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Makita XCV11Z Review

A well-designed, but overpriced machine that struggles picking up heavy objects
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Price:   $160 List | $156 at Amazon
Pros:  Long runtime, double filter system (HEPA), brushless motor
Cons:  Terrible suction power, shoddy crevice tool, relatively short hose
Manufacturer:   Makita
By Nick Miley and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Feb 21, 2020
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50
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 9
  • Dry Work - 40% 4
  • Wet Work - 30% 5
  • Battery Life - 20% 6
  • Convenience - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Makita XCV11Z offers consumers a mixed bag in terms of performance and features. On the one hand, the machine has ample battery life, a great filter system, compact dimensions, and the ability to move loose debris like sawdust with reasonable efficiency. Conversely, the machine lacks the suction to pick-up the densest items such as machine nuts and bolts. Its conduct on the crevice test was rather poor as well. With mixed results like these and a price tag that will make some eyes pop, we find it hard to get behind this machine as a good choice for anyone who isn't already committed to the Makita battery system.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Makita XCV11 is like a muscle car with a 4-cylinder motor. This model looks good, it's straightforward to use, and has several cool features that the competition lacks (namely, a brushless motor, redundant filtering system, and a battery meter). However, the motor sucks. Or, it doesn't suck, as it were. What we mean is that the machine fails to pick up the debris that its competition had little trouble picking up.

Performance Comparison



Light and compact  this vac makes hard to clean areas a breeze to tidy-up.
Light and compact, this vac makes hard to clean areas a breeze to tidy-up.

Likes


We really appreciated how much attention was paid to the little details of the Makita's design. Details like having the battery life indicator clearly visible on the front of the machine, and a battery that lasts long enough to tackle some tougher jobs. This model easily attaches to other Makita tools, like the brand's chop saw, making sawdust capture a chinch. The hose is self-retracting, too, and hard to crush. Moreover, the channels on the leading edge of the floor tool work well on hard surfaces.

The Makita XCV11Z is one of just a few machines that have a battery life indicator on the unit.
The Makita XCV11Z is one of just a few machines that have a battery life indicator on the unit.

This machine also offers users the convenience of compact dimensions, low weight, and a noise level soft enough to keep a librarian from shushing. These features make this model convenient to use indoors and on the go. Additionally, the Makita XCV11Z pre-filter and HEPA filter make using this machine all the safer for the respiratory system.

Dislikes


All of our criticisms of this machine come down to one thing: the XCV11Z's motor is significantly underpowered. Considering all the awesome design features incorporated into this model, packing it with a weak motor is, in our opinion, like fumbling the football on the one-yard line. To put this into perspective, the Makita has a suction rating of 16 inches of water lift; models that performed well in our vacuum tests are in the mid to high-20s.


A low suction rating combined with a relatively wide 1 1/8 inch hose diameter translates to a vacuum's inability to grab dense objects. From machine bolts to wood screws, this vac just couldn't pick them up. As a result, all the cool design features discussed above go by the wayside.

Value


We do not consider the Makita XCV11Z to be a very good value to consumers. Why? Well, the machine is one of the more expensive vacs in the class, and yet it lacks some fundamental performance functionality. Specifically, the model won't pick up the most challenging but none-the-less common items that folks expect a wet/dry vac to pick up. For less money, one can get a lot better performance out of a competing vacuum.

Conclusion


We think that the Makita XCV11Z is like a Dodge Charger with a Honda Civic motor under the hood. It has all the looks and features of a bad boy vacuum but lacks the suction and airflow to follow through on the visual. It does follow through on one aspect of its exterior appeal however: the Makita is pricey. It is our thinking that one can do a lot better than this model and save a bunch of dough in the process.

Nick Miley and Austin Palmer