New Makita 18V Brushless 12″ String Trimmer XRU12SM1 XRU12Z

Makita has released another 18 volt string trimmer with the Makita 18V Brushless 12″ String Trimmer model number XRU12SM1 as a kit with  4.0 ah battery and charger for $199 or as model number XRU12Z as a baretool.

It appears this new model is designed to compete directly against Dewalt’s 20V string trimmer which had a nice set of features and performance that hit the $199 pricepoint. Since the original Dewalt 20V string trimmer, Dewalt has recently come out with a newer 20V model that improves upon the original in every aspect with more power and cutting capacity of 14″ while still retaining the same $199 price point as a kit. Makita’s latest 18V string trimmer offering doesn’t offer the same kind of performance as the Dewalt as it only has a 12″ cutting swatch but it does match the $199 price point. This appears to be a new trend as historically, Makita always demanded a premium with their string trimmers with 18V brushed motor string trimmers going for around $99 for a baretoola and $199 for the brushless version baretool so it’s nice to see Makita becoming more competitive with their pricing.

While the new Makita 18V string trimmer model doesn’t have the same specs as the new Dewalt model, it does have a brushless motor for optimal runtime and a few extra bells and whistles not found on other brands. For example, Makita’s new string trimmer offers 3 speeds to choose from of (4,000/5,000/6,000 RPM) and is equipped with Automatic Torque Drive Technology, which automatically shifts from 4,000-6,000 RPM depending on the density of the application. This reminds me of many of Makita’s brushless cordless power tools such as their grinders and circular saws which automatically provide more power when needed or less when not needed for the best possible runtime. It also features their reverse direction feature which is useful for unwinding entangled weeds or other obstructions.

Makita’s 18V string trimmer offers a dual line head and it accepts 0.08″ line and can also accept beefier 0.095″ line. It’s shaft is also foldable down the middle to save space during storage and transport. One thing the new Makita 18V string trimmer appears to be missing is a variable speed trigger. It’s great it’s got three speeds and can automatically shift when needed but I still like full manual control of a variable speed trigger so I can feather the trigger and provide just the power I need at any given moment and this feature works great alongside selectable speeds which is a great feature on the Dewalt and also the Milwaukee string trimmers as both of these offer selectable speeds that work in conjunction with the variable speed trigger.

Easy load string heads are all the rage as of late and according to Makita, the one included with this string trimmer is an easy load head and also features bump feeding for simple line feeding. Like the X2 brushless string trimmer, this 18V unit also has a panel with buttons and lights to select between speeds, mode, direction and power the unit on and off. I really wish they’d get rid of the power button as it really does get annoying to have to activate the power button each time you plan on using as you still have to press the safety and the actually trigger to use.

  • Split shaft for convenient storage and transportation
  • Ideal for precision trimming and edging
  • BL™ Brushless Motor delivers up to 6,000 RPM
  • Automatic Torque Drive Technology mode automatically shifts RPM for extended run time or added power
  • 3-speed control (Low: 4,000 RPM, Medium: 5,000 RPM, High: 6,000 RPM) for power management
  • Easy-loading bump and feed trimmer head compatible with .080″ or .095″ line
  • Reverse rotation system allows operator to quickly clear trimmer head of entangled grass and weeds
  • Rubberized soft grip provides increased comfort on the job
  • Ergonomic and balanced design weighing only 8.6 lbs. with battery
  • Features Extreme Protection Technology (XPT™) which is engineered to provide increased dust and water resistance in harsh job site conditions


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