Makita's XML11 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Boosts Homeowner Value
Makita is expanding its cordless residential OPE line with an updated 18V X2 (36V) 21-inch self-propelled lawn mower: the Makita XML11. You’ve probably seen it in our best Makita lawn mower article, now it’s time to take a deeper look.
We're in Central Florida and it's the rainy season so our lawn is very lush and well hydrated, which puts more stress on any lawn mower. Also, it's pushing 90° when the grass is dry enough to mow…just in time for the next storm to threaten us. To test XML11, we used a Toro Timemaster to cut the lawn to 4.5 inches and set the Makita's deck height to 2.5 inches.
Makita's brushed motor runs at 36V from a pair of 18V batteries, powering its 21" blade at up to 3,000 RPM. For the most part, it did a good job of maintaining blade speed in our testing, but it did slow down when we hit some of the thickest grass in St. Augustine.
With the deck all the way down, it does a good job of keeping the blade moving high enough to cut slowly. It eventually stopped after about 40 feet, but that's pretty good for a mower in this price range.
Covering, bagging and rear
Whether you're mulching, bagging, or using side/rear discharge, you need high lift and airflow to produce good results.
When grass conditions had the XML11 running at its top speed of close to 3000 RPM, it did a good job of mulching and bagging. But when you hit thicker sections, you'll notice a drop off in effectiveness. Try to go as slow as possible when trimming these areas to maintain the elevation.
Makita uses a rear discharge chute instead of a true side discharge chute, a decision every mower manufacturer has to make. On the one hand, side discharge allows for better distribution of clippings. On the other hand, the rear discharge reduces airflow interruptions in the cutterhead design, thus improving cut quality. That's an even bigger difference when you're using a composite deck like the Makita, where you can really adjust the shape to maximize airflow.
The Makita is designed to remove clippings, but not as well as some cordless mowers we've used. However, mulching and bagging benefit from it.
Makita tells us that when you cycle through the two sets of 5.0Ah batteries that come with the kit, you can expect a cumulative run time of up to 40 minutes.
Our test yielded 14 minutes, 58 seconds on the first set of batteries and 14 minutes, 48 seconds on the second set. The environment (especially our heat) and turf conditions will always affect the overall run time. Although we didn't quite make it to 40 minutes, it's possible.
self-propelled drive system
Makita uses rear-wheel drive for this mower, which is more helpful than front-wheel drive if you're tackling smaller slopes and slopes.
When you drive, the speed control is on your left and ranges from 1.5 to 3.0 MPH. It's an infinite position design with no stops and the tension is perfect – not too stiff and not too loose. We also like that it doesn't get in the way of your hands, so it's nearly impossible to bump it to a different speed when you're cornering.
The Makita's rubber tires have a tough tread that helps with grip. As a bonus, the bearings are very smooth and the self-drive is easy to release, making this one of the few battery-powered mowers we've tested that works well when you need to push it.
Makita XML11 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Design Notes
Controls and Ergonomics
Makita uses a dual-lever system to run the mower instead of a bar and thumbstick design. One cool thing Makita did is the shape of the drive rods. It cuts in on the left so you can release the drive lever with your right hand while your left hand remains on the presence lever to keep the blade going.
There is a rubber overmold over the full length of the handle. It adds comfort and grip security, but it doesn't have foam underneath it like some mowers do. This should keep it from degrading as quickly as the seasons change.
The handle has two lockable positions. Some mowers have three, but almost everyone will find a height between the two that they can use.
This mower quickly adjusts the cutting height from 1.25 inches to 4 inches using a single-point lever system. There are eight deck height positions that can be adjusted in 1/2 inch increments.
- IPX4 degree of protection
- Handle folds down for vertical storage
- Two handle height positions
Makita XML11 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Prices
The Makita 21-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Kit retails for $499.00 and comes with a 3-year limited warranty. That price includes four 5.0Ah 18V batteries and a dual-port charger. When you consider that the four batteries and charger retail for $508.99 when purchased separately, it's like you're getting the lawn mower for free!
It's also available as a bare tool for $479, but the kit is so well priced that it's worth the extra $20.
*Pack of two batteries and charger for $279.99, additional pack of two batteries for $229.00.
the bottom line
Compared to other mowers in its price range, Makita's XML11 cuts grass well and is perfect for homes 1/4 acre or smaller. Overall, this is one of the best residential lawn mowers under $500.
Click here to view the complete Makita LXT range.
Makita XML11 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Specifications
- Models: Makita XML11Z (Bare), XML11CT1 (Kit)
- Power: Two Makita 18V batteries
- Deck Width: 22"
- Cutting width: 21 inches
- Motor Type: Brushed
- No-load speed: 3,000 RPM
- Cutting height range: 1.25 – 4 inches
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- Price: $499 (kit)