Makita has two full-size brushless reciprocating saws they released a while back. The larger model is on their two-battery 18V X2 LXT platform. The subject of today’s review is its little brother – the Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw.
The two saws share very similar characteristics, but they’re not identical. We’ll take a look at those differences and help you decide if the 18V version is a better choice for your needs.
- Excellent cutting speed in all materials
- Very good vibration control
- Blade lock holds in open position and snaps closed when you insert a blade
- Good value rating
- No orbital action mode change
RecommendationBuy it if you’re after a premium cordless reciprocating saw that has class-leading cutting performance without any major weaknesses. Pass if you’re looking for a saw with smart controls or more budget-friendly pricing.
See how the Makita XRJ05 performed head-to-head in the 18V class here!
Just under two pounds lighter than its big brother, the very first thing you’re going to notice between the two Recipro Saws is the weight. With a 4.0 amp hour battery, the 18-volt model weighs in at 8.2 pounds. When it comes to the feature set, the biggest difference is that the Makita XRJ05 includes a tool-free adjustable shoe length. The 36-volt model has an adjustable shoe, but it requires the use of the hex wrench to adjust.
The two saws have identical stroke lengths as well as no-load stroke speeds. They both have crank mechanisms that are designed to reduce blade deflection and vibration. The two-finger triggers and D-handles are pretty much the same along with the upper housing. I mentioned the upper housing specifically because my medium size hands had a tough time finding a natural grip on it, but the guys with larger hands really liked it.
The speed selection and lockout switch are the same as well. In the middle you’re locked while pushing the switch to the left will put you at low speed and pushing to the right will put you at high speed. There’s a white indicator to let you know what speed you’re in.
A couple of productivity features include a rafter hook and an LED light. And of course, it runs on one Makita 18V LXT battery which now has a battery level indicator integrated on the back.
While it’s not obvious at first glance, the Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw has an incredibly useful blade lock system. Simply push your blade into position and the lock automatically snaps down, making it a one-handed operation. To release the blade, you’ll need to twist the lock on the shaft which will lock itself back in an open position ready to receive the next blade.
Using the same tests and identical blades from our shootout, the saw had to cut as fast as it could through 2 x10 pressure-treated pine embedded with five 16D nails. It then had to cut 2″ EMT and #5 rebar. We used 5-pound weights to ensure the downforce was the same for each saw.
When cutting through nail embedded wood, the Makita XRJ05 averaged 9.09 seconds. Even though the saw certainly would’ve benefited from having an orbital action, that’s still the fastest average in its class.
Compared to the 18V X2, this model is actually a little faster in this test. When you put more downforce on the saw, the X2’s more powerful motor keeps its speed higher and ends up with a faster cut.
Metal cutting was also quick with an average of 3.97 seconds to cut through our EMT. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel with One-Key (3.75 seconds) its only competitor to have a faster average in this test.
Moving to rebar, Makita maintained its impressive performance. Its 7.75-second average was second only to Kobalt, a scant 0.16 seconds faster.
Overall, no other saw in the standard 18V class has as consistently high cutting speeds as the Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Recipro Saw.
One of the biggest advantages the Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw as over its 36-volt brother is the fact that it’s nearly 2 pounds lighter and that makes a significant difference.
Vibration control seems to be slightly better with the heavier model – not unexpected since the additional weight also helps stabilize the tool. Overall though, vibration control and this model is very good, but Bosch had the best in our tests.
The handle ergonomics are decent. Like I mentioned before, the upper housing doesn’t offer as natural a grip for my hands as it does someone who has larger hands. The D-handle and two-finger trigger are about as good as you can expect from a reciprocating saw. Perhaps some additional contour to the handle would help, but it’s no less comfortable to hold than most.
The Bottom Line
The Makita XRJ05 propelled itself to a win in our head to head review with its design and performance. For a cordless tool that’s entering its 4th year of existence, it’s an impressive result that shows how well Makita’s team designed it.
Buy it if you’re after a premium cordless reciprocating saw that has class-leading cutting performance without any major weaknesses. Pass if you’re looking for a saw with smart controls or more budget-friendly pricing.
Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review Key Features
- Built-in LED light with pre-glow and afterglow illuminates the work area
- Refined crank mechanism design minimizes blade deflection and reduces vibration
- Retractable tool hook secures the tool when not in use
- Tool-less blade change system allows for faster blade installation and removal for increased productivity
- Rubberized soft grip handle provides increased comfort on the job
- Large two-finger variable speed trigger for operator convenience
- The electronically-controlled BL Brushless Motor efficiently uses energy to match torque and RPM to the changing demands of the application
- Electric brake for maximum productivity
- Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) is engineered for improved dust and water resistance for operation in harsh conditions
Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review Specifications
- Models: Makita XRJ05Z (Bare Tool) and Makita XRJ05M (Kit)
- Power Source: Makita 18V LXT battery pack
- Length of Stroke: 1-1/4″
- Max. Cutting Capacity (wood w/ 12″ blade): 10″
- Max. Cutting Capacity (pipe): 5-1/8″
- Strokes Per Minute (2 speed): 0 – 2,300 / 0 – 3,000 SPM
- Overall Length: 17-1/4″
- Orbital Settings: No
- Main Handle Type: D-Handle
- Net Weight (with battery): 8.2 lbs.
- Warranty: 3-year Limited
- Kit Includes: 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw (XRJ05Z), (2) 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 4.0Ah Battery (BL1840B), 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Rapid Optimum Charger (DC18RC), Recipro Saw Blade, Tool Case
- Price: Makita XRJ05Z (Bare Tool) $179.99, Makita XRJ05T (5.0Ah Kit) $299.99
This review originally published in December 2016. It has been updated to reflect its performance in our head-to-head review.
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