Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review Cordless Saw Reviews

Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review

Pro Tool Reviews

Build Quality
Feature Set
Cutting Speed
Final Thoughts

The biggest advantage 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.

Overall Score 4.4 Pro Review

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In the past several months, Makita has released two new brushless reciprocating saws. The larger model is on their two-battery 18V X2  LXT platform and was the winner of our recent cordless reciprocating saw shootout. 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 18-volt version is a better choice for your needs.

When we tested eight different cordless reciprocating saws in our shootout, we put them through testing to evaluate their cutting performance, ergonomics, and feature sets to determine who has the best model. We’re going to put the Makita XRJ05 through the same evaluations so we can compare directly to its big brother and other popular reciprocating saws currently on the market.

First Impressions

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 is the same as well. In the middle you’re locked while pushing the switch to the left will put you in low speed and pushing to the right will put you in high speed. There’s a white indicator to let you know what speed you’re in.

Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review

A couple of productivity features include a rafter hook and an LED worklight. 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.

Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review

Using the same tests and identical blades from our shootout, the saw had to cut as fast as it could through 2 x12 pressure treated pine embedded with five 16D nails. It then had to cut through five EMT pipes, two of which were 1 inch in diameter and three which were 3/4 inch in diameter. We used 10-pound weights to ensure the downforce was the same for each saw.

When cutting through nail embedded wood, the Makita XRJ05 averaged 15.11 seconds. The saw certainly would’ve benefited from having an orbital action on it. However, those results would have been good enough for third place overall and were about 2.5 seconds behind its big brother.

Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review

Metal cutting was a bit quicker with an average of 13.16 seconds to cut through our EMT. That would’ve put it in fourth place behind Makita 18V X2 (9.50 seconds), DeWalt FlexVolt (10.65 seconds), and Milwaukee M18 Fuel with One-Key (10.90 seconds).

Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review


The biggest advantage 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 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 excellent.

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 reciprocating saw. Perhaps some additional contour to the handle would help, but it’s no less comfortable to hold than most.

The Bottom Line

Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw Review

Makita’s two new brushless reciprocating saws are very similar to each other. With the 36-volt model you get faster cutting speeds and a very slight improvement in vibration control. Moving to the Makita XRJ05 18V LXT Brushless Recipro Saw drops a little bit of cutting speed, but also loses nearly 2 pounds of weight and gives you a tool-free adjustable shoe.

For the kind of work that I typically have to to tackle with a reciprocating saw, I would personally go with the Makita XRJ05, only because I don’t mind taking a little extra time to go with the lighter weight tool. However, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the 36-volt model won our shootout. I really don’t think you can go wrong with either model.


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) $199.99, Makita XRJ05M (Kit) $379.99

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Clint DeBoeradamMike McFalls Recent comment authors
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in the split pictures of the shoe on the left and d-handle on the right, the shoe pictured is of a Milwaukee Sawzall– not Makita

Mike McFalls

Excellent review and I especially appreciate the uniqueness of comparing the 18v to 36v model. I’d have thought there would have been a bigger difference between the two models. That said, if you were consistently using the saw, the 2+ second difference would add up quickly; as would the weight.

Perhaps the real benefit is in total run time?

Thanks for another terrific review!