Late last year, just before the Black Friday and holiday shopping season, Makita came out with a new 18V X2 cordless track saw kit, and it was bundled with 4Ah batteries instead of the usual 5Ah batteries.
I was under the wrong impression that this could have been some type of holiday promo kit, but that wasn’t the case.
Earlier this year, Makita did the same with their 18V cordless router kit.
Now, there’s a new Makita 18V X2 cordless miter saw kit, XSL06PM, and it too features 4Ah batteries.
Makita raised prices on more than 700 SKUs last month.
The 18V X2 miter saw kit shown above (XSL06PM) includes 4Ah batteries and has a $799 sticker price, the same as for their 5Ah kit (XSL06PT).
So, it seems that Makita raised pricing on some of their tools, and updated some of their kits with lower capacity batteries.
Personally, I would rather pay a little more for kits bundled with 5Ah batteries. I might be flexible in this preference if Makita bundled the kits with compact 5-cell 4Ah batteries, but they don’t make any 18V batteries with 21700-sized Li-ion battery cells.
I think it’s fair to assume that similar updates may be coming to additional Makita 18V and 18V X2 cordless power tool kits.
If there are now multiple kit versions of what you were looking to buy, the 4Ah kit might at least temporarily replace the 5Ah kit. It’s unclear if Makita will reintroduce 5Ah kits or if the 4Ah replacement kits are permanent SKUs.
5Ah kit versions of the track saw and router are no longer available online, at least not at the authorized dealers I checked with. The same will likely happy to the miter saw and any other updated kits with 4Ah batteries.
Makita has updated some kits but not others. For instance, their XRJ06PT 18V X2 reciprocating saw kit XRJ06PT ($369 at Amazon) is still only available with 5Ah batteries.
I have been assuming that these updates are tied to rising costs, but there could be other factors. Maybe it’s just coincidental, but all of the tool kits I’ve noticed 4Ah battery updates for have XGT equivalents; there’s a new XGT router, an XGT track saw, and an XGT 10″ miter saw.
In the grand scheme of things, it is what it is. But, if you have options, go for the 5Ah kits while you can. Or, if you need to wait, 4Ah batteries provide just a little less runtime.
Generally, 5Ah batteries have a higher retail price than 4Ah battery packs. 5Ah batteries have 25% greater charge and energy capacity than 4Ah batteries. Looking at it from the other direction, 4Ah batteries have 80% the charge capacity compared to 5Ah batteries.
At the time of this posting, both XSL06P 18V X2 10″ dual bevel miter saw kit options are in stock at most retailers. While both remain available, there are no incentives to go with the 4Ah kit when it costs the same as the 5Ah kit.
I do have to give Makita credit – they could have sought to combine their listings, such as how some brands mix “new version” and “old version” SKUs and have shared reviews. Distinct model numbers and separate listings make it clear as to which kit version you’re buying and getting.
Hmm. Supposing it is to keep costs from rising with inflation, I do wonder how much money this saves Makita. It would make more sense to me if there were secondary factors too.
Shrinkflation seems to be all around us. Just go to the grocery store to see “new and improved” packages – where the improvement is that you are now getting 12.5oz of product instead of 14oz. and the 14oz, size was already down from an original 16oz. But it’s all in the same size box.
I’m with you Stuart – with the thought that these not-so-subtle changes are an insult to our intelligence. But marketing is what it is – and some consumers might want a packaged deal at (or close) to the old price – even if the package now contains less in terms of value or functionality
If I had to guess, I would think they’re swapping batteries in extremely competitive categories where customers might be swayed on price.
$799 is a lot of money, but maintaining that price could make a difference compared to say keeping 5Ah batteries and having to bump the price up to $849.
I wouldn’t say this is an insult to anyone’s intelligence, but I do wish they were upfront about the changes they’re implementing and which SKUs will be affected.
I think Stuart is right here, they’re likely trying to come in at a certain price point.
That said, I think it’s a bit silly. Presumably a tool using dual batteries does so because it’s a high power demand tool and one battery won’t provide enough power. So if we are dealing with a tool with high power requirement–and a big chop saw or a router certainly count–why use smaller batteries? Especially for the chop saw where the tool is mostly stationary and thus its weight is moot? I’d rather have larger batteries for these tools, not smaller ones.
*Smaller* is in terms of capacity. 4Ah and 5Ah battery packs are of comparable size and weight.
Yes, I understand it’s in terms of capacity. That was my whole point. Why fool around with 4 or 5 ah batts on a high power demand tool? Get some 6ah or bigger on there, yes those are heavier but it doesn’t matter for a stationary tool.
You can’t. Makita does offer 18V 6Ah batteries, but they’re a bad choice in my opinion.
(The 18650 3.0Ah cells in Makita’s 18V 6Ah batteries are not as well-suited for high performance application as the 2.0Ah and 2.5Ah cells in their 18V 4Ah and 5Ah batteries.)
Makita does not have higher capacity batteries in their 18V lineup, and so you cannot go to 8Ah, 9Ah, or 12Ah capacities as you could with other brands’ systems.
Also keep in mind the miter saw is an 18V X2 tool, which means it drawers from both 18V batteries at the same time.
The lack of larger batteries on the platform only makes this design even more puzzling.
Let’s make a new tool that’s so powerful it needs two batteries to run! But we’re not going to make high capacity batteries that it really needs to perform at its best!
Reply to MM
Makita introduced 18V x2 tools long before 21700 cells were a thing, and their biggest batteries were 5Ah.
What’s curious to me is how they are reluctant to introduce 21700 based batteries on the 18V platform. Several x2 tools introduced recently have the batteries spaced wider apart than the earlier tools, indicating they intend(ed?) to introduce wider 18V batteries with 21700 cells, but this has yet to happen.
For their 18V tools to remain competitive, more powerful 21700 based cells are necessary. WAKE UP MAKITA!!! I have a huge collection of your 18V tools and will not automatically jump to your 40V line if you abandon the 18V platform. Your 40V XGT line is much more expensive (not sure why???), too much for an advanced DIYer like me who is not making a living from his tools.
I wouldn’t say that the Makita 18×2 tools necessarily need larger capacity batteries to run at their best.
Their current line of 18×2 tools seem to keep up with the competition more or less using just 5Ah batteries. Their rear handle, which is definitely a “high power draw” tool, is several years old yet still preferred by plenty of pro’s. It’s not the most powerful saw any more, but it’s no slouch either.
So, in the same vein, I’m not sure if this 18×2 miter saw necessarily needs higher capacity batteries to run optimally. Higher capacity batteries would certainly help with runtime, but performance–I’m not so sure.
Look at it another way: this is a 36 volt tool, where the extra battery is thrown in to up the voltage. This is in contrast to, say, Makita’s portable refrigerator, where it can run off 1 18v battery but you can toss a second one in for extended runtime.
So this thing is effectively powered by a 10s2p battery: 10 18650 cells in series, and 2 sets of 10 in parallel.
A Milwaukee 9.0 and 12.0 are both 5s3p batteries.
So Makita is running off a 10s2p “battery” and Milwaukee is running off a 5s3p battery.
The 10s2p battery has its upsides, as you can get 36 volts out of it. More voltage = less current for equivalent power = runs cooler. Also, the 10s2p “battery” has more than twice the surface area of a Milwaukee 5s3p battery, which means it can run cooler for longer. Sticking 3 rows of batteries in a rectangular prism is ALWAYS a bad idea, as the cells in the center will heat up quicker than the rest. What controls HOW bad of an idea it is to have 3 stacked rows of cylindrical batteries comes down to implementation. Bosch has their cooling fins on their batteries to increase surface area for better convection of heat from the battery pack to the surrounding air. Bosch also uses special plastics with thermal conductivity rivaling that of aluminum. Ego has their curved arc style battery to maximize surface area. Ego/Flex/Skil also use phase change materials around each battery cell. Milwaukee has … none of the aforementioned solutions.
Also I’m not sure if I understand:
“The lack of larger batteries on the platform only makes this design even more puzzling.
Let’s make a new tool that’s so powerful it needs two batteries to run! But we’re not going to make high capacity batteries that it really needs to perform at its best!”
Makita’s 18×2 tools that run at 36 volts DO have high capacity batteries, though. Put 2 of the Makita 5.0’s in their 18×2 miter and it’s running off a 36 volt, 5 Ah battery, which is equivalent, in watt-hours, to an 18 volt, 10 Ah battery. The Makita saw with the two 5 amp-hour batteries literally has more capacity than literally any Milwaukee battery except for literally the 12 Ah Milwaukee battery.
It’s pretty clear that Milwaukee’s marketing has got people thinking in pure amp-hours, without considering voltage and watt-hours, neither of which benefit Milwaukee when considered in any sort of depth.
If you slap two of the Makita 6.0 batteries into this 36 volt miter saw, then you have the equivalent of a 36 volt, 6 Ah battery, or the equivalent of an 18 volt, 12 Ah battery–matching Milwaukee’s largest battery (18 volts and 12 Ah)!
The only two “mainstream” battery systems in the US to have exceeded the maximum watt-hour capacity of Makita’s 36 volt tools is 1) Flex and b) DeWalt.
Flex has a 12 Ah, 24-volt max (21.6 volt nominal) battery. 12*21.6 is about 260 watt-hours in Flex’s largest battery pack.
Dewalt has a massive 15 Ah FlexVolt battery. 5*54=270 watt-hours.
Finally, if anyone deserves “criticism” for “low” battery capacity, it’s DeWalt and it’s FlexVolt platform.
You do realize that the FlexVolt 6Ah battery is only a 2Ah battery on a FlexVolt tool?
And that the FlexVolt 9Ah battery is only a 3Ah battery on a FlexVolt tool?
And that the FlexVolt 12Ah is only a 4Ah battery on a FlexVolt tool?
And that the FlexVolt 15Ah is only a 5Ah battery on a FlexVolt tool?
I fail to see why Makita gets criticized for having “low” capacity batteries when it’s really DeWalt that’s leading the charge with the “low” capacity batteries.
All of this makes it clear that we need to quit thinking in terms of amp-hours–especially now with the proliferation of higher-voltage platforms–and start thinking in watt-hours to compare actual battery capacities.
Makita’s LXT 18×2 solution, in conclusion, is still a fairly elegant compromise to:
a) Maintaining battery compatibility across tools that span back 15 years
b) Deliver “corded” performance aka 1500+ peak watts out
c) Delivers competitive battery capacities (180+ watt-hours) without moving to more extreme “solutions” such as thermally compromised 3-layer battery packs.
It was a bit unfair and incorrect of me to imply that the Makita couldn’t “perform its best”. I didn’t meant to say that the power of the tool would be diminished in any way, I should have been more clear that I was focusing on runtime.
Colin mentioned that the Makita dual-battery system “is high capacity” because those dual 18v 5ah batteries equate to one 18v 10 ah battery. Yes, obviously. But is that meant to be impressive? Milwaukee, Dewalt, Metabo, Hilti, and others are getting that same number of watt hours (if not more) out of a single pack. That’s what seems odd. Why design the tool to require two batteries when everyone else seems to be able to provide that same kind of power with one pack? I’d think that if I was being saddled with the disadvantage of having to use two batteries to run my tool then I’d at least be able to get a lot of watt-hours onboard, but not really.
I’m well aware of the math on Flexvolt batteries but I’m confused as to how that’s relevant. Flexvolt tools aren’t making me use two batteries while giving me the performance (watt-hours) that the other guys can with one battery.
is there also an XGT model?
On the corded side of things, Makita changed production facilities for their corded 12″ miter saw and raised the price. They didn’t change the SKU and if you go to websites like home depot and such, they show the old tool. The new one comes with a new style aluminum fence and aluminum extendable “outfeed arms” (can’t remember what they called those).
I ended up ordering 3 at over $800 a pop and returning all 3. Each one of them had bent guide rails that meant hours of tweaking the accuracy (an unachievable goal) was a waste of my time and a bigger waste was carrying back (3) ~80lb boxes to the store.
Makita is crap compared to what they used to be and it bewilders me when people want to say they are one of the “big 3” and all I see is a relic of their past glory.
Their QC has only gone downhill and changing the batteries out is probably only the skin deep portion that you’ve noticed so far. I would like someone to teardown some of the most recent tools and compare them to Makita’s offerings from a few years ago (bearings, seals, tolerances, etc.).
A lot of brands update tools for various reasons and without changing model numbers. With miter saws, updated safety guidelines prompted some changes, such as in regard to outfeed handles.
I had no complaints about the outfeed handles and in fact welcome the changes as they look better and feel like higher quality. That doesn’t change the fact that their QC is non existent at this point. I have an older 10″ corded and 10″ 18V x2 model that are awesome and I only wanted to add another. Makita’s customer service didn’t care that their latest saws can’t make a straight cut though. One of them was so bent to the side that it was able to cut into it’s own table. Makita didn’t care.
The second one had spindle wobble so bad that I got high speed footage of it and sent it in (potentially dangerous). Makita didn’t care.
The third one also had bent rails…Makita didn’t care.
I sent in test pieces of wood with notes for each one and wasted 2 months of back and forth with those children. Hopefully the next person will be aware, maybe an engineer…
I have a bunch of tools over the last 10 years from them. I will not buy anymore going forward.
We had problems with various miter saw and jobsite table saws over the years. they were not exclusive to a single brand. But after a few consecutive issues with any one model – we’d usually swear off that tool and perhaps even that brand. The old joke said that: “the best brand is the one you haven’t bought lately.”
The other old adage – that Makita USA may want to heed is that: “one “aw sh#! will cancel out a thousand ‘attaboys”. We always felt that we were only as good as what our last client thought of us – and when we screwed up in their eyes we strived as hard as we could to make it right.
I Agree fred. It seems that makita is going the same route that festool did by listening to their own press and taking it easy. I’ve been actively looking for another brand to start replacing my makita lineup
Not a fan of the switch to lower capacity batteries but inflation will cause everyone to raise prices or adjust kits accordingly
This has more to do with the price of lithium more than anything else i would say. I think we will see it across the board. Here is Australia we have AEG (ridgid) having kits with 6Ah batteries and replacing them with 4Ah in the new kits. Lithium has surged 250% in about a year and 400% aver the last about 2 years. This is due to the demand side with the electric vehicles taking off.
You may well be correct. And – just wait until the current fleet of EV’s start to age – driving range tanks and your EV needs battery replacement.
This stinks. Buying 5ah batts with kits is the only way I buy them.
I’m not paying $150/battery at regular price.
I’ve no doubt all my Makita LXT tools will continue to work and last many many more years, but no longer would I suggest anyone buy into the Mak platform if they are starting out.
The new price increases, lack of substantial deals, half-assed unergonomic poorly thought out tool introductions and the new focus on the (WTF?) XGT non-compatible platform makes it dead to me for any further new purchases.
Before – they had the widest range of tools and many were superior in build quality to their red and yellow competitors. (Never mind blue – Bosch has been basically out of the 18/20v game for the last 10 years or so.). But now – Dewalt has caught up and of course Milwaukee is leading the charge in new innovative well designed tools.
Too bad – Makita were my first power tool purchases near 37 years ago when I bought the venerable 700NB 7.5” circular saw, their 1/4 pad sander and a heavy duty 3/8” drill, all corded.
While my first power tool purchase was a Skil corded drill purchased in the late 1950’s. Makita tools were certainly my first battery-cordless tool purchases. When I started partnering in the ownership/running of businesses – our first cordless tools were PC 12V NiCad cordless drills – but then, as the “cordless revolution” came on, we moved more to Makita – culminating in buying a whole batch of 18V LXT tools when the switch was on to LiIon. No regrets with those choices – but like others have said Makita seems to have ceded their leadership position to Milwaukee and Dewalt – both of whom seem to be widening the gap.
I’m the opposite: I started with M18 and added a lot of M12 stuff. Most interesting to me right now are tools from Flex, Ego, and Makita, actually.
The Makita 18v blower is seriously impressive, with blowing force greater than that of the Milwaukee 18v blower, despite the Milwaukee using “high output” 21700-cell based batteries. The ergonomics of the Makita blower are also unmatched. I had an Ego 530 and returned that the following day after comparing its Fischer-Price-like switchgear with the Makita blower’s switchgear.
I also enjoy using my Makita refrigerator.
In many respects, Makita is like Ryobi, in that both make some “oddball” “tools” and fill some niches that Red and Yellow don’t really cater toward. Except that Makita is much higher quality than Ryobi. The Makita refrigerator is definitely one of those “oddball” tools.
I think they’re trying to clear stock of “undesirable” batteries…
I think they’re either going to kill off LXT entirely, or they’re planning to switch LXT over to 21700.
I don’t follow this logic at all.
I just noticed this weekend that the new sets with 4.0’s also include a new version of the dual-battery charger that has an output rated at 2.5 amps instead of the old charger’s 9 amps. It also deletes the USB port and is slightly narrower overall. I haven’t run a drag race between the chargers to see what the difference in charge time is, but it’s clearly “less” charger for the money than the old sets.
I don’t know anything about the charger having a lower output.
But as far as the USB charging port goes, you’re right – it looks like the Makita DC18RD dual port charger no longer features this at all.
The question is, when did they remove the USB charging port from the dual port charger, and does anyone miss it?
I made the decision a few years back to move to the Mak LXT18V and LXT18Vx2 line. All tools appear to be high quality, solid and good featured, no complaints so far. The 36 volt tools (rear-handle saw, track saw and blower) needing two batteries has not been a problem, and the tools are high performers. The 5AH batteries are definitely the way to go. I have a few 2, 3 and 4AH batts as they were part of great priced kits, and the smaller batteries are okay for smaller tools, but I really mostly use the 5AH in everything, and would not likely buy anything but the larger packs. BTW, the 3 and 4AH Makita packs are the same outer case size as the 5AH, just a bit less weight, so little to no reason to waste time and money on the smaller batteries. The smaller 2AH packs work well on the compact router (less top heavy), and for the drywall driver to lessen the weight, but leave the small ones behind for larger power needs.
It is sad to see Makita dropping the 4AH’s into kits at the price of previous 5AH kits, but like a lot of people are noting in this blog, we are the consumers that are being fed BS from all of the manufactures (food to tools, no different). Yes, it is insulting, but we need to move on and make whatever decisions are meaningful to us all at the time. Good to see competition, Metabo HPT, Makita, Milwaukee, Dewalt, Bosch Flex. and the others (too many brands have been assimilated into single companies). Too many USA made tools have disappeared.
The Metabo HPT 18/36V platform is interesting, and they have many good tools in the lineup. Their deep cut band saw is really good, and the 120V adapter is a great move to assist in longevity for their tools (beyond ever-increasing lithium costs), and especially great for the tools for double use as stationary (band saw mounted in a table ala Swag/similar/self-built, miter saw, table saw).