Makita hasn’t traditionally done a lot of media-based events, but lately, they’re getting into the game in some big ways. In early 2017, they made a big debut of the Makita 18V X2 rear handle circular saw and Makita X2 chainsaw at the World of Concrete show in Vegas. Following that, they treated us to a tour of the Makita Dallas distribution center. We saw quite a few Makita tools in the process.
HEPA Filters and OSHA-ready Rotary Hammers
While a bit of a blanket heading, Makita actually showed off several new products in this category. First up was the Makita sub-compact 18V rotary hammer. This tool falls neatly in line with their line of sub-compact tools designed to provide 18V power —but with less weight. We got to handle and use this tool, and the power and speed with which it drilled some 1/4-inch holes impressed us. For our MRO guys, this might become your new favorite. It certainly competes with the Milwaukee M12 brushless rotary hammer for ergonomics.
Makita is big on dust collection for employee wellness in addition to OSHA compliance. They have a four-tier strategy that addresses dust collection in all of its areas:
- Tool-based accessories
- Using a mobile backpack
- Cordless dust collection vacs
- Traditional corded dust collection vacuums and dust extractors
New products exist in nearly all of these categories (Makita has yet to add a new full-size corded dust extractor). Some examples of Makita dust collection systems and products include:
- XRH011TX – The Makita 18V LXT brushless 1″ SDS‑Plus rotary hammer kit w/HEPA vacuum attachment
- XCV05Z – The Makita 18V X2 LXT 36V brushless 1/2 gallon HEPA backpack dust extractor/vacuum
- XCV04Z – A hybrid battery/corded 18V X2 (36V) 2.1 gallon HEPA dust extractor/vacuum
- XCV06Z/XCV07ZX – Battery-powered 18V X2 (36V) 2.1 gallon HEPA (model XCV07ZX) dust extractor/vacuum
- VC4710 – The flagship Makita VC4710 corded wet/dry dust extractor vacuum with HEPA filtration. (We actually reviewed this several years ago when we did our best dust extractor head-to-head)
In this way, Makita has positioned itself to be in compliance with OSHA proposed crystalline silica rules for construction for options 1 or 2 with all of its concrete products. Here’s an example of their self-contained cordless dust extraction system that mounts to the bottom of the new Makita HR2661 AVT 1″ rotary hammer.
When loaded up, the suction is driven from the tool itself. There’s no need for an additional battery to drive the HEPA filtration system.
The filter slides right out and can be emptied quickly and easily.
Makita Woodworking and Carpentry Products
All of these tool-centric media events generate excitement, but there’s typically a highlight. That came when we got to the Makita woodworking and carpentry products. The new Makita tools here were highly anticipated—and some were downright unexpected. The biggest deal, however, had to be the twin 10-inch miter saws Makita had set up alongside a Milwaukee cordless dual bevel miter saw. This new Makita 18V X2 LXT cordless tool uses two 18V batteries to make a 36V tool.
Makita 10-inch Cordless Dual Bevel Miter Saw and Corded Miter Saw
Not only did we get to see the new saws, but we also put our hands on them and cut through some dimensional lumber. The Makita XSL06Z/PT cordless miter saw sliced through a 2×12 without losing power during the cut—not even a little. It’s a very confident saw, but that’s not all. Both the Makita XSL06Z/PT and the corded LS1019 have front controls for both miter and bevel. A laser is activated with a switch, and the saws use a horizontal handle that felt very comfortable and ergonomic.
Both saws have a front rail system so they take up very little space behind the saw. This lets you position them nearer to the wall than a typical dual-rail miter saw. It’s still a simple design, unlike the more complicated (but cool) Bosch Axial Glide compound miter saw. These saws also have dual dust collection ports to pull dust from both the blade and the back end of the cut. The ports are connected, so you only need a single dust extractor to collect from both.
The corded Makita LS1019 10″ miter saw will ship in July 2017. The Makita XSL06Z/PT cordless miter saw should arrive somewhere around September. The kitted version will include two 5Ah battery packs and a dual charger.
Makita Cordless 23-gauge Pin Nailer
We were excited to see a revised Makita XTP02 Cordless 23-gauge pin nailer. This is the only cordless pin nailer we’re aware of on the market today besides the original XTP01. It makes for a super-handy tool in the shop or when trimming out a built-in. We got a sneak peek at the original Makita XTP01 pin nailer during the Makita 100-year Anniversary Event. While groundbreaking, it almost resembled a jigsaw and didn’t have the best balance. Makita seems to have made some positive changes to lighten it up and enhance the ergonomics. It also looks more like a professional tool, with squared-off lines and a battery location that lets you stand it upright. This pinner is also powerful, driving nails cleanly into all kinds of wood. We tested it on pine, poplar, oak, and even walnut. In our brief testing, it fired quickly and consistently.
The Makita XTP02 can handle 23-gauge pin nails up to 1-3/8″ in length…if you can find them! Here’s how it measures up to the Makita AF353 pneumatic pin nailer:
Makita 18V Cordless Router
We had Michael Springer give the new Makita cordless router a quick run-through. While he wanted some more options for the base, the router demonstrated consistent power for roundovers and smaller duties. It fits well in the hand and has decent sight lines. The battery is directly atop the tool, so it doesn’t impede balance too much. We’re looking forward to getting this in-house for a more thorough review.
Makita 10-1/4″ Circular Saw (HS0600)
Designed to complement their popular 7-1/4″ circular saw, the new Makita HS0600 will cut through 4x material in one pass. It retails for $299 and has a 3-13/16″ depth of cut. Despite its size, the Makita HS0600 weighs just over 15 pounds. That may sound like a lot, but it’s not bad considering the size of the motor and blade. An aluminum shoe and magnesium blade guards help lighten the load. We made some cuts with it, and I’d have to say it should prove a very popular tool for framers. If you often need to cut through double layers of 2×4 or 4x posts and beams, this tool deserves a trial.
Last but not least in this section would be the Makita X2 track saw. It loosely resembles the Festool TSC 55 REB Plunge Cut Track Saw but uses the Makita 18V X2 system. The new Makita cordless track saw is based on the SP6000J, and they claim all the power of the corded model—without the cord. A simple slide button disconnects the saw from the track, so you can pick it up for a custom cut. We’re looking forward to reviewing this tool as soon as we can get it in-hand.
Makita OPE Products
Outside, Makita had many of its newest outdoor power equipment on display. These new Makita tools covered both battery and gas-powered OPE products. First off was the Makita XCU03Z X2 chainsaw. We’ve seen this before, but they definitely had fun making cuts on a tree.
Makita X2 Cordless Lawnmower
I first saw the Makita 36V cordless lawnmower in Germany at the 2015 Festool media event in Stuttgart. Overseas, it uses a single 36V battery pack, but here Makita USA outfitted the new mower with dual LXT 18V batteries. This keeps it compatible with the entire Makita 18V lineup of OPE and power tools. It’s not a heavy-duty mower by any means but should be great for smaller yard work where a larger mower just isn’t practical. Undoubtedly a larger capacity, self-propelled model has already moved past the design phase.
The mower features adjustable cutting height, from a scant 13/16″ to 2-15/16″. Dual battery power meters let you check the remaining charge in the two 18V packs. The handle doesn’t easily fold or collapse like some other models we’ve used. The end product feels like a simple gas replacement for very small yards, designed to stow away in a shed or garage when not in use.
Makita 18V Cordless Tiller
Expanding on cordless, Makita showed off a power tiller that had lots of power but nowhere to really make a good demonstration. The soil was a tad on the rocky side…and when I say “a tad” I mean fully rock-infested. No matter—we’ll find an excuse to test this out in short order when it becomes available.
Makita 18V X2 Powered Cart / Wheelbarrow / Load Hauler
Did we mention Makita had a power wheelbarrow? Actually, it’s more than that. With a finger-lever throttle and hair-trigger disc brakes, the Makita 18V X2 battery powered cart can serve as a wheelbarrow or load hauler. It stores two 18V LXT batteries and uses one at a time to maximize run-time. A switch transfers power from one battery to another. The motor resides in the hub of the front wheel, so you’ve always got traction. The rear wheels resemble large rubber locking casters, and the wheelbarrow can be swapped out for a flatbed. Makita also had an option for optional LED lights for dusk and nighttime use.
We got to experience it first-hand, and the hauler actually moves at a nice clip. You can carry up to 300 lbs. Lifting the hauler at the end concerned us, but the braking is so good you can just about use the sudden stop to dump your load. Handy? Most likely. Fun? Absolutely.
Makita ImpactX Bits
We tested out the new Makita ImpactX bits on both wood screws and self-tapping metal screws. These bits are positioned just below the the Makita Impact Gold bits, the company’s premium line of impact-rated accessories. I like what I see so far, but further testing will see how they stand up to competitive brands across various uses. The tips are precision machined (not forged) to high tolerances using CNC machines. This is done to reduce cam-out and provide a precision fit for fasteners. The proprietary S2 steel blend gives it some flexibility under load, but without the need for a dedicated torsion zone. Lastly, a heat treating process delivers a more precise and consistent Rockwell hardness rating to the bit tip to keep it from easily stripping out. Makita is hoping that contractors and tradesmen will opt for the ImpactX line over standard bits. For a true torsion-zone bit (best for self-tapping screws in sheet metal and steel) users can opt for the full benefits of the Impact Gold line.
But Wait, There’s More New Makita Tools!
A couple of items at the Makita Media Event in Dallas defied categories—or at least they stood on their own. One I can’t leave out includes the new brushless (motor) Makita RoboPRO automated shop vacuum. It’s a “Pro” upgrade to the Makita DRC200Z robotic vacuum. It looks the same (which is to say a steroid-laced Roomba, but this one seems really designed for cleaning shop spaces.) Like the DRC200Z, the new RoboPRO uses the 18V X2 platform. It has a cliff sensor and uses reflective perimeter tape to define boundaries. There’s no dock for recharging, but it holds over a half gallon (0.66) of dirt and debris. It also has side brushes for edge cleaning. We saw the RoboPRO cleaning nonstop throughout the Makita Dallas Distribution and Training Center while we walked the floor.
Wrapping Up the Makita Media Event in Dallas
Clearly, Makita planned to hit the ground running this year. Several products were already requested for review by Pro Tool Reviews, so look for the miter saw and other products shortly. As always, new tools take a front seat in our coverage, and Makita has more than enough to keep us busy for quite some time. Be sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter for the latest coverage.
Makita “shoulda / couda” made every single model of Makita cordless circ saw compatible with their guide rail system at almost no additional cost. But they don’t. Why would they make their non-brushless cordless 36V x 2 system the Festool cordless competitor when the rear handle twin battery 18V brushless XSR01Z model does not have that center groove to sit on the guide rail. It’s all about extracting as much dinero from their customers as possible. Using a 2 x 36V pair of batteries adds some serious weight AND cost to what is otherwise a pretty standard circ saw with… Read more »
Good coverage overall…
A robot vacuum and very low cut lawn mower? I vote they missed the user asks on these products.
The best keeps getting better
Makita tools suck!!!