Makita is making their Sub Compact line of 18V tools with tons of power, great run times and with less weight than your traditional 18V tools. The Sub Compact is surprisingly fast and powerful for a high demand tool like a circular saw.
Makita has one of the largest 18V lines out of any power tool manufacturer. If you are looking for a cordless power tool, chances are they have it. Makita has two main platforms they seem to be hitting, the 18V and the 36V. Here is what's cool about these, they run off the same battery, the 18V battery. If the tool is a high demand tool and they need more power, they design it so it takes another battery, more run time and more power. However they also go to the other side of the spectrum, the sub-compact where it still uses an 18V tool, but it resembles a 12V tool. Speaking of compact, let's jump into the Makita Sub Compact Circular Saw Review and see how this saw performs.
Makita Sub Compact Circular Saw Review Overview
The Makita sub-compact tools have been a big hit. If you aren't familiar with them, the sub-compact line is a smaller tool, that packs a powerful punch and still uses their 18V battery. Let's face it, sometimes you don't need a ton of power for certain applications. So why work with a tool that is bigger than you need and why work with the extra weight.
With the Makita sub-compact power tool, you don't have to invest in new batteries. These compact tools are the size of a 12V tool, weight the same as a 12V tool, but you can still use your 18V battery which means you are only investing in the tool and not the battery. Also, you don't have to worry about two chargers.
We have reviewed the Makita sub-compact drill, driver & impact, along with the sub-compact rotary hammer. Both of these tools we gave high praiser for since they are still powerful, lightweight and not investing in the battery.
However, when it comes to a sub-compact circular saw, I have to admit, I am a little skeptical.
The XSH04 is built around a brushless motor that spins the 6-1/2″ blade at a rate of 5,000 RPMs. The saw is designed with a right-handed blade style so if you are like me, it is a little awkward, but still manageable.
The saw is 10-5/8″ long and 6.4 lbs. and that is with a 2.0Ah battery. According to Makita with a 5Ah battery, you will get about 174 crosscuts per charge in 2×10 SPF.
While you can power this with a 5Ah battery, I liked the weight of the 2Ah battery.
The saw is designed with a top handle design.
The trigger and the start safety button are both in a good location and easy to use and not in awkward positions.
The saw also comes with a kit to hook this up to a dust collection system.
While the height numbers are hidden behind the saw, all the bevel (0°- 50°) numbers are very clear and standout.
So here is the deal, while I love the sub-compact line and think highly of the tools, I wasn't expecting much from this saw since it's a high demand tool that requires a lot of power. However, this saw really surprised me.
While you're not going to be cutting through 6×6 with this saw, it rocked through plywood, 1/4″ through 3/4″ without any problems.
We also cut a bunch of 2×4 and 2×10 as we were working upstairs covering up some ductwork.
Makita designed this with a speed change function whereas it needs more or less power, the saw will adjust speed and torque to match the conditions. This is actually a pretty cool feature and it does make a difference with runtime and cutting performance.
Another feature that stood out is the electronic brake. I know some don't care about this feature, but it's always been a feature I like on saws. The brake system stops the blade quickly.
I have to admit, while this saw won't keep up with the Makita rear handle saw, it's very impressive for the size. A lot more powerful and smooth than I thought.
You can pick up a bare tool over at Amazon for about $180. While it's not a bad price, I would like to see its price closer to $150 for it to be an exceptional value. Still, for $180, it's worth picking up if you are into the Makita line and are looking for a powerful, small saw.
I am loving this sub-compact line of tools and the circular saw is another great addition. While it will keep up with some 18V tools, don't expect it to run like the rear handle saws. This saw is a beast harness in a small package. Smooth, powerful and good run time.