Extreme power, run-times, and cut capacities —- 3 of the best things about the brand new Makita 36v XSL02Z 7-1/2″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw!
Recently Makita released this highly anticipated saw, which is a direct expansion of the 18v LXT lineup (compatible with the entire line of Star-protected 18v LXT batteries). The tool itself is using 36v — but rather than make you spend your money on yet another battery line, they achieved this (as they have with all the other 18V X2 tools) by using 2 standard 18v batteries in parallel with each other. You get 36v performance without having to buy special 36v batteries!
Right out of the box the saw feels and looks very heavy duty, solid, and well built. It isnt overly heavy at just 28 lbs, and replaces the need for a 10″ or 12″ corded sliding compound miter saw in many cases — due to it’s massive cut capacities! It can crosscut a 2 x 12 & cut a 45 through a 2 x 8! Unless you have the “need” to cut thicker materials on the site, there really is no need to haul out those much heavier/bulkier saws & a generator — when you can just grab this and a couple of batteries & get to work!
The specs on the Makita XSL02Z are :
- 36V (18V X2)
- 28 lbs
- 7-1/2″ Blade
- Single Bevel
- Miter 47 Degrees Left
- Miter 57 Degrees Right
- 2 x 12 @ 90 Degrees
- 2 x 8 @ 45 Degrees
- Brushless Motor
- Electric Brake
- Automatic Speed Change
- 3 yr Warranty
One of the absolute best things about this saw is the electric brake. Literally as soon as you release the trigger, the blade almost instantly stops. As you can imagine, this is not only a huge time saver (vs waiting for a blade to stop prior to lifting after cut), but it is also a big safety bonus. Spinning blades are always dangerous, and because it stops so fast — it really reduces the chances of an accident.
Also, it has something called an “Automatic Speed Change“. This is basically a computer that senses a load (a tough cut), and rather than slowing down/lugging the motor — the saw recognizes the load and automatically increases the power to keep the blade spinning at max speed. Once you are through the cut, it automatically slows back down. This prevents unnecessary strain on the motor, and saves battery life since it is not pushing that extra power into the saw until you need it.
Operating the saw is easy for Lefties or Righties — the grip/trigger is a pistol-grip version, and can easily be operated by anyone. Also, on the top of the unit is the carrying handle which balances well and makes it very easy to carry around. When you move it the table extensions are removed by loosening two thumbscrews, and it literally cuts the width in half (preventing you from marring the walls in your customer’s house).
Rather than have one solid two-rail slide, they have the unique Makita “Dual-Slide” System. This uses two sets of slides (each with 2 rails — for a total of 4 rails) that are sliding inside linear ball bearings, to prevent wobble and to make very clean/straight cuts. You don’t experience any deflection like you do with larger saws (like a 12″ Sliding Miter), and your cuts are very straight and true.
The only 2 complaints that we had with this saw were :
- No LED / Laser
- 7-1/2″ Blade (non-standard size)
Not huge “make-or-break” features, but they are worth noting. You cannot walk into the local hardware store (most likely) and pick up another blade. We only found them online, although they most likely are sold at Makita Dealers. Secondly, in a low light situation it will be more difficult to see your cut line due to the lack of an LED or Laser — normally we dont use either, but it may be something you cannot live without.
The batteries will slide in side-by-side, and the 2 in sequence with each other will create the 36v needed to power the saw. Keep in mind that it will NOT run unless you have two charged batteries installed! If one is fully charged, and the other halfway — when the less charged one drains, the saw will cut off. It is always a good idea to use 2 of the same amp-hour batteries with the same amount of charge-level for consistent cuts. In a bind mix-and-match WILL work, and we did try it out with one 5.0ah & one 4.0ah with no issues.
The power on this is really unreal. It cuts faster than pretty much any other saw on the market — coming in at 5,700 RPMS! It literally screams through the wood. The only other comparible saw with this kind of speed (in my opinion) is another Makita cordless version —- the Makita XSH03 6-1/2″ Circular Saw — it has the same speed, power, and electric brake.
The big question on everyone’s mind of course is “yeah, cordless is convienent — but how much work can it really do per charge?” We put that to the test — and using 2 fully charged 5.0ah batteries & a brand new blade, the Makita had a MASSIVE 532 Cuts through a standard 2×4 before the batteries died! No way you cut that much in one day — even if you are framing.
For the Pro — Makita is an absolute top choice.