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Makita XCU03Z LXT Review

A commendable cordless chainsaw that can be quite a drain on your bank account unless you already own Makita batteries
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Price:   $390 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Adjustable oil flow, unique chain tensioning system, great if you already own the batteries
Cons:  Having two batteries is not ideal, loud, inconvenient electronic button, expensive
Manufacturer:   Makita
By Ross Patton ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 23, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 9
  • Saw Performance - 35% 8
  • Ease of Use - 30% 5
  • Battery - 25% 6
  • Noise - 10% 5

Our Verdict

This model has good cutting power, but it didn't exactly outshine the competition in most of our tests. Although this is not our favorite cordless chainsaw, it is still a great choice for some people, specifically for those that already own Makita batteries. With a hefty price tag, this model doesn't make sense to buy as a standalone tool.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Makita XCU03Z LXT
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $390 List
Check Price at Amazon
$330 List
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$499.99 at Amazon
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$250 List
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Star Rating
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Pros Adjustable oil flow, unique chain tensioning system, great if you already own the batteriesExcellent sawing power, good battery life, relatively inexpensiveInstant wind-up time, metal bucking spikes, M18 battery system works with many other toolsSpectacular battery life, two chain speed settings, barely consumes bar and chain oilBarely consumes oil, good performance, weather-resistant
Cons Having two batteries is not ideal, loud, inconvenient electronic button, expensiveHeavy, noisyExpensive, uses a lot of oil, bulkyNot the strongest cutting power, plastic chain tensioning system, electronic controls slow down sawingSlow wind-up time, no battery level indicator, no bucking spikes
Bottom Line A commendable cordless chainsaw that can be quite a drain on your bank account unless you already own Makita batteriesIf you’re looking for an amazing cordless chainsaw that performs better than the rest, we suggest you go with the ECHO CCS-58V4AHThis cordless chainsaw has zero wind-up time, cuts like a dream, and has a battery that works with a massive list of other Milwaukee toolsIf you aren’t concerned about having a top tier cordless chainsaw, the Husqvarna still offers a good degree of performance at a reasonable priceNot a bad choice for an efficient cordless chainsaw that offers a high level of performance
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Rating Categories Makita XCU03Z LXT ECHO CCS-58V4AH Milwaukee M18 FUEL Husqvarna 120i EGO Power+ CS1400
Saw Performance (35%)
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Ease Of Use (30%)
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Battery (25%)
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Noise (10%)
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Specs Makita XCU03Z LXT ECHO CCS-58V4AH Milwaukee M18 FUEL Husqvarna 120i EGO Power+ CS1400
Model Number XCU03Z CCS-58V4AH 2727-21HD 120i CS1400
Measured Body Dimesions 17x6x8 inches 16x8x9 inches 18.5x9x8 inches 19x7x7 inches 16x9x8 inches
Bar Length 14 inches 16 inches 16 inches 14 inches 14 inches
Measured Weight w/ Battery 11 lbs 4 oz 14 lbs 4 oz 14 lbs 4 oz 10 lbs 11 oz 11 lbs 10 oz
Measured Battery Weight 1 lb 6 oz x 2 4 lbs 3 lbs 6 oz 2 lbs 12 oz 2lbs 14 oz
Included Battery Size 5 Ah 4 Ah 12 Ah 4.2 Ah 2 Ah
Nominal Voltage 36V (2 x 18V) 58V 36V 36V 56V
Measured Runtime 28 minutes 34 minutes 33 minutes 40 minutes 24 minutes
Measured Run Time Eco Mode n/a n/a n/a 54 mins n/a
Measured Battery Charge Time 1 hr 1 hr 1.3 hr 2 hrs .75 hr
Measured Average Cutting Time 7.87 seconds 6.136 seconds 8.316 seconds 13.486 seconds 9.452 seconds
Measured Wind Up Time .75 seconds .5 seconds Instant .5 seconds 2.5 seconds
Measured Decibel Reading at 48in 105.7 dBa 87.5 dBa 86.8 dBa 85.9 dBa 85.3 dBa
Control Type Electronic button, palm safety and brake Thumb safety w/ chain brake Side safety w/ chain brake Electronic button, side safety and brake Side safety w/ chain brake
Chain Replacement and Tensioning Type Tool free Included Tool Included Tool Tool free Tool free
Metal Bucking Spikes Yes No Yes No No
Oil Conservation 9 8 6 8 8
Bar & Chain Tank Location and Type Side Side Side Side, flip-up Side, Screen

Our Analysis and Test Results

The LXT is an adequate tool, but it fails to distinguish itself from the rest of the products in our review. Unless you already own Makita tools and the specific batteries that work with this saw, it makes sense to go with a cheaper cordless chainsaw.

The Makita is good model if you already own Makita batteries.
The Makita is good model if you already own Makita batteries.

Performance Comparison



Likes


The LXT has some solid features. First and foremost, it has great cutting performance. During our lumber cutting test, the Makita had an average time of 7.9 seconds per cut putting it near the top of the field.


This model also has a decent runtime of 28 minutes as well as a short recharge time of 1 hour. One feature that really sets the Makita apart is that it has an adjustable pump for the bar and chain oil. This can be very handy for people that live in more variable climates, as the viscosity of oil changes with temperature as well from brand to brand. Some of the saws that we've tested dump oil out at a ridiculous rate, so it's great to be able to dial the pump down if it seems like the oil is flowing too quickly.

The oil pump flow on the LXT easily adjusts with a screwdriver.
The oil pump flow on the LXT easily adjusts with a screwdriver.

Of all of the tool-free chain tensioning systems, the Makita is our favorite. The fold-out lever extends to give the user extra mechanical advantage, making adjustments a cinch.

Of the tool-free chain tensioning systems that we tested  the Makita was one of the easiest to use and allowed for accurate adjustments.
Of the tool-free chain tensioning systems that we tested, the Makita was one of the easiest to use and allowed for accurate adjustments.

Dislikes


As an added feature Makita has made it so that in order to operate the chainsaw a power button needs to be pushed every time the operator wants to make a cut. This is a great feature for people who aren't using the saw often, but it adds time to each cut which can really slow you down over the course of the day.

The electronic power button on top of the Makita XCU03Z is an unnecessary feature.
The electronic power button on top of the Makita XCU03Z is an unnecessary feature.

Having two batteries is not ideal. Unless you already own Makita tools or batteries it is frivolous to have to deal with charging and keeping track of an extra battery.

The Makita XCU03Z LXT is also very loud. One of the loudest saws we've ever used, the Makita produces a maddening 105.7 decibels of noise for the user at full throttle and the pitch emitted by the saw is extra whiny.


Value


We reviewed several saws that are cheaper and outperform the Makita XCU03Z LXT in aspects other than cutting.

One of the best things that the Makita has going for it is its cutting performance.
One of the best things that the Makita has going for it is its cutting performance.

Conclusion


A great reason to buy the Makita model is if you already own tools that use the same batteries. The LXT demonstrates good cutting performance, the chain tensioning system is one of the most solid and innovative of the "tool-free" types, and it's nice to be able to adjust the oil flow. However, there are several models in our review that have a more respectable overall performance.


Ross Patton