Makita XML08 Enters the Big Leagues of Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers
When we first encountered the Makita XML08 self-propelled lawn mower at GIE, it was evident that the product team had set their sights on a new audience. Competing with renowned brands like Stihl and Husqvarna in the professional battery-powered mower space requires something exceptional, and Makita delivered.
Pros and Cons of the Makita XML08 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- Impressive drive performance
- Can accommodate up to four batteries
- Robust construction with a sturdy frame and commercial-grade steel deck
- Quiet mode for extended run time with reduced noise
- Convenient drive lever design for quick stopping without shutting off the blade
- True 21″ blade size
- Offers options for bagging, covering, or side discharging
- Equipped with rubber tires for enhanced durability
- Manual battery switching when a set is depleted
- Positioned near the higher end of the price range for battery-operated lawn mowers
Testing the Makita XML08 18V X2 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
If you’re familiar with earlier Makita battery-operated lawn mowers, the XML08 is an entirely different beast. It can hold four batteries but only requires two to operate effectively. With four 5Ah batteries, you’ll have the equivalent power of a 36V, 10Ah battery.
During our testing, we utilized a 6.0Ah battery and put the mower through its paces. We tackled a combination of Bermuda, Bahia, and St. Augustine grasses. Approximately two-thirds of our mowing area had grass cut to an even 5 inches, while the remaining one-third remained uncut for two weeks.
With the deck height set to 3 inches and the relatively cooler and less humid climate in central Florida, we managed 47 minutes of continuous cutting time with the battery pack.
By using the Makita XML08, you can significantly reduce the time spent on routine maintenance cuts.
In our Florida testing grounds, where grass coverage dominates, the Makita XML08 performed admirably. Its cutting prowess is evident as it neatly slices the grass into small pieces that blend back into the lawn without leaving unsightly trails or clumps.
Additionally, it functions well as a bagger, thanks to its efficient airflow that maintains good velocity in the bag. However, it lags behind some high-end commercial gas self-propelled lawn mowers, especially those equipped with stacked blade systems like the Honda HRC series.
Overall, the cutting evenness is consistently impressive. Although some blades may remain standing, particularly in taller areas, the cutting results are satisfactory.
Control and Additional Features
The Makita XML08 has intuitive controls that are easy to operate. Activating the mower involves pressing the power button, followed by engaging the safety button and blade.
The self-propelled drive lever allows the mower to move at speeds ranging from 1.5 to 3.0 MPH. The speed control, located on the left side, features an infinite setting dial that strikes the perfect balance between mobility and stability. It enables you to precisely adjust the speed without feeling loose or easily dislodged.
The drive rod cut on the left side allows for straightforward release while turning without having to loosen the blade engagement lever. It may take a little getting used to, but once muscle memory develops, you won’t need to think about it.
The whisper button activates the mower’s quiet mode, maintaining a constant blade speed of 2300 RPM. This feature ensures quieter operation and extends the run time, especially suitable for lighter cutting tasks.
Design and Additional Features
The Makita XML08 boasts a solid and sturdy design that sets it apart from many residential lawn mowers. While other mowers often exhibit excessive frame movement, the XML08 exudes the rigidity that professionals require.
With its commercial-grade steel deck, the mower effectively covers its 21-inch blade. Makita doesn’t play games by advertising larger deck sizes while incorporating smaller blades. When they claim it’s a 21″ mower, they mean it can genuinely cut 21″ at a time.
Unlike many professional mowers that feature multiple-point height adjustments, the Makita XML08 employs a convenient single-point adjustment lever. With ten position options ranging from 1 1/4″ to 4″, you’ll only need to utilize a single lever for height adjustments.
Although the Makita XML08 lacks a fold-down handle for vertical storage, it aligns with professional preferences. Pros often transport their walk-behind mowers on trailers without the need to fold down handles, saving valuable time. Furthermore, eliminating foldable handles removes potential sources of wobbliness, enhancing overall frame rigidity.
Additional Features and Price
While many mowers neglect the wheel construction, the Makita XML08 excels in this area. It features softer rubber tires, ensuring superior shock absorption and providing better traction on slopes.
Priced at $719 for the mower alone or $849 for a kit that includes four 5.0Ah batteries, the Makita XML08 falls within the higher price range. However, considering its professional focus, it proves to be a worthwhile investment. Comparable battery-operated mowers, such as Stihl’s self-propelled model with a similar battery load, cost $879.
Residential models may be more budget-friendly, but they lack the high-quality components that Makita incorporates to meet the demanding requirements of professional lawn caregivers.
The Bottom Line
The Makita XML08 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower combines power and durability to meet the needs of professional users seeking an alternative to gas mowers. With few complaints, one improvement that could be made is to automate the battery switching process.
This model represents a significant departure from Makita’s previous residential-focused offerings, making it an attractive primary choice for professionals.
Makita XML08 Self-Propelled Lawn Mower Specifications
- Model: Makita XML08
- No-load speed: 2,800 RPM
- Deck width: 22″
- Cutting width: 21 inches
- Cutting height range: 1-1/4″ – 4″
- Bag capacity: 2 bushels
- Net Weight: 94 lbs. (with battery)
- Dimensions: 67-1/2 x 23-1/4 x 43 inches
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $719 (bare mower), $849 (including four 5.0Ah batteries)