Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout Framing Tool Reviews

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout


Often in our shootouts, we try to keep the list of tools reasonable. With so many features to consider and tons of wood to cut, it doesn’t typically make sense to invite everyone to the party. Sometimes it’s a price point, battery voltage, or top-rated tools that make the cut. But this time, we invited everyone with the best cordless circular saw they have across multiple classes. However, we did leave the 12-volt class out. We wanted to run the best cordless circular saw shootout to determine models that would make for a primary tool on jobsites.

That said, a few brands declined to participate with certain models or altogether. Even with this comprehensive of a shootout, new models are currently under development. The good news is that we were able to get two of the newest models in: the Makita 18V X2 LXT Rear-Handle Circular Saw and the DeWalt DCS570 20V Max 7-1/4-inch Circular Saw.

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The Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

PTR tested every cordless circular saw 18 volts and up that we could get our hands on. 6-1/2-inch blade or 7-1/4, left blade or right, sidewinder or inline, even a unique Euro-saw—they’re all here. And since this unlimited class test included different voltages and saw sizes, we tested each saw with the largest battery available from the manufacturer to see the maximum capabilities of each saw.

Like many contemporary battery-powered tools, circular saws chase the goal of the cordless jobsite. They’re not all there yet, but I can say that for most of these tools, you’ll never miss your corded saw as far as convenience is concerned. With the strongest and mightiest of the group, you’ll never miss it for its power either.

A little history

When I first tested the full category of cordless circ saws a decade ago, 18-volt saws didn’t match up to the task of general construction site cutting. A decent trim saw or two revealed themselves in that voltage, but it took 28- or 36-volt saws to handle framing materials. This made up only a few of the available tools in total.

Jumping ahead five years to my next category saw test, I found a rapidly evolving product selection in the 18-volt class and found some 18-volt tools that could outperform the previous 36-volt winners by a fair margin. The best of the bunch could even compete respectably close to the speed of cutting with a premium corded saw in various materials.

Now another five years have passed, and the progress of cordless saws is leaping way ahead. Some brands have even adopted computer chip-controlled brushless motors and the latest in high-density lithium-ion battery cells with ever increasing amp hour ratings. This exciting shootout marked the first time a few standout cordless saws have equaled or even eclipsed the capabilities of many 15-amp corded circ saws!

The Chosen Few Many

Mindful of the latest developments in new cordless tool voltages and growing battery packs, it didn’t make sense to limit this test just to the 18-volt class of saws and the commodity battery packs they are typically kitted with. As it turns out, we would’ve missed out on some of the newest and best saws if we had.

In the spirit of holding an unlimited-class shootout, we went big. We got just about every saw 18 volts and higher on the market. There are a few omissions from a major brand or two, but those saws are currently being retooled or discontinued.

To make order of the mixed bag of circular saws tested, they can most easily be categorized as either 6 1/2- or 7 1/4-inch blade models. Divisions within the best circular saw shootout category include blade-left or blade-right saws, with voltages listed in increasing order.

6 1/2-inch Blade Saws

Though it has a proprietary metric size blade slightly smaller than 6-1/2 inches—among many other unique features—the right blade Festool HKC 55 EB best fits in this category for the sake of bookkeeping.

Festool HK 55 Carpentry Saw and Festool HKC 55 Carpentry Saw Review

Several 18V class saws share the blade-left design common with 6-1/2-inch blade models including the Bosch CCS180, Makita XSH03, Metabo KSA 18 LTX, Milwaukee 2730-20, Porter-Cable PCC660, and Ryobi P507.

The 21.6 voltage has two players – the blade-left Hilti SCW 22-A, and the less conventional right-bladed Kobalt KCS 6524B-03 (technically listed as 24-volt Max).

The 36-volt blade-left Bosch 1671 rounds out the 6-1/2-inch saws.

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

7 1/4-inch Blade Saws

Like the corded circular saws they share a design with, most 7-1/4-inch cordless saws have blades to the right side like the 18-volt class DeWalt DCS570, Milwaukee 2731-20, and Ridgid R8653 models.

DeWalt DCS570 20V Max Brushless Circular Saw

Makita’s 36-volt saws are powered by two 18-volt battery packs and come in both the XSH01 blade-right model and as the only rear-handle, inline cordless saw available, the XSR01 (with its blade on the left).

Makita 18V X2 Brushless Rear-Handle Circular Saw Review

The DeWalt FlexVolt DCS575 circular saw tops the voltage list at 60V Max with its blade-right saw that is nearly identical in design to the new 20-volt Max saw also in this list.

DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Circular Saw Review

Battery Options

We invited each brand to send their preferred battery to power each saw during the testing so we ended up with some battery packs as high as 9.0 amp-hours that are typically sold as optional accessories. Not all brands offer such a wide range of battery options and some tools already came kitted with the optimum battery, so we tested with a diverse range of battery packs.

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout - Batteries

A DeWalt FlexVolt battery running a 60V Max tool is rated at 3.0 Ah so that’s what DeWalt’s higher voltage saw used. The 18V Makita, Porter-Cable, and Ryobi saws along with the 36V Bosch saw all had 4.0 Ah packs.

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout - Batteries

The Kobalt and both 36V Makita saws used 5.0 Ah packs, both Festool and Hilti 5.2 Ah, the Bosch 18V 6.0 Ah, and the Metabo used a 6.2 Ah pack. The remaining DeWalt, both Milwaukee saws, and the Ridgid all had 9.0 Ah packs. The 20V Max DeWalt also used a FlexVolt battery which is rated at 9.0 Ah at that voltage.

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout - Batteries

The basic formula for watt-hours is simply the voltage times the amp-hours. Watt-hour ratings are supposed to be accurate for the purpose of lithium-ion shipping regulations but some of the battery pack’s amp-hour to watt-hour calculations do not compute. Those affected by mystery math are noted as “claimed Wh” in the individual tool profiles.

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout - Batteries

Best Cordless Circular Saw - Watt hours

Do you know what features to look for on a circular saw?

Testing the Best Cordless Circular Saws

Irwin WeldTec Blades

Best Cordless Circular Saw - Irwon WeldTec Circular Saw Blade 01

To evaluate the performance of the saws, I first fitted them all with identical 24-tooth Irwin Marathon WeldTec blades to make sure I was testing the saws without any influence of the stock blades. The Festool takes special blades, so I used it with their own 18-tooth blades throughout the testing.

DeWalt DCS570 20V Max Brushless Circular Saw

Irwin is who I usually turn to for my circular saw blades since I get excellent performance from them. At the end of the day, it’s the blade that does the work and Pros will stick with what they know will perform day in and day out. Here are a few reasons why I always keep Irwin WeldTec Blades for framing cuts on my circular saws:

  • Ultra thin kerf with exclusive welded carbide teeth for fastest cutting speed and increased durability — over 25% stronger tooth bond than traditional brazing methods
  • Heat-resistant non-stick coating reduces binding and gumming for cleaner, truer cuts
  • Perimeter venting allows faster chip ejection and a strengthened core
  • Laser cut plate with expansion control slots reduces warping and increases blade control
  • Ring tensioned to maintain balance for straighter cuts

Special Thanks to The Home Depot

Special thanks goes out to The Home Depot for supplying the materials for this shootout. Pros know that materials drive up the cost of any project and it was no small amount of wood that we cut up getting these results for you. So if our testing helps you decide which of these if the best cordless circular saw for you, remember that The Home Depot made it happen, and visit your local store for purchase.

The Home Depot News - Spring 2016 Edit

Qualifying Laps

I started out in easy-to-cut 2×12 lumber checking the ergonomics and basic feel of the saws in use. Then I moved on to critical operational features such as the accuracy of cutline markers, blade visibility, guard operation, and the ability of the saws to track straight against a rafter square and straightedge.

DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Circular Saw Review

Any saw can cut straight through the middle of a board, but it’s important to be able to make accurate shave cuts to sneak up to a tight fit. I tested the saws’ abilities to make thin shave cuts of different widths without their lower guards hanging up. And I checked out cutting with each saw from the left side and right side of materials to see if there were any problems for lefties.

After all the qualifying laps were done, it was time to take these saws to the races.

Best Circular Saw Performance Testing

Performance testing to determine the power of power tools to boils down to racing them against each other in identical tasks in speed-of-application trials. Simply put, the circular saw that gets the job done fastest has the most available power to apply to the work.

Makita 18V X2 Brushless Rear-Handle Circular Saw Review

For this best circular saw shootout, I laid in a supply of sheets of 3/4-inch subfloor to challenge the saws. OSB was chosen for its density and uniformity. After repeated trials through one layer of the material, it was obvious that the saws needed a tougher task. Cutting times for a four-foot crosscut were down in the three to four-second range for many of the tools. Cutting three sheets at a time provided the best challenge to differentiate the saws with the power to do it all on the job versus milder-mannered models. Since not all of the saws have the cut depth to make it through all three sheets, I set each saw for a two-inch cut.

Check out our video on how to make the perfect crosscut

Issues on the Track

Usually, I time circular saw trials with my homemade timing rig made of a straightedge with start and stop microswitches embedded along one side and wired to a hacked stopwatch. Unfortunately, in this test, I had enough saws that would not guide true against a straightedge so the rig couldn’t be utilized. A few saws pulled away from the guide and missed the second switch. Others ran in toward the guide and ground to a halt.

I ended up following drawn lines freehand, so I could push as hard and as fast as the saws would go while a helper recorded the times.

Back to the Race at Hand

I pushed the saws as hard as they could keep up with without excessive straining, and most saws settled into pretty consistent times. For saws that stalled a few times during the first trials, I tried again pushing more gently but none of the speeds were improved.

For saws that didn’t stall, I added more force and recorded more times. For most saws, I eventually found the stall out pressure to stay below, but a few never stalled and just refused to move any faster despite my feed pressure. Some motors go from full RPM to a sudden stall while others slowed and gave me good feedback of how hard to push.

In general use, a saw with clear feedback is my preference. The mightiest saws never stalled during the trials that found the limits of the rest so I went another round with them, ramping up the pressure and breaking previous speed records. At the end, I was left with two super-powered saws that went as fast as I could. I attempted a few tie-breaking runs, but I couldn’t realistically and safely test them any faster. The point was proven anyway. The highest power cordless saws available show no speed or power compromises when cutting tough materials and have earned their place on the construction jobsite.

Best Cordless Circular Saw Cutting Speed

Ran Out of Runtime

Because of the great diversity in tool voltages and battery amp-hour ratings, we declined to perform runtime testing for these saws. A lot of runtime is based on watt-hours of the batteries, so all things wouldn’t be able to be considered equal with the testing. With batteries ranging from 72 to 180 watt-hours, some have a lot more fuel in the tank than others. Add to that the fact that mere 3.0 Ah battery packs running older technology saws made it through hundreds of feet of OSB in my saw test several years ago. So with 16 saws in our shootout today, I’d be worn out long before the latest mega-packs would be.

Best Cordless Circular Saw - Milwaukee 2731 Rafter Hook 01

Different Definitions of Test Winners

Pros and DIYers alike appreciate tools with the best performance, but we know that everyone reading this shootout won’t automatically run out and buy the top-rated tool. There are different varieties of “winners” once certain realities are factored in.

Price is one factor. It might be hard to justify the considerable expense for a seldom-used tool. But if you’re already invested in a cordless tool platform, system compatibility is likely of more concern. The reader who has already invested in a ton of tools, batteries, and chargers from XYZ brand is probably reading with keen interest in how the XYZ saw performed. If it is good enough, that’s probably going to be the one he buys, regardless of its exact placement in the ratings. This is one reason we comprehensively test and evaluate all of the models in the shootout. We don’t do eliminations which focus the most attention solely on the highest performing tools, which are oftentimes the highest priced, too.

Reflecting the fact that most cordless tools are sold a la carte these days, (referred to as bare tool, or tool only), most of the tools, batteries, and chargers came to us as separate components. Of course, many of the tools are available in a kit form too, complete with battery pack(s), charger, and sometimes a case or bag. A kit typically represents a better value over a la carte prices for those just buying into a specific system or for existing users who need more chargers and batteries, but kits probably won’t come with the highest amp-hour battery packs available.

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The Best Cordless Circular Saw Final Rankings

Porter-Cable 20V MAX 6-1/2″ Circular Saw

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Porter-Cable PCC660B
  • Voltage: 20V Max (18V nominal)
  • Tested Battery: 4.0 Ah battery; 80 Wh claimed
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  4,000 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 3/16” at 90°; 1 13/16” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 7.35 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $79.99

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: No
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: No
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: No
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: Off at 90°. Off at 45° – both shifted to right, kerfs outside of notches
Blade Visibility: Very Good to Excellent
Bevel Angle Setting: Fair – 5° increments; incised markings; no contrast
Guard Action: Fair on shave cuts – guard hangs up to left side of blade, can be forced into raising
Tracking against Straightedge: Poor – drifted to the left and jammed
Grip and Trigger: Fair – sharp edge under trigger pushes against trigger finger; push-in safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Poor to Fair – slow going, saw shuddered and strained
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 23.41 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 2.05 inches/second, 15th in speed

Pros: Light weight; deep bevel cutting

Cons: Slow and difficult cutting; wiggly design robs the saw of power and precision; difficult to change blade – have to bend blade against plastic upper guard

Additional Notes: This saw struggled through much of the test cutting and would stall out frequently as its blade would dive at an angle away from the cutline. I believe a fatal design flaw is to blame. The saw’s shoe and body are structurally connected at the end of the plastic upper guard assembly. The black plastic is very flexible even at room temperature, and it follows that out in the sun it becomes even looser. With nothing substantial holding the blade straight, pushing down on the saw causes the body to twist which angles the blade into the cut. To make this saw perform, it takes a steady hand to stabilize the body, and setting the depth of cut as shallow as possible can help. Of course, this is all too much trouble.

The Bottom Line

16th Place, 13.1 points

Porter-Cable’s light duty saw generally cut the slowest, due in part to a flawed, overly flexible design.

Ryobi ONE+ 18V 6-1/2″ Cordless Circular Saw

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Ryobi P507
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Tested Battery: 4.0 Ah battery; 72 Wh rating
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  4,700 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2+” at 90°; 1 7/16” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-56°
  • Weight with Battery: 6.66 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $69.00

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: No
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: No
  • Blade Brake: No
  • LED Light: No
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°. Off at 45°, kerf overlaps notch
Blade Visibility: Very Good to Excellent
Bevel Angle Setting: Fair – 5° increments; incised markings; no contrast
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Good
Grip and Trigger: Good – a bit of a reach to the push-in safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Poor – very slow, difficult to cut without multiple stalls
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 24.14 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 1.989 inches/second, 16th in speed

Pros: Lightest weight saw a delight to handle

Cons: Low powered—slow cutting; only saw in test without motor brake; tied for shallowest depth of cut; only saw in test that can’t cut through 2-by lumber at 45° bevel angle; very thin stamped steel shoe; delicate depth adjustment mechanism

Additional Notes: This light-duty saw was outclassed by most of the tools in the test, but it’s not flawed. It could be a valid saw for occasional and/or lighter work.

The Bottom Line

15th Place, 18.1 points

Lightest Weight with Battery

Ryobi’s super-lightweight saw matches with lightweight performance and capabilities.

Metabo KSA 18 LTX Circular Saw

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Metabo KSA 18 LTX
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 18V 5.2 Ah
  • Tested Battery: 6.2 Ah battery; 112 Wh rating
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  2,700 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 1/16+” at 90°; 1 11/16” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 10.10 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $197.58 (Bare tool)

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: No
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

Other Features: Vac dust port

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°. Off at 45° – kerf outside of notch
Blade Visibility: Very Good to Excellent
Bevel Angle Setting: Good – 5° increments; incised markings; good contrast
Guard Action: Poor on shave cuts – guard hangs up to left side of blade
Tracking against Straightedge: Very Good
Grip and Trigger: Poor – extra fat handle; far reach to the push-in safety button requires repositioning hand for best cutting grip; pushing safety for bevel cuts requires second hand

Deep Cutting Ability: Poor to Fair – dips into reserve power but slow and ragged cutting accompanied by a hot motor smell
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 22.19 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 2.163 inches/second, 14 in speed

Pros: Doesn’t stall easily; vac port useful indoors

Cons: Heaviest of 18 (and 21.6) volt classes of 6 1/2-inch saws; low RPM makes for low performance; uncomfortable grip and trigger action; guard hangs up easily

Additional Notes: Though very solid in build quality, this saw needs to be updated to keep up with the competition. It runs at only half the RPMs of some of the other saws, which provides a lot of torque, but forces you to feed the cut very slowly to avoid a ragged edge.

The Bottom Line

14th Place, 26.3 points

A heavy saw from Metabo with some clunky features and slow cutting speed holding it back.

Bosch 18V 6-1/2″ Circular Saw

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Bosch CCS180
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Tested Battery: 6.0 Ah, 108 Wh
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  3,900 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2+” at 90°; 1 5/8+” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 8.37 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year limited
  • Price: $119

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Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: No
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: No
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

Other Features: Battery storage position in tool with power disconnected

Cutline Marker Accuracy: Off at 90° – kerf overlaps notch. On at 45°
Blade Visibility: Good to Very Good – guard lever enters view
Bevel Angle Setting: Fair to Good – 5° increments; cast markings; no contrast
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – large outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Poor – drifts left and jams
Grip and Trigger: Good – a bit of a reach to the push-in safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Poor – very slow and strains to cut
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB) – 20.13 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 2.385 inches/second, 12th in speed

Cons: Low power, multiple inaccuracies, tied for shallowest depth of cut

Additional Notes: Enough gusto for a trim saw, but doesn’t have what it takes to be a full-on framing saw. Timid performance and some inaccurate features hold this saw back to the lower end. The brand new 6.3 Ah Bosch Core18V battery is too big to fit in the saw, but a modified version of the saw housing is being produced going forward. To promote full battery pack compatibility among their 18V line, Bosch will replace the housing for existing saw owners free of charge. Or you could save the hassle and shave the plastic ridge off the back of the saw with a utility knife like I did. The larger battery robs a bit of the already low blade depth though, even in the redesigned housing.

The Bottom Line

13th Place, 32.9 points

This Bosch saw is one of the oldest models in the test, and it lacks the power and depth-of-cut improvements of most newer models.

Festool Track Saw HKC 55 Li EB-F-Set

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Festool HKC 55 Set
  • Tested Model: HKC Plus (561692) $615 With tool, two 5.2 Ah batts, charger, Systainer plastic case
  • Bare Tool: HKC Basic (564637) $375
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 18V 5.2 Ah, 93.6 Wh
  • Tested Battery: 5.2 Ah, 93.6 Wh
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/4″
  • Blade Orientation: Right
  • No Load Speed:  4,500 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2-3/16” at 90°; 1-5/8” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 9.49 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $735

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: No
  • Riving Knife: Yes
  • Bevel Stops: None

Other Features: Plunge-cutting, fits Festool tracks and special miter guide rail (FSK 420) that sets for precision crosscuts or miter cuts up to a 60° angle to the left or right, vac dust port, battery gauge on tool.

How Did it Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°. Off at 45° – kerf overlaps edge line
Blade Visibility: Good – small view window
Bevel Angle Setting: Excellent – 1° increments; printed-on markings; good contrast; adjustable pointer
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – riving knife helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Very Good – can only guide along left side though
Grip and Trigger: Fair – horizontal handle makes the saw more difficult to operate one-handed; sliding safety button in the center of the handle requires repositioning hand for best cutting grip

Deep Cutting Ability: Fair to Good; steady cutting if you keep the feed speed slow
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 20.2 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 2.376 inches/second, 13th in speed

Pros: Can use with guide tracks; precise adjustments all around; handy lever for lifting guard without taking your hand off the front knob; only front knob attached to the saw’s shoe for low grip that adds stability; lower guard has built-in riving knife; plunge-cut ability; can cut close to vertical surface – within 3/8 inches; pivot points on both front and rear for setting a stable bevel angle; vac port useful indoors

Cons: Delayed motor brake action; no shoe to the right of the blade – can only guide along left edge and can only shave cut to right side of material; narrow lower guard traps thin shave cut scraps; fits proprietary 160 mm blades only; high price

Additional Notes: Built and priced much more like a plunge-cutting track saw built for accuracy than a general construction or framing saw. Intended to do the work of a circ saw, miter saw, and table saw for carpentry and basic trim work. Made in Germany–the only saw in the test not made in China.

The Bottom Line

12th Place, 37 points

Most Versatile

The Festool is really in a class by itself as a combination track saw/freehand circular saw with finesse features not found in the other construction-oriented saws in the test. The point totals for tested categories fail to show how versatile and useful this saw really is.

Ridgid GEN5x 18V 7-1/4″ Circular Saw

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

 

Editor’s Note: After concerns were raised about the saw’s tracking performance, we retested a second sample and did not find the same issue. The tracking of the original test saw potentially affected the cut quality and speed of the saw, so the ratings and rankings may not be representative of how you should expect this saw to perform. Please check out the standalone review for a better idea of what the saw is capable of. 

Specifications

  • Model: Ridgid R8653B
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Tested Battery: 9.0 Ah battery; 162 Wh rating
  • Blade Diameter: 7-1/4″
  • Blade Orientation: Right
  • No Load Speed:  3,800 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 3/8” at 90°; 1 3/4” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-56°
  • Weight with Battery: 10.98 pounds
  • Warranty: Lifetime service  agreement
  • Price: $139

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: 15°, 22,5°, 30°, 45°

How Did it Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°, On at 45°
Blade Visibility: Good – cutline blower partially blocks view
Bevel Angle Setting: Very Good – 1° increments; printed-on markings; good contrast
Guard Action: Good on shave cuts – guard hangs up to the right side of the blade (during odd shave cuts off the left side of the material)
Tracking against Straightedge: Poor – drifted out to right and jammed
Grip and Trigger: Fair – small handle opening—especially with gloves on; rubber surface below handle rubs against fingers; light switch in handle feels odd; small push-down safety button digs into thumb

Deep Cutting Ability: Fair – slowed and stalled frequently even when pushed gently
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 15.06 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 3.187 inches/second, 11th in speed

Pros: Available 6.0 and 9.0 amp hour batteries coming soon

Cons: Heavy; thin shoe flexes easily; separate light switch in handle makes for odd squishy grip feel with no way to avoid squeezing switch whenever the saw is handled; printed bevel scale markings could wear off

Additional Notes: This heavy saw lagged behind the rest of the full-size saw category as well as several of the more compact models in the test in both general performance and cutting power. The extra height of the 9.0 Ah battery pack keeps the saw from cutting at full depth, limiting cuts to about 2 1/4 inches (–1/8”).

The Bottom Line

11th Place, 53.6 points

Ridgid’s sleek saw underperformed the rest of the full-size models.

Hilti CIRC SAW SCW 22-A

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Hilti SCW22-A
  • Voltage: 22V (21.6V)
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 22V 5.2 Ah
  • Tested Battery: 5.2 Ah battery; 112 Wh rating
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  4,000 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 1/4” at 90°; 1 5/8” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 8.78 pounds
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Price: $549

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: No
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

Other Features: Battery storage position in tool with power disconnected

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°. On at 45° – markers at rear of shoe also line up
Blade Visibility: Very Good to Excellent
Bevel Angle Setting: Very Good – 1° increments; printed-on markings; good contrast
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – large outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Very Good
Grip and Trigger: Very Good – Nice feel; push-down safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Fair to Good – little reserve power, slowed and stalled when pushed harder
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 14.24 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 3.371 inches/second, 10th in speed

Pros: Very good ratings and features overall

Cons: Could use more power output—especially with the elevated voltage; printed bevel scale markings could wear off

Additional Notes: Though now called 22V, this is the same saw that used to be labeled 18V in the U.S. market. The battery pack has an extra cell in each series set, so it’s actually 21.6V.

The Bottom Line

10th Place, 60.9 points

Best Cutting Performance (tie)

Hilti makes a solid, well-designed saw with high marks across the board in general performance ratings, but it’s a bit lackluster in the power department.

Bosch 36V 6-1/2″ Circular Saw

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Bosch 1671B
  • Voltage: 36V
  • Tested Battery: 4.0 Ah battery; 144 Wh rating
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  4,000 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 1/8+” at 90°; 1 3/4+” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 10.6 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year limited
  • Price: $257.99

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Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: No
  • Rafter Hook: Yes
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: No
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

Other Features: Battery storage position in tool with power disconnected

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°. On at 45°.
Blade Visibility: Very Good – guard lever enters view
Bevel Angle Setting: Fair to Good – 5° increments; cast markings; no contrast
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – large outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Very Good
Grip and Trigger: Very Good – nice feel; push-in safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Good – fast enough but slowed more than others when really pushed
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 10.37 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 4.63 inches/second, 8th in speed

Pros: Still in the top half of the power/speed ratings; very deep bevel cutting

Cons: Oversized for a 6-1/2” saw these days; fewer users likely to have or want dedicated 36V batteries and chargers with the more flexible options available for high-performance tools now

Additional Notes: This tool topped all of the early cordless circular saw tests and became the one to beat. And by now, many saws have done that. It’s still capable of respectable performance, but it’s obvious that it no longer requires a 36V battery to do what it does. And every other saw of its voltage class powers a full-size 7-1/4” blade by now. As a result, it’s the bulkiest and heaviest 6-1/2” saw going.

The Bottom Line

9th Place, 70.5 points

3rd Fastest Cutting 6-1/2″ Model

An oldie but goodie—but past its prime. This model from Bosch has been around long enough to have participated in all my cordless circ saw tests during the past decade.

Kobalt 24V Max 6-1/2-in Circular Saw with Brake

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Kobalt KCS 6524B-03
  • Voltage: 24V Max (21.6 nominal)
  • Tested Battery:  5.0 Ah battery; 120 Wh claimed
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  5,400 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 7/16+” at 90°; 1 11/16” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 8.48 pounds
  • Warranty: 5 years limited
  • Price: $129

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: Off at 90°. Off at 45° – both shifted to right, kerfs overlap notches
Blade Visibility: Good – small view window
Bevel Angle Setting: Very Good – 1° increments; incised markings; good contrast
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Very Good
Grip and Trigger: Very Good – nice feel; push-in safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Very Good – consistently fast cutting
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 9.83 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 4.678 inches/second, 6th in speed

Pros: Fast cutting; deepest cutting 6 1/2-inch saw—even deeper than one 7 1/4-inch saw; great general performance ratings

Cons: Delayed motor brake action; saw actually bevels to 55° but there is no marker past 50°; onboard hex wrench position mimics the trigger safety button making the saw easier to use with the wrench removed

Additional Notes: Unlike other 6-1/2” saws, this one has the blade on the right side. And its skinny, tuna-can shaped motor is positioned down into the saw’s shoe to gain every bit of cutting depth possible. Though called 24 volts max, the actual voltage is 21.6 volts.

The Bottom Line

8th Place, 73.5 points

2nd Best Value, 1 point behind 1st

2nd Fastest Cutting 6-1/2″ Model

The second fastest cutting and deepest cutting 6-1/2-inch saw – this unusually-formatted saw from Kobalt does a lot with its shallow outer-rotor motor.

Makita 18V LXT  Brushless 6‑1/2″ Circular Saw Kit

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Makita XSH03MB
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 18V 4.0 Ah, 72 Wh
  • Tested Battery: 18V 4.0 Ah, 72 Wh
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  5,000 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 1/4” at 90°; 1 11/16” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 7.52 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $379.99

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Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: Yes
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: 45 degrees

Other Features: Battery gauge on tool

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°. Off at 45° –  kerf outside of notch
Blade Visibility: Very Good –  guard lever enters view slightly
Bevel Angle Setting: Good –  5° increments; raised plastic markings; good contrast but indistinct pointer
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – large outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Very Good
Grip and Trigger: Very Good –  nice feel; push-down safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Very Good; could slow the saw but never stalled
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 10.47 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 4.582 inches/second, 9th in speed

Pros: High reserve strength, so you don’t have to baby the saw in heavy tasks; gives you enough feedback to determine the best feed speed; you can push harder, but the saw will stubbornly maintain its cut speed—much nicer in practical use than stalling; does it all with a modest-sized battery pack, so it’s the lightest high performance saw; high marks across the other ratings criteria too

Cons: Uses its power conservatively—could probably cut a little faster

Additional Notes: Not the fastest cutting 6-1/2-inch saw in the test, but undoubtedly the strongest – I never got this saw to stall during all the challenges it faced during testing.

The Bottom Line

7th Place, 74.9 points

2nd Best 6-1/2″ Model

This Makita is the all-around standout among 6 1/2-inch compact saws in the shootout with high power, very good performance ratings, and a full feature set.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Kit

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Milwaukee 2731-22
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 4.0 Ah
  • Tested Battery: 9.0 Ah battery; 162 Wh rating
  • Blade Diameter: 7-1/4″
  • Blade Orientation: Right
  • No Load Speed:  5,000 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 1/2” at 90°; 1 7/8” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 9.91 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $429

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Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: Yes
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°, On at 45°
Blade Visibility: Good to Very Good – may have to shift front hand over on knob
Bevel Angle Setting: Very Good to Excellent – 1° increments; incised markings, good contrast
Guard Action: Good on shave cuts – guard hangs up to the right side of the blade (during odd shave cuts off the left side of the material)
Tracking against Straightedge: Good
Grip and Trigger: Very Good – nice feel; push-down safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Very Good – consistently fast cutting
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 10.23 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 4.692 inches/second, 7th in speed

Pros: Very good cutting; very good performance ratings, very good features

Cons: Guard hangs up in left-side shave cuts; shoe to body connection has some wiggle at very shallow cut depths

Additional Notes: A Very Good rated full-size workhorse saw that does everything well, and one of only two 18-volt class saws that can really get the job done with a 7-1/4″ blade. Not quite as fast as the 6-1/2” Milwaukee under load, but the larger blade takes more effort to crank through the wood. Milwaukee is the only brand to offer blade-right or blade-left sidewinder saws in the same voltage platform.

The Bottom Line

6th Place, 76.2 points

Best Cutting Performance (tie)

Best Feature Set

Milwaukee’s fast–cutting 18-volt saw is full size with a 7-1/4-inch blade and top notch pro features.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 6-1/2″ Circular Saw Kit

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Milwaukee 2730-22
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 18 V 4.0 Ah
  • Tested Battery: 9.0 Ah, 162 Wh
  • Blade Diameter: 6-1/2″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  5,000 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 1/8” at 90°; 1 9/16+” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 50°
  • Weight with Battery: 9.34 pounds
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price: $399

ACME Buy Now Trusted Partner

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: Yes
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: None

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°. On at 45°
Blade Visibility: Very Good to Excellent – cutline blower helps too
Bevel Angle Setting: Very Good – 1° increments; incised markings; good contrast
Guard Action: Poor to Fair on shave cuts – guard hangs up to left side of blade, can sometimes be forced into raising
Tracking against Straightedge: Very Good
Grip and Trigger: Very Good – nice feel; push-down safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Very Good – saw barely slowed when really pushed
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 9.1 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 5.275 inches/second, 5th in speed

Pros: Fast cutter – fastest saw in 6-1/2” blade class and out cuts many larger models; very good general performance ratings and nice Pro features

Cons: Sticky guard is this saw’s Achilles’ heel

Additional Notes: A strong and fast saw – would’ve been the 6-1/2-inch blade standout if the guard didn’t hang up in common shave cuts (with the cutoff scrap to the right side). This can be worked around by setting blade depth shallower but it’s an extra step. Milwaukee is the only brand to offer blade-right or blade-left sidewinder saws in the same voltage platform.

The Bottom Line

5th Place, 79.8 points

Top Ranking 6-1/2″ Model

Fastest Cutting 6-1/2″ Model

Best Ergonomics

Milwaukee has the fastest cutting saw with a 6-1/2-inch blade which ranked in the top five overall with its 18V motor stacking up favorably against some higher voltage saws.

DeWalt DCS570 20V Max XR 7-1/4″ Brushless Circular Saw

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: DeWalt DCS570B
  • Voltage: 20V Max (18V nominal)
  • Kitted Battery: 5.0 Ah
  • Tested Battery: 9.0 Ah battery; 180 Wh claimed
  • Blade Diameter: 7-1/4″
  • Blade Orientation: Right
  • No Load Speed: 5500 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 1/2” at 90°; 1 15/16” at 45°Bevel Capacity: 0 – 50 degrees
  • Weight with Battery: 10.97 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price: $159(bare), $279 with (1) 5.0 Ah battery

ACME Buy Now Trusted Partner

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: 22.5°, 45°

How Did It Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°. On at 45°
Blade Visibility: Very Good – nice view window
Bevel Angle Setting: Good – two scales; 1° increments; incised markings; no contrast
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – extra-large outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge – Good
Grip and Trigger: Good – requires slight repositioning of hand for best cutting grip after reaching the push-in safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Very Good – fast cutter but could be stalled
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 8.27 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 5.806 inches/second, 4th in speed

Pros: Third fastest cutting in all voltages and saw sizes; very high blade RPM provides fast cutting in lumber with very low blade noise; makes extra smooth cuts with the finest sawdust

Cons: Heavy; thin shoe flexes and the saw wiggles more than most at rear bevel pivot joint; pushing trigger safety button moves hand out of most comfortable cutting position

Additional Notes: One of the newest saws in the test and real standout for the standard voltage class. Though it looks nearly identical to DeWalt’s Flexvolt saw in form and features, different internals in this saw provide less power under heavy loads.

The Bottom Line

4th Place, 80.4 points

Best Overall 18V/20V Max Model

Best Value

3rd Best Cutting Performance

This brand new 20V max model from DeWalt is the fastest cutting saw in the 18-volt class and it does so with the benefit of a full size 7 1/4” blade.

Makita 18V X2 LXT 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Kit

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Makita XSH01PT
  • Voltage: 18V X2
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 18V 5.0 Ah
  • Tested Battery: 5.0 Ah batteries; 180 Wh rating
  • Blade Diameter: 7-1/4″
  • Blade Orientation: Right
  • No Load Speed:  4800 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 9/16+” at 90°; 1 15/16+” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
  • Weight with Battery: 10.36 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $199 (bare), $379.99 (kit)

ACME Buy Now Trusted Partner

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: No
  • Rafter Hook: Yes
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: 45 degrees

Other Features: Low battery warning gauge on tool

How Did it Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°, On at 45°
Blade Visibility: Fair – front knob blocks view
Bevel Angle Setting: Fair – 5° increments; cast markings: tiny numbers; no contrast
Guard Action: Good on shave cuts – guard hangs up to the right side of the blade (during odd shave cuts off the left side of the material)
Tracking against Straightedge: Fair – drifted out to right slightly
Grip and Trigger: Very Good – nice feel; push-down safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Very Good to Excellent – very fast and easy cutting
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 6.61 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 7.258 inches/second, 3rd in speed

Pros: Excellent power and cutting speed; deepest cut depths in test; unique depth adjustment lever placement – inboard between upper guard and handle where it’s more protected from being bumped when the saw is set down

Cons: A few notable dings—especially for a premium saw—in the features and general performance department; expensive in kit form and more than the newer X2 rear handle saw kit; oddly inaccurate depth markings

Additional Notes: This sidewinder saw is part of Makita’s X2 system that derives 36V power from two 18V battery packs. Makita is the only brand to offer super-powered 36V sidewinder and inline saws—both full-size 7-1/4” blade models. Just bumped from being Makita’s strongest cordless saw by the new rear handle saw, this older model is a bit overshadowed as the weaker of the two and shows a few rough edges in the form of lower general performance ratings.

The Bottom Line

3rd Place, 85.5 points

3rd Fastest Cutting

The high-performance Makita X2 sidewinder is right behind the power leaders with the second fastest cutting speed and the greatest cut depths.

DeWalt FLEXVOLT 60V MAX 7-1/4″ Circular Saw with Brake Kit

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: DeWalt DCS575T2
  • Voltage: 60V Max (54V nominal)
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 60V 2.0 Ah
  • Tested Battery: 3.0 Ah battery; 180 Wh claimed
  • Blade Diameter: 7-1/4″
  • Blade Orientation: Right
  • No Load Speed:  5,800 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 1/2+” at 90°; 1 7/8+” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-57°
  • Weight with Battery: 11.00 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $379.00

ACME Buy Now Trusted Partner

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: No
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: 22.5°, 45°

How Did it Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: On at 90°, On at 45° – difficult to see black-on-black lines
Blade Visibility: Very Good – nice view window
Bevel Angle Setting: Good – two scales; 1° increments; incised markings; dark surface with no contrast
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – extra-large outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Fair – drifted out to right slightly
Grip and Trigger: Good – requires slight repositioning of hand for best cutting grip after reaching the push-in safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Excellent – fastest cutting, never stalled despite extreme feed speeds
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 5.6 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 8.571 inches/second, 1st in speed (tie)

Pros: Highest power; very high blade RPM provides fast cutting in lumber with very low blade noise; makes extra smooth cuts with the finest sawdust

Cons: Heaviest sidewinder (by an ounce); anodized aluminum shoe has tremendous friction against solid wood; thin shoe flexes and the saw wiggles more than most at rear bevel pivot joint; pushing trigger safety button moves hand out of most comfortable cutting position

Additional Notes: Though it looks nearly identical to DeWalt’s new 20V max model in form and features, different internals in this saw provide much greater power under load. This makes it the strongest cordless sidewinder available and certainly the top-ranked one represented in our Best Cordless Circular Saw shootout.

The Bottom Line

2nd Place, 88 points

Fastest Cutting (tie)

The DeWalt Flexvolt saw is one of two standout heavyweights that are essentially unstoppable—a true replacement for a corded sidewinder circ saw.

Makita 18V X2 LXT Rear Handle 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Kit

Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout

Specifications

  • Model: Makita XSR01PT
  • Voltage: 18V X2
  • Kitted Battery: (2) 18V 5.0 Ah
  • Tested Battery: 5.0 Ah batteries; 180 Wh rating
  • Blade Diameter: 7-1/4″
  • Blade Orientation: Left
  • No Load Speed:  5,100 RPM
  • Depth of Cut: 2 9/16” at 90°; 1 3/4+” at 45°
  • Bevel Capacity: 0-53°
  • Weight with Battery: 12.67 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Price: $359

ACME Buy Now Trusted Partner

Key Features

  • Brushless Motor: Yes
  • Rafter Hook: Yes
  • Metal Blade Guard: Yes
  • Blade Brake: Yes
  • LED Light: Yes
  • Riving Knife: No
  • Bevel Stops: 22.5°, 45°

Other Features: Battery gauge on tool, tether loop on rear handle

How Did it Do?

Cutline Marker Accuracy: Off at 90°, Off at 45° – both shifted to right, kerfs outside of notches
Blade Visibility: Very Good to Excellent
Bevel Angle Setting: Fair to Good – 5° increments; cast markings; no contrast
Guard Action: Very Good on shave cuts – large outboard lobe helps
Tracking against Straightedge: Very Good
Grip and Trigger: Very Good – nice feel; push-in safety button

Deep Cutting Ability: Excellent – fastest cutting, almost impossible to stall with extreme feed speeds
Power/Speed (fastest cut 2” deep across 4-feet of OSB): 5.6 seconds
Max. Cut Speed (in 2” of OSB): 8.571 inches/second, 1st in speed (tie)

Pros: Highest power; great general performance ratings; only cordless option for dedicated inline saw users; extra-sturdy depth adjustment lever better protected at middle of tool and in-line with blade for better stability

Cons: Heaviest saw in the Best Cordless Circular Saw test by over 1-1/2 pounds; nose-heavy design makes for the only cordless saw not recommended for one-handed use; the only tool with no place to store the blade wrench onboard; inaccurate depth markings

Additional Notes: This rear-handle saw is part of Makita’s X2 system that derives 36V power from two 18V battery packs. Makita is the only brand to offer super-powered 36V sidewinder and inline saws – both full size 7-1/4” blade models. This saw features a “hectile” drive similar to the hypoid gearing of the brand’s corded inline saw.

The Bottom Line

1st Place, 88.6 points

Fastest Cutting (tie)

3rd Best Value

The Makita rear handle saw is one of two standout heavyweights that are essentially unstoppable – a true replacement for a corded inline circ saw.

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33 Comments on "Best Cordless Circular Saw Shootout"

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Richard Letts
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I think the Kobalt is a blade-right saw, not blade-left (or I would have bought one already).

James Howard
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Milwaukee: I have the 1/2 Fuel Friction Ring Impact and the 3/8 Friction Ring Impact. One 4.0 XC battery lasts 1 month on the 1/2″ regular stuff. The power of this thing is impressive- more than you can do jumping on a 6 foot bar over a 3/4″ ratchet on 2″ bolts and it will hurt your hands, even wearing thick gloves. Same battery lasts about 2 hours on the 3/8″ Impact, not impressive. Before use U have to warm up both tools, they do not work in cold or damp air. The 3/8″ got oil on the trigger, it… Read more »
James Howard
Guest

Well I found the Irwin blades are garbage. They vibrate and use too much power on the 6 1/2 saws. I buy the Dewalt blade because because my old Dewalt saw cuts 10x faster and 10x smoother over the Irwin blades. The Red blades may be better yet but cannot afford those babies! -only for the table saw.

Sam
Guest

On the rear handle 36v Makita, where is the led light? Other than the battery gauge?
Also if using Makita’s blade the depth marks are spot on. Other blades are not always sized the same. Like the red blades which I love but are slightly smaller.

Pascal Crevier
Guest

Pat Gauthier va voir la liste de positionnement à la fin 😜😂

Hugo Lacroix
Guest

Pat Gauthier si au moins tu l’écrivait comme du monde 😂

Pascal Crevier
Guest

Non non makita première position !!

Pat Gauthier
Guest

The wall c the best😜

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