This review might be moot, considering the XCU02 is discontinued; but if anyone is getting one second hand or thinking about another Makita chainsaw, I’m confident you’ll find relevancy.
Part of the Makita LXT x2 platform, the XCU02 comes equipped with a 12” bar and Low Profile (LP) 3/8 chain. As with all of Makita’s x2 tools- the saw will not run with only one battery installed.
Since purchasing, I have used the saw mostly for storm cleanup. I suspect that is how/when most people use a chainsaw. I did have a chance to us it to cut some 6x6’s for a planter box and resized some cut trees into firewood. This isn’t the saw for felling large diameter trees, per say. It has plastic
My first impression of this saw remains. It is powerful. Keeping in mind the ‘stock’ size (12”) and being battery versus gas, this is a very capable saw when used within its design parameters. In fact I have pushed it beyond its design parameters and have pit a 16” bar and chain on it to cut some larger logs without any issues. It’s important, with chainsaws, to understand tension and compression when cutting; else you’ll end up with a jammed saw and potentially hazardous situations.
Why Makita, why cordless and why not gas? Well (1) I am not a arborist or tree cutting service I don’t use a chainsaw frequently and the lack of dealing with gas and oil mixture, plus not having to deal with regular servicing is key for me; (2) I am on the Makita platform already and had plenty of 5ah batteries to get most jobs done; (3) cords are so 2000; (4) no exhaust.
Why the XCU02 model? (1) top handle design; good balance; (2) power to weight ratio; (3) versatility - as I mentioned I have been able to cover 12-16” range with this single saw; (4) it was one fo the original models when I was in the market for a Makita chainsaw; (5) at the time of purchase I also picked up the eGo 14” model and while it is a good saw I ended up on another battery platform, with a heavier saw that performed the same. So I returned it after getting the Makita.
With two 5ah batteries I can get about 20 minutes of run time. Not outstanding but comparable to the run time of most battery powered chainsaw. Performance, excellent. The only time I have issues is where I am at fault. Improper technique and forcing the tool versus letting it cut will stall and bind it.
One criticism is I find tightening the chain a bit annoying. I have to pull the tip away from the saw first, tighten the case and then use the chain tensioning knob to get the proper tension. At least it is toolless! Further the chain oil cap gets in the way a bit when filling. Not substantial but I noticed it enough that it made an impression. Keep in mind this doesn’t have metal pawls, plastic ‘spike bumps’ so forget ‘pivoting’ using the spikes as a pivot point when making a cut.
Also, this is Makita as such, it can be hard to source chains and bars (Makita’s US distribution network is lacking). Reminder as well, this model has been discontinued. While I haven’t used any of the new Makita chainsaws, based on my experience with this saw and Makita, I’m confident the newer models preform adequately.
As with all tools, safety and proper technique is a must. Use a sharp chain, don’t force the cut, let the tool do the work and you’ll have success.
All opinions within are my own. I purchased the Makita XCU02 and have not been asked to review or been compensated in anyway.