MAKITA Cordless 6-1/2” Track Saw

MAKITA 18V X2 (36V) LXT CORDLESS 6-1/2” PLUNGE SAW XPS01 Review

MAKITA Cordless 6-1/2” Track Saw

no/5
Manufacturer: MAKITA
Model number: XS01
Price: 349 - 499
Power source: 18v [36v] cordless
Motor size: brushless
Weight: 11.2 lbs
Seems like everyone wants a track saw these days. Why wouldn’t you, it allows you to cut and manage sheet goods like a mill shop, minus the panel saw.

A track saw is much more than a circular saw with a rip guide, its designed to be a smooth and precise plunge cutting saw. Track saws make long, precise cuts faster and better circular saws. They are lighter, faster to set up and more portable, then a table saw.

We feel that a track saw is a perfect addition to the carpenter, or woodworker looking to be more precise and accurate in their cutting and finish carpentry activities.

We took a  look at the MAKITA 18V X2 (36V) LXT Brushless Cordless 6-1/2” Plunge Circular Saw, model XPS0. This saw is designed to run off two 18 volt batteries to get you 36 volts of corded performance, all without a cord. We really like that MAKITA achieves this power, while still staying inside their 18-volt platform.

What’s the Difference with the NEW saw?

With exception of the batteries you might ask yourself what’s the difference between the corded track saw that has been out since 2008 and cordless saw. The simple answer is nothing, their identical in features and accessories so transitioning to cordless can be seamless for corded users.

Batteries and Motor Power

The MAKITA cordless track saw runs off of two 18 volt batteries, and draws power from both of them at the same time. It will NOT operate on one battery.

As far as the two batteries go, MAKITA feels strongly about staying in the 18-volt platform. They feel that if they can accomplish their task with one battery the will. When the task requires high-power, more speed and or more run-time, then they design their tool with two batteries.

The MAKITA cordless track saw has a brushless motor and variable speed control dial with five settings that ranges from 2,500 – 6,300 rpms and allowing users to match the saw speed to the application.

5 Speed Setting

  1. 2500 rpm
  2. 2900 rpm
  3. 3900 rpm
  4. 4900 rpm
  5. 6300 rpm

Cut Capacity and Settings

The MAKITA track saw has a cut capacity of 2-3/16” at 90 degrees and 1-9/16” at 45 degrees. The blade location allows for and 11/16” cut from a wall, and it has a bevel capability (-1 degrees to 48 degrees) with positive stops at 22.5 degrees and 45 degrees.

  • 0 degrees         2-3/16” [56 mm]
  • 45 bevel           1-9/16” [40 mm]
  • 48 bevel           1-1/2”   [38 mm]

To set the saw to -1 degree you need loosen the regular bevel screws and then press in two levers located on the saws base plate. Once depressed you can then tilt the saw to -1 degree before tightening the bevel knobs. To set the tool to 48 degrees you loosen the same bevel screws and then flip a black colored, lever, near the bevel knob, toward the direction of the 48-degree arrow. This allows you to tilt the saw base to 48 degrees before tightening up the bevel knobs. The saw has a knob next to the front bevel knob that allows a positive stop at 22.5 degrees. We found this useful for setting this bevel quickly and positively.

With track saws most guys don’t care about line of sight. Line of  sight comes into play when using the saw off its track. The front edge of the saw has a detent for 90 degree and 45-degree cutting, when on the track the best part of using a track is speed and precision. All you need to do is you align the track with your marks and you’re ready to cut. The plastic edge shows you precisely where the blade will cut. No test cuts, no double checking, no guesswork.

Automatic Speed Change Technology

Automatic speed change technology adjusts cutting speed and torque during the cut for consistent cutting performance under load.  There is a mode indicator light next to battery #2 fuel gauge. This light will show solid green when in high torque mode. If the tool is overloaded it will blink green. When the work load is low, the tool will run in “high speed mode” for quicker cutting operation. When the work load is high, the tool will run in “high torque mode,” for powerful cutting operation.

The saw has a soft start motor and an electric brake.

Scoring Feature

Located near the rear handle, on the gear housing is a “quick stop button.” This button will allow the tool to quickly be set to 2 to 3 mm depth scoring cut, when using the guide rail. Simply push this button in, to activate this “scoring” feature. This feature allows you to achieve clean and splinter-free cutting in expensive materials.

Size and Weight

The MAKITA track saw measures 13-5/8” long and weighs 11.2 lbs. with both batteries attached. When attached to the saw track this saw GLIDES and feels like its greased!

Saw Base Slide Lever

At first glance you may wonder what that slide lever on the saw base is for. This lever, when activated will prevent the saw from tipping over and out of the track when bevel cutting. This is BRILLIANT, it not only keeps the saw from falling and getting damaged, it frees your second hand when cutting.

Guide Rail Adjustment

Two adjusting screws on the saws base allow you to adjust the slide function to avoid slop and  clatter.

Dust Collection

Dust collection is a trend that is NOT going away. Improving our health in the shop or onsite is important and MAKITA says they’ve made some changes to this new saw making it more efficient than the corded version. This saws dust port swivels, and measures approximately 1-3/8″ inside diameter and 1-3/4″ outside diameter. Unfortunately, this saw does not come with a dust bag, you have to purchase that.

Cost

The XPS01PTJ sells as a bare tool for $349.00. As a Kit it sells for $499 with a 55″ track saw and includes:

  • (2) 18V LXT 5.0Ah batteries
  • (1) 18V LXT Dual Port Charger
  • (1) 6-1/2” Cordless Plunge Saw Blade
  • (1) Hex Wrench
  • (2) Interlocking Cases: the larger one for the saw, the smaller one for the Dual Port Charger and batteries

Guide Rails

Makita 194368-5 Guide Rail, 55-Inch: $89
Makita 194367-7 Guide Rail, 118-Inch: $239

New Saw Blade Line

Makita is launching a new line of blades, seven in total, designed to fit this cordless saw and to work with multiple materials.

Run-time

We tested the Makita saw for runtime. I wanted to simulate a real carpentry application for our run time testing. I chose to rip ¾” plywood, which is what most people typically cut.

I set up the 55” rip fence to make 48” rips. We used Makita’s stock blade, which is a quality blade, is well-balanced and produces precision cuts.

I set the saw blade set just below the bottom edge, and used two new 5.0 Ah batteries. I followed this sequence until the tool could not finish a continuous cut:

  1.  Rip 48” of plywood
  2. Reset fence and repeated 4 more times [5 rips total]
  3. Rest tool 1 minute
  4. Repeat circuit until 20 rips
  5. Rest saw 10 minutes
  6. Repeat

The reason for resting the tool was to avoid heat buildup in the battery or brushless motor.  I also wanted to simulate a real life carpentry application. This was already a lot of cutting for a track saw, and I cant think of a job site situation where I would attempt to rip hundreds of board feet with a track saw.

We cut 104 strips which equals 416 lf  of 3/4″ plywood. that’s pretty impressive.

Using the Makita Cordless Track Saw

The saw blade and base plate were square out of the box, no adjustment was needed at 45 or 90-degrees.

I’ve always said you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The very first time I used this saw was to cut ½” Birch plywood and I said to myself, WOW this this is smooth and powerful!”

In the shop, I used the Makita cordless track saw to size down expensive and cumbersome sheet goods, for a book case project. I find it’s easier than trying to feed, or wrestle, a 4×8 sheets across my table saw. In the past, I would rough-cut plywood with a circular saw, then make finish cuts on a table saw. With a track saw, you can skip the second cut. The first cuts will be your final cuts and will be as straight, smooth and accurate as you’ll get on a table saw.

If you use this saw correctly, you will see that it cuts on par with cabinet table saw. The Makita saw performed exceptionally well in our testing.

Improvements

There’s not a lot to dislike about this saw.  We’d like to see this saw updated with a riving knife. Currently Makita offers no real kick back mitigation, besides the track guidance.

The depth of cut scale is in metric, Imperial measurements would be a welcomed addition. Lastly, I was also bummed out that my MAKITA VC4710 HEPA vacuum hose did not fit the track saws dust port. The vac hose inside diameter is 1-1/2″ and the tracks dust port outside diameter is 1-3/4″. I had to us a Dewalt adapter to get it to work.

Overall Impression

The Makita cordless track saw XPS01 is now part of Makita’s expanding 18V LXT system, which offers 150+ tools. Cordless is becoming the norm and this Track Saw is well worth the investment.

The saw has a super smooth plunge and powerful motor allowing it to cut, as smooth as the saw slides on its track. We were extremely impressed with the ease of use, and solid design, and great price. 67t This saw is purchase you can be sure of, it is a quality track saw with plenty of power to get the job done.

MAKITA Cordless 6-1/2” Track Saw Video Review

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is also the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and the editor of the blog, A Concord Carpenter and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. As a carpenter and web editor, Rob is a recognized leader in tool and how-to information for building professionals. He is the carpenter correspondence for and writes a Q&A column, in the Sunday Boston Globe, called "Ask the Carpenter."He hosts the Concord Carpenter Cable TV Show,, offering the do-it-yourself audience in Boston’s Metro West region expert advice on home repairs and maintenance. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, where we post all of our tool reviews and video editorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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