Dateline; April 1st, 2021. Location; undisclosed COVID-19-safe quarantine zone bunker in Boulder County, Colo.
After participating in another socially-responsible, yet socially lonely online media event that is the new norm, I have something exciting to share. Makita is launching a new series of cordless power tools they call the XGT line. I suspect the name stands for Xtra Good Tools, but I’m waiting for confirmation from Makita’s corporate HQ, so don’t quote me on that. It could mean Xtra Great Tools instead, and boy would I be embarrassed.
Beyond the goodness or greatness, what is the XGT product line you ask? It’s an entirely new line of power tools that gives Makita the reach into more powerful cordless tools and equipment going forward, while also supplying the need for standard-size tools, all in one compatible battery platform. As a parallel to Makita’s comprehensive LXT line with 18-volt and 36-volt tools (when fitted with two 18-volt battery packs), the new XGT line features 36-volt and 72-volt tools (when fitted with two 36-volt battery packs).
To differentiate the product line from their popular and long-lived LXT line powered by 18-volt battery packs, they are marketing the line as 40V max/80v max. Using the “max” nomenclature is something many brands do as an indication of a battery pack’s voltage when freshly charged, but the nominal voltage is still 36-volts. It’s refreshing to note that Makita is not playing the inflated Watt-hour (Wh) game by calculating that value with the max voltage number. Instead, the nominal voltage is used, giving their 4.0 amp-hour (Ah) pack a rational 144 Wh rating (36Vx4Ah=144Wh).
Makita XGT Battery Form Factor
With a product line based on a higher voltage and a few different capacity battery packs, Makita can effectively make XGT tools into three categories of tools ranging from standard size tools you are accustomed to, 2X-capacity tools, and 4X-capacity tools. They’ve already proven this concept with their 18-volt LXT line complete with compact tools with compact battery packs, standard tools with full-size battery packs, and 2X-capacity tools that use two full-size battery packs. But the XGT line effectively doubles the available power.
For smaller handheld tools like drill/drivers and impact drivers, Makita stresses that their 40V max XGT versions fitted with a 2.5 Ah battery pack provide the same size and weight (form factor) you are used to with a standard size 18-volt tool, and therefore don’t represent any ergonomics-to-performance compromise. But the benefits include being able to go much bigger in the new system.
NOT Replacing the 18-Volt LXT Line, and NOT Cross-Compatible
Since Makita already has hundreds of models in their 16-year old LXT line, they aren’t going to mess with success, so the LXT and new XGT lines will coexist. Essentially, if you only need 18- and 36-volt power, the LXT line offers the greater depth of product line, so it would be the way to go. But if you want to get into higher-powered cordless tools to replace larger corded tools and even some gas-powered equipment, the 40V max XGT line is the way to go. Switching to the new Makita XGT system would require a totally new investment in tools, battery packs, and chargers. The only cross compatibility is an adaptor for charging LXT packs on the XGT chargers.
The Makita XGT Tools
The new Makita XGT line is rolling out in April 2021, with a planned launch of 50+ products. Here is what I know about so far. But note that not all of the products listed are part of the initial launch.
Makita XGT Power Components
2.5 Ah, 4.0 Ah, and 5.0 battery packs. Single and double fan-cooled chargers. Adaptor for charging 18-volt LXT battery packs on XGT chargers.
Makita XGT Drivers
Four 1/2” impact wrenches and one 3/4″ drive model. 1/4” hex drive impact driver. Two drill/drivers and two hammerdrill/drivers (premium and compact models).
Makita XGT Grinders
Four 4 1/2”/5” angle grinders. Two 6” angle grinders. 7”/9” angle grinder.
Makita XGT Outdoor Power Equipment
Dedicated string trimmer and multi-powerhead with string trimmer attachment. Blower.
Two jobsite radios. Two work lights. Fan.
Makita XGT Saws
Recip saw. 8 1/2” sliding miter saw. Two 7 1/4″ right-blade circ saws, one with guide rail compatible shoe. 7 1/2″ left-blade, rear-handle circ saw. 10 1/4″ left-blade, rear-handle circ saw.
The Makita XGT Standout
Much like my designation for the coolest thing at a trade show, this online media event also featured a real standout tool. Sure, the larger rotary hammers and chippers made possible with Makita’s 40V max XGT line are certainly notable, but there is a real new-to-market tool here in the 10 1/4″ circular saw. Designed to cut 4-by lumber, this saw marks an exciting development in cordless tools, with very little competition so far (there’s only one other that I have tested).
What Else is There?
Since the product line is being introduced as 50+ products, and I could not account for that number in the press materials provided, I put on my investigative reporter’s hat and went all Clark Kent on this to deduce the deficit. 43 unique items are presented, and three combo kits may count up to #46. But since Makita says “XGT products can power equipment used for higher-demand applications in construction, outdoor power equipment, and commercial cleaning”, and there are no commercial cleaning tools in evidence, I predict that the phantom products include a backpack vac, and other portable vacs, with some being AWS models.
The US Gets Biggest XGT Launch
For our readers in Canada and other select countries, this may be old news since the product line has been out for a while in other markets. However, we’re excited to get to talk about Makita XGT for the first time here in the states. Donning my press fedora once again, the earliest official launch notice I found of the XGT 40V max line was dated October, 2019, but the product offerings have expanded greatly since then. It seems the US market is receiving the largest launch of this product line, so it was worth the wait.
Bonus Makita News
As part of the Makita media event, I got a very brief look at some new LXT 18-volt tools that are on the way too. These include right-angle (plumber’s) drills – one with a drill chuck and one with a 7/16” hex bit holder end, a compact (black-body series) oscillating multi tool that fits Starlock accessories, a hedge trimmer with a long extension pole, a polisher, a sprayer, and a food warmer/cooler. Remember, you heard it here first!