Review: Makita DJR 188 LXT

Review: Makita DJR 188 LXT

Roger Bisby tries out the Makita DJR 188 LXT reciprocating saw

This 18 volt Makita recip saw arrived in the nick of time because I was about to rip out a bathroom which was built like a battleship with 8in. thick studwork screwed together with 4in screws. The heads were tiled over, so the only option was to cut through them. Even the bath panels were a major mission to remove. It was by far the hardest bathroom rip out I have done, and without a reciprocating saw I would have been there another day. My first thought was that maybe this compact lightweight machine (it weighs 3 kilos) might not have enough guts to cope. It will cut at up to 3,000 strokes per minute, with a stroke length of 20mm, so 3,000 times 20 is 60,000mm of cutting per minute. Try that with a handsaw.

With a Makita demolition blade I managed to cut through timber studs, plywood, screws, nails and even tiles. I couldn’t believe that it would tackle the tiles but it did but it undoubtedly shortened the life of the blade and, as the blade became blunt, the batteries worked harder. Unfortunately, as the shoe is fixed you can’t move the cutting point forward by extending it to use an unused part of the blade. I can’t give you an exact number of cuts but with that one blade I managed to fill a whole skip with the debris from the bathroom, and it took two complete charges of a 5Ahr battery and a little bit from the third battery. If I had used 6Ahr I reckon it would have taken two batteries worth.

The saw is very compact, so you can get it into places where longer bodied saws won’t reach. The motor is brushless, which helps the power and run-time and it has a constant speed under load. There wasn’t one occasion where it stalled or jammed. That may, of course, have been due to the skill of the operator but I couldn’t possibly claim that now could I? The electronic brake gives you a dead stop the second you take your finger off the trigger, which is very handy if you are cutting close to cables or live pipes.

It also has a variable speed on the trigger, so you can have a nice controlled start before you rev it up a bit. Given that I was using this saw all day long the vibration was negligible, but the vibration varies in different materials, so it may be that through sheet steel, for example, you get a different level but, of course, you could use gloves. The saw is available with a carry bag and two batteries and a charger but we received the naked body hence the 5Ahr batteries borrowed from another tool.

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