The Makita 5012B Commercial Grade 11 3/4-Inch 11.5 amp Electric Chainsaw is a compact, powerful and well-built machine, ideal for both novices and experienced users alike.
It is the Makita UC4051A’s little brother and in this review we’ll see if it meets up to the standards of its highly rated and popular sibling.
With all the clout and quality construction you would expect from a Makita power tool, the 5012B is right up there with some of the best small chainsaws on the market.
Carry on reading our review to see if it the right saw for you.
Performance and Handling
Suitable for both professionals and home users alike, the Makita has been designed for light cutting duties.
It is extremely simple to start and operate. To fire the machine up, you simply need to activate the safety lock switch and press the ON/OFF throttle trigger. The saw will start immediately and will only stop when the throttle trigger is released.
One stand out feature of this saw is its chain speed. At around 28 meters per second, this is faster than most electric chainsaws (as well as many gas chainsaws) currently on the market. This speed allows the saw to cut easily through some of the toughest limbs.
With its 11 ¾ inch blade, the Makita is capable of cutting through a limb up to 10 inches in diameter in a single pass. User feedback suggests that it comfortably handles trees and branches with a diameter up to 8 inches. Whilst it is capable of getting through thicker branches, if you have a lot of cutting to do of this nature then a larger saw may be more suitable.
That said, if you have a lot of branches and small logs to cut, minor storm damage to clear or just need to cut some light firewood, then this saw will do the trick. Users will find the saw light and pretty easy to use. Thanks to its small bar it's easy to maneuver and allows you cut at difficult angles in confined spaces. Being an electric saw, you just need to master cutting with an extension cord.
There is a temptation with a saw this powerful to overwork it, leading to overheating. Fortunately, the Makita comes with overload protection which will cut the power if it is being overworked. If this happens you simply need to unplug the saw, check the oil and chain tension and then restart.
Overall, this is a simple to use power tool which comes with the benefit of zero emissions.
The Makita is equipped with an 11 ¾ inch guide bar which has a nose sprocket for a smoother chain action. There is also a reduced kickback guard on the end of the blade, making the saw safer to use. Some buyers have mentioned that they do not like this feature, especially those who want to use the saw for things like wood carving, which requires use of the blade tip. The tip can also occasionally get in the way when making some close-quarter cuts. On the whole, however, this isn’t something that too many people found to be a problem and some users even removed it.
There is a 12 inch low kickback chain, which has a 3/8 inch pitch, 0.05 inch gauge. It is described by the manufacturer as a ‘low vibration’ chain, which will provide additional comfort when cutting.
Chain tension is maintained by adjusting the chain tensioning screw on the front of the powerhead unit. A screwdriver and hex tool are required to complete this task. Although this system is not as convenient and quick as the tool-less systems available on many electric saws, it is a relatively simple task to complete. NOTE: The tools required are supplied by Makita with this purchase.
Makita also provide the correct file required to sharpen the chain. Keeping the cutters sharp and properly filed takes some skill and practice. This is a skill which can definitely be learned, and full instructions are provided in the User Manual. If, however, you do not feel comfortable doing this then you can get chains sharpened professionally for a few dollars.
Design & Construction
One big positive of the 5012B is that it has a very solid construction and is built to last.
In all it is 22 inches in length and is constructed from a durable polycarbonate housing giving it a very sturdy feel.
The image above shows some of the main features. On the rear handle there is a small throttle trigger, next to which is the safety lock-out switch. The manual oiler control is positioned above the handle on the powerhead unit and above this on top of the unit you will find the oil cap. There is a front half wrap handle and a solid hand guard to protect the left hand against flying chips.
Upon receipt you will need to attach the guide bar and chain. This is a pretty simple process and full instructions are provided in the manual on how to do this.
11.5 Amp Motor
The Makita possesses a nifty 11.5 Amp motor which, as mentioned earlier, produces fantastic chain speed. Indeed, you are likely to find that most 12 amp electric saws will have bars around 16 inches long, so it is hardly surprising that this 12-inch model has such power.
Of course, as this is an electric saw an extension cord will be required. This needs to be acceptable for outdoor use as well as having the correct gauge. If you are, for example, using a 100 foot cord, a 12 gauge or higher (such as a 10 gauge) is recommended. If using a 50 foot cord then a 14 gauge is recommended.
Chain Oil System
Unlike on the majority of modern day chainsaws, the Makita has a manual oiler system. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The obvious downside is that you need to remember to release oil to the chain. The main advantage is that you can control the amount of oil released, which can differ depending on the cutting conditions.
Oil is released by pressing the oil control button (shown in the diagram above). The process is quite straightforward. When turning the saw on, the button is pressed around 4 or 5 times to release the oil. Thereafter you will need to release oil during use. As a benchmark, if you are cutting an 8 inch diameter log, you should press the oil release button around 4/5 times after each cut.
Adding the oil is straightforward and is done by way of the easily accessible cap. You can keep a close eye on the amount of oil in the tank by looking through the translucent inspection window. In terms of the type of oil, the manufacturer recommends Turbine Oil #200.
There is a host of safety features designed to protect the user. These include:
• Reduced kickback bar guard and low kickback chain.
• Front and rear hand guards designed to protect the hands from the chain and debris.
• Safety lock button to prevent accidental starting.
Operating the saw in the correct manner, as well as wearing appropriate safety gear such as gloves and eye protection are recommended to help keep you safe.
This saw weighs around 10lbs. This is towards the top end for a light-duty chainsaw, reflecting its solid build. If you are used to handling power tools you should have no issues with the Makita. If, however, you struggle with weights you may wish to consider a lighter saw, such as the Black and Decker LCS1020 or the Sun Joe SWJ698E, both of which are several pounds lighter.
There are a range of accessories included, as follows:
• Plastic scabbard to protect the cutting equipment.
• Bar and Chain oil (small supply)
• Tools for tensioning the chain
• Operator’s manual
• Hook mechanism to prevent cords from separating
- Robust and well-built
- Superb cutting power and speed
- Great reviews
- Excellent accessories
- Not as many features as some saws
- Front screw chain tensioning
There are plenty of online reviews for this saw and almost 90% of buyers rate it as either excellent or good.
Customers love its power and cutting performance, as well as how easy it is to handle and maneuver.
Some users don’t like the manual oiling system or the guide bar tip, however these are very much in the minority.
You should buy this saw if:
• You need a reliable saw for light cutting tasks
• You want a well-built product which will last
• You don’t want a saw packed with features, such as tool-less chain tensioning.
You should not buy this saw if:
• You have medium/heavy cutting tasks to carry out.
• You want a budget product.
Price of Makita 5012B Chainsaw
The Makita 5012B Commercial Grade 11 3/4-Inch 11.5 amp Electric Chainsaw will cost you a fraction over $200. Is this good value? There are plenty of saws in this range which you can pick up for under $100. However, this is a commercial grade product which is well-built and designed to last. In view of this and its excellent performance, we believe that the price is justified.