Oscillating multi-tool: The Best Saw For Any Worker

Are you a professional in the construction or home improvement industry?  Are you a hobbyist in wood working? Are you a DIYer? If you are among of those mentioned workmen, an oscillating multi-tool will be a good choice to start your toolkit. This is the best saw you’ve never heard of because of its multiple functionalities and powerful features. It may be a newcomer in the power tools market, but it will soon be your tool to use for many tasks at work.

What is an oscillating multi-tool?

The oscillating multi-tool, also known fondly as OMT, is a power tool with many functions you can take advantage of: it plunges through plywood, quickly cuts holes in drywall, shears-off metal pipes, trims moldings, grinds-out grout, sands surfaces, and much more.

The OMT’s name is derived from its working mechanism. Rather than a conventional power saw’s cutting motion, this tool cuts with oscillating vibrations. Its blade doesn’t cut or saw while spinning in a circle or back and forth like any other saw. Instead, it powers through a flat metal blade that oscillates side to side about 20,000 times per minute.

With this, it is better for corners or flat spaces than typical saws because this tool doesn’t kick-back or grab during cutting the way another saw might. It uses its small compact size to create precise curved or straight cuts in very tight spots.

When choosing an oscillating multi-tool to use in your work, it is necessary to consider the two types of oscillating multi-tools: cordless and corded.

Cordless or Corded?

The main difference between oscillating multi-tools are their design on portability. Cordless oscillating multi-tools are more portable due to their lack of dependence in electricity. Just get a battery in it and you’re good to go. Use new lithium batteries for power and extended life to make sure that you can use your cordless OMT anywhere. One drawback from this type of oscillating multi-tool is its shorter life than its corded counterpart due to batteries. Batteries cannot last forever. And to replace a cordless OMT battery is very expensive. Expect to cough up at least $75 for every five to ten years of use.

Corded oscillating multi-tools are generally more powerful and long-lasting. This is the reason why some cordless models also come with 20-foot or so cords when you buy them. As long as you plug them in a socket, you can work hours on them. Above all, a corded model makes the most sense unless you plan to use the tool where an electrical outlet isn’t reachable.

Learn More: Best Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tools


The Fein Tool company invented the oscillating multi-tool. Before them, it is such a hassle to repair small sections of houses without first removing those components. The tools available at that time also limit your control in working. Consider the CIRCULAR SAW, the RECIPROCATING SAW, and the jamb cutter. These are tools too powerful and uncontrollable in working in small spaces. But the oscillating multi-tool changed all that. Instead of forceful violent spinning or plunges, it vibrates simply for precise cuts.

A narrow, flat blade mounts to a platen at the end of the tool. The motor slides this blade side to side in a ½” stroke at a blinding speed, causing the teeth to gradually notch their way into the material you’re cutting. When you extract the blade, you’re left with about a 2” X 1/16” slot, very precisely placed.

Here are some of the applications you can do with an oscillating multi-tool.

1. Cutting Out And Excavating Rotted Trim

The control of the saw practically lets you perform surgery on exterior casings. You can do window trim and door jambs. The saw cuts finely that new, square-cut pieces splice in with only fractional gaps. When using the OMT for this work, always make sure the saw is perpendicular to the wall, or even angled upward ever so slightly.

The constant sweeping motion helps to clear sawdust out of the cut, and thereby prevent the blade from binding up. Even so, friction against the blade is intense. Smoke sometimes issues from the cut line. If this happens, simply back the saw out and let things cool down for a second.

2.Cutting And Notching Metal

Another common use for the oscillating tool is efficiently cutting metal surfaces. Usually you use reciprocating saws and hacksaws here. But they are violent and bulky to use for home repairs.

You could also use mini-bandsaws as electricians and plumbers do, but few have done in their toolkits.

Using the oscillating tool to cut metal just requires switching out a blade. Metal-cutting blades for the tool have smaller, more numerous teeth, which “file” through metal.

Although not good for cutting through heavy metal, like thick steel, an oscillating multi-tool can manage light-gauge steel and aluminum. It is also effective for cutting out embedded nails. Typically, you can just “notch” the nail at its base, then break it off with a hammer, or even your fingers.

3. Making Cuts In Hard-To-Reach Places

There are times when you need to cut material in a small nook or crevice of your house, office, or workspace. Then only the oscillating tool can work with you on this task. You can use this because of its compact design.

The small, cylindrical body lets you hold it more or less like a flashlight while you direct it forward into a tight spot.

In these situations, the saw is a little harder to control. The blade will tend to wander. And, the vibrations can cause it to slip out of your hand if you’re not careful. Slow, steady progress, and a good place to rest your arm, will make the work safer.

4. Cutting Small Miters And Bevels

When changing doorways or pass-through openings, there is the possibility of necessary adjustments to the total size of the doorway. In this case, you also need to adjust the trim too.

For most people, they would remove the entire trim piece, take it outside, cut it on the miter saw, bring it back in and reattach it. This is such a tedious process that risks damages to the wall, the jamb, and the casing itself. There are also new nail holes and caulk lines for the worker to deal with. But now with the oscillating multi-tool, you just need to attach the necessary accessory (speed square), then cut the wall as desired.

The saw is also accurate enough to use on paint-grade casings where caulk can hide imperfections.

5. Interrupting Trim

Lastly, you could improve on existing trims in your room with this oscillating multi-tool. This happens when installing built-ins or inserting new trim around a room. Therein you will need to “interrupt”—or cut back—existing trim to make space for any additions.

To use this well, carefully plot the location of my new built-in or opening, design the place where the old trim needs to stop, then scribe and cut the spot ahead of time with the oscillating tool. Plan in the width of your casing, possible “reveals” (an architectural detail around doors), and wiggle room for caulk lines. Lay out the cuts carefully.

With the oscillating tool, it would take easily seconds what usually would be hours of demolition, careful cutting, reassembly, and painting.

Beware: Some Cons in Using an Oscillating Multi-Tool

However, an oscillating multi-tool can also come with a few downsides. Understand these to work more efficiently with this power tool.

  1. It is risky to your health and home to work this tool without any care.

The blade on an OMT is fully exposed, with no guard of any kind, and the blades are wickedly sharp. Do not drop this! It will damage floors and even human flesh if dropped accidentally while working.

Grip the tool firmly and use one hand as needed. Avoid passing it between hands a lot. To make sure of the strength of your hands, hold the tool with both hands and do not waver during the process.

If you need to set it down, first turn it off and wait for it to wind down. Then lay it in a nearby box or rug.

  1. It is very loud.

The OMT saw’s motor is powerful, operating at amazing speeds. The drawback of this power is the annoying whine the tool produces when turned on. The sound is migraine-inducing that will affect your hearing for hours after use.

To avoid this risk, wear earmuffs while using the oscillating multi-tool. Keep animals and other people from your work station.

  1. Blades and bits are expensive and not long-lasting.

Blades of the oscillating multi-tool don’t last long. Soon after you use them in many tasks, you’ll find blunt and dull blades. But you can buy generic blades online to support your OMT, once you’ve done enough research. Factor in the make and model of your tool.


The oscillating multi-tool is one of the best tools to have in your toolkit. It can outperform other saws in home improvement, plumbing, and construction tasks. It carries many functions effectively in its compact portable body.

Learn more about oscillating tools before starting to use them. To know more, go to Ryker Hardware. Ryker Hardware supplies top-quality tools and blades for everyone who wants to work on home improvement or construction. Get finer production with every sharp blade! Shop at Ryker Hardware now! We offer you a 10% discount for your first order, regardless of the amount.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published