Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw Review


Hey everyone! If you’re like me, juggling various DIY projects and home renovations, you know the struggle of finding a circular saw that’s both reliable and powerful. It’s frustrating when a tool stalls in the middle of a cut or just doesn’t deliver the clean, swift slicing you need.

Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw sitting in the wood table

Enter the Makita XSH03Z, an 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-1/2″ Circular Saw. This saw has not only met my high expectations but has actually exceeded them, offering a level of performance and reliability that can transform how you tackle your projects. Today, I’m thrilled to share exactly why this tool might just be the solution you’ve been searching for. Let’s dive into what makes the Makita XSH03Z a true standout in the crowded market of circular saws.

Specifications of Makita XSH03Z

  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • No Load Speed: 5,000 RPM
  • Max. Cutting Capacity (at 90°): 2-1/4″
  • Max. Cutting Capacity (at 50°): 1-7/16″
  • Max. Cutting Capacity (at 45°): 1-5/8″
  • Arbor: 5/8″
  • Net Weight (with battery): 7.3 lbs.
  • Battery: 18V LXT Lithium-Ion
  • Overall Length: 13-3/4″
  • Power Type: Cordless
  • Handle Type (Circular Saws): Top handle
  • Form Factor (LXT): 18V LXT
  • Motor Type: Brushless
  • Shipping Weight: 7.94 lbs.

Performance and Power

Close up picture of the blade of Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw

First off, the performance of the Makita XSH03Z is top-notch, thanks to its brushless motor that delivers a no-load speed of 5,000 RPM. This speed ensures faster cutting and ripping, making any job from trimming to full-scale cutting smooth and efficient. The saw doesn’t come with a battery and charger, which is something to consider if you’re new to the Makita 18V series.

Innovative Technology

Close up of Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw cutting wood

One of the highlights for me is the Automatic Speed Change technology. This feature adjusts the cutting speed and torque during operation, optimizing performance for the task at hand. Whether I was slicing through pavers or adjusting home fittings, the saw adapted swiftly, maintaining excellent performance without bogging down.

Build and Ergonomics

Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw sitting on the wooden table

Makita isn’t kidding when they talk about ergonomics. Weighing just over 7 lbs when equipped with a battery, the XSH03Z is designed for easy handling and reduced operator fatigue. I found this incredibly beneficial during longer projects, as it allowed for greater control and comfort. The tool is also built with Extreme Protection Technology (XPT), which offers increased resistance to dust and water, perfect for tough job site conditions.

Battery System

Person touching the battery of Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw

The saw is part of Makita’s expansive 18V Lithium-Ion system. If you already own tools within this lineup, you’ll find the battery interchangeability highly convenient. Makita batteries also boast the fastest charge times in their categories, which I appreciated as it meant less downtime.

Safety and Additional Features

Close up of L.E.D of Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw

Safety is paramount with any power tool, and the XSH03Z shines with its 3-stage L.E.D. gauge that indicates battery charge level, helping avoid unexpected shutdowns. The saw also includes a built-in safety brake which stops the blade quickly to prevent accidents, enhancing user safety significantly.

User-Friendly Adjustments

Person touching the Allen key of Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw

Adjusting the saw is a breeze. The blade change is straightforward with the onboard Allen key, and setting the depth or angle for cuts is intuitive. I recently adjusted some outdoor pavers, and the tool provided precision and power exactly where needed.

Pros of the Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw

  • The 5,000 RPM motor really kicks into gear without hesitation. It cuts through pine and even denser woods without a hiccup. The longevity and low maintenance of the brushless motor are huge pluses in my book.
  • The Automatic Speed Change technology is a game-changer. It automatically adjusts torque and speed depending on what I’m cutting. This means I get smoother cuts and don’t have to mess around with settings.
  • At just over 7 lbs, this saw is a breeze to handle, especially when I’m working on ladders or cutting overhead. Less fatigue means I can enjoy doing what I love for longer.
  • I appreciate the peace of mind that comes with the QuickStop Super chain brake and Extreme Protection Technology. Whether I’m indoors or braving the elements, I feel confident that this saw has my back.
  • Already being a user of Makita’s 18V tools, I can swap batteries between tools without fuss. This integration saves me time and money, which I can’t complain about!

Cons of the Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw

  • It’s a bummer that the battery and charger are sold separately. This could be a hurdle if you’re not already invested in Makita’s platform.
  • The 6-1/2 inch blade size is fine for many projects, but if I need to cut through thicker materials, I feel the limitation. It’s great for many jobs but not all.
  • I’ve noticed that for really long or intensive projects, I need to keep extra batteries charged and ready to go. The runtime can vary, so being prepared is key.
  • There’s no onboard storage for the Allen key or extra blades, which means I need to keep my tool belt handy or make extra trips back to the toolbox.

Comparative Analysis: Makita XSH03Z vs. DeWalt DCS391B

Motor TypeBrushlessBrushed
Blade Size6-1/2 inches6-1/2 inches
Voltage18V LXT® Lithium-Ion20V Max Lithium-Ion
No Load Speed5,000 RPM5,150 RPM
Weight (with battery)7.3 lbs7.1 lbs
Max Cutting Depth at 90°2-1/4 inches2-1/4 inches
Max Cutting Depth at 45°1-5/8 inches1-5/8 inches
Battery IncludedNo (tool only)No (tool only)
User TechnologyAutomatic Speed Change™, Star Protection Computer Controls™None specified
Protection FeaturesExtreme Protection Technology (XPT™) for dust and water resistanceOver-molded rubber grip for comfort, no specific dust/water resistance
ErgonomicsErgonomic design, lighter weightErgonomic design with comfort grip handle
Base MaterialDie-cast magnesiumMagnesium
Bevel Capacity0°- 50°0°- 50°
Price Range$204.99 $99.00

Makita XSH03Z:

  • Pros: Features a brushless motor that offers longer life and efficiency, and it is slightly lighter than the DeWalt. The Makita also has sophisticated electronics such as Automatic Speed Change™ to adjust power output for optimal performance, and Extreme Protection Technology (XPT™) to protect against harsh conditions.
  • Cons: Generally more expensive due to advanced features and does not include a battery or charger, which can be an additional expense if not already invested in the Makita battery ecosystem.

DeWalt DCS391B:

  • Pros: Comes at a slightly lower price point while still offering a powerful and effective tool with a high-speed motor. It’s slightly lighter and includes an over-molded comfort grip which enhances user comfort during extended use.
  • Cons: Uses a brushed motor, which might not have the longevity or efficiency of Makita’s brushless motor. It lacks the advanced protective and performance technology features found in the Makita.

Choosing between the Makita XSH03Z and the DeWalt DCS391B depends largely on what you value most in a circular saw. If advanced technology for performance and durability is paramount, and you are willing to invest a bit more, the Makita XSH03Z is a fantastic choice. However, if you prefer a more cost-effective option without sacrificing much on power and still getting reliable performance, the DeWalt DCS391B is an excellent alternative. Both saws offer great capabilities; the decision ultimately hinges on specific needs, budget, and brand preference.


The Makita XSH03Z is a robust, versatile circular saw that caters well to both DIY enthusiasts and professional users. It combines power with precision, supported by advanced technology that adjusts to your cutting needs. While the absence of a battery and charger in the package might require an additional purchase, the performance and durability of this saw make it a worthy investment. Whether you’re looking to make quick cuts or need a reliable tool for more complex projects, the Makita XSH03Z stands out as a top contender in the cordless category. Highly recommended for anyone looking to expand their toolkit with a powerful, adaptable, and user-friendly circular saw.


  1. What makes the Makita XSH03Z’s brushless motor different from traditional motors?
    The brushless motor in the Makita XSH03Z eliminates carbon brushes, allowing it to run cooler and more efficiently. This results in longer motor life and increased power and speed, enhancing overall cutting performance.
  2. Can the Makita XSH03Z handle heavy-duty cutting tasks?
    Yes, with its high-performance brushless motor delivering 5,000 RPM and Automatic Speed Change technology, the XSH03Z is capable of handling both heavy-duty and precision cutting tasks with ease.
  3. Is the Makita XSH03Z compatible with all Makita 18V batteries?
    The XSH03Z is compatible with all Makita 18V LXT Lithium-Ion slide-style batteries, which includes a range from lower amp-hour to high amp-hour batteries, offering flexibility based on the duration and demands of your projects.
  4. What safety features does the Makita XSH03Z include?
    It includes a QuickStop Super chain brake that stops the blade quickly for safety, Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) for enhanced resistance to dust and moisture, and STAR Protection Computer Controls to prevent overloading and overheating.
  5. How does the Automatic Speed Change technology work in the Makita XSH03Z?
    This technology automatically adjusts the speed and torque of the saw during operation, depending on the resistance of the material being cut. It ensures optimal performance without manual adjustments, providing smoother, faster cuts and prolonging battery life.
  6. What is the maximum cutting depth of the Makita XSH03Z at 90 degrees?
    The Makita XSH03Z has a maximum cutting capacity of 2-1/4 inches at 90 degrees, making it versatile for a variety of cutting tasks from framing to fine woodworking.
  7. Does the Makita XSH03Z come with a blade, and can it use other blades?
    It typically comes with a 6-1/2 inch 24-tooth carbide-tipped blade designed for woodcutting, but it can accommodate other 6-1/2 inch blades suitable for different materials, providing versatility in applications.
  8. What maintenance does the Makita XSH03Z require to keep it in optimal condition?
    Regular maintenance includes cleaning the saw after use, checking and replacing the blade when worn, ensuring the battery contacts are clean and free of debris, and storing the tool in a dry, dust-free environment.

Thanks for checking out our review of the Makita XSH03Z Circular Saw! If you have any thoughts or experiences with this tool, we’d love to hear from you. Drop a comment below to share your insights or ask any questions. Your feedback helps us all learn more, so don’t hesitate to join the conversation!

Charles Hayes
Charles Hayes
Forestry Author

I'm Charles Hayes, I bring over 15 years of specialized expertise in landscaping and woodworking, blending artistic design with sustainable environmental stewardship. My career, fueled by a profound passion for the natural world, encompasses extensive education and hands-on experience in creating harmonious, eco-friendly outdoor spaces and responsibly managing forest resources. Recognized for my professional standing, I am committed to continuous learning and certification in cutting-edge practices. My expertise is not only reflected in my work but also in my contributions to community projects, educational workshops, and collaborations with industry leaders. As an authoritative voice in my field, I strive to share knowledge and promote environmentally conscious approaches, making me a trusted resource in landscaping and forestry.


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