Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw Competition Gets More Crowded… And That’s A Good Thing
What’s better than a great cordless circular saw? The best cordless rear handle circular saw! Whether you just prefer the ergonomics of the design or the additional torque for ripping sheet goods, having a cordless worm drive-style circular saw can supplement your sidewinder or stand alone as your go-to saw.
Cordless rear handle circular saws meet the needs of Pros looking to cut the cord on worm drives and the field is becoming more crowded this year. We’re not disappointed by that, though. Every single saw we’re recommending has the performance and design to meet the needs of professional contractors.
Best Cordless Rear Handle and Worm Drive Circular Saw Overall
Flex made some bold claims about its cordless rear-handle circular saw. Using a 24V max power source (21.6V nominal) and with a crazy-fast 6200 RPM, it beat out all of our other rear-handle saws in cutting speed and power, including Milwaukee and DeWalt.
From there, the design is thoughtful, checking off all the boxes we look for. Even its weight is in line with Milwaukee, DeWalt and others models in the top tier of performance.
By the time the sawdust settled, we didn’t have any major complaints. If you need another reason to give Flex a closer look, new Stacked Lithium pouch-style batteries give the entire lineup a advantage over the traditional powerhouses.
Price: $249 bare, $399 with a 10.0Ah Stacked Lithium battery and fast charger
Best Lightweight Cordless Rear Handle and Worm Drive Circular Saw
If having the lightest cordless worm drive-style circular saw is high on your priority list, Metabo HPT is your pick. Using a single 36V MultiVolt battery for power, it’s in the same cutting performance tier as Makita and joins it as another lightweight option. In fact, its weight with a battery is more than two pounds lighter than Makita—just 10.6 pounds with a 4.0Ah battery!
Metabo HPT also has the designation of being the only hybrid option in the group. If you have lot of production cutting to do and don’t want to worry about managing batteries, just switching over to the AC adapter and cut ’till you drop.
Price: $199 bare, $349 kit with a 4.0Ah battery and charger
Best Cordless Rear Handle and Worm Drive Circular Saw Value
When Skil relaunched a few years back, the target was DIYers. However, the brushless tools were keeping up with Pro-grade models and now, we’re seeing Skil’s first tools specifically designed for value-mided professionals.
The Skil cordless rear-handle saw is part of a new 2 x 20V system with the PWRCore 20 XP designation. Using two batteries to reach a higher 40V max (36V nominal) power level, it cut with performance very similar to Makita’s rear-handle saw. There are trade-offs between the two, of course, but Skil’s overall design and feature set are ready to handle everyday jobsite environments.
Knowing it can meet the needs of professional users, the price is very compelling. As a kit with two 5.0Ah batteries and a dual-port PWRJump fast charger, it’s just $249.99.
Price: $249.99 with two 5.0Ah batteries and dual-port charger.
Best Cordless Rear-Handle and Worm Drive Circular Saw | More Excellent Options
DeWalt followed Makita to market with their FlexVolt 60V Max DCS577, making a jump in power over the first-generation FlexVolt sidewinder. The saw’s cutting power is clearly in the top tier and it has a more comfortable front handle design than the other models we tested. The only downside we ran into was the shoe has a bit more friction than most, giving it a slightly “sticky” feel at the beginning of our cuts.
Price: $259 bare, $419 with a 9.0Ah battery and charger
Makita was the first to get a rear handle model on the market with their 36-volt XSR01. Until Metabo HPT launched its model in 2022, it was the lightest in the group by far and has a couple of years of field experience over the competition.
Even though Makita’s rear-handle saw doesn’t cut with quite as much power as the top tier, it still outperforms our 15-amp corded worm drive and there’s a lot to be said for its significantly lighter weight and overall design. When you’re making a lot of cuts, it’s much less fatiguing than our heavier saws. For many Pros, taking an extra second or two per cut is well worth the weight savings and makes this their choice as the best cordless rear-handle circular saw.
Price: $199 bare, $349 with two 5.0Ah batteries and dual-port fast charger
Milwaukee’s 2830 M18 Fuel rear-handle circular saw debuted in 2019, taking advantage of the M18 line’s boost in power from High Output batteries. It’s running on 18 volts with an advanced M18 Fuel brushless motor.
For two years, it topped our charts as the best overall cordless rear-handle circular saw until Flex finally managed to eek ahead in 2022. Still, the power and cutting speed of this saw is impressive, and aside from a traditional skinny front handle, there’s not a thing we’d change about the design.
Price: $269 bare, $449 with 12.0Ah High Output battery and fast charger ($199 reconditioned)
The only true cordless worm drive in our tests is Skilsaw’s 48V TrueHVL worm drive. It was the first cordless tool under the Skilsaw brand.
While it is heavier than the other contenders, Skilsaw throws its name in for consideration as the best cordless worm drive with a solid overall design and top-tier cutting power. The downside is that there are only two tools that work on this battery system: this saw and the 10 1/4-inch cordless Sawsquatch.
Technically, the 10 1/4-inch version is also a rear-handle design. If you’re looking for the best cutting capacity, it’s the way to go.
7 1/4-Inch Price: $249 bare, $399 with a 5.0Ah battery and charger, $599 with two 5.0Ah batteries and charger
10 1/4-Inch Price: $499 bare, $699 with a 5.0Ah battery and charger, $799 with two 5.0Ah batteries and charger
Best Cordless Rear-Handle and Worm Drive Circular Saws On the Horizon
There are several cordless worm drive/rear-handle circular saw we haven’t had a chance to test, but are still worth your consideration in the meantime.
Hilti Nuron 22V Cordless Rear-Handle Circular Saw
Thanks to a new brushless motor and advanced battery design, Hilti’s Nuron cordless rear-handle circular saw is getting a big performance makeover. Expect twice the runtime and a total weight under 12 pounds, including a 7.9Ah battery. Thanks to Nuron technology, you’ll also get a whole new level of information from the tool and battery to help you in your maintenance plan.
Price: $349 bare
Makita 40V max XGT Cordless Rear-Handle Circular Saw
When Makita moved its 18V X2 LXT saw over to the 40V max XGT line, the design did team did much more than just change the battery interface. It now boasts a much higher 6400 RPM (up from 5100 RPM) and dropped more than half a pound, weighing 11.7 pounds with a 4.0Ah battery. We need to get the saw in our hands to know for sure, but there’s every indication that Makita can challenge Flex for the number one overall spot as the best cordless rear-handle circular saw.
Price: $239 bare, $399 with a 4.0Ah battery and fast charger
Makita 40V max XGT 10 1/4-Inch Rear-Handle Circular Saw
As the other cordless 10 1/4-inch circular saw alongside Skilsaw’s cordless Sawsquatch, Makita’s GSR02 has a slightly deeper maximum cut and a little slower blade speed. The really big deal is weight. Makita’s saw with a battery weighs less than Skilsaw’s without one, making your best choice for a blend of high capacity and low weight.
Price: $349 bare, $499 with a 4.0Ah battery and fast charger
Ridgid 18V Cordless Rear-Handle Circular Saw
Ridgid fans, your time is coming! We expect a Ridgid cordless rear-handle saw to show up at The Home Depot in the fall of 2022. There’s not a ton of information out at the moment, but we do know the new saw claims to beat 15-amp corded worm drives in performance and it’s slated to the be the lightest cordless rear-handle in the 18V class.
Price: $349 with 8.0Ah battery and charger
Best Cordless Rear Handle and Worm Drive Circular Saw Buying Guide | What We Look For
We run a series of cross, miter, bevel, compound, and rip cuts to get an idea of the saw’s power, shoe friction, and guard action. We’re looking cutting power and speed first and foremost, but we also want the saw to glide smoothly through the cut and avoid snags from the guard no matter what angle we’re cutting.
We also check to see how closely the 0° abnd 45° cutline indicators are, though can change based on the kerf of the blade you’re using. Anytime you switch to a differnt blade model, make a couple of cuts in scrap material to make sure you know where the cut happens compared to previous blades you’ve used.
We stopped testing runtime a while ago. In a typical working scenario, today’s brushless motor extend runtime beyond the amount of time it takes for a full recharge on a second battery. As long as you have an extra set to use, you can work without any more of an interruption than switching packs.
We mark a straight cutline to see how well each saw tracks. It’s not about having an arbor that’s off – that would be a defect. We’re looking to see if the handle design encourages us to push to either side. It’s usually not a problem.
Dust and Chip Removal
Most circular saw cutting is done in an area where making a mess isn’t a big deal. For those applications, we look at how well each saw removes sawdust and chips from the material. The big thing we’re want is a clear look at our cutlines.
When you do want to contain the mess, attaching a vacuum is a tremendous help. For the saws that come with one, a pivoting design is helpful so you can direct the chips away when you’re not using a vac and leave installed all the time.
When we put our hands on a circular saw, we want to have a natural feel that offers excellent control. We’re looking for appropriate distance between the handles, how comfortable the grip is, and whether it encourages us to push the saw right or left during a cut.
Since the majority of circular saw cutting is done on top of the material you’re cutting, weight might not be a big deal to some folks. However, it does make a difference when you’re carrying it around a jobsite and it can contribute to how much shoe friction you experience.
We weigh each saw bare and with its battery loadout and consider its effects over the course of a workday.
Price and Value
Value is more than just price. It’s what you get for the price and how you prioritize performance, design, features, compatible tools on the same battery system, and other factors vary from person to person. Put the most weight behind the what’s most important to you and fits your budget.
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