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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
Makita XCU03Z LXT
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Price:   $390 List | $419.00 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
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 12
  • 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

 
Makita XCU03Z LXT
This Product
Makita XCU03Z LXT
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $390 List$350 List$400 List
$401 at Amazon
$270 List
$273 at Amazon
$130 List
$124.97 at Amazon
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Pros Adjustable oil flow, unique chain tensioning system, great if you already own the batteriesTop-notch cutting performance, long-lasting battery, easy chain tensioning system, many other tools that use the same batteriesExcellent sawing power, good battery life, relatively inexpensiveSpectacular battery life, two chain speed settings, barely consumes bar and chain oilCompact, light, quiet, affordable
Cons Having two batteries is not ideal, loud, inconvenient electronic button, expensiveSo-so wind-up timeHeavy, noisy, one battery size, limited line-up of other toolsNot the strongest cutting power, plastic chain tensioning system, electronic controls slow down sawingMediocre battery life, slow at making cuts
Bottom Line A commendable cordless chainsaw that can be quite a drain on your bank account unless you already own Makita batteriesOne of the best options if you're looking for bar length, battery life, and tool-free chain tensioningThe most sturdy and effective 16" model we tested, this tool is excellent in every scenario we threw at itA good degree of performance and an exceptional battery life at a reasonable priceThis cordless electric chainsaw is our favorite 20V model for small, quick projects around the yard
Rating Categories Makita XCU03Z LXT EGO Power+ CS1800 ECHO CCS-58V4AH Husqvarna 120i Worx WG322
Saw Performance (35%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (30%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Battery (25%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
4.0
Noise (10%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
7.0
9.0
Specs Makita XCU03Z LXT EGO Power+ CS1800 ECHO CCS-58V4AH Husqvarna 120i Worx WG322
Model Number XCU03Z CS1800 CCS-58V4AH 120i WG322
Bar Length 14 inches 18 inches 16 inches 14 inches 10 inches
Measured Weight w/ Battery 11 lbs 4 oz 12 lbs 4 oz 14 lbs 4 oz 10 lbs 11 oz 6 lbs 10 oz
Measured Battery Weight 1 lb 6 oz x 2 3 lbs 8 oz 4 lbs 2 lbs 12 oz 1 lbs 10 oz
Included Battery Size 5 Ah 5 Ah 4 Ah 4.2 Ah 2 Ah
Nominal Voltage 36V (2 x 18V) 56V 58V 36V 20V
Measured Runtime 28 minutes 60 minutes 34 minutes 40 minutes 22 minutes
Measured Run Time Eco Mode n/a n/a n/a 54 mins n/a
Measured Battery Charge Time 1 hr 1.5 hr 1 hr 2 hrs 3 hr
Measured Average Cutting Time 7.87 seconds 5.876 seconds 6.136 seconds 13.486 seconds 38.382 seconds
Measured Wind Up Time .75 seconds 1.25 seconds .5 seconds .5 seconds 2 seconds
Measured Decibel Reading at 48in 105.7 dBa 88.8 dBa 87.5 dBa 85.9 dBa 80.0 dBa
Control Type Electronic button, palm safety and brake Side safety w/ chain brake Thumb safety w/ chain brake Electronic button, side safety and brake Thumb safety
Chain Replacement and Tensioning Type Tool free Tool Free Included Tool Tool free Tool free
Metal Bucking Spikes Yes Yes No No No
Oil Conservation 9 8 8 8 8
Bar & Chain Tank Location and Type Side Side, Screen Side Side, flip-up Top
Measured Body Dimesions 17x6x8 inches 16x9x8 inches 16x8x9 inches 19x7x7 inches 13x8x7.5 inches

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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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

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...
The electronic power button on top of the Makita XCU03Z is an unnecessary feature.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

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

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