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Makita USA’s hottest new tool is… a “new” Outdoor Adventure heated blanket in olive green.
Did anyone ask for this?
You can also wrap it around your waist to keep your loins warm!
Makita basically just relaunched the same heated blanket from 4 years ago, but in an outdoorsy green color instead of black.
This seems to be the trend for the company recently.
Retailers recently announced a new Makita 18V blower. Makita USA so far hasn’t said a peep about it.
It’s not a new product; it looks to be an 18V version of their 36V XGT cordless duster/blower.
This is similar to how their new Outdoor Adventure tools are the same 18V tools but in green.
Meanwhile, where are the new cordless nailers that already launched overseas? How about a cordless table saw? What about an 18V cordless air compressor?
I spoke to an HVAC tech last week. He had a Makita 18V impact but was switching to Milwaukee for everything else. Why? “Makita doesn’t make the tools I need.”
Makita USA enacted a “company-wide reduction in force” recently, laying off hundreds of people.
The layoffs affected factory service centers in multiple states, and resulted in at least one service center closure.
Makita’s best 18V cordless power tool battery, their 5Ah battery pack, came out roughly 9 years ago. They have since updated it with a built-in fuel gauge.
They also have a 6Ah battery, but I wouldn’t use or recommend any brand’s older-gen 6Ah batteries for anything but low power applications. 5Ah batteries are a better choice for higher power delivery.
Makita has not yet brought higher capacity batteries to their 18V system, and at this point it looks like they never will.
Will they jump onto the pouch cell bandwagon? Or, if they are working on pouch cell batteries, will it also only be available in the XGT line?
Makita offered unprecedented promotions and discounts for their flagship XGT cordless power tool products in recent months. They had strong deals last holiday season, and even better discounts and promos earlier this year.
From what I’ve seen, Makita is not selling many XGT 40V Max (36V) tools, which could be what prompted the recent sales.
I purchased into the XGT lineup – one or two tools for personal use and the others to test for review. I have had problems with some of the tools, and while they’re good one-off solutions, I would not recommend them to anyone looking to buy into a system. The XGT system is still too limited, not to mention expensive.
Makita launched a new XGT USB charger and flashlight. Neat!!
But it’s not available here. Yet? Ever? Will there be an 18V version?
Makita USA advertises that they have the “world’s largest compatible 18V battery system.” I suppose this is helped by their selling a bunch of existing tools in “Outdoor Adventure” green.
How will the service center closures affect repair times?
I’d like to ask, but it seems Makita USA has put ToolGuyd on their media blacklist again. They haven’t provided any press information or answered any of our emails since just before I reported on their company-wide layoffs and May 2023 price increases. The most recent price increase was their third such pricing change since around the same time the previous year.
I’m sorry, am I supposed to be a good social media influencer and only parrot the talking points that are fed to me?
A reader comment came in today and prompted me to think about the XGT launch and rollout again. BobBrown wrote:
The XGT range launch was a complete mess and customers struggle to understand the various battery eco-systems.
Yes, and no.
The XGT launch was indeed a complete mess, but that was two years ago. It continues to be a mess, and I think it’s because Makita USA has not defined what the XGT cordless system is supposed to be.
Let’s talk about what Makita’s XGT line really is – a replacement for Makita’s 18V lineup, which hit its peak potential years ago.
If replacement is too strong of a word, how about modern alternative?
I get it – talking about XGT as a replacement or alternative system could alienate existing users. But do you know what else will push Makita’s existing 18V cordless power tool users away and towards competing brands? Price hikes and reduced staffing at service centers.
Makita currently advertises their XGT line as the “most powerful system,” with “in Makita USA Inc cordless systems” in fine print.
That part is amusing. Why couldn’t they simply say “Our Most Powerful System” and skip the need for qualifying fine print?
Makita USA also advertise that their 18V system is suited for “most applications” and XGT for “high demand applications.”
Is this XGT pin nailer supposed to be an example of a “high demand” application?
And let’s not forget about how the XGT cordless blower can be used for inflating beach balls. Is this an example of a “high demand” task that none of Makita’s 18V tools are capable of accomplishing?
What’s the difference between Makita’s new 18V cordless duster and the existing XGT model?
It seems that Makita is bringing some XGT tools and tech to their 18V platform. They can’t offer higher capacity 18V batteries because… well, they never explained why.
Why is Makita bringing certain tech to their 18V line but not others? An 18V version of the XGT duster/blower sounds good. Why does the XGT cordless drill have anti-kickback tech, but not the flagship 18V drill?
After more than two years, Makita USA still has not answered this question.
Other brands have 18V-class cordless drills with anti-kickback safety features. Makita’s XGT drill has this. They could bring this to their 18V offerings, but have not. Why?
An XGT cordless air compressor is coming out at some point. Couldn’t it be outfitted with an 18V X2 interface for 36V operation?
Why aren’t they doing this?
There’s no XGT to 18V adapter to date, outside of a charging accessory that lets 18V batteries charge on XGT chargers. Will that change if or once the XGT line is expanded enough to potentially supplant the 18V platform?
Two years after Makita launched the system here, Home Depot recently stocked their first-ever Makita XGT cordless power tools in stores for the spring promotional season. They were given a bit of back wall space in the seasonal area, behind the Dewalt, Milwaukee, and Ryobi displays. When I last checked, my store still had a couple of XGT outdoor tools in a downsized display.
How is XGT going to gain traction when they are largely absent from what I assume to be Makita USA’s largest retail partner?
Price hikes are hurting the brand’s appeal to potential and existing customers. Reduced staffing at service centers is presumably going to hurt repair or parts turnaround.
Here are the profits that Makita reported for their North America business segment over the past few years:
FYE March 31, 2019: 267 million yen (~$1.98 million) PROFIT
FYE March 31, 2020: 201 million yen (~$1.49 million) LOSS
FYE March 31, 2021: 3,681 million yen (~$27.3 million) PROFIT
FYE March 31, 2022: 803 million yen (~$5.96 million) PROFIT
FYE March 31, 2023: 912 million yen (~$6.77 million) LOSS
USD conversions were done with 5/5/23 conversion rate of 134.80 yen to 1 USD.
Makita’s 18V system is being expanded with new unique solutions at a snail’s pace, and they long-ago reached the hard limit with respect to 18V battery performance. The XGT system doesn’t have the same limits, but it’s expensive and doesn’t seem very popular.
Makita launched the XGT cordless power tool system two years ago, and I would have expected to see interest pick up by now. XGT is not looking to be the flagship system everyone thought it could be.
I bought into XGT, but would not recommend it to most users. I see it as a line of one-off solutions, rather than a broad system.
I’m avoiding Makita 18V tools, as the company has done nothing to convince me it’s not an aging and outgoing cordless platform.
I fully expected XGT to offer more by now, to where it shadowed the 18V system. Basically, I expected XGT to become the prime focus for pro users, and the 18V system to be emphasized for its seasonal values, such as value-priced combo kit “special buys” and similar.
Makita USA isn’t doing the XGT system justice with their current “for high demand applications” strategy. But this approach might not be preserving 18V sales and interest either, as suggested by the recent layoffs and price hikes.
Some users are not concerned with the expansion, advancement, and support of a cordless power tool system, and make purchase decisions based on specific present day needs. But many do not just buy a couple of tools, they seek to buy into a system.
Competing cordless power tool brands’ systems are better defined and differentiated, such as Bosch, Dewalt, Milwaukee, and Flex. They’re not perfect. For example, what’s the difference between Milwaukee M18 and M18 Fuel? Dewalt Atomic and XR? But, those options all work with the same batteries in their respective systems.
With Makita 18V and XGT, you have to buy into them separately. If you want a cordless jig saw, you can’t get that in XGT yet. If you want higher capacity or more powerful batteries, or more premium features such as a drill with anti-kickback, you can’t get that in 18V yet.
Two years later, Makita hasn’t cleared things up one bit. They advertise their 18V LXT system as “one system,” and “the ideal solution for all pros,” but it’s not. The 18V system lags behind both competing systems and Makita’s XGT platform. The XGT system is far from complete and is still missing many core tools, preventing it from being a one-and-only cordless platform for many tool users.
18V and XGT are overlapping flagship cordless systems, which doesn’t seem like an ideal situation.
Is Makita going to launch new 18V tools and accessories two years from now? Five? What about XGT? How many XGT tools launched overseas but not here in the USA yet? Will this improve or worsen, and what does it depend on?
As a consumer, I feel that there are too many questions that Makita should have answered by now. Or rather, there are too many questions tool users shouldn’t have to ask.
When Makita USA announced the XGT brand here, the muddiness between 18V LXT and 36/40V Max XGT was frustrating but perhaps forgivable. I had assumed that this would be short-lived. More than two years later, things aren’t any clearer.
But hey, at least you can now buy their 18V heated blanket in green.
What are your thoughts on the brand today?