We’d had a few opportunities to run the Makita 9” cordless grinder 18Vx2 LXT XAG13PT1 ($419), both in metal cutting applications as well as in concrete cutting and concrete grinding applications. It has done fairly well for cordless grinder, very close to a large corded grinder. Milwaukee has now launched its own 9” cordless grinder in the 2785-21HD ($399) but with only 18V we look to see if it can keep up with Makita’s 36V grinder.
There is also a 3rd option for cordless 9” grinders worth mentioning in the Metabo WPB 36-18 LXT BL ($699, bare) which is a nice tool however at double the price, once batteries are factored, this puts is pretty far out of range when compared to the other two.
Cordless Grinders PROS/CONS – When we talk about 7” & 9” cordless grinders it’s important to first set the expectations. All cordless angle grinders we’ve used are pretty short on runtime, best used for on the job cutting or spot prep grinding, if the hope is that you can replace all your shop grinder for all day runtime, slow down we’re not there yet. When we talk about 9” cordless grinders even with 2 batteries or the monster M18 HD 12.0Ah don’t plan on more than 20ish minutes of consistent heavy grinding. For cutting applications of course this can be much longer with on/off use a little more runtime friendly. The 9” wheels provide over 2.5” cutting depth on a single pass. Commonly corded grinders include 7″ & 9″ guards in the box, neither offer that, would have been nice here especially when talking $400 range.
Makita 18Vx2 Cordless Grinder XAG13 – These have been fairly popular and provide a great option for Makita users already in the platform. The bare tool version XAG13Z1 ($259) which is reasonable if you are looking for a cordless large angle grinder. The XAG12 (7”) and XAG13 (9”) versions both feature electronic brake which is great safety feature, we’d like to see on all cordless grinders. Makita also has Active Feeback-sensing Technology AFT which kills the motor in any bind-up situation. The no-load RPM are 7,800 and 6000 respectively, but no variable speed trigger or dial.
The biggest complaint about these units has been with the funky battery design and roll cage, not sure why these could not have been inline with handle just making it longer or something like the chainsaw with batteries near motor one on each side. It can be a somewhat awkward configuration depending on the application, can be a far departure from the feel of using a corded grinder of similar size (even with weight comparable, 13.35 lbs with 2x 5.0Ah) which is not what you want when going from corded to cordless.
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 9” Grinder 2785-21HD – Milwaukee has stood firm in the idea that they can match or beat 18Vx2, 36V and 54V (60V MAX) tools with the same M18 platform that works with every other tool (not counting the 12.0Ah that doesn’t fit but don’t worry about that). From a basic speed test in the video it can hold its own against the Makita 36V grinders. While it does have an electronic clutch is does not feature a Safety Break like the Makita units. The no-load RPM is rated at 6600 and again no variable speed trigger or dial which we’d love to see.
Where the Milwaukee does hit a home run is the ergonomics, with the single battery even the larger 12.0Ah HD it feels balanced and comfortable like you’re using a corded grinder. The corded 6088-30 ($159) which it may share some parts with actually weights 13.85 lbs which the 2785 with the 12.0Ah battery is only 12.35 lbs.
Head to Head Results – Comparing the two you can see the motor is much beefier on the M18, this is their new motor which is same on circular saw, table saw, chainsaw, etc and has been very impressive. While we only showed 1 cut with each in the video we had run several tests with similar results, we wanted to also listen to the audio you can hear the difference as they work through the pipe, while there will be some variables in any application, we’re pretty confident 9 times out of 10 in this test Milwaukee will win. That being said the Makita is going to get the job done, power is still very impressive, especially for a cordless grinder, our only real complaint would unfortunately be the bulky rear handle which can be awkward.
Smart money says Dewalt FlexVolt 7″/9″ grinders will be here soon, very interested to see where that’ll land on power, will they include a brake, variable speed, 7″ & 9″ guards in box??