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