The annual STAFDA trade show is always a great venue to spot a few new products. We typically don’t see many big launches at the show from the major brands but Makita kept some pretty nice announcements under their hats for this one. Of course Makita has an unfair advantage for generating a lot of attention in this arena as it is also the venue where they present the next year’s Miss Makita and Senorita Makita. So what exactly are the other big announcements?
Cordless 18V Battery Makes Jump to 4.0Ah BL1840
Makita is pretty much last to the party on the 4.0Ah leap from 3.0Ah however they do accomplish one big hurdle that has stumped some of the others, how to charge these batteries quickly. Makita’s 3.0Ah has always been a 30 minute charge and the new 4.0Ah are a little longer as you might expect, they are claiming only 40 minutes. We thought this was very impressive as some others are as high as 90 minutes for the same amperage. Their 4 bay charger is also the only multi-bay charger to actually charge 2 batteries simultaneously. Unfortunately we will be waiting until mid 2014 before these new batteries hit the shelves.
Cordless 18V X2 LXT 7.25” Circular Saw XSH01Z
This is the first Makita tool we’ve seen to really utilize the 18V X2 technology in the design process from the ground up. The other tools, like the 18V X2 Chain Saw HCU02ZX2 use the adapter to 36v tools which is effective but leaves a little to be desired when it comes to tool balance. This new circular saw won’t be compatible with the 36V platform batteries but is that really a concern at this point anyway. While we don’t have any specifics on power output, this should be a solid performer and with the move to 4.0Ah this would be a very large gas tank.
Cordless 18V Heavy Duty Brushless Hammer Drill XPH07 & Compact Brushless Hammer XPH06
It seemed like only a short time ago Makita launched their first brushless hammer drill LXPH05 (400 in lbs) and while it was one of the first to hit the market it was also pretty under powered leading to videos like the smoking video from the Tools in Action guys below. This brushless model is already replaced with the new XPH06 hammer drill in the combo kit which has fair amount more torque (530 in lbs) and no more smoking problems.
The XPH06 model (looks identical to LXPH05) will be a good option for long battery life in low-mid torque applications but of course there will always be those interested in heavy duty applications with longer runtimes from a brushless motor. We didn’t get any final torque numbers on the new heavy duty brushless XPH07 model but we were told it will be “one of the most powerful” so we’re thinking 700-800 in lbs range. The pictures above are without the side handle which will also be included.
Cordless 18V Compact Reciprocating Saw XRJ01
This new recip saw borrows several of the features we liked in their 12V recip saw but of course adds some very much needed power. It will still be a compact light duty saw but we do like the two position trigger. On initial handling the only concern might be the weight/balance of the battery in back if you were going to use the front trigger. We would need some time with this unit to see what we really thought but initial impressions were there will be some folks who might really like this design.
Cordless 18V Portable 2.5” Bandsaw XBP01
This portable band saw probably won’t revolutionizing the category but it does do a very nice job of creating a solid performing 2.5” capacity unit and bringing it down to a pretty compact size. The blade will be covered on the underside for each end in the production model which has been a requirement for many companies. Again we did not get to test it out but it should be available early next year and we will give it a full run through at that time.
We were very impressed with all these new cordless options from Makita and those 4.0Ah batteries can’t get here soon enough. In addition to the 14” Cut Off 4 Stroke Saw EK7651H we are seeing some strong innovation coming from Makita and the added hospitality of the Makita folks at the STAFDA event along with the beautiful Makita girls doesn’t hurt anything!