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(ARA) – As you begin planning your next home improvement project, make sure you have all the tools you need before you start the work. As you are gathering the “staples,” such as hammers, screw drivers, saws and wrenches, you might need – don’t forget to look into oscillating tools.

Oscillating tools are compact, yet full-featured multi-tasking tools designed for a wide range of home projects, especially repair, restoration, installation, remodeling and renovation work. A variety of blades attach to the tip of the tool and oscillate from side to side at high speeds in a small arc so that the blades appear to be vibrating.

  • What can oscillating tools do?

By switching out the blade, oscillating tools can be used to tackle a wide variety of applications and materials, including wood, laminates, metal, grout, adhesives and drywall. Many people know that oscillating tools cut and sand. What they might not know is that they can be used for so much more, including grinding, scraping, flush cutting, plunge cutting, caulk removal, grout removal and more.

  • Why would I need an oscillating tool?

Users find that oscillating tools often accomplish what other tools in their toolboxes can’t, and many times turn typically time-consuming projects into ones that are much more manageable. For example, oscillating tools allow users to make cuts in tight spaces. They turn the process of installing new flooring into an easy job: Using a scraping blade, power scrape tacky flooring adhesive to remove existing flooring. Then, cut rolls of carpet in manageable pieces with a cutting blade. You can also flush-cut baseboards to install new tile flooring with a wood cutting blade.

Additional common applications include removing tile grout and tub adhesive, sanding down old wooden furniture, removing rust, grinding out thin set beneath a tile, cutting drywall to install an electrical outlet or cutting an old pipe flush to a wall.

  • How much do I need to spend on an oscillating tool?

Oscillating tools have a wide range of price tags, from $70 all the way up to $400. You should consider several factors in determining how much you should spend on an oscillating tool:

  • How will you be using the tool?

If you are planning to use an oscillating tool frequently in a professional setting, you will need to opt for a tool that offers the highest level of performance. Typically, these tools have the highest price tags. The homeowner planning to use an oscillating tool for work around the house can find all the features he or she needs in a tool priced around $100 to $150, such as the Dremel Multi-Max, which comes in a corded or cordless variety. While less expensive tools can also be used for home improvement tasks, they offer far less versatility and range of use.

  • What tool features are important to you?

Users who want to get the most versatility out of their oscillating tool should opt for one with variable speed. Most tools on the low end of the price scale only offer a single speed. Other nice features include electronic feedback, so the tool maintains a constant speed under pressure, and an electronic brake, which stops the tool immediately when it is turned off.

  • Are accessories compatible between systems?

Typically, oscillating tools are not compatible with all brands of oscillating accessories. There is some crossover between brands, so check packaging before you buy to confirm which accessories will work with the tool you select. The Dremel brand recently introduced a new Dremel Multi-Max Universal Adapter, which allows users of all brands of oscillating tools to utilize the brand’s patented Quick Fit oscillating accessories. For more information on oscillating tool systems, visit

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Author: Andy Quayle

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