Travis (ToolsbyDesign) let the cat out of the bag that there’s a new Makita sub-compact 18V brushless circular saw on the way, model XSH04ZB. There’s also an optional dust collector port, (HS7610/196520-1).
According to Travis, the new 6-1/2″ saw has a 2-1/4″ cut capacity at 0°, 5000 RPM motor, blade brake, aluminum shoe, and weighs a little more than 7-1/2 lbs when paired with a 5.0Ah battery pack.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Coming Soon(via Home Depot)
Compare(Makita 18V brushless 6-1/2″ circular saw via Amazon)
This is now the 7th Makita sub-compact brushless tool that we’ve seen. Here are the others:
- Cordless drill preview post
- Rotary hammer preview post
- Reciprocating saw preview post
- Impact wrench preview post
- Impact driver (via Amazon)
- Hammer drill (via Amazon)
Makita now offers sub-compact 18V tools in all “core” varieties.
For the most part, I have been quite impressed by Makita’s sub-compact tools. The ones I’ve tried are mostly enjoyable to use, with some compromises. The drill’s clutch dial, for example, is a little cramped.
The first Makita 18V sub-compact tools closely resembled their 12V Max CXT tools, but that certainly isn’t true for this one.
Part of me is excited that Makita is further expanding their sub-compact 18V lineup, but part of me is concerned.
Circular saws are often large and bulky. They take up a lot of space in a drawer, tool bag, tool box, truck bed, or anywhere else it might be stored or transported. Circular saws in recent years have been getting bigger, not smaller, as brands increase their power and cutting capacity.
This new sub-compact saw certainly looks small.
But… while that’s beneficial for storing or carrying a circular saw, how will it play out when using the saw? To me, the saw looks a little cramped, but that’s hard to tell from a bunch of web images.
I’m more curious about the placement of the handles. Everything looks rotated and raised forward a little bit.
Interesting – this is a right-facing saw. Most 6-1/2″ saws face left, while 7-1/4″ saws often face right, mimicking cordless circular saw design trends.
From the imagery, it looks like Makita nixed the rafter hook, dramatically shrunk the size of the motor, rotated the battery connection, tightened everything else up a bit. Look at Travis’ photos to see what I mean.
Despite being compressed into a smaller-sized saw, the weight is approximately the same. Makita’s XSH03Z brushless saw weighs 7.3 lbs with battery pack, this one 7 lbs 9 oz (~7.56 lbs).
It will be interesting to see whether the new “sub-compact” circular saw will be as powerful, comfortable, and controllable as full-sized saws currently available.
Photos by Travis Collins (ToolsbyDesign), used with permission.
Wow! That just jumped to the top of my wish list. That is the perfect circular saw for cabinet installation.
Why not use a 12v saw?
Way less power with 12v and less depth of cut. This saw has great power to size ratio.
You get tear out with lower RPMs. That might be ok for CDX but our cabinet shop only used corded circ saws when cutting fimished ply.
That is what I searched for year and a half after I got 71/2” brushless Milwaukee. I do like the Milwaukee was and is one of the best but too big and too heavy for installers. BUYING THIS MAKITA FOR SHURE .
Tool options are always nice. I wonder what Makita thinks the market is for these.
Its not quite a small trim saw – and certainly not a framer’s or roof-deck saw – but maybe it fits a niche.
Many years ago, when Makita sort of ruled the cordless tool business – they came out with a 9.6V NiCad (when that was the state-of-the art) 3-3/8″ saw. I thought it was a joke – but paneling was all the rage back then – and the guys liked it for that use. Soon Makita added a diamond blade and water bottle to it for quick tile cuts. I think both models sold well.
I bought one and it and it’s early ‘90’s batteries actually lasted until 2015. Then I gave away all those Makita 9.6 volt tools and my nearly as ancient first Dewalt 18v battle wagons. Both NiCads of course.
Don’t miss ‘em.
Those old Makitas were awesome!
I love the makita sub compact stuff. For a homeowner/diyer it’s pretty perfect. Very similar to the 12v tools, that offer more than enough power, but on the 18v platform. So now that I want a 1/2 impact, I don’t need to get a different battery system. The 5.0ah batteries that cam with my blower and trimmer are always available to use with the drill when the 2.0ah dies on the last screw.
These sub compact tools are larger then m12 tools and less powerful
I did not think that there was an M12 6-1/2 inch saw to compare this to.
The12 saw has more power
But that is a 5 3/8 saw, not a 6 1/2 like this one, as fred was saying.
But the M12 is a pretty limited platform in regards to powerful tools. It lacks an impact that competes with air tools, any OPE, router, sander, nail guns, chop saws, planer ect. It’s not like the sub-compact Makitas are significantly less powerful. The impact is very close to the M12 Fuel in specs. The drill/driver is identical. The M12 impact is smaller than the Makita, but the Makita Drill/Driver is smaller than the M12.
But the M12 is limited to the DIYer tools. So my point is that it is quite cool that I can buy a Tracksaw, or fullsize SDS drill and use the batteries currently charging in my garage. If you want the best tool for each task then you’re probably going to have a ton of different batteries, or just cords.
Are you serious? M12 diy ? You must be a diy guy….m12 in some cases is more powerful then 18v tools…and the current m12 tools beat most other brands 18v tools….small line up ? ….what company has 12 ope ? Your completely ignorant
You’re just delusional if you think a 12v platform with 50+ tools isn’t limited. There is nothing wrong with the M12 system. It has some cool toys. But don’t believe it compares to the Makita 200+ tools on 18v or the DeWalt 100+ tools on 20v Max. It lacks the serious tools that professionals use. A lot of M12 tools simply replace hand tools. It lacks essential tools, like I mentioned before, that are the bread and butter of 18v systems.
The great part about M12 is the battery form factor that allows for smaller tools like the ratchet and 3/8″ stapler to name a few. Both tools that would be clunky with a full size 18v battery attached.
My main cordless platform is 18v Makita, but I still have some M12 tools because they have some stuff in that lineup that is awesome.
M12 all have that stupid fat handle, and the soec differences are negligible. Ergonmics is king below 18v, as power is clearly not the intent. Sub compacts all day for me, got a large tough box setup perfect with the drill, impact, 3/8s, and recip and all the trimmings. 90% of my daily electrician tasks in one box.
That’s not true, m12 tools are significantly smaller then Makita sub compact tools,but more powerful….
Nope, not all of them. See this photo:
and these, some M12 are BIG tools:
Not all of them.
Have a look at his photo:
The M12’s is ridiculously bigger than the Makita subcompacts.
Taken from an article titled “Makita 18V Black Sub-Compact Cordless CX200RB, the 12V Killers”.
I’m thinking this might be good for a diy track saw.
I thought it was a compact planer when I first saw the image from the left profile.
Gahdam, I just dropped over $1000 on all kinds of Makita goodies, including the new (for USA) compact dust extractor and 1/2 impact wrench… I really shouldn’t be seeing these things with my unhealthy obsession for tools. Heck, I don’t even need it, but I would sure like to try it. Also, there is rumblings of a newer version of their rear handled circular saw.
We had a not-so-compact Makita planer – their KP312. The “312” stands for its 312mm (12+ inch) cut width. It was a workhorse for us on the several timber framing jobs we did some years ago.
At that time – I wrestled with several Makita versus Mafell buying decisions – and Makita won out. For us it was a good decision – because the timber framing work in our area seemed to peter out almost as fast as it had appeared. We’d still get a job or two – but the Makita Planer (now sells for about $2000) versus the Mafell at about 3 times the cost – was just more cost-effective for us. We had worked with another firm that used Mafell timber framing tools – and I always thought that we might upgrade if the work expanded – but it didn’t.
Nothing comes close to mafell tools…..never understand guys that buys tools because of price
Well, not all of us can always afford the best and the most expensive, and not all of us always need the best and the most expensive. Many times a mid-range tool is a great choice.
I like that Makita has always been a bit of a maverick when it comes to tool design. Sometimes an item is made because people simply want it or think it’s neat. And sometimes it can fill a niche that other tools just aren’t capable of handling as comfortably.
The first thing I thought of when I saw this was a hardwood flooring installer ny dad knew years ago. He always had this little sidewinder circular saw with him. I cannot recall if it was 5 or 6-1/2 inch blade. It was quite small compared to my dad’s old 7-1/4 inch model. Cannot recall brand. He used it to cut and trim flooring planks and even make long crosscuts on installed flooring areas where he was making repairs. Said the narrower shoe made it easier. Of course it was mains powered but the point remains.
I could also see our carpenters at work using this as well. I worked at a large univesity maintenance department in the housing area. Mostly straight up commercial/industrial electrical maintenance for me but the carpenters dealt with loads of broken furniture, doors, trim, and soaked flooring. You have no idea how much water damage kids creage in dormitories! They were always cutting out small areas of sublooring in the wood framed apartments. This saw would be perfect for it. It will be interesting to see if it sells well.
As to the Makita sub-compact line, much of it looks perfect to me for maintenance and re-work in occupied areas. You need portability, small footprint, light weight, and ability for the tools to fit limited clearances. Looks da winner to me.
Before I bought a track saw – my saw fro breaking down sheet goods and general trim work was a Porter-Cable (then Rockwell PC) 4314 – 4.5 inch worm gear saw.
I still grab it for some tasks :
Pity that its no longer made. Mine has a Forrest WW04H407080 blade mounted – but the old PC 12121 reverse-tooth Plexiglas cutting blade gets mounted from time to time.
Wow Fred. That is neat. A worm drive 4.5 inch saw? Should have known Porter -Cable/Rockwell was involved. I was not savvy to the Rockwell/P-C relationship til awhile back but when I was a kid my dad always spoke very highly of Rockwell tools. It seems to me they had a very good table saw henalways wanted. Rockwell sort of just faded in the 80s and all of sudden Porter was everywhere. Now I know why. I will most certainly be keeping my eye out for one of those!
The Rockwell of the Porter Cable days – has nothing to do (as far as I know) with the current Rockwell – that sells tools like the Sonicrafter.
The old Rockwell was Rockwell International – the Aerospace conglomerate (built the Apollo command module and space shuttle) that was #27 on the Fortune 500 list and had sales of $27 billion. By 2001 they were defunct – and their tool companies like Porter-Cable and Delta – had been sold to Pentair in 1981. PC and Delta were later sold to Black & Decker. Your dad may have wanted a Unisaw that for some years bore both the Rockwell and Delta names. Rockwell had acquired Delta at the end of WWII. My Unisaw – from the 1970s was from the Rockwell era. Today – Delta is owned by a Taiwan – based company called Chang Type Industrial – but the Unisaw is being made in South Carolina. PC is still part od SBD.
Thanks Fred. Great information. I of course knew about SBD(now with added ‘C’ I guess with Craftsman in the fold) and their purchase of P-C but was not exactly sure about the whole Rockwell/Delta/Pentair connections til fairly recently though I was aware of the Pentair name from years ago. They had a good rep in pneunatics. I was not aware the Unisaw moniker was usec between the two marquees. I always associated it with Delta.
I work in affordable housing operations and handle purchasing. I am completely on board with you.
I feel that MRO work is largely overlooked when it comes to tool function discussions.
Our outfit turns mainly to 12v tool for most day to day tasks as we do not need much more in terms of power. I personally favor the Bosch EC line for it’s power to size ratio. For me, the more light weight, the better.
I do however stock 18v tools. Those 18v tools are Makita. This saw (compared to other Makita 6/ 1/2 or 7 /1/4 saws) may find an easier home inside a rolling tool bag or a bucket as my guys need to run and make a quick cut. I wouldn’t gut my 18v line or our 12v in order to commit to sub compact makitas. I would however welcome it as a nicely sized option (with a better cutting capacity than our m12 fuel circ saw) for a constantly on the go trade where it has it’s niche.
Matt, indeed. MRO work always has a lot more need-to-adapt-on-the-go to it than construction. I sometimes forget when I post to reference that approach.
When you are doing repair or in-house remodel work, you have to think about how you are going to remove just as much if not more material than you install. In multiple steps as well. Tools that are adaptable and compact enough to get into nearly blind areas to access hidden fasteners and bracing is the rule and not an exception. And yes, a lot of these tools will be the same thing you’d use for new construction.
I remember when the sub-compact Makita line was introduced a few years ago. A lot of immediate comments were along the lines of; why? Now me, the first thing I wanted to know was how many tools were going to be added. 12 volt sized tools that run on Makita’s regular 18 volt batteries. I saw a dozen uses in my mind for them straight away.
Installing electric doors strikes. A for instance; One of our residence halls has an entry door that is 48 inches wide, 84 inches tall, and 2-3/8 inch thick. Weighs about 275lbs and is made of solid mahogany. Comissioned about 25 yeare ago by our interior decorator to replace the old rotted unit, it cost 5500 dollars then. A year later they added a matching screendoor at another 1000 dollars. The carpenter I was working agreed with me we get one shot at this to not bollocks it up. You do not ham handedly attack a project like that.
The two most important tools used just after brains and good tape measures were a Fein tool and Dremel model 3000. And once we set the strike I would have loved to have had a 12v or the Makita sub-compact drill driver for finer control of hardware installation rather than our full sized 18v powerhouses. Horses for courses.
Horses for courses indeed. Always nice to have options and the right tool. You would be working a long time using a rotohammer when a hoeram is needed. But the other way around would be a disaster.
Framers.dont need more tools then you? Or don’t deal with changing situations ? Clearly you never framed
Having the dust port is good for using inside, like repairing flooring, etc. Pair it with their dust extractor. Dust extractor often used with track saws, so perhaps one of each for on-site, or in-home use. For a contractor doing trim, etc., this would make sense. Also like that it has a brake.
Don’t see the point….larger then M12 tools, less powerful, cost more…
How is this saw less powerful than an M12 saw? Have you used it?
The M12 saw has a 5-3/8 blade.
I have the M12 saw and it is certainly no powerhouse and also only has a 44mm cut capacity, so it wont even cut through our 4×2’s, which are a nominal 90 x 45mm. I have tried it and it always leaves 1-2mm uncut.
Further, unless you use the 6.0ah battery, it bogs very easily, even through 25mm pine.
The M12 rotary hammers have impacts rated at 0.9 joules for the brushed and 1.1 joules for the for the brushless. The Makita subcompact has 1.2 and the CXT has 1.1. However in the real world the Makita CXT drills way faster, is better balanced and actually has vibration damping.
So much better to use, and so much so, that I sold my M12 rotary hammer (which I was going to keep as a back up), after buying and using the Makita for a few weeks.
The subcompact can only be better still.
Just say you love making because the rest is not true
Tell me what you cut deeper.then 1 1/2″ with a circ saw ?
2X material at a 45. 4X material, with 2 cuts.
I just recently sold off the majority of my M12 tools and replaced them with Makita CXT tools. Those M12 tools I have had and used for the last 4 years. Yes they are decent. But almost every equivalent Makita tool is simply nicer to use. Forget the advertised numbers. It’s real world use that matters.
A good example is the 1/4 hex drill/driver. The M12 I had would not pull a 25mm self feed spade bit through pine. The Makita does it with ease. And the brushless one I have bought since pulls a 32mm self feed bit through hardwood. Not with ease, but it will do it. The M12 couldn’t drill a 19mm bit in hardwood. How do I know? I have tried it.
Unlike you, I have had the opportunity to use these two brands equivalent tools back to back and in almost every case, the Makita is simply better. Otherwise why would I sell off a dozen or so perfectly good M12 tools and replace them?
And can you not read? I said the M12 circular saw will not cut through a 4 x 2 in one pass. 4 x 2 is a very common size. And why would you question what thickness of timber that I need to cut anyway?
Look, I get that you have to justify your purchases, its what some people do. But you go too far. Blanket statements such as M12 is better is simply not true.
I have been thinking of buying into the Makita CXT line, as I like the way they feel in my hand. I currently have DeWalt 10,8V tools, but being such limited line-up I have been thinking of changing over to Makita CXT as they seem to be at least decent in performance. I am really tempted about the brushless drill, as it bested every other 10,8V drill in Pro Tool Reviews shootout. I will never buy into Milwaukee or Bosch 10,8V lines as their handles feel awful to me because of the battery style. Milwaukee M12 tools also feel very bulky, and Milwaukee costs almost double the price than competitors here in Finland. In some cases Milwaukee M12 tools may have more power, but that is why I have my DeWalt 18V (20V max) tools. With 10,8V tools, I want compactness and lightweight over superior power.
Makita subcompacts will use either 5 or 10 cells. M12 will use either 3 or 6 cells.
The Makita’s will likely have more power or more runtime; there’s simply more cells available (~66% more Wh actually, so quite significant!). I don’t know what M12 tools are more powerful. I haven’t seen any yet.
M12 are kinda notoriously big tools. Only the new Gen 2 Drills, Stubby impact wrench and Impact driver can be considered “compact”.
Both M12 and Makita subcompact have their place. Great to have both options available.
Dude,watch workshop addict,real tool reviews…m12 is much more powerful then Makita sub compact tools….stop reading specs,try using a tool
Mate, that can’t possibly be true. I regularly watch those YouTube channels and yet to see one comparison between them, let alone enough comparisons to claim the whole M12 lineup is more powerful. What video are you talking about specifically where “m12 is much more powerful then Makita sub compact tools”?
There’s none on those channels.
The physics in our universe almost deny the “much more powerful” claim can be possible. Remember, Power = Voltage x Amps (P =VI), and 18650 cells have current draw limitations. Perhaps if a 12V motor had a ton more wiring (making it big and heavy), it could use those Watts to generate more torque than it normally would. But 66% more Wh with Makita will be a hard challenge to overcome.
Here’s the only video I could find online. It’s by Tool Boss showing a close result, but, Makita still won:
Even though Makita won, it’s still just a single video, of a single screw being driven.
Both are great lines IMO. Go and buy both.
And another video, M12 vs Makita 12V CXT, with the Makita winning in performance:
So that’s an example of a 12V Makita beating M12.
There is an optional rafter hook that will be available.
Bolts on with 2 bolts.
The only other saw with similar specs to this one is the Kobalt 24v 6-1/2” saw, also blade right and only slightly heavier, at 7-3/4 lbs with the 2.0 battery. Similar depth of cut also: 2-7/16” at 90 degrees and 1-11/16” at 45 for the Kobalt.
I just bought the Kobalt literally the day before Travis posted about the Makita! I might otherwise have waited, but then again it only cost me $70 on eBay, compared to $179 for the Makita. I’m curious which of these has more power, but I’m sure not going to buy both to find out…
I was thinking about the Kobalt Brushless circ saw when I saw this post about the Makita. I bought the Kobalt when it was way cheap and stacked a trade-in coupon with it. I like it. I’ll be curious to hear about the Makita, since Makita is my premium 18v tools platform. Kobalt is decent quality and certainly this saw seems better than the Ryobi cordless. Also, their batteries are cost-effective. Five year warrantee on the saw.
My thought was, “I don’t ever want to try that Makita saw, bc don’t want to be dissatisfied with my Kobalt.” Had it been around at the time, I would likely have gotten the Makita. Depth of cut is the main thing on both of them. Of course, when they arrive at Home Depot, I’m sure to look at it when I’m in there.
I have a couple of corded Makita circ saws and think very highly of the quality of them. (But also a brushed small circ saw that came with a kit that’s not exemplary).
This has been available at Home Depot since early July. Ncf home improvements inc posted a photo mid July too. Not sure why it’s claimed as not being available
Home Depot has stock on order which hits overhead storage until official placement on the shelf. These are not supposed to be on the shelf for sale yet but not every Home Depot listens. When NCF Home Improvements posted on it he stated there was no price in the HD system for it as it was so new.
I got the saw out of top rack storage after confirming the HD system had pricing updated. Its still not technically available for sale online or in stores but can be purchased if you request one be pulled down.
Let what cat out of the bag exactly lol ? They said at woc 2018 this sub compact saw was coming. Makita New Zealand showed a teal version a few weeks ago and a aws version too. It’s been available in Home Depot since early July. Ncf home improvements inc posted a photo of it in Home Depot mid July so not sure why it’s claimed it’s not available yet
A thorough search didn’t show any images, specs, details, or anything else anywhere online. Searching for the model number, and variations of it, keywords such as “Makita sub-compact circular saw”, and similar turn up nothing.
Nobody asked about it, nobody sent in a tip about it.
And so Travis’ coverage was the first and ONLY coverage of the saw that I’ve seen. So as far as I’m concerned, he broke the news.
I have the normal brushless 18v version and it’s already pretty small and light. I’m not sure what this new version gains to be honest. Everything seems to be cheapened if you know what I mean.
Blade right on this one, blade left on the other.
Other than that I kind of agree. Very similar.
A 6 1/2″ saw doesn’t seem very “subcompact” when there are “normal” sized 18V-20V cordless tools with 5 1/2″ blades. Maybe they wanted to give more depth for versatility, but I’ve found a 5 1/2″ blade is fine for most things I’d use a cordless saw for.
I do like the look of the saw however, and it looks like a quality piece (which it had better be, for the price).
It’ll be good to see this tested and compared to other cordless tools.
I think the design was changed to make the depth of cut similar to a standard 7 1/4″ circ saw.
Sub compact shouldn’t mean less power. If sub compact means a smaller motor and less power, then why even make one. The handle looks like it would be uncomfortable if you had larger hands. For reasons unknown, they shortened the entire handle by putting the battery insert directly behind the grip, which gives zero adjustability to your hand. Worst of all, they put the damn blade on the wrong side. Also the shoe looks smaller than it should be and the bevel adjustment looks like it might be in the way of the line of sight. Making a tool weaker for smaller size purposes is a bad idea for cordless tools.
Using current technologies, you cannot shrink the tool down without compromises.
There are compromises that are included in the designs of most everything – perhaps with the exception of those things created by The Almighty.
Certainly tools created by the hand of man are seldom perfect – but since neither are we its nice to have options to fit with our differences.
My favorite circular saw of all time is an old B&D Super SawCat with blade brake. It is not perfect – but for me anyway – represents the best combination of design, power, build quality, innovation, longevity etc. for the time it was made. I have not tried a Mafell – but I feel that my Super Sawcat is better made than my Festool track saw, Skil 77 or any of the dozens of high-end corded saws (Bosch, Dewalt, Fein/Jancy/Morse, Skil, Makita, Milwaukee, Porter Cable) I’ve handled over the years.
Despite my liking it – I don’t pull it out anymore – and find that other compromises like my cordless Milwaukee 2731-20 are more useful when working at the back of the garden, my track saw is better for cutting sheet goods – and my Skill 77 with bigfoot – is a one-pass cutter for 4×4’s
Same saw as the hs631 except missing the negative 5 degree angle option which would have been great for floor removal
What’s the difference between this XSH04ZB Sub-Compact Saw and the DCS550Z, DSS501Z and XSS02Z models?
XSH04ZB has a larger blade and faster cutting speed, and is “right-facing.”
Framer Joe must be a Millwaukee rep. I have both M12 and Makita sub compact. Comparing the two what’s ignorant. M12 doesn’t even make a comparable saw in size so how did you decide it was more powerful. Anyone who has actually used this saw already knows you’re a jackass…