Makita Launched a New Cordless Jig Saw (XVJ04)

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Makita XVJ04 18V Cordless Jig Saw

Makita has a new 18V cordless jig saw, model XVJ04, which is described as delivering “best-in-class performance and with more features.”

The saw has a new compact design, allowing it to be used in tight spaces.

It has a D-handle grip, and seems to include all of the modern features one could ask for from a brushless jig saw.

Makita XVJ04 Features & Specs

  • Works with T-shank blades
  • 3,000 SFM max speed
  • 7/8″ stroke length
  • Soft-start mode
  • Variable speed trigger
  • 3 orbital settings
  • Adjustable speed dial
  • Lock-on button
  • Base bevels 0-45° left/right
  • LED light
  • Built-in dust blower
  • Electric brake
  • 10-1/8″ length
  • Weighs 5.5 lbs with battery

Price: $189 for tool-only (XVJ04Z)

Makita 18V batteries and chargers are sold separately.

Discussion

Makita USA’s press release says that their new jig saw “offers best-in-class performance with more features,” and that it “delivers increased performance for faster and more accurate cuts in a variety of materials,” but they don’t elaborate upon this.

As for “more features,” Makita’s “additional features” section mentions a soft-start mode and two-finger variable speed trigger – features also shared by their older model, XVJ02.

Makita XVJ04 vs XVJ04 18V Cordless Jig Saw Comparison
Makita 18V brushless jig saws: XVJ04 (left) vs XVJ02 (right)

The older model Makita 18V brushless jig saw, XVJ02 – which according to Amazon was first available in January 2015 (nearly 8 years ago) has a higher speed (3500 SPM vs 3000 SPM) and longer stroke length (1″ vs 7/8″). It’s slightly heavier, weighing 5.8 lbs with battery, compared to 5.5 lbs as specified in Makita’s press release.

Although the comparison images are not perfectly scales, it’s clear that the new model has a completely new geometry, with the battery positioned below the handle, as opposed to hanging off the back of the tool.

So, although the XVJ04 jig saw measures 10-1/8″, and the XVJ02 jig saw measures 10-1/2″, I would expect the weight distribution will be different.

I have a question:

How does this new model deliver “best-in-class performance” when the older model has a longer stroke length and can achieve faster speeds?

A longer stroke length and faster speed typically means faster cutting and application speeds, and thus higher performance. How can higher performance be achieved with a shorter stroke length and slower max speed?

Stroke length (length of sawing motion per stroke) x stroke speed (number of strokes per minute) gives you effective cutting speed.

For the XVJ04, this would be 7/8″ x 1 foot/12 inches x 3,000 SPM = 219 SFM (max).

For the XVJ02, this would be 1″ x 1 foot/12 inches x 3,500 SPM = 292 SFM (max).

Or am I missing something? How can a new tool be advertised as delivering “best-in-class performance” and “increased performance” when Makita’s nearly 8-year older model has a 33% higher max on-paper cutting speed?

Am I missing something?

I emailed Makita USA’s communications manager, asking for clarity, but have not yet heard back.

The “more features” claim also seems relative, as the PR-described soft-start and two-finger trigger features are also offered by Makita’s older XVJ02 model.

Maybe they are comparing the new model to their lower-priced brushed motor jig saws? Their D-handle XVJ03 has a 1″ stroke length and 2,600 SPM max speed, which comes out to 217 SFM. The calculated SFM for the XVJ04 (219 SFM) is less than 1% faster.

Makita XVJ04 vs XVJ04 18V Cordless Jig Saws with Batteries
Makita 18V brushless jig saws with batteries attached: XVJ04 (left) vs XVJ02 (right)

If you’re in Makita’s 18V cordless power tool system, I’d say look at this model for its seemingly improved ergonomics. Compared to the XVJ02, the XVJ04 is a little smaller and lighter.

The new model is also less expensive – it’s priced at $189 for the tool-only, compared to $289 for the older model.

It is unclear whether the XVJ04 is replacing the XVJ02, or if Makita will be selling them side by side.

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