Makita 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Review XML11

Makita XML11 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Makita’s XML11 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Raises Value For Homeowners

Makita is expanding its line of cordless residential OPE with an updated 18V X2 (36V) 21-inch self-propelled lawn mower: the Makita XML11. You may have seen it in our Best Makita Lawn Mower article, and now it’s time to take a deeper dive.

Makita XML11 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Performance

Cutting Performance

Makita 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Review XML11

We’re in central Florida and the rainy season is here, so our lawns are pretty lush and hydrated which puts a bit more strain on any mower. Plus it’s pushing 90° by the time the grass is dry enough to cut… just in time for the next set of storms to threaten us. To test the XML11, we used our Toro Timemaster to cut the lawn down to 4.5 inches and set Makita’s deck height to 2.5 inches.

Makita’s brushed motor powers its 21-inch blade up to 3,000 RPM using a pair of 18V batteries to operate at 36V. For the most part, it did a good job of maintaining blade speed in our tests but it did slow down when we hit some of the thickest patches of grass of St. Augustine.

Dropping the deck all the way down, it did a good job keeping the blade moving high enough to cut at a slow pace. It did finally stop after about 40 feet, but that’s pretty darn good for mowers in this price range.

Mulching, Bagging, and Rear Discharge

Makita 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Review XML11

Whether you’re mulching, bagging, or using a side/rear discharge, you need high lift and airflow to produce good results.

When the grass conditions let the XML11 run near its 3000 RPM top speed, it does a fine job of mulching and bagging. But as you hit thicker sections, you’ll notice the effectiveness drops a bit. Try to slow down when you mow those areas to keep the lift high.

Makita uses a rear discharge chute rather than a true side discharge, and that’s a call every mower manufacturer has to make. On one hand, a side discharge does a better job of distributing clippings. On the other, rear discharge allows for less airflow interruption in the deck design with better cut quality as a result. It’s an even bigger difference when you’re using a composite deck like Makita and you can really dial in the shape to maximize airflow.

Makita’s design gets the clippings out, but not as well as some cordless mowers we’ve used. However, the mulching and bagging benefit from it.


18V X2 Power Supply

Makita tells us to expect up to 40 minutes of cumulative runtime when you cycle through both sets of 5.0Ah batteries that come with the kit.

Our test yielded 14 minutes and 58 seconds on the first set of batteries and 14 minutes and 48 seconds on the second. Environmental (especially our heat) and lawn conditions always affect overall runtime. Even though we didn’t quite get to the full 40 minutes, it’s very possible.

Self-Propelled Drive System

Makita Self-Propel Drive

Makita uses a rear-wheel-drive system for this mower, which is more helpful than a front-wheel-drive if you’re dealing with minor slopes and inclines.

The speed control is on your left when you’re driving and ranges from 1.5 to 3.0 MPH. It’s an infinite-position design with no stops and the tension is perfect—not too stiff and not too loose. We also like that it’s out of the way of your hands, so there’s little chance of bumping it to a different speed when you’re turning.

Makita’s rubberized tires have an aggressive tread that helps a lot with grip. As a bonus, the bearings are very smooth and the self-propelled drive releases easily, making this one of the few battery-powered lawn mowers we’ve tested that operates well when you need to push it.

Makita XML11 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Design Notes

Controls and Ergonomics

Makita 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Review XML11

Makita uses a dual-bar system to run the mower rather than a presence bar and thumb bar design. One cool thing Makita did is with the shape of the drive bar. It cuts in on the left side so that you can release the drive bar with your right hand and still have your left on the presence bar to keep the blades running.

The full length of the handle has a rubber overmold on it. It adds comfort and grip security, but it doesn’t have foam under it as some mowers do. That should keep it from degrading as quickly from season to season.

The handle has two positions it can lock into. Some mowers have three, but nearly everyone will find a height they can work with between the two.

Deck Height

Deck Height Adjust

This mower uses a single-point lever system to quickly adjust the cutting height from 1.25 inches up to 4 inches. There are eight deck height positions that adjust in 1/2-inch increments.

Additional Features

  • IPX4 ingress rating
  • Handle folds up for vertical storage
  • Two handle height positions

Makita XML11 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Price

The Makita 21-Inch self-propelled lawn mower kit retails for $499.00 and carries a 3-year limited warranty. That price includes four 5.0Ah 18V batteries and a dual-port charger. When you consider those four batteries and the charger retail for $508.99 when you buy them separately, it’s like you’re getting the mower for free!

It’s also available as a bare tool for $479, but that kit price is so good, it’s worth an extra $20.

*Two batteries and charger kit is $279.99 and another two-pack of batteries is $229.00.

The Bottom Line

Compared to other mowers in the same price range, Makita’s XML11 cuts well and it’s a good fit for homes that sit on a 1/4-acre or less. Overall, it’s the value that seals the deal as one of the best residential mowers under $500.

Click here to check out the full Makita LXT lineup.

Makita XML11 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Specifications

  • Model: Makita XML11Z (bare tool), XML11CT1 (kit)
  • Power Source: two Makita 18V batteries
  • Deck Width: 22 in.
  • Cutting Width: 21 in.
  • Motor Type: brushed
  • No-Load Speed: 3,000 RPM
  • Cutting Height Range: 1.25 – 4 in.
  • Warranty: 3-year limited
  • Price: $499 (kit)

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