Makita Cordless Sub-Compact Oscillating Multi-Tool Review

We’ve been anticipating an updated cordless multi-tool from Makita for quite a while now. Their XMT03 has done fine work for us, but it’s fallen behind the performance of more recent competition. We were excited when the Makita cordless Sub-Compact oscillating multi-tool arrived on our doorstep. However, what we saw when we opened the box wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.

There’s no question that Makita’s cordless oscillating multi-tool looks bulky. Even though it’s shorter than most, it has a bulbous head and a weight that doesn’t really feel Sub-Compact when you first pick the tool up.

It’s 12 inches long and measures 2.8 inches across the head from left to right. Bare, it weighs 3.0 pounds and that comes up to 3.9 with a 2.0Ah battery or 4.4 with a 5.0Ah pack. However, the weight is down by about 1/2 a pound from the previous model.

A generous layer of overmold covers the tool, making a variety of grip positions more comfortable and protecting the surfaces you’re working near.

The barrel diameter is a medium size that my hand wraps around pretty well. My only minor complaint is that I’d like the barrel section to be about an inch longer for the most natural grip.

Makita uses an interface that’s compatible with Starlock, including Plus and Max. It’s not completely hands-free the way most Starlock models are, though. You still need to pull the bolt once you unlock the release lever. While it’s not as fast as other models using Starlock, it’s still faster than most of the other designs.

Makita Cordless Sub-Compact Oscillating Multi-Tool Performance

Our first impressions of this Makita oscillating tool may have been on the mild side… but then we turned it on and everything changed. The vibration control that Makita built into it with their AVT counterbalance design is absolutely incredible.

We’ve been impressed with Fein’s Multimaster and Milwaukee did a great job with the M12 Fuel and M18 Fuel designs, but Makita set a new standard of what low vibration can be. With the variable speed dial set as high as it can go, there’s almost zero vibration that makes it to your hands. According to Makita’s data, it’s an 85% reduction compared to the XMT03.

The tool cuts and sands quickly as well. The variable speed dial tunes Makita’s brushless motor to a range of 10,000 – 20,000 oscillations per minute. Combined with a 3.6° oscillating angle, its working speed is excellent and noticeably better than the 3.2° it had before.

One change is that its low speed isn’t as low as before. The previous model dropped all the way down to 6,000 OPM and the XMT04 bottoms out at 10,000 OPM. In the grand scheme of things, we don’t feel like we’re missing anything significant with the change.

Additional Features

  • Soft start
  • Centered on/off swtich is easy to reach right or left-handed
  • LED light
  • Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) improves dust and water resitance

Makita XPT03 Vs XPT04 Quick Comparison

Speed Range 6,000 – 20,000 OPM 10,000 – 20,000 OPM
Oscillation Angle 3.2° 3.6°
Length 12 in. 12 in.
Weight w/5.0Ah Battery 4.9 lbs 4.4 lbs

You can pick up the Makita XMT04 for $229 as a bare tool. There’s no kit option at the moment. As with all Makita 18V LXT tools, it has a 3-year warranty.

The Bottom Line

We expected better performance and got it with the Makita cordless Sub-Compact oscillating multi-tool. What we didn’t expect is for it to jump straight to the top of the class in vibration control, but it did. While the shape isn’t as slender as before, there’s no denying the XMT04 is a huge improvement in Makita’s oscillating multi-tool game.

Makita Cordless Sub-Compact Oscillating Multi-Tool Specifications

  • Model: Makita XMT04
  • Power Source: Makita 18V LXT battery
  • No-Load Speed: 10,000 – 20,000 OPM
  • Oscillating Angle: 3.6°
  • Bare Weight: 3.0 pounds
  • Length: 12 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price: $229

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