One of four tools in our test of 18-volt cordless oscillating multi tools (OMTs), this model is Bosch’s first in this category of these useful cutting, sanding, and scraping tools. Bosch developed their own blade arbor hole pattern (named the OIS system) that some other tool companies have since adopted. But Bosch OMTs are not compatible with other blade types since they cannot be fitted with an adapter like most other brands. If you buy a Bosch OMT you will have to use OIS pattern accessories. Fortunately, a wide assortment of these accessories is available from Bosch and other companies.
Bosch Multi-X MXH180BLSpecs
Battery: Tested with 2.0 Ah compact battery
Battery gauge: N/A
Weight: 3.8 pounds
Oscillations per minute: 8,000-20,000
Angle of oscillation: 2.8 degrees
Special Features: Brushless motor
Includes: Tool, 1 blade, accessory case, plastic L-Boxx kit case
Also available: MXH180BN (tool with blade and L-Boxx insert tray only) $188
Country of origin: Tool Malaysia; battery Malaysia
Comments and Ratings
Very Good to Excellent overall
As a close copy of the brand’s corded version that took high honors in our last OMT test, this quality addition to Bosch’s lineup shone as one of the top-two tools in this test (the other was Milwaukee’s model 2626)
Switch: Very Good; Well placed, properly recessed out of the way, and easy to operate even with gloves on.
Speed dial: Fair; Accidentally brushing by the speed dial in normal use would often alter the speed. The dial action should be made stiffer to alleviate this problem.
Grip: Very Good; Lots of rubber grip surfaces, especially at the nose of the tool. Could benefit from more rubber along the bottom though.
Good; High pitch, faint buzzing vibration; Vibration was reduced notably when the battery was pushed in tightly. An improved battery bumper design could help.
Bosch has the smoothest and nicest blade clamp system available with no loose pieces to deal with. The sleek release lever is neatly embedded flush with the body of the tool to keep it from snagging on anything. And this Bosch blade clamp design was the first to feature a dampened spring action to prevent the lever from “mousetrapping” down on your fingers.
To attach or remove the blade you simply pull the lever out, snap the blade over the spindle with the holes in the desired position on the raised “nubs”, and push the lever back down. To rotate the blade you pull the lever which releases the tension of the center spindle. Small tabs on the spindle are supposed to hold the blade loosely in place so it can be rotated without the blade falling off, but used blades usually fall off if I open the lever all the way. Most Bosch OMTs I’ve used held onto the blade well, but I have had a few that didn’t. I don’t feel like it really slows me down since it takes two hands to reposition the blade anyway, but I am tempted to pry open the split spindle a little bit with no blade on to see if it helps.
Bosch doesn’t play fair when it comes to accessories. While they design their blades to fit many of the tools out there (and offer a universal adapter for those that don’t), they make their tool unable to fit the blades of a few major competitors such as Fein. Since no adapter will fit on Bosch’s tool-free blade clamp, it can’t be made to fit incompatible accessories by the user. The “OIS” arbor hole style that Bosch originated is being adopted by some other brands and seems to be gaining in popularity in the OMT market so Bosch brand and Bosch-compatible accessories are pretty easy to find.
The main story and detailed reviews of the other models tested can be found by clicking the links below.
Fein’s 14.4- and 18-volt models haven’t changed since 2012 and can be found in Full-Size Oscillating Multi Tools in the summer 2012 issue of Tools of the Trade. Note: Some of the other tools in the 2012 story—including the cordless tools from Makita and Porter-Cable—are not their companies’ newest models.