Makita 36V LXT X2 String Trimmer Review | XRU18
Makita’s Newest String Trimmer Puts on Powerful Display
Before we began testing out the latest battery-powered string trimmers for our Best Weedeater Roundup, we expected to put the existing X2 Makita XRU15 side-by-side against some of the newer models on the market. To our surprise, Makita sent us a newer model, the XRU18 string trimmer. This new flagship Makita X2 weedeater has just about everything we liked about the older XRU09, but with a distinct emphasis on power. In short, team Makita has multiple trimmers that cover run-time, Pro use, and now, high-torque power applications.
- Left/Right rotation button quickly gets you out of tangles
- Operates on X2 18V LXT platform; no need to invest in new batteries
- Can run .105 trimmer line!
- Power comes at the expense of runtime
- Back-heavy design similar to gas trimmers
RecommendationThe Makita XRU18 string trimmer has the power of a professional tool but at the deliberate expense the runtime. This model, however, should satisfy anyone who still thinks battery-powered trimmers can’t compete with 30cc gas power.
Oodles of Power
The Makita XRU18 string trimmer runs off of 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 only provides one more reason why that’s a good idea.
The Makita XRU18 string trimmer has 3 speeds, and we tested it in the highest setting. At full throttle, and with no load applied, we measured the brushless motor generating a respectable 5805 rpm. This makes it one of our highest-ranked performers in speed.
Further, this trimmer feels powerful. Makita claims the XRU18 string trimmer boasts the power of a 30cc gas engine. Where a few other trimmers exceed this trimmer’s no-load speed, there weren’t too many models that matched the XRU18’s seeming enthusiasm for shredding up grass and even weeds. Even as we got into some of the thicker areas, the XRU18 didn’t really show any signs of slowing down.
You want to also keep in mind that Makita is driving this trimmer with a 17-inch cutting swath—a higher load than you get with a 15-inch or 16-inch head. Even more impressive, Makita specs this trimmer to support up to .105″ line! Your run-time will take a hit with that heavier line loaded, but if you absolutely want to use it, you can.
Controls and Modes
We also liked the various modes featured in this tool. The three different speed settings come in handy when balancing power and runtime.
Automatic Torque Drive mode, when engaged, 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.
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.
17-inch Cutting Diameter
The Makita XRU18 string trimmer features a large 17-inch cutting diameter or swath. Most everything we tested punched in at 15 or 16-inches. We liked the extra inch offered by Makita—and the fact that it has the power to drive it. Keep in mind, all run-time and performance testing took place on a trimmer that was sliding an extra inch of line!
It is worth noting that Makita went 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.
Bit of a Heavyweight…for Cordless
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 strapped to the very back and the motor just in front, the Makita XRU18 feels a bit heavy towards the stern…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.
If you compare against cordless tools, that may seem heavy. In actuality, it lines up pretty well with ~30cc gas trimmers filled with fuel.
If you want a lighter-weight X2 trimmer, look no further than the Makita XRU15. It puts some of the weight back up front with a brushless motor at the trimmer head. 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.
Running at full speed, and under no-load, we got almost 13 and a half minutes of runtime out of a full charge. Obviously, this could put a damper on Pros trying to use this string trimmer across multiple properties over the course of the day. Additional batteries or something like the Makita battery backpack could deliver a bit more run-time.
Of course, running the Makita XRU18 in a lower speed setting or switching to the ATD mode will extend that runtime—possibly enough to cycle a couple of sets of batteries for truly extended use. Given the notoriously quick Makita recharge times (~45 minutes for most packs), you have an advantage there when swapping out pairs.
Also, as we mentioned above—this is a high-torque tool for people who want no-compromise gas power. If you want more run-time, Makita has models that satisfy that need as well.
Lower run-time simply marks the conscious trade-off of using existing LXT 18V battery packs in a tool clearly designed to prioritize power.
Bring the Noise
We measure string trimmers using an SPL meter at the operator ear level. The Makita XRU18 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, that’s impressive.
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.
PriceShop Acme Tools
The Makita XRU18 string trimmer probably won’t be the go-to for many Pros requiring long-term use throughout the day. For that, turn to the XRU15 or even the XRU12. The Makita XRU18 string trimmer has the power of a professional tool but at the deliberate expense of runtime. This model, however, should satisfy anyone who still thinks battery-powered trimmers can’t compete with 30cc gas power.