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How to Choose the Best Multi Tool for the Job

How to Choose the Best Multi Tool for the Job

Struggling to understand which multi-tool you require for the task in hand? SGS Engineering have put together this guide to help you choose which multi-tool to buy.

If we asked a trades person, or even just an avid DIY enthusiast, what essential tools they'd always keep to hand - we'd be willing to bet a good portion would suggest an oscillating multi-tool. Because of its versatility and multi-functionality, a good multi-tool can be your go-to power tool for hundreds of household tasks. Regardless of whether you're an amateur DIY tinkerer, or a seasoned professional trades person, a good multi-tool is an essential purchase that's well worth a space in your toolbox.

sgs multi tool range

If you're wondering whether a multi-tool is right for you, or which multi-tool you should purchase, this guide is designed to give you a general overview of the products available and what you might do with them.

Why buy an oscillating multi-tool?

It's often said for every job there's the perfect tool to do it, but if you're looking for something that will tackle a thousand smaller DIY jobs around your home - you can't beat a multi-tool. They're the Swiss Army Knife of the power tool world and a general "get out of jail free card" for many tradespeople. Whether you're trimming pipes, sanding wooden frames, slicing floor boards to size or removing old paint, there's the perfect multi-tool attachment for the job.

osculating tool

The idea behind a oscillating multi-tool is a simple one; a variable speed oscillating head enables you to cut, grind, sand, scrape and more - all via a single tool. The head of the tool rapidly moves from side to side, enabling you to cut, saw, sand and scrape depending on the accessory you've chosen. A multitool works well in difficult spaces, where a standard power tool would struggle. They may not deliver as much power as larger, singular sanders or saws, but for a cost-effective tool that is flexible enough to use anywhere, there is nothing better.

Take a look at our handy guide, 10 things you can do with an oscillating multi-tool, for some more ideas and inspiration.

What to Look Out for When Buying a Multi-Tool

The basic functions of all oscillating multi-tools are the same; they aim to provide you with a flexible, all purpose cutting, scraping, sanding tool for a whole host of applications. But if all multi-tools are trying to do a similar thing, how do you choose between them? Here's the things to look out for when picking the perfect power tool.

Multi-Tool Speed vs Control

sanding tool

There's two stats that are worth taking particular note of when you purchase a multi-tool. This first is the Oscillation Rate. Measured in oscillations per minute (OPM), the higher the oscillation rate, the more power the tool has and the more work the tool will do. Normally, an oscillation rate will have a from and to value. The greater the range the more variable your tool will be and greater the amount of options and finishes you'll have at your disposal.

The second important stat is the Oscillation Angle. This will range from around 2.5 to 3.2 degrees depending on the power tool you pick. The angle tells you how far the accessory moves from side to side per oscillation. The higher the oscillation angle the more aggressive the tool. For example, a multi-tool with an oscillation angle of 2.5° will have a greater level of precision than a tool with an angle of 3 degrees. On the other hand the tool with 3 degrees of oscillation will cut quicker.

Multi-Tool Accessories

flush cutting pad

Having a specialist power tool for every occasion can result in an overloaded tool box or time lost looking for the right tool. We stock a wide range of multi-tools and multi-cutter options, which make managing your projects easier because each multi-tool can handle a huge range of jobs. Blades, however can be expensive so it's worth having a look to see what's included in the kit before you make your purchase. Here at SGS we sell some fantastic bundles so you really can get more for your money.

Milwaukee M18BMT-502B 

multi tool and attachments
  • 1 Compact Multi-Tool (Body Only)
  • 1 Universal Adaptor,
  • 1 Wood Cutting Blade, 
  • 1 Sanding Pad, 
  • 5 Assorted Sanding Sheets. 
  • 2 Batteries
  • 1 Charger
  • 1 Bag

Ryobi ONE+ RMT1801M-0

ryobi multi tool and attachments
  • 18V multi-tool
  • 1 lithium-ion battery
  • 1 Super charger
  • 1 Flush cutting pad
  • 1 Wood / metal cutting blade
  • 2 Sanding pad
  • 6 sanding sheets
  • Universal accessory adaptor

The Comfort and Usability of Your Multi-tool

versatile multi tool

Although every multi-tool works in a similar way, some tools are more feature rich than others. The Ryobi 18V Multi-Tool features a 4-position rotating handle and an integrated LED light for making light work of trickier tasks. Both the corded and battery powered multi-tools feature GripZone moulding for enhanced comfort and accuracy during use.

Considering how often you'll find a reason to pull out your multi-tool, it's worth investing in something that's comfortable and easy to use. A good grip and a variable speed trigger will mean a higher level of accuracy and a greater level of operator comfort.

What are you using your multi tool for?

Now that you know what features to look out for when purchasing your new multi tool, the next step is to understand the purpose that it will be used for. While all our tools are built with performance and durability in mind, our professional range is much more suited for heavier, prolonged use. Will your tool be used for occasional weekend projects, or daily for various lengthy tasks? Knowing the answer to this will determine which category you need to look at.

DIY / Home Use

Ryobi ONE+ RMT1801M 18V Cordless Sanding & Cutting Multi Tool 

ryobi multi tool

Powered by a lithium-ion high capacity battery, this Ryobi cordless multi-tool is a compact and versatile unit perfect for a variety of applications. Whether cutting through drywall or sanding furniture and uneven surfaces, know you're always ready to go with this all-in-one tool. 

Complete with accessory kit, this is the perfect addition to any keen DIYer's toolkit. The lithium-ion technology provides up to 20,000 oscillations per minute for quick, simple task completion, as well as 3 degrees oscillation for fast sawing and cutting. The added benefit of an LED work-light is great for darker working areas and perfectly complements an all-in-one cordless solution. 

Ryobi ONE+ R18MT-0 18V Cordless Multi-tool

ryobi osculating tool

The R18MT-0 cordless multi-tool from Ryobi is lightweight and easy to use without the hassle of power leads for a tangle free usage and no restricted movements. The multi-tool is ideal for cutting drywall, metal, wood, plastic, composite and many other materials; it also sands the finest details.

The tool can plunge cut into any material quickly and easily or cut flush, right up to a surface without damaging it. This multi tool features a 6 position variable speed wheel for ultimate control across a range of applications, whilst the 4 position pivoting head makes it even easier to cut and sand in those hard to reach areas. The lithium-ion technology provides up to 20,000 oscillations per minute for quick, simple task completion.


Milwaukee C12RT-0 12V Rotary Multi Tool

milwaukee multi tool

This tool integrates a high-performance motor, optimized electronics and red lithium battery technology for exceptional power and durability. The compact and versatile tool offers variable speeds of 5,000-32,000 RPM and a collect that’s compatible with all 0.8mm - 3.2mm shank accessories for thousands of cutting, grinding, sanding and polishing solutions.

The variable-speed dial offers fluid control, and the 0.6Kg weight permits hours of comfortable use. Grinder-style exhaust ports and front-bearing protection help this tool exceed performance and endurance expectations. The rotary tool comes with five cutting wheels, a mandrel and wrench.

Milwaukee C12MT-0 12V Multi-Tool

milwaukee osculating tool

The Milwaukee C12MT-0 multi tool is ideal for flooring contractors, re-modellers, maintenance technicians and electricians alike who need to tackle a variety of awkward applications on job sites. The multi-tool is suitable for plunge or flush cuts, removing grout, sanding and scraping. The multi-tool has 12 variable speed settings and has an OPM of 5,000-20,000 ideal for quick cutting of an array of materials. 

The universal blade adaptor allows you to use many leading brands of multi tools cutting blades. Users can rest assured they wont over cut materials due to the unique cutting depth stop adaptor. If you are working in a dimly lit environment, the Compact Multi-Tool comes complete with a bright LED work light to light up where you are cutting. Whilst your work space is kept dust free with the efficient dust extraction facility.

Milwaukee M18BMT-0 18V Compact Multi-Tool 

milwaukee professional multi tool

The Milwaukee M18BMT-0 Multi Tool provides 3.4° oscillation which is ideal for quick completion of trade applications for metal, wood and plastic materials. This multi tool has 12 variable speed settings that range from 12000opm to 18000opm. The cordless multi-tool uses redlink technology for overload protection and constant speed electronics which delivers superb durability and performance

This incredible multi tool offers up to 50% faster and more versatile solution for cutting and removal applications compared with corded options. Whilst red lithium-ion battery packs deliver up to 2x more run time, up to 20% more power and up to 2x more battery life.

Still need help?

Still need help?

Our in house experts are always on hand for buying advice and to provide bespoke care, regardless of the application.

Call SGS on 01332 576 850 or fill out our contact form today.

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