I purchased the Makita XSL06 Miter saw in 2020 as the replacement to the last corded power tool I owned. While I certainly had initial impressions, I wanted to wait until I felt I had thoroughly used the saw before I opined on it. After installing crown and several rooms of hardwood floor, I felt at this point I have put the saw through its paces.
Before discussing performance, I’ll start with the basics. This is an x2 saw, that means that I takes 2 Makita 18v batteries. The kits come with 2- 5ah batteries and dual charger. I didn’t have a need for them as I am extensively invested in the platform and I sold the batteries and charger off to offset some of the expense. I also purchased the Makita compact miter saw stand and those interested can read about it here:
This is a monster of a saw, I can’t imagine how much larger the 12” (XSL08) is; but the saw weights upwards of 60lbs with batteries. It also has a large footprint. While Makita promotes the rail forward design as “space savings”, and Im not knocking it, I like the saw up against the wall and the rail forward design, you’ll need a ~30” deep (or so) counter to allow enough room for the saw to operate freely with the vacuum hose attached.
Out of the box, I found the blade to be square and plumb. Makita includes a cheap plastic triangle which you could use, but I have a woodpecker triangle I use for these type of precise adjustments. The table was flat and the fence square to it. I should mention, the process by which to install the blade is cumbersome. You have to remove and raise the blade guard completely… lets just say there are better designs and if you had to do this often you wouldn’t be thrilled. Also the both the horizontal and vertical miter gauges were spot on out of the box.
I also found the laser line, although I prefer a blade shadow solution, to be accurate. It is easy enough to adjust if you need to. And while I had read some users have issues with the alignment of the dual rails, that wasn’t my experience. I like the rail forward design, the adjusting knob is very convenient. The rails operate smoothly and you can push this saw “close” to the wall. I will say that the sacrifice with the rail forward design is a smaller cutting capacity the tilting saw left for bevel cuts and the impact on the fence. More on the fence below. The saw swings easily with positive stops at 45 degrees and so on. Finally, the 60 degree miter capacity is pretty standard for this class of saw.
As for bevel cuts, there is a positive stop that you have to overcome when tilting the saw to the right. It is accomplished by pushing a black button on the side of swing arm and its not a great design feature. It requires to reach around the saw towards the back and bottom and tip the saw at the same time. Did I mention the beef of this saw? It is quite a chore. I would rarely, if ever, need to bevel cut with this saw because of its cutting capacity, but yeah. Not the best design.
Of course, being Makita, accessories are hard to come by and more expensive that those offered by the other brands. For instance the crown stops are ~30% more than the stops I bought for my Dewalt DWS780. They were also harder to find. Same for the horizontal clamps - as much as I want it, I am not paying $70 for it and waiting 4-6 weeks to get it. Speaking of the crown stops, they way they operate sucks (sorry mom), absolutely sucks; particularly when compared to the DWS780. They mount to the miter saw table, right in the way of swinging the saw between left and right cuts. So you have to constantly remove one when you change between a left and right cut. Secondly, they’re not intuitive on which is left v right. I’ve yet to find documentation that shows which is the L v. R; so I am using them how I think they’re supposed to be set up. Summed up, it shouldn’t be this hard to use crown stops. Lol
I failed to say it earlier, this is a dual bevel sliding saw. The cut capacity is equivalent to those found on larger 12” saws and I have nested 5.5” crown without issue (its advertised to cut up to 6-5/8”).
So how does this saw perform? Performance is excellent I love the cordless power, although at first missed having my auto-on vacuum switch kick on the shop-vac, it was simple enough to push the power switch on, I used it all day for 3 days straight installing flooring and crown and never once ran out of battery life- charging each night of course. I should add this saw, inexplicably, doesn’t support AWS where as the XSL04 10” saw does. This is where Makita frustrates me as a consumer, they advertise 250+ tools on the LXT platform, yes its true when you count 2 10” miter saws and the only difference is AWS compatible or not. They do this with grinders, and impacts and so on. I digress. Last comment about dust management, the dual port dust extraction works very well with a vacuum. With the bag, its average or slightly better that my experience with the competition.
I think it is time to return to the fence. For some cuts, you have to completely remove the fence versus sliding it as on models such as the Dewalt DWS780. Such a minor thing…. But not really. It is just another design choice that lead to takes away from the overall experience. And I think that sums up my opinion and experience with this saw. It is powerful and cuts the largest crown I anticipate I’ll ever install. It is cordless and runs all day. It is a great saw. Dust extraction is terrific with a vacuum…. However the UX (user experience). (1) the weight; (2) footprint; (3) blade change process; (4) accessory prices and availably; (5) a $800 saw without AWS… come-on; (6) the crown stops… SMH. The Bleeping crown stops; (7) the accompanying stand, read my other post, but yeah, the stand; (8) the right side bevel cut.
All this to say, would I recommend this saw? I would not. In fact I am likely to sell mine and put it towards a replacement. Especially now that there is a XGT on the horizon; albeit with a smaller cutting capacity. So thats something to consider. Makita also makes this SAME saw with AWS…. SMH… so at least spring for that version (XSL04) if you really wanted the XSL06. Makita also makes a 7-1/4” LXT 18v saw. Again smaller capacity and but with a dual sliding rail design.
As I said, I like the innovations, but not the design execution and the saw doesn’t overcome the UX challenges.