This cordless 23-gauge pinner was one of the more interesting tools on display at the event—interesting to me because I have yet to see a cordless nailer capable of driving pins so small they are nearly invisible. As with 23-gauge pneumatics, the safety is at the trigger and the tip does not compress. Features include an LED light, belt hook, and adjustable depth-of-drive (requires use of onboard hex wrench). It is said to be able to drive up to 3,000 pins per charge with a 3.0 Ah pack, though to save weight I’d go with a compact pack. The pinner weighs 4.6 pounds with a full-size battery and will be released in the U.S. in 2016. COO: Japan.
This cordless 18-gauge brad gun (XNB01) drives 5/8” to 2” fasteners. Features include a belt hook, LED light, and tool-less depth adjustment. The gun has an anti dry-fire mechanism and can be set to sequential or bump fire mode. According to Makita it uses a motor-driven piston mechanism to deliver an “air nailer-like” feel. This tool is already available in Europe and Asia—and will be released in the U.S. in 2016. COO: Japan.
Makita’s hybrid LED flood light has a familiar form factor, a light in a frame that can be hung overhead or placed on the floor (you’re looking at two lights on an optional stand). The light can be powered with an 18-volt pack or AC power. The battery will automatically kick in if you trip a breaker or the cord comes unplugged. Maximum output: 750 lumens. Available August 2015. Rumour has it a light will go for $88. COO: China.
This is the backside of a pair of LED flood lights. The back of one (left) is open so you can see the battery. The back of the other (right) is closed so you can see the cord. I like that the battery is tucked out of the way. COO: China.
Unlike other power tool companies that make outdoor power equipment (OPE), Makita offers battery-powered, 2-stroke, and 4-stroke machines. The tools are intended for different parts of the market: cordless for smaller jobs and where noise and emissions would be a problem, 4-stroke for the costs savings and convenience of not adding oil to the fuel and where lower emissions are required, and 2-stroke for higher revs and where emissions are less of a problem.
Most people think of blowers as landscaping tools, but they’re also good for cleaning up jobsites. This X2 cordless blower (XBU02Z) takes two 18-volt batteries. It looked familiar because I saw one at a tool store during a recent trip to Germany. But this was the first chance I had to try it out and I have to say I was impressed by its power. At full blast you can feel it push back, the same as you can with a gas blower. It has 6 speed settings and blows up to 120 mph and 473 cfm. With two 5.0 Ah batteries it can run 29 minutes at setting number 3. Sold bare, it goes for $250-300. COO: Japan.
This 2-stroke gas-powered chainsaw (EA500P) is said to be particularly easy to start. Available with a 20- or 24-inch bar it has a magnesium crank case for lighter weight and an unusual floating drive sprocket.
Here a Makita product manager shows how to remove and replace the drive sprocket on the new EA500P. With most saws this would be a time-consuming repair that involved removing the clutch and disassembling the motor. It takes less than 5 minutes with this saw because the sprocket is attached more or less the way pulleys are attached to electric motors; reversing or replacing it is not a big deal.
The SK103PZ is Makita’s first foray into lasers, a high-end combination model that can be used in place of a plumb bob and projects plumb lines, level lines, and dots for doing square layout. Features include a pendulum lock, adjustable magnetic base, and a pulse mode for use with a detector. The laser is scheduled for release in July 2015 and will sell for about $350. A detector and T bar bracket for the tool are said to be on the way.
When Makita began to do lasers it didn’t stop at levelling devices, it also started doing laser distance measuring (LDM) devices. These LDMs are the first two such devices from the company. There will no doubt be more. COO: Hungary.
Makita’s new 18-volt metal cutting saw (XSC02Z) has a 5 7/8-inch blade and is capable of cutting 2 ¼-inch material in a single pass. Most other metal cutting saws have 5 3/8-inch blades and some require two passes to get through 2-inch material, which reduces productivity and makes for less accurate cuts. The tool has a brushless motor and built-in battery gauge, and will be sold bare. Available: July 2015.
The new metal cutting saw takes an unusual size blade (5 7/8”) so Makita is offering a full line of triple-chip carbide blades for use in the machine. The vast majority of users will likely cut mild steel (conduit, Unistrut, and the like) and use the blade for steel. Blades will also be available for stainless steel, aluminium, and thin metal. Available: July 2015.
This new 18-volt compact drill-driver (XFD10) is said to be faster (0-600; 0-1,900 rpm) and more powerful than earlier compact models and have a higher power-to-weight ratio. I don’t know the torque rating but from having handled the thing I can definitely say it’s incredibly light. The kit version will come with the company’s new battery, the first 18-volt Makita pack to be equipped with a built-in fuel gauge. COO: Japan.
Rated at 0-2,900 rpm and 0-3,500 bpm this new compact 18-volt impact driver (XDT11) is said to be 25% faster than the previous compact model. It’s being shown here with the company’s new battery, the first 18-volt pack to be equipped with a built-in fuel gauge. You can’t see it in this photo because it’s on the back. But trust me, it’s there. COO: Japan.
This cordless rebar cutter (XCS01Z) “weighs a ton”, which is good, because most rebar cutters “weigh two tons”. All kidding aside, it’s amazing how easily this 18-volt tool shears through 3/4-inch rebar. The cutter has a four-sided blade that is said to be good for 1,000 cuts per side. Available: August 2016.
The Big Bore compressor is Makita’s first gasoline model (MAC5501G). Powered by a 5.5 HP 4-stroke Honda engine, this twin tank 10-gallon unit can produce 12.5 cfm at 100 psi. The pump on this one has been cut away to expose the twin-V cylinders and to show that the housing is cast iron, which is more durable than aluminium and better at dissipating heat. Features include a non-flat tire, ball valve drain, regulator, dual recessed gauges, and a braided stainless steel discharge hose. The MAC5501G is assembled in Florida and sells for around $900.
Makita’s new 4 1/2-inch brushless grinder (XAG03) came out immediately after our most recent review of cordless grinders—which is too bad because by all reports it’s a good one. Originally configured with a slide switch, the tool will soon be available with a paddle switch. It’s longer than average, which allows for a thinner more comfortable grip. Features include soft-start, an LED battery gauge, and wire mesh covers at the air intakes. Available: now.
Many people agonize over which grinder to buy and then equip it with any old cut-off wheel—which is not a good idea when the tool it will be used on is cordless. Small cut-off wheels come in many thicknesses but are typically about 0.45” thick. These new wheels are only .032” thick so it takes less motor and battery power to cut with them, making them the grinder equivalent of a thin-kerf circular saw blade. They will be available with flat or raised hubs in diameters of 4”, 4 1/2”, and 5”. COO: Thailand.
Early this year Makita introduced a compact compressor (AC001) plus a couple of larger models. Light and quiet, the AC001 weighs 23.1 pounds and produces only 72 decibels. It has a 1-gallon tank and produces .45 cfm at 90 psi. The motor is rated at 1.6 amps and the maximum pressure is 125 psi. Features include an oil-less pump, ball valve petcock, regulator, and dual air gauges. Price: $180-190. COO: Japan.
This 70-pound breaker (HM1812) was unveiled early this year at The World of Concrete and is now on the market. Capable of delivering 68 joules of energy, it is said to hit like a pneumatic but with less noise and vibration, and without the need to haul a big compressor. It is being displayed alongside the electric breaker (Bosch Brute) Makita would like to displace as the best-known breaker in this size class. COO: Japan.
This cool-looking compressor (AC301H) is actually not new. Designed to power high-pressure nailers it failed to gain much traction in the U.S. because it was introduced when the economy was down. Rare in the U.S., high-pressure nailers (Max, Makita, and Hitachi) are common in Japan—in part because Asians are smaller than Americans and high-pressure guns (for siding, framing, and concrete) are smaller and lighter than standard pressure models. The compressor has two regulators so it can be used with both high- and standard-pressure guns. Price: about $800. Available: now.
Makita will be introducing a new line of 12-volt max power tools. Unlike the previous line—which the company will continue to produce—this one has slide mount batteries. Slide style batteries allow drills and drivers to stand upright and allow for thinner more comfortable grips because. Drills and drivers will be offered first; other tools (such as saws) are on the way. Available: November 2015.
The new 12-volt max batteries will be available in two sizes, 2.0 Ah and 4.0 Ah. Unlike earlier Makita batteries, these will have the fuel gauges built into them instead of the tool. This is 4.0 Ah pack. Available: November 2015. COO: China (with cells from Singapore).
Makita’s new 12-volt max drill driver (FD05) takes 2.0 and 4.0 Ah slide-style batteries. It has a 3/8-inch chuck, 18 position clutch, and two speed ranges (0-450; 0-1,700 rpm). Features include a belt hook and LED light. Available: November 2015. COO: China.
The new 12-volt max impact driver (DT03) takes 2.0 and 4.0 Ah slide-mount batteries. It spins 0-2,600 rpm and produces 0-3,600 blows per minute. Features include a belt hook and LED light. Available: November 2015. COO: China.
Makita’s new 12-volt max driver (FD06) spins 0-450 and 0-1,700 rpm. It takes 2.0 and 4.0 Ah batteries and has a hex chuck, belt hook, and LED light. Available: November 2015. COO: China.
The new 12-volt max hammer drill driver (PH04) spins 0-450 and 0-1,700 rpm and produces 0-6,750 and 0-25,500 blows per minute. It has an 18 position clutch, 3/8-inch clutch, LED light, and a belt hook. Available: November 2015. COO: China.
Makita’s 36-volt X2 chainsaw (XCU02Z) is powered by two 18-volt batteries and has been available in the U.S for more than a year. Intended for use by landscapers and arborists, it could also be used for cutting oversize timbers and beams. This photo was taken at the end of a cut through a 12-inch eucalyptus log, a task beyond what the tool was designed for, but one that it was able to complete. In addition to the cordless chainsaw, Makita offers 18- and 36-volt blowers, string trimmers, and hedge trimmers. The X2 chainsaw is made in Japan and costs about $200 bare (no charger or batteries).
The Quick-Shift Impact Driver (XDT09) came out this spring. As you can see from the photo it’s incredibly short front-to-back. The tool’s signature feature is an electronic controller that automatically downshifts to a lower speed as fasteners are about to be driven home—to prevent them from breaking or stripping. Price: $369 in a two-battery kit; $169 bare. COO: Japan.
Bonus photo: Makita has been in business for 100 years. It began as an electric motor sales and repair company and went on to produce electric motors, generators, and the like. With the introduction of an electric planer in 1958, the company shifted its focus to power tools. Makita U.S.A. was established in 1970 and was the first of more than 40 subsidiaries now in existence. Makita opened its U.S. manufacturing plant in Buford, Georgia in 1985.