Makita LXT X2 String Trimmer XRU15 Review
Makita LXT X2 String Trimmer XRU15 Review
Makita LXT X2 String Trimmer XRU15
Model number: XRU15
Power source: Cordless
Motor size: 36 Volt
Weight: 10.4 lbs (with batteries)
Makita’s LXT X2 line of tools is expanding rapidly. Taking on tasks that just a few years ago were solidly the domain of corded or gas powered tools. In that vein the XRU15 is Makita’s latest offering in string trimmers. When I was growing up I would take on the task of “Weed Whacking”, so called because of the amusing alliteration and the fact that the tool my family owned for this task was a “Weed Eater” this was your typical string trimmer, with a 2 stroke engine, oil and gas mix, smelly, hard to start, and would vibrate your hands to numbness and rattle the fillings out of your teeth after 30 minutes of use. Turns out 20 years can make a HUGE difference in a tool.
Makita LXT X2 XRU15 String Trimmer
- Up to 1-1/2 hours of run time with 18V LXT® 5.0Ah batteries
- Makita-built Outer Rotor BL™ Brushless Motor direct-drive
- Automatic Torque Drive Technology mode automatically shifts from 3,500-6,500 RPM for extended run time or added power
- 3 speed options (Low: 3,500 RPM, Medium: 5,300 RPM, High: 6,500 RPM)
- 15″ cutting swath
- Includes bump and feed trimmer head loaded with 0.080″ twisted quiet line
Battery Powered Advantages
The Makita XRU15 is battery powered so there’s no gas fumes, no popping your shoulder out of it’s socket trying to start it. Plus the motor is right at the head of the tool. There’s no coupler or drive rod and no 2-stroke engine hammering away so it is significantly quieter and vibrates so much less than a gas powered trimmer it’s almost unbelievable. Plus, there’s no burning hot muffler just waiting for a good opportunity to give you a hard-to-explain-the-location-of burn on your upper arm or elbow.
Basically the Makita XRU15 allows you to have all the pleasant experiences of using a string trimmer and almost none of the unpleasantness. Ok so we’ve established that it’s cleaner, safer, more user friendly, but how well does it work? It works awesome. At 6,500 RPM this trimmer gets the job done. A 15” cutting swath allows the user to get into pretty tight spots and work around obstacles but is also big enough to make short work of larger jobs. The bump feed head can be dis-assembled to reload without tools. The bump feed mechanism works very well, consistently feeding the trimmer line to get back to max length with a few quick bumps.
I used the XRU15 to trim the grass around my house and around some of the septic treatment buildings and infrastructure for my condo development. I trimmed around tanks, pipes, buildings, stone walls, and edged around walkways, gardens, access hatches, and man-hole covers set at grade level. The XRU15 had plenty of power for the task and only bogged down when I hit bittersweet vines that were around ⅜” thick! I did manage to get the head wound up with vines once but the on-board allen key acts as an arbor lock so the auto-feed head can be removed. I quickly had the jam cleared and was right back to trimming.
All in all I trimmed or edged around a dozen or so hatches, a couple of small out-buildings, my own house, and my neighbors house. I also did some edging around the sidewalk and garden beds in my yard. I was running two freshly charged 5.0 Ah batteries but still had about 50% power left when I was done with the above tasks. Pretty impressive run-time!
What We Like
Lightweight and easy to handle. The XRU15 has a low operating weight of 10.4 lbs with batteries. The motor being at the head keeps vibration down and gives the tool almost perfect balance. During my testing I had to take a ¼ mile walk to get to some of the grass that I needed to trim. During my ¼ mile walk it was easy to carry one handed, with excellent balance and minimal fatigue. I only had to switch hands once for comfort.
Auto feed, bump auto feed has been around for a while and this one works well. It’s a little finicky to reload but the disassembly and winding doesn’t require tools. Main thing to remember is to keep tension on the line when re-installing the spool.
Excellent User Comfort
The motor being at the head provides lower vibration due to the lack of a drive rod and other mechanical pieces needed to keep the trimmer head spinning. Also the front loop handle attaches to the shaft of the tool via a rubber sleeve which cuts down on high frequency vibration for the user.
The harness just has a rubber pad on it, but because of the low weight it really doesn’t need any more than that. The tool can also spin freely on the harness allowing for easy transitions from trimming to edging. I found myself flipping the tool around quickly and easily while performing these tasks back to back and the trigger and trigger lock work almost as easily upside down as they do right side up.
The trigger and trigger lock have a really light pull so there’s no fatigue from fighting an overly aggressive trigger spring. A squeeze on the handle depresses both the trigger lock on top of the handle and the trigger itself.
All in all I found this to be one of those tools that I don’t really need to think about using. The balance, handles, and trigger were all so intuitive and well laid out that I could focus on the work at hand. In an ideal world this is how tools should be.
18 volt platform: The Makita LXT X2 platform is a great way to get good power for a lot of different tools while still using readily available Makita LXT 18 volt batteries. This is a great way to ease entry into the expanding world of cordless tools and outdoor power equipment like the XRU15. If you’re already on the Makita platform this trimmer is a no brainer! If you’re trying to decide what platform to get on, well, the makita LXT/LXT X2 platform is a pretty solid bet.
What Could Use Improvement
The shoulder harness is just a bit short for me. I’m not a small guy (6’2”, 275 lbs) but anyone much bigger than me could have some issues with this. Another 6 to 12 inches of strap would be great.
The buttons for the reverse function, power/speed select are small and not super easy to use with gloves. However once you have the buttons pressed and things set how you want the trigger and trigger lock are large and easy to use.
Loading the auto-feed head is a little finicky. Getting the trimmer line wound, winding it in the correct direction, making sure that you have the correct amount of line sticking out, and keeping it from coming unwound while loading it back into the machine is a bit of a challenge.
A simpler auto-feed setup would be nice. Another issue with this is the direction of wind. If you don’t wind it in the correct direction the auto-feed won’t work. The auto-feed head requires a left hand wind. But the auto-feed spool has notes for both left and right hand wind and the only place where the correct direction is mentioned is in the manual. Also the manual specifies a specific amount of trimmer line and that the two ends be off-set by 3-⅛” or so. Some better markings on the tool would be good here. I’m going to take a paint marker and circle the correct orientation, and draw two lines 3-⅛” apart somewhere unobtrusive. That way when I get this bad boy out next spring I won’t have to dig up the manual to figure out how to load the reel.
The line breaks pretty frequently. I’ve been using gas trimmers with the super thick, pre-cut line that you weave into the trimmer head. The auto feed line is much thinner and can break pretty frequently when encountering rough stuff. But when used for normal grass trimming and edging the line held up much better. Also the thinner line makes a cleaner cut than the super-thick pre-cut stuff.
Options in the Makita Line
The XRU15 is also compatible with Makita’s new PDC01 battery backpack system doubling the run time!
Makita also offers the XRU18 which is the big brother to the XRU15. The XRU18 has a wider cutting swath and overall larger size. Might be worth taking a look at if you have larger areas to trim or edge. But for smaller scale and detail work the XRU15 is perfect.
This is a solid tool with excellent ergonomics and surprisingly good performance. There are some minor issues with set-up but in use this is an absolutely great machine. If you need a string trimmer you can’t go wrong with the Makita XRU15.
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