Makita XCV11Z Review
Pros: Long runtime, double filter system (HEPA), brushless motor
Cons: Terrible suction power, shoddy crevice tool, relatively short hose
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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