A lot of you have asked about whether Makita was coming out with a 40V Max XGT track saw, and now we have an answer. The new Makita XGT cordless track saw, SP001G, was recently announced, and with enough details to see how it compares against their 18V X2 model.
The new Makita XGT track saw features a 165mm (6-1/2″) blade, and has the same 56mm (2-3/16″) cutting capacity at 90° as their 18V model.
However, there is a difference in speed. Makita’s XGT track saw is slower than their 18V X2 model, with respect to rotational speed (RPM).
Makita Track Saw Speeds
- Makita XGT 40V Max: 2,500 to 4,900 RPM
- Makita 18V X2: 2,500 – 6,300 RPM
The new XGT track saw has a ~22.2% slower max speed.
This isn’t exactly unexpected. Makita’s XGT 40V Max 2.5Ah battery has the same watt-hour energy capacity as a single 18V 5.0Ah battery. What this means is that if you have a Makita XGT track saw equipped with a 2.5Ah battery, and an 18V X2 track saw equipped with 2x 5.0Ah batteries, the 40V Max XGT (36V nominal) tool will have HALF the electrical energy at its disposal compared to the 18V X2 (36V nominal) saw.
I would presume that Makita dialed down the speed to help stretch out single-battery runtime. Meaning, you’ll still need to change out the battery on the XGT saw much sooner compared to the 18V X2 saw, but perhaps not quite as quickly.
Charge Capacity Comparison
- Makita XGT 40V Max with 2.5Ah battery: 90 watt-hours
- Makita XGT 40V Max with 4.0Ah battery: 144 watt-hours
- Makita 18V X2 with 2x 5.0Ah batteries: 180 watt-hours
Makita says (via Japanese language translation):
The maximum depth of cut is 56mm, which is sufficient for cutting floor materials, and the cutting efficiency is 10% higher than our previous model.
The footnote adds that this is for when their larger XGT BL4040 4.0Ah battery is used, and when cutting 40mm thick x 600mm wide laminated wood kitchen [countertop] material.
If the translation is correct, a 10% increase in cutting efficiency could be due to the XGT saw’s slower motor compared to the 18V X2 model, or they could have made improvements in the newer 36V (XGT 40V Max) motor compared to the older 36V (18V X2) motor.
Since the efficiency claim specifically references Makita’s XGT 4.0Ah battery, it could also be tied to that battery pack’s next-gen Li-ion cells, whereas their XGT 2.5Ah and 18V 5.0Ah batteries have 18650-sized batteries.
Makita says the XGT saw can make 120 cuts in 50 mm x 300 mm wood when using a 2.5Ah battery. Makita USA says the 18V X2 saw can make up to 125 cuts in 4’x8′ sheets 1/2″ of plywood with 2x 5.0Ah batteries, and so a direct comparison isn’t possible.
Increased efficiency should help offset runtime differences tied to the lower energy capacity of the XGT 2.5Ah and 4.0Ah batteries when compared to an 18V X2 setup with 5.0Ah batteries.
It’s difficult to interpret all this, partially because we’re working with translated claims, and partially because not all of the details are there.
If it helps with perspective, let’s talk about cars.
Makita 18V X2 w/ 5.0Ah Batteries
Let’s say you have a car with a 20 gallon gas tank, 63 mph max speed, and it delivers 20 miles per gallon.
Makita XGT w/ 4.0Ah Battery
The XGT car would then have a 16 gallon gas tank, 49 mph max speed, and it would deliver 22 miles per gallon. If you want to consider a single 2.5Ah battery, that would be a 10 gallon gas tank, comparatively.
What About Cutting Speed or Performance?
With the XGT slow operating at up to 4,900 RPM, and the 18V X2 saw operating at up to 6,300 RPM, is there going to be a noticeable difference in cutting speed and application times?
Makita doesn’t mention this in press materials, they only mention cutting efficiency (at least according to multiple translations). A car’s miles per gallon efficiency rating only tells you about gas consumption, not how fast you get from point A to B.
The new Makita XGT track saw features:
- IP56 waterproof/dustproof protection
- Automatic stop to reduce kickback recoil
- Optional wireless dust collection activation
- Constant rotation control
The anti-kickback measure sounds similar to a new feature found on Festool’s upcoming next-gen cordless track saw.
Which Should You Buy?
We don’t know how much the XGT kit will cost, but it’ll probably be higher. XGT vs. 18V X2 is going to be another consideration factor for many.
When powered by a single battery, the Makita XGT saw should be a little smaller and lighter. When powered by 2x 18V batteries, the X2 saw should give you longer runtime (before any battery change is needed), faster max speed, or both depending on the circumstances.
But, the XGT saw is powered by a single battery at a time, which is a convenience.
Makita’s 18V X2 cordless track saw is an excellent saw. Bosch recently announced a new Profactor model, but I highly doubt that it’ll match up.
Festool has a new cordless track saw on the way, and you can run it using one or two batteries.
Makita’s 18V X2 track saw is a good buy. But, now that Makita has come out with anti-kickback tech, is an upgrade on their roadmap, or is this XGT model considered the upgrade?
Juggling two batteries is a hassle. One larger battery can still be lighter and more compact than two smaller batteries.
But the current performance level of the 18V X2 saw is quite good. Why did Makita dial back the motor speed of the XGT saw? Is this to lessen the frequency of battery changes?
Is the XGT saw an upgrade? It has features not found in the 18V X2 model, but the lower motor speed is a concern, if not a curiosity.
Let’s say the XGT was instead engineered to deliver the same motor speed as the 18V X2 model, or that it otherwise still somehow achieves the same cutting speed and performance. Would you rather deal with a tool that is powered by two batteries, or a single-battery tool where you must keep a spare battery at-hand? The 18V X2 saw doesn’t deplete batteries as fast as continuous-use tools, but there were days when I went through multiple battery charges. Would the XGT tool require a lot more battery swaps?
If anyone can provide a better translation than the ones I’ve been using, here’s the press release (PDF).