Craftsman V20 Brushless RP Circular Saw Review

Craftsman CMCS551 cross-cut 2x10

Craftsman Rounds Out The Brushless RP Lineup With A New Cordless Circular Saw

In early 2022, Craftsman released their Brushless RP 20V lineup, focusing on delivering improved runtime and performance. At first glance, the Craftsman CMCS551 V20 Brushless RP 7 1/4-inch cordless circular saw has the makings of a truly competitive option in today’s tool market. However, I wanted more than a first glance, so I had the team hitch up the saw to the Pro Tool Reviews test track and run it through its paces. Hopefully, after I reveal what we discovered, you can decide if it’s the best option for your upcoming projects.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent value
  • Lightweight design
  • Great power-to-weight ratio
  • Excellent sightlines

Consider Another Model if You…

  • Want the most powerful saw available

Author’s Note: Be sure to check out our Best Cordless Circular Saw article to see our top picks!

Craftsman V20 Cordless Circular Saw Performance

The performance of the Craftsman V20 RP Brushless circ saw surprised me—just a little bit. It came in third in our speed test, ripping through two full sheets of stacked 3/4-inch OSB in just 20.22 seconds. This is a power-to-weight ratio test, so the fact that it beat the likes of DeWalt, Hilti, and even Flex is more a factor of it having enough power to get the job done while being the second-lightest saw (with battery) in our group of 14.

Craftsman circular saw ripping OSB

I ran the saw through four layers of 3/4-inch OSB to test sheer power with the blade set to full depth. Pulled along the Kregg track by a 20-pound weight and pulley system, the saw made it 14 inches before the overload protection kicked in to protect the motor. While that may sound dismal, only 8 saws completed the full-length cut, and Craftsman outperformed Kobalt, Skil, Ridgid, and Ryobi in this test. Not bad!

Bevel and Miter Cuts

For added context, I performed dozens of crosscuts, bevel, miter, and compound miter cuts in pressure-treated pine 2×10 lumber. The Craftsman saw performed great in both crosscut and bevel cuts. There were moments when I felt the blade start to slow down, but as long as I maintained a constant cut speed, it could maintain RPMs. The blade guard didn’t hang up at all during crosscuts or bevel cuts, though it did stick slightly during the compound miter cuts.

Sight lines were good on these cuts as well. The saw tracks well on the cut line with very little deviation. If anything, it pulled the tiniest bit to the left. It’s worth noting that I really like the automatic blade shut-off that occurs at the end of the cut. I think Craftsmen did a lot to improve the overall safety of this tool with that feature.

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah PWRCore Battery
Weight (w/batt)8.74 lbs (2nd place)
Sightlines5/5 (1st place tie)
Blade Guard4.7/5 (1st place tie)
Rip 2 Sheets OSB20.22 sec (3rd place)
Full Depth Blade Cut14 in. (10th place)

Features and Adjustability

Craftsman brushless RP bevel-cutting
  • No-Load Speed: 5000 RPMs
  • Blade Size: 7-1/4 in.
  • Max Cut Depth at 90°: 2-9/16 in.
  • Max Cut Depth at 45°: 2 in.
  • Bevel: 0-56°
  • Arbor: 5/8 in.

The Craftsman cordless circular saw is powered by their latest RP brushless motor, which delivers up to 75% more power than the brushed Craftsman CMCS550 saw. It has a top (no-load) speed of 5,000 RPMs and a max cut depth of 2-9/16 inches at 90° and 2 inches at 45°.

Craftsman Brushless RP

As with most modern saws, the bevel and cut depth adjustments are tool-free. This saw has a max bevel of 56°, but you also get positive stops at 22.5° and 45°. That lets you make quick and accurate changes on the fly. You only need to use the onboard blade tool is when you change a blade. Craftsman even utilizes a unique and handy magnetic slot to store the included hex wrench right below the main handle.

Not sure which blades to buy? We use the CMT Orange Tools Zero Gravity framing blade for our testing and love it.

Craftsman CMCS551 Weight and Build Quality

Craftsman Cordless Circular Saw Profile
  • Model: Craftsman CMCS551
  • Power Source: Craftsman 20V battery
  • Weight: 7.26 lbs. (bare), 8.74 lbs. (with 6.0Ah battery)
  • Shoe: Aluminum

The Craftsman CMCS551 weighs 7.3 pounds as a bare tool and 8.74 pounds with a 6.0Ah battery installed. We recommend that battery as it offers the maximum amount of power for this tool. It stands 9.8 inches tall and measures 15 inches from front to back. As you can tell from the photos, this saw features a blade right design. For better cut line visibility, Craftsman added an LED light and dust blower to the front of the housing to help maintain a clear line of sight. It works very well as I was able to see my cut line at all times.

Craftsman overmold grip

Craftsman definitely gets an A+ from a comfort standpoint on this saw. The grip is wrapped with a textured rubber overmold with large grooves that help channel away sweat and debris. Personally, I really like the spacing between the rear handle and the slightly offset front pommel. It ensures your hands won’t be fighting for space while making cuts. Contrast this with the Metabo HPT MultiVolt saw, which feels like it was designed for a very small T-Rex.

Craftsman onboard wrench storage

This saw has a stamped aluminum shoe and upper blade guard that help reduce the overall weight and increase durability. The shoe has large markings for 0° and 45° cuts, as well as quick measurement guides along the front and side. It’s also compatible with a standard edge guide for precision cuts.

Craftsman Cordless Circular Saw Cut line indicators

Additional Features

  • Compatible with all Craftsman 20V batteries
  • Versatrack Compatible

CMT Zero Gravity – Our Preferred Testing Blade

Craftsman V20 saw CMT Orange Zero Gravity framing blade

CMT supplied us with enough of its Italian-made Zero Gravity saw blades to test every major manufacturer’s circular saws. We’ve been impressed with how well the blade stands up to our aggressive testing schedule. You’ll note the low-mass plate design and unique tooth geometry. Together, these reduce heat buildup while handling nail impacts. CMT claims its framing blades perform up to 5X more cuts on nail-embedded wood than competitors in its class. Large gullets also store chips while you work and eject them as the blade rotation stops, leading to reduced cutting effort and better tracking.

Craftsman Cordless Circular Saw Price

The Craftsman CMCS551 retails for $129 as a bare tool with a 3-year limited warranty. Neither Craftsman nor Lowe’s seems to offer kit options at present. Pick up a battery and charger if you aren’t already on the Craftsman 20V (V20) battery platform.

The Bottom Line

The Craftsman 7 1/4-inch Cordless Circular Saw takes aim at serious DIYers and the Prosumer market. It delivers confident cutting performance, even on challenging cuts, and the ergonomics earned it high marks from our team. Not to mention, it’s hard to ignore such an attractive price tag. If you’re looking to expand, or update your tool collection this year, this isn’t one you’ll want to ignore.

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