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Makita DTM51Z 18V Cordless Multi Tool Review

We test the Makita DTM51Z 18V Cordless Multi Tool to see what it can do and find out why it's one of the best products on the market

Makita DTM51Z cordless multi tool on wood floor
(Image: © David Hilton)

Our Verdict

Able to be used effectively on a building site or for home DIY, the Makita DTM51Z Cordless Multi Tool has passed all our tests with flying colours, and you're sure to keep finding new tasks that it can do. This is the kind of tool you never knew you needed but soon won't do without.

For

  • Quick release blade change
  • Metal Gearbox
  • Compatible with the vast range of Makita LXT products
  • Cost

Against

  • A bit noisy

Whether your latest project involves building a new home, renovating or home improvement, a strong cordless multi tool that can handle all manner of jobs will be invaluable. Able to perform many functions with the wide range of attachments available, the right multi tool is a useful addition to any professional or DIY toolbox.

The best multi tool is one that is versatile and adaptable to many different building jobs. Multi tools are so named due to their many different uses, and blade attachments are typically split into five main use categories:  

  • Cutting
  • Scraping
  • Sanding
  • Polishing 
  • Tile grout and masonry

Here we take a look at the Makita DTM51Z 18V Cordless Multi Tool in action and see what makes it such a great multi tool for DIYers and trades alike.

What's Included When You Buy the Makita DTM51Z 18V Cordless Multi Tool?

The Makita DTM51Z 18V Cordless Multi Tool has a barrel grip for comfortable handling, and operating at high efficiency, the anti-restart function offers extra protection if you need to suddenly recharge. It also comes with built-in LEDs, which improve visibility and let you work confidently in darker areas of the home, such as loft spaces. 

Other key features include:

  • Six speeds
  • All-metal gearbox
  • Lever-style quick release blade change
  • Oscillation speeds between 6000 and 20000 cycles per minute
  • Battery charge indicator
  • Compatible with the Makita LXT batteries from 1.5Ah to 6Ah

Bear in mind that this product is often sold ‘bare' (without a battery or charger), but some retailers offer packs with a charger and either one or two batteries. You'll also need to buy the blades and accessories separately.

Modes and Speeds

Cordless multi tool

(Image credit: Amazon)

The Makita DTM51Z 18V Cordless Multi Tool has a six speed motor and full metal gearbox selectable via a rotating switch on the side of the tool.

The multi tool itself has a soft start, which means that it speeds up on activation, and is activated via a separate sliding switch that stays in the on position and does not need to be held. Rubber coated grips help give a firm hold on the tool in many different working positions.

The Makita DTM51Z 18V blade can oscillate over a 3.20 angle at between 6000 and 20000 cycles per minute, meaning you can expect fast, clean results.

Additional Features

The Makita DTM51Z has a lever-style, toolless quick release blade changing facility, and the blade can be set at 12 different angles across a full 360 degrees, giving you full functionality no matter what you're working on. Many other models of multitool require a hex wrench to remove the blade, but the Makita DTM51Z eliminates this inconvenience.

There is also a battery capacity indicator, which shows the amount of charge left in the battery at the push of a button, meaning you never have to worry about leaving a job unfinished due to the power cutting out without warning.

How Did the Makita DTM51Z 18V Cordless Multi Tool Perform When Tested?

The Makita DTM51Z 18V Cordless Multi Tool is built to work and is as happy being used for occasional DIY tasks at home or all day on a busy site (which is where I use it). With the ever-increasing range of blades and fittings available for these tools, they are rapidly becoming another ‘must-have’ item for many trades. 

The robust metal gearbox, with six speeds between 6000 and 20000 oscillations per minute, allows for cutting, grinding and polishing in many different materials, at many different angles and in previously hard to reach areas. 

Being a relatively new type of tool, it does take a bit of time to work out the best techniques, angles and blades to use, and it is certainly worth getting a variety of fittings to practice with before letting yourself loose on the final task. The convenient quick release blade change and tough metal gearbox both make for a comfortable usage experience.

The length of time the battery will last before needing to be recharged very much depends on the capacity of the battery and the load of the work you are doing. If you use 5Ah batteries, one will normally last most of the day onsite, unless you're cutting or grinding larger areas.

The Makita DTM51Z Multi Tool is also compatible with the Makita 18 volt LXT lithium ion range of batteries, so will easily fit into a system of tools that all use the same type of power source (ideal if you own other Makita branded power tools).

There is also the option to put a metal clip on the bottom of the multi tool, so you can hang it on your belt or work trousers pocket. This may be a little bit big and heavy to carry around when hooked to your pocket for prolonged periods of time, especially with a sharp blade attached, but it is very convenient for when you need to put it down in order to use both hands, especially if you are working up a ladder.

The Makita DTM51Z Multi Tool has rapidly become one of the most used tools in my bag and I keep finding new tasks that it can do. This is the tool I never knew I needed but now would not do without!

What is a Cordless Multi Tool?

A cordless multi tool (or oscillating tool to use its original name) is a tool that you fit a blade to the front of and use to cut many different materials. 

Originally invented in the 1960s for the removal of orthopedic plaster casts, the blade oscillates (vibrating rather than rotating or reciprocating) at high speed, and the tool feels like it melts into the material. 

It can be used for accurately cutting out squares in a board or studwork wall, for instance. The blades are often offset so that the tool can be used to cut flush with a surface, such as cutting flooring directly in line with a wall or skirting.

David is a renewables and ventilation installer, with over 35 years experience, and is a long-standing contributor to Homebuilding and Renovating magazine. He is a member of the Gas Safe Register, has a Masters degree in Sustainable Architecture, and is an authority in sustainable building and energy efficiency, with extensive knowledge in building fabrics, heat recovery ventilation, renewables, and also conventional heating systems. He is also a speaker at the Homebuilding & Renovating Show. 

Passionate about healthy, efficient homes, he is director of Heat and Energy Ltd. He works with architects, builders, self builders and renovators, and designs and project manages the installation of ventilation and heating systems to achieve the most energy efficient and cost effective outcome for every home.