DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw Vs Makita Rear-Handle Saw

I’m not sure if you got a better grudge game against the Makita backhand saw with the DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw than you did in 2017. These two kings of the world of cordless circular saws are one of the most sought after head-to-head that we have received from our audience. So let’s dive in.

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw versus Makita backhand saw: general design

At the beginning of the conversation between DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style and Makita Rear-Handle Saw, there aren’t many differences between the two. As the first cordless saws to challenge the wired worm drive market, both have a blade with a left rear handle. You can use the same 7-1 / 4-inch blade for both, but you’ll need to remove the diamond knockout for the FlexVolt.

There isn’t much separation in functionality either. You get a leaf brake, magnesium base, rafter hook, and brushless motor whichever you choose. If a cutline blower is a make-or-break feature for you, you realize Makita doesn’t have one.

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw: a cordless worm drive?

DeWalt DCS577 versus Makita XSR01 Saw Power Source

The power source makes a major difference between the two saws. DeWalt uses the 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’ll need two batteries to use it. These can be used anywhere in Makita’s 18V LXT range. However, we recommend using the 5.0 Ah packs that you can get with the kit.

In terms of potential energy, DeWalt gives you either 120 watt hours (FlexVolt 6.0) or 180 watt hours (FlexVolt 9.0). With Makita you get 180 watt hours with two 5.0 Ah packs, while you get 216 watt hours with 6.0 Ah packs. Makita has the advantage here in the upper price segment.

Geek note: Usually watt-hours are calculated as nominal voltage x ampere hours, which would give DeWalt 108 or 162 watt hours. For the batteries, however, the watt hours are specified as 120 and 180. Also, a 60V DeWalt 9.0Ah battery actually works as a 3Ah battery at 60V. We note this in our comparison table below.

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw against Makita backhand saw

The good thing about Makitas System is that these batteries work with all 18V LXT tools and you can pick up the batteries from any other tool in the range in an emergency – even compact packs in an emergency.

DeWalt’s FlexVolt battery works in any FlexVolt or 20V Max tool. However, you cannot grab a 20V Max battery and use it in the FlexVolt saw. From a system-wide point of view of compatibility, Makita has the edge here too.

Makita rear handle against DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw ergonomics

Neither of these saws is light – nor should you expect it. Worm drive circular saws are much heavier than their side winder counterparts, and these follow suit. The difference in weight is significant. Makita weighs 12 pounds, 10.8 ounces with a Diablo frame blade and two 5.0 aH batteries on board. DeWalt is over a pound heavier at 13 pounds, 11.8 ounces with the same blade and FlexVolt 9.0 pack. Makita is the clear winner there.

With almost identical safety precautions and triggers, the feeling boils down to the design. DeWalt offers a slightly more body-hugging main grip, although I wouldn’t call any uncomfortable for this class of tool.

DeWalt FlexVolt frame saw against Makita recourse saw

The support handles are angled almost identically and have not become over-shaped here. Makita sticks with a more traditional, thin diameter bar, while DeWalt gives you a wider, contoured grip. I nod to DeWalt here, liking the wider support handle.

DeWalt FlexVolt frame saw against Makita recourse saw

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw vs Makita backhand saw cutting capacity

With a 7-1 / 4-inch saw blade, both saws are very close to each other in their cutting capacity. Makita (2-9 / 16 “) holds a slight edge over DeWalt (2-7 / 16”) at 90 °. DeWalt (1-7 / 8 ″) takes over at a bevel of 45 °, with Makita 1-3 / 4 ″ cutting at the same angle.

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw against Makita backhand saw

Since both saws also have the same beveling capacity of 53 °, Makita receives the nod for 90 ° cuts and DeWalt for 45 °. But with only 1/8 “of each other, very few pros will find that one doesn’t do the job above the other. It’s worth noting that Makita can handle 3x material in one go thanks to the additional capacity.

DeWalt FlexVolt frame saw against Makita recourse saw

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw versus Makita backhand saw: performance

We set a Diablo frame blade with tracking point on both saws and ran through a series of full depth crack cuts in 8 ‘long 4 × 4 pressure treated wood. Well, almost in full depth. Since Makita has a slightly lower capacity, we set it to match DeWalt on 2-7 / 16 ″. We also used them against Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Circular Saw and Skilsaw’s SPT77WM-22 auger drive. The results were amazing, especially considering how wet the wood was!


  • Milwaukee M18 fuel circular saw – 1: 04.96
  • Skilsaw SPT77MW-22-0: 27.96
  • Makita backhand saw – 0: 18.64
  • DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw – 0: 11.36

Makita 18V X2 Brushless Recourse Circular Saw Review

Milwaukee proves that an 18v circular saw can do a full depth rip cut, and Skilsaw set our baseline as it is a standout 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 head-to-head with a brag about this one.

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw: a cordless worm drive?

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw vs Makita recourse saw Specifications

DeWalt DCS577 Makita XSR01
battery FlexVolt 60V Makita 18V
speed 5800 rpm 5100 rpm
blade 7-1 / 4 in. 7-1 / 4 in.
Weight (with blade) 13 lbs 11.8 oz. 12 lbs 10.8 oz.
Bevel stops 22.5 °, 45 ° 22.5 °, 45 °
Bevel capacity 53 ° 53 °
Cutting capacity (90 °) 2-7 / 16 in. 2-9 / 16 in.
Cutting capacity (45 °) 1-7 / 8 in. 1-3 / 4 in.
Blade brake Yes Yes
Rafter hook Yes Yes
shoe magnesium magnesium
Price (naked) $ 249 $ 199
Price (kit) $ 399 (3Ah) $ 349 (2x5Ah)

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw versus Makita backhand saw: price

The price is relative as some users may need batteries and others may not. Here’s how it breaks down.

DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw

  • DeWalt DCS577B bare tool $ 249
  • DeWalt DCS577X1 FlexVolt 9.0 Kit $ 399

Makita recourse saw

  • Makita XSR01Z bare tool $ 199
  • Makita XSR01PT 5.0Ah Kit $ 349

Whether you are in the market for the kit or just for the bare tool, there is no doubt that Makita is making the price win. As a premium tool maker, we can’t say much about Makita. So the question you need to answer is whether the added power of the DeWalt framesaw is worth an additional $ 30 to $ 50.

The bottom line

The DeWalt FlexVolt worm drive saw and the Makita backhand saw are so close to each other in design that it really matters whether you want the more powerful / better grip ergonomics or the better price / lower weight. You can also consider which cordless set-up is more attractive to you. DeWalt has the clear performance advantage, but both easily outperform wired worm drives. As the two leading cordless circular saws in the industry at the moment, there really is no wrong answer here.

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