I have been debating about whether to purchase a Makita XGT 8-1/2″ cordless miter saw, GSL02, but have been leaning towards “no.” It seemed worthwhile to share my decision process.
I don’t urgently need a cordless miter saw. I thought I wanted a semi-fixed shop setup with superb dust collection. But, I don’t have the space for 8 feet of board support inside. For cutting larger boards, such as 2x construction lumber and similarly sized workpieces, I set up outside with a cordless miter saw.
Dust collection is very important to me, but so is portability.
With the Makita GSL02, I like the idea of its cutting capacity and portability. 8-1/2″ is an odd size, though.
The Makita XGT GSL02 is a completely foreign design to me. It’s a forward-rail slider with front bevel lock, dual dust collection ports, and it’s an 8-1/2″ sliding miter saw with the cutting capacity of a 10″ sliding miter saw.
Yes – seriously – it just about matches the cutting capacity of Makita’s much larger and heavier XGT GSL03 sliding miter saw.
The 10″ has taller fences, but I wouldn’t need them for the majority of crosscuts.
That it’s a different design has pros and cons. I like exploring new and different tool designs, and so it’s mostly a good thing.
I did some light reading and referred to a couple of YouTube videos, and so I’m familiar with common complaints.
Some people complain about the bevel adjustment being a plastic component that repeatedly broke on them, and others had no problems and suggested it only breaks with rough or abusive use.
Ultimately, one of the biggest detractors – for me – is the blade size.
The Makita 8-1/2″ sliding miter saw has impressive cutting capacity, but 8-1/2″ blade selection is slim.
I found two Freud fine-finish blades on Amazon – one with a silver finish and one with a red coating.
CMT is the only brand I recognized that has a non-ferrous blade, for cutting aluminum extrusions, plastic, and similar materials. I found the CMT on Amazon and a few other places.
For me, that became the biggest negative, as it means I would need to keep another saw around for cutting plastic and aluminum materials.
This is why I have really enjoyed using Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel cordless 7-1/4″ sliding miter saw – it’s compact, light, and I can always find the blade style I want.
The Milwaukee isn’t short on performance, but I have a couple of projects coming up where I want better dust collection, and I might need a little more power under the hood. This helped increase the appeal of Makita’s 8-1/2″ saw.
The Makita also has a wider miter range, which might come in handy on occasion. I have one project coming up – a small garden trellis – where the 60° miter range would help with shaping ground support stakes.
In theory I could move to a cordless 10″ or 12″ saw as my one-and-only, but they’re all large and heavy. 12″ blades are pricey. The larger the blade, the larger the potential for deflection.
I saw news of Makita launching new smaller cordless miter saws overseas, but there’s no indication if or when they might be released here. Given their designs, I’d say it’s unlikely for them to launch here at all. Objectively speaking, 8-1/2″, 10″, and 12″ cordless miter saw sizes still present enough options for most users.
And so, I’m stuck. I have strong hesitations about going with an 8-1/2″ miter saw. General purpose blades are easy to find, but not specialty blades which I would want to use regularly enough to make this a strong concern.
I find myself still half on the fence, and thought discussion would help settle things, at least for now. A reader put the idea in my head a few months ago when I asked for review suggestions, and it came back now that there’s a promo at Acme (ending 2/21/23) that can knock $75 off the $750 price tag.
There’s also promo pricing on the 10″ sliding miter saw kit – Home Depot has the kit for $100 off plus with a free battery, but I determined that of the two the more portable 8-1/2″ would be better suited – if the blade size can work for me.
As a side note on XGT, I was in my Home Depot the other day trying to see if they’ve clearanced an XML08 mower they’ve had on the shelf for well over a year and a half after pulling them from being stocked/displayed, and they had replaced the rest of the Maktia LXT mowers they had with XGT versions. They were set up and on the display racks, so looking like they’ll be semi-permanent replacements in the stocked mower lineup at HD, at least for this season. They also a lot more other XGT tools around than I remember, the circular saw, some drills, … Interesting because in some cases they took shelf space that was LXT, some was just piled up in “special buy” piles, some was on an endcap but without any major display signage or anything.
Stuart, I have been watching the Metabo HPT 7.25″ miter saw. I’ve heard it’s beautifully built and targets the finish work crowd. There’s a large selection of blades for 7.25″. However, I think that a 10″ saw that is a bit less finely built might meet my needs better. My miter saw tends to be used for aluminum, pressure treated wood, and other “nasty” materials I want nowhere near my table saw, track saw or bandsaw. I’m thinking one of the value 10″ saws (maybe the Metabo HPTor Dewalt as I have batteries) would be the best option for that. I generally use miter saws as “construction” tools rather than finish tools. But that Metabo HPT 7.25″ has me considering my options.
That 7 1/4″ Metabo HPT is also a $1000 saw. If you are doing more “construction cuts”, I would say their MultiVolt 10″ is a better option. Its ability to run on battery or AC cord is a nice bonus. And unfortunately DeWalt doesn’t offer a cordless 10″ in the NA market. If you happen to live elsewhere, the DCS727 is supposed to be pretty nice.
It’s good to have a larger saw on-hand, but I really love the easy portability of smaller cordless miter saws. They also have a smaller footprint on my bench or shelf.
I also considered the new Dewalt saw.
I think that an ideal combination would be a corded 12″ non-sliding saw and a cordless 7-1/4″ or maybe 8-1/4″ – 8-1/2″.
A sliding 10″ or 12″ would be a great do-everything saw, but the vertical cutting capacity is a maybe 5% usage need for me. The weight and footprint is hard to justify.
No argument here. I still use my cordless 7 1/4″ plenty, just for how easy it is to move around or take with me if I am doing a small side job.
All miter saws have horrible dust collection. I have the Bosch Axle glide 12″, but I leave it booked to a cart on wheels, as it’s too heavy to move. For other jobs, or afield I have the M18 7¼” saw. I don’t see why you want one size bigger, when you already have a saw for “on the road” situations.
I saw a couple videos on YT by a mechanical engineer, “Shop Nation”. He’s build some 3d printer solutions for various saws. I have the one for my Bosch coming next week. I’m soldering together and installing an LED shadow line, as the laser I had wasn’t all that great.
The Makita XGT 8-1/2″Mitersaw has excellent dust extraction!
The Metabo HPT MultiVolt 7-1/4″ cordless miter saw is also fantastic, and it bests the Milwaukee M18 in several areas.
Part of my leaning towards Makita is because it has AWS automatic dust collection activation – I ordered an XGT vac last night – and two dust ports. I also have a lot more XGT batteries than MultiVolt, thanks to the recent promos.
Stuart, that’s kind of what I’ve been thinking as well (lightweight saw and 10″-12″ do-evertyhing saw). Big Richard, agreed on the price. I see the MultiVolt 7-1/4″ as a lightweight, portable, and lower priced alternative to the Kapex. Having a precision saw for trimwork could be nice.
Good note on the Makita dust collection.
The MultiVolt corded adapter is a point I hadn’t considered.
Festool also has their cordless Kapex KSC 60 coming out, but I don’t want a dual-battery 18V saw, and am not interested in buying into Festool’s limited 18V system.
I did consider Festool for a moment, before I also settled on the Makita XGT dust extractor vac. I love my Festool corded vac and would make the same purchasing decision over and over again, but their cordless vacs look to have too many compromises.
Part of the appeal of a Makita miter saw is its automatic vacuum activation capability (at added cost for the transmitter of course), although I can live without that.
I have a MultiVolt test sample, and figure if it comes out ahead I’ll replace my test sample with a purchased copy down the road. It is pricey, but occasional promos help with that.
It hurts to know that higher powered 12″ saws are less expensive.
Acme has a Bosch promo right now, where you can get the Profactor 12″ gliding miter saw with a 12Ah battery and charger for $669, or ~$602 after President’s Day discount. That’s considerably less than the price of the bare tool, let alone the 8Ah kit.
That has prompted more than one “or do I just want one do-it-all miter saw” internal debate this weekend.
That’s a good deal on the Bosch 12″ 18v glider. I got it for ~450$ bare tool on a daily deal a few months ago. It’s been great so far. Really nice to use and powerful. It cuts through 4x easily and comes really close to cutting through 6x. Close enough that I’ve found it quickest and cleanest to just finish it off with a handsaw.
Downsides are the weight and the high price and 12″ saw blades being generally expensive.
That Festool saw is over $2k…lol
Can you elaborate on the differences between the 7-1/4″ HPT and M18?
I’ve been curious of the HPT and I see that it has a geared bevel and multi-volt…but is more than double the price for a tool only (and this is without a battery or AC adapter). It’s pretty steep for 7-1/4″.
Maybe an article to consider for the future “current lineup of 7-1/4″ cordless miter saws and comparison”.
Last time I seriously compared them, only Dewalts brushed model fossil and Milwaukee’s shiny new brushless were the only options on the market in this class. It would be nice if other manufacturers offer competition.
Kobalt has a supposedly solid offering as well. Brushless motor and dual bevel like the M18, and up to a 2×10 in cutting capacity. Bare tool is $269, so with a battery it is still less than the M18 bare (definitely less than the Metabo HPT).
Since you mention the DeWalt, I see Ace has the 4Ah kit on sale for $299. While it is a bit of a fossil as you mentioned, it is still very much a great accessory saw, especially at that price.
I’ve had the M18 since it came out and think it’s wonderful for it’s intended purpose. I would think the Kobalt and Dewalt are in that same realm (they’re not junk, just not good enough to warrant a new battery platform). The Metabo being so much more expensive makes me wonder what exactly justifies the difference and is it enough to consider when the time comes.
The Festool Kapex is one of those examples that I haven’t used but from what I’ve seen, the additional features don’t justify the investment in my opinion. At least not enough for me to bother getting one.
There’s some good YouTube videos on that 7-1/4″ HPT. Also some good reviews on protoolreviews and ToolBoxBuzz. It’s spendy, but has rave reviews on build quality. In general, it seems to be the sort of saw whose only negative is the price tag.
I’m in a quandary, as I typically reserve high end tools at that price point like that for corded tools that will last 20+ years. But the adapter does have me evaluating that decision.
Agree, would love to see Stuart cover those saws.
I would never trust a review from protoolreviews. They have never had a failing grade for any tool they’ve used. I quit looking at their stuff years ago because they had multiple instances of “paid” reviews where they were called out and they only double down.
Plus they put out “reviews” like this.
It’s not a review, it’s a product summary with nothing but marketing bullet points with no negatives. I’m ok with no negatives in a review and don’t think every tool should have to have a bad score, but this is just a generic paint job band saw from one factory and each brands version of this saw has negatives. I don’t think this one should be an exception.
Sorry for the rant.
Regarding the Metabo, I would just love a comparison but it doesn’t seem anyone has done this yet. Stuart already has the M18 and has an opinion on the Metabo. Maybe he can get ahold of one for a review or in depth comparison.
I did see that the Metabo doesn’t have a shadowline but a laser (This seems like a poor choice on such an expensive saw in my opinion).
But the zero clearance necessary for the back of the saw is a plus and the adapter are definitely better than the M18.
Metabo Hpt 7-1/4″ is Excellent Saw, cross cut is 12-5/8″
Makita Xgt 8-1/2″ has 12-3/8″ cross cut.
I have both Metabo HPT 7-1/4 and The Makita 8-1/2″ both wonderful saws with Makita more accurate. You can use 8-1/4″ blades as I also own Dewalt Flexvot 8-1/4″ saw so I buy same blade for both
I have a old Craftsman 7-1/2″ sliding rail compound miter saw for I say around 25 years. That size blade is pretty obsolete but make due with using a 7-1/4″ over the years…overall even with its quirks I have enjoyed using the saw for my trim work, laminate flooring, vinyl siding etc.
By flipping a wide board can crosscut 16″
8 1/2 is an awesome size and my favorite for a portable saw. 10’s are usually much heavier and I too often find stuff that I can’t cut, or cut well with a 7 1/4. An 8 1/2 dual bevel will do almost anything a 10 will, so you might as well go up to a 12 at that point. Also it’s hard to go back to an old fashioned rear rail saw after a forward design. Upfront bevel controls are an enormous time saver.
All good points and I’d probably skip it, too. I’m happy running 2 cordless Makita LXT saws: 6 1/2″ and 10″. Blades are abundant for both.
I use the 6 1/2″ everyday for finish work and occasional 2x and it is mounted on a packout work top. It’s one of my favorite tools.
The 10″ is mounted on a Hercules miter stand and gets used less due to the room it takes up on my truck, but the dust collection is incredible. I use both saws indoors and that saves me a lot of time/trips inside and out.
I’d consider the 8 1/2″ if it had the blade choices my current saws have but not with the current choices. Maybe more choices for blades overseas?
I tend to avoid buying blades from overseas due to potential arbor mismatches. It also doesn’t help if I dull a blade or break a tooth off and need a replacement within a reasonable time.
Arbor size can usually be checked easily enough. If it’s larger on the blade than the saw you can use a reducing bushing. I’ve saved quite a bit on various blades doing this. Mostly by buying oddly sized blades off Amazon.com, although I’ve bought a couple of tracksaw blades from overseas.
Foreign blades can still be sharpened locally, although unless you’ve got a good local sharpener that’ll take time. Replacement will be slow unless spend $$$ on fast shipping.
I actually purchased a Husky shoulder strap at HD. I snap it on two eye bolts fitted in the miter saw. I then put the strap over my neck for added drop protection for the saw. The 12” saw is only fifty pounds, but very unbalanced to carry. I now have it on a rolling miter cart, so carrying it is no longer an issue.
Makita changed their 12″ saw production over to china and from the reviews and personal experience…they are garbage.
I bought 3 over the course of a month and a half (each saw being special ordered and taking over a week to ship) and returned each. Quality control was garbage as each one had issues with the rails not being straight in ways that couldn’t be fixed by the end user and made trueing the blade impossible.
I’ve gone through quite a few saws and have had various experiences with them.
The 7-1/4 M18 is my trim/travel saw for all small jobs and I love it. No complaints other than the price keeps creeping further up. I bought it when they first came out and Home Depot had it for $250 (should have bought a pallet of them).
Had the 10″ M18 and it wasn’t terrible, but there’s a reason why Milwaukee changed the design for the 7-1/4″ and 12″. It had terrible dust collection, the rails are underneath and get covered in dust/debris, it’s fairly heavy and awkward to carry (especially next to the new designs) and straight cuts were harder to come by due to the slop at full extension. Not a terrible saw, not great.
Had the 12″ Milwaukee shop saw and it would be great if I had the space for it (it is a beast of a saw). It is the most powerful miter saw I think I’ve ever used and has a nice soft-start/turbine spooling sound. Just a delight to use. But it sits very deep on a work surface and you just need a lot of room away from the wall. It’s really heavy and not a good jobsite saw. The odd dust collection attachment port is almost an immediate deal breaker because it’s hard to work with and also needs a lot of space to work with a hose.
Check out picture 12.
Tried this as a workaround, but ultimately sold the saw due to size.
Had the Bosch 12″ glide miter saw. Pretty good Cadillac of miter saws but ends up being one of the heaviest objects on a jobsite. Takes a team to move everything in and out of a house.
Had the Delta Cruzer when they first came out with the gen II model for $350. Another one of those saws that the price kept creeping up. No real complaints. It was very similar to the Bosch in cut quality and had more features (come on Bosch, add a freaking LED to your saws…). It also didn’t have the weight of a small moon. It is now the new Ridgid saw that came out at a higher price for a different color (never tried it).
Have the Dewalt 12″ compound XPS currently and I don’t think it’s bad, just average. The dust collection is among the worst though and it wasn’t helped by dewalt putting cheap plastic bits as the dust chute/curtain holder. 1 piece of wood broke off and shot off the blade into the dust port and broke off the plastic tabs, so now the dust collection is worse than before.
I think my next 12″ saw will be the M18 12″ miter saw based on how happy I’ve been with the 7-1/4″ model. My only gripe is that I’m not a fan of purely battery based tools that are that expensive. I like that Milwaukee has stuck with their customers and stayed consistent with the battery platform, but if they ever change…
That is a consideration that Dewalt and some of Metabo have considered with their hybrid options.
I heard about Makita having miter saw rail issues a few years ago and would hope it to be resolved by now. I haven’t heard anything negative about the XGT saws in this regard.
Dewalt’s new cordless 12″ miter saw is a FlexVolt 60V Max model (https://toolguyd.com/dewalt-flexvolt-cordless-miter-saw-dcs781/) ; there is no corded adapter available for it.
My Makita’s were from March/April 2022.
I looked at the Dewalt, but I’m not in that battery line up and by them getting rid of the A/C adapter, I most likely never will (unless I find a stupid good deal). But the outgoing model may be up for some steep discounts soon, so we’ll see.
My business experience is now over 10 years old – so i can’t say anything much about the new crop of cordless saws. The experience we did have with corded Bosch Glide Saws and Makita corded sliders was that shipping could be their ruination. Even the best constructed saw, packed in a cardboard box with minimal foam padding is subject to damage. In several instances we decided that it was worth our time and money to buy locally. Rather than find bent and misaligned fences (as we did with a few Bosch saws) or bent rails (as we did with some Makitas) when the saws showed up on our loading dock – unboxing at a supply house, checking for damage and transporting in our own truck was worth our time and effort. I’m not sure who (UPS or Fedex) delivered the saws that we found issue with – or where along the shipping chain damage occurred – but it proved a nuisance – when at a morning meeting we’d hear “we got another bad one that needs to go back”
I’m really good at spending other people’s money so yeah, I think you should buy it. 😛
Scott Brown does a mini review on his, he’s been using it for 2 years:
TLDR; he really likes it and it’s become his daily saw vs. his Dewalt and Festool
I’ve had the 10″ LXT 36V Makita miter saw for several years. Great saw. I simply don’t believe that a smaller blade will cut the same amount as a larger blade, sounds total BS to me. No different than a 10″ can’t cut what a 12″ can.
Anyway, Makita cordless saws are excellent, good dust collection but not great. Buy the saw that won’t give you limitations for your needs, because that’s always the regrets in cost cutting or size cutting. The 12″ LXT was not available when I bought my 10″ LXT, but I still wouldn’t buy the 12″, just too big and too heavy to move around.
GSL02 8-1/2″ : 2-3/4″ x 12-1/4″ at 90°
GSL03 10″ : 2-13/16″ x 12″ at 90°
GSL04 12″ : 3-5/8″ x 15″ at 90°
One might choose the 10″ or 12″ for nested crown molding or vertical baseboard cutting.
If my needs are predominantly cross-cutting of boards, shelves, or similar materials no wider than 10-12″, what’s the advantage of a larger saw? There can be advantages in motor power and cutting speeds, but smaller saws are lighter and more portable. Smaller blades are less expensive and tend to flex or deflect less.
Just because the 8-1/2″ saw has the same cross-cutting range as the 10″, that doesn’t mean it can cut all of the same materials.
Unfortunately, dust collection is a challenge for even the most premium miter saws.
I get it, but only one measurement cut doesn’t make the saws equivalent, just marketing. If I need to cut something a foot wide, then I take a saw to the wood with a short rail and Makita track saw, or better yet the best portable saw I own, the Mafell KSS40 18V is worth the insane cost.
It depends on the material.
Mafell’s corded KSS delivered beautiful cut quality, but was way beyond my needs. I have more need for one today, but not great enough to justify the expense.
Keep in mind you can get blades sharped. If the odd blade size is the only downside to this saw, then buy the saw and 2 of each blade you think you will commonly use. When one gets dull, send it in for sharpening and you still have the second blade to use. For your less commonly used blades, get one and just know you will be without it for a week or two when it needs sharpening.
Personally I’ve taken a different approach, I have a cheap used 10″ non-sliding chop saw that I keep a non-ferrous blade on for cutting aluminum, and I keep a nice fine finish blade on my 12″ bosch glide. Its nice to keep the aluminum chips contained to a different part of the shop anyway, and never need the huge crosscut capacity for aluminum anyway.
Please….please….if you find “superb dust collection” on your miter saw setup please share it with us.
I have what I’d call decent dust collection but I’d like to improve it.
I’m on about my third or fourth version using a large shop vac for suction.
I recently bought the new dewalt dcs781. It is 12” runs on one flexvolt battery. It is 50 lb light for a big saw. But it is excellent. Big power shadow line, simple controls smoother than other dewalts and out of box dead accurate.
I have the 12” XGT and it’s my go to for everything, but the fact is the 10” would have been better and more manageable than the 12, it weighs 70lbs and I keep it hard bolted to a rigid rolling stand, no other way to do it imo.
I saw the video last week of the new 8.5” XGT miter on makita Japan’s feed, I’d be looking to hawk one of those from eBay. Same sellers I get the latest impacts from can get the miter.
Lastly I think you’ll be tickled with the 7.5 if you do go that route, XGT is the best out there.
the xgt 8.5” is available in the usa.
I personally have been eying up that GSL02 for some time now , but the only drawback to me was it would be my first XGT tool and I had no battery or charger for it.
I do have a PDC01 backpack I got on Amazon recently for $269 and I could get an XGT adapter to use my LXT batteries for only $130, but that could be a bit bulky and cumbersome of a solution. However, given the semi stationary nature of a Miter saw once setup, it could be worth it. For now i must be content though, because on Saturday I bought a 36v LXTx2 XSL06PT 10″ Saw kit for $400 used on Facebook marketplace from a guy who bought a home, renovated his whole house with it, and then it sat in a shed for a few years.
It works brilliantly, and I am loving it so far, but the XSL06 having a 60lb weight is nothing to shake a stick at. The GSL02 is only 35lbs, and it think of that every time I pick up my new Saw or the numerous Dewalts Ive ended up working with over the past few months since I’ve contemplated the GSL02.
Japan’s 40v LS008G is a 7 1/2″ 40v Saw with incredible cutting capacity and only 25lbs, and I’ve contemplated getting that as my second more portable Saw but the $235 pushes its cost uo to $1100, and thats a real deterrent. So I’m torn.
I love my new cordless miter saw, but the GSL02 I’ve heard nothing but great things about. If I were in your position I would get it, and don’t let the fear of blade availability deter you. Makita making an 8 1/2″ Saw is revolutionary and I know the size will become more readily available as time goes on, and as others have stated you can always get the blades sharpened as well.
I also want you to get it so I can hear what you think of it.
Blade choice limited and expensive.
As far as a larger blade causing more deflection– a non-sliding 10 or 12″ Chop” saw will be more accurate than a slider any day–all day.. and without the sliding mechanism, they really aren’t all that heavy. They also can sit FAR closer to a wall and not stick way out in front past the front edge of your workbench. A HUGE plus.
I have a 7.25 slider that’s nice and portable for construction projects, where accuracy isn’t a to priority, and a 12″ “chop” saw in my wood shop (where accuracy is indeed a big deal). These 2 saws are for completely different uses.
True, but how many cordless non-sliders can you find today?
I am mostly a Makita guy but haven’t bought into the XGT platform yet. I’ve got probably 25 18 volt and 36 volt Makita tools. I have the Milwaukee Fuel 7 1/4” but a friend of mine and fellow contractor has the 8 1/2” XGT saw and it makes the Milwaukee feel like a toy. The Milwaukee replaced the Dewalt 7 1/4” and is definitely better than that one as far as features and cut quality but the Makita is next level.
If you do buy it at homedepot. They have specials where you get a free battery. You can return the battery and get a discount on the tool.
Not for this one, unfortunately.
At the time Acme had a 10%/$75 discount, but it’s still eligible for a “buy 2 bare tools get a free battery” promo. Home Depot has special pricing and a free battery on the 10″ saw.
I have this miter saw, and use it frequently. I don’t have it on a stand, as per my purpose is to move it around easily.
It can compare to if not exceed the cut capacity of most 10 inch miter saws unless you are cutting up against the fence, but there are really only 2 video reviews on youtube. Tool&stuff & 4thewin
Both seem to have overall positive things to say. I would agree with almost all of their review statements based on my personal experience.
I rarely need my 12″ saw anymore.
For the price I’ll probably just buy an MFT table, since you already have a track saw.
Unless you do a lot of double bevel cuts.
I have one, and it’s a huge hassle to set up if I’m just making a couple of cuts.
Why? My setup is similar to the youtuber Peter Millard, and I hardly use my miter and table saw anymore.
I don’t have the floorspace for my MFT to be set up all the time. I’m thinking of building a mobile table with storage to support on it, which might change things.
But even if I do that, I wouldn’t have the space for the lengths of 1x and 2x lumber that I typically cut with a miter saw outside.