Makita XRU09Z 36V Review
Pros: Cuts through weeds like a champ, convenient to operate, quiet
Our Analysis and Test Results
One feature that distinguished the Makita XRU09Z from many of the other trimmers in the group is the batteries it uses. While the other models use a single larger battery to get the higher voltage necessary for these products, the XRU09Z uses a pair of their standard 18-volt batteries, allowing you to use them among the vast majority of other Makita tools — including their line of handheld cordless tools, like drills, saws or sanders.
Right off the bat, we started our testing process by rating and comparing the weed eating performance of each of these yard tools, which is responsible for 30% of each product's overall score. In this test, we looked at how effectively each trimmer can actually trim vegetation, how much power it has to cut through thicker weeds and stems, and how much control you have for precise cuts. The Makita XRU09Z did exceptionally well, earning one of the top scores of the entire group.
The XRU09Z is one of the most effective cordless weed eaters of the whole group, able to slice through pretty much everything we tried with it. It absolutely flew through tall, dense grass like it was nothing and battered burly weeds to shreds.
We think the Makita XRU09Z has the perfect amount of power for the typical lawn. It can power through tough sections without getting bogged down but doesn't feel like it's overkill. The XRU09Z is also great for cleaning up cramped and confined areas of your yard. It has a slow speed setting, so you can tone down the power when trimming around things that you don't want to completely destroy, like lawn ornaments, sprinklers, or along your house. You can also be quite agile with the head and it is super easy to make precise angle cuts with a little practice.
Ease of Use
After weed eating performance, we moved on to rating and comparing how user-friendly and easy to use each of these string trimmers are. We felt this is equally important to weed eating performance and also accounts for 30% of the final score for each product. We based the scores for this metric on how comfortable each trimmer is to carry around and use, how balanced it is, its weight, and if it has a shoulder strap attachment. We also looked at the difficulty in swapping the string and the effectiveness of the guard. The Makita XRU09Z isn't only phenomenal at eating weeds, it is also one of the easiest to use models, earning it another top-notch score.
The Makita weighs just shy of 10 lbs but is so well-balanced that it feels similar to some of the lightest products when carrying it around and using it. The battery side is just a smidge heavier than the head but is still easy to carry one-handed.
The grip is made of hard plastic with flat sides and a texture for added grip. It's comfortable enough to hold for long periods of time, while still feeling quite secure without having to grab it too tightly. The Makita is also very easy to hold on its side or vertically for edging or other detail work and has a shoulder strap attachment.
We absolutely loved the guard on the XRU09Z. It does a fantastic job of blocking debris from flying back at you but doesn't usually obstruct your view or get in the way when doing detail cuts. We found it to be especially surprising how effective the guard is at blocking debris given how much power the Makita has.
This string trimmer has a bump feed to dispense more line and it isn't too much of a hassle to replace the line when the time comes. There aren't really any marks or labels to show you how to release the head cover, so we did have to consult the manual the first time we changed the string but it's super easy once you have done it a few times and know where to look for release buttons.
Our next set of tests focused on the battery system of these cordless tools, which accounts for 25% of their total score. In this metric, we timed how long each string trimmer lasted under no-load conditions and compared the number of different operating modes to determine score. We looked at the different operating modes as these can be helpful to maximize your battery life, allowing you to throttle down for thin vegetation and save power for the thicker stuff. The Makita continued its dominance, earning another one of the highest scores of the entire set of string trimmers.
The Makita XRU09Z lasted for 69 minutes before dying, though we would expect it to last for less when you are actually cutting weeds and grass. This is one of the longer runtimes, but the Makita couldn't quite match the approximately 90 minutes of the top models.
The XRU09Z has a low and high speed mode that seem measured appropriately. The slower speed mode is great for detail work around your home, sprinklers, yard lights, or other items that you don't want to damage and the high power mode is great for cutting through dense weeds and grasses.
Our last set of tests — accounting for the remaining 15% of the total score for the Makita — dealt with the amount of noise generated by this string trimmer. We measured the sound level with an SPL meter from a distance of 3' away and had a group of judges score how annoying each trimmer is from the same distance and from 50' away. The XRU09Z is one of the quieter models of the group — surprising, given its power — putting it close to the top of the group.
The Makita registered 88 Decibels (dBa) on our meter, which puts it close to the quietest model of the entire group.
It starts out with a slight whine but our judges didn't find it to be particularly high-pitched or bothersome after that.
Unfortunately, the Makita is one of the most expensive models of the group, making it a hard sell as a bargain buy. Its batteries are interchangeable with lots of other tools, so you might be able to skip buying additional batteries but it's overall not the best bet for the budget-conscious buyer.
The Makita XRU09Z is an exceptional cordless string trimmers and we would recommend it to anyone who wants a top-tier weed eater, and can afford it.
— David Wise and Michelle Powell
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