Makita XRU18 string trimmer aims to replace natural gas
Makita intends to focus its battery-operated lawn care line on "taking the market". In other words, they want to offer legitimate options to suit everyone's needs. The Makita XRU18 18V X2 Cord Trimmer is a great example. This model is aimed at providing top-notch features for professionals who need more than a standard trimmer
- Powerful 30cc gas equivalent performance
- Left/right spin buttons quickly get you out of tangles
- 36V performance without leaving Makita's 18V battery platform
- Trim wire rated up to 0.105"
- Relatively short run times at high speeds
a lot of power
The Makita XRU18 Rope Trimmer uses two of the brand's 18V XLT batteries for a combined 36V power supply. Anyone already on Makita's 18V platform won't have to buy a new battery platform. For those considering Makita's extensive line of battery-operated tools, this string trimmer offers yet another reason why it's a great idea.
The Makita XRU18 String Trimmer has 3 speeds, and we did most of our testing on the highest setting. At full speed, we measured the brushless motor producing a respectable 5805 RPM. Considering this is on the end of a 17" cutting strip, this is one of the best tip speeds we've seen.
Thanks to the larger cutting diameter, you can clear areas faster. The 15" trimmer is great for trimming edges, but sometimes you need to clean up between posts or other areas where the ZT isn't suitable.
Plus, this trimmer feels powerful. Makita claims the XRU18 string trimmer has the power of a 30cc gas engine. Where some other battery string trimmers compete with this trimmer's no-load speed, there aren't many models that can match the enthusiasm with which the XRU18 chops grass and weeds. Even when we got into some thicker areas, the XRU18 didn't really show any signs of slowing down.
That's a 0.095 inch line. If you need more weight, the trimmer is rated to handle up to 0.105 inches. Just keep in mind that you'll be giving up some runtime.
Running at full speed, we were able to run for almost 13 and a half minutes on a full charge from the 5.0Ah battery under no-load conditions. That's worse than most models, and keep in mind that other models are nowhere near the Makita's power.
Though this might hinder pros trying to use this string trimmer on multiple properties throughout the day. However, using auto mode, low or medium speed trim and/or a Makita battery pack can greatly improve the situation.
Don't discount Makita's chargers either. The dual-port Rapid Optimum charger in the kit gets those 5.0Ah batteries back into the game in just 45 minutes. With a little discipline, two sets of batteries can keep you going all day.
We use an SPL meter to measure string trimmers at operator's ear height. The Makita XRU18 String Trimmer produces 85 dB(A), a fairly quiet response that's in the middle of the range among the battery-operated trimmers we've tested. Not bad at all considering the ultra-wide cutting width and tip speed.
At this decibel level, you should have no problem working in noise-restricted neighborhoods or early in the morning. According to NIOSH standards, you should be able to use this tool for 8 hours without hearing protection.
Makita XRU18 18V X2 String Trimmer Design Instructions
Controls and Modes
If you're a control freak, you'll love the options available on this Makita cord cutter. The three different speed settings come in handy when you're balancing power and runtime. Mid-speed doesn't come on simple high/low models, it's actually a pretty good trim position. The power is better than most brands' low speeds, and you save a lot of run time.
The automatic Torque Drive mode reminds us of the brushless motor equivalent of a continuously variable transmission. It automatically adjusts the power output of the trimmer to maintain the speed of the trimmer head under load. If you want to simply plug in and not worry about speed control, this is the mode for you.
It also has a reverse rotation function. After activating this function, the trimmer head rotates in the opposite direction for a few seconds to untangle tangles. We love it because it helps us unpack when trimming ground cover or vines.
This is the exact same control setup as Makita's XRU15. If you don't need 30cc power, it's Makita's best all-around engine.
Notably, the Makita is equipped with an elongated guard over the trimmer head. As preferences change, most pros prefer thin guards to the more consumer-focused wide guards. It provides excellent visibility around the head, especially when turning the trimmer on its side for trimming applications. You also get the added advantage of better access to tight spaces, such as when mowing around air conditioning units or similar.
The tradeoff is that you're more likely to be hit by debris. Of course, that's why most pros don't wear shorts.
We've discussed the benefits of a dual battery system and the power of the Makita. All of these features come at a price. The Makita XRU18 string trimmer has two batteries, and the motors are all strapped to the back, which feels a little heavy on the rear…for a battery powered tool, that's it.
Without the battery, the mower weighs 10.8 pounds—the heaviest we've brought for our recent cordless weeder roundup. When you add the two 5.0Ah batteries included with the tool, the weight increases to 13.55 lbs. When you look at some of the higher voltage options, their single cell is usually a lot better than the Makita's two cells.
Not a big deal if you're switching to natural gas, though. In fact, it fits nicely with a ~30cc gas trim full of fuel. Again, the engine and fuel are in the rear, giving the XRU18 a very familiar feel.
If you want a lighter weight X2 trimmer, look no further than the Makita XRU15. It's lighter and shifts the weight of the motor to the front. Alternatively, you can save even more weight with the 18V Makita XRU12, and with the battery installed, everything is reduced to just 8.6 lbs.
Makita XRU18 18V X2 String Trimmer Price
You can buy the Makita XRU18 as a bare-bones unit for around $412.99. Complete with two 5.0Ah batteries and a charger, the trimmer costs $531.99. It comes with a 3-year warranty.
the bottom line
The Makita XRU18 18V X2 Cord Trimmer can truly replace your aero cord trimmer. There is a learning curve to managing that functionality so you get the uptime you want. Once you get used to it, you can say goodbye to mixed fuel, pull starting and gas engine maintenance.
Makita XRU18 Cord Trimmer Specifications
- Power: 2 x Makita 18V LXT batteries
- Cutting diameter: 17 inches
- No-load speed: 0-4,000/4,600/5,800 rpm
- Arbor: M10 x 1.25 LH
- Length: 72-1/4 inches
- Weight: 13.55 lbs. (with battery)
- Shaft Material: Steel
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- Price: $339 (bare); $469 (with two 5.0Ah batteries and charger)