Makita XGD01Z (tool only) is easily the very Best Battery-Powered Earth Auger on the market today. There’s not much competition but Makita has done an admirable job of creating a powerful earth auger using clean power. Let’s take an indepth look —
There was a time when electric earth augers, or post diggers, were seen as second best. Corded electric augers weren’t all that convenient as you’re often working far from an electric outlet, and they generally lacked the power offered by gas augers. Lithium-ion battery-powered outdoor equipment has done a lot to change how we view electric augers. With cord-free convenience, they offer the same go-anywhere advantage of gas machines.
Cordless augers have their pros but have never delivered the power we need for heavy-duty post digging, or soil sampling, never mind the demanding applications of the construction industry. Limited battery time has also made these machines less desirable for some.
Technology is always developing. What was once thought impossible, is now within reach. The newly released Makita XGD01Z 36V cordless auger is set change our mindset when considering a battery-powered earth auger.
VIDEO | A Closer Look at Makita’s Cordless Earth Auger
This lightweight, quiet machine can compete with 36cc gas-powered augers. Using battery power also means no gas to worry about, no fumes, no oil, and virtually no maintenance. While the Makita XGD01Z is does not provide the same level of power that we can expect from a large gas-powered 2-man earth auger, it outperforms any other of the same size. It is also much lighter and incredibly easy to use.
If we’re going to try compare the Makita 36V cordless auger to any battery-powered equivalent, there is simply no contest. This magnificent machine is in a league of its own, as you’ll discover in the Makita XGD01Z review to follow.
|Overall Length : 33″||Drilling capacities : |
For sandy soil: 200 mm (7-7/8″)
For clay soil: 150 mm (5-7/8″)
|Maximum Hole Depth : 41″||Rated voltage : D.C. 36V|
|No Load Speed (var. 2 speed) : 0 – 350 / 0 – 1,400 RPM||Reverse switch|
|Maximum Hole Diameter : 8″||Net Weight (with battery) : 17.9 lbs.|
Of course, being the best also means that you’ll be paying for the privilege of owning something this great. You can expect a price tag of around $600 for the Makita XGD01Z. You will find gas augers with more power at the same price. However, you won’t have all the advantages, and lower running costs, that make a cordless auger such a marvelous investment.
To provide some alternatives to consider, I’ll also be reviewing the heavy-duty Earthquake 9800H 2-person gas-powered auger. If a lightweight machine, like the cordless Makita XGD01Z, does not provide the heavy-duty grunt that you require for larger deeper holes, then this fairly expensive alternative may be the answer, albeit a gas machine. In the end, if you want the power required for an industrial style auger, you will need to contend with a gas engine, not to mention a bulky, heavy, 2-person machine.
Traditional Gas Earth Auger : TAZZ 35365
If you have your mind set on a cordless electric auger but the Makita is above your price range, you may want to consider the Landworks cordless earth auger. At almost half the price of the Makita XGD01Z, it is more affordable for homeowners and possibly smaller farms. Naturally, at this price, we can’t expect the same type of extraordinary power delivered by the Makita 36V auger. It also doesn’t offer that rugged, heavy-duty quality that has become a Makita hallmark.
This cannot be seen as a comparative review. There really is no comparison to the Makita XGD01Z. Instead, we’re providing three great options for entirely different applications. In a sense, the Makita cordless auger straddles both sides of the market. It is as powerful as small to mid-sized gas augers, with all the advantages of cordless electric design, and is supremely tough.
Note : If you’re curious to learn about more traditional earth augers we have a complete guide on the top rated earth augers, also referred to as post hole diggers.
Makita XGD01Z Review / XGD01PT
- No gas, emissions, oil mixing or pull starts with reduced maintenance and low noise levels
- Makita-built BL Brushless Motor delivers power of a 36cc gas earth auger
- Drill holes up to 8″ wide and 41″ deep (extension bar, auger bit and blades sold separately)
- High performance digging with even and consistent holes for landscaping, construction and soil sampling
- Ideal for post-hole digging, fence installation, large planting jobs and construction projects
- 2 speed options (Low: 0-350 RPM, High: 0-1,400 RPM) for power and run time management
- Automatic Speed Change™ technology adjusts drill speed and torque during drilling
- Reverse switch for clearing earth auger bit from high resistance soil
- Torque limiter; built-in clutch reduces gear damage by disengaging gears if the bit binds (low speed only)
- Metal-gear housing increases tool durability and extends reliability
- Built-in L.E.D. light illuminates the work area
- Includes chuck key with convenient on-tool storage
- Features Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) engineered to provide increased dust and water resistance in harsh job site conditions
- Equipped with Star Protection Computer Controls™ to protect against overloading, over-discharging and over-heating
- 3-year limited warranty
Note : Read the official press release from Makita.
If you’re familiar with Makita cordless tools, then then you’ll know how great the Makita 18V LXT battery system is. In my experience, this is one of the best battery platforms. Makita has always placed an emphasis on quality. When it comes to lithium-ion batteries, these guys have consistently been one of the top choices.
Makita LXT batteries outlast most. Not only are the batteries top-quality, but the chargers and internal battery management system (BMS) ensure absolute battery safety and improve lifespan. Makita was one of the first cordless tool manufacturers to introduce rapid charging with a battery cooling system. This allows you to charge the battery incredibly fast and eliminates the chance of damage that results from a high-current charger..
Makita Star Protection set the standard for computerized battery protection and management. Intelligent computer monitoring constantly communicates between the tool and the battery while you’re working, and between the charger and battery when charging. Protection from overcharging, short circuit, and under-voltage has become quite normal for lithium-ion batteries. Makita was one of the pioneers in this development and their battery systems have the edge, being tried and tested over many years.
Most of the industry leaders have started using higher voltage batteries to increase efficiency, providing improved power and longer battery working times. DeWalt has probably taken the lead with the development of their exceptional 20V/60V FlexVolt battery. While these batteries are backward compatible, meaning you can use them to power any of their 20V tools, you cannot use the older 20V batteries in the new 60V and 120V cordless tools. To take advantage of the improved high-volt cordless tools, you need to buy the new 60V batteries. They are not exactly cheap.
As much as I admire the stunning DeWalt FlexVolt battery, I think Makita has taken a more practical approach. Many of the high-powered Makita tools now operate at 36V. This increased voltage allows the power to be used more efficiently and the wattage of the motor can be increased whilst not increasing the operating temperature.
Okay, 36V is not as high as some others. In this sense DeWalt has the ultimate battery voltage, with some tools operating at 120V DC. Perhaps opting for 36V is a bit of a compromise. You don’t have the full advantage of high-volt efficiency, a 60V cordless tool will be quite a bit more efficient. However, I think this is a worthwhile compromise. The Makita XGD01Z uses the same 18V LXT battery that has been powering their premium cordless tools for several years. This means you have the advantage of more power, with improved battery working times, without the expense of buying new batteries. A pragmatic and sensible way to approach the situation.
By using 2 X 18V LXT batteries connected in series, the Makita 36V cordless auger provides the power needed to drill holes up to 8” wide and 41” deep. Though in harder ground, I think 6” width would be a more realistic expectation. I think this is incredible for a tool that weighs only just under 18-pounds including the batteries. Not only is the power to weight ratio awe-inspiring, the efficiency of the brushless Makita motor and increased battery voltage provides incredible working times. If you’re a long-time Makita user, you probably have enough 18V LXT batteries to keep working all day by exchanging the batteries as they need to be charged.
Another reason why many contractors choose Makita cordless power tools over other high-end brands is the incredibly tough design. Plastic is used sparingly and only when this is going to be a preferential material. In other words, Makita uses high-quality plastics, only when this is the best solution – either for weight or rust-free durability. When you examine the Makita XGD01Z, you’ll see mostly high-grade aluminum components. This is one of the most durable metals and reduces weight considerably when compared to steel.
There’s a lot more than what meets the eye. Makita has a plethora of unique trademarks for the technology developed to make their tools superior. One of the best of these has to be Makita XPT (Extreme Protection Technology). Using robust materials is one thing, ensuring that the essential moving components inside the tool are protected is an entirely different challenge. Dust and moisture wear down bearings, gears, and other critical parts that keep your tool functioning optimally. Makita have taken extra care, when designing these tools, to keep harmful dust and moisture out. This improves durability, prolongs tool life, and reduces maintenance. When you consider the dust generated by an earth auger, this is an extremely valuable advantage. There are very few power tools engineered to the impeccable standards set by Makita.
Another great innovation, used in the Makita XGD01Z, is their trademarked Automatic Speed Change technology. This is another sophisticated computerized management system. As the battery discharges, most cordless tools experience a power loss. Automatic Speed Change monitors battery level, speed, and torque requirement. When the tool starts to labor, it will automatically adjust the speed and provide extra torque if needed. This maximizes battery time, whilst ensuring you always have the power needed for the job at hand.
When you buy a quality tool like this, it’s always quite exciting to open the box. In the case of the Makita XGD01Z, there are quite a lot of unassembled components that you need to bolt together. Though this does give you an opportunity to marvel at the expertly crafted aluminum bars, handles and adapters. I just love quality of this standard. You have paid a lot for this auger, but it becomes apparent, from the first observation, that you’ve spent your money on something quite exceptional.
Take your time to assemble the Makita XGD01Z. A lot of effort has been made to design the ultimate cordless earth auger. You should respect this. The instruction manual is easy to follow and full of detailed diagrams, helping you with every step when assembling the auger. All the components are secured using top-grade Allen-bolts, the correct wrench for these are supplied with the tool. The Allen wrench has a storage slot on the tool, so you always have it handy when you need to remove or tighten something. It also has a built in light for those hardworking folks who intend digging holes into the night.
I’m super impressed with the two handles, providing a firm and comfortable grip of the auger. It has a large, easy to use trigger switch and a safety anti-kickback bar that doesn’t get in the way. A dial switch allows you to select between two speed modes. Once assembled, the Makita XGD01Z is an absolute pleasure to use. You have the peace of mind knowing that the solid, and comfortable anti-kickback bar has you protected, while you almost effortlessly wield this lightweight powerful auger. I think this is possibly the easiest, and most comfortable, earth auger to use. Especially when you consider how immensely competent it is for larger holes.
No cordless auger provides the type of power delivered by the Makita XGD01Z. Best of all, it does this without all the hassles of a gas-powered machine. This lightweight earth auger will chew through the soil, effortlessly digging holes up to 8” in diameter. Makita design and quality is nothing short of awesome. This is definitely one of the power tool brands that has earned my utmost respect over several decades. Service at Makita approved dealerships is top-notch and they offer one of the best 3-year warranties in the business.
If you don’t mind digging quite deep into your pocket for what can only be described as the very best electric auger, then the Makita XGD01Z is the tool for you. It may be expensive, but wow! What an amazing machine.
Visit the Makita site to learn more.
Review : Landworks Earth Auger
- SPECS; All electric brushless motor that produces a output of 320RPMs Reverse Torque Control (RTC) Button, to quickly eject the auger fast and efficiently; All augers are produced with the universal Cap Screw Bolt thread design
- ECO-FRIENDLY; Unlike gasoline augers, battery-powered produce no smog and are quieter; Whole kit weighing only 22 Lbs; Earth Auger setup can dig approximately 30 holes (with a 2Ah battery at 88.8 Watt Hours) or 60 holes (with a 4Ah battery at 177.6 Watt Hours)
- EFFICIENT DESIGN; Powerhead is designed with a 3-Planetary Gear Mechanism for higher transmission efficiency; Brushless Motor makes the digging process smooth and efficient
- SAFETY FIRST; Always operate auger unit with eye protection; overload protector to prevent overheating; Wide-spaced handle for improved balance during operation
- BEST APPLICAITON; Use Earth Augers for post-hole digging/prepping, planting: bedding, bulbs, seedlings or fertilizing shrubs, water aeration, weed control and root removal
After checking the Makita XGD01Z price, many of you may be reeling back in your seats. Sure, this is an incredible machine but for many homeowners, it’s just too expensive. A much more affordable option would be the Landworks 48V cordless electric earth auger.
It’s immediately apparent when you unbox the Landworks auger that it is not the same industrial grade machine as the Makita 36V earth auger. While the All-plastic power head is quite tough, you don’t see the same extensive use of aluminum that you find on the Makita model. Fair enough, this is a domestic grade earth auger, and is much cheaper than the Makita XGD01Z. For its intended purpose, the Landworks earth auger is fantastic. A reasonably affordable machine that will suffice for the needs of most domestic users.
The 48V powertrain is really good for a cordless auger of this caliber. Delivering 1,400W (2HP), at maximum speed of 320 RPM. Power is delivered from the efficient brushless motor using 3 planetary gears. This ensures an even and uninterrupted torque transfer into pretty hard ground. Despite all this power and great gearing, it does not have quite the same capabilities as the Makita XGD01Z. The Landworks auger is rated for holes up to 6” in diameter. It may be able to handle more, though only in really soft soil. Power is quite close to that of the 36V Makita auger, but it does not have the same sophisticated speed and torque management system. The Landworks Earth Auger is more likely to bind in tougher conditions. It is, none the less, quite remarkable for a domestic grade cordless auger.
The batteries and charger are of a reasonable standard, better than cheap brands by a long shot. Using a 4AH battery, the manufacturers specify that you can drill approximately 60 holes. I’m not too sure if this would be possible in heavy dense soil. I guess it all depends on the ground you’re working in.
Looking at the plastic housing, one would think that this machine would be substantially lighter than the (mostly metal) Makita XGD01Z. In fact, the opposite is true. The Landworks auger weighs 22-pounds, 4-pounds heavier than the super-light Makita auger. Though the weight is perfectly acceptable. To make things easier, it has two soft-grip handles with great control and weight distribution.
Most of us don’t anticipate digging hundreds of holes on a daily basis. For non-commercial use, I expect the Landworks Earth Auger to be up to the task and should work well for many years. While the Makita XGD01Z would definitely be the first choice for hardworking commercial users, the Landworks auger is more reasonably priced for the type of budget that most of us are working with. The Brand has become a staple of the cordless garden tool repertoire. They offer a pretty extensive range of tools using the same battery. A perfect all in one solution for the homeowner. You can use the same battery for the auger, lawnmower, and a bunch of other useful garden power tools. All at very reasonable prices.
Review : EARTHQUAKE 9800H / 2-Person Earth Auger
- RELIABLE – Honda engine delivers years of performance
- DURABLE – ball bearing, alloy gear drive transmission
- TOUGH – welded Steel cage
- LEVERAGE – wide handle placement for maximum control
- EASY-TO-GRIP – fingertip throttle control
The Makita XG01Z can easily be considered the best electric earth auger. However, even the most powerful electric machine cannot compare to the power delivered by a high capacity gas engine. For larger, deeper holes, a gas auger is essential. This becomes more important when working in hard soil. If the Makita or Landworks augers are not up to the type of work you intend doing, the Earthquake 9800 gas-powered earth auger could be exactly what you need.
This more powerful auger isn’t much more expensive than the Makita XG01Z. Of course, you have higher running costs. Paying for gas and maintenance over the years will have an impact. Cordless electric tools always cost more but, after the initial expense, it’s pretty much hassle-free use, with basically no additional costs. When comparing power, the Makita electric auger is no match for this growling brute. The Earthquake 9800H can tackle holes as wide as 14” in diameter. This is certainly an industrial machine that will also serve well for demanding home users.
This is my personal first choice when compared to other models in the Earthquake lineup. I base this opinion primarily on the incredible Honda GCV160 engine. No one can beat Honda when it comes to building reliable, fuel-efficient, and lightweight engines for handheld power equipment. The 160cc 4-stroke powerhouse provides an impressive 6.9 Ft-LBS torque at 2,600 RPM.
The great engineering does not end with this superb engine. Without the correct gearing and super-tough transmission, no auger is worth its salt. The Earthquake transmission is made from heat strengthened alloy, with top-grade bearings. This is a reliable and tough piece of machinery. With a 30:1 gear ratio, you have immense torque at the auger bit. The final result is an incredible 207 Ft-LBS of torque at a maximum drilling speed of 121 RPM. This means that the Earthquake 160cc auger will persistently dig its way through the hardest soil without laboring the engine.
Keeping all this power under control, takes two people. Not to mention the weight of 56-pounds. To ensure that you’re able to handle this untamed beast, two large handles extend from each side of the strong metal roll cage. The angle of the handles provide a good distance between them, offering maximum control. Each handle has a rubber grip to make it more comfortable. These help reduce vibration and general fatigue.
The Earthquake 9800H 2-person earth auger is obviously designed and built to take on the toughest conditions. Robust build and magnificent engineering ensure that this auger will remain reliable for many years, not matter what it has to endure. This peace of mind is reinforced by a 5-year warranty on the auger and a 2-year warranty on the Honda engine.
Gas vs Electric Auger
This review of the Makita XG01Z, and its two alternatives, raises an important question. Which is better, a gas or electric earth auger? There are a number of factors that may influence your decision. I’ll be discussing this in detail.
In the construction industry, it is generally accepted that gas augers are the superior choice. If you need extra power to dig large holes in any type of soil, you need the muscle provided by a gas engine.
Another advantage to using a gas-powered auger is the unlimited working time and the ability to dig holes far from an electric outlet. Without the restriction of a power cord, or the limited time provided by a battery, a gas auger allows you to be more productive in remote areas.
A quality gas auger can be quite expensive. If you rely on industrial grade machinery, this is to be expected. In addition to the purchase price, gas engines obviously require gas an oil, adding to your running costs. Regular maintenance is another expense to contend with.
Gas engines are noisy and the emissions from the engine are not all that pleasant to deal with. For contractors, this all part of a normal day’s work and the correct PTFE is a necessary requirement. For home users, the noise and fumes associated with gas-powered equipment may be an unwanted inconvenience.
Using a gas auger requires more skill. These machines are relatively heavy and often require two people to use them safely. It’s not just the additional weight that needs to be considered. As you increase the power delivered by an auger, it requires more strength and skill to maintain control over the machine.
Powerful gas augers deliver a lot of torque. As you depress the throttle, you need to be able to keep a strong grip on the handles. This may become critical when the bit binds. If you suddenly encounter harder soil, or an obstacle like a rock, the auger will jolt to a standstill. This can result in injury if you are not able to control the bind up. Anti-kickback safety features are quite important when using a more powerful auger.
With all this power, the transmission has to be robust. This means a heavier machine and additional cost. If the transmission cannot handle the power, especially in extreme conditions, the auger will be unreliable.
It is important, when buying a gas-powered auger, to be prepared to pay extra for a well-made product. An inferior engine or transmission will be a cause for much frustration over time.
Interested in more options? Read our indepth guide on Buying a Post-Hole Digger, which is another term people use for earth augers. I know, it can be confusing. Everyone has their way to describe something. It’s contextual and depends on the intended application.
Gas Auger / Advantages & Disadvantages
- Increased Power
- You can use them anywhere with no need for an electrical outlet
- Gas augers are heavy, often requiring two people to operate them
- Regular maintenance is required
- They are noisy and produce noxious fumes
- Require more skill to operate
If you don’t need the power provided by a gas auger, an electric model is probably preferable. Corded electric augers are more affordable but you have the inconvenience of an electric cord to contend with.
Generally, we use an auger quite far from a home or other building with an electrical supply. Long extension cords have their hazards and there is a limit to how long these cords can be. Basically, corded electric augers are not always ideal. They may be the most affordable, but they have limited applications.
Battery-powered tools have become increasingly popular. With the advent of improved battery technology and super-efficient brushless electric motors, cordless machinery can now rival corded alternatives. With reasonable battery working times and enough power to compete with traditional corded electric machines, a cordless electric auger seems to be the ideal solution but there is a catch.
While corded power tools have become more affordable, they remain a fairly expensive option. Quality batteries provide quite long working times and last for many years. Though these batteries will need to be replaced at some point, and this can be costly. Furthermore, you need additional batteries if you intend working for long periods without interruptions. All of this makes cordless electric tools an expensive undertaking.
Despite the costs involved, cordless power equipment has become the most popular choices. You have all the advantages of electric power: quiet operation, improved power to weight ratio, no gas fumes, low maintenance. At the same time, you don’t have the inconvenience of a power cord.
An industrial grade cordless electric auger, like the Makita XGD01Z, is every bit as convenient as a smaller gas auger built for the same application. It may cost more to buy, but the long terms savings in operating costs will pay for itself. For more general domestic use, you can buy a cheaper electric auger.
Electric Auger / Advantages & Disadvantages
- No fumes
- Easy to start and use
- Low maintenance
- Corded electric augers are inexpensive
- Not as powerful as gas-powered augers
- Corded electric augers are limited by there need for an AC power supply
- Cordless augers are expensive