Most of the major power tool manufacturers now have cordless OPE lines out. But where Makita has an advantage over the rest is that they have a legit Pro-level gas lineup in addition to the lithium-ion tools. It’s a big boost when it comes to fit and finish along with an intimate knowledge of what commercial guys look for in their own line of gas tools. With that in mind, the Makita XRU09 18V X2 Brushless String Trimmer is one of the latest tools in the line.
One of the things Makita does well is keeping the assembly simple. The trimmer comes in a long package eliminating the need to connect the shaft. You’ll just need to attach the guide handle and guard. The cutter comes on the guard in the longer cutting position, so you’ll only need to switch it if you want a smaller cutting swath.
Batteries and Charger
You’ll get a pair of 5.0 amp hour batteries with either the Makita XRU09PT or XRU09PTX1 kit. As far as capacity goes, that’s the equivalent of an 18V, 10.0 AH battery. Or more appropriately, and 36V, 5.0 AH since the X2 system runs at the nominal 36V rating. Regardless of how you look at it, that’s 180 watt hours of juice, which is more than you’ll get with most anyone else’s high-capacity batteries and matches FlexVolt.
Makita packs a quick charger in their tool kits. And since this Makita XRU09 is an X2 product, they pack a dual port charger that will charge both batteries at the same time in about 45 minutes.
One of the features to look for on a Pro-level string trimmer that’s also nice to have on a homeowner model is a reverse switch. In the event that tall grass gets wrapped up around the head, you flip the Makita XRU09 string trimmer into reverse and quickly release the mess. You can’t leave it in reverse as a preference, though. It will only run for a short time before you need to revert back to the counterclockwise rotation.
Ergonomics and Design
Certainly, the design of the XRU09 shares some happy characteristics with its gas-powered cousins. That includes a solid straight shaft and a sleek look with an attractive fit and finish. The brushless motor is above the head for a direct connection. It balances the trimmer well with the batteries and doesn’t require the turning of a long shaft, making the trimmer more efficient.
Ergonomically, the balance is pretty good. However, I’m 6’2″ and wasn’t able to dial in a perfect position. So I ended bending just enough to cause me a little back pain. Shorter users should have no trouble, though. Taller users may want to grab a shoulder strap to connect to the single strapping point.
The trigger handle enjoys rubber overmold to help your grip but you won’t find it on the guide handle.
All the controls are on the top and accessible with your thumb whether you’re right- or left-handed. There’s a power button you’ll need to press to before you can run the trimmer. It adds a step but is really a good safety feature to have to prevent accidental motor engagement.
The trigger safety pushes down from the top and is the design I prefer to make running the unit easier.
Line changes are a manual effort with only a little help on the stock head. There’s a clip to stick the halfway point of your line on. You then wind the line around until you get to the last few inches. The clip points are mildly effective while you slip the line through the slots and put the head back together.
I highly recommend you grab Makita’s trimmer head upgrade (model T-01753A). It’s a much easier system to load with more of a Speed Feed style design. You run the line through the slots in the bump mechanism and turn it to set the line in place. You never have to take the head apart and you’re back in action much more quickly.
Line Diameter and Cutting Swath
The line diameter and cutting swath are both a bit low for a Pro-level string trimmer. For US models, we’re stuck using a 0.080-inch line. I prefer my string trimmers to handle at least 0.095-inch line to effectively deal with overgrowth. The cutting swath maxes out at 13-3/4 inches. The wide guard seems to mask that a bit. However, I generally look for at least 15 inches for Pro use.
I ended up going through quite a bit of line cutting along my fence lines (they’re all chain link). A thicker line will last a bit longer against this kind of cutting. The smaller cutting swath helps to offset the line diameter since the cutting edge of the line is physically moving faster to cut more efficiently. Still, the combination of line diameter and cutting swath makes the trimmer feel less capable than other cordless models I use.
2-Speed Brushless Motor
Makita delivers their BL brushless motor for this model and includes 2 motor speeds. Low will get you 5,000 RPM and up to 60 minutes of runtime (according to their data). High ups the speed to 6500 RPM and is where you’ll want to keep it if cutting speed is more important than runtime.
I have yet to come close to running the batteries completely down no matter how aggressive I cut. You really should be good to go on one charge if you’ve got as many as 2 acres fenced in. You can likely hit in the 5- to 10-acree range without fences. That’s for the homeowner. The commercial Pro that needs to cut 20 or 25 yards a day during the summer will need an extra set of batteries to cycle.
The Bottom Line
The Makita XRU09 18V X2 LXT Brushless String Trimmer has an excellent fit and finish along with an outstanding feature set. Where it falls a little short for commercial Pros is in its limits of 0.080-inch line and 13-3/4-inch cutting diameter. Even though the motor spins up to 6500 RPM, the smaller line diameter doesn’t feel as strong as some of the cordless models that give you the option to use 0.095- or 0.105-inch.
The ergonomics are good for users 6-feet tall or shorter, but us taller guys will want to limit the amount of time we’re trimming or get ahold of a shoulder strap. But aside from that, the XRU09 is a pleasure to use. The vibration is reasonably low and the controls are easy to reach and manipulate.
It may seem like there’s a lot of room for improvement here, but don’t underestimate how close this thing is to getting the attention of commercial Pros. Just a slight tweak in the trigger position and a slightly more powerful motor and it’s there. The Makita XRU09 is already well ahead of most in feature set and Pro styling.
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Makita XRU09 18V X2 LXT Brushless String Trimmer Key Features
- Brushless Motor
- Reverse Switch
- 2-speed options
- Bump feed, dual line head
- Industry standard spindle (M10 x 1.25 LH)
- Zero emissions and nearly maintenance free
- Constant Speed Control
- Direct drive motor mounted on trimmer head
- Electric brake
- 3-stage LED battery level indicator on tool
- 5.0 AH batteries and dual port charger included with kits
Makita XRU09 18V X2 LXT Brushless String Trimmer Specifications
- Power Source: (2) 18V LXT batteries
- Line Diameter: 0.080″
- Cutting Swath: 13-3/4″
- Speed: 5000/6500 RPM
- Runtime: Up to 60 minutes
- Head Style: Dual line, bump feed
- Weight: 9.9 pounds
- Warranty: 3 years
- Bare Tool: Makita XRU09Z – TBD
- Kit with (2) 5.0 AH Batteries: Makita XRU09PT – $460.99
- Kit with (2) 5.0 AH Batteries and Grinder: Makita XRU09PTX1 – $389.00