That’s where an oscillating multi-tool, such as the Ryobi ONE+ 18V cordless multi-tool, comes in.  It comes with a sanding pad and six sanding sheets. Its small head and light weight make it easy to control, so it’s ideal for detail sanding. It’s even got a built-in LED light to illuminate your workpiece.

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How to remove rust from metal

Use a sanding pad attachment with fine sandpaper to remove rust on metal with an oscillating multi-tool. An excellent product for this is the Lumberjack Cordless 20V multi-tool with variable speed. It comes with a sanding pad and sandpaper. And has an anti-vibration handle to make sanding comfortable. Use this function to restore garden tools and prepare metal gates for painting.

How to remove grout

You'll need a grit grout-removal blade to remove grout with an oscillating multi-tool. There are two types of blades. A carbide blade, which is ideal for small jobs. And a diamond blade, which is best for larger jobs. Blades can be purchased separately, or you can buy multi-tools with grout-removal blades included, such as the DeWalt XR 18V cordless multi-tool.

Safety First

Don’t forget your safety equipment - wear protection on your hands and wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. 

Feeling inspired?

FAQs


You can use the tool for lots of different diy and home tasks, as well as some hobbies and craft projects, some of which are listed below

  • Cutting holes
  • Sawing
  • Sanding
  • Scraping

As the name suggests, the multi-tool has more functions than a standard oscillating (rotary) tool. The multi-tool allows you to easily change attachments to perform different tasks, whereas a standard oscillating tool has a single function.


Yes. These are handy tools for any DIY enthusiast as they perform a number of commonly needed roles for home DIY.


 We have many different types of oscillating multi-tools for you to choose from both online and in-store.