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Makita XVJ01Z Review- Is it the Best 18-Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw?

I recently added the Makita XVJ01Z 18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw to my arsenal. I have a lot to say about the XVJ01Z after my first few weeks of use. I’m going to start off by first explaining what a barrel grip is and why it is better than a D-grip. If you would like to skip to the review section feel free to use the table of contents section to do so.

Makita XVJ01Z Review

What is a barrel grip jigsaw?

The two main types of jigsaws are the D-grip and the barrel grip. The d-grip is probably what most people think of when they picture a jigsaw. The barrel grip features a more ergonomic design, where the body of the jigsaw is pretty much the handle. 

D-grip Jigsaw

Ryobi One+ P5231 18V Lithium Ion Cordless Orbital T-Shaped 3,000 SPM Jigsaw

This is a good entry-level jigsaw, but the ergonomics and speed no match for the Makita XVJ01Z 18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw. If you are interested in a cheaper D-grip jigsaw this Ryobi is a good option.

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Barrel Grip

Makita XVJ01Z 18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw

Here is the guest of honor, the Makita XVJ01Z 18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw. From this picture, I think it is clear why they are called barrel grips.

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Why would you want a barrel grip jigsaw?

I personally have used both the D-grips and the barrel grip jigsaws. I was skeptical at first. I thought it was just another way they could upsell me on a jigsaw. I will never go back to a regular jigsaw. I love my barrel grip. 

Everything about it is just better. Putting my bias with barrel grip jigsaws aside, the biggest benefit to a barrel grip jigsaw is the ergonomics. If you are using your jigsaw for coping, I highly recommend you spend a few extra dollars and get a barrel grip. Having the barrel grip just allows for better control, especially when cutting upside down for coping. (check out our article on how to cope with a jigsaw here)

Makita XVJ01Z Review- Best 18-Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw?

After using the Makita XVJ01Z Jigsaw for close to a month, I have developed a better understanding of the tool and barrel grip jigsaws as a whole. I will be going over every aspect of the tool such as the ergonomics, modes, buttons, battery life, blade changes, and downsides.

(Ergonomics/Size)-Makita XVJ01Z Review-18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw

Makita XVJ01Z ReviewMakita XVJ01Z Review

First off, we have the ergonomics section. The Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw measures close to 12″ long, 3″ wide, and about 5.5″ tall. The overall size is comparable to a standard D-grip as pictured above. The Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw weighs 4lbs 5.6oz. The Ryobi used for reference above weighs 4lbs exactly. So, the Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw is slightly heavier, but it isn’t a noticeable amount to me.

(Speed/Settings)-Makita XVJ01Z Review-18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw

Makita XVJ01Z ReviewMakita XVJ01Z Review

As far as settings go, the Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw has a variable speed of 800-3500 strokes per minute, controlled through its 6-speed settings. The Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw features 3 different orbital settings.

The Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw has an automatic lock/safety feature so that after you turn the tool off it can not be bumped on in your tool bag.

(Battery Life)-Makita XVJ01Z Review-18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw

I have not had any issues as far as battery life. I was able to cope with 5 pieces of the base on one bar of a 5AH battery and it was still going strong. Makita advertises that the brushless motor increases the run time by up to 50% over a brushed jigsaw.

(Blade Change/Convenience Features)-Makita XVJ01Z Review-18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw

Makita XVJ01Z ReviewMakita XVJ01Z Review

The Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw has one of the easiest blade change systems I have used and it actually works. The blade change works by lifting the small plastic shield shown above and then the blade releases. I know some of the quick-change systems are not quick or they don’t hold the blade, I have had no issues.

The Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw has a built-in dust blower, that works pretty well. It helps keep your line clear of dust for a more precise cut. 

Another nice feature of the Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw is the LED cutting light. The light is actually pretty bright and I never knew I needed one until I was working on a house without power. It is definitely convenient. 

(The Downsides)-Makita XVJ01Z Review-18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw

I love the Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw, but it does have its downsides. The first downside is the price, at around $270 the Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw is on the pricier side of the spectrum. 

The other downside is the base doesn’t have a quick release. So, if you want to change the angle of your cut, you have to pull out an alan wrench. This is not a huge deal, but it is slightly frustrating for a tool at this price point.


(Should I buy it?/Final Verdict)-Makita XVJ01Z Review-18 Volt Cordless Barrel Grip Jigsaw

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Let me summarize the Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw. The size and weight are on par with standard D-grip jigsaws. The Makita XVJ01Z offers 6 speed settings up to 3500 SPM. The Makita XVJ01Z jigsaw has a quick change blade system, a built-in dust blower, and an led cutting light for added convenience. 

Would I buy it again? Yes, yes, and yes. I have no regrets about the purchase, I needed a new jigsaw and I wanted to try the barrel grip. I personally believe it is worth spending the extra dollars. I would rather buy one good tool than burn through 6 cheap Menards or Harbor Freight tools.

Should you buy it though? Well, it depends. If you do not have a big budget for tools and the jigsaw is not something you are going to use often, you may want to opt for a cheaper jigsaw and allot your budget elsewhere.

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