DeWalt DC390 vs Makita BSS610 18v cordless circular saw

Wanted to compare 2 cordless circular saws I have, which are DeWalt 18 volt DC390 (2.4 A*h XRP NiCd battery) and Makita LXT BSS610, 18 volt (3 A*h Li-ion battery). I charged the batteries and started cutting 1/4 inch slices off a 2×4. DeWalt made 78 cuts before battery died, with first 70 cuts at near-full RPM (3700), full power. I did another test and DeWalt made 75 cuts with first 70 cuts at near full power/RPM. Makita made 73 cuts with first 65 cuts at near full RPM and last 8 at less than half RPM. Second run on Makita yielded 65 cuts with first 60 being full-power.

Both saws were set to maximum blade depth. Rated RPM is the same – 3700/min. Blade was the same as well – 2mm, 6 1/2 inch 40-tooth carbide-tipped finish type.

Tests were done about 5 minutes after batteries came off the charger, DeWalt being first due to NiCd self-discharge. DeWalt won but had I waited 24 hours after the charge, Makita would have won due to NiCd battery self-discharge rate being higher than Li-ion.

After about 40 cuts Makita’s battery became very hot and would not cool down for another 15 minutes (I had to stop cutting).
I have two DC390 and in both the gearbox makes a slight rattling noise. Makita runs very smoothy, no rattle and stable revolutions, you can feel the precision.

Conclusion: So much for Makita’s Li-ion 3 A*h battery and 4-pole motor. While it’s built better than DeWalt and has a LED light, for an everyday contractor DeWalt is a better choice because it’s as reliable as Makita, costs a lot less, has better runtime, is more efficient, cheaper batteries and works well in cold weather.

I looked at other tools and it seems Makita is doing it’s best to limit current in all tools to spare the battery (i.e. saw stops and does not restart if the blade binds). NiCd can pump out massive currents, while Li-ion is limited to around 45A.

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