Yesterday Makita USA officially announced a future battery platform called XGT. This new XGT battery platform is called 40V Max, so 36 volt in reality.
Why call it 40 Volt Max instead of 36 Volt?
It looks like Makita is taking a page from Dewalt’s playbook with their transition from 18V Ni-Cd to 20V Max Li-Ion. Dewalt claimed the new platform was called 20V Max instead of 18V Li-Ion so as to not create confusion with their coexisting 18V line. In practice this did work but oh boy did it open a can of worms with people thinking it was actually a different voltage compared to Milwaukee M18, Makita LXT and everyone else in the 18V Li-ion world. Makita must be worried about confusion they would encounter with their current X2 tools which are billed at 36V tools. If they also referred to the new XGT platform as 36V this would be quite a mess.
Will XGT and LXT be Compatible?
No they will be completely standalone platforms with no proposed cross platform usage. This means different chargers and no battery swapping between tools.
What is happening to the current LXT platform?
LXT tools and batteries will continue to be developed and nothing will change in the foreseeable future. The new XGT platform is not meant to compete with LXT even though there will be some cross over with similar tools such as drills, impacts, grinders and similar tools.
Why Does Makita Need a New Battery Platform?
This is both simple and complex to answer. One reason is the current LXT tools use 18650 cells. See this Bosch or Milwaukee article for more information on Li-ion cells. Because of the size jump when going from 18650 cells many current LXT tools would not fit physically larger battery packs. Since it would not be practical to redesign every incompatible tool Makita must took this different approach.
Another Very Important Reason is Available Power.
The current capabilities of Makita’s 18V+18V X2 (36V) platform is tapped out. There is only so much that can be done with 36 volts of power. Eventually you will need to up the voltage so you can venture into larger tools needing more power. Breakers, cut saws, beam saws, large chainsaws, etc. will need more power to have comparable performance to a corded or gas powered tool. So wait isn’t this new platform 36 volts just like Makita’s current X2 setup? Yes but of course you must see where this is going. With the success of X2 on the LXT platform why not do the same with XGT. Bingo! Now you have 72 volts of power which is exactly what Milwaukee just launched with their MX FUEL line. Read our MX FUEL article here.
Now for the Makita Secrete Sauce.
The genius of this new speculated XGT X2 72 volt platform in comparison to Milwaukee’s MX FUEL line is total available tools. With Milwaukee you are forced to own two complete platforms if you want to have regular M18 tools such as drills, impacts and circular saws and also MX FUEL tools such as the new 14″ cut saw. But with Makita deciding to go 36V packs you can function with only one platform for many of your tools. Drills, impacts, reciprocating saw and more can all function just fine with a larger single 36 volt pack. Yes they will be quite larger than their 18 volt siblings but at least you can function on one platform. Of course you will still need the Makita LXT platform for items such as multi-tools, screwguns, nailers and other tools requiring smaller size and weight.
When Will XGT be Available in the US?
As of this writing Makita has only committed to “sometime in 2020” as far as availability. XGT will launch first in Japan and other countries.
The XGT Tool Lineup.
Since the XGT lineup hasn’t been officially launched in the US there are not concrete details of models and specifications. Now you can look to the internet to find very specific details of overseas models. There are some great articles written already which you can easily find. Instead of listing those models we are waiting for the US versions to hit the market and do write-ups on those tools.