Last updated: August 13, 2021

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Have you ever imagined how your life would be if you could have a tool that did the work of several? If you only needed to change one piece to go from sanding to cutting, from grinding to polishing, from woodworking to metalworking? This is all that a multi-tool offers you!

Also known as oscillating multi-tools, multi-tools are already manufactured by many leading companies in the industry. But what can they offer you? What are their advantages and benefits? Why should you buy one? And how do you choose the best one? We will discuss all this below!




Summary

  • Multi-tools are very useful and versatile because they condense the work of several tools, such as sanders and polishing machines, into one.
  • Professionals such as craftsmen, specialists in multiple home repairs and owners of simple workshops benefit most from multi-tools.
  • As the production of multi-tools is still new, brands offer quite different models from each other, which opens up a wider range of choices.

The Best Multi Tool: Our Picks

Multi-tools are not yet so well known to the general public, but companies make good investments to generate the best products. We will now introduce you to some of the highest quality:

Buying Guide

Curious about what an equipment that promises to be many tools in one can offer? Then it's time to have all your doubts answered!

In our buying guide, we bring you the answers you've been waiting for about multi-tools!

Imagem mostra um homem usando uma furadeira no teto.

Some multi-tools can even perform the function of a drill. (Source: bilanol/ 123rf.com)

What is a multi tool and what is it used for?

Multi-tools, as their name explains, can perform the function of several tools in just one. Most often, they do this by changing parts in their head that vary in shape and are therefore capable of performing different tasks.

Some brands call them "oscillating multi-tools", firstly because of the characteristic that they mainly perform jobs linked to oscillating or turning tools, and secondly to avoid confusion with the also common multi-tool pliers.

In most cases, multi-tools can take the place of tools such as sanders, circular saws, polishing machines and grinders, allowing work on wood, metal or plastic. This versatility is precisely what has made them increasingly sought after.

Did you know that multi-tools are German inventions? Two companies, the very well-known Bosch and Fein, joined forces to design a model of a tool that could perform the function of several tools at the same time with just one part change.

Over time, several other companies started to have their own multi-tools, some of them very famous and with an incredible reputation, such as Makita.

What functions can a multi tool perform?

The main functions of a multi-tool vary from brand to brand, but there are some that are always present. We will list them below:

  • Sanding and polishing: Almost all multi-tools have sanding and polishing as their primary functions. They are very well suited for places such as automotive workshops and others that perform these types of services.
  • Cutting materials: It is very common to find in multi-tools the cutting function. There are tips indicated for wood, others for metal, imitating the functions of several different tools.
  • Multiple screwdrivers: Some oscillating multi-tools take advantage of the rotary movement to serve as multiple-entry screwdrivers, even with bits for rare screws, such as Allen screws or Torx screws.
  • Screwdriver and drill: More rare, but still common in some models, is the possibility of a complete adaptation for screwdriver and drill, thus performing these services with good quality.

Eventually, you will still find other types of services done by some multitool models, but these are the ones you will most commonly have available.

What are the advantages of having a multi tool?

The multitool has versatility as its flagship. If you perform services such as sanding, polishing and cutting with an intermediate frequency that does not justify having each unique tool for each of them, it is a tremendous help in the wheel.

Being able to perform all jobs with just a quick change of a part is the dream of many workshop and industrial workers. Even without having the same efficiency as specific tools, the multi-tool is an important step towards making it a reality.

Some modern models already offer ergonomics and adaptability so that the work with each part resembles the handling of the original tool, which solves one of the main disadvantages that the multi-tool had.

The price is a bit high, but still less than buying all the tools separately. Therefore, we repeat, the use is ideal for those who need several functions of the multi-tools, but not too often.

Check in the following table the main advantages and disadvantages of the multi-tool:

Advantages
  • Great versatility when performing the services of several tools
  • It can be very useful for professionals of the "handyman" type
  • There are already models that give ergonomics to all their uses
  • Cheaper than buying all the tools separately
Disadvantages
  • Price can be salty for those who do not use all the functions with certain frequency
  • Most of the models still do not offer good user experience in all the functions
  • There is not the same efficiency as in tools for each job

For whom is it recommended to have a multi tool?

We said that the multi-tool is ideal for groups of people who make use of all the tools they have, but in a moderate way, without overloading any of them. What would be, then, the main cases?

Multi-tools are great for craftsmen or people who do simple hobby repairs

The main one is for craft workers or people doing simple hobby repairs. For them, it is often necessary to perform some service that involves a sander, polisher or saw, but it is not all day, nor with absurd frequency. The multi-tool can help a lot in these cases.

Professionals of the "handyman" type, who go into households to do all kinds of household repairs for people, are also among the biggest beneficiaries of multi-tools, since they can have everything they need at hand, without carrying various trinkets.

Some workshops, mainly automotive or furniture related, can opt for the multi-tools if they have considerable demands of working with sanders, grinders and the like, but which are not that high. They will help a lot in the day-to-day repair work.

Think about whether you need everything the multi-tool offers. If the answer is yes, and if none of the individual tools are used to exhaustion, it's probably a good idea to get one.

What are the differences between the multi tool models?

Multi-tools do not yet have fully defined concepts of what they are and can perform. Each brand bets a bit on different features, and so we need to make a list about what the main manufacturers of this niche offer.

  • Makita: Makita has become the most famous manufacturer of multi-tools for investing in an ergonomic system that simulates the use of each individual tool. However, there are not so many functions, with a certain restriction to the family of sanding, polishing, grinding and similar.
  • Bosch: Inventor of the multi-tools, Bosch also has a certain restriction of functions. It offers accessories for cleaning, polishing, removing tiles, floors and the like, cutting and grinding. The power is excellent and so is the durability.
  • Black + Decker: Black + Decker bets on a different format of multi-tools, with larger heads and a smaller body, allowing a greater number of functions, such as screwdriver and drill. The price is a little above average.
  • Worx: Announcing its "oscillating multitool" for a long time, Worx has a very complete structure that even offers inputs for Allen and Torx keys. It is more compact and less powerful, but very versatile.

We compare the models of the manufacturers in the following table:

Makita Bosch Black + Decker Worx
Main functions Cutting, sanding, grinding, polishing Cutting, sanding, grinding, polishing Drilling, screwing, cutting, among others Screwing, sanding, grinding, among others
Advantages Ergonomics that simulates the use of each tool, making the handling superior Power, durability, benefits linked to the brand name High number of functions, unique system of use High number of functions, affordable price
Disadvantages Restriction of functions, ergonomics High price, some functions are quite specific Low power, some functions are quite specific -

How much does it cost and where to buy a multi tool?

The prices of multitools vary according to what they are capable of doing and the brands. The most affordable models are a little under 300, while the most modern and resourceful are around 1,200.

Purchase Criteria: What to pay Attention to when choosing a Multi Tool

If you have decided to buy a multi-tool, you still need to be sure about which model is ideal. That is why we have selected some important criteria that can help you.

Below we will tell you more about each of them!

Number of functions

The main reason for someone to buy a multi-tool is to enjoy the amount of functions it has to offer. Therefore, that amount of functions and what they are in specific are important factors when choosing a model.

You can opt for the tool that has the functions you know you will need most often, or the one that has everything you use at a more affordable price. The key here is to observe which models actually offer what best fits your needs.

Imagem mostra uma multiferramentas sendo usada no corte de madeira.

The more functions a multi-tool has, the more useful it can be. (Source: Thomas Lukassek/ 123rf.com)

Ergonomics

One of the reasons why multitools are not yet ultra popular is the difficulty of using some functions. You don't sand in the same body position as you screw, for example, and when the shape of the tool causes these activities to be performed in the same position, there is a loss in comfort.

Some multi-tool models already offer optimum ergonomics

Therefore, you can opt for a tool that cares about greater ergonomics and uses special technologies so that all functions are performed in ideal positions. There are already some models that are quite advanced in this respect.

Comfort is fundamental when handling tools, and this is certainly true when we are talking about many tools in one.

Power

The higher the power of a tool, the more heavy-duty work it has the ability to perform. Multi-tools are, in most cases, developed for simpler services and on common materials, which is why brands do not invest so much in power.

Power is measured in W (watts) in electric models and V (volts) in battery models. There are some tools that already have numbers compatible with good solo models and, if you want to perform heavier services, you can opt for them.

Otherwise, even the lower power ones are already great solutions.

Extra features and items

There are some extra features in certain multi-tools that can help you a lot in your work: the quick connect makes the tip change very fast and effective, the lighting helps the finish and the precision, the handles facilitate the comfort.

Extra items also make a multi-tool more attractive, especially if they are related to function, such as numerous quality heads and tips, or storage, with good cases that increase durability and make transport easier.

(Featured image source: Dmitriy Melnikov/ 123rf.com)

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