When you’re working on DIY projects it can sometimes be useful to have a tool that can do more than one job. Cutting, sanding, polishing, and scraping, the best multi-tool can perform all these tasks, so to find the outstanding tools in this field we reviewed two different types of multi-tools. Oscillating multi-tools that move a blade or sanding head back and forth, and rotary multi-tools that spin cutting discs or polishing mops around at high speeds.
Oscillating multi-tools can be fitted with a number of different blades and heads at a wide variety of angles. They can plunge cut into materials like wood and even metal, scrape old grout off from between tiles, or sand down wooden surfaces. They’re the ideal tool for DIY tasks like trimming down pieces of wood or removing old paint.
Rotary multi-tools are similar to drills, but are small enough to be held like a pen for maximum manoeuvrability. Built for precision, they can be fitted with everything from brushes to carving bits. Less powerful than an oscillating multi-tool, these highly portable power tools are ideal for when you need more control over the fine details.
They’re both versatile tools for DIYers and are quite often the only tool that can get the job done. Alongside a trusty cordless drill, you can get on with your next project.
If you’re on the lookout for more cordless tools, you need to check out our guides on how to find the best electric screwdrivers, the best hammers and cordless drills. And see our guides on drill bits and screwdriver sets.
Best multi-tools at a glance
- Best rotary multi-tool kit: Dremel 8240 Platinum
- Best budget cordless multi-tool kit: BLACK + DECKER BDCOS18
- Best professional oscillating multi-tool: DeWalt DCS356P2
- Best corded multi-tool: Erbauer EMT300
- Best multi-tool for innovative features: Ryobi R18-MT
We tested a range of different multi-tools, using them to cut a variety of materials and sand and grind a range of surfaces to help you find the right one for your next garden and DIY project. Each oscillating and rotary multi-tool has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to ease of use, comfort, performance, and value for money. Every multi-tool in our round up below has scored a minimum of three out of five stars, so you can buy with confidence.
- Best multi-tools
- The best of the rest
- Which is the best multi-tool to buy?
- What can I use a multi-tool for?
- How we tested oscillating and rotary multi-tools
In every review, we award the outstanding products our coveted Best Buy award. To see these and the others we recommend, browse our pick of the best oscillating and rotary multi-tools below.
Dremel 8240 Cordless 12V Rotary multi-tool Platinum Kit
Our rating: 4.8/5
- Lightweight, comfortable, and ideal for fine detail work
- Range of attachments including detailer’s grip, shaping platform and line cutting fence
- Two 2.0 Ah batteries for quick swaps without charging
- Bright LED light for working in dark corners
- Expensive kit for beginners
- You might not have a use for all the accessories
When it comes to rotary multi-tools, most people think of Dremel and their new Platinum kit is helpfully comprehensive. The 12 Volt 8240 is a well-balanced and surprisingly powerful rotary tool with an ergonomic rubberised grip that is easy to hang on to. The motor runs from 5,000 – 35,000 rpm in eight steps, but you also get a fantastic flight case style box that holds a whopping 65 accessories, a collection of useful attachments and a pair of 2.0 Ah batteries. There are polishing mops, cut off wheels, drill bits, sanding discs, and more all included. We’ve awarded the Dremel 8240 a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for a rotary multi tool kit.
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BLACK + DECKER BDCOS18 18V cordless oscillating tool
Our rating: 4.8/5
- Accessory clamping lever makes blade changes easy
- Lightweight with a comfortable grip
- Comes with a battery, charger, case, and lots of accessories
- Blade change lever is made from plastic
This is a lightweight, affordable, and easily manoeuvrable cordless power tool that isn’t too loud and has a comfy grip. It runs from 8,000 – 18,000 opm in six steps, and is easy to use because the blade change lever is the same clever design found on the more expensive DeWalt multi-tool. There’s a bright LED work light and it comes with a plastic carry case, a charger, and a 2.0 Ah battery to get you started. There are plenty of accessories as well. There’s a sanding pad with dust extractor connection and 14 sanding pads, plunge cutting blade for wood, two metal and wood plunge cutting blades, a grout removal tool, scraper, and accessory adapter. We awarded it a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for a budget cordless multi-tool kit.
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DeWalt DCS356P2 XR brushless 3 speed oscillating multi-tool
Our rating: 4.8/5
- The bright LED stays on after you release the trigger
- Switches between three operating speeds
- Comes with two high capacity 5.0 Ah batteries
- Handy accessories included
- Extremely loud at top speed
- Expensive for a casual DIYer
US tool firm DeWalt is famous for their multi-tools, and this premium tool is ideal for both trade or serious DIY use. Because of this,we awarded it a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for a professional oscillating multi-tool. The grip is extremely comfortable and the unique locking paddle trigger allows for speed control – the more you squeeze the faster it oscillates. The brushless motor means it’s powerful, and it runs from 0 – 20,000 opm.
It comes in a stackable hard case with two handles and foam inserts for the two powerful 5.0 Ah batteries and collection of 35 quality accessories, including a clever depth stop. You get the best multi-tool blades- four different wood blades, a scraper blade, a grout removal tool, and 25 sanding pads. It’s an expensive kit, but for a serious DIYer could be a good starter point for a collection of DeWalt cordless tools.
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Erbauer 300W corded electric multi-tool kit
Our rating: 4.8/5
- Long 4m power cable
- Low vibration for a corded tool
- Extensive accessory kit
- Loud operation
- Not the brightest LED lights
If you’re looking for a quality multi-tool without overspending, Erbauer’s EMT300 is hard to beat. It’s relatively light, easy enough to handle when cutting and sanding, and comes with a comprehensive 44-piece accessory kit. We awarded it a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for a corded multi-tool. It has a comfortable, if basic, grip shape, dual LED work lights, and the 300 Watt brushed motor powers the blades from 11,000 – 20,000 opm in six steps. It comes with a generous four metre long power cord, and inside the sturdy case is a separate blade kit. You get a segmented saw blade, a pair of plunge blades, a scraper, a grout removal blade, sanding attachment, and 36 different sanding pads.
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Ryobi R18-MT cordless multi-tool
RRP: £130.99 (for the bare tool)
Our rating: 4.8/8
- Articulated head allows for the best access
- Comfortable grip and smooth trigger action
- Affordable multi-tool if you already have the battery and charger
- Bare tool, no batteries included
- Small selection of accessories to start with
Japanese tool giants Ryobi have managed to come up with a unique and rather clever multi-tool in the R18-MT. Not only does it have a comfortable grip shape and a trigger that allows for comfort and precision, but it also has an articulated cutting head that allows you to work at almost any angle, making it extremely versatile. Powered by a big Ryobi battery, which is not included, it can produce 10,000 – 20,000 opm in six steps. Blade changes are easy thanks to a lever locking system as well. Supplied with a modest selection of blades, a flush cutting blade, plunge cut blade, sanding pad and five sheets of sandpaper, we gave this multi-tool a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy Award for innovative features.
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Although some models didn’t quite achieve a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy award, they still have great features that make them worth recommending. Browse our pick of the best of the rest on test.
Dremel Lite 7760 4V
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Weighing just 270g, it’s incredibly easy to manoeuvre
- The removeable nose cap can be used to change bits
- Recharges via USB
- You can’t quickly swap out batteries
- No match for the 12 Volt Dremel’s speed
If you want the cordless power of a Dremel, but don’t want to fork out for a carry case and exchangeable batteries, the 4 Volt Lite is a very handy and easy to use rotary multi-tool. The rubberised grip is extremely comfortable, and the moulded nib makes it easy to perform delicate tasks. The speed ranges between 8,000 – 25,000 rpm in four steps and is powered by an internal, USB charged, 2.0 Ah battery. Although it doesn’t have the raw power of the bigger 12 Volt Dremel 8240, it’s powerful enough for grinding, polishing, drilling, and more. It comes with a little box of 15 quality accessories too, so it’s an ideal first rotary tool for new crafters.
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Ryobi RRT4 4V cordless rotary tool starter kit
Our rating: 4.5/8
- Removable USB charged battery
- Ideal for sanding and fine detailing
- Fast, tool-free blade changes
- No LED work light
- Not as powerful as the 12 Volt Dremel
A familiar sight to most keen DIYers, Ryobi’s green tools promise reliability and good performance. Their new line of 4 Volt Lithium battery tools includes the RRT4, a very handy little rotary multi-tool that is powered by a removable USB charged 2.0 Ah battery. Comfortable to hold on to thanks to a rubberised grip, lightweight and nimble, it spins up from 5,000 – 25,000 rpm in five steps. Supplied with the tool is a useful accessory kit containing 15 different attachments including polishing compound.
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Bosch AdvancedMulti 18 cordless multifunction tool
Our rating: 4/5
- Supplied with high quality blades
- Side handle makes it easy to control
- Bright LED light that shines through 180°
- Only compatible with expensive Starlock branded blades
- Not ideal if you have small hands
- This set doesn’t come with a case, battery, or charger
German tool giants Bosch produce an impressive number of tools for professionals, and their green line of DIY-friendly kit is well loved in homes and gardens across the UK. The Advanced 18 is a solid and rather chunky multi-tool that runs between 10,000 – 20,000 opm. It’s heavy, but seriously powerful, especially when plunge cutting. Changing blades is easy, you just pull the lever and push it in until it clicks. The quality of the included blades is excellent, but bear in mind that you can’t use universal blade types. The set comes with a segmented cutting blade, a plunge cut blade, and sanding pad with six pads. There’s a depth stop collar included as well as a handle that helps to keep the tool steady during use.
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Makita DTM52ZX2 18v LXT brushless multi-tool and starlock max bit set
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Hugely powerful brushless motor
- Extensive collection of Starlock blades and case
- Very quiet and comfortable to use with minimal vibration
- Won’t accept cheap universal type blades
- Supplied as a bare tool without battery or charger
- Big and heavy tool, especially with a large battery installed
This brushless motor multi-tool from Makita is seriously chunky. It’s built for trade use and will stand up to just about any DIY task you could ask it to. However, it’s so substantial that when smaller blades are attached, it can’t fit into tight corners. The huge and comfortable grip makes it easy to hang on to, and there’s a dust extractor attachment too. It runs from 10,000 – 20,000 opm in six steps. It uses Starlock Max blades, which aren’t universal, but are pro-level quality and rated for high power applications.
Luckily, this multi-tool comes with a 44-piece set of blades in a hard case. You get four segment blades, two for wood and two for grout removal, six different plunge cutting blades for wood and metal, a scraper, a sanding pad with 30 pads, and a clever silicone removing blade. They’re colour-coded for easy recognition, too. It’s a powerful, professional level multi-tool, but it might be out of the price range of casual DIYers.
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Stanley FatMax V20 18V cordless multi material cutting tool
Our rating: 4.5/5
- Easy blade changes
- Compatible with universal blade types
- Hard carry case
- Annoying power switch location
- Blade change lever is plastic so not as durable
Similar in looks and design to the excellent DeWalt multi-tool, the Stanley is a handy accomplice for most DIYers. It has an ergonomic grip shape, and changing the blades is really quick, thanks to the same lever lock found on the DeWalt multi-tool. It runs from 8,000 – 20,000 opm and is powered by a 2.0 Ah battery. There’s an LED work light on the front that isn’t the brightest, but it’s better than not having one. You also get a hard carry case to keep everything safe, and a generous 20-piece accessory kit that includes a pair of plunge cutting blades, 14 sanding pads, and a grout removal blade. The sanding head can be clipped to a dust extraction system, and you get a length of rubber hose included to attach it.
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WORX Sonicrafter oscillating multi-tool
RRP: £79.99 (for bare tool)
Our rating: 3.8/5
With a slim grip shape and light weight, this WORX WX696 is an ergonomically designed multi-tool. The narrow head means it can fit into tight corners, which makes it more useful, and with a speed from 5,000 – 18,000 opm in six steps it’s good enough for most DIY tasks. The clunky blade change mechanism is a bit annoying though. You need to unscrew a bolt to change blades, but at least the key is stored on the back of the tool. Although it doesn’t come with a case, the 40-piece accessory kit is particularly generous. You get a segmented saw blade, two plunge cutting blades, a scraper blade, sanding pad, and 30 sanding sheets.
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BLACK + DECKER MT300 corded oscillating multi-tool
Our rating: 3.8/5
- Easy blade changes
- Dust extractor hose included
- Hard carry case included
- Big and heavy
- Extremely loud
- Lots of vibration
If you don’t want to buy into a battery system, then BLACK + DECKER’s corded multi-tool is a solid choice. Ideal for those with big hands, this is a formidable multi-tool with chunky stylings and a big barrel grip. It’s powered by a 300W brushed motor that pushes the blade from 10,000 – 20,000 opm in six steps. Blade changes are simple using the handy lever lock system, and you get three metres of power cord. It comes in a hard case with a plunge cut blade, segmented wood blade, two scrapers, a sanding attachment with dust extraction hose, and six sanding sheets.
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Gtech multi-tool bundle
Our rating: 3.5/5
- Comfortable grip shape, easy to get into corners
- Bright LED work light right on the front
- Accepts universal blade types
- Can’t stand up on its end
- Blade change is a pain with included accessories
- No case included
The Gtech is a rather chunky oscillating multi-tool with a big, comfortable grip shape. The battery has been fitted at an angle on the bottom to allow for a more comfortable working position, but it does mean, annoyingly, that the tool won’t stand up on its end. It runs from 8,000 – 18,000 opm in six steps. Changing the blades takes a bit of fiddling around. Even though it’s a lever type fitting, you can’t just ping the blade on and off because Gtech have included Starlock type blades rather than universal ones. The good thing is that you can fit universal blade types if you buy them separately. The modest accessory kit that comes with the multi-tool includes a segmented blade, a plunge blade, and a sanding pad with three sheets.
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Titan TTB892MLT 300W corded electric multi-tool
Our rating: 3.5/5
- Buy now from Screwfix (£47)
- Affordable multi-tool kit
- Quick blade change function
- Sluggish top speed
- No LED worklight
- Basic quality blades included
In-house brand for tool giants Screwfix, Titan is a reliable name in the DIY world and this is a low-cost option if you want a basic but powerful oscillating multi-tool. It’s rather heavy, and the barrel grip shape is basic, but you still get a lot for your money. The 300 Watt brushed motor powers the blades from 10,000 – 19,000 opm in six steps, and it has a reasonable 2.5 m power cable. You also get a hard plastic case, two plunge cut blades, a scraper blade, segmented blade, and a sanding head with nine sanding sheets.n adapter for fitting Starlock type blades is included as well.
If you’re looking for the best oscillating multi-tool, you need to think about your needs and the job in front of you. If you have already bought into a power tool battery system, then buying a “bare” tool from a quality manufacturer can save you some money. If you’re only performing light DIY tasks, you won’t need a professional level multi-tool. Planning to renovate an entire house? You might need something more substantial with a brushless motor and rugged Starlock blades. For DIYers on a budget, corded oscillating multi-tools are affordable, if less portable, tools to add to your collection. Take a look at our in-depth guide on how to choose the best cordless tools for more information. And don’t forget, using the best multi-tool blades make a huge difference to the performance of any multi-tool.
Once you’ve bought the best oscillating multi-tool for your next project, you’ll probably wonder how you got anything done before. They’re hugely versatile pieces of equipment that can cut, sand, polish, and scrape a wide variety of materials. Want to cut into floor boards? The plunge cutting ability of a multi-tool is not found in almost any other power tool. If you’re a keen DIYer, a multi-tool will soon become a valued part of your tool collection.
And if you’re a crafter, a rotary multi-tool might just become your new best friend too. With a hundred different applications from engraving to polishing, it’s a high precision tool that will fit into the tightest spaces when you need it to.
The best trick you can perform with an oscillating multi-tool is the plunge cut. A plunge cut is when you cut straight into the material with the blade. It makes it the ideal tool to use if you’re planning to make a nesting box. The oscillating nature of a multi-tool means you can “push” the blade straight into the work without the need to drill starter holes. This neat trick isn’t the only thing a multi-tool can do however, because there are a wide variety of different blades and pads available to fit on the end of the tool. For example, you can sand and polish materials like wood and metal with the correct pad attached. Need to flush cut close to a wall or floor? With the right blade, you can undercut a door frame architrave to install new wooden floors. The best multi-tool will cut through metal or other materials with different size and shape blades, grind out grout from between tiles, and even chop silicone beading without making a huge mess as well.
Before you start cutting, sanding, or polishing, you need to make sure you’re wearing the correct Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE. multi-tools all share one particular trait- they’re loud. Ensure you have ear defenders, protective glasses and an appropriate dust mask. Once you’ve got the best cordless multi-tool in hand, you should practise with it on pieces of scrap wood or metal. Get to know how the tool works when you’re plunge cutting or flush cutting, for example. Multi-tools only work properly, and safely, when the workpiece is clamped down or fixed securely.
The BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine reviews team tested a variety of multi-tools in and around the home and garden,using oscillating multi-tools to cut into different wood and metal surfaces with a range of blades, as well as sanding using different grit sandpapers, and rotary multi-tools to drill, carve, and sand different surfaces. The following criteria were used to calculate the scores, with equal weight given to each:
- Ease of use: Observed how easy blade changes were, if there were any special features like handles and work lights.
- Comfort: Evaluated the weight and shape of the tool, how easy it is to work in tight spaces, how much vibration and noise there was during operation.
- Performance: Tested the range of speeds available to the tool, how well it cut into different materials or sanded surfaces.
- Value for money: Considered all of above, plus if it came with a case, batteries, and the variety of accessories included.
This Review was last updated in January 2024. We apologise if the price or availability of the reviewed products has changed.