Anyone who uses power tools will respect the Bosch name. When they make a product, it usually falls into the "core professional tools" category. That's a lot of pressure. We (and their competitors, I'm sure) have been waiting for them to slip and let something that doesn't live up to the Bosch name squeeze past. The PS50 12V Max Multi-X Cutting Kit is not this product. It meets and does this without wires—a rare feat in the world of oscillating multitools.
Anyone who uses power tools will respect the Bosch name. When they make a product, it usually falls into the "core professional tools" category. That's a lot of pressure. The Bosch PS50-2A Multi-X multi-tool kit is not that product. It meets and does this without wires—a rare feat in the world of cordless oscillating multitools.
This battery-operated oscillating multi-tool uses a 12V Li-Ion battery to save weight. A typical multi-tool job usually involves working on the floor, or possibly chopping something overhead. Not having to deal with power cords can be a huge advantage. It makes the Bosch PS50-2A Multi-X a real go-to tool. I love working with it. I'd say it's become an integral part of my tool kit…in fact, they're going to have to pry this tool off my cold dead…well, you get the idea.
The Bosch comes packaged in a nice blue box that matches the color of the tool. There is plenty of room inside for a secondary hard plastic accessory box. You also get a large open area to store more goodies. The tool fits in the case with most blade attachments still attached. There's also a place for the battery charger, spare batteries, and power cord.
Unlike its sibling, the Dremel Multi-Max, the Bosch PS50-2A Multi-X multi-tool appears to be usable with one or two hands. It can easily be steered into very awkward positions. The tool itself is the expected "Bosch Blue". Black over-molded rubber grips will hold your hands securely even when you sweat on a "first date." The grip seems to work fine no matter what angle or position the tool is held at. They always seem to fit. Plus, there's a soft rubber overmold on the front of the tool, which means you won't mess up your workpiece if you accidentally bump the front of the tool.
The Bosch Multi-X itself weighs just over 2 pounds. This makes it one of the lightest oscillating tools on the market – a great attribute if you're talking cordless tools. On the left, a 3-LED power meter displays current battery life. While it was a brilliant idea, the people who implemented it were obviously lumberjacks of immense strength, with fingers strong enough to fire live bullets. This is how I feel every time I press the button to check the battery status. After just a few minutes of using the tool, the battery dropped from three bars to two bars.
Bosch 12V battery performance
When the battery is depleted, the indicator will show a blinking green bar. Do not start the tool again as it is now running in backup and you need to charge the battery. Directly below is the oscillating speed dial. It goes from 1 to 6, but can actually be adjusted in 19 individual steps. Note that this multi-tool has 5,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute. I learned two things from this. One is that you'll never use the lowest speed for anything unless you're doing some really fine detail sanding. The second is that if you ramp up the speed from low to high, you can feel the tool explode in your hands as you hit 20,000 OPM. Don't worry…it's called contrast, and the tool works great.
The 12V "Litheon" battery (BAT411) is rated at 1.3Ah (ampere hours). This is a capacity rating that measures the amount of current a battery can discharge over a specified period of time. Regardless of the specs, the battery seems to last about 15 and a half minutes unloaded. When you actually start cutting wood, plastic or metal, expect to cut that time by up to a third. Depending on the type of material you use and how you use the tool, you should have an average of about 10 minutes of battery life.
Note that when the battery is turned off, the tool will start again (briefly). This is normal as the battery retains a little energy to keep it running at its best. It ensures you can get a full charge. Plug it into the BC430 charger and it will be ready to use in 30 minutes.
The Bosch PS50-2A 12V Max Multi-X Cutting Kit comes with only a few accessories. These include the HCS (High Carbon Steel) 1-5/8″ x 1-1/2″ Plunge Cut (Wood) Blade, Triangular Sanding Pad, and Select Sandpaper. There is also a carpenter's kit sold by Bosch which adds a set of three 3/8″ x 1-1/4″ plunge blades and a 3-1/2″ x 7/8″ BIM (wood and metal) Flat cutting edge. There is a ruler on the Bosch plunging blade to help get the correct depth when using it. These and the Dremel blades are the only ones that don't use writing that tends to rub off during moderate use.
Of the kits we tested, the Bosch came with the fewest accessories—even beaten by the regular Chicago Electric Tools model. However, it does have the coolest and most ergonomic detachable accessory box that even stores hex keys and adapter plates. The wood blade and sanding pad seem to be of good quality, but we noticed that the hook and loop sanding piece "drifted" over time during use, exposing the underlying pad. The blade attachment can be adjusted in 30 degree increments for the optimum angle.
Bosch OIS Universal Interface
Of particular note, and unique to Bosch, is the fact that it is equipped with an OIS Universal Accessory Adapter. It's a really cool little washer that gives the Multi-X a solid anchor point, and a friction plate to attach anyone else's accessories. This means you can use accessories from Dremel, Fein, Craftsman, Chicago Electric, or Rockwell. They all work and you don't have to worry about compatibility issues.
The only downside is that the fitting will be held in place with a friction fit, rather than locking securely like the Bosch fitting. This means that if you apply force with the tool, you may shift the angle of the fitting and/or cause it to go out of alignment (this is especially true with Rockwell fittings which have fairly large openings compared to the competition). While Dremel and Bosch accessories may appear to be directly compatible at first glance, they are not (Bosch needles are larger in diameter).
test and use
We have misused this tool. Why? Well, because we can . This includes using it to fell old growing heart pine trees over 80 years old. They don't make that wood anymore (literally). The grain of the wood is very tight and dense, but we sliced through it in a reasonable amount of time with the included HCS blade. This seems to work whether we cut the floor directly to replace the planks, or cut away the bad part of the same wood before installing. The Bosch consistently cut through the toughest woods while allowing us to easily guide the tool through its path and let the tool do most of the work. The vibration isn't excessive, although using gloves provides a better experience.
For more detailed work, we used a Bosch 12V cordless Multi-X to cut out a section of the crown molding when we installed a motorized pull down projector screen in the office. The good thing here is that this tool gives us a way to save us from having to pull off the entire crown and use a miter saw to cut it. Instead, we just measured where we would cut and then called up Multi-X to cut directly into the crown. After we've made two (incredibly straight) cuts, it's just a matter of removing the unwanted material. When we did this, we gathered a large group of people and everyone was dumbfounded at how this tool made the job look so easy.
Bosch wins in the Max Multi-X oscillating tool. It's cordless, lightweight, and operates like a professional Bosch tool. Its only downsides are a lack of accessories and a relatively short battery life. It’s also not the fastest hardwood knife out of all the tools we tested, but we think accessories are generally more to blame for that shortcoming. This tool should provide years of excellent service if you keep it on and charge it as much as possible.
The included accessory adapter also means you won't be stuck buying just one brand of blade or scraper. If you see a special offer – buy the special offer you want. Bosch will make it fit. We can wholeheartedly recommend this tool to anyone who is looking for a multi-tool and craves maximum convenience. Look for discounts, as you can often find this tool for half the MSRP, so it's half the price of the Fein MultiMaster Top and twice the price of the Dremel Multi-Max.