Makita 18v (36v) Cordless Circular Saw Review

Makita 18v (36v) Cordless Circular Saw Review

I have always been skeptical of cordless tools that go beyond the usual drill/driver combo. I expect that some are still lacking in some areas, like my Makita 18v grinder, which doesn't quite perform as well as a corded version. I was extremely skeptical of 7 1/4in circular saws, as I expected they would fall far from the expectations set by corded versions. However when I saw this model come up for $100 without batteries, I decided it was time to give it a shot. 

I have experience with smaller 3in blade Makita saws and was impressed with them, but they have their limits, mainly that they can only cut one sheet at a time. I was looking for something to replace my ancient corded saw that was at least 30 years old. Nothing majorly wrong with it, it was just very heavy and didn't have any modern features. 

When I got this saw, I decided to compare it directly to my corded saw. I'm sure a newer corded saw would be superior in most ways, but I wanted to do a comparison to what I already had on hand. The skil saw had helped with many projects including my shed build, so I would say the Makita had pretty big shoes to fill. Much to my surprise, it did so quite well. The saw has enough power to do what I need it to do. It cuts through as many sheets of MDF as the blade will reach, and did not bind up any more than my corded saw did. I cannot stress enough how much more convenient the cordless version is, however, as you spend much less time worrying about the cord and much more time doing the actual work. When I bought the saw, I made sure I was getting a rear handle version. While to some it's personal preference, I do think its objectively more ergonomic and allows for better precision and kickback control. The rafter hanger on this one is nice as well, and should be standard on every circular saw. 

The only drawback which I haven't fully figured out is that it drains batteries quite quickly. I have Makita and aftermarket batteries, and the Makita ones go dead within maybe 15mins of work if even that much. The aftermarket ones do fare better, so I need to do some more testing to get to the bottom of this issue. I would also like a laser on this saw, but that's not usually found on entry level corded saws like the one I'm comparing it to, so it gets a pass. The base provides very clear measurements that aren't hard to follow anyway. 

Overall I'd say I'm impressed with this saw. Keep the blade sharp and it should do as well as a corded saw. But again, I would only go for a rear handle version. Also keep in mind this uses two batteries, and it's probably a good idea to use two identical ones instead of mixing and matching. 

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