Makita 18V Cordless Planer Shaves Imperfections with Confidence
The Makita XPK02 18V cordless planer improves significantly on the 3-1/4″ XPK01. The new tool seems more refined and adds many welcome features missing from the older model. The new tool seems much more suited for anyone looking for a cordless planing solution that frees you up on the job site. We could see this coming in handy for window installers, deck installation, and all kinds of remodeling work and on-site finish carpentry.
- 2-blade head with carbide cutters
- Selectable left or right side discharge
- 3 different chamfer grooves
- AWS-ready for wireless tool activation to your vac
- Brushless motor
- Electric brake
- Pretty big premium over the corded version
- Discharge plug is at risk of being lost
- No chip bag included
RecommendationThe Makita XPK02 cordless planer is well-suited for the type of work I do. With a major focus on remodeling, I often come across the need to create a custom fit. It’s a great addition for finish and trim carpenters, door installers, and remodeling contractors who need to trim material carefully to get a perfect fit.
Makita XPK02 18V Cordless Planer
The Makita XPK02 cordless planer features the expected brushless motor. It drives the 2-blade cutter head at up to 12,000 RPM and removes stock quickly.
Like most of their electronically-controlled tools, it has Automatic Speed Change electronics to better adjust cutting speed when the tool comes under load. Instead of bogging down, the motor will draw the required power to keep up the RPMs.
While the 3-1/4-inch wide cutting path doesn’t surprise us, the maximum 1/8-inch chip removal does. That’s an aggressive system in terms of capability and shows how confident Makita is in their brushless motors.
Today’s Project: Door Replacement
Makita’s claim that the double-edged carbide blades leave a smooth finish is absolutely true. It was obvious from our very first field test where we planed a couple of doors for a perfect fit and swing.
The originals were hollow core doors and literally started falling apart. With our replacement door slabs ready, we went ahead and bored the lock set holes and mortised the hinges.
The first door was roughly 1/8-inch too wide for the existing doorway. I set the Makita cordless planer at 1/16-inch so I could make a few passes and get a good finish by the time I passed my pencil line.
I also hit the corners with the center chamfer groove to ease them over.
Setting that first door in place, it was a perfect fit on the first try.
The second door was only rubbing the door frame on the top edge. So I closed it, marked the edge with a pencil where I was getting the interference, and took it back out.
With so little material that I needed to remove, I set the planer to 1/32-inch this time and used a series of overlapping passes to get it right.
Like the first door, I chamfered the edges to match.
Using a cordless planer such as the Makita XPK02 is perfect for this kind of field work. I didn’t have to bother with cords and there’s more than enough runtime in even a 2Ah battery to cover what I needed.
The planer is AWS-ready. After adding an AWS chip, you can pair it with an AWS dust extractor or an AWS Universal Adapter for vacs with a tool activation plug. With it, you can wirelessly kick on the vac when you pull the trigger similar to the way you do with a corded tool running to a vac. There just aren’t any cords connecting them.
It has left/right adjustable chip ejection to direct to either side of the tool.
It’s a handy feature but it comes with a couple of caveats. To make the switch from left to right, you need to remove the plug from one end and put it on the other. I don’t mind that in terms of process, but its removable nature puts it at risk of getting lost and it’s not as convenient as a switch.
Realistically, it’s something I might only change a couple of times a year, so the risk isn’t all that great. Unless, of course, you let someone else borrow the tool…
For a project like the one I started with, the system is great. I plug in the hose, plane, and move on. However, I’ve come across a couple of times that I’m hitting an edge right next to the install point and I’d prefer to have a collection bag rather than dragging the vac over to the workspace.
Having access to other cordless and corded planers I was curious to see how Makita’s update compares. Given that my go-to corded model runs between 15,000 and 16,000 RPM, I was a little hesitant to think this tool could keep up at its specified 12,000 RPM.
It turns out that it wasn’t an issue—even up to the full 1/8-inch there was no struggle or issue with its speed in the removal of material. To check, I set the planer to the deepest setting and did a few runs across a piece of stock 2X material. It was more than capable of removing material at that depth. You might need to slow down when you’re planing that kind of depth and thickness on your hardwoods, though.
The final max depth isn’t as deep as my corded tool. Realistically a hand planer is for taking thin swipes, so that really doesn’t bother me. I have no issues with the speed or the depth of the cut.
The surface finish after the cuts was smooth across the board. I had no raised grain, and no bumps or ridges. Time will tell what kind of life I get out of the blades, but out of the box, this tool leaves a beautiful finish.
Additional Field Notes
I like the motor brake in that it slows down quickly which means I can set it down quicker without worry of damaging the blades against another surface. Sure, there’s a little spring-loaded stand that elevates the base to protect the blades but from experience, I try not to rely on it as a replacement for paying attention.
- Quick blade installation
- Precision-machined aluminum base with three chamfering grooves
- Easy-to-read click depth adjustment knob
Price and Warranty
The Makita 18V cordless planer retails for $249.99 as a bare tool. It comes with Makita’s 3-year warranty. There’s no kit option and we don’t expect one at this point.
The Bottom Line
The Makita XPK02 cordless planer is well-suited for the type of work I do. With a major focus on remodeling, I often come across the need to create a custom fit. It’s a great addition for finish and trim carpenters, door installers, and remodeling contractors who need to trim material carefully to get a perfect fit.
Makita 18V Cordless Planer Specifications
- Model: Makita XPK02Z
- Planing width: 3-1/4 in.
- Planing depth: 1/8 in.
- Speed (max): 12,000 RPM
- Length: 13-1/8 in.
- Weight (with battery): 7.8 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $249.99