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Angle Grinder vs. Oscillating Multi-Tool (5 Differences)

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From time immemorial, it has not always been an easy task making a pick between an angle grinder and oscillating multi-tool. As both can be used for grinding, polishing, and scrapping during construction works. However, regardless of the similarities between both power tools, they are still distinct when some other factors are considered.

These tools are essential in any construction work and their usage cannot be understated. At least one or both of these tools are useful to professionals in the field or at workshops, likewise “do it yourselfers” who use them at home or in the garage.

Both are powerful, effective, and easy to use. Likely reasons buyers are often confused as to which should they empty their pockets on.

So, if you are in doubt as to which of these power tools will perfectly execute your tasks at home or in the workshop or you would like to compare both tools to aid your selection process. And also know more about their functionality and how to maintain them; this guide will serve that purpose.

Keep reading because both tools would be reviewed in terms of their common features, what makes one surpass the other, in what capacities, and many more.

Related Read— Top Rated Angle Grinders Review

What is an Angle Grinder?

An angle grinder is one of the most commonly used handheld power tools for grinding metals. Though some use it for polishing over time, it has been seen as the most reliable grinding tool. It is also called a side grinder and when used with a power source, it is known as a disc grinder.

There are different types of angle grinders. Although their main function is grinding but of recent, more ways to use them have evolved. There are angle grinders that can now polish and grind.

Advanced ones have been built such that their discs allow them to be used for various tasks.

Related Read— Top Rated Die Grinders Review

How does it work?

This power tool works with a small motor that turns a disk at high revolutions. It usually includes an adjustable handle or knob on the side to facilitate grip and manipulation.

What is an Oscillating multi-tool?

A tool with many names, the oscillating multi-tool is an essential tool in every construction task. It offers diverse usage which allows for the attachment of other tools for proper functionality – it is like a master tool.

This tool was launched decades ago and it is easy to use. Cutting, sawing, sanding, scraping, carving, polishing and a host of other construction activities are what the oscillating multi-tool can be used for.

How does it work?

The oscillating tool has a mechanical part that engages in a movement best described as oscillatory motion.

This mechanical part powers all other attachments, making the surface resistance to sliding, which is necessary for smooth performance and effectiveness.

Angle grinder vs. Oscillating Multi-Tool

Here, we shall discuss the differences between both tools based on some of their common features.

Cost of the Tool and Attachments

For any tool you wish to buy, the cost is an important factor to consider if you wish to have a high return rate. Two things determine if a tool will be costly or not.

  1. Multifunctional functions make them more costly than tools for specified purposes.
  2. Type of attachments

In terms of the angle grinder and oscillating multi-tool, the less expensive angle grinder performs limited functions compared to its counterpart. Unlike the oscillating multi-tool that can be referred to as a “jack of all trade” in the construction process.

Also, looking at the type of attachments both tools need to work, the oscillating multi-tool has a wide range of accessories that can be coupled with it for efficiency. The prices of the attachments vary depending on the project you’re working on.

Likewise, the cost of a blade for multi-tools could be pocket draining. The angle grinder, however, only needs its disc to keep it up and running.

Related Read— Angle Grinder vs Circular Saw

Cost of Maintenance

This implies, the more attachments needed or used by a tool, the more expensive it is to maintain. With the numerous attachments needed by the multi-tool, it is sure to gulp much in the process of maintenance than an angle grinder which invariably doesn’t need any/much attachments.

Attachments and Accessories

Though a bit about this has been discussed under the cost section, still it is worthy of mentioning the oscillating multi-tool requires more attachments and accessories than the simple angle grinder. The attachment depends on what task you currently want to execute.

Also, the more attachments required by a tool, the harder it is to transport and store. The implication of this is the angle grinder is easier to transport and store than the oscillating multi-tool.

Some of these attachments used by an oscillating multi-tool include; sanders, scrapers, grinders, and most importantly, blades.

The type of attachments and accessories to be used also depends on the materials you would be working on, either wood, metal, tubes, or plastics.

Related Read— How to Cut Wood Using an Angle Grinder?

Purpose of Usage

It would be unfair to rate one of these important tools above the other without putting an important factor like the purpose of usage into consideration.

Mainly, the purpose of the oscillating multi-tool is to be used for construction purposes and maybe for some petty household renovation.

However, over the years it has extended that purpose as it is now being used for woodworks and crafts thanks to its versatility. This case is nowhere similar to the purpose of an angle grinder.


  • Deductions
  1. Both tools are important and one cannot override the other, it all depends on the task you’re working on.
  2. If you are on a low budget or would be transporting the tool often, the angle grinder should be your preferred tool because the oscillating multi-tool is more expensive and numerous attachments don’t make it mobile-friendly. You just have to hope it can execute all of your tasks.
  3. If you are on a mission to execute a lot of construction tasks, from cutting to grinding to scraping and may more, don’t go for the oscillating multi-tool because it is more than just being a power tool. It is a versatile tool.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Can I Buy Both the Angle Grinder and Oscillating Multi-tool?

Well, this depends on the purpose of usage. Some people love to have one for use in their home and a permanent one for use in the workshop.

If that is the case, you can buy both. Otherwise, to cut the cost of buying and that of maintenance, you should stick with buying just one of the tools.

Related Read— Can I Use an Angle Grinder to Level Concrete?

2. Is There Any Task the Angle Grinder Can Perform Better Than the Oscillating Multi-tool?

Yes, there is. When it comes to adding finesse to an already completed grinding or polishing work, no tool does it better than the angle grinder.

You can trust the oscillating tool to perform all the tasks, but kindly reserve the task of putting the finishing touches for the angle grinder.

3. Is There Any Difference Between the Angle Grinder and Disc Grinder?

No, there is no difference. An angle grinder is also called a disc grinder when it is being used with a power source – i.e. electrically.

4. How to Maintain These Two Tools?

With all certainty, both tools are nothing short of durability and reliability. However, to avoid a sudden breakdown during usage, users should learn to take care of their tools through regular cleaning.

It is not like both tools have different cleaning patterns. What differentiates how each tool is cleaned is the attachment that would be cleaned and stored with it. Other than that, they both have the same cleaning routine as do other handheld power tools.

Here is a list of the most important ones;

  1. Do not put away immediately after use, the blades would still be hot.
  2. Store in a cool place.
  3. Always inspect for wear, tears, and damages before and after use.
  4. Moving and rotating parts and angles should be well greased and lubricated.
  5. Always keep batteries fully charged and in good condition.
  6. Blades and other sharp surfaces should be well sharpened.
  7. Remove all attachments from tools after use; this will aid portability for quite heavy tools.
  8. Keep away from children’s play route.


This guide has reviewed the differences between the angle grinder and oscillating multi-tool while also discussing some of their similarities and suffices to say the best tool depends on the factor you are considering.

We hope this review will aid your selection process and assist you to make the best pick among the two important construction handheld power tools.

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We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

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