We were honored to be invited to the first ever Makita Tool new product launch event were we were among the first to see many of the new tools and accessories that’ll be releasing later this year! Not only does this give us some great insights into tools we will be getting our hands on in the coming months but also gives us all a glimps into where the Teal Team is headed with their product focus.
What we didn’t see, while we saw some really cool stuff there were some things we thought might be coming but we’re not at this event. Makita does hold product launches a little closer to the vest than some other brands so most of what we got to play with is coming within a few months, not 6-12 months out. We did not see a 9.0ah or a 20700 cell battery or a Bluetooth battery (although there was other Bluetooth tech). We did not see a 110v power station or a 7” grinder. We also did not see a X2 brushless SDS-MAX rotary hammer which if any of these are in the pipeline coming soon it would have to be this one to compete with Flexvolt and Milwaukee M18. Again we will certainly see more from Makita in November at STAFDA and at World of Concrete early next years but no news to report today on these items.
What we did see was some very exciting stuff in a handful of different categories which it seems like Makita has been very strategic in there expansion.
Makita X2 Brushless Track Saw XPS01
We have been a huge fan of the track saw for many years as a better alternative to the jobsite table saw. While the cabinet saw in the shop is a great tool, which we are not disputing, it demand serious real estate and does not travel well. Talking precision, portability and safety it is a clear difference and we would argue the track saw is a better option than a portable table saw so we were very happy to see this saw launch before a cordless table saw.
The new Makita XPS01 uses a brushless motor and the X2 two battery platform for 36v of power that provides more juice than the corded version it shares most of its mechanical parts with. Makita also launched some new thinner blades which it comes with to make the battery power last even longer.
Cordless Trim & Plunge Routers XTR01
The cordless router a product we were pretty sure we would see because of the Australian launch jest a few months earlier. The XTR01 brushless 18v router is very similar to their corded trim router but again more powerful as a cordless tool! What is awesome about this tool is if you’ve already got the Makita plunge base, accessories and vac attachments the cordless router fits right in. It has a very smooth soft start and we really like the two button locking feature to avoid accidentally starting in the bag or while holding it. LED light of course, up to 30,000 RPM and electronically controlled power delivers consistent power for a very clean finish. Lots of attention to vibration here, it feels very smooth in the hand and when you turn it on full go and set it down it doesn’t move, while the Ridgid Router quickly rattled right off the table.
18V LXT X2 Brusless 10″ Miter Saw XSL06
Makita has always been well known for their high quality bench top Miter Saws, less well known is these saws have been made in the USA since the 1980s along with dozens of other grinders, sanders and other corded tools! Going cordless with a larger diameter miter saw was an obvious next step but after getting a look at it and kicking the tires it is safe to say this is our favorite cordless Miter saw we’ve seen to date! The XSL06 brushless 10” Miter saw of course uses the X2 two battery platform for a full 36v of power but goes well beyond that. The side rail slide system, similar to the outrageously prices Festool Kpac means the saw can site right up against the wall for a might tighter work area. It also feels extremely sturdy and accurate for large cuts. The brushless motor spins at 4,800 RPM which is actually higher than the corded version LS1019 (launching first in July). The large sturdy base is similar (if not identical) to what we have seen on previous high end Makita Saws, but still pretty light weight for good portability.
Dust collection is well thought out on this saw, which we were not impressed by either Flexvolt 12” or Milwaukee M18 10” when we compared them head to head recently. There are actually 2 dust ports one behind the blade and a large one on the base, they come together in rear to a single port which can use a bag or connect to a vac. Of course in connecting to a vacuum with corded you can plug in so the vac goes on/off only when needed by the saw, going cordless you don’t have that option. Makita built in a Bluetooth connectivity button to sync with the corded/cordless vac system so you can go 100% cordless on the job and still collect the dust. Certainly this tech could be applied to other tools as well so exciting to see this feature. This Miter saw is impressive and a good example of while Makita isn’t always first to market the little extra time can yield some nice results.
Makita Sub-Compact 18v vs Makita CXT 12v
We love what Makita is doing with the blacked-out Sub-Compact tools really giving awesome compact, lightweight solution using the same batteries and chargers is the perfect solution! If there is anything we’ve learned about multiple voltage platforms is people want simple, as many tools on 1 platform and make them all compatible into the future! Which is also why we hate that they are also building a new platform with the CXT 12v tools to deliver very very similar solutions. Good news is for many of the tools they are launching nearly identical tools in the 12v and black 18v versions. Is it wrong to want to 12v tools to not do well so we see more focus on the black Sub-Compact 18v tools?
One of our favorite new Sub-Compact tools was XRH06 (DHR171 inernational #) 18v SDS-Plus 11/16” which is a tiny rotary hammer drill but ideal for anchors or smaller holes and the drill I would grab every-time for overhead work. The Makita team was demoing this unit with the Ghostbusters-esk cordless backpack vacuum XCV05Z ($329) which again would be the ideal setup for overhead work, platforms or anything at heights. Ideally used with 2.0Ah compact but if you needed grab the 6.0Ah. Yes there is a 12v CXT version with nearly same specs as well.
We were impressed with the 12v CXT barrel grip jigsaw (still we will like it better black and on the 18v platform which is coming) it had some very nice features, same soft start of the 18v router and 2 button locking system. It was also very powerful for the size.
The new 12v CXT Carpet & Plastics Cutter PC01 was another very unique tool that certainly will make a targeted user base very happy.
New Makita Concrete Solutions
While we didn’t see a X2 brushless SDS-MAX rotary hammer drill we did see a lot of new focus on concrete tools. Several new corded 1” SDS-Plus hammersD-Handle HR2661 & pistol HR2651 with built-in dust collection will be out hopefully before the new OSHA Silica deadline of September 23rd! While these HEPA filters don’t meet the Table 1 guidelines (no auto filter cleaning) we are confident Makita will ensure they are compliant with proper data collection and testing before launch.
The new 18v LXT brushless steel rod flush cut XCS02 (estimated $999) can cut threaded rod and rebar up to #8 1”! As the name would suggest it does a near flush cut. Instead of hydraulic crimping like the Makita XCS01Z ($1999) use the XCS02 uses a carbide tooth small diameter wheel which does need replaced. The result is a clean cut limited sparks and warm metal. The body houses the same brushless motor as their 18v grinders so we know it’s got the power.
Outdoor Power Equipment MM4 vs Cordless
It was clean there are 2 paths of innovation forward for Makita (and their subsidiary Dolmar) in OPE space 4 stroke gas and cordless. While we think everything will eventually go cordless as price for batteries goes down and small gas engines go up it’s not clear if that 5 years or 15 years out. In the meantime Makita has built the best small 4 stroke motors on the market with MM4 and the advantages in convenience, safety, maintenance, emissions and greatly reduced noise make these options the way to go for many professionals.
The Makita brushless X2 platform is well positioned to compete with Makita, Dewalt, Stihl and others in the cordless OPE world. We recently did a full review on the X2 Chainsaw XCU03Z and we’re very impressed! For the home owner they offer a very nice new X2 push mower and on the professional side an awesome new enterchangable X2 platform for weed Wacker, tiller, edger and pole trimmer.
A surprise to us was the Makita LXT 18v powered wheelbarrow ideal for hauling hundreds of lbs of bagged materials or anything heavy really. The motor lives in the front wheel and we used it to climb pretty decent grade with ease. LED lights can come on for working early or late. Surprisingly this is not a X2 36v cordless tool however it does have space in the weather proof case for two 18v batteries. There is a switch to go from one to other so they are used sequentially not in parallel. With two 5.0Ah batteries this unit will get several hours of continuous run time. There will be two versions to start with bucket or flat bed but other options are probably in the works, we can see lots of other applications.
Conclusions & Insights
We’ve seen some very exciting stuff from Makita recently and feel like they continue to be a steady force in brushless innovation for concrete, woodworking, OPE and general cordless tools. Looking down the road certainly Makita will continue to be a strong player in innovation and stay focused on professional users. They’ll either keep the red and yellow competition on the bleeding edge or take over if they slip up and loose focus, either way is good for keeping the new tools technologies coming!