Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

A while back we reviewed a Makita chain saw.  We took it out to Bode Tree company and ran it through some trees.  Now we are looking at a newer, bigger and better cordless version, model XCU03PT.  As an FYI, we got the kit XCU03PTX1, which came with a cordless grinder.  However for the Makita cordless chain saw review, we will only focus on this chain saw, model XCU03PT.  The grinder will be covered in another review.  So is this a good chain saw for the landscapers and arborists?

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review – Overview

The Makita chain saw is based off their 18V platform.  However, there is a twist to this.  Instead of having a single 18V battery, the system uses two batteries so it’s basically a 36V saw.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review – Features

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

The saw is designed around a brushless motor.  This type of motor is more efficient, which means you will get more work done per charge and the motor will last longer.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

The brushless motor powers the 14″ guide bar with a variable speed of 0 – 3,940 FPM.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

As with other chain saws, this has a front guard that doubles as a chain brake.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

If the chain does come off the guide bar or you need to tighten or loosen the chain, it’s tool free and easy to make changes.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

There is an on/off push button in easy reach of your thumb.  If the saw isn’t used for a certain period of time, it will automatically shut off to help preserve battery life.  For me, it seems like it turns off too quickly.  If I cut a piece of wood and bend down to move the piece I just cut and try to use the saw again, I am forced to press the power button again. Not a huge deal, but would be nice if you had a little longer.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

Towards the front of the saw, there is a battery LED that will let the user know how much juice is left in each battery.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

There is a built in view window to easily check bar oil levels.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review – Performance

You’re not going to cut down a 100 year Oak tree with this saw, but who would really expect that type of performance with a battery saw?  As long as you understand this is a battery saw and not designed to replace your gas saw, you will then really appreciate the performance of the saw.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review

The saw is powerful, well balanced and very easy to use and control.  I love the electric brake for obvious safety reasons.  If you are using this as a tree topper or just trimming branches around your customer’s yard, this will perform up to your expectations.

I am still surprised how fast this saw just eats through wood.  I am guessing that has to do with the direct drive design of the saw.  I am also surprised how much cutting can get done before your batteries need to be recharged.

Makita Cordless Chain Saw Review – Final Thoughts

The Makita cordless chain saw is well designed and balanced making using it much easier than a gas model.  While it doesn’t come close to gas in regards to run time, for a battery powered saw, it runs for an amazingly long time.  The saw is powerful and will surprise you at what such a quiet machine can do in regards to performed work.  With less maintenance, it’s hard to beat.

While I still think it’s a long way from being the number one saw in an arborists arsenal, I think landscapers will enjoy this saw for their tree work as a second source of income. Someone who is mowing and doing minor tree work will get plenty of use this from this saw.


  1. Another tool on my want list. Unfortunately, it isn’t high on the need list and will have to wait until the tool budget recovers from that last tool sale…

  2. I bought one because I had Makita batteries. It’s one of the lightest and best balanced, for example, the Milwaukee saw weighs 14.0 lbs with a 216 Wh battery, Makita weighs 10.1 lbs with available 216 Wh (6Ah) batteries.

    One Milwaukee 18V (nom) 12Ah battery weighs 3.7 lbs. (18)x(12) = 216 watts

    Two (2) Makita 18V (nom) 6 Ah batteries weigh 2.7 lbs. (2)x(6)x(12) = 216 watts

    One Dewalt 54V (nominal, 60 volt max volt) 4Ah battery weighs 3.2 lbs (54)x(4) = 216 watts

    ?If equipped with identical amount of fuel (electrical storage capacity), they should all deliver about the same amount of work. Any difference would be chain cutter efficient, electrical efficiency, gear loses, etc.

  3. Chain comes off to easy seems to damage itself and now does not slide in the bar easy at all.? This is a new 14 inch makita 36 volt saw. Anyone else have issues. It maybe going back.

    • G;day Steve I am having the same problem of the chain coming off . I have ruined 2 chains in less than 2 hours of cutting . Makita refused to recognise it as a fault and blamed me for not tensioning the chain properly . I have been using Stihl chainsaws for years and never had a problem. The doctor told me to get a battery saw after receiving a pacemaker as petrol ones have a large electric field , but I always have to get the old petrol saws out to finish the job .

  4. Yes I agree with Steve gaida, I consider this the worst tool I have ever bought, the chain needs adjusting every 3 minutes, this is the one that came with it,. Maurie Lipyeat

  5. You must make sure when replacing the chain sprocket cover the black spigot is correctly seated in the hole in the bar otherwise it wont tension properly. With any saw the chain gets slack after it heats up and after the first re-tension I’ve never had any issues.

  6. I have been using Stihl petrol chainsaws for years with no problems . I have just started using a Makita 36 volt battery saw which keeps throwing and ruining the chain . This is a problem that I have never had previously . I do watch my chain tension ,but it has cost me 2 chains in less than two hours of work .

  7. Have same problem here, definitely the mark Makita, while earlier no problem with chains coming off at slightest side force. When i compare with other marks, you see the chain has smaller pieces, both in length as in depth. And the sort of steel mmiht be worse too, because always the seats are damaged while coming off. Anybody knowing how to replace wheel, bar and chain to better makes ?

  8. I’ve bought
    Makita DUC405Z, cordless chain saw ,from Uk shop .
    Then ship to Maldives

    I thought it’s good enough to cut coconut palms , but it couldn’t ,
    may be its not a issue with saw , not issue with blade ,may be its a issue with 18V , 3.0Ah battery x 2 , it even don’t hold charge 5 minutes , also my first cut coconut palm log not fat as 1.5 feet .
    The seller sold out without battery, So i bought only body ,

    so Once I received I bought battery from Maldives makita shop , they recommend 18V , 3.0Ah 2 battery ,it was bad
    May be it need high Ah , not 3.0Ah . So please advice me what battery best for this model ? 6Ah or ?


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