We recently wrote about two of the most significant battery upgrades the tool industry has seen in recent years: Milwaukee’s realization of the 9.0 amp hour High Demand battery pack and the DeWalt FlexVolt system. What fans of Teal already know, but many may still be in the dark about, is that there has been a high capacity and flexible voltage system on the market for a couple of years already in the form of Makita 18V X2 LXT cordless tools and the 18V LXT cordless tools that run on the same batteries.
Multiple Voltages, One Battery System
Makita 18V X2 LXT cordless tools take advantage of a more simplistic design. By connecting two batteries with a series connection, you add the voltages together. Rather than creating a 36V platform, Makita found a way to create a series connection between two 18V batteries to get there. That happens on the tool itself with no adapters required.
When Makita first launched the X2 system, Pros and enthusiasts alike questioned if an onboard series connection is the best way to move to a more powerful tool. After all, some companies developed their 36V platforms to great success with more powerful cordless tools. Still, others remained committed to their 18V platforms, citing the benefit of keeping their users on one battery system.
Makita plugged along, bringing out new 18V X2 LXT tools when it made sense but still focusing on expanding their 18V LXT system, which is the workhorse of their cordless lineup. The initial advantage of the Makita 18V X2 LXT system is in its inherent design that gives users the ability to purchase more powerful 36V tools while using the batteries they already own.
The advantage has become greater over the past couple of years on two fronts. First, brushless motors have become more prevalent. This has opened up new classes of tools and solidified others that were borderline. Makita has been positioned to handle both thanks to their 18V LXT and 18V X2 LXT platforms. The technology has even afforded the ability to go smaller with the 18V LXT Brushless Sub-Compact tools.
Second, battery capacity has expanded. Most brands now offer 5 amp hour batteries and a few – including Makita – have 6 amp-hours. Milwaukee pushed the limit with their 9.0 amp hour battery. On the 36V front, most stop at a 4.0 amp hour battery. By taking two 18V LXT batteries to an 18V X2 LXT tool, you can step up to 36 volts with 6 amp-hours.
So what’s the big deal?
It’s not as obvious until you look at watt hours, which it the total amount of energy available to do work in a battery system. You get it from the equation:
Nominal Volts x Amp Hours = Watt Hours
For Milwaukee’s 9.0 amp hour battery and DeWalt’s FlexVolt 3.0/9.0 amp hour battery, you get a solid 162 watt-hours. With Makita 18V X2 LXT tools, you can take it to a total of 216 watt-hours – a full 33% more capacity than those two options. Compared to the 36V, 4 amp-hour options, it’s an additional 50% capacity.
Is There a Continued Need for the Makita 18V X2 LXT Line?
As brushless motor and battery technology has improved, more cordless tools are able to operate on the 18V platform quite effectively. Tools like Makita’s XWT07 18V LXT Impact Wrench are powerful – 1250 FOOT pounds of torque powerful! So does that mean the 36V platform is on its way out?
Not hardly. Aside from the fact that there are always new tools to bring into the cordless realm on the construction side, Makita has also expanded well into outdoor power equipment. With a full line of cordless OPE to supplement their 4-stroke gas options, Makita has offered their users an incredible amount of versatility all without stepping away from the 18V LXT battery.
With tons of potential left in both Makita 18V X2 LXT cordless tools and the 18V LXT line, don’t expect to see Makita changing direction anytime soon.
I walked into Home Depot to get an 18v lxt sawzall and they were out of them but had the 36v version. I didnt have time to shop another store and my curiosity prompted me to purchase it over a corded version. I have other makita cordless tools so changing brands was not an option. Once I powered it up. I was simply amazed of the power it produced as well as the longevity of the batteries (dual 5.0amp hr). I don’t use a sawzall often but owning that helped me make my next decision. I let an apprentice use… Read more »
Ergo uses the x2 concept for their cordless snow blower – “it combines any two ARC Lithium™ batteries for the power to clear heavy, wet snow.” I have the x2 circular saw – on a couple of volunteer build projects the folks who are builders in their day jobs were impressed by the x2 performance. Until Makita came out with the 6 Ah, 5Ah batteries, the 4Ah battery was limiting. Plus no charge level lights on the smaller packs – have to put them in the saw to see the charge. Also the need for 2 chargers versus 1 charger.… Read more »
by the way i have made my own 10.5 amp-hr batteries for my makita tools…extends run-time insanely while doubling the power on some tools…
and to top the what hr discuction off…if makita came up wit a 9.0 battery now they would have a total of 360 watts…twice milwaukee twice the voltage…half the amps…half the heat…!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a smart idea from Makita, I just wish that Milwaukee had thought of it first. I’ve used Milwaukee cordless tools since around1996 when I saw all the techs in the shop I worked in with their Makita battery latches taped closed on their drills because the latch always always seemed to get caught on something under the car releasing the battery and allowing it to fall out landing on the concrete floor and sometimes breaking it in the process.