Makita XCU08Z 18v X2 36v Top Handle Brushless 14” Chainsaw

Makita has been making Professional grade gas chainsaws for years and they’ve even had their feet wet in the battery powered chainsaw market with several models over the past few years, with both 18v and 36v models available. Their latest and greatest chainsaw is the XCU08Z 36v X2 (uses 2 18v batteries to make 36v), which is a top handle saw that looks to be marketed towards lighter professional use, but even more towards professional arborists as a climbing saw. The top handle design is very common for climbers as it’s much more compact and often lighter weight than a rear handle design, which are big factors when you’re many feet off the ground. This model is an upgrade from the previous Makita XCU02Z top handle 36v saw, which used a brushed motor and Makita claims more power and much higher chainspeed with the new model.

My thoughts: Over the past couple years battery powered outdoor equipment has pushed beyond what many people including myself would have thought it ever would, but you won’t hear me complaining because in the end ultimately the consumer wins and reaps the benefits of all the innovation and competition. I’ve seen a few short demos of this new top handle saw and it looks like it’s very comparable to a gas top handle saw, which can be beneficial to climbers because there’s no need to pull start while they’re in a tree, which keeps them more steady and thus safer. If this new saw can truly keep up with the speed of a gas saw, it could very well become a very popular saw for arborists who don’t want to pull start a saw in a tree or who want something that isn’t as noisy or has to be restarted frequently. In terms of feature this Makita saw has a brushless motor, a kickback activated chain brake, and the option to buy the saw with a 14” or 16” bar and chain. Other features include an adjustable oil flow, an ergonomic rubber overmolded handle, a rear attachment point for lanyards, and an LED control panel.

Features and specifications:

  • Makita-built outer rotor BL Brushless Motor direct-drive system provides power equivalent to a 30cc gas chain saw
  • Variable speed trigger and high chain speed (0-3,940 FPM) for improved cutting performance
  • Torque boost mode powers through thick or hard branches
  • Two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries deliver 36V power and performance without leaving the 18V LXT platform (batteries and charger not included)
  • Includes 14″ sprocket nose guide bar and 3/8 pitch, .043″ gauge chain
  • Captured bar nut and lateral chain tensioning for convenient operation and maintenance
  • Adjustable automatic chain lubrication with large oil reservoir
  • Large oil filling port with a view window allows operator to easily add and check bar oil level
  • Built-in L.E.D. on/off switch with auto power-off function; automatically shuts the saw off after 60 seconds for extended battery life
  • Built-in lock-off lever helps prevent the chain from accidentally engaging
  • Low noise level and zero emissions for operator comfort
  • Rubberized soft grip top handle is engineered for the user to more easily apply even cutting pressure
  • Rear attachment point for lanyards
  • Features extreme protection technology (XPT) which is engineered to provide increased dust and water resistance in harsh job site conditions
  • Voltage: 36v DC
  • Weight: (with batteries? Not specified) 10.2 lbs.
  • Bare tool price at the time of writing: 14” bar and chain: $339.00 at ToolNut.com
  • Bare tool price at the time of writing: 16” bar and chain: $359.00 at ToolNut.com
  • Warranty: 3-year limited


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”Torque boost mode powers through thick or hard branches”

But I have thick AND hard branches. At least that’s what she said…