If you browse the product's features on Makita's website, brushless motors are mentioned a lot. We caught up with the company to find out exactly what sets Makita brushless motors apart from the competition.
Along the way, I had the pleasure of speaking with Carlos Quintana. Carlos, Senior Product Manager for Makita Cordless Tools, has some very clear answers.
10 second summary
- Motors specifically selected to match tool design and use
- Outer rotor design allows for speed and power gains in some OPE and heavy duty tools
- magnets are important
- The Makita LXT series uses at least 5 different brushless motors
Purposefully designed Makita brushless motors
When Makita talks about dedicated motors, what they mean is that they specifically select a motor to match the tool. Now you can order any size motor you want from China and put it in the tool. it will run. Makita doesn't just look at what a tool is, but what it does. They also consider the accessories it will use and the materials it will cut, drill and/or fasten.
The Makita impact driver is a good example. The Makita XDT16 has a very compact tip-to-tail design. It's actually one of the best impact drivers we've tested to date, and certainly one of the most compact. Compare that to the Makita Subminiature Impact Driver. It has a longer but narrower design.
Both impact drivers use the same battery. However, the ultra-compact design combines the light weight and power of a 12V tool with a head profile that fits into tight spaces. To do this, they opted for a longer, narrower brushless motor design.
Other tools, like the 18V X2 AWS Rotary Hammer, compete exclusively with, or even outperform, the corded models. Makita uses an 80mm internal rotor design on these tools. It offers a 1-9/16" SDS-Max rotary hammer that drills faster than the nearly identical rope model it's built on.
Makita brushless inner rotor and outer rotor motors
Makita uses an 80mm outer rotor brushless motor in both its 18V X2 chainsaw and cord trimmer. The compact design makes it narrower than inner rotor motors. It's also lighter, allowing Makita to deliver higher speed and torque in its direct-drive system.
While there are few downsides to an outer rotor brushless motor, an inner rotor design gives you a lot more. You can vary the length and diameter of the tool. You'll find 80mm internal rotor brushless motors in performance tools like Makita's cordless SDS-Max rotary hammer. A 54mm inner rotor design drives their premium line. Finally, 44mm and 38mm inner rotor motors expand the range of compact and ultra-compact models.
In short, Makita has a variety of options to adjust the size, shape and performance in the way the product team envisions.
Makita brushless motor magnet
What is the difference between cheap tools and quality tools?
Makita uses the magnets in its 80mm inner rotor brushless motor as an example. This Makita brushless motor uses 8 magnets instead of the more common 4.
From there, they mold and embed the magnets perfectly, then epoxy them in place to ensure they don't move anywhere during use. For sure, this and all their brushless motors are tested up to 30,000 RPM.
not just a motor
Today, the Makita LXT series uses at least 5 different BL motors to power its brushless tools. That's not all, though.
These brushless motors require a power source – a Makita 18V LXT battery pack. With this 18V battery platform, Makita offers you four levels of cordless tools at your disposal. The ultra-compact replaces the need for 12V. The 18V X2 series does not require an upgrade to a 36V battery pack. In between are compact premium 18V tools that give you a complete range of battery systems.
In every brushless tool, the controller sits between the motor and the battery. This is where things get very specific. Each Makita brushless tool model has its own electronic controller that allows customizing the power curve between the battery and the motor. Even though you have 5 motors to choose from, each will perform differently from tool to tool because the product team can tell exactly how it should run.
the bottom line
The next time you hear someone from Makita talking about a Makita-specific brushless motor, realize that it's not just a marketing term. Their team of product managers and engineers put a lot of effort into equipping the perfect motor for the brushless tool you are using and dialing in the controls to ensure you enjoy the experience of using a quality cordless tool.