Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Saw Kit

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Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Caw Kit

Manufacturer: Makita
Model number: XSH03M
Price: 399.99
Power source: 18 Volt
Motor size: 5000 RPM Brushless
Weight: 7.3



Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2” Circular Caw Kit Review

The origin of the circular saw dates back to the end of the 18th century, who really invented it is not clear. Like many inventions of that era, the circular saw was a concept that many people worked on, and developed throughout the world.

Some claim the circular saw originated in Holland in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. The earliest known patent referencing the circular saw was awarded in 1777, and is worded to imply that the circular saw blade was commonplace.

In 1923, the first portable electric handsaw similar to the worm drive was developed. Look how far we’ve come!

Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Saw Kit

Cordless Tool Changing the Game

From humble beginnings, where we saw bulky, heavy, inefficient and under-powered cordless tools, today’s cordless tools are powerful, lightweight, high-speed, and efficient.

These tools have unprecedented power, speed and accessories that rival any corded tool, in fact, new we can perform almost all of our tool functions with cordless technology.

Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2” Circular Caw Kit XSH03M

Makita, one of the pioneers driving the cordless tool revolution, is celebrating 100 years of tool making innovation and recently released their 18 volt lithium-ion brushless cordless 6-1/2” circular saw kit.

At first glance the Makita XSH03M looks toy-like, but don’t be fooled. The Makita XSH03M has a brushless motor and delivers 5,000 RPM and is powerful.

Brushless motor technology does more than eliminating carbon brushes, it allows the saws motor to run cooler and more efficiently, which prolongs battery run-time and tool lifespan.

Makita claims that the XSH03M motor is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use for up to 50% longer run time per charge. That’s a lot of extra cutting.


The Makita XSH03M measures 13-3/4″ long and weighs 7.3 lbs. with battery. I found the saw very well balanced and extremely light and easy to operate.

While lightweight and compact I found all of the adjustment levers to be large and easily controlled. Both the depth of cut lever and bevel lever are rubberized.

Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Saw Kit

L.E.D. Battery Gauge

An on-board 3-stage L.E.D. gauge, located under the tool handle, indicates battery charge level and provides battery status. The 3-stage L.E.D’s work this way:

  • 3 LEDS: 50 – 100% remaining battery capacity
  • 2 LEDS: 20 – 50% remaining battery capacity
  • 1 LED: 0 – 20% remaining battery capacity

Automatic Speed Change™ Technology

Makita built in what they call, Automatic Speed Change™ technology, which adjusts the motor speed and torque depending on workload to optimize cutting and battery performance.

Located next to the LED battery gauge is a single LED mode indicator. When the mode indicator lights up the tool is in high torque mode.

Safeguards built into this saw will automatically stop the motor if the tool is overloaded or overheats. These protections ensure tool and battery functional longevity.

Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Saw Kit

Cut Capacity

The Makita XSH03M has a die-cast magnesium baseplate and it’s 6-1/2-inch blade has a decent cut capacity and will cut 2-1/4” deep when set to 90° and is capable of bevels from 0°- 50°.

This left side blade saw has an outstanding line of sight for right handed operators, but not so good for lefties. When cutting left-handed I relied mostly on clearly marked, machined base plate. The 0° and 45° slots are accurate and can be counted on when sighting the blade is difficult.

Cut capacities:

  • 2-1/4” when set at 90°
  • 1-5/8” when set at 45°
  • 1-7/16” when set at 50°


The Makita XSH03M has a rubberized soft grip that is not only comfortable but ensures a solid tool grip.  L.E.D. lights mounted above the cut line, work well at illuminating the cut line.  The motor has an electric brake which stops the blade instantly, and a built-in dust blower does a mediocre job at clearing the cut-line of sawdust.

I have to say, I’ve yet to see a saw with a dust blower that completely cleared the cut-line in all applications.  There’s roof to improve here.

Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Saw Kit

One real nice features is the retractable, tool hook which swings left out in front and over the blade side of the saw. The hook securely attaches to pipe staging and 2x lumber.


Makita uses what they call “Extreme Protection Technology (XPT™)” This technology improves the dust and water resistance for operation in harsh conditions.

Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) is a series of internal seals and channels that direct water and dust away from tool components.

It is not a water proof seal, but it does provide much improved resistance to dust and moisture for extended operation in harsh job site conditions. The first XPT tools were Makita drills and impacts, and it’s been extended to 18V job site radios, the drywall screwgun, and others.

Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Saw Kit


The Makita XSH03M has plenty of power and rips through 2x and LVL stock easily; this is not a trim saw.

Powered by an 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion 4.0 Ah battery that achieves a full charge in 40 minutes or less, this tool delivers a category-leading charge time, allowing you more time working and less time waiting on the charger.


There’s nothing negative to say about this saws power or operation. I’d like to see a rip guide provided in the kit, as well as a solid case.

One observation is that the tool has a rattle to it. Both the bevel lever, and the blade guard have play in them, and rattle when the tool is moved or carried. This rattle does nothing to negate the tools performance, and is clearly a machining and tolerance issue.

What’s Included in the Makita XSH03M Kit

  •       18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 in. Circular Saw
  •        6-1/2 in. diameter 24T Carbide-Tipped Saw Blade
  •        2 18V LXT Lithium-Ion 4.0Ah Battery (BL1840)1
  •        8V Lithium-Ion Rapid Optimum Charger (DC18RC)
  •        Tool Bag

Overall Impression

The Makita XSH03M is a well designed, powerful and easy to operate saw. It effortlessly plows through framing lumber, and eats up trim like a hot knife through butter.

This saw allows you to take it ANYWHERE on the job site with out worrying about getting extension cords to the work space, overloading the circuit your drawing from, or stealing power from another worker.

This is an incredibly flexible and versatile tool that has the power, endurance, and features to stand up to the use and abuse professional contractors and carpenters put on their tools.

The saw retails online for $399.90 here:

Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2 Circular Caw Kit

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob Robillard

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