Doubling Down on Outdoor Tools Part 2 – The Makita LXT 18V X2 Chainsaw

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Electric chainsaws are great for tree trimming and cleanup, and they eliminate so many of the hassles of a gas-powered tool. No yanking on a pull cord and no worrying about old gas in the tank. However, they are often not very well-built. Makita’s new LXT 18V X2 chainsaw is a sturdy little powerhouse of a saw, packed with cool features and built like a pro-quality power tool. I recently reviewed the new Makita LXT 18V X2 string trimmer. I must say, I’m liking what I see from the Japanese power tool giant. Their forays into outdoor power equipment show the same great quality as their pro-grade cordless power tools, and sticking with their very successful 18-volt platform shows an understanding and respect for their customers that other companies may be missing.

Using two of the same 18V lithium ion power packs as their other tools rather than designing a single larger battery allows for a lot of versatility and nicer weight distribution that than a lot of their competitors with large, single battery yard tools. Plus it saves you from potentially buying new batteries and new chargers.

Unboxing the Makita Cordless Chainsaw – LXT 18v X2
The Makita LXT 18V X2 chainsaw that Makita sent to us arrives partially disassembled, but no tools are required for assembly. Putting on the bar and chain takes just a couple of minutes. The chain cover comes off without the use of a wrench, thanks to a little fold-out crank handle that tightens the single large nut that holds it on. The chain tightens with a little thumb wheel, rather than a screwdriver. Everything in the bar mounting area is steel and nicely machined, unlike some companies who make the tightening mechanism from aluminum, which doesn’t hold up well. Like I said before, this saw feels like quality, right out of the box.

Just because the saw is electric doesn’t mean you get away from all of the mess – obviously, the chain still needs oil. The small oil reservoir is conveniently located, and it doesn’t seem to leak when it is sitting on the shelf, like some saws do. Obviously a plus.

makita cordless chainsaw
Saddle-bag batteries give the saw nice balance.

Like other chainsaws, it has a lever chain brake on the top, and the saw will not operate until it is clicked back. Even though it seems a bit like belt and suspenders on an electric saw, I appreciate the extra level of safety. Unlike earlier Makita cordless chainsaws which have a top handle design that had drawn some criticism, the latest saw has a traditional rear handle which gives it a comfortable chainsaw feel. However, it weighs in at less than 12 lbs!

No wrenches or screwdrivers required. Nice!

The new Makita cordless chainsaw shares the same light, well-balanced feel as the string trimmer. The touch power button is conveniently located on the top, in easy reach with your thumb. There is a battery level indicator that shows the level of each battery, which is nice if you are using older Makita batteries that don’t have an on-board level indicator. The dual charger will give you two batteries ready to use in about 30 minutes. The saw is powered by a direct drive brushless motor and comes with a 3-year limited warranty on tool, battery and charger.

Quality steel components where it counts.

The Makita Cordless Chainsaw – Cutting Impressions
This saw is so QUIET!! Wow. Just amazing. Of course, there is no noise at all when the trigger is not pressed, which always takes a little getting used to for someone who is accustomed to a gas-powered machine constantly making noise. When running at 89 decibels, the Makita cordless chainsaw makes just a bit more noise than an Oreck vacuum cleaner.

The little 14” Makita cordless chainsaw cuts really well. I tried it out trimming branches, cutting green saplings and cutting some semi-dry firewood. The saw rarely bogged down and the chain didn’t stop even under heavy conditions. Runtime would be hard to estimate because of variable conditions and wood types, but suffice it to say, I did not run the batteries down in s 40 minute session of relatively heavy use.

Obviously, I’m not going to drop a mighty oak with a 36-volt chainsaw with a 14” bar, but you could safely cut a good sized trunk when it is on the ground. For average yard cleanup and cutting some firewood, I think this chainsaw is a great alternative to keeping a gas saw around. In the next installment, I’ll discuss the new 18V X2 leaf blower, as well as looking more closely at the motor and battery technology behind Makita’s excellent new products.

You can find the bare tool 18V X2 (36V) LXT® Lithium?Ion Brushless Makita Cordless Chainsaw (14″ model XCU03Z) for around $280 from Home Fixated sponsor Ohio Power Tool.

Buy Now - via Ohio Power Tool

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About Rich

Rich Dana loves to build things, to tinker on things, and to grow things. After more than a decade as a historic building remodeler in Brooklyn, New York, he and his wife Ericka moved to their back-to-the-land dream home (and fixer-uper nightmare), an 1870s farmhouse on 15 acres in eastern Iowa that they call “Catnip Farm.” For the last 18 years, Rich has specialized in super-efficient historical renovations and solar PV installation. He is working to convert much of the farm into perennial food crops like nut trees and berries, and he helps Ericka out with her heirloom seed project. His latest passion is learning to sew.

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2 thoughts on “Doubling Down on Outdoor Tools Part 2 – The Makita LXT 18V X2 Chainsaw”

  1. Cuts great with a 16 inch bar and full chisel chain. I bought one last fall and have cut at least 15 cords from logs ranging from 12 to 25 inch diameter. I cut 9″ inch long wood, so thats a lot of cutting. Per my watt meter takes about 500 to 600 watt hours to buck a pickup load of logs. I use a mishmash of Makita batteries ranging from 6,5,4 and 3 Ah. This saw can be used for much more than trimming.

  2. I like that it has metal bucking spikes instead of the plastic some of the other cordless chainsaws on the market. Makes me feel it is more of a “pro grade” tool.


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