Need to do some cutting, grinding, polishing, grout removing and sharpening but only want to buy one tool? The best multi-tools are great for all of the above. In fact, the only DIY task these flexible friends can't help with is making the tea. Don't get this kind of multi-tool confused with the sort of Swiss Army Knife affair that outdoorsy types keep in their pocket in case they need to cut some twigs or fix a sleeping bag. No, this multi-tool is the powerful and versatile, oscillating variety that can sand, cut, grind and scrape its way through most building materials, including wood, drywall, grout, plastics and even metal.
Whether it's trimming off some excess plastic piping, sanding in difficult to reach areas or scraping old grouting out from the bathroom, the handy multi-tool tends to have all scenarios covered. Alongside something from our guides to the best cordless drills and the best electric screwdriver, they are a key part of any home tool kit.
How to buy the best multi-tool
Although massively versatile, each multi-tool differs in the amount of tasks it can accomplish thanks to these simple pieces of kit requiring the correct accessories to accomplish the job.
More basic models tend to throw in a sanding, scraping and cutting tool but the more lavish offerings can stretch to over 60 different attachments that cater from pretty much every DIY job imaginable.
Also, the modern multi-tool will come in both corded and cordless varieties, with the latter offering more flexibility, and the former, in general, more power and unlimited runtime, for bigger jobs.
Corded varieties are naturally more cumbersome but can go XXL on the power front, meaning the multi-tool can really earn its crust as a very tasty sawing tool, when the need arises.
The question, as usual with power tools is this: can you get by with a cheaper, less powerful multi-tool, because you only envisage doing infrequent, light jobs? Or will that end up annoying the living bejesus out of you, and wishing you'd shelled out extra for a more powerful incarnation?
We have the best multitools at all price points, but we can't make that decision for you.
The best multi-tools we've tested
DeWalt doesn't do things by halves and professionals use the majority of its tools across the globe. There's a good reason for this: they are built tough and can handle the demands of everyday usage. The cordless DCS355D2-GB is a chunky unit but it delivers on performance, with over 30 accessories that can take on a huge array of DIY projects without complaint, from tough sanding jobs to metal cutting.
There are more than 20 different sanding sheets on offer, as well as a wood fast cut blade, a wood with nails blade, a detail blade, a rigid scraper, a half-moon flush cut blade and a half-moon grout removal tool.
Every one of these tools can be removed and swapped in a matter of seconds thanks to a click and lock accessory system, while the twin Lithium-ion batteries are designed to last. The 50-minute charge time could be an issue one day, so consider investing in a second battery.
The DeWalt DCS355D2-GB is a fantastic piece of kit that manages to combine powerful performance with the convenience of a cordless tool. It manages an impressive 20,000opm (oscillations per minute) cutting speed thanks to its 300W power output, while the two supplied Lithium-ion battery packs means it can go the distance.
As is often the case, Bosch's multi-tool sits neatly in the sweet spot between more expensive pro-level tools and the real entry-level stuff.
The PMF 350 CES has a motor powerful enough to push its saw blades through all manner of fiddly DIY tasks – I've used it for everything from chopping out the bases of kitchen units to plasterboard insertions, to having it double as a (admittedly slightly haphazard) jigsaw, for cutting longer lengths of MDF. Unlike older Bosch multi-tools and several current rivals, you don't need an Alan key to switch its heads, either.
For the price, and given that it has a vacuum attachment to remove dust as you go and an optional handle for more serious tasks, you can forgive the fact its corded, and that the LED light is somewhat ineffectual.
The Ryobi One+ Cordless Multi-Tool is a great addition to the toolbox, as it can be used for so many applications. It's really easy to use, lightweight and free of any annoying cords.
The bog standard plunger style attachment can make it a bit fiddly to fit accessories, such as grouting blades and sanding blocks, but it does open up the possibility of purchasing cheaper, third party products. Alas, there’s a fair amount of vibration through the tool and it’s noisy, but it is well built and the price is tempting.
Read our full review of the Ryobi 18V One+ Cordless Multi-Tool here
The Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool is a professional-spec tool at a DIY-friendly budget, taking inspiration from power products that cost twice as much. A unique Starlock accessory system, a clever 180-degree LED light at the front and hefty build quality are typically the domain of DeWalt, Milwaukee and even Bosch’s own pro-line, but this feels like it easily hold its head high against the competition.
It is tough, built to last and can handle some really hardcore jobs. The only downside is that users are invested int the Bosch Starlock system, so it’s harder to purchase cheaper third party accessories for the tool.
Read our review of the Bosch Advanced 18V Cordless Multi Tool here
There are no particular bells and whistles to write home about on this affordable yet mightily capable multi-tool from Ozito but it does the bleedin' job with gusto.
A 300W motor unleashes oscillating mayhem onto any DIY task, from sanding to grinding plastic tubing, while the generous kit comes with 23 accessories to get you started on the next project.
It's corded, so lacks the total portability of battery powered products, but this punchy little gizmo has a cutting depth capacity of 27mm, so can tackle some lightweight angle grinding tasks, too.
Variable speed control and a tool-free blade change make this a doddle to use, but it remains powerful enough to take on some tricky tasks.
Got old grout to remove from tiles? No problem. Need to cut notches into wooden doorframes? Easy.
The Worx Hyperlock tool-free clamping system does away with the need for fiddly Hex keys or chucks and provides 1-tonne of clamping force to prevent slipping during use, no matter the blade angle.
This universal interface is also compatible with other oscillation brand accessories but the kit comes with a 35mm precision end cut blade, a 35mm bimetal end cut blade and a sanding pad with sheets included.
This portable Makita multi-tool runs for hours and charges in just 36 minutes, plus the advanced LXT Lithium-ion batteries deliver a stupidly powerful 4.0Ah for major DIY projects.
The kit comes with numerous sanding pads and a singular segmented blade for hardcore cutting jobs but it is compatible with Makita's oscillating interface system that offers plenty of accessories to suit most tasks.
Simply put, these tools are built to last a lifetime of major building projects, so a little DIY isn't going to phase it.
If an extremely reasonable (and quite basic) multi-tool is on the agenda, the guys over at Am-Tech have got you covered.
This highly portable, battery-powered tool weighs just 798g but packs a relatively potent Lithium-ion battery pack for cutting, scraping and sanding on the move.
Unfortunately, the 50W power output is way down on some of the more expensive rivals mentioned here but it is capable of dealing with most common tasks and features six variable speed settings for greater control.
The battery packs can be charged in under an hour, while the kit comes with a useful selection of accessories to tackle the most common jobs, and is compatible for use with other Am-Tech multi tool accessories, as well as those from most of the big brands.