The new Makita LXT Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw XSR01Z ($199, bare) launched at the World of Concrete this year and looks to be coming in very very soon, perhaps by the time you read this post! We had the opportunity recently to get one in our shop for the afternoon and do some testing. Unfortunately it was just after our 2017 Cordless Circ Saw Testing (see video below) which we are now confident this new saw would have been our favorite. What is interesting with this new Makita however is they seem less interested in taking on the Milwaukee M18 FUEL or Dewalt FLEXVOLT cordless saws and much more interested in going after Corded Skil WormDrive market which until now has had no option for a cordless saw.
In testing provided by Makita against their own Hypoid Gear Saw 5377MG ($179) and Skil WormDrive 77 WML ($219) the Cordless Makita XSR01 is faster in stacked cut OSB (3/4” x 3 pieces x 17-3/4” length) with a cut speed of 3.39 while the corded competitors were 3.43 and 3.58 respectively. Again in 2×10 SPF the Cordless Makita edged out the corded competitors by another few fractions of a second per cut. This is a big deal as WormDrive Saws have until now been the most powerful circular saw option. Now it looks as though that title goes to a cordless circular saw, given by a very small margin but you can eliminate extension cords, generators and all the hassles of electric tools with the confidence you are not loosing anything on performance.
The new Makita saw is not technically a WormDrive Gear saw as it uses a Helical Gear system which its new design has better transmission efficiency and also better for battery life. No need for oil means it is more compact and less weight. The saw maintains the advantages of a WormDrive style with wider grip, familiar left handed blade format and of course the power.
When compared to other cordless like the Milwaukee M18 FUEL and Dewalt FLEXVOLT circular saws in the same tests 2×10 cutting test Makita is again reporting faster cutting than either option which we can confirm with our own testing it does feel like it edges out the other cordless options. Makita is also reporting longer runtime with 2x 5.0Ah batteries vs the others using 9.0Ah batteries which seems logically because well 10 > 9 but also because we saw better than expected runtime with the Makita brushed circular saw XSH01 using 2x 5.0Ah batteries and 558 cross cuts in 2×4 SPF seems very reasonable. Unfortunately we didn’t have time for a full battery test to confirm with the Makita XSR01.
While Power, Speed and Runtime are the main metrics we all judge power tools the new Makita also makes several steps forward on safety addressing 2 big concerns we are seeing more and more. First is tool tethering for working at heights which is a growing concern and a pretty simple problem to solve for tool manufacturers. If a tape measure can kill a person falling at heights we don’t want to imagine what a 12 lb saw can do. The other safety feature is the braking system which is quickly becoming a requirement for saws and grinders by a growing number of large companies. Once you use the saw with the brake you also realize in addition to being safer it can save time on repetitive cutting as you can start the next cut that much faster.
For more on this saw and all your Makita Tool questions give the experts at Ohio Power Tool a call 800-242-4424 and they will be happy to help you find the right tool for the job.