Makita is one of my favorite companies when it’s about using reliable power tools. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t favor Makita over other brands. Actually, I do, but there is a strong reason behind it. I have tried Worx , Black & Decker and many other companies’ power tools, because I somehow believed the ‘cheap is always a good’ mantra.
I had my share of bad luck with other brands – so on and so forth. Eventually, it all comes down to unbeatable quality and long term performance.
Especially when you are using cutting power tools; it doesn’t really matter if it is a cordless circular saw or a cordless chainsaw, you are entirely depending on the product’s performance to be able to finish the project. Given that you are living in remote areas, you cannot afford to go back to the shack to recharge your power tool; that’s where reliability and convenience comes in. And that’s why a Makita chainsaw is favored as a household brand among consumers all over the world.
The Makita XCU03PT1 might not be an avid forester’s wet dream, but the chainsaw has got what it takes to cut through everything there is to it – i.e. as long as it’s wood. It is technically a 36V cordless battery powered chainsaw, but Makita titled the whole thing in a very fancy way. The developers highlight the make and model as an 18V X2, which does sound a little bit attractive as far as names are concerned.
In actuality, you are signing up for a 36V chainsaw. It is slightly underpowered as compared to the Dewalt 60V cordless chainsaw. With half the power of a 60V chainsaw, Makita falls into the category of lightweight outdoor power tools for intermediate wood work. Beyond that, this Makita chainsaw is bound to work flawlessly for homeowners and residential sector construction workers.
Regardless of volts and wattages, users are growing accustomed to the benefits of the Li-Ion battery powered chainsaws by a large number. These saws are much better than gas powered chainsaws as seen in the past.
Makita XCU03PT1 is a revised edition of the XCU03. The latter model lacked a few perks that the company intentionally left out on purpose. The PT1 derivative demonstrates the ability of helping to chisel through a long range of different wood types like a hot knife through butter.
Right out of the box, this chainsaw is calibrated to cut without any hassles. In fact, it melted through the first few logs of oak wood that I threw its way. Depending on the chain’s calibration and buck spike sharpness, the overall results will vary. In order to keep the chain sharp, make sure that it’s fixed properly and you are using the right accessories to sharpen the blades.
For my tests, I also used pinewood and pressure treated logs. Since oak wood has a rotten central core, it was easier for the Makita XCU03PT1 cordless chainsaw to cut through. That’s why I wanted to make sure that this performance is genuinely accurate in case of other wood types. At the same time, the run time was entirely different because of the material density.
I personally don't think that run time in chainsaws matters a lot. I take my time to make sure that my cuts are accurate and precise. You don't want bad tear out, or weird cuts that have the potential of ruining the entire look of the project. On average, it took approx. 10 – 15 seconds for the Makita XCU03PT1 cordless chainsaw to cut logs varying between 12, 16 and 10 inches diameter.
The question is, how well does a 36V (*18V X2) behave against a contender product varying between 60V ~ 80V respectively. I mentioned at the start of this review that this model is slightly underpowered as far as voltage is concerned. Why would you want to buy an “inferior” chainsaw when others are selling the same thing with enhanced features?
The answer lies in speed and Makita’s signature voltage transition technology. By default, the saw operates at 18V, but it can achieve more cutting speed after transitioning to 36V. On the contrary, most of the 80V chainsaws work at a stable voltage output – therefore, the chain blade speed is limited. Sometimes when the cut material is too tough, you may need to slow the chain revs to a more desirable rate.
This Makita chainsaw features two grip styles; the back handle is wider, while the mid handle covers less area. The idea was to provide a comfortable grip with the owner’s hands placed back to back for maximum maneuverability.
As far as movement is concerned, this Makita chainsaw works flawlessly, but we have to account for overall ergonomics. For instance, removing the batteries is a huge improvement as compared to previous Makita chainsaw models. This time, they positioned the batteries to the mid area where the D handle was supposed to be located.
The chain feels like it’s made from magnesium because it’s super light. You can barely feel its weight when the saw is completely dismantled for maintenance purposes. On top of that, Makita installed tough material spikes to make up for any unforeseen bumps that you might encounter when cutting rough logs.
As a result, I could barely feel any resistance when I was testing the saw on different materials. If there’s one thing that I noticed was the effect of the brushless motor on the Makita XCU03PT1 design. By default, the chainsaw design encourages the inclusion of brushless motors because they act like a catalyst between the chain and the rev mechanism.
By the way, if your chainsaw does not have good quality spikes, don't expect it to work long term. Some manufacturers use tough plastic spikes and paint them in chrome color to pull off that metallic look. If I am using a brushless battery powered chainsaw, the first thing I always examine closely is the chain. Buck spikes are just as much important as the toothed blades on a circular saw. Metal and magnesium spikes are cool – the performance level drops as the bucks’ material quality deteriorates.
Chain tension directly affects the output of the chainsaw. You don't want it to be too loose, and yet at the same time, a tight chain can cause breakage etc. By default, the chain is calibrated for optimal performance. Should you need to tighten or loosen it, you only have to push the spring loaded spindle to release the lever. After that, spin the spindle in an anti clockwise motion to loosen the chain.
Oh yeah, if you ordered Makita XCU03PT1 18V cordless chainsaw from an online retailer, and some of the accessories were “missing”, then there’s a reason for that. At the moment, Makita is selling this chainsaw with multiple add-on options. Perhaps you forgot to select the appropriate option during checkout.
It is strongly advice that you carefully choose add-on accessories at the products selection page for this chainsaw. Bare tool means that you are only ordering the chainsaw without any batteries or extra accessories. This may seem like a cheaper alternative to high priced combo deals, but you’re going to have to spend the extra cash on whatever accessories you decide to buy later.
The Makita XCU03PT1 features a three step safety feature. You need to press the power button to set the chainsaw in ready mode. The LED indicator light will turn green, but it stays so for only a couple of seconds after releasing the trigger. You need to start the chain to prevent the saw from going back to idle state.
The second safety mechanism is present in the form of a chain brake guard. It prevents the chain from rotating around the bar. There is also a lock button that stops anyone from triggering the saw to ‘On’ mode.
9.5 x 20.8 x 13.8 inches
The following is included with the Makita XCU03PT1 Chainsaw:
If you are on a roll and in need of a low maintenance cordless chainsaw, Makita XCU03PT1 is the best bang for the buck. Available at different prices – and that too with the freedom of choosing between various add-on accessories, this Makita chainsaw is an invaluable power tool for homeowners all across the U.S. and the U.K.
Overall, I am satisfied with this chainsaw’s performance. On a scale of 1 – 5, I’d give it a stellar 4. The extra 1 point is deducted because of the low voltage and total run time of 30 mins. (15 mins. for each battery pair). If you are looking for a cordless chainsaw with bigger bar and robust performance, you may as well consider other alternatives such as the Husqvarna 460 Chainsaw.
If this Makita chainsaw doesn't feel as the right fit for you then please read our latest best chainsaw review over here.