My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.
So Let’s talk about the Makita 18V X2 LXT LI (36 Volt) Brushless Cordless 7/14” Circular Saw Kit
If a tracksaw isn’t an option, this is hands down the best saw I’ve ever used in terms of accuracy. The bevel detent plate is an improvement even from the Festool tracksaw. This saw is very ergonomic, easy and comfortable to use, and well balanced- especially considering the fact that it runs off two 5.0 Ah batteries. And speaking of those batteries, they have a fantastic life, I used this saw for three days on the jobsite on a single charge. When the batteries do die, the double slot quick charger does the trick in a hurry. The base is plenty long to make cuts feel stable and accurate, and the wide base makes it really easy to use with a clamping system and a straightedge. The two-handed grip is really great if you’re cutting heavy stuff or are worried about kickback, you have plenty of control over the tool. This saw is a massive improvement in so many ways of former Makita circular saw models, and blasts their competition out of the water. Circular saws being such a crucial element in any tool lineup, especially for contractors and heavy-use hobbiests, the addition of this saw to the Makita lineup is a strong argument to consider Makita as a primary platform. Now, I did specify contractors and heavy-use hobbiests for a reason, because Makita really designs their tools for professional users and the price tag reflects that, but these tools are a solid longterm investment they are well made, ergonomic, built to last.
The one drawback of this saw is that if you’re cutting 2x material with a full depth cut, the blade guard totally gets stuck. For me, safety is a huge priority, so this was a massively disappointing thing to discover on a tool I love so much.
The only other battery powered saw in a similar class I’ve used as extensively as this Makita saw is the Dewalt FlexVolt circular saw I used to build my tiny house. The Makita delivers a very similar amount of power with a very different ergonomic feel and less weight. They are both brushless, which is fantastic because the blade starts quick and stops quick, offering solid power and the added peace of mind that the blade isn’t still spinning for very long at all after it’s exited the cut. One other thing that is awesome about this Makita saw, and that sets it apart from it’s competition, is that the blade is perfectly square to the shoe, which is really important for finish cuts and using the saw in conjunction with a straight edge, because it’s super accurate and it doesn’t bind.
The dust collection on this saw is also a really great feature. It’s certainly not a “dustless” tool, but when used in conjunction with a vacuum, having the ability to get some of that airborne dust out of the air and the big chips out off the floor, especially when working inside is important.
On higher price-point tools like this one (it retails for $349), I always like to include a “would I actually buy this tool” disclaimer, and in this case, I absolutely would. Because I’ve already got lots of other tools on the Makita platform the two 5.0 AH batteries and the quick charger are a fantastic value-add that helps make it much easier to justify the price of a tool I really like, and will continue to use on a regular basis within my own projects.