Makita 18V SUBCOMPACT 6-1/2″ CIRCULAR SAW- #THDProspective


  I’m going to share a little secret. I am a fan of Makita. I know it’s a surprise. We aren’t supposed to show any bias when reviewing tools but I fail sometimes.  It’s not that I chose a color and said it was the best ever and every other color is garbage. I actually spent many years opposed to buying Makita Tools. Although I had a good impression of Makita when I was a kid that impression was tarnished by the HVAC contractor I worked for when I left home.  He bought a brand new reciprocating saw and broke the blade clamp off the shaft on the first day. Instead of exchanging it and giving Makita a chance he just kept telling me Makita was junk. That stuck with me for years. I would often overlook Makita tools when making buying decisions because of that experience.

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 That eventually got turned around. With each Makita tool I bought I saw more and more that my old boss was mistaken. That reciprocating saw was definitely a defect that slipped through the cracks. I feel it important to recognize that all companies have defects and lemons from time to time for whatever reason. I have also learned that some have more than others. In my 30 years of building and remodeling experience Makita seems to have fewer defective tools than many companies. It’s also the vibe I get from talking to many repair technicians over the years.


 I’m really glad I got over that negative mindset because if I hadn’t I really would have missed out on some incredible tools over the years. My favorite tools are usually cordless and Makita is a clear market leader in many of the tools that matter most to me.

 This Makita sub compact 6 ½” brushless saw is the newest one on the market and should just now be hitting stores. We get to use them a little while before they hit the market so we can let everyone who is interested know about them.


 So far this little guy is a beast. Even though it is one of the smallest 18v saws out there it has full size power and features.  Total length is only 10 5/8″.  It has a magnesium upper blade guard and an aluminum foot plate to save weight so it weighs less than 6 1/2 lbs with a 2.0 battery.  The 6 1/2′ blade will cut material up to 2 1/4″.


  The LED light is well placed for those last few cuts we need to make when the sun is disappearing from our winter skies.   With automatic speed change it sips batteries when making easier cuts but has gobs of power and extra torque when you need it. It blows through plywood 2x lumber and LVL with ease. Hardwoods are also a piece of cake. Even bevel cuts are good. The lower guard is well designed. It works smoothly with fewer hang ups than many saws. There is a provision for adding a rafter hook. It has 2 tapped holes in the upper blade guard so you can screw it in. I am definitely going to order one as soon as I can. A good hook really helps protect the saw from falls as well as keeping it handy between cuts.


  A sweet bonus feature is the dust nozzle that was included. It makes the saw much more versatile. You can use it normally with or without the nozzle or you can hook it up to your vacuum or dust extractor to have great dust control. It’s attached with a tab on the upper end and a machine screw on the lower end. It’s seems to get the majority of the dust. This feature has been sorely lacking in circular saws sold in North America. They have been included with most brands sold in Europe and Australia for many years. We need the option of working dust free too. It may seem like a hassle at first but it can actually save time in the end because you don’t have as much cleaning at the end of the job. It also helps protect our lungs from all the harmful things we cut.

  This saw is positioned below the XSH03 blade left saw so it does have a few cost saving parts. You will notice the lower blade guard is plastic. The footplate is not Magnesium. Rather it is stamped aluminum. I don’t know if you will ever notice the difference in actual use. It could be an advantage if the saw is dropped. You can straighten aluminum easier than Magnesium.

  The bevel adjustment is held tight on both ends of the plate. There is a longer lever on the front and a thumb screw on the back. It is easy to adjust to 45° consistently or if you need to get more adjustment there is a simple tab you can rotate out-of-the-way.


   Even though it is a less expensive saw it seems to have the same motor as the XSH03. If it isn’t they sure did an awesome job with the replacement. To me it sounds really close and it turns the blade at the same 5,000 RPM. At the time of this writing I do not have an XSH 03 to directly compare. My XSH03 stayed behind in Puerto Rico for other disaster relief workers to keep using and I haven’t ordered a replacement yet. From memory this seems to be equal in power. It is certainly more powerful than any of the 18v brushed saws. I noticed it also seems more powerful than the Milwaukee Fuel brushless saw and is over a pound lighter in weight also. 

  For me, I personally prefer the XSH03 because it is blade left.  When growing up in Arizona we used nothing but Skilsaw worm drive units.  They are all blade left.  I have a lot of experience with blade right saws like this one but I am always more comfortable with a blade left saw.  Many of you are just the opposite and prefer a blade right saw.  If that is you I highly recommend this saw. You won’t find a more powerful, lighter or more compact 6 1/2″ saw anywhere .    

Order yours at the                                                                               


I acknowledge that The Home Depot is

partnering with me to participate in
the ProSpective 2018 Campaign. As a part of
the Program, I am receiving compensation in
the form of products and services, for the
purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All
expressed opinions and experiences are my
own words. My post complies with the Word Of
Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics
Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission


2019-07-16T10:19:50-05:00August 27th, 2018|Makita|54 Comments

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  1. Tim LeFave 10/02/2018 at 1:17 PM - Reply

    Love the great review! Luv Makita also!! Great products! It has a lot of great features and I knw the durability of the brand. This saw would be well used in my business and volunteer work! I love the light feature as well do a lot of jobs that have very poor to no lighting. So keeping the saw on the mark is the most important part of the cut? excited about the new max efficiency blades would love to try them out for sure!

  2. Stewcob 10/02/2018 at 1:06 PM - Reply

    Agree. Majors is the jams.
    Can’t wait to try this saw. Perfect

  3. Brian Barefield 10/02/2018 at 12:50 PM - Reply

    Another great review and heads up from @toolpig !!! The saw AND blades look phenomenal and I can’t wait to get my hands on one!!! Thanks again toolpig for all the great things you and your family do!!!

  4. Brian Wagner 09/30/2018 at 4:02 PM - Reply

    These cordless saws look so awesome. Never needing a cord is simply amazing!

  5. Anonymous 09/17/2018 at 9:05 AM - Reply

    Looks fantastic and hopefully I get the chance to try it out.

  6. Charles Murphy 09/16/2018 at 4:07 PM - Reply

    This saw would be great in so many situations. Packing for Disaster relief, cutting inside return and supply air chase. The battery extending past the rear of the saw on other brands limits there usefulness a lot of the time. Would be nice to try out every time you need it!

  7. Pat Brouillard 09/16/2018 at 12:57 AM - Reply

    I love everything Makita and I’m looking forward to trying this new saw!

  8. Matthieu 09/15/2018 at 4:02 PM - Reply

    This is the best toolbrand ever!

  9. Adam Fonjohn 09/15/2018 at 2:42 PM - Reply

    I’m just starting out with my business and one of the hardest parts is being able to afford quality tools. This saw is awesome and is definitely on my wishlist.

  10. Yates Breaux 09/15/2018 at 2:27 PM - Reply

    My company loves using Makita saws so I’ve gotten very fond of using theirs and hope I get a chance to when one of my very own. Love these saws!

  11. Brad B 09/15/2018 at 1:11 PM - Reply

    Eager to try out this cordless saw!!!

  12. Jacob Rivera 09/09/2018 at 10:58 PM - Reply

    I had the opportunity to play with a demo of it. Awesome some would definitely love to give it a go with my up coming roofing jobs

  13. Shane Weisser 09/09/2018 at 8:33 PM - Reply

    Would love to have this saw. Crazy to hear that it can rip through LVL without any issues.

  14. Brooks 09/09/2018 at 10:34 AM - Reply

    Great write up on a great quality saw.

  15. Tom S. 09/09/2018 at 3:58 AM - Reply

    I’m dyslexic so the blade right saws confuse my brain. It is a bit convoluted to be honest, the tracksaw for whatever reason doesn’t bother me. @t_s_s on the gram.

  16. Jacob 09/08/2018 at 10:28 PM - Reply

    Definitely looks great I’ve never had a problem with Makita Tools they’ve been very reliable

  17. Craig 09/08/2018 at 9:36 PM - Reply

    It looks like this is the perfect saw for 90% of of things. I have become a Makita guy and I grew up in a Milwaukee M12 house. I am so glad I went with the Makita I have the 3 piece sub compact kit and looking to expand my colletion. Is there any tool you suggest I get next.

  18. Gary 09/08/2018 at 6:55 PM - Reply

    Makita compact was like a hot knife through butter

  19. Charlie 09/08/2018 at 5:18 PM - Reply

    I prefer blade left saws too – but I still would love to win one of these saws! I like the subcompact hammer drill too, but these cordless saws seem really incredible.

  20. James Wilson 09/08/2018 at 5:17 PM - Reply

    Wooo nice! Looks like this could be a good addition to the kit! My old makita mag corded sidewinder did a wonderful job and I have been looking forward to getting into the Makita cordless platform

  21. Micheal Walters 09/08/2018 at 4:38 PM - Reply

    I do framing at LDC projects and I think this saw will work great on remodels and of course at home also.

  22. Cory Wilson 09/08/2018 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    The little subcompact is sweet! I have the XSH03 and it kicks ass! Nothing beats Makita

  23. Craig 09/08/2018 at 3:52 PM - Reply

    My dad is a Milwaukee M12 person and was going to go down the road and decided to go Makita and got the Sub Compact 3 piece set and very happy with my decision. I am looking to expand the tools I have and just don’t know what I should get next. I have been thinking about the XPT02Z what are your recommendations. Also do you think Makita will come out with a cordless ratchet like the M12?

  24. Bremon 09/08/2018 at 3:46 PM - Reply

    This looks like an awesome saw. I’ll likely get one because all my other saws are heavier 7.25” brutes. A small convenient saw would be great.

  25. Elliott 09/08/2018 at 10:33 AM - Reply

    Picked up one of these that was an open box deal, haven’t needed to use it yet but can’t wait.

  26. Charles Cho 09/08/2018 at 8:30 AM - Reply

    Good point about every company releasing one tool with a defect once in a while. I bought a Makita compressor with a defective regulator. Got it exchanged and the compressor is awesome. (MAC700)

    Hasn’t changed my mind that Makita makes quality tools.

    This subcompact looks a amazing like the other ones in this line. Don’t have any, but would really like to get into it.


  27. Anonymous 09/08/2018 at 8:24 AM - Reply

    Just purchased! Love this saw! Power for days!!!

  28. David 09/07/2018 at 9:42 PM - Reply

    Great story, and review. Something else to add to my wish list. I have the X2 rear handle which is awesome but usually over kill.. This seems like the perfect answer. ??

  29. Dan Curtin 09/07/2018 at 7:59 PM - Reply

    Have one myself! It’s great!

  30. Mitch Lockhart 09/07/2018 at 3:15 PM - Reply

    Looks like a great saw. I recently got into makita tools due to the overwhelming reviews from people such as your self. Currently have the subcompact 18v drill/impact kit. This looks like a great addition.

  31. Cory wilson 09/07/2018 at 1:48 PM - Reply

    Awesome review! I am just starting to build my Makita collection and am looking at this as a second cordless saw. My dad was a general contractor and he used nothing but Makita forever with no issues. So of course I followed suit!

  32. Leethelawnguy 09/07/2018 at 11:28 AM - Reply

    I saw this at the Makita driving Innovation tour. It was a very nice tools Makita does make some very good tools and I would love to own my very first one.

  33. Jason Peserik 09/07/2018 at 11:22 AM - Reply

    I have started my transition to only Makita 18v tools. So far I have the miter saw, drill, and Radio. Other corded Makita tools are in my garage. Are these sub compact tools powerful?

  34. Wes 09/05/2018 at 9:34 PM - Reply

    You guys definitely got my attention on the constant, what looked to be flawless rips. I’m impressed!! I’m a Milwaukee guy, however if you don’t spend $100+per batt, the skillsaws performance lacks greatly. Learned to not let my guys walk off with my two 5XC 18V batts in their drills.

    I’m anxious to try this one out!

  35. Ben Head 09/05/2018 at 1:46 PM - Reply

    Great write-up. I am looking to go all cordless and I am already on the Makita platform as well. I am torn between this saw and and the XSH03 due to the metal lower guard and it being blade left(never had one on that side). But if the power is the same as the 03 this ones almost a no brainer due to the size and weight. A saw this size would cover most of my needs and if I need more power my Makita 5007MG is there as well.

  36. Ben Head 09/05/2018 at 11:40 AM - Reply

    I would really like to get my hands on this saw. I already have a Makita corded 7 1/4 circular saw that serves me well but have really thought about going cordless as much as possible.

  37. Fernando 09/02/2018 at 7:36 PM - Reply

    This saw looks amazing. I would love to have this saw in my quiver!

  38. Brad Trotter 09/02/2018 at 2:30 PM - Reply

    Tried a cordless saw years ago before the technology made a proper saw practical. With the innovation here I think it’s finally time to try dropping the cord again!

  39. Anthony M 09/02/2018 at 12:15 PM - Reply

    Looks awesome. Would love to have one of these.

  40. Anthony 09/02/2018 at 12:14 PM - Reply

    Looks awesome. Would love to have one and get some project done.

  41. Gregory delgado 09/02/2018 at 11:13 AM - Reply

    I need the saw in my setup I have a cluster of dewalt ridged and ryobi somewhere haha ? lol .. I can’t get over those rips in the video … great review

  42. Charlie 09/02/2018 at 7:38 AM - Reply

    I would love to get my hands on one of these saws, I’ve never bought a Makita tool either, but not because I’ve ever thought they weren’t good tools – they’re just really expensive! But this saw sounds incredible, and I’d love to get to put it to the test myself. I have a 6 1/2” cordless Bosch circular saw that I love using and I bet it’s performance would increase too with one of these new Makita blades.

  43. Matt Moore Designs 09/02/2018 at 7:15 AM - Reply

    That saw looks incredible, I already have the subcompact brushless drill and impact set and they are amazing. I cant wait to be able to get my hands one

  44. Norman Jeckel 09/02/2018 at 5:19 AM - Reply

    I would love to have this saw , hopefully I can pick it up soon , already at my budget for tool for the year though lol

  45. John 09/02/2018 at 1:24 AM - Reply

    Great review. Adding your personal experiences with the brand, good or bad, makes your review much more relevant to others. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

  46. Anthony Dean 09/01/2018 at 11:14 PM - Reply

    I need this

  47. Anonymous 09/01/2018 at 10:26 PM - Reply

    This is the saw that is highest on my wishlist now! I love compact ones like this and it is very powerful!

  48. Ron Poulin 09/01/2018 at 10:06 PM - Reply

    Hey fellas! Great content keep it up! Can’t wait to try this saw! I just picked up some. Makita brushless impact and router with a 5 amp batt and gotta say I really like them… The battery is just designed so smart!

  49. Lawson 09/01/2018 at 9:16 PM - Reply

    Looks to be powerful and accurate! Thanks for the thorough review ?? Ig- @lawsonmayne

  50. David Molina 09/01/2018 at 5:34 PM - Reply

    Great review! I find it hard to believe that this is more powerful than the milwaukee fuel!! Guess it really goes to show just how powerful this little saw really is.

  51. Ryan Damian 09/01/2018 at 5:25 PM - Reply

    Guy I work with has makita and I have dewalt, I’ll use his saws everyone once and a while I see the difference everytime I pick up the tools. Can’t wait to try this guy out or atleast the blades!

  52. David Jaskula 09/01/2018 at 4:42 PM - Reply

    Love my Makita tools. Getting ready to upgrade soon, great seeing this review and glad Makita is still kicking ass.

  53. Josh rodgers 09/01/2018 at 3:27 PM - Reply

    Love the compact look and design of this new saw!

  54. Jeff Hoepker, IG- jeff_t_dadof3 08/27/2018 at 8:37 PM - Reply

    I have always liked Makita tools because when I started out my boss had 3 of the old slide in battery drills. I thought they were SO cool even though they were 7.2 volt and almost useless for power. Makita definitely made an impression on me though. I have owned a couple of their 10” miter saws and loved them. This little saw looks like a great fit for tight places. Thanks for the review.

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