Makita Cordless 12-inch Miter Saw: #WorthIT!

April 22, 2020

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This battery-powered miter saw delivers all the power you need

If you liked the Makita 10-inch cordless miter saw, the Makita XSL07 Cordless 12-inch Miter Saw provides even more capacity. This flagship compound sliding miter saw helped us get a lot accomplished on several renovation projects. For all its capacity and size, the tool is remarkably portable and compares well to its competition.

10-Second Summary

  • No blade wobble—entirely consistent cuts
  • Cuts 5-1/4″ speed base upright at 45 degrees in either direction
  • Front bevel adjustments
  • Miters to 60º in both directions
  • Cut entire days worth of crown and base off one pair of 5Ah batteries
  • Rail design allows placement against a wall
  • MSRP: $879.00 (Kit with two 5.0Ah batteries, dual port rapid charger, blade, dust bag, vertical clamp, wrench, and triangle)

Renovating with the Makita Cordless 12-inch Miter Saw

First and foremost, I want to convey that this saw exhibits no blade wobble. The bevel on the Makita XSL08 was dead-on out of the box. We did have to loosen the four screws on the miter plate to correct a 1/8″ miter offset we noticed after our first cut. The process is simple—we just place a square against the blade and calibrate the miter plate. We more or less expect to make these types of changes—particularly on a tool that’s been shipped overseas.

Makita cordless 12-in Miter Saw squaring

The miter and detents engage very positively. We did notice that, like our 10-inch Makita cordless miter saw, the miter plate already shows some wear on the detents. We’d like to see it made of more substantial material.

The saw lets you make miter cuts up to 60° in either direction, with positive miter stops at 0°, 15°, 22.5°, 31.6°, 45°, and 60°.

Makita 36V 12-in Miter Saw miter gauge

You can also make beveled cuts from 0º–48° both left and right. The bevel lock sits at the front, eliminating the need to reach around the back for adjustments. We love front controls. It’s hard to imagine going back toa saw that requires you to reach around.

Makita cordless 12-in Miter Saw front bevel

Friggin’ Laser Beams

Unfortunately, being partially color blind, I don’t find lasers to be much use in the field. Checking this one back at the shop, we found it to be spot on with the left side of the blade. One major feature is that you can adjust the laser without a tool using an adjustment dial. We tweaked it so that the laser just touched the left edge of the blade, making it perfectly accurate for lining up cuts.

Makita XSL08 miter saw laser adjust

The transparent blade guard was a welcome feature. I like to see the blade whenever possible, and some brands use opaque or semi-translucent plastic.

This saw isn’t light at 69 pounds with the batteries. Even though it technically weighs more than the Bosch Glide 12-inch miter saw, it feels lighter. This possibly has to do with the handle and lifting points, which make it easier to grab than that saw. The Bosch requires a bear hug.

 

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Keeping It on the Rails

The Makita Cordless 12-inch Miter Saw uses a space-saving steel rail slide mechanism with six linear ball bearings. The rail and bearings combination contributes to delivering less deflection. This rings true even if you apply significant lateral force. It feels confident, and the saw makes accurate cuts.

This design also uses a single-action slide, leaving the back of the saw immobile. It lets you back it up against a wall without losing any of your slide capacity. The action of the slide mechanism is very smooth.

Makita Cordless 12-inch Miter Saw arm

If you look at the front of the rails, you can also spot the included blade wrench. Makita should win an award for its placement. Blade changes were super-easy and quick.

Makita Cordless 12-inch Miter Saw Cut Capacity

Because of the direct-drive gearbox and guard system, the Makita XSL08 and XSL07 saws can use the backside of the blade. This gives them a significant uptick in vertical cutting capacity when cutting baseboard and nested crown molding.

Makita 18V X2 12-in Miter Saw base bevel

The 5-1/2 inch tall fence helps stabilize those taller pieces. You should be able to cut up to 8-inch vertically-nested crown molding or 6-3/4 inch vertical baseboard. You can also tackle 15-inch crosscuts at 90°. I cut a lot of 5-1/4″ speed base upright at 45 degrees in either direction. That’s something you can’t do on the 12-inch Bosch Glide miter. On most tools, you can do a left miter, but the motor hits on the right. Makita clears it easily—all while maintaining a direct-drive system.

One gripe was when cutting a standing crown with a left bevel. The fences don’t slide, so you have to remove it completely. This just leaves the short 1-1/4” stop.

AWS Compatibility for Automatic Dust Collection

The Makita XSL08 model is the AWS compatible version of the XLS07. You can sync it to your AWS Makita dust extractor or the new AWS universal adapter on any vac for wireless automatic activation. The vacuum system does a better job than most since it collects from both the back of the blade and the top-of-blade ejection port.

Makita 36V X2 12-in Miter Saw AWT

Getting the Makita AWS system up and running involved inserting the AWS Bluetooth chip and then pressing and holding the button until the light began to blink. Our Makita XCV16ZX dust extractor comes with AWS, so we held down its button, putting it into pairing mode as well. After several seconds, the LEDs on each tool blinked blue, indicating they were paired.

I also used the dust bag for dust collection on the job site, and it collected a bunch of the material.

Cutting Performance

Makita claims the brushless motor on the XSL08 miter saw lets it to cut 175 times on 2×12 lumber before having to recharge the two 5.0Ah batteries. I didn’t cut much 2x material, but I was able to get an entire day worth of cuts running both case and base molding in a condo. Also noteworthy are the dual battery meters at the handle, which let you know the remaining charge without having to pull out the packs.

The edges of our cuts were butter smooth—but I have to credit the blade. We used a Makita 60T blade for most of our trim work.

The Makita XSL08 miter saw more or less forces you to be a right-hander. You can activate the small safety button with your left hand, but it’s not ideal.

Makita 18V X2 12-in Miter Saw base flat

I used the side slide-out material supports and had the system set up on a Makita miter saw stand. Also, the onboard material clamp has an interesting feature. When you turn it counter-clockwise, it releases to go up or down as needed. Turn it clockwise, and it tightens. Material clamps often go unused because they take to long to adjust. This one is helpful, and there are six different locations to position it.

Conclusion

Right now, the Makita 12-inch cordless miter saw is our favorite miter saw. It’s not our favorite cordless miter saw—it’s our favorite period. The tool has plenty of power and feels very well thought out. It keeps you in front of it for all adjustments and cutting. I also love the fact that it miters 60 degrees in both directions. I don’t make those cuts often, but it’s nice to know it can handle it. It also supports 48-degree bevels in both directions as well.

Between that and the ability to cut high off the back of the blade, this is the most flexible miter saw I’ve ever used.

I love how nothing extends past the rear end of the saw. Back at the shop, we positioned it on a fixed miter stand—flush against the wall. Even the dust collection port falls inside the back of the miter saw.

After letting the saw sit in the shop for a couple of weeks, we did see some rust on the top rail. After sanding it down a little, we applied some lubricant to prevent further corrosion. You may want to do some preventative lubrication as the guide rail doesn’t have much from the factory.

Makita XSL07 Miter Saw

Price and Comparisons

Retail pricing should settle in around $699 for the bare tool and $879 for the kit ($789/$999 for the AWS model) once it hits retailers. Right now on Amazon, the Makita Cordless 12-inch Miter Saw is running $879.00 and includes a 3-year limited warranty on the tool, 5.0 Ah batteries, and dual-port Rapid Optimum charger.

As of right now, this saw joins a select group of cordless 12″ miter saw options alongside the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 12-inch miter saw and DeWalt’s 12-inch FlexVolt Miter Saw.

Makita XSL08 12-inch Miter Saw Specs

  • Model Numbers
    • Standard Model, Bare Tool: Makita XSL07Z
    • Standard Model, 2 x 5.0 Ah Kit: Makita XSL07PT
    • AWS, Bare Tool: Makita XSL08Z
    • AWS, 2 x 5.0 Ah Kit: Makita XSL08PT
  • Power Source: 2X 18V LXT Lithium-Ion
  • No-Load Speed: 4,400 RPM
  • Blade Diameter: 12″
  • Arbor: 1″
  • Max Cutting Capacity (90°): 3-5/8″ x 15″
  • Max Cutting Capacity (45°): 3-5/8″ x 10-1/2″
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 35-1/4″ x 27-1/4″ x 28-1/2″
  • Net Weight (with battery): 69.1 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-Year Limited Warranty on tool, battery, and charger
  • MSRP: $879.00

—This article, written by Thomas Gaige, originally appeared on ProToolReviews.com—a site dedicated to—wait for it—pro reviews of tools.

 


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