Makita Rear Handle Circular Saw Review

Brushless motors have allowed cordless tools and their capabilities to start to overtake that of corded tools. Notice I say start, its only been the past few years that we have seen the power match that of corded rivals and up until recently, battery run time.

Tool companies have started pushing higher voltage tools i.e. Dewalt’s Flex Volt, Makita’s X2, and Metabo’s two-battery setup.

Makita XSR01

The Makita XSR01 is one of the most powerful cordless circular saws on the market. Powered by two 18v LXT batteries, your fuel tank won’t run dry very easily. Running on two 5.0 amp hour packs it can cut up to 550 2x4s.

Makita definitely knocked this one out of the park, where do I begin with what I love about this saw? Power, bevel adjust, rafter hook, depth guard… Makita engineered this saw very well with users in mind.

Now Makita isn’t new to the 18V X2 circular saw formula, being the second rendition they have perfected it.

The circular saw feels and cuts like a worm drive, but it’s not, it’s not even a hypoid gear like their corded blade left saws.

Makita has engineered this saw with a sidewinder motor but has squeezed so much power in the 5100 rpm motor that it rivals a traditional corded worm drive, in fact, due to the brushless technology it can outperform a corded brush model.

Makita XSR01 rafter hook

So enough about how awesome this saw is and let’s talk about why I like this saw. There are so many features in this machine that make it a great saw starting with the rafter hook.

Rafter hooks have become an industry desire that a certain company refrained from adding to their saw. Well, Makita added it and they one-upped the competition.

The rafter hook can snap into two hanging orientations, either 90 degrees or 180 degrees depending on how the user plans to hang the saw.

The larger hook allows it to hang onto larger than just 2×4 framing members as well, but the best part it instead of a totally smooth hook, they have added two “barbs” that allow it to hang without slipping.

Making adjustments to any saw can be a pain as well. I love the ease of the depth guard, it’s in an accessible place, easy to use the lever, and fully visible.

So many saws get stuck between the motor and blade guard on the back side of the saw that it becomes almost painful to set your depth.

But with that being said there is one minor issue with the location of this depth lever and using the saw it becomes more and more apparent.

The handle for the depth adjustment is perfectly parallel and directly behind the blade guard’s lever. Your natural hand motion goes straight to that as opposed to the intended blade guard.

Now like I said it is minor and somewhat “nit-picky” but over the course of a day of using it it can become an obstruction.

Now the absolute greatest feature of this saw is Makita’s bevel adjustment. Another obnoxious and dreaded adjustment with many circular saws Makita made it a breeze.

Instead of a wing nut, it is a simple lever that can adjust all the way to 53 degrees. Now there are not detents for this but something even better.

You will notice a small knob on the front of this saw as well. You can set the dial to 3 angles, 22.5, 45, and 53.

What this does is set a stop for the bevel, so when you release the latch the saw will stop at whatever angle you selected.

A few other notable features are the dual battery gauge on the top side of the handle. But one thing missing is an LED light.

Now, how useful are these lights? This varies by the user, doing most of my work indoors I enjoy the addition of tool lighting but an outdoor framer won’t miss it.

Makita XSR01 depth guard

So if you’re looking for an amazing saw, this is the one to get, now being a rear handle saw it is slightly heavier than the competition coming in at around 12 pounds, but the rear handle allows straighter cutting as well as longer reach.

I prefer a heavier circular saw, it allows you to be more accurate on long rips and hold the saw in place.

Now this saw is designed for framers in mind with its 2 9/16″ max depth it will cut all 2x material at the full bevel. Makita also included an onboard e-brake which brings the saw blade to a stop in just seconds, creating a safer work environment.

The value of this saw is pretty awesome for its capabilities. You can pick the bare tool up at ACME Tools for just $199 or if you need the kit with 2 5.0 batteries, a dual charger, and a tool bag that will cost you $359.

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Jim Boslice

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