Makita Beam Saw 5402NA Review

This monster Makita beam saw produces 2,200 RPM and enough torque to slice through timbers and  lumber, green or dry. Hitting cutting depths of 6 ¼ inches at 90 degrees and 4 3/16 at 45 degrees, it can be put to use on big timbers. Just stop and think about the depth capacity. You can cut 4x4 material at 45 degrees and any 6-by lumber to 90 in one pass. That takes away all the time you spend manicuring thick, twice-cut lumber.

The sidewinder features an electric brake, a large front and trigger handle support and runs at 87 decibels. That noise level would be on par with a passing trucks. When you put this 16-inch Makita next to a 7 ¼ inch saw, it literally dwarfs it. But at only about 29 pounds, it’s remarkably light considering the workload it can handle.

Comparative Saws

The reality of the Makita 5402NA is that it’s basically in a class by itself at this price point. Other manufacturers like Mafell's 16" saw are well over $4,000.

Not wanting to spend $700,  your other option would be to drop down to something like the Big Foot 10 ¼ worm drive. Big Foot is very impressive and powerful, but you’ll max out on 4-by lumber. That saw only has a max depth of 3 ¾ at 90 degrees.

Reviews

This big boy Makita earns excellent ratings and reviews by everyone that uses be. A number of them point to its ability to smoothly cut timbers. For those who create their own on the job, a long rip through recently kilned dry timber was impressive. This Makita makes it look easy. Other rave reviews point to the saw’s safety features. The electric brake lock can stop in a dime and it sports a terrific guard. The depth control lever also gets high marks from users.

There are a few minor negatives that people encountered. The most significant is that you may need to remove one hand from the saw to manipulate the safety switch while squeezing the trigger. The other is that it needs re-squaring after setting it down 30 or so times. This saw makes deep cuts and relies on the blade being square to avoid binding.

The Makita 5402NA makes a great deal of sense for deck builders and timber framers. Anyone who works with thick timber or does their own timber work would reap considerable benefits from having this saw in their tool armory. It definitely saves time, labor and enhances the ability to make quality cuts on thick lumber. An added bonus may be watching mouths drop when you haul it out in front of a crew for the first time. Yes, size matters and the Makita 5402NA outpaces them all.

2 Responses to Makita Beam Saw 5402NA Review

  1. Ross Piercey April 19, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

    I recently bought this saw thinking It would be great for cutting tenons on large beams, and making square end cuts in one pass. The end cuts are perfect, but forget using the drop cut, it’s just to big to handle in the reverse position. As for the safety switch its to awkward to use, so I made a small modification, I drilled a small pilot hole in the center of the button and screwed and glued in a 1/4″ snap lock button, it works great and yes you still have to push it in to start the saw. The saw does seem a bit under powered, but slowly manages to make cuts on pine and spruce at maximum depth even on wet beams with now kick back if you get a catch as the weight and low rpm keep it in check. Overall I’m thinking it might have to take a second place to the 10″ saws.

    • Brice Cochran April 20, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks for your thoughts,
      I agree completely this saw is ungainly to use for drop cuts, my first saw to grap is my 10 inch Bigfoot but if the tenon is longer than 4″ then my goto saw is a 13″ Makita. While not sold through Makita USA it is through a store in Korea. We will have a future review on it but it is a dream to use.

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