This week saw the reveal of the Makita XGT 40V Max line of cordless power tools. In the U.S. market, Makita has long driven its tools using 18V batteries and, more recently, dual (X2) batteries to bring 36V performance to their tools. New Makita XGT tools appear to be turning a corner, using newer, more power-dense 21700 cells to achieve even greater power and runtimes on select tools. While the company plans to stay committed to 18V tools, the new XGT 40V tools and technology should allow for even more powerful products.

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These batteries will NOT be backward-compatible with Makita 18V tools, meaning this is NOT a hybrid system like the Metabo HPT MultiVolt packs or the DeWalt FlexVolt. From Makita’s recent press release:

Makita 40V max XGT™ is a new standalone cordless system of tools, equipment, batteries and chargers. XGT will stand side-by-side with the industry-leading 18V LXT® System, giving users more battery-powered solutions for a truly cordless job site

The new Makita XGT 40V Max Batteries come IP56-rated against dust and water intrusion. Makita also improved the durability of the new packs, making them specifically able to handle drops and shocks. They claim up to a 40% improvement over their 18V packs in this area.

One of the reasons Makita might have opted to not make these batteries backward-compatible could have to do with this durability. By not having to make the terminals compatible with the thinner terminals of 18V tools, they could design the pack with greater robustness. After all, a 40V Max battery can potentially carry pass greater amounts of current from the pack to the tool. Using larger terminals maximizes the power throughput, minimizes resistance—thus increasing the capability and durability of the packs.

Two new batteries will debut at launch, including a 2.5 Ah 40V XGT pack and a 4.0 Ah pack. Users of Makita tools need to keep in mind these new packs are not compatible with current Makita 18V tools. Makita claims the new BL4025 2.5 Ah packs come rated at 90 Wh and can put out around 1150 Watts of peak power. The larger BL4040 4.0 Ah pack has a 144 Wh capacity and ramps peak power up to 1510 Watts.



The big change has to do with cell technology, however. The new XGT 40V Max batteries use 21700 cells. These larger cells provide greater power density and power output capability over 18650 technology. See our article on 21700 vs 18650 battery cells for more information on that. Suffice it to say, Makita has turned a corner on how powerful they can make their cordless handheld, benchtop, and outdoor power tools.

And, yes, Makita is using the 40V “Max” designation with these batteries. We see good reason for this—particularly given that Makita can avoid confusion with existing 18V X2 (36V) tools. The Makita XGT 40V Max batteries operate at 36V nominal voltage. To understand how this works, see our article on 18V vs 20V Max batteries. The same principles apply to 36V vs 40V Max.

Eight (8) new tools comprise the initial launch of XGT—at least in Japan. We’ll update this article with details and any adjusted model numbers as they arrive, but the following tools should be the first in the Makita XGT 40V Max lineup. They will use the new battery packs and charger and feature advanced power and runtime capabilities:

The TD001G impact driver uses the new Makita XGT 40V battery. We expect to see very similar specs to the flagship Makita XDT16 impact driver. No-load speed should match 0-1100/2100/3200/3600 RPM with at least 1600 in-lbs of maximum torque. We should see four ranges of impact rates topping out at 3800 IPM. We’d expect a little more weight with the new XGT 40V battery, but the tool should still fall around 1.9 lbs bare.

The Makita XGT Hammer Drill HR001G also should match or exceed the specs of the Makita XPH07T 1/2″ Cordless Hammer Drill. That would see it with the ability to tackle up to 5/8″ masonry bits or larger, 1/2″ drilling in steel, and 3″ capacity in wood. The current two-speed tool has a no-load speed of up to 2,100 RPM with up to 31,500 blows per minute. We would guess the maximum torque should meet or exceed 1,090 in-lbs. and weight should fall around 5.9 lbs bare.

We’re currently testing Makita’s heavy-duty reciprocating saw. We’d be excited to see what it could do taking advantage of XGT 40V battery and tool technology. Hopefully, it keeps the same 1-1/4″ stroke length of the XT model but shaves a battery off the handle. That tool can cut through 10-inches of wood with a 12-inch blade and tackles 5-1/8″ pipe with up to 3,000 strokes per minute.

Angle grinders can really benefit from additional power and run-time. These tools tend to struggle to match corded power. While we don’t know much about the new Makita XGT grinder, it will come in both 4″ and 5″ models, presumably using the same brushless motor but with different blade guards.

This tool marks one we look forward to testing to see if the new 40V battery packs can tackle heavy flap-disc weld grinding and other tasks that quickly separate the men from the boys.

It’s no secret, the Makita cordless 12″ sliding miter saw is our current favorite, but the thought of a compact 6.5-inch slider has its appeal. Certainly, compact and portable miters saws can tackle a variety of tasks. Give them an advanced battery platform, and this could be a real go-to saw for trim carpenters and other Pros.

We don’t know much about this new XGT brushless rotary hammer, but it closely resembles the 36V X2 XRH08PT SDS-Plus model. If so, users can expect up to 1-1/8″ drilling in concrete and at least 3.2 Joules of impact energy. You get up to 500 bpm with 980 max RPM (no-load).

The brushless HS001G circular saw represents the tool we know the least about. It uses a 6.5-inch blade-right design and should get a significant boost in power over a single 18V battery design. The exact features and specs we need to fill in once they come to us.

Existing users of Makita cordless power tools may wonder why the company is putting out a whole new Makita XGT tools platform that doesn’t carry backward compatibility with its existing LXT 18V and 18V X2 products. Just the other day, a couple of us discussed this very thing.

In particular, we wondered about Makita’s long term plan to address the eventual limitations of 18650 cells. Current X2 tools utilize battery packs side-by-side in close proximity. Upgrading existing X2 tools to the newer, taller, 21700 battery cells would be impossible since the packs, now significantly wider, wouldn’t fit. One option would be to stack batteries vertically…another would be to use cumbersome adapters and redesign tools over time…

Makita seems to have seen the problem coming and decided a completely new solution makes the most sense for them. They aren’t the first to create a new tool and battery platform without backward-compatibility, joining the likes of DeWalt (stem Li-ion to slide packs), Milwaukee (V18/V28), and several others.

Makita also seems committed to the existing 18V and 18V X2 line of tools. Based on their press release, the company plans to continue both lines concurrently.

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With at least 8 new tools on the way shortly, we plan to keep our eyes and ears open. Hopefully, we also get a sneak peek at some of the tool at the upcoming STAFDA trade show in November. If so, look for more coverage and details then.

When he's not remodeling part of his house or playing with the latest power tool, Clint enjoys life as a husband, father, and avid reader. He has a degree in recording engineering and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another for the past 21 years. In 2008, Clint was one of the founders of Pro Tool Reviews. He hopes his efforts at PTR will provide builders and contractors with reliable and engaging tool reviews to help them make better tool purchasing decisions.

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