The 8 Best Uses For Oscillating Tool (Saving Your Money & Time)

Last Updated on April 23, 2022 by Barry Gray

If you’ve ever owned an oscillating tool, you’ll know that it is as helpful as it is invaluable. It has more functionality than you can wave a wrench at, especially considering its inexpensive price tag. My workshop uses them daily, and we’ve come to rely on them to complete our jobs. Here are the eight best uses for oscillating tools if you’re on the fence. 

The eight best uses for oscillating tools are:

  1. Plunge cuts to replace wood flooring
  2. Cutting drywall
  3. Removing stubborn rusty nuts
  4. Oscillating tools can sand when needed
  5. Grout removal
  6. Installing and modifying cabinets
  7. Removing mortar is quick and easy
  8. Trim without causing damage

With the right attachments, an oscillating tool is a force in and of itself, enabling the user to accomplish a myriad of projects. It is adept at working with carpet, soft tile, hardwood, softwood, aluminum, and hard tiles. Want to know more? Let’s delve into a list of practical applications. 

oscillating tool uses

1. Do Plunge Cut To Replace Sections Of Wood Flooring

You must trim floor areas and measure accurately when a job requires that you replace a portion of a hardwood floor. Using a half-round, you can easily place the flooring over the duct and plunge cut through one piece of flooring at a time. Thus, having an oscillating tool on hand helps melt away the tediousness of the task and shortens any hassle.

You could also want to cut holes for some ingenious under-step lighting, create cuts for support rails, or trim up the edges for a more streamlined and professional result. As it happens, an oscillating tool can quickly help you accomplish these goals, both for the outdoors and confined spaces. 

2. Make Quick Work Of Drywall With Oscillating Tools 

The unsung heroes of drywall work are oscillating tools. Their ability to plunge cut a square hole has several advantages, especially when working with wood; for example, notching trim for entrances is one among them.

Furthermore, using an oscillating tool with a bimetal or carbide-grit blade performs well for a switch box or outlet receptacle. It can cut drywall as well as resist the tensile strength of nails and screws.

3. Get Rid Of Stubborn Rusty Nuts

When you’re dealing with a tough corroded nut that won’t budge, you may have no choice but to attempt a different technique. Although a reciprocating saw is a possibility, what if you don’t have enough space? The oscillating tool has arrived and is ready to serve!

Angle and place your oscillating tool against the nut, beginning it slowly until it makes a slight groove, using a high-quality bi-metal cutting blade. Increase the pace and continue sawing until you’ve reached roughly three-quarters of the way through. Finally, deliver the coup de grace and use pliers to tear off the remaining part.

4. Oscillating Tools Can Sand When Needed 

Nice furniture usually has an odd form. As a result, a standard palm sander or orbital sander may not be sufficient. An oscillating multi-tools triangular sanding tip makes it easier to smooth rough wood in corners, sand down wood filler, and smooth over jagged edges of scraped paint.

Narrow edges exist on doors, shutters, and furniture, among other things. An oscillating multi-tools long slim design, paired with its triangular sanding pad, makes it particularly well-suited for smoothing these surfaces.

You may easily handle those hard spots with the correct attachment and narrow oscillating tool angle. Essentially, it’s another task where cordless power multi-tools may save time and effort

5. Grout Removal Is Effortless 

An oscillating tool works wonders when removing old grout from between tiles. It’s still arduous labor, but you won’t harm the tiles or create a dust storm, unlike other approaches.

You may wish to replace the grout in a bath area to freshen it up, or you may need to do extensive bath renovations or repairs, such as replacing a shower valve. Regardless, the carbide-grit attachment on an oscillating tool may cut both grout and tile if necessary.

For simple operations, a carbide blade will suffice, while more demanding work will necessitate the use of a diamond blade. Additionally, both kinds are available in 1/16-inch and 1/8-inch thicknesses to match grout widths. 

Even though there is plenty of grit on the sides of the blade, if you detect sparks when cleaning grout, it means the outside edge of the blade has worn down.

6. Installation And Modification Of Cabinets

Oscillating tools are excellent for installing cabinets, whether you’re changing them out to make room for a new sink or dishwasher. You may also utilize them to add new hardware, such as a pantry slide-out.

Few techniques are more efficient than using an oscillating tool to cut slots, squares, and notches quickly and easily. The ability to offset the tool axis with respect to the saw blade significantly speeds up and simplifies the cut.

7. Removing Mortar Is Quick And Easy 

You may make a handy mortar grinder by attaching a triangular carbide-grit rasp to your oscillating multi-tool. It implies you’ll be able to remove hardened thin-set mortar from a floor tile you’re seeking to save. Using an oscillating grinder attachment on your multi-tool, you can remove set mortar, cement, and dry glue in a matter of seconds.

If a tile pops off the wall, you can remove the thin-set mortar from the wall and the tile using the carbide-grit grinding pad. Reapply thin-set to the freshly cleaned areas and reinstall the tile.

8. Do Trim Work Without Causing Damage

Contrary to popular opinion, trimming isn’t just a job for the outdoors. Oscillating tools are perfect for slicing superfluous material off a frame, adjusting furniture, and even changing stud walls – these are all chores that a flexible power multi-tool can do with ease.

Trimming is as easy as prying the trim away from the wall just enough to insert an oscillating tool blade, then probing for nails with a metal-cutting blade. After that, cover the wall with a piece of sheet metal. There are no more splits, so it’s quick and easy. 


An excellent oscillating tool is one of those tools that, when you first purchase one, will get you thinking, “Why didn’t I get one sooner?” – they are that useful! Whether you need to remove mortar, grout, rusty nuts, or sand, an oscillating tool will see the job through to the end. 

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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