Makita XRU18 String Trimmer Targets Gas-Replacing Power
Makita has an intentional focus with their battery-powered lawn care line to “bracket the market”. In other words, they want to provide legitimate options to cover everyone’s needs. The Makita XRU18 18V X2 string trimmer is a great example. This model targets class-leading power for professionals who need more than what standard trimmers can do
- Powerful 30cc gas equivalent performance
- Left/Right rotation button quickly gets you out of tangles
- 36V performance without leaving Makita’s 18V battery platform
- Rated up to 0.105-inch trimmer line
- Comparatively short runtime at high speed
Makita XRU18 18V X2 String Trimmer Performance
Oodles of Power
The Makita XRU18 string trimmer uses two of the brand’s 18V XLT batteries for a combined 36V of power. Anyone already on Makita’s 18V platform won’t have to buy into a new battery platform. For those of you considering getting into Makita’s extensive line of battery-powered tools, this string trimmer provides one more reason why that’s a good idea.
The Makita XRU18 string trimmer has 3 speeds, and we did the majority of our testing at the highest setting. At full throttle, we measured the brushless motor generating a respectable 5805 RPM. Considering that’s at the end of a 17-inch cutting swath, that’s one of the best tip speeds we’ve seen.
Because of that larger cutting diameter, you’re able to clear areas faster. 15-inch trimmers are great for edges, but sometimes you need to clear between posts or other areas your ZT won’t fit.
Further, this trimmer feels powerful. Makita claims the XRU18 string trimmer boasts the power of a 30cc gas engine. Where a few other battery string trimmers compete with this trimmer’s no-load speed, there aren’t too many models that match the XRU18’s enthusiasm for shredding up grass and weeds. Even as we got into some of the thicker areas, the XRU18 didn’t really show any signs of slowing down.
That was with 0.095-inch line. If you need even more mass behind it, the trimmer is rated to handle up to 0.105-inch. Just keep in mind you’ll drop some runtime.
Running at full speed, and under no-load, we got almost 13 and a half minutes of runtime out of a full charge with 5.0Ah batteries. That’s short of where most models are, just keep in mind that other models are well short of Makita’s power.
While this could put a damper on Pros trying to use this string trimmer across multiple properties over the course of the day. However, using the automatic mode, trimming in low or medium speeds, and/or the Makita battery backpack improves things tremendously.
Don’t discount Makita’s charger, either. The dual port Rapid Optimum Charger that comes in the kit gets those 5.0Ah batteries back in the game in just 45 minutes. With a little discipline, two sets of batteries can keep you going all day.
Bring the Noise
We measure string trimmers using an SPL meter at the operator ear level. The Makita XRU18 string trimmer generated 85 dB(A), a fairly quiet response that fell into the middle range for the battery-powered trimmers we’ve tested. Considering the extra wide cutting width and the tip speed, that’s not too bad at all.
At this decibel level, you ought to have no problem working in noise-restricted communities or in the earlier morning hours. Per NIOSH standards, you should get away with being able to use this tool for 8 hours without the need for hearing protection.
Makita XRU18 18V X2 String Trimmer Design Notes
Controls and Modes
If you’re a control freak, you’ll love the options you have with this Makita string trimmer. Three different speed settings come in handy when you’re balancing power and runtime. That middle speed doesn’t show up on simple high/low models and it’s actually a really good place to trim. The power is better than most brands’ low speed and you conserve significant runtime.
Automatic Torque Drive mode reminds us of the brushless motor equivalent of a continuous variable transmission. It automatically adjusts the power output of the trimmer to maintain the speed of the trimmer head under load. If you want to simply plug along without thinking about speed control, this is the mode for you.
It also features a reverse rotation function. Activate this and the trimmer head spins in the opposite direction for a few seconds to untangle itself. We love this for helping us get unwrapped when trimming ground cover or vines.
This is the exact same control setup as Makita’s XRU15. If you don’t need 30cc power, it’s Makita’s best all-rounder.
It is worth noting that Makita goes with a slim guard on the trimmer head. As preferences go, most Pros prefer a thin guard over the more consumer-centric wide guards. It provides excellent visibility around the head, particularly when turning the trimmer on its side for edging applications. You also get the added advantage of better access into tight spaces—like when trimming around AC units or similar spots.
The trade-off is that you’re more likely to get hit with debris. Of course, that’s why most Pros don’t trim in shorts.
We’ve talked about the benefits of the two-battery system and Makita’s power. All that power comes at a bit of a cost. With two batteries and the motor strapped all on the back, the Makita XRU18 string trimmer feels a bit heavy towards the rear… for a battery-powered tool, that is.
Without batteries, this string trimmer weighs 10.8 pounds—the heaviest string trimmer we brought in for our recent cordless weedeater roundup. When you add the two 5.0Ah batteries kitted with the tool, that weight jumps to 13.55 lbs. When you look at some of the higher voltage options, their single batteries often outweigh Makita’s two by a fair margin.
If you’re making the switch from gas, it’s not that big of a deal, though. In actuality, it lines up pretty well with ~30cc gas trimmers filled with fuel. Similarly, the engine and fuel is on the rear, giving the XRU18 a very familiar feel.
If you want a lighter-weight X2 trimmer, look no further than the Makita XRU15. It’s lighter and shifts the motor’s weight to the front. Or, you can save even more weight with the 18V Makita XRU12 which cuts everything back to just 8.6 pounds with the battery installed.
Makita XRU18 18V X2 String Trimmer Price
The Bottom Line
The Makita XRU18 18V X2 string trimmer can truly replace your gas string trimmer. There’s a learning curve to managing that power so you get the runtime you need. Once you get used to it, you’ll be able to say goodbye to mixing fuel, pull starting, and gas engine maintenance.
Makita XRU18 String Trimmer Specifications
- Power Source: 2 x Makita 18V LXT batteries
- Cutting diameter: 17 in.
- No-load speed: 0-4,000/4,600/5,800 rpm
- Arbor Shaft: M10 x 1.25 LH
- Length: 72-1/4 in.
- Weight: 13.55 lbs. (with batteries)
- Shaft material: Steel
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- Price: $339 (bare tool); $469 (kitted with two 5.0Ah batteries and charger)