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June 18, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw: 4-1/2 Inches of Compact Cutting

PTR Review
  • Pro Rating 8.6

The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw earns its place in my shop thanks to its easy one-hand cutting on thinner materials. When I have punch list jobs or small projects to do around the house, it's simply more comfortable to use a lighter, more compact saw. 

Overall Score 8.6 (out of 10)

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw

4-1/2″ circular saws aren’t unheard of, but most Pro brands haven’t dipped their feet in those waters recently. The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw joins us to put the popular brand’s reputation on the line. As part of the Atomic line, the DeWalt DCS571 is designed to be lighter and more compact. As a 4-1/2″ circular saw, it doesn’t stray too far from the designs already on the market.


Unless you count the lithium-ion power source and brushless motor, of course.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Narrow, compact design opens up cutting in spaces a traditional circular saw won’t fit
  • Cuts 2x material at 90º
  • Dust collection port included
  • Multiple grip positions

Cons

  • Better as a supplement to standard circular saws than as a primary replacement

Recommendation

The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw earns its place in my shop thanks to its easy one-hand cutting on thinner materials. When I have punch list jobs or small projects to do around the house, it’s simply more comfortable to use a lighter, more compact saw.

If you’re deciding between this and a traditional cordless circular saw, start with the DCS570. Its traditional styling, 7-1/4″ blade, and brushless motor make for a great saw at the same price. The 571’s design works better as a supplement for smaller jobs and in tight spots where a standard circular saw won’t fit. In that role, it does an excellent job and it’s worth considering.

Take a Tour Around the DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw

Inline Design

DeWalt’s elongated inline design is impossible to miss as it strays distinctly away from traditional circular saw forms. In fact, it has a very grinder-esque handle leading up to the business end. For this class of saw, it’s very similar to what we see out there from value brands, so it’s not a complete departure from the norm.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw

A quick look at the trigger reveals an “S” shape to it. That gives you the option to control the saw from its main overmolded handle or choke up when it gives you a better feel for your cut.

Just above the motor, there’s a secondary handle. You can take it off if you need to squeeze into someplace pretty tight. It’s very useful when you’re cutting longer sheet goods, though, so I leave it on.

4-1/2″ Blade

The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw comes with a 4-1/2″ blade. The magic of that size gives you 1-9/16″ cutting capacity—just enough to cut 2x material at 90º.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw Blade

It’s a blade left design, giving us righties a clean look at the blade. The blade guard is plastic, but the cover is solid metal construction.

Adjusting to a New Design

Despite the non-traditional design, height and bevel adjustments have a familiar feeling. Both slide along their respective tracks very easily once you loosen the plastic knobs that secure them.

You’re able to bevel up to 45º and there are markings for 15º and 30º, but not stops or detents. The measurements are stamped in and pretty tough to see.

Likewise, the height adjustment has depth markings for you, but they’re also tough to pick out.

Additional Features

  • Friction fit dust port
  • Push-down trigger safety
  • Electric brake
  • Belt hook (left side install only)
  • Onboard hex wrench storage
  • Rip fence included

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw Cutting Power

The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw uses a brushless motor to spin the blade up to 4500 RPM. That’s 700 RPM less than the DCS570 I frequently use. But it’s more than just RPM, the smaller blade means the tip speed is less than half of what it is on a 7-1/4″ blade. At the same time, it’s still a 24T blade.

That sounds like potential disaster for the cutting experience, but the saw actually does quite well. Cross-cutting 2x PT pine, I was very impressed with how well it kept up its RPM to complete each cut.

You can definitely bog it down if you really push on it, though. Let the blade and motor do the work and you may be surprised how quickly this little circular saw cuts.

DeWalt DCS571 Circular Saw Cut Capacity

With the ability to just barely cut 2x at 90º, it’s no surprise that the DeWalt DCS571 Circular Saw comes up short at 45º. However, it’s perfectly capable of making it through 1x if you’re working with smaller material.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw 01

DeWalt doesn’t give an official spec for 45º on their website. We measured it right at 1-1/16″.

Take a Position

There are 3 solid ways to cut with the DeWalt DCS571. When you’re making longer cuts or want to get the best accuracy, use a two-hand grip. The light, narrow, long design makes micro-adjustments simple as you follow your cutline.

The pair of one-hand positions are particularly helpful when you need to hold your material with one hand and cut with the other. In both the “normal” and choked up position, your hand is lower than on a traditional circular saw, making it easier to glide the saw forward, keep the shoe on the material, and make adjustments to stay on your cutline.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw

When your cut is on the smaller side, the included fence goes a long way to improve your accuracy.

That said, I prefer the feel of cutting with a traditional circular saw and my cuts are generally more accurate. Still, the design makes a solid case on some of those one-hand cuts. It also fits into spots where a standard circular saw won’t fit.

Price

As a bare tool, the DeWalt DCS571B is $149. As a kit, the DeWalt DCS571 P1 is $269 with a charger and 5.0Ah battery. Those prices are almost identical to what the DCS570 runs as a brushless 7-1/4″ circular saw.


Compared to its corded DIY classmates, the price is unsurprisingly higher.

The Bottom Line

The DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw earns its place in my shop thanks to its easy one-hand cutting on thinner materials. When I have punch list jobs or small projects to do around the house, it’s simply more comfortable to use a lighter, more compact saw.

If you’re deciding between this and a traditional cordless circular saw, start with the DCS570. Its traditional styling, 7-1/4″ blade, and brushless motor make for a great saw at the same price. The 571’s design works better as a supplement for smaller jobs and in tight spots where a standard circular saw won’t fit. In that role, it does an excellent job and it’s worth considering.

DeWalt Atomic 20V Max Circular Saw Specifications

  • Model: DeWalt DCS571P1 (DCS571B bare tool)
  • Power Source: DeWalt 20V Max batteries
  • Blade Diameter: 4-1/2″
  • No-Load Speed: 4500 RPM
  • 90º Cutting Capacity: 1-9/16″
  • Weight: 5.5 pounds bare
  • Price: $269 (kit with 5.0Ah battery), $149 (bare)
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Joe

Can it be used to cut tile or metal with different blades?

David Hendson

Liked the review – Thanks. I bought one a couple of months ago and am looking to get a spare blade. Not easy up here in Canada, so looking for other replacements such as the Diablo and one from Amazon – Orange tornado. Limited options though. Any one know the dimension of the Arbor? I suspect its 3/8, but not certain. Thanks.

Karl MIlhon

Last summer I had a couple of projects using thin materials like dog eared fencing for a decorative garden bench and 1X6 fir for shutters. I made a lot of cross cuts on the boards like a few hundred on both projects. I work in my driveway with a nice set up of work tables and the DeWalt FlexVolt table saw for the few long cuts I had to do. This was the perfect tool. As the reviewer notes, it is easy to use and the convenience of just grabbing “one handed” and cutting quickly cleanly and accurately sped the… Read more »

MARC PLANTE

Would this work well to cut out the occasional rotten boards on a deck? or should I stick with a drill and jigsaw? I realize I’ll need a handsaw to finish the edges.

Jerry Walker

I bought one for a deck build, good balance, it worked great for cutting the installed deck boards off after they were installed, my Skil worm drive would’ve been way overkill. I also do bldg maintenance and if proved it self in a situation far way from a power source. I really like the adjustable 90degree blade guide, however I think I may paint it a more visible color, lose sight of it in the heat of the cut. I would recommend it.

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