Makita is one of the best-known, high-quality electric tool manufacturers in the business. Founded in Japan in 1915 as a manufacturer of lightening equipment, motors, and transformers, the company moved into the arena of power construction tools a year later. Makita introduced the original rechargeable drill in 1969 and continued to produce lots of “firsts” when it came to batteries and power tools. They offered the first nickel-cadmium battery-powered drill around 1978, the first nickel hydride battery tool in 1997 and the first lithium-ion battery tool in 2005. They continue to make innovative, quality products in the area of cordless tools, gas-powered equipment, and power tools that are shipped and used throughout the world.
One of their solid power products is their Makita 5104 14 Amp 10-1/4-Inch Circular Saw. It is a corded power tool that is durable, precise, and handles a variety of jobs and materials with little problem. Whether you are new to using power tools or someone with a lot of experience, this particular saw is great for whatever project you are going to tackle.
This particular Makita circular saw has a larger cutting capacity than many comparable products. This means that this saw can cut material that is thicker than normal when compared to other brands of circular saws. Average cutting capacity is 1/3 of the saw blades diameter but this particular Makita saw can do more than that, cutting 3 ¾” when at a 90-degree angle. It can also bevel up to 45-degrees and cut up to 2 ¾” for accurate angled cuts.
The Makita 5104 is a sidewinder meaning that the motor is installed to the right of the blade which generally creates a higher RPM than worm drive circular saws. This particular Makita saw has a strong 14Amp motor that goes to 3800RPMs in the best conditions. The motor puts out 2200 max watts so it has enough power to cut beams and timber along with regular everyday wood projects. The ball and needle bearings that this saw utilizes provide accurate cutting performance. These types of bearings offer less friction and handling problems so cutting is smooth and seamless.
Safety features are always important in a circular saw. While this saw does have larger cut capacity, you don’t have to obtain it through the dangerous process of taking off the blade guards and shields. You get the extra cutting capacity through the saw design itself.
This Makita saw also has an electronic brake to protect the user. If a piece of the material you are cutting stops the blade guard from going back into place, a regular blade can continue to spin for up to 10 seconds after you stop cutting. With this Mikita saw, an electric brake stops the spin in about 2 seconds. Once the saw’s trigger is released, the brake kicks in by reversing the electricity and stopping the blade.
The 5104 also has a lock-off button (safety switch) that makes sure that the possibility of accidental starting is reduced. It also has a shaft lock feature to enhance protection while changing the blade. The shaft lock stops the blade from turning while the blades are switched out. For further safety, the saw also has a larger than average ejection port meaning that it expels the sawdust farther away, keeping both the saw and area clean and safe.
This Makita saw has an adjustable guide on top to help align notches with the cutting line. It also has a blade wrench storage area in the saw itself to make changing the blades easy and convenient. The motor housing is also designed to make this process simple. Some of the knobs used for adjustments are larger than average which again helps the user get to the saw blades easily and makes them conveniently accessible. The saw’s weight is fairly light at around 20 pounds and is well-balanced, meaning that if you are working long hours with this tool, you’ll experience less fatigue so you can work on complicated jobs longer. It's front, top, and back handles are great for maximum control while in use.
The first negative with the 5104 Makita saw is the fact that it’s a sidewinder. While this is not critical to its performance, it’s a little less comfortable when compared to a worm drive saw. A worm design gives a circular saw more torque, making it easier to deal with wet material or long rip cuts. A worm design also offers better sightlines when working as their motor is set in the back of the saw versus the side. That being said, even if a saw is a worm drive, you need to make sure that its general and safety features can match the sidewinders. Look at the whole package, not just the drive.
The second con of the Makita saw seems to be the price. It has a higher price point than many other commercial grade circular saws, however, its quality and durability may make up for it in the long run as the saw itself lasts longer and may have fewer repair costs.
Final ThoughtsThe Makita 5104 14 Amp 10-1/4-Inch Circular Saw is a solid Makita product that offers safety, reliability and convenience. The safety features of the Makita saw are also good as they offer safety not only to skilled users but those who are just beginning to work with tools. This particular circular saw offers versatility and easy handling for both amateurs and skilled users. It is a high-quality tool whose interior and exterior design is built to last, a solid combination of power and durability.