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How Does an Oscillating Tool Work?

Oscillating tools are now more common due to their versatile and wide range of applications. The portable devices can quickly grind, scrape, cut, sand, and even polish surfaces.

The best part about these tools is that you can use them on wood or metal, cement, fibreglass, plastic, mortar, and even drywall. Even though this tool was first invented in the 1960s to remove plaster casting from a patient’s body, the machine is now used for other works.

Suppose you are into DIY or craft projects. In that case, you can get an oscillating power tool instead of multiple tools.

How Does an Oscillating Tool Work?

The oscillating tools come with interchangeable blades. These blades vibrate or oscillate at very high speed, nearly 20000 times per minute. The oscillation makes a knife versatile and robust enough to cut through any material easily.

In the case of oscillating multi-tools, the oscillation speed varies from 11000 TO 30000 OPM with the power of 3.5 to 4 amps. The high vibration allows the blade to move side by side at such a high speed that it causes the surface of the material to cut through it.

Things You Can Do with an Oscillating Tool

Due to the oscillating blades, you can use the oscillating tool in different ways, including-

1. Use For Trimming, Sanding, or Interior DIY Projects.

You can use an oscillating tool to trim or cut edges. That means decorating your door frames or borders, window frames, and skirting of your home is easier than ever. If you love to go DIY for interior decoration, get this tool. You can do flowing trimming and most of the woodwork by yourself.

Besides that, you can use the tool to install floorings and panels easily with it.

2. Wood Burning or Woodworking, or Carpentry

An oscillating tool can be beneficial if you love wood burning, carpentry, or wood sculpting as a hobby. The device can sand down the wood surface to smoothen it or cut it in your desired shape.

3. For Plumbing Works

An oscillating tool is also an excellent choice for plumbing work. Bi-metal blades can cut through PVC, copper, or even metal pipes. On top of that, you can also cut the pipes at different angles.

4. Remove Grout or Chalk

Oscillating tools can be used to remove grouts in your bathroom as well. Get a device with a carbide-grit blade that eliminates the grout quickly from the floor.

Similarly, you can also remove hardened chalk or putty with this tool. A simple scraper blade made of steel will make the work way more accessible.

5. Remove Paint

You can use a scraper blade to remove the old paint from any wooden or metal surface. It is way easier than using sandpapers to remove the paint manually.

6. Remove Mouldings

You can remove wooden mouldings with an oscillation tool and a fine-edged metal blade. It allows you to remove the mouldings without damaging them. Hence, you can use these mouldings again for renovation.

7. Remove Mortar

Do you know that you can remove mortar with an oscillating tool? So now, removing mortar from the subfloor or wall is easier with a carbide-grit blade.

Are Oscillating Multi-Tools Worth Investment?

Well, these tools are totally worth their price tag. A single tool replaces multiple devices and keeps your toolbox smaller and more compact. You do not need to use a jigsaw, bolt cutters, or even grinders or cutting blades if you own an oscillating tool.

On top of that, you can use the tool for different projects and on other surfaces as well. Since you can store it in a small place, you do not need to worry about the space crunch.

So, If you are into DIY or need to cut and trim things often, get an oscillating tool.

Can You Call Oscillating Tool Blades Universal?

Well, it depends on the model. You may find that different brands have different blades, but the edges are more or less universal today. The oscillating tool manufacturers have released blades you can pair with any type of oscillating tool.

But some blade models may be compatible with only one or two particular models.

So, always choose what you want if you buy an oscillating tool.

How To Cut Using an Oscillating Tool?

To cut perfectly, you need to choose the right blade. Most of the machines do not come with a proper instruction manual. Hence, you can ask the shop assistant for guidance or refer to online tutorials.

With an oscillating tool, you can perform straight-line cuts, plunge cuts, and other trimmings and cuttings.

1. For Straight or Linear Cuts

If you are trying to make straight-line cuts, you must use a round blade. It offers cleaner and sharper cuts. Alternatively, you can also use half-moon oscillating blades.

To get the best results, start by lightly pressing the blade on the surface to create a ¼-inch deep incision. Now, run the knife across the length of the object multiple times. Make sure to cut a little deeper through the incision, allowing you to create a sharp cut through the material.

This technique is also better as it does not build up excess heat and protects the blade.

2. Plunge Cuts

Straight blades are ideal for plunge cuts. First, the edge creates a notch on the material by pressing it more challenging. Next, finish up the process when you have reached the desired result.

3. How Deep Can an Oscillating Tool Cut?

An oscillating tool can easily cut 1 to 3 inches deep incisions. But, you will have to use the correct blade alongside the proper technique to achieve the desired result.

What Should You Consider While Purchasing an Oscillating Multi Tool?

As oscillating multi-tools are versatile, you must consider multiple factors before getting one. Here are the following factors-

1. Power Source

You can get multi-oscillating tools that either run on electricity or batteries. The electric-powered tools often are corded.

If you want to go for a corded tool, make sure to get a more extended cord-length device to use quickly for a project requiring movement. On the other hand, battery-powered cordless tools are easier to handle and can be used anywhere.

If you need to use a device in a very tight place, a cordless tool is ideal. Some people also find it challenging to use a corded tool in narrow or complicated corner spots.

But cordless tools usually are more powerful than corded ones. On top of that, you will have to recharge the battery from time to time. On the contrary, the corded tools are excellent for longer and more challenging projects.

While a corded tool may have a motor to produce 22000 OPM, cordless ones have less than 20000 OPM motors. Furthermore, the corded tools often offer you to control the precision by using both hands.

But corded machines need carbon brushes for smooth operation. You will have to replace these brushes occasionally, which can be an extra cost.

If you want to avoid bothering with the cord while working or want to work in places that do not have any electricity connection, go for a cordless machine.

In the end, the choice is yours. But, if you buy a cordless oscillating tool, get a few spare batteries for that machine so that you can work longer. Most models now have interchangeable batteries, and you can replace these easily.

2. Noise

The tool will indeed produce some noise while working. But, there are models available in the market which may make less noise than others. The noise level generally depends on the motor power and the blade speed.

You can always ask the shop assistant to guide you through buying a machine that makes less noise.

3. Blade Mount Style

Next, consider the blade mounting style. In general, different models have different mounting types. You need to buy an oscillating tool that allows you to use multiple blades easily. On top of that, you must choose a device with an easy-changing mechanism.

While buying an oscillating tool, always go for one that supports a universal blade. It will be an added advantage for you.

On top of that, consider the mount style. Each person will have different preferences and buy whichever you find is easier to handle.

Here are some common mount styles:

  1. Some models, especially craftsman oscillating tools, come with a flipping lever. You can quickly flip the lever and remove the blade from that tool.
  2. A few models come with slang that is fixed. You will have to push the lever to remove or change the blade. In these types of machines, only a few individual blades are supported. So, it can be a hassle unless you have compatible blades.
  3. In some models (e.g., Black & Decker oscillating tools), the blade placement zone comes with a lever. You need to squeeze it to remove or reattach a blade. These models are also quite flexible and often support universal blades or blades from other brands.
  4. Some brands, like Rockwell, use a unique system comprising the flange and the lever. You have to rotate the lever to detach the flange, add the blade, and reattach the flange to complete the setup. Such models of oscillating tools are often preferred as these usually support blades from different brands. But, the changing procedure may take some time.

4. Price

The price of an oscillating tool starts from $25 and goes up to $130 or even higher. While the low-range models are often used by beginners or DIY people, the higher-priced models are typical for professionals.

But, interestingly, the performance varies slightly. Comfort and convenience are the critical differences in this case. The expensive tools often come with lower noise and robust blades that may last longer.

If you want to buy a tool for a machine, you may need to spend some more. On the other hand, if you use the device once in a while, a beginner tool is enough.

In the end, always consider your budget and frequency of usage to find the ideal oscillating tool for yourself.

5. Motor Power

Higher motor power means the machine will work more quickly. You can find oscillating tools with motor power starting from 1.6 amps to 3 amps.

Most tools with lower motor power often tend to get decelerated if you use more energy or press the machine harder. So, if you are getting a device with lower motor power, try to use it slowly and for regular projects.

On the other hand, some machines may have higher motor power but may not be compatible or suitable for you. So, in the end, always consider other factors before choosing one.

6. Warranty

The warranty is a crucial point for anyone wanting to purchase an oscillating tool. A product with a more extended warranty period often indicates that it will last longer than a model with a shorter warranty span.

On top of that, check warranty clauses to find if the warranty is also applicable for other parts. A model with a comprehensive warranty often is better.

7. The Oscillating Angle Of The Blade

The oscillating angle refers to the distance the tool blade can travel on the sidebars. Most tools have an oscillating angle of 2 to 3.5 degrees. The higher the oscillation degree means better cutting speed. But, such machines may not give you a smoother finish.

If you want more control over the cut and better precision, go for oscillation tools with smaller angles.

8. What Comes In The Kit

While buying an oscillating tool, always consider the kit and its components. A device with multiple blades may seem a great choice, but it may backfire. Try checking the quality and options included inside the tool. You will need various high-quality blades instead of the same sanding blades. Go for a tool kit with at least three to five high-quality blades of different shapes and sizes.

9. Extra Features

A few extra features can always be some added bonus. So, check out for extra-long cord lengths, spare batteries, or complimentary service coupons. The more, the merrier!

What Is The Most Effective Oscillating Multi Tool One Should Buy?

You will find different brands like Rockwell, Black & Decker, Craftsman, etc., in the market. Among the models we have tried, we love the Rockwell Duotech Oscillation Sonicrafter F80. Here is a short review of this model-

 Rockwell Duotech Oscillation Sonicrafter F80

Due to its features, it is an excellent choice for anyone, from beginner to advanced-level artisans. The F80 has a 4.2 amp motor that is suitable for versatile projects. On top of that, you get two oscillation angles and two power modes to cut as per the requirement.

Besides that, it also comes with high-quality blades and Rockwell’s advanced tool-free mechanism. That means you can change the blades whenever you want.

  • The best part about this machine is its universal fit, allowing you to use attachments from any available brand without issues!

Which Brand Makes The Best Oscillating Tool Blades?

Even though there are multiple brands, Vtopmart and Dremel are often considered among the best oscillating tool blade manufacturers.

Vtopmart makes basic blouse models like flathead saw blades, half moon blades, and extra-wide blades that serve primary purposes. Furthermore, it also offers some good quality, universal blade models. You can find their blades easily on online sites as well. Vtopmart also offers bulk purchasing.

Now, if you need precise blades suitable for specialized tasks, you can go for Dremel. This brand makes some of the finest universal blades that can easily cut metal, grind grout, and even sand different surfaces. On top of that, the blades also last longer. Even though these blades are a little expensive, you can always buy Dremel!

1. Can Oscillating Tool Cut

Well, an oscillating tool can cut different materials in different ways. It can easily cut metal, wood (hardwood and softwood), concrete, etc., depending on the blade’s strength and motor.

2. Can You Cut Concrete With an Oscillating Tool?

Absolutely! An oscillating tool can cut concrete and cement with its grit-end blade. Blades with diamond-grit or carbide-grid are preferred. While the Carbide blade is affordable, it does not last long. So, go for a diamond grit blade that can last for years.

3. Can You Cut Brick With an Oscillating Tool?

Yes, you can cut bricks with an oscillating tool. You need to use harder, grit-edged blades that cut through brick easily.

4. Can You Cut Tile With an Oscillating Tool?

Yes, you can. For this, you need to use grit-edged blades. Such blades do not break or shatter the tile and offer precise cutting.

5. Can You Cut Steel With an Oscillating Tool?

Yes, you can cut steel with an oscillating tool. For this, you need to use bi-metal blades of blades made with two different types of steel. Wheel one of the metals is hard and cuts through the metal, and the other metal blade is software that prevents shattering and sparkling.

6. Can You Cut Wood With an Oscillating Tool?

Most oscillating tools can cut wood. You can use different types of blades to achieve different cuts. For example, Standard blades offer precise cuts; half-moon blades are great for linear cuts, while grit-edged blades are great for broader cuts.

7. Can You Cut Skin With an Oscillating Tool?

Most oscillating tools have sharp blades that can easily pierce through skin and may even cut bones or tendons. So, while using the tools, always use protective gear and be careful to prevent accidents.


Investing in an oscillating tool can be an excellent choice for anyone who needs to do odd jobs like home repair or hobbies. A simple machine can cut, trim, or grind surfaces quickly. This article can be a quick guide to choosing the perfect oscillating tool.

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