Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw Review


As a long-time fan of Makita tools, I recently added the Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw to my toolkit. With its tool-only option and a focus on lightweight convenience and power, this saw has quickly become a favorite for both professional and home use. Here’s my experience and why I think it could be a solid choice for your projects too.

Specifications of Makita XSS02Z

  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • No Load Speed: 3,700 RPM
  • Max. Cutting Capacity (at 90°) : 2-1/4″
  • Max. Cutting Capacity (at 45°) : 1-9/16″
  • Arbor: 5/8″
  • Net Weight (with battery): 7.3 lbs.
  • Battery: 18V LXT® Lithium-Ion
  • Overall Length: 13-5/8″
  • Power Type: Cordless
  • Handle Type (Circular Saws): Top handle
  • Form Factor (LXT): 18V LXT®
  • Motor Type: Brushed
  • Shipping Weight: 8.38 lbs.

Unboxing and First Impressions

Person unboxing the Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw

The Makita XSS02Z arrived neatly packaged, with all items secured inside. The package included the saw itself, a protective blade cover, and an instruction manual. The saw is a tool-only model, meaning batteries and charger are sold separately, which is typical for many of Makita’s products allowing users to use existing batteries from the same platform.

Design and Build Quality

Person holding the Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw

Constructed with a heavy-gauge, precision machined base, the XSS02Z is designed for accurate and smooth cutting. Despite its robust build, it’s surprisingly lightweight at just 7.3 lbs without the battery. This makes it easy to handle, especially on lengthy projects or overhead tasks. The saw’s handle is rubberized, providing a comfortable and secure grip, which enhances control during cuts.

Performance and Features

Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw Star Protection symbol highlight

Equipped with a Makita-built high-torque motor, the XSS02Z operates at 3,700 RPM, facilitating faster and more efficient cutting. It has a large cutting capacity of 2-1/4” at 90° and a bevel capacity ranging from 0° to 50°, which is quite versatile for a range of applications. The saw features Star Protection Computer Controls™, which ensure protection against overloading, over-discharging, and overheating.

Ease of Use

Person touching the Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw meter

Adjusting the depth and bevel is straightforward, thanks to well-placed and easy-to-read scales. The on-board blade wrench is a nice touch, making blade changes quick and hassle-free. I particularly appreciate the flat motor housing, which allows the tool to stand upright when changing blades or not in use.

Cutting Experience

Person using Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw cutting plywood

In use, the XSS02Z delivers clean and precise cuts. Whether ripping through sheets of plywood or making cross cuts in 2x4s, the saw handles well, maintaining good balance and power. The absence of a cord is a huge plus, giving the freedom to work unencumbered by a power outlet.

Comparative Analysis: Makita XSS02Z vs. DeWalt DCS391B

Motor TypeBrushedBrushed
PerformanceGood for general useHigh performance with strong cuts
Battery Compatibility18V LXT Lithium-Ion20V MAX Lithium-Ion
Noise LevelHigher due to brushed motorModerate
Brake ResponseSlower stop after cutQuick stop after cut
Max RPM3,700 RPM5,150 RPM
Max. Cutting Capacity at 90°2-1/4 inches2-1/4 inches
Max. Cutting Capacity at 45°1-9/16 inches1-5/8 inches
Weight (with battery)7.3 lbs7.1 lbs
Bevel Capacity0°- 50°0°- 50°
Blade Diameter6-1/2″6-1/2″
Unique FeaturesStar Protection Controls50-degree bevel capacity

Summary: The Makita XSS02Z and the DeWalt DCS391B circular saws are comparable in many respects, each offering unique advantages depending on the user’s requirements. Both models sport a 6-1/2″ blade and have a similar maximum cutting capacity at 90° and 45° angles. The Makita, with its 3,700 RPM, is slightly quieter but has a slower brake response compared to the DeWalt, which operates at a higher 5,150 RPM, ensuring quicker and smoother cuts.

The DeWalt is also slightly lighter, enhancing maneuverability and reducing user fatigue. Both saws offer a 50° bevel capacity, making them versatile for various cutting tasks. The choice between these two would largely depend on specific needs such as the desired motor speed, weight, and additional features like the Makita’s Star Protection Computer Controls, which provide added durability and battery management.

Maintenance of Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw

  1. Clean Regularly: After each use, ensure that the saw is clean and free from any dust or debris. Use a soft brush or compressed air to remove particles from the motor and cutting area.
  2. Check and Replace Blades: Inspect the blade for dullness or damage before and after use. Replace the blade with a compatible 6-1/2” blade when it becomes worn out to maintain optimal cutting performance.
  3. Lubricate Moving Parts: Occasionally, apply a light machine oil to any moving parts to ensure they operate smoothly. This includes the blade arbor and any adjustment mechanisms.
  4. Inspect the Battery and Contacts: Regularly check the battery for any signs of damage or corrosion. Clean the battery contacts with a dry cloth to ensure a good connection with the tool.
  5. Storage: Store the saw in a dry, secure place to avoid any environmental damage. Avoid places with extreme temperatures to protect the battery life.
  6. Blade Guard Maintenance: Ensure that the blade guard is not damaged and moves freely. Lubricate the spring mechanism if the blade guard does not retract smoothly.
  7. Safety Check: Regularly check the safety features of the saw, such as the trigger lock and blade brake, to ensure they are functioning properly.

Final Thoughts

The Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw is an excellent tool that combines performance, durability, and ease of use. Priced at $131.00, it’s a cost-effective option for both DIY enthusiasts and professional builders looking for a reliable cordless option. While it may lack some of the advanced features of higher-end models, its affordability and solid performance make it a worthy addition to any tool collection.

If you’re in the market for a dependable, no-nonsense circular saw, the Makita XSS02Z should definitely be on your list. Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences with this tool in the comments below—especially if you’ve found different uses or have tips on maximizing its potential!


  1. What are the key differences in motor type between the Makita XSS02Z and the DeWalt DCS391B?
    The Makita XSS02Z uses a brushed motor, which is generally cheaper but noisier and requires more maintenance. In contrast, the DeWalt DCS391B uses a brushless motor that is more efficient, quieter, and has a longer lifespan.
  2. How does the cutting speed of the DeWalt DCS391B compare to that of the Makita XSS02Z?
    The DeWalt DCS391B operates at a higher RPM of 5,150, which typically allows for quicker and smoother cuts compared to the Makita XSS02Z, which operates at 3,700 RPM.
  3. Which saw offers better battery management and protection features?
    The Makita XSS02Z is equipped with Star Protection Computer Controls™, which help manage battery usage and protect against overloading, over-discharging, and overheating. The DeWalt model does not specifically list similar comprehensive battery management features in its basic specifications.
  4. Can the blades from other circular saws be used interchangeably with these models?
    Both saws have a 6-1/2″ blade diameter, but it’s essential to check the arbor size and compatibility. The Makita uses a 5/8″ arbor, and it’s crucial to verify similar specifications for the DeWalt before attempting to interchange blades.
  5. Which circular saw is lighter and potentially less fatiguing to use over long periods?
    The DeWalt DCS391B is slightly lighter at 7 lbs compared to the Makita XSS02Z at 7.3 lbs, which could make a noticeable difference in user fatigue during extended use.
  6. What is the price difference between these models, and how does it reflect in their value?
    Typically, the DeWalt DCS391B might be priced slightly higher than the Makita XSS02Z. Users should consider whether the higher cost of the DeWalt model is justified by its features, such as the brushless motor and slightly higher RPM, which contribute to efficiency and cutting power.
  7. What is the blade size for the Makita XSS02Z?
    The Makita XSS02Z uses a 6-1/2” blade, ideal for a variety of cutting applications.
  8. Can the XSS02Z saw cut at different angles?
    Yes, the Makita XSS02Z offers a bevel capacity of 0° to 50°, allowing for a range of angle cuts.
  9. Is the Makita XSS02Z brushless?
    No, the XSS02Z model features a brushed motor which delivers a no-load speed of 3,700 RPM.
  10. What is the maximum cutting depth of the XSS02Z at 90° and 45°?
    It can cut 2-1/4″ at 90° and 1-9/16″ at 45°.

We hope you found our review of the Makita XSS02Z 18V Circular Saw insightful! If you have experiences or tips to share about this tool or its competitors, we’d love to hear from you. Drop your comments below and let’s keep the discussion going. Happy sawing!

Edward Smith
Edward Smith
Forestry Author

Woodworking is about more than crafting; it's a harmonious connection with nature, mastering tools, and preserving our environment. I'm here to share my knowledge and experiences with you, forging a future where we can embrace wood's beauty and utility while safeguarding our forests' health and diversity.


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