Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Recipro Saw Review

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Reciprocating Saw Review: Pros & Cons


1) Compact size (3″ blade, 1.

5″ handle)

2) Lightweight (7 oz.


3) Easy to operate with one hand.

No need to hold it by the blade or handle. You just push forward and back buttons on the control panel, which are located at the top of the saw’s body.

4) Very quiet when running.

Even with a fan blowing air over the blade, the noise level is very low.

5) Compact design makes it easy to store away.

A small bag will fit inside the saw’s storage box. You can even carry it around in your pocket if necessary!

The power switch is located on the left side of the saw’s body, right above where you would normally reach for a battery charger.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Recipro Saw Review from our website

6) Compact design makes it easy to transport.

Just fold up the saw’s legs and place them into a small carrying case. If you’re going out of town, you can easily stow the saw in your backpack or briefcase.


1) Blade does not have a lock feature like some other reciprocating saws do.

You’ll still need to use a screwdriver to turn the blade so that it locks into place when not in use.

2) Only one depth setting.

The blade protrudes the same amount outside of the saw’s body no matter what the material you’re cutting is.

3) Small size prevents you from getting into tighter spaces.

If you need to cut something in a confined area, you may need to remove the cover plates on either side of the saw’s motor. You can do this by removing up to 8 screws on each side.

4) No large range of adjustability.

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Recipro Saw Review from our website

You can only move the blade up and down a few inches at most. However, this is rarely an issue, as you can easily set the depth to match your material’s thickness and not need to make any additional adjustments.

5) Only offers 2 AMP power (in the 18V LXT designation).

However, due to it’s unique design (see below), this is plenty of power for all but the most demanding jobs.

How it’s Unique:

The Makita 18V LXT sub-compact reciprocating saw is not a typical recip saw. Most others have more than one moving part inside their bodies, while this one has only one (the blade). This makes it lighter and easier to use than other saws, but sacrifices some cutting power.

This tool’s main claim to fame is its unique method of vibration reduction. A fan is located inside the upper portion of the saw’s body. It sits directly behind and above the blade. As long as you’re holding the saw in a normal manner (towards the front), air blows down on the blade, pushing it into the material and reducing vibration. If you hold it sideways or backwards (away from the front), the fan creates an air stream that is not blowing directly on the blade, greatly reducing vibration in those directions.

This saw also features brushless motor technology, similar to what is used in cordless power tools. It provides more power and longer life than a standard brushed motor. Surprisingly, it’s also more responsive and faster than a traditional saw.

Ease of Use:

The LXT is the easiest recip saw to use. You can complete bite cuts by resting the saw’s body against the back side of your cut and letting it fall into place. It should make contact with the material on it’s own, as long as you hold it at a slight angle. This makes slow-down cuts almost impossible!

The LXT requires no priming or choke (kicking) to get it started. Just pull the trigger and it will start right up. Because of this, you’ll rarely need to use the brake (which is located behind the blade and can be engaged by your thumb).

Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Recipro Saw Review -

The LXT also features an automatic oiling system (a piston pushes oil towards the blade on each revolution) and vents near the base of the saw’s body that automatically blow away sawdust. Both help to keep it running cooler and more consistently.

The LXT’s only downfall is it’s small size. It can’t cut as wide or as long of pieces as other reciprocating saws. However, since you can complete bite cuts with it, you’ll rarely need to make a long back-to-back cut.

This is the perfect saw for remodeling work and other jobs in tight spaces. It’s extremely durable (in fact, it’s one of the few tools that’s actually rated for underwater use!

Blade Changes:

One of the great things about this saw is that it uses the same blades as other popular Makita tools (such as their impact drivers and drills). So if you ever need new blades, they’re readily available at any hardware store. You can even get a cheap universal blade holder, which replaces the stock one, for $20. The new blade holder accepts standard 7 1/4″ blades (not the 10″ ones), so you have a lot more options when it comes to types and price.

The LXT’s stock blade is 22tpi (teeth per inch). This is fairly coarse, which causes a lot of friction and heat while cutting (especially with harder woods like oak or hickory). It’s best used for softwoods, like pine or fir. A finer tooth count can be found in some of the aftermarket blades, such as 27tpi or 30tpi. These are good all-around blades that will work with most materials.

Reciprocating saws are notorious for spitting out blades on the reverse stroke (backward cutting). The stock blade has a decent amount of clearance, which helps, but you can always get a thinner aftermarket blade. It will bend more easily, but it will also eliminate the possibility of it hitting the wood and bouncing back at you.

blade and the replacement blades fit into the same holder.

Sources & references used in this article: