An oscillating tool can cut, sand, and scrape nearly every surface of a house, making small maintenance tasks simple. We rated the latest by completing tasks such as outlet-fitting, grout-grinding, and doorjamb-cutting, and put 80-grit triangular sanding sheets to work on some badly mauled scrap boards. We also used the saw blades to make crosscuts into pine. Here are the ones we liked best.
As the only subject without a tool-free blade change, this 3.1-pound model tested our tolerance. Setting up Makita's sole cutting blade, 10 sanding sheets, or pair of adapters is cumbersome – and you can easily lose some small but necessary parts along the way. It works well, operating between 6,000 and 20,000 OPM, but lacks oomph – it was the only unit that needed to use its max speed to sand effectively. [$160; makitatools.com]
Credit: Photograph by Michael Pirrocco