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Makita XVJ02Z vs XVJ03Z Review

Jigsaws are essential tools for carpenters, contractors, remodelers, and do-it-yourselfers. But why pay more for a full kit and battery when all you need is the saw? Let’s take a look at these two bare tool jigsaws from Makita to see which one is the best for you.

Makita XVJ02Z 18-volt LXT Brushless Jig Saw Bare Tool

Makita XVJ02Z

Makita XVJ02Z

If you’re doing a lot of woodworking, the Makita XVJ02Z jig saw is probably the better tool for you. It has a brushless motor for long life, higher stroke speed, and more power. It’s also slightly lighter than the XVJ03Z by a few ounces.

The brushless motor gets more out of every battery charge, up to 50% more. It runs cooler and little quieter, too. And you’ll never have to replace carbon brushes because there aren’t any in this tool.

But those aren’t the only advantages. This jig saw has two LEDs for better illumination and a built-in dust blower. Those two features make it a lot easier to see where you’re cutting.

The maximum cut depth in aluminum is 25/32,” while the maximum in steel is 3/8-inch. If you’re cutting wood, you can go as deep as 5-5/16-inches. The stroke length itself is 1-inch long. And when you change blades to suit the material you’re cutting, you don’t need any tools to do it.

The six-speed control dial lets you choose between 800 and 3500 strokes per minute. There are also three orbital settings so you can match the cut to the material. Meanwhile, the electronic controls start up slowly, then keep the blade moving at a consistent rate so you get accurate, smooth cuts.

There are other electronic features that are part of Makita’s Star Protection, built-in controls against over-discharging, overloading and overheating. They keep the tool and the battery in top shape.

More features of the Makita XVJ02Z jig saw:

  • Bare tool only—no battery, no blade, and no case
  • Compatible with Makita’s 18V LXT lithium-ion battery packs like the BL1830
  • Weighs about 5.8 pounds with battery pack installed

Makita XVJ03Z 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Jig Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)

Makita XVJ03Z

Makita XVJ03Z

While these two saws are very similar in appearance, they have a few key differences. You may notice that the grip is slightly different on this saw, although both tools have the wide, two-finger trigger.

Plus, the Makita XVJ02Z described above has a brushless motor, while the XVJ03Z does not. The XVJ03Z is slightly heavier by a few ounces, and it only has one LED for illumination of the work area. There is no built-in dust blower or extraction system.

But the XVJ03Z can power up to 2600 strokes per minute, and it has a similar cut capacity to the other jig saw. That means it can slice through steel up to 3/8” thick, or wood up to 5-5/16-inches in depth. It does all of that with a 1-inch stroke length.

When you want to swap blades, it’s fast and easy with the tool-less blade change system. And when you’re working on a delicate piece, it’s a simple flip of a lever to choose the best orbital setting.

Like the other jig saw described above, this one also has Makita’s Star Protection controls. Those protect both the tool as well as the battery you use against overheating, over-discharging, and overloading. Although this saw doesn’t have the advantage of a brushless motor, you’ll still get the most you can out of every battery charge.

More features of the Makita XVJ03Z jig saw:

  • Bare tool only—no battery, no blade, and no case
  • Compatible with Makita’s 18V LXT lithium-ion battery packs like the BL1830
  • Some battery packs may refill in as little as 30 minutes
  • Weighs about 6.1 pounds with a battery pack installed


If you’re a professional woodworker or contractor, you deserve a tool that can keep up with your job’s demands. Since it has a brushless motor, it gets more out of each charge. It’s lighter in weight and has better features for viewing your work-piece. Therefore, we recommend the Makita XVJ02Z jig saw.

If you don’t depend on a jig saw as part of your job or aren’t completing large projects with one, you could get the Makita XVJ03Z instead.

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