I’m not sure you could have teed up a grudge match any better than 2017 did with the DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw vs Makita Rear-Handle Saw. These two kings of the cordless circular saw world make for one of the most requested head to heads we’ve received from our audience. So let’s dive in.
DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw vs Makita Rear-Handle Saw: General Design
At the beginning of the DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw vs Makita Rear-Handle Saw conversation, there’s not a lot that separates the two in basic appearance. As the first cordless saws to challenge the corded worm drive market, both go with a blade left, rear-handle design. You can use the same 7-1/4″ blade for both, but you’ll need to pop off the diamond knockout for the FlexVolt.
There’s also not much separating them in the feature set. You get a blade brake, magnesium base, rafter hook, and brushless motor no matter which one you choose. If a cutline blower is a make-or-break feature for you, realize that Makita does not have one.
DeWalt DCS577 vs Makita XSR01 Saw Power Source
Power source makes up a key difference between the two saws. DeWalt uses their FlexVolt 60V Max battery. The kits come with either a FlexVolt 6.0 or 9.0 battery.
Makita’s saw is on their 18V X2 platform, so you need two batteries to use it. These can be anywhere on Makita’s 18V LXT range, but we recommend going with their 5.0 Ah packs that you can get with the kit.
In terms of potential energy, you’ll get either 120 watt-hours (FlexVolt 6.0) or 180 watt-hours (FlexVolt 9.0) with DeWalt. With Makita, two 5.0 Ah packs will give you 180 watt-hours while 6.0 Ah packs will give you 216 watt-hours. At least, that’s how it was when these tools first came out. NOw that DeWalt has a 12.0Ah FlexVolt battery, its 240 watt-hours top Makita.
Geek note: Normally, watt-hours are calculated as nominal voltage x amp hours which would make DeWalt 108 and 162 watt-hours, respectively. However, the batteries have the watt-hours printed on the battery as 120 and 180. Also, a 60V DeWalt “9.0Ah” pack really operates as a 3Ah battery at 60V. We note this in our comparison chart below.
The good thing with Makita’s system is that those batteries work on all of their 18V LXT tools and you can grab batteries from any of the other tools in the line – even compact packs in a pinch – to power the saw.
DeWalt’s FlexVolt battery will work in any of their FlexVolt or 20V Max tools, but you can’t grab a 20V Max battery and use it in the FlexVolt saw. So from a system-wide compatibility standpoint, Makita holds the edge here as well.
Makita Rear-Handle vs DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw Ergonomics
Neither one of these saws is lightweight – nor should you expect them to be. Worm drive circular saws are much heavier than their sidewinder counterparts and these follow suit. The difference in weight is significant. Makita weighs in at 12 lbs, 10.8 oz with a Diablo framing blade and two 5.0 aH batteries on board. DeWalt is more than a pound heavier at 13 lbs, 11.8 oz with the same blade and FlexVolt 9.0 pack. Makita’s the clear winner there.
With nearly identical safeties and triggers, the feel boils down to handle design. DeWalt gives a slightly more form-fitting main handle, though I wouldn’t call either one uncomfortable for this class of tool.
The support handles angle out nearly identically and neither have overmold here. Makita sticks with a more traditional thin diameter bar while DeWalt gives you a wider handle with contours. I give the nod to DeWalt here since I like the wider support handle.
DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw vs Makita Rear-Handle Saw Cutting Capacity
With a 7-1/4″ blade, both of these saws are very close to each other in cutting capacity. Makita (2-9/16″) holds a slight edge over DeWalt (2-7/16″) at 90°. However, DeWalt (1-7/8″) takes over at a 45° bevel with Makita cutting 1-3/4″ at the same angle.
Since both saws also have the same 53° bevel capacity, Makita gets the nod for 90° cuts and DeWalt for 45°. But with only 1/8″ separating each one, very few Pros will find that one doesn’t get the job done over the other. It’s worth noting that Makita can make it through 3x material in one pass thanks to the extra capacity.
DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw Vs Makita Rear-Handle Saw: Performance
We put a Diablo Framing Blade with Tracking Point on both saws and led through a series of full depth rip cuts in 8′ long 4×4 pressure treated lumber. Well, almost full depth. Since Makita has a slightly deeper capacity, we set it to match DeWalt at 2-7/16″. We also put them up against Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Circular Saw and Skilsaw’s SPT77WM-22 worm drive. The results were astounding, especially considering how wet the wood was!
- Milwaukee M18 Fuel Circular Saw – 1:04.96
- Skilsaw SPT77MW-22 – 0:27.96
- Makita Rear-Handle Saw – 0:18.64
- DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw – 0:11.36
Milwaukee proves that an 18V circular saw can make a full depth rip cut and Skilsaw set our baseline since it’s an outstanding corded model. In this particular test, both Makita and DeWalt blew the corded model out of the water. As you can see from the results, DeWalt can walk away from this head to head with some swagger in their step.
DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw vs Makita Rear-Handle Saw Specs
|DeWalt DCS577||Makita XSR01|
|Battery||FlexVolt 60V||Makita 18V|
|Speed||5800 RPM||5100 RPM|
|Blade||7-1/4 in.||7-1/4 in.|
|Weight (w/blade)||13 lbs 11.8 oz.||12 lbs 10.8 oz.|
|Bevel Stops||22.5°, 45°||22.5°, 45°|
|Cut Capacity (90°)||2-7/16 in.||2-9/16 in.|
|Cut Capacity (45°)||1-7/8 in.||1-3/4 in.|
|Price (kit)||$399 (3Ah)||$349 (2x5Ah)|
DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw Vs Makita Rear-Handle Saw: Price
Price is relative since some users need batteries and other might not. Here’s how it breaks down.
DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw
Makita Rear-Handle Saw
Whether you’re in the market for the kit or just the bare tool, there’s no doubt that Makita gets the win in price. As a premium tool manufacturer, that’s not something we get to say a whole lot with Makita. So the question you have to answer is whether the extra power of the DeWalt Framing Saw is worth an extra $30 – $50.
The Bottom Line
The DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw and Makita Rear-Handle Saw are so close to each other in design that it really boils down to whether you want the more powerful/better handle ergonomics or the better price/lighter weight. You can also factor in which cordless lineup is more attractive to you. DeWalt has the clear advantage in power, but both outperform corded worm drives handily. As the top two cordless circular saws in the industry currently, there’s really not a wrong answer here.