Sometimes you come across tools that are perhaps
not so popular that you probably never think about owning or
having a need for one, but when you do have it, it comes in so
darn useful that it continually surprises you. The Makita
5094DWD is one such tool. I have owned it for over a year now,
and its usefulness and performance have prompted me to write
this review as I feel many other woodworkers out there can
benefit from this little saw...
The Makita 5094DWD
Firstly, this saw is little... Perhaps not so much in its
actual physical size, being long and skinny, but more so in the
blade size. With a 3-3/8" diameter blade, don't expect it to be
cutting large stock in one pass. This is a trim saw primarily,
made for cutting trim and thinner pieces of stock on the
jobsite. It is assembled in the U.S.A. Let's look at and discuss
Power: The saw is powered by a 14.4v 2.6Ah
NiMH pod style Makita battery. Only one comes in the kit, along
with a multi-voltage charger suitable to charge it. It is good
to see Makita included the higher capacity 2.6Ah battery over
their smaller 1.2Ah batteries on some other tools. Perhaps this
was a compromise to including two smaller capacity batteries in
the kit? The downside of the single battery kit though is that
if the battery power is consumed, you are left without a second
one to use while the first one sits on the charger. Additional
batteries can be purchased to avoid this, but these come at
additional cost of course. There
is a trigger release lever which much be pushed downward before
the trigger can be activated and used to power up the saw. This
is a much needed safety feature, particularly since the saw is
essentially "live" whenever a battery is attached.
What is immediately noticeable on powering up
this saw is its relatively slow blade rotation speed. You would
think the saw would spin up like crazy to a similar speed as a
corded saw, but no, the 5094DWD spins at only 1000 RPM compared
to the 4000-5000 you might see on a corded saw or larger
cordless saw. To be honest, I thought I had one with a dud motor
to begin with, but no, 1000 RPM is the working speed as stated
in the specs and manual. Surprisingly however, this speed is
adequate to cut most materials easily and cleanly, and
contributes to greatly increasing battery life. A fast moving
motor usually draws a lot of current and high speeds usually
mean much more battery consumption. The slower speed on this
small saw seems to offer a good mix of cutting performance and
extended battery life.
Blade: As mentioned the saw uses a 3-3/8"
diameter blade. This is quite small, but it seems to get the job
done well. The blades have an arbor of 15mm, and each blade
offering 20 carbide tipped teeth. Blade body thickness is 0.028"
with a kerf of 0.039". While I had no trouble finding a
replacement/spare saw blade from Makita resellers for this saw,
I couldn't find any third party manufacturers making a saw blade
to fit, so spares will likely have to come direct from Makita.
The blade itself is well made and quite sharp. One comes fitted
to the saw out of the box, but it is handy to have a second on
hand should you need it. After a fair bit of trim cutting use on
my house reno project, I am still on the first blade and it
continues to cut well. The blade attaches to the arbor via a
blade nut and locking screw. It's a fairly standard blade setup
but it's the one that works the best in my opinion.. Adding and
removing blades is fairly painless as well.
Length/Weight: The saw has a total length
of 12-5/8" with a weight of 4.6 lbs, which includes the battery
attached. It is long and relatively narrow with an offset motor
drive. Needless to say at this weight, there is very little user
fatigue when using the saw for extended periods of time. It is
also easy to maneuver and freehand cuts, which is important when
doing trim work. The saw is quite well balanced front to back as
Adjustments and Features: The Makita
5094DWD offers a maximum cutting depth (in a single pass) of
15/16" of an inch at the square (90 degree) setting. When the
saw is tilted to 45 degrees the cutting depth capacity is
reduced to 11/16" as you might expect. Saying that, the bevel
cutting range is from 0 (or 90) degrees to 45 degrees setting. A
small scale and pointer allows you to set angles in between the
range in 5 degree increments, but personally I wouldn't take
those as gospel, more as a rough guide. If you need especially
accurate cuts, then I would be setting the bevel angle using a
bevel gauge or digital angle folder, which will probably result
in much more accurate results.
Depth control is also adjustable. It uses the
same depth type arm and screw fastener found on most full size
circular saws. There is nothing fancy in that. Just simple and
straight forward. However, there is a nice feature on the blade
guard housing, and this is a depth setting scale. The top of the
adjustment arm will mark the depth of blade below the base plate
when referenced against the scale on the blade guard housing.
This makes it easy to quickly set a cutting depth based on the
thickness of the material being cut.
Other standard features include an adjustable
fence, onboard hex key for blade changing, and an arbor lock
button to lock the arbor to make blade changes possible.
The base plate itself is made from pressed
aluminum and is much more rigid than you would expect. While it
can be flexed slightly with deliberate pressure, it should hold
up well under load and keep its form, especially since the
weight of the saw above it is minimal. All adjustment knobs are
relatively easy to access and large enough not to cause
frustration when tightening or releasing them.
The included charge is model DC1411. This is a
multi-voltage charger that can handle both Makita pod-style
NiCad and NiMH battery types from 7.2v up to 14.4v. Charge times
vary depending on battery voltage and capacity. I think a nearly
depleted battery took about 90 minutes on the charger off
memory (but don't quote me on that).
Well, I can say that I like this saw enough to write a
review of it for you. It has seen most use on trim work around
the house, especially for cuts on trim to fit around existing
trim pieces or structure, i.e. where a basic miter saw is not
suitable to make the cut. With a speed square or straight edge,
it is simple to make square or 45 degree miter cuts with good
accuracy using this saw. While most of the material I have been
cutting has been softer pine, I have used it on many occasions
also on hardwood trim, in which it performs equally well,
although cutting time is slightly slower. An interesting series
of cuts I made using the saw was to cut 3/4" thick marine
plywood for a boat floor I was making. Again, the saw did the
job just fine. It wasn't as fast as a larger cordless or corded
circular saw, but it did the job just as well, and perhaps more
importantly, handled some slight curves in the cuts very well,
and with excellent control. Plus I had great viewing of the cut
line and blade cutting area, which is often hindered or
partially blocked on some larger saws. It is also a great saw
for cutting down thinner sheet material (1/2" or less) to make
it more manageable on the table saw or other tools.
Cutting thin trim to length. The perfect saw
for the job.
It will handle heavier cutting too of sheet
goods. Here the Makita 5094DWD cuts 1/2" plywood with relative
It is amazing how handy these little saws can be.
You will find many uses for them in the workshop or around the
home, and then even handle plunge cutting into solid surfaces
quite well too. Naturally, best results are achieved with
properly charged batteries, and with the NiMH cells, these will
work well right up until they are nearly depleted when power
drops off rapidly. NiCad seems to have more of a gradual power
drop as the battery charge reduces. This can be a plus however
as you get much more warning before the battery dies and
The kit comes in a plastic case with saw (blade
fitted), charger, fence, and manual. I would advise to grab a
second battery if you plan to rely on this saw for trade or
commercial use, or if you simply hate waiting for a single
battery to recharge before you can use it again. Might also be
worth grabbing a second (or third) spare saw blade when you buy
the saw. This will save you having to hunt around for a
replacement if you are not near an authorized Makita reseller.
Overall though a nice tool that really quite
surprised me, and I continue to enjoy using it for any trim or
light duty cutting requirements.
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Makita 5094DWD Photos
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The Makita 5094DWD 3-3/8" Cordless Trim Saw.
Body and motor casing is hardened plastic.
The saw uses Makita pod-style batteries. One 2.4Ah 14.4v
battery is included in the kit.
Depth adjustment and gauge. Here the blade cut depth is
set to about a half-inch.
Bevel cutting adjustment at front of saw.
Spindle/Arbor lock button with onboard hex key for quick