Battery-powered sliding compound saws have come a long way, and this new 216mm XGT 40V MAX brushless release from Makita is one of the best we’ve had the pleasure of bringing to our readers. Unpacking the Makita and carrying it onto the site was very easy thanks to its weighing in at only 15.3kg without the battery. Even with the battery in place it’s still only 16kg, and the compact design made it effortless to set up and position. Its front sliding rail design meant the saw could be positioned up against a wall out of the way without any restriction on its cutting ability. As impressive as the lightweight, compact design is, it’s in the power department the advancement really shows. But a pile of features also help make this sliding compound saw the all-round performer it is. Features like the Shadow Cut Line, which provides the exact blade-width cut line, a sub-table which can be extended from 550mm out to 750mm, ideal for cutting longer pieces, and a precise mitre and bevel adjustment system for mitre cuts up to a massive 60 degrees and bevel cuts up to 48 degrees, make this an excellent saw for roofing and compound cuts.
TEST #1: POWER
A lot of day-to-day cutting for most tradies will include materials like pine, LVL and oregon, and the Makita LS002G did these with ease. It cut extremely clean and left sharp cut edges. The Makita even looked and sounded good cutting the larger LVLs.
Things went very well to start with, but we decided to ramp things up to see what the Makita sliding compound saw could do.
There were some hardwood sleepers kept around for exactly this type of testing. With dimensions of 90mm x 240mm, these sleepers were outside Makita’s recommended maximum cut limits, so it was a tough challenge, and the fact the material was hardwood further pushed the tool.
Makita included a feature called ‘Constant Speed Control’ which uses the XGT 40V MAX brushless motor to ensure the blade speed remains consistent under heavy loads. The audible slowing of the motor is always the give-away that a tool isn’t coping with the power draw of a task. Yet, to the Makita’s credit, it smashed the oversized hardwood sleeper (check out our video on the WTW FB page to listen to how consistently the combination of the 40V Max battery and highpowered brushless motor made short work of this sleeper).
It was a beautiful cut as well.
TEST #2: COMPOUND CUTS
The restricted mitre and bevel cutting capabilities of smaller compound saws is often a bugbear for tradies. Restricted angles mean chippies can’t cut cripple creepers and other more angled compound cuts. There are no such restrictions on the Makita 216mm sliding compound saw. With epic flexibility the 60-degree mitres and 48-degree bevel cuts on both the left and right are done with ease. Even on those more challenging compound cuts it was a breeze to both set up and do the cut.
This is one user-friendly saw.
TEST #3: SET UP & PACK DOWN
It’s a struggle to think of an easier sliding compound saw to set up and pack down than this one. There certainly hasn’t been one that offered the flexibility, precision and power of the Makita. Carrying the saw onto the site, setting it up on the Makita stand, and then carrying the saw around the site while still mounted to the stand wasn’t a hassle in the slightest. It could easily be moved by a single user without risking back injuries in the process.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
Usability is just as essential as power and precision, and the fact the Makita ticks all these boxes and then some makes it a very impressive all-rounder. The 4800rpm cutting speed and constant speed control were standouts. It’s unheard of for a brushless motor to not struggle at all when cutting such chunky oversized sections, but the Makita did it. The slide rail was ultra-smooth and the addition of AWS (Auto-start Wireless System) meant the user-friendly theme of this saw continued across into a dust-free cutting experience.