Cordless has come a long way since the early days of lithium-ion power. Where circular saws were initially struggling for adequate performance (and even a 7 1/4-inch blade), they now exceed the performance of 15-amp corded models. We decided to test the waters and pulled our expert team together to discover who makes the best cordless circular saw from an elite top tier of advanced models.
Even though we’re East Coasters, we decided to open things up a bit here at the top tier. We use both sidewinder and rear-handle styles and we’ll give you our opinion on both.
Best Cordless Circular Saw Overall (Sidewinder)
When the final scores were tallied, Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt circular saw edged out the Milwaukee M18 Fuel. Thanks to perfect scores in the cutting performance and accuracy sections and high scores in most of the others, it comes away with our award for the Best Cordless Circular Saw. It’s also the strongest sidewinder model we tested.
Price: $149 bare
After testing Flex’s rear-handle saw against the top competitors, we were left with no doubt it’s the best cordless rear-handle circular saw currently available. Its design is solid and its features are thoughtful. What sets it apart is that it’s stronger and faster than any other model we tested, plus it has the advantage of Stacked Lithium pouch-style batteries.
Price: $249 bare, $399 kit with 10.0Ah Stacked Lithium battery and charger
Best Cordless Circular Saw Capacity
Makita 40V max XGT 10 1/4-Inch Circular Saw GSR02
When it comes to high-capacity cordless circular saws, two models stand out from the rest. Both Makita’s 40V max XGT GSR02 and Skilsaw’s 48V cordless Sawsquatch have 10 1/4-inch blades with Makita owning a very slight advantage on its 3 3/4-inch capacity.
While Skilsaw has the advantage of a true worm drive, Makita enjoys a significant weight advantage, a very smooth direct drive system, and is AWS-capable.
Price: $349 bare, $499 with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Best Lightweight Cordless Circular Saw
Flex’s cordless incline circular saw is our lightweight pick in the high-performance class. At 7.1 pounds bare, it’s only 9.1 pounds once you add a 5.0Ah battery. Not only is it the lightest, but the belt drive design allows this 6 1/2-inch saw to cut with the same capacity as other 7 1/4-inch saws. Plus, its cutting power is excellent.
If you’re looking for a lightweight cordless circular saw, Flex is your best bet.
Price: $249 with 5.0Ah battery and charger
Best Cordless Circular Saw for Metal Cutting
There’s a lot of temptation to simply swap blades and make a standard circular saw cut metal. However, there are cordless circular saws out there specifically designed with the torque and features to cut metal well. Our favorite is Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel 8-inch metal cutting circular saw. Successfully making the transition from its outstanding corded model to cordless, it has the muscle to cut a 1-inch thick steel plate! Add in chip collection with an M18 High Output battery for the power source and there’s no better cordless option in our opinion.
Price: $399 bare, $549 with an 8.0Ah High Output battery and charger
Best Cordless Circular Saw Value
Skil relaunched a while back as a brand targeting DIYers, but the performance levels were so good in the brushless tools, that they were outperforming some Pro brands. Enter PWRCore 20 XP and a 2 x 20V rear-handle circular saw targeting professionals. We tested it side-by-side against the traditional Pro brands we use and there’s no question in our minds that the build and the performance have what it takes to thrive day in and day out on the jobsite.
Price: $249 with two 5.0Ah batteries and charger
Best Cordless Circular Saw Blade
There are a lot of quality blades on the market right now and you can get a quality framing blade for $10 – $15 or a demo blade for $15 – $20. Of course, there are also discounts for bulk purchases. Here’s a list of the best circular saw framing blade options we frequently use and recommend:
- Crescent Nailslicer Framing Blade (outstanding tooth durability on tough cuts)
- Diablo 24T Framing Blade with Tracking Point (excellent all-around performance)
- Flex Framing Blade (excellent all-around performance)
- Makita Max Efficiency Blade (perfect for extending runtime on cordless saws without sacrificing performance)
- Milwaukee Framing Blade (excellent all-around performance)
Best Cordless Circular Saw | More Options from Brands We Trust
Best Bosch Cordless Circular Saw: 18V ProFactor Strong Arm GKS18V25CN/GKS18V-25GCN
Bosch has a pair of circular saws on its high-performance ProFactor line and both have the same foundation. The only major difference is one shoe is standard and the other is track-compatible. It’s completely up to you. Either way, these saws are a big step up in performance and design from Bosch’s previous cordless circular saw generation.
Price: $219 bare, $369 with 8.0Ah Core18V battery and charger ($279/$429 for track-compatible version)
Whether you’re looking for a sidewinder or rear-handle style, DeWalt’s FlexVolt line is the way to go for the best cordless performance. However, it’s the FlexVolt Advantage circular saw we recommend for most people. With a 20V Max battery, you get very good performance and it kicks up to a whole new level when you use a FlexVolt battery. You get the benefit of being able to use either battery with a very real advantage when you use FlexVolt packs.
Price: $199 bare
Flex has three outstanding flagship circular saws to choose from and our favorite is the 6 1/2-inch inline model. From its high cutting capacity and solid performance to its lighter weight and reachable price tag, we turn to it frequently.
Price: $249 with 5.0Ah battery and charger
Best Greenworks Cordless Circular Saw: 24V Brushless 7 1/4-Inch 1501202AZ
Running a 24V battery that’s also compatible with 24V and 48V lawn care equipment, Greenworks’ circular saw sports a brushless motor to drive its full-size 7 1/4-inch blade. One of the nice things is the weight—the bare tool is just 7.39 pounds and either the compact 2.0Ah or 4.0Ah battery keeps the entire package under 10 pounds.
Price: $119.99 bare
If you’re a DIYer looking to step up your cutting game to the brushless level, Hart’s HPCS25 is a compelling option. Aside from the higher performance, runtime, and service life a brushless motor offers, this is also one of the lightest full-size saws you can get your hands on. Bare, it weighs 6.56 pounds and when you add a 4.0Ah battery, it’s still under 8 pounds!
Price: $128 bare
When Hilti developed the Nuron cordless power tool system, we knew we were in for higher performance, but we had no idea how much higher its cordless circular saw would fly. Thanks to a new brushless motor, the Hilti SC 30WR-22 now runs twice as long on a charge and cuts some three times faster than its previous cordless models. Plus, it’s still doing it on a single 22V battery!
Price: $249 bare
Kobalt decided to kick down some doors with the launch of its advanced XTR line of 24V cordless tools. It shows a huge improvement in cutting performance for the circular saw in the line. Cutting a 5500 RPM with its brushless motor and powered by an Ultimate Output battery, it’s a very nice upgrade for Kobalt fans that have been using the 6 1/2-inch saw that’s been out for a while.
Price: $149 bare
Best Makita Cordless Circular Saw: 18V X2 (36V) AWS Capable XSH07
When you look at how deep Makita is in the cordless circular saw department, there are so many genuinely great options from compact all the way to high-capacity. For your every day professional cutting needs, it’s tough to beat the XSH07. As an 18V X2 model, it has the power of 36V working for it without having to leave Makita’s massive LXT platform. Built on the foundation of the XSH06, it’s essentially the same saw but AWS-compatible so you can automatic vac activation even though you’re using a cordless saw.
Price: $289 bare
There’s a lot to love about Metabo’s 6 1/2-inch KS 18 LTX 66 BL circular saw. It starts with low weight—just 7.7 pounds bare and 9.9 with a battery. Then it adds a track-compatible shoe. With Metabo or other FS-style tracks, you get outstanding accuracy for cross, rip, and miter cuts without the need for a larger saw. Plus, Metabo tools and batteries are cross-compatible with more than two dozen other brands in the Cordless Alliance System (CAS)! There’s even more, so be sure to check out our article by clicking the headline above.
Price: $469 bare
We’ve been throwing around a lot of love Metabo HPT’s 36V sidewinder, so let’s switch gears and talk about the 36V rear-handle circular saw. Confident in its cutting the big story is its incredibly low weight of 10.6 pounds with a battery. That’s more than 2 pounds lighter than Milwaukee and DeWalt, and a pound lighter than Makita. As part fo the 36V MultiVolt system, it’s compatible with Metabo HPT’s AC adapter. The only slight question marks are the lack of an LED light and no onboard tool storage.
Price: $199 bare, $349 with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Milwaukee’s 2732 was our overall best cordless circular saw in 2021 for good reason. It set a new standard for performance with it combination of brushless motor and M18 High Output batteries. Built around that, the design team simply didn’t swing and miss at any element of the design. While the saw has slipped into a very close second overall, it’s still one of the top-performing and best-designed cordless circular saws available.
Price: $249 bare, $449 with 12.0Ah High Output battery and charger ($159 reconditioned)
Best Ridgid Cordless Circular Saw
Ridgid’s post-Octane brushless line continues to roll out, this time with a circular saw that has 35% more cutting speed and matches the power of a 15-amp corded saw. While the performance gain is the big deal, it also does a nice job of hitting the high points of Pro-level features, such as an electronic brake, vacuum port, and a 2 9/16-inch cutting depth. As usual, the saw comes with a lifetime service agreement when you register your purchase.
Price: $179 bare
Keep your eyes open—Ridgid also has an 18V brushless rear-handle saw on the way!
Best Ryobi Cordless Circular Saw: 18V One+ HP Brushless PBLCS300
The PBLCS isn’t Ryobi’s first brushless circular saw, but the HP Brushless upgrade and HIgh Performance battery certainly make it the best to date. In addition to its stronger, faster cutting performance, it’s also a very compelling value with a bare tool price under $100 and a kit price uunder $200.
Price: $99 bare, $199 with 4.0Ah High Performance battery and charger
With a solid design and taking home a Best Value award for 2022, Skil’s PWRCore 20 XP rear-handle is its best cordless circular saw currenlty available.
Price: $249 with two 5.0Ah batteries and charger
Best Cordless Circular Saw Buying Guide | What We Look For
It wasn’t that long ago we had to feather cordless circular saws compared to the way we cut with corded models. Today’s battery-powered options are much better and many brands easily outperform 15-amp corded saws with their flagship brushless models.
If cutting power is your number one priority, expect to pay for a more expensive saw. However, if you don’t mind taking your time, there are some excellent high-value cordless options that can help you get the job done for less.
Tracking isn’t about having an arbor that’s off—that would be a defect and you should return the saw if that’s the problem. Sometimes the handle design can encourage you to push to one side or the other, especially with saws that have the front and rear handle close together. Most of the time, you can adjust to the handle design pretty quickly.
The lip of a circular saw guard can catch in some cases. Even when it’s smooth on a typical cut, thin, miter, bevel, or compound cuts can expose issues. Make a series of test cuts on scrap material to see if your guard catches on a particular type of cut so you know when to manually lift it without dragging away from your cutline.
Dust and Chip Removal
Many of the best cordless circular saws have vacuum ports and those do a better job of clearing chips and dust away than those without. However, the majority of our team never connects a vac for normal cutting. We prefer a vacuum adapter that’s either removable or pivots to direct the chips where we want them.
In general, most circular saws do a good job of clearing dust and chips. As RPMs drop because of a lower top-end speed or bogging down, the clearing suffers. Look for models with at least 4500 RPM (5000 is even better) and a brushless motor to maintain effective clearing.
Handle comfort is largely an individual choice with the size of your hand driving a lot of what feels best. While rear handles are rarely an issue, our crew is drawn towards front handle designs that aren’t too thin, too close to the rear handle, or angled in a direction that becomes uncomfortable. See if you can put your hands on the saw in the store before you take it home. If your hate the grip in the store, it’s unlikely to get better once you’re cutting.
Because you nearly always cut on top of your material, the weight comes into play primarily when you’re carrying your circular saw from one place to another. However, heavy saws can contribute to “stickier” cutting if the shoe isn’t low-friction enough. There’s no reason to carry more weight than you have to, though, and it’s possible to get a Pro-level saw under 10 pounds with the battery.
Price and Value
We’re big on value and love figuring out what the best saw for our budget is. Start with what you know you’re willing to spend and build your priorities from there. Here are things we consider as part of our value calculation:
- Design and features
- Depth of compatible tool on the same battery system
- Service after the sale and warranty
Sidewinder or Rear-Handle?
The spread between sidewinder and rear-handle cordless circular saw styles are largely regional. The West Coast tends to prefer rear-handle while the East Coast generally goes sidewinder.
Most cordless rear-handle saws aren’t true worm drives. The exceptions are Skilsaw’s 48V cordless worm drives. The rest use a direct drive gearing system and go with a rear-handle design to accommodate the preference to that style.
Like their corded counterparts, cordless rear-handle saws are heavier than the more compact sidewinder style.
Both styles use brushless motors and a direct drive (aside from Skilsaw’s worm drive), so there isn’t necessarily the same higher torque in the rear-handle style as there is with corded models.
When it comes to these high-end cordless circular saws, it’s more a matter of preference.
There’s some confusion between 18V and 20V cordless circular saws. Many folks believe that 20V is more powerful, but they’re actually the same voltage.
More brands are using 6-cell sets instead of the 5-cell sets we see on 18V/20V max tools. Those actually run at a higher voltage. Marked 24V Max or 22V, they run at 21.6V nominal. With 20% more cells, they really do have the potential to produce more power or runtime.
36V/40V Max batteries are one way to get more power. Makita and Skil both have 2-battery systems that take 18V/20V max batteries and combine them in series on the tool to reach a higher voltage. Makita also has a 40V max XGT line and Metabo HPT has a 36V MultiVolt system.
Skilsaw has a couple of options for its 48V TrueHVL system while DeWalt’s FlexVolt system runs a 60V max (54V) platform.
However, the advent of advanced batteries using 21700 lithium-ion cells and more recently pouch cell batteries makes it possible to deliver more power to lower voltage systems without the need for bulkier high-voltage battery packs.
Blade Left or Blade Right?
Very few Pros and DIYers we come across don’t care what side the blade is on. Nearly everyone has a preference and won’t buy a saw with a blade that sits on the “wrong” side. Your best bet is to try both and see which one is easier for you to track your cutline.
As a right-handed user, I prefer a blade-left design. Then again, PTR’s Editor-in-Chief, Clint DeBoer, is also a righty and prefers blade-right. Read more about the considerations here.
Features To Look For
- Brushless motor: offers better performance, runtime, and longer life
- Electronic brake: stops the blade quickly as a safety feature
- Rafter hook: great for hanging on a variety of objects instead of setting the saw on the ground
- Trigger safety design: some people prefer a push-in style, others a push-down
- Dust port: offers a connection to a vacuum for better cleanup
- Rail compatibility: gives the saw the ability to attach to a track for highly accurate cuts
- LED light: adds light to the visible blade area to help you see your cutline
- Cutline blower: uses exhaust airflow to push sawdust away from your cutline
- Magnesium components: reduces the weight without sacrificing strength
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