We tested dozens of oscillating multi-tools leading up to our latest head-to-head review of the category. Among the most popular is the Makita 18V LXT cordless oscillating multi-tool.
- Good vibration control
- Good cutting speeds
- Brushed motor
- On the heavier side
- Louder than most other models while cutting
- Pricey for what you get
Makita Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool Accessory Changes
We first looked at the various models’ blade and accessory change systems. Most multi-tools have adopted some version of a tool-free blade change system at this point.
Makita uses a very popular style where you pull the lever on top which releases the bolt underneath. Some manufacturers add threading you need to unscrew or even an extra pull and twist step. Of the model that use this style, Makita’s is the easiest and quickest. It’s still not as convenient as Starlock, though.
Makita Cordless Oscillating Tool Feature Set
- Adaptive design for wedging, sanding, or scraping
- Variable-speed control matches tool speed to work
- On-off side-switch has a lock-on button
- LED light
- Brushless motor
The Makita 18V cordless oscillating multi-tool could use a bit of work on its ergonomics, starting with the weight. Cordless tools tend to weigh a bit more than their corded counterparts, but at almost 5 pounds, the weight feels excessive. Makita is the heaviest in our testing group, more than 3/4-pound heavier than the next closest.
Makita usually does a pretty admirable job of making ergonomic, comfortable tools to use. Looking past the weight, this cordless model feels okay in the hand, but the handle diameter is a little girthy and has a few weird angles. It isn’t a total ergonomic bust, but we’re ready for them to rethink the design for a next-generation offering.
Makita Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool Performance
With a 3.2° angle of oscillation and a variable speed motor capable of jamming out between 6,000-20,000 OPM, the Makita cordless oscillating tool can crank out some decent cutting speed.
On the PTR Oscillating Multi-Tool Test Track, it finished in the middle of the pack at 1:57. Among the non-Starlock models, it’s just 17 seconds off the lead.
If you’re not familiar with our Test Track, here’s what it entails:
- Undercutting a door jamb
- Cutting out drywall for an electrical box
- Cutting five finish nails to remove trim
- Removing an 18-inch line of grout
- Sanding a 6-inch section of 2×4 pine stud
Along the way, we have to make two blade changes, and that’s where the Starlock model gain a big advantage.
The Makita cordless oscillating tool really excels in the area of vibration control. Considering it doesn’t boast an advanced system as Makita has for its rotary hammers and reciprocating saw, that’s a pretty impressive foundational design.
The tool does an excellent job of keeping us from having to feel every single oscillation it generates and its less aggressive 3.2° oscillation angle likely helps with that.
Makita Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool Noise
The Makita XMT035 generates a fair amount of noise compared to other models. You’ll probably prefer to have some hearing protection handy with just about every oscillating tool anyway, but at 101 dB(A), it’s more of a requirement. The entire group ranges from 92 decibels to 104, putting Makita in the loudest part of the group.
Makita Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool Price
At $349 for the kit, Makita’s multi-tool doesn’t come cheap. It comes with a pair of 18V LXT 3.0 Ah batteries and a rapid charger, but that’s a bit high given the overall picture.
The best value, for those folks who are already on Makita’s 18V platform, comes from just purchasing the bare tool at $119. In either case, the tool comes with a 3-Year warranty.
Included In Kit
- Makita XMT035
- Multi-Tool Adapter
- 1-1/4″ Plunge Blade
- 18V Lithium-Ion Rapid Charger
- 18V Lithium-Ion 3.0Ah
- Tool Bag
The Bottom Line
The Makita 18V LXT cordless oscillating multi-tool still does some excellent work. However, it’s being passed up by newer models with more aggressive speeds, better vibration control, and improved ergonomics. With Makita jumping onboard with X-Lock for their grinders, it’s entirely possible we might just see a redesigned brushless upgrade with the Starlock interface. Time will tell.
Makita Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool Specs
- Model: Makita XMT035
- Power Source: Makita 18V LXT battery
- Oscillations: 6,000 – 20,000 OPM
- Oscillation Angle: 3.2°
- Weight: 4.99 lbs. with 3.0 Ah battery
- Length: 13-3/8″
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $329.99