18v Cordless Multi-tool
Aimed at: pros and high end DIYers with specific jobs in mind.
Pros: Metabo cordless battery system, slimline body and quick tool change.
Multi-tools are now everywhere, ranging in price from around £50 to £200 and over – a niche and price for every DIYer and tradesman. Increasingly, cordless makes sense too, with smart electronics for charging and controlling batteries and enough power to rival corded machines.
But, we come to Metabo with great expectations since the company has staked a claim on the cordless worksite of the future.The new MT 18 LTX Multi-Tool is part of the “Pick and Mix” range of over 40 different Metabo 18v tools that can use all current Metabo18v battery packs. Buyers can choose what they want – whether it is the naked tool, or with a battery, a charger, in a box or with other variations like different chucks etc. In other words a totally flexible set of options that can save a lot of money and be as comprehensive as you need. Lots to like here in my view.
My sample arrived in a sturdy cardboard box, inside which was a custom fitted tray that would slot into one of the new range of Metabo plastic cases now available. For the MT 18 LTX, the MC05 carrying case or the MetaLoc II stacking case are the ones to go for. The tray has custom spaces for the tool (with battery) a charger, an extra battery, dust extraction tubes and a lidded compartment for a limited range of accessories.
Immediately I picked up the MT 18 I was struck by just how slim the main body is and therefore how easy it is to handle, especially for my small hands. Some readers will know how much development Metabo has done on developing smaller, slimmer and more powerful electric motors, and clearly the work is paying off here too. There is a small amount of grippy rubber around the switch and body to aid grip and provide some bump protection. The balance of the tool is right with the oscillating head balanced by the battery pack at the rear. With a 5.2Ah battery pack on board, the tool weighs only 2Kgs and has electronically controlled no-load oscillation speeds of between 7,000 to 18,000 /min with an oscillating angle of 3.2 degrees left to right. The speeds are selected steplessly via a red-toothed wheel on the base of the tool.
We have come to expect all manner of tweaks and sophistication from our cordless tools these days and the MT 18 LTX Multi-Tool delivers in all categories. The quick accessory tool change system means that changing cutters etc is a simple matter of lifting the lever above the oscillating head and removing the tool holder and cutter. The tool holder is designed so that pretty well all makes of multi-tool accessories will fit, so users can choose what they need at the price point they want.
I was very taken with the two bright LED worklights inset into the front of the tool. This may be a comment on my aging eyesight, but I do always find these lights useful and I seem to be working inside a cabinet or in darker places more often these days.
One of the jobs for which a multi-tool is ideal is for detail sanding. I found that fitting the sanding delta pad and dust extraction was about as simple as it could be. The choice is to have the extraction tube locked on the left hand side where it is out of the way of the sanding head, or it can be mounted so that it can move freely round. Connected to an extractor via the standard 28mm Metabo vacuum adaptor the results were brilliant, with pretty well all dust collected that could be. Delta sanding, in particular, depends on the quality and grade of the sanding sheets and Metabo has a very good range covering most materials.
One of the tests I always do on multi-tools is to cut a slot out of the centre of a board. This is their USP – no other tools can do this. I used a piece of 35mm thick brown oak and was very happy with the results. The cutter even had a row of mm markings down one side so I could check how far I had cut – but I did need my glasses to be able to read them.
Another thing that pleased me was that the noise and vibration from the cordless motor was very well controlled. Multi-tools, because of their nature, have a sort of scream that can be tiresome, so less noise and vibration is very welcome.Another of my tests is removing grouting using the carbide half round cutter – this is a job that is made simple, efficient and quick with a multi-tool, and for me, a good enough reason to buy one. Again, the Metabo worked very well, and was very controllable too since I could choose the most efficient oscillating speed on the machine.
The rough carbide delta sander is perfect for sanding external surfaces where speed is important – I find that flaking paint simply disappears and also doesn’t clog the sander.
I mostly used the 2.0Ah battery supplied with the tool and it lasted well enough. However, when I tried a 5.2 Ah battery the machine seemed to run forever, and with the new battery chargers, downtime is minimal.
I confess that up until a few years ago I thought that some classes of tools like routers, circular saws and multi-tools would never transform well into cordless operation. But I am happy to say that I have been proved wrong and the Metabo MT 18 LTX Multi-Tool is a welcome addition to the competition. It is worth a look at purely on its own merits as a multi-tool, before you even consider the fact that it may fit into your existing Metabo cordless tool set at a price that will save you a lot of cash. With a typical body-only price of around £150 it could be the tool that adds a lot more versatility to your tool chest.