Explaining the Different Oscillating Tools and Their Uses

An oscillating tool, also known as the oscillating multi-tool, is a versatile and compact tool that does a wide variety of tasks ranging from grinding, scarping, sawing, cutting, and sanding. As the name suggests, they oscillate back and forth many times with pro models rotating up to 20, 000 oscillations per minute. Once you turn the tool on, it rotates a very high speed delivering power and control.

These tools are compatible with numerous accessories, which makes them versatile. They feature an attachment post in the arbor. The clamping capability allows it to hold a host of accessories such as scrapers, polishing pads, grout removal blades of different sizes and shapes. Oscillating tools are handy tools for carpenters, flooring experts, cabinet installers, and contractors.

Some multi-tools manufacturers design the arbor that is compatible with attachments from a certain brand.


Types of Oscillating Tools


  1. Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tools

Cordless, battery-operated oscillating tools use a lithium battery for power. They have extended life and can be used anywhere. However, after many years of use, the batteries become faulty and have to be replaced. Replacing batteries can be expensive, costing as much as $75.

  1. Corded Oscillating Tools

A corded oscillating tool is more powerful. It will provide excellent services as long as it is connected to power. You, therefore, have to ensure the working area is near an extension cord. Some of these tools come with long cords of up to 20 feet. It is, therefore, a suitable choice unless you are working in an area where a power outlet is not easy to reach.

Some brands give their multi-tools models proprietary names. For example, the proprietary name for Ridgid is Job max while Festoll has Vecturo. Most multi-tools are designed like a grinder body with different diameters. Ryobi, DeWalt, and Ryobi have a thin design that pretty much looks like a grinder only that it has, tail design.

The major difference in multi-tool is in the head. While some types use bolts to clamp attachments to the head, others use a star lock system.

Uses of Oscillating Tools

  1. Removing Grout and paint

At some point, you may want to remove grout in a bathroom, especially during a major bath repair or remodeling. An oscillating tool that has carbide grit attachment makes it easy to cut out grout and even tile if necessary. An oscillating tool provides the easiest way to cut squares, notches, and slots when installing hardware, dishwasher, and sink. It is also used to remove old paint.

  1. Scraping Adhesive

Getting rid of vinyl adhesive and high strength mastics can be a nightmare. However, with an oscillating tool, you only need to use the oscillating saw blades to scrape and pull out.


Sanding a piece of furniture that has an awkward shape can be a daunting task. A cordless multi-tool makes the job seamless and hence saves you time and effort.

Trimming Wood

Oscillating tools makes trimming jobs simple than using a traditional jigsaw. Since multi-tools can cut into metals, they are used to cut pipes and screws.

Every oscillating tool has a triangular sanding head and several sanding pads. They use a blade to cut wood and PVC metal, scrape of silicon, grout, and a whole lot of adhesives. Grinders and reciprocating saws do a better and more effective job removing the grout and cutting respectively. However, oscillating multi-tool comes in handy in places where saws and grinders can’t reach.

A multi-tool that is fitted with the right attachment can handle a wide array of uses, including cutting into metal or wood without causing damage to the rest of the surface. Oscillating tools are also used to cut pipes in hard to reach places, remove grout from tiles, and trim door casing when installing new flooring.

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