Review By Dean Bielanowski  Makita Website - http://www.makita.com


Makita 5094DWD 14.4 Volt Cordless
3-3/8" Circular Trim Saw Kit

 Review

By Dean Bielanowski

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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 its specifications.

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 well.

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).

In Use
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 ease.

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 requires recharging.

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 blade changes.

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