SMART Tools and Purple Series Blades - A Cutting Combination?

Aimed at: Anyone, amateur or pro who needs a well priced and oscillating Tool.

Pros: Combined with purple series blades it is a great performer on all materials. 

The market in oscillating multi tools is crammed with many good and excellent products from a majority of leading power tool brands. The result is a range of tools from good to excellent at various price points and the weak need not apply – because the market will be quickly find out the vulnerable.

SMART is not really a brand associated with power tools, and yet the oscillating tool I was sent for review showed all the signs of being a very good product – and to underline the confidence that SMART has in it, it comes with a Ten Year Warranty.

Well presented in a robust French Blue custom fitted plastic case with enough space for the tool and 3m of cord and a load of spare blades, it makes a good first impression. The presentation is neat and professional and with a SSP of £139+VAT it is very competitively priced too. For the tool and 60-piece accessory kit the price is only £30 more. A Fair price to pay for delta sander, scraper etc that put the “multi” into multitool. 

The body of the tool is, well, - sleek and very neat and it looks well made. There are no odd moulding “nibs” or other giveaway signs of a cheaply made product.  It is slim enough to get a really good one-handed grip and the panels of grippy rubber do indeed help to minimise the inevitable vibration generated by this type of tool.

A simple slider switch on the top of the body selects on/off and a six position dial at the cord end selects the speed. An alloy casing on the front contains the oscillating mechanism, metal gearbox and a bright LED worklight. On top of the casing is the blade release lever for toolless change of blades. This operates very smoothly with no “snap” for unwary fingers and the flange fitting is designed to accommodate pretty well all of the range of blades available on the market.  

The motor has the inevitable whine associated with oscillating tools and it is always better to wear ear protection when using them, but the SMART does not suffer from louder noise levels than most of the competition.

To complement the SMART 300W Multi-Tool, the company has focused on the development of its Purple Series of blades that is intended to create a simple solution for the end user - a pack of four blades with the same tooth design and capabilities but in different sizes according to the selected task. Generally speaking this translates into wider blades for bigger and softer materials and smaller blades for more concentrated tasks and harder materials. These bi-metal blades are coated in Titanium alloy to help keep the blade cool and this in turn helps that blades to cut quicker and last longer.

As oscillating tools are often used where there is a danger of hidden nails and screws, the Purple Series bi-metal blades are also designed to cut through through small metal obstructions that could be encountered.

They also have a universal fitting that is compatible with most leading brands of multi tools as well as those with the “quick release” design that simply slides out when the flange is released.

I use multi-tools a lot for my general woodwork as well as on site where they a brilliant “get out of trouble” tool that will do a job where others can’t. On a couple of small jobs where I took the SMART tool with me I found that it was very good at doing the cutting, slicing and getting into small spaces that multi-tools are made for. The range of Purple Series blades proved to be very versatile and I particularly liked the wide (70mm) blade that allowed me to trim off a rafter end flush with the brickwork. And it didn’t seem particularly bothered by the occasional brush with the brickwork either – it just carried on cutting. The semi-circular blade was also very useful cutting out odd pieces of plasterboard needed to fit around a ceiling repair.

 

Cutting through steel and galvanised nails was also quite easily achieved with these blades. In my experiments I hammered a couple of rows of nails into a strip of MDF and sliced them off level with the surface with no trouble at all. There appeared to a bit of wear on the teeth of the blades, but they continued cutting well.

Cutting the same nails that were deeply embedded in a piece of wood created a physical problem, namely that the friction of the cut creates heat, and this heat has nowhere to escape, so there is a danger of some smoke. Then the user has to take care to use the whole blade, a slightly lower speed and generally adopt a safety first approach. I must stress that this happens whatever make of blades you use, the Purple Series shortened the agony by cutting as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A much tougher challenge is cutting through modern case-hardened screws commonly used nowadays. They are designed to be very hard and cut their own path even into hardwood because they are driven effortlessly by powerful torquey drill drivers. Gone are the days of guide holes and hand screwdriving! And much softer steel screws!

I found that I could cut these screws by slowing the speed slightly and using the whole of the blade.  Again, the amount of heat produced shows just how hard the blade teeth are having to work to cut the steel. I did something I don’t normally do, and I used another brand of aftermarket cutter on the SMART tool just for a comparison of cutting speeds, and the SMART Purple Series blades edge proved to be far superior. It cut more quickly and lasted measurably longer. Certainly the teeth on both blades showed signs of wear and blunting, but the Purple Series blade would still cut wood and softer metals quite happily.

Cutting, scraping and sanding are also done very easily with a multi-tool and potential purchasers of the SMART 300W multi-Tool would be pleased to know that it performs just as well on these as we would expect. Certainly, the SMART plastic case is well-designed enough to hold a range of common accessories that might be used on a decorating job for example.

So, if you want a competent, well-priced multi-tool the SMART might be your answer. Combine it with the Purple Series blades and save yourself a lot of time and hassle too. 

 

Leatherman Surge – A Thoroughly Modern Multi-Tool

Aimed at: Those who need a high quality multi-tool for work or play.

Pros: Usable pliers and it doesn't bust your nails trying to get the blades out.

While some people rabbit on about Health and Safety as though they are bad – I take a different view. Changing rules on Health and Safety often allow us to take a fresh look, and the consequent redesign is usually much better – especially in the area of tools.

The first multi tool I coveted, years ago, was a crude device compared to the slick stainless steel Leatherman Surge that arrived on my desk a few days ago.

In its folded form, the Leatherman Surge is a weighty bit of kit that fits neatly into the palm of the hand. Made almost entirely from different grades of stainless steel, it is very well screwed together and there are no sharp bits sticking out. It feels like it will do the job!

The more I explored the features of the Surge, the more I came to appreciate just how much safer and more useful it is compared to my first multi tool.

Safety-wise it is simply great. All the blades are lockable so will not suddenly release to trap or cut an unwary finger. The big sharp knife blades will not open unless the handles are in the closed position – so basically they are available only when you need them.

Opening up all the tools is now not a job for steel fingernails – they are mostly released via a spring catch and a generous finger niche is provided to help them open out. On the other hand, both the serrated and standard knife blades can be opened with the flick of a thumb – something that I have come to appreciate when I have been been working on site.

There is also a bit of future proofing built in because key things that get blunt, like the wire cutters and reversible screwdriver bit, can be replaced very easily.

What set the original Leatherman apart from others was the inclusion of a pair of pliers that actually worked. The Surge carries on this tradition, but with bells on. The narrownose pliers are revealed by simply opening out the handles. Milled jaws provide a good grip on wire as well as small nuts and bolts and the wire cutters are VERY effective on both electrical wires and small gauge steel wire. Behind the fulcrum are an electrical wire cutter and crimper that work very well too.

Some multi tools claim to have legions of blades, but in my experience, they often don’t all work. This is not true of the Surge – all twenty blades are completely functional and some are ingenious. The scissors, for example, have a brilliant spring mechanism that means they actually work properly - I cut paper, card and hard plastic quite easily.

I was also pleased to see that this Surge came in a leather belt pouch with elasticated nylon sides that not only held the knife securely, but also had some space to accommodate a couple of spares like the diamond and metal file blades.

So, the Leatherman Surge is a really practical, modern and safe multi that would be perfect for campers, travellers and emergency trade use. I like it!

Fein Cordless Multi Master + Video Review - All the Capability of Mains with the Portability of Cordless

 

Aimed at:- Pros and Canny Amateurs who need the cordless convience of a good multitool.

Pros:- The Cordless verision does what the corded one does alongside a good control of vibration and noise. 

I know that there is a lot of brand loyalty out there when it comes to power tools, and manufacturers now have a big advantage because the major brands of cordless tools mostly have a battery platform that fits all the other cordless tools in their ranges.  But, in my chats to people in the trade, there seems to be common consent that Fein still has the advantage when it comes to making oscillating Multi Tools. There is still something in the “Original and Best” slogan that apparently makes sense to end-users.

With Fein’s launch of a new version of the corded MultiMaster a while ago, that had noticeably much less noise and vibration, the goalposts moved significantly. And now that the cordless AFMM18 is on the market Fein MultiMaster users have a significant choice. Perhaps a difficult choice to make?? Corded or Cordless?

Left to myself I would have both versions, but then I am greedy and could be accused of being fussy too. In truth, there is a fraction of difference in the weight, handling and size of the corded and cordless models – the Fein Engineers have done a great job ensuring that the balance and ergonomics of both tools suit their power sources. In my view, either tool is a good choice, but if you have any other cordless Fein tool, then perhaps the cordless AFMM18 would be a good choice to take advantage of the battery platform.

The “working” end of the AFMM18 is almost identical to the corded Multi Master and therefore includes Fein’s rather good system of isolating the oscillating movement, and its accompanying vibration, from the body and the hand of the operator. My own experience of the vibration and noise levels from this tool are very positive. I have no official measures, but I did feel comfortable doing several hours worth of sanding of exterior window frames. The stop/start nature of the work means that your hands don’t ever really feel uncomfortable.

I am always a little chary of the “Quick-in” lever on the top of the machine. The “Quick-in” idea is a good one, because the old system of hex keys was very slow, but some users have complained to me that it can trap an unwary finger as you snap it down to hold the working cutter in place. This is no longer the case. Although it still sounds very snappy, in fact the composite lever has lost its spring loading as it reaches towards being at right angles to the body, so fingers are not really in danger as the system snaps firmly onto the cutter.

On the body, the black rubber overmould that provides good grip and some protection from vibration is sparing but well placed so that the palm of the hand is where the grip is. There is a simple thumb operated slider switch for off/on that is perfect to use, and a few centimetres behind that is the 6-position knurled wheel switch for selecting oscillating speeds. Again, simple and efficient. With an oscillating speed range of 11,000 to 18,500 /min there is enough of a range to sand and cut effectively, as well as work carefully at low speeds on sensitive operations. I would say that in my experience of the tool, this speed control was one of the key features of the tool that added to its usefulness.

Placed carefully for balance on the rear of the machine, is the battery pack. The kit I was sent for review had two 2.5 Ah packs with it, and frankly I found that they lasted long enough for me not to hanker after a bigger 5Ah battery that would last longer, but also be heavier. Fein has one of the simplest and most robust battery pack mounting systems on the market which I like a lot, as I hate fiddling with buttons that you have to squeeze in on each side to release the battery. The new battery packs are very slick looking with a black base colour and Fein Orange stripe, but more importantly the right side of the battery pack houses a system of four lights that indicate the state of battery charge. Also important in avoiding deep discharge, the enemy of Lithium Ion, a continuous red light will show when the battery needs a charge urgently and a flashing red light says “charge me NOW! although the electronics will not allow the tool to operate on a dangerously uncharged battery.

The charger is compact and the series of lights indicate very clearly the state of the battery. A fan will cool the pack if it is too hot to charge and it usually takes about 40 minutes or so for a full charge.

As is recognized by oscillating tool users, they can do jobs that other tools can’t, and although I do use the delta sanders sometimes, the things I have found that they are best at is blind cuts through surfaces, slicing the bottoms of door frames when fitting flooring, cutting out old grout from between tiles and scraping off old adhesives. This cordless Multi master does not disgrace itself performing any of these functions. For some reason, maybe because I am developing a steadier hand, I found the tool easier to control especially when plunge cutting.  The correct choice of cutters is vital and there is now a huge range of accessories available. Included in the kit is a scraper, a delta sander and sanding sheets, a semi-circular wood blade, a straight wood blade and a straight wood and metal blade, but in my view the carbide coated cutters are also a must for me.  

A quick word about the box – like all Fein boxes they are well laid out, have ample space for bits and pieces and the moulded polystyrene inner will hold the tool safely and firmly while in transit – easy to pack too and carry too.  

When I compared noise and vibration levels between mains and cordless they were so similar that I am sure that a blindfold test would not be able to tell which is which. Suffice to say, working up a ladder for example or on mains-free worksites, the AFMM18 is a perfect solution.

For more information on the Fein Multimaster, please visit www.fein-uk.co.uk

Leatherman Super Tool 300- A Trade Favourite?

From my observations it seems that many tradespeople now carry multi tools on their belts. This may reflect the larger numbers of higher quality multi tools available, but it could also be that tradespeople like them because they are a very useful “reach for me” tool, particularly when initially investigating a job. It is very often a multi tool that establishes just how far the rot has got into that doorframe, or unscrews the cover that conceals the problem.

Thankfully, we are now past the time where the multi tools were all “multi” and not enough genuine “tools” and the original Leatherman must take some credit for this – it was the first multi tool that included a pair of pliers that actually worked, and provided the stimulus for the competition to develop better products.   Most manufacturers now include only the tools that are genuinely useful, so it is up to end users to explore the options that will suit their needs.

The Leatherman Super Tool 300 is part of a range of other Leatherman tools including the ”Surge” and “Crunch” for example, that are all deliberately different in order to provide a sensible choice for end users. While a tradesperson usually has a box of specialist tools nearby, a multi tool like the Super Tool 300 may be the only tool available for campers, hikers and yachtsmen.

The Leatherman Super Tool 300 feels weighty and solid when you first handle it – it is clear that this tool is a serious one, and it inspires confidence.

Closed, it is just over four inches (115 mm) long and with the handles bent open to reveal the pliers it is still only about seven inches (180 mm) long – enough to give enough leverage in use, but still compact enough to carry in a belt pouch.

As we would expect from a Leatherman, the body is made from solid, folded 420HC stainless steel, with harder 154CM stainless steel used for some blades, where it holds an edge better. The rivets that hold the whole tool together are reassuringly tight, and no doubt will ease slightly with use.

Once opened, the handles lock into place so that the pliers are ready for action. The pliers are forged and ground into a slimmish compromise between needle nosed pliers and standard ones. The finely ridged gripping tips meet precisely and there is no play in the fulcrum, so indeed it is a pair of pliers that give you the confidence that they will work properly. The wider milled opening before the cutting blades serves as a good way of holding a range of smaller sized nuts and bolts.

The pliers offer a number of wire cutting options, the most obvious one being via the removable cutting blades near the fulcrum. Using a hex key, these blades can be removed and then resharpened or replaced as required. I found them very efficient and sharp, even cutting some wire coat hangers.

On the handle side of the fulcrum there are wire cutters for cutting stranded wires and also the electrical crimpers. I was pleased to find that these features worked as intended. Electricians and mechanics take note!

I was slightly intrigued by the ruler function etched into the handles – in cm on one side and inches the other. It is possible to measure up to 23 cm fairly accurately by pushing the handles together so that the flat handle ends meet. Apart from the necessary gap between 9cm and 14cm it will give a pretty accurate result when needed.

Concealed inside the handles are ten other tools. These are actually quite easy to lift into position because they are ether provided with a good-sized fingernail slot or a hook. When fully opened they are locked into place with an efficient spring-loaded bar lock that you can actually hear as it locks. Unlocking the blades is a simple matter of pushing in the spring with one thumb and pushing the blade back into the handle with the other hand.

The Super Tool 300 has two incredibly sharp blades - one serrated and the other a simple drop point. As with any knife, care needs to be taken in use. I found that by folding the handles in to create a good handle, it allows you to cut safely.

The saw has very sharp teeth and is ground to cut on both pull and push strokes and will sever branches and small timber sections quickly. It is clearly aimed at campers and hikers, not joiners, so don’t attempt dovetails with it.

There are also three sizes of flat slotted screwdrivers and a Phillips 2 screwdriver. For general use these are perfectly adequate, but specialist trades should look at other Leatherman options.

There is also a double sided file with a toothed edge that was able to file soft metals quite well – clearly enough of a function to file a key to fit for example, and with enough finesse and accuracy to be useful.

Since I learned how to use combined bottle and can openers on knives when I was a teenager I take great delight in demonstrating them to the uninitiated and the Leatherman version is a gem – sharp and easy to start. No need for fancy ring pull cans with the Leatherman handy.

Finally, there is an optional lanyard ring that provides an extra level of security against accidental loss. Some trade users might attach a lanyard to it when working at height for example, where it is impractical to always replace the tool in its belt holster. The holster is made from strong black nylon with a hook and loop flap to keep the tool in place.

My overall impression of the Leatherman is that it is thoughtfully designed and manufactured well using good quality materials. It is clearly aimed at a discerning audience that appreciates a tool that will really work.

Leatherman is so confident of the quality of their products that they offer a 25 year limited warranty. However as we know, quality doesn’t usually come cheap, and a typical retail price for the Leatherman Super Tool 300 is £89.95.

Aimed at:- campers, hikers, outdoorsy types and a lots of trades as a first option tool.

Pros:- Well-made with useful accessories and an excellent guarantee.

For more information please visit www.leatherman.co.uk/

 

 

Hitachi CV 18DBL Cordless Multi Tool - Brushless and Li Ion

Hitachi CordlessIt seems that, suddenly, cordless multi tools are everywhere. Maybe because each manufacturer has its own Li Ion battery platform, they all have to have one so that their customers won’t miss out on tool choice. But the bar for multi tools is now so high that reputable brands simply have to have a good product in their ranges. Not only does it have to be good, it helps if it is unique in some way in order to distinguish it from the competition.

This multi tool was delivered to me in a simple cardboard box – a so-called “naked” tool. With most big manufacturers having battery compatibility across their range of tools and Ah, it is cheaper and more efficient. After all, how many chargers and battery packs does one need?

Hitachi ToolA quick word on battery compatibility – this CV 18DBL will accept all current 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4 and 5 Ah battery packs from Hitachi. The advantage of using smaller battery packs is obvious – they are lighter and make the tool easier to handle, but also there are some jobs for which the weight and bulk of a bigger 5 Ah battery pack is not required. Cutting small components and detail sanding are two jobs that spring to mind where bulky power or endurance is not required.

I have small hands so I look for slim bodies and lightness in many of the power tools that I use regularly. While it does not appear to be the slimmest on the market, the Hitachi fits my hand nicely with the black rubber overmould sparingly and efficiently placed for good grip. It has a very efficient brushless motor that has several advantages – it uses battery power better and runs more quietly. With no brushes to wear out and a sealed motor unit the inevitable dust produced while using machines will not wear out a commutator ring or clog a field coil. Brushless motors are usually slimmer and smaller too – hence the slimmer body for me to grip.

The rubber overmould extends right over the head of the machine where it might get bumped and there are also two inlaid rubber bumpers on the rear of the machine on each side of the battery housing that will protect it when it is laid on its side.

Hitachi Tool VC18DBLAlso at the rear of the machine is the milled grey oscillation speed control wheel that shows 5 speed settings and an A for automatic. If automatic is selected the motor will revert to 15,000/min when not loaded and it will be quieter with less vibration, making it easier to place the cutting edge of the mounted tool more accurately onto the work. Once the cutting tool is engaged the machine automatically picks up to 20,000/min if needed, or remains on the 15,000 setting if the electronics detect that the extra oomph isn’t required.

Migrating to the business end of the tool is the locking lever for whichever cutting blade or sanding system the user chooses. Some of these levers can catch out an unwary finger by snapping closed quickly. However, I am pleased to report that the Hitachi has a very civilized system that operates positively and the spring loading only lasts to the point where the lever is vertical to the body, so it doesn’t snap down at all. Great news for me!

The Hitachi multi tool is also unique, I think, in having a collar lock on the attachment ring. This means that if the locking lever is released, the accessory blade will not fall out with the accompanying tool shaft – possibly falling onto and damaging a delicate surface or behind somewhere unreachable?

Hitachi Hand Tool

In order to release the cutting tool, the collar is just pulled down and rotated to the unlock position, where the tool shaft is released.

Although some might say it is unnecessary, I liked this system because it enabled the accessory to be located firmly and accurately.

A small square LED light on the front of the machine comes on immediately the machine is switched on and provides an area of diffused light right where cutting blades in particular might be working.

On/off is selected via a decently sized slider switch behind the lever lock. It is well recessed to avoid accidental operation and does not require any thumb athletics to make it work.

I was sent a range of cutting, sanding and slicing blades to try out. These were all of good quality, made in Europe and fitted tightly onto the attachment ring. The ring enables accessories to move at 30-degree steps for easy positioning onto difficult work angles. As I would expect from a reputable manufacturer like Hitachi, the CV 18DBL performed well on all the plunge cutting, flush cutting etc tasks I tried. With an overall length of about 312mm including battery it will fit into smallish spaces such as kitchen cabinets if necessary.

Hitachi Cordless Multi Tool

The delta sanding option also intrigued me – it is very efficient and the delta sanding head has better hook and loop than many, but it doesn’t have a dust extraction system. On some multi tools, the dust extraction can be a mixed blessing as it sometimes obscures the work area and doesn’t work very well. On the Hitachi, I wonder whether dust extraction has been sacrificed in order to have the locking collar option. When I used the Hitachi to sand some wooden window frames the dust didn’t appear to be a problem as I was outdoors and I did use a properly fitted, decent quality dust mask to do the job. Perhaps the best solution?

I am sure that many of Hitachi’s loyal users will welcome the addition of the 18v and 14v multi tools to the Hitachi range because multi tools can do jobs that others can’t – and easily and quickly too, so it makes sense to have one in the tool box. With a very healthy range of speeds from 6,000 to 20,000/min, a compact size and low weight (2 kg with 18v battery pack) and with noise and vibration well controlled the Hitachi feels up to date and robust.

Aimed at: Professional woodworkers and high end DIYers

Pros: Compact and efficient. Quiet motors and good dust extraction.

Metabo MT 18 LTX - Pick and Mix the Metabo Way

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.

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