Our friends at Makita have built a wide offering around cordless solutions for specific concrete applications, many things that are simply not offered by Dewalt, Hilti, Milwaukee or any other major cordless platform. The launch of the XRT01 Rebar Tie tools makes a lot of sense adding to the 2 rebar cutting options XCS02T1 ($1095) and XCS01Z ($1999), also 18V concrete vibrators, along with one of the most powerful cordless SDS-Max in the XRH07PTU ($699) and a handful of other concrete specific products. So what makes this rebar tie gun so special?
BN & MAX Cordless Rebar Tying Tool Competiton
Currently there are 2 other manufacturers of cordless rebar tying tools that make up the majority of what you’ll find in the field. MAX is the most popular and offers 2 primary options MAX RB398 (21 gauge wire) and the larger MAX Twintier RB441T (19 gauge wire) both units are 14.4V tools and come with 3.0Ah. The RB393 makes 3 wraps per tie so does 2600 per charge while the 441T only does 2 wraps per tie so will get 4,000 wraps per charge. The other competition comes from BN Products (Benner Mawman), their most popular unit is the BNT-40 which is also a 14.4V with 3.0Ah battery that does 21 gauge wire and can do about 2500 ties per charge. Both of these systems are proprietary batteries with little/no compatibility to other cordless tools.
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How the Makita Tie Tool is Different
Having a little hands on demo time with this tool there are several features that make it stand out from the competition. The most obvious benefit here is a battery & charger platform that is compatible with hundreds of other Makita tools in market. The unit is of course an 18V which comes with 5.0Ah in kit XRT01TK but also available as a bare tool version XRT01ZK. The Makita uses the same 21 Gauge wire and ties at the same speed, .8 seconds, same as the other 21 gauge options MAX RB398 and BN BNT-40. The max capacity for the Makita is a touch less, #5 x #5 while both others claim a slightly larger #5 x #6 capacity so very very similar.
We like the Makita’s inline design where the wire spoon is directly in line with the ties not offset, the Makita is the only one with digital tension control for adjusting the tie tightness. The reel loader is also the most intuitive, with auto-lock mechanism when closed. The Makita is the only option that can be set in continuous mode which is basically a bump-fire setting so each time the nose is engaged the wire ties. If you’ve got thousands of ties to make auto-fire is going to make a big difference in time and fatigue.
We would not be surprised if Makita in the future made a larger unit to compete with the bigger MAX Twintier unit to do up to #7x#7 capacity that might have a larger nose or that rans 19 gauge wire. For now however the limit is #5 x #5 or if rebar doubled up #4 x #4. The Makita wire spools 199137-9 are sold in Box of 50 and each spool does 120 Ties (roughly 6000 ties per box). The Makita wire cannot be used in MAX tools however it does appear that the MAX TW898 (21 gauge wire) will work in the Makita XRT01 for those looking to go head-to-head or make a gradual switch but already have pallets of MAX wire.
Massive Cost Savings on Labor
While investing $2000 into a single power tool can be a tough pill to swallow the massive amount of time savings in this case makes these tools essential for rebar tying. Going to a cordless tool here with a .8 second per tie, auto-fire, digital tensioning and repetitive accuracy of a seasoned journeyman a single medium sized job could more than recoup the cost of one of these tools. With the huge skilled labor shortages we are seeing and the fact that any apprentice can use one of these, it seems like a no-brainer for those working in the trade.
Makita 18V Tools for Concrete
We really appreciate when large tool brands take a deep dive into solving the real issues of that specific trade. The number of cordless rebar tie tools or cordless concrete vibrations is minuscule compared to how many impact drivers or recip saws you sell at the home centers but by building out a complete arsenal of solutions you can certainly build lots of loyalty with those professional users. Hats off to Makita 18V Cordless for continuing to support this trade and many others.