October 18, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Makita Cordless Drywall Sander XLS01T and XLS01Z

Makita cordless drywall sander XLS01T

In a surprise move, Makita became the first company we’re aware of to release a cordless drywall sander. As far as painting tools go, this is exciting. The new tool runs on their 18V LXT battery system, using just a single battery pack. The XLS01T Makita cordless drywall sander does a great job of rounding out the company’s multiple drywall tool solutions. That includes their updated Makita cordless autofeed drywall screwdriver and the Makita 18V cordless mixer.

Features That Matter

The Makita XLS01T drywall sander uses a direct-drive brushless motor that sits right at the sanding head. A single 18V LXT 5 Ah battery lets the sander operate for up to 35 minutes when using 120 grit sandpaper.

Makita XLS01T drywall sander motor

As you’d expect, Makita seems to have designed the head with plenty of swivel and flexibility for getting to ceilings and walls from virtually any position. There’s also a removable dust brush that reveals easy glide roller wheels for flush-to-wall edge sanding. That’s a feature we’ve appreciated seeing on products like the Flex Giraffe GE 7 and the Festool Planex drywall sander.

Makita cordless drywall sander XLS01Z

In terms of weight, the Makita XLS01 does very well, measuring just 10.7 lbs. on the scale with battery. For comparison:

  • Makita XLS01 Drywall Sander – 10.7 lbs w/battery
  • Festool Planex (63 in.) – 10.14 lbs
  • Festool Planex Easy – 8.8 lbs
  • Flex Giraffe GE 7 – 9.3 lbs

The stock tool remains fairly compact, but for high walls and ceilings, the handle telescopes to 16-1/2 inches. You can also pick up an extension to give you an additional 22-3/4 inches of reach.

Makita 18V LXT 9-inch drywall sander

We love the large two-finger trigger—and it features a lock-on switch for continuous operation. Speed is variable, via a dial on the handle. Maximum speed varies from 1,000 to 1,800 RPM, and the tool features a soft-start motor. Since the tool uses a brushless motor, it compensates when under load to maintain speed—much like our managing editor.

Dust Management

As we suspected when we first saw this tool, the Makita cordless drywall sander works with their AWS Auto-Start Wireless system. Basically, the Makita XLS01 includes a Bluetooth AWS chip that works with their 18V X2 cordless vacuum. It automatically (and wirelessly) powers-on and powers-off the Makita XCV16 cordless dust extractor automatically when the tool activates.

Makita XLS01Z kit bag

Obviously, there’s still a hose connecting the tool to the vacuum, but you don’t have to run the vacuum nonstop or remember to turn it on or off when using the sander. While convenient, it also extends the run-time of the cordless vacuum, since it operates at peak efficiency.

Makita Cordless Drywall Sander Specs

  • Abrasive Disc Size: 9 in.
  • No Load Speed: 1000-1800 rpm
  • Variable Speed Control Dial
  • Battery: 18V Li-ion
  • Runtime: 35 minutes (single 5Ah battery)
  • Dimensions: 59-3/4 x 10-1/4 x 10-3/4 in.
  • Weight: 10.7 lbs (w/5Ah battery)
  • Includes (tool only): Tool, 9 in. round sanding backing pad, 9 in. round 120 grit abrasive disk
  • Includes (kit): Tool, 9 in. round sanding backing pad, 9 in. round 120 grit abrasive disk, (2) 18V LXT lithium-ion 5Ah batteries, Rapid Optimum charger, tool bag, hex wrench


We’re keeping both eyes on this tool. At first glance, it seems like a real winner. The price seems like a bargain compared to other premium-brand products. At $509 it makes a statement. And that statement sounds a lot like: “Buy me now.” The run-time will need watching, as 35 minutes doesn’t set any records. With some of the fastest charge times on the market, there’s a good chance you’ll get near-continuous use out of this tool with two 5Ah battery packs.

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Victor Heinrich

If you’re still tethered to a dust extractor or shop vac, what’s the point of battery other than added weight?

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