Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander

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Makita XLS01T 18V LXT  Cordless 9″ Drywall Sander Kit, AWS Capable (5.0Ah) Review

Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander

Manufacturer: Makita
Model number: XLS01Z
Price: 549.00
Power source: 18 Volt X2 [36V]
Weight: 10.7 w/ battery
Installing and finishing drywall is one of the tasks I least like to do in construction. In the whole drywall process, the final steps to mud, tape and sand joints are the worst part for me. I know that some tradespeople breeze through these finishing steps with ease, but I would almost prefer having a root canal. So anything I can find to help with the taping and sanding task is something I have a keen interest in exploring. this review will focus on the Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander.

Makita Cordless Drywall Sander  Makes Sanding Easier

Because of how I feel about drywall, I was looking forward to reviewing the Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander. I was hoping this tool would make my sanding job much easier.

A year or so ago, I briefly used a friend’s ALEKO corded drywall sander on a project of his with good results. I remember that it sure beats sanding by hand!  I recall it was a heavy machine but it did make short work of sanding drywall joints and collecting the dust. Nevertheless, I remember getting dancing around and being tangled up in the combination of the electrical cord and vacuum hose. I had to pay attention to keep these two things untangled from each other and from me.

Cordless BUT Not Hose Free

The Makita XLS01Z is not cord and hose-free. However, it certainly cuts in half the number of things that a user needs to keep track of. Going into the Makita XLS01Z tool review, I thought the single hose would be easier to keep in place and deal with than the combination of a hose with an electrical cord.

So I headed into the review with a hopeful attitude and the Makita XLS01Z sander did not disappoint me.

Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander Features

  • Delivers up to 35 minutes of run-time, using 120 abrasive grit discs with one 18V LXT 5.0 Ah battery (battery not included)
  • The BL Brushless Motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL Motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
  • Direct drive BL Brushless Motor positioned at the sanding head for increased sanding efficiency and reduced maintenance
  • The highly flexible head swivel allows for increased maneuverability across various wall orientations
  • Adjustable extension pipe collapses for sanding in confined spaces and extends up to 16-1/2″ for reaching high walls and ceilings
  • Constant speed control automatically applies additional power to the motor to maintain speed under load
  • Auto-start wireless system (AWS) which utilizes Bluetooth technology for wireless power-on/off communication between tool and dust extractor
  • AWS capable with the auto-start wireless transmitter (part no. 198901-5) sold separately. Used to start and stop Makita dust extractors.
  • Removable dust brush with easy glide roller wheels allows for seamless flush-to-wall edge sanding
  • Variable speed control dial allows manual RPM adjustment (1,000-1,800) to match the speed to the application
  • Soft start suppresses start-up reaction for smooth start-ups and longer gear life
  • Overload sensor designed to alert when excessive load is applied and protect from damage due to overheating
  • Compact and lightweight design; weighs only 10.7 lbs. with battery
  • Large two-finger power trigger switch with lock-on for continuous operation
  • Two-position rubberized soft grip handles provide increased comfort and maneuverability
  • Optional extension handle (part no. 199937-7) allows an additional 22-3/4 In. longer reach for high walls and ceilings
  • Quiet operating sound level of 75 dB(A)
  • Includes large carrying tool bag and tray for easy storage and transportation

Makita Drywall Sander Performance

The question is – How did the Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander prove out in my work? The answer – Very well.

I used the sander with a 5.0 Ah battery, powering a 120 grit disk for 40 minutes of non-stop run time. My arms were asking for a rest long before the battery ran out. I liked the weight and balance of the tool and found it easy to use for flatwork as well as in corners or ceiling edges.

I could easily adjust the motor speed and I found it quite easy to sand through the tape and paper layers of the drywall when I was not paying attention. The motor on the sander is brushless and directly drives the disk. Even after a full battery use, the motor was slightly warm to the touch.

Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander – Flexible Head

The Makita XLS01Z sander has a highly flexible and adjustable head that allowed me to configure and rotate the head to fit whatever conditions and wall orientations I encountered. Makita provides a removable straight brush that can store on clips on the sander head. I started out taking the brush on and off in the beginning. But for the majority of the time, I left it off when I was using the tool.

Makita Cordless Drywall Sander

I hooked the XLS01Z together with my 300 cfm dust collector and anticipated that I would see little or no compound dust. That was not the case. Whenever I lifted the head even slightly from the drywall, I saw large clouds of dust escape from the bottom of the disk. I decided to look to see if something was blocking the hose or the hose opening.

Makita Cordless Drywall Sander

It turns out that my dust collector paper bag had ruptured some long time before I started to use the sander. A large impressive amount of sawdust and sheetrock dust clogged up both filters.. After cleaning out the filters and replacing the paper bag with a fleece bag, the dust collection was excellent and I saw very little dust escape from that time forward.

Weight and Balance

I anticipated that my arms would be fatigued holding and moving the sander for long period. Nevertheless, I was pleased and surprised by how well I managed the weight of the tool. I think that the ability to extend the shaft and marry the length of the tool with the job needs helps with how much any user may strain with holding up this tool. The collar lock on the main shaft was easy to use in changing positions.

Reaching Tall Walls and Ceilings

I was only sanding to a height of about ten feet. So I did not need the optional extension handle for this job. The extension handle adds another 22 ¾” of reach for use with higher areas.

I do not own a Makita dust collector. But the Makita drywall sander has the ability to work with their Auto-start wireless system (AWS). AWS utilizes Bluetooth technology for wireless power-on/off communication between the sander and Makita dust extractor. I do not do enough drywall sanding to warrant the expense of the optional Bluetooth transmitter and compatible dust extractor. But I can see the convenience factor for those craftsmen that do this every day, or already own a Makita AWS-compatible dust extractor.

Overall Impression

The bottom line for me is that the Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander made for easy and effective finish sanding a much easier and a better work process for me. I would highly recommend this tool for anyone that does drywall finishing.

At a cost of the bare tool of $539, I can see how the XLS01Z can save time and make money. I also found the kit priced at $699 online.

Maybe I will take on more work now that the Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander is here. It’s a great tool.

Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander Video Review

Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander PROS

  • Cordless operation
  • Adjustable extension tube.
  • Plenty of power in the Brushless motor
  • Lightweight
  • Effective dust collection
  • Maneuverable
  • Flexible, multi-positional sanding head with a removable straight brush
  • Users can further extend reach with optional accessories
  • Automatic vacuum activation is possible with additional Makita accessories and equipment

Makita XLS01Z Cordless Drywall Sander CONS

  • Automation vacuum activation is only possible with additional Makita Auto-Start Wireless Transmitter
  • Weighs about the same as some popular corded sanders
  • Limited run-time in relation to corded tools

About the author

Stan Durlacher

Stan has been involved with Design and Construction in the commercial industry since 1975. He is currently the President of Design and Construction for a major St Petersburg, FL developer. Before that, he was a Project Executive for a prominent Boston Construction Manager, building high-rise apartment and office buildings. One of the hallmarks of his career has been innovative problem-solving. As Assistant Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Stan was instrumental in bringing the hydro mill slurry wall machinery and technology to Boston in the 1990s for use on the Central Artery Third Harbor Tunnel Project. Stan has been an avid woodworker since college and brings an innovative point of view to this field. Before Florida, he owned an 1886 farmhouse near Concord, Mass, and his skills and time were never idle for long. His barn and attached spaces serve as his ever-expanding workshop. Stan is a self-avowed tool hound. In 2013, Stan decided to design and build his own CNC router. This machine has become a centerpiece of his woodworking and craft focus. Stan will share many of the ways that this innovative technology has solved many current problems and how CNC will begin to impact the woodworking and home renovation businesses.

All posts by Stan »


  1. Great review! Thank you for your thoughts Stan.

    1. Stan Durlacher

      Glad you enjoyed the review.

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