DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw Review
Have we finally bridged the gap to a cordless worm drive circular saw? The DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw makes its case following its introduction at the 2017 DeWalt experience. According to DeWalt’s claims, it was the most powerful cordless circular saw when it first came out, though DeWalt’s own DCS578 now exceeds it.
So should you run out a buy one? Let’s find out!
- Fastest Time Trial finish in the rear handle group (tied for 2nd overall)
- Top-tier cutting power
- FlexVolt battery is compatible with a huge line of FlexVolt and 20V max tools
- Excellent tracking
- Perfect notch accuracy at 45º and 90º
- Very good ergonomics on both handles
- Excellent dust and chip clearing (without a vac)
- Optional vac adapter available
- A little guard hesitation on compound cuts
As a cordless worm drive replacement (it’s not a true worm drive), the DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw has a rear handle, blade left design. It takes a 7-1/4″ blade and you’ll need to punch out the diamond knockout.
With a premium saw that’s as powerful as DeWalt claims this one is, you expect a blade brake – and you get one. It helps keep the workplace a little safer for you and the material you’re working on.
Not every cordless circular saw has a dust blower. It’s a feature that’s not a must-have for us, but we really like to help keep the cutline visible so we’re grateful that DeWalt includes it.
Check out this article for more on the benefits of brushless motors. The major points are that it offers more runtime, less heat buildup (which extends the life), and introduces electronic controls to the tool. It bumps up the price, but what you get for shelling out a few more clams is worth it.
There are certain tools that just have to have a belt and rafter hook. Circular saws are one of those in my book. Since a worm drive often pulls rip cutting duty for roofers, it’s a must-have that DeWalt includes.
All in all, there’s really not much missing from the feature set, save for an LED light. Given the nature of worm drive applications, I can’t make a very compelling case that it absolutely needs one. As one of the most expensive cordless circular saws available, it should – and does – have just about everything you want for features. Check out the full list at the bottom of the page along with our article on circular saw Pro features.
Popular 7-1/4″ worm drive circular saws range from around 11-1/2 pounds to a little over 14. The DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw settles in at 13-3/4, so it’s not a lightweight, nor is it overweight. Compared to other sidewinders, it’s heavy, but that’s what you expect from a worm drive style saw.
DeWalt does a nice job with the handle ergonomics. The main handle curves to fit your hand well and has DeWalt’s typical overmold. The support handle is wider than traditional models with some contour as well. Although the support handle doesn’t have any overmold, I like it better than the thinner metal bar style handles.
The push-in safety is one of my few complaints, albeit a minor one. I prefer a push-down trigger safety on a circular saw in most cases. The single-finger trigger doesn’t pose any issues so far in my use.
DeWalt claims that standard worm drive circular saws put out roughly 2200 watts. The DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw delivers 2400 watts, so it’s clearly in the wheelhouse. How does that translate?
We ran a couple of tests. First up, Tim Johnson and Clint DeBoer cut a ridge vent in an existing asphalt shingle roof. Using a Diablo Demo Demon with Tracking Point Amped blade, the saw cut through the shingles, tar paper, plywood, and plenty of nails along the way. It absolutely plowed through 115 linear feet without complaint and on one 9.0 battery.
On a full depth rip cut, DeWalt really flexes its muscles and shows off just how much power it has. In a really wet 8′ length of pressure treated 4×4, it’s unbelievably strong, completing the cut in less than 12 seconds.
That’s a great way to show the power the saw really has, but we know what you’re really wondering: how does it compare to Makita’s Rear-Handle Saw?
While the power is clearly impressive, DeWalt also leaves a very clear cutline. The cutline blower is a big part of the equation. Additionally, it throws sawdust back and away from the saw behind the blade. It’s something Makita’s Rear-Handle and our Skilsaw worm drive don’t do nearly as well.
Just because a tool is expensive doesn’t mean it’s not a good value. You have to look at what you get for the price. In this case, you are getting a cordless circular saw with a ton of power that surpasses our corded worm drive. I think the question is less about this saw over another cordless model and more about whether you think cordless convenience is worth the premium. Think about it the next time you’re dragging extension cords through a house or on top of a roof.
The Bottom Line
The DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw has legit power that is clearly in the upper tier of what the industry has to offer. It even outperforms corded worm drives easily. The only big question left that you’ll need to answer for yourself is whether $399 for the kit is worth the premium over corded models. Other than that, DeWalt delivers on their power claims and seems untouchable for now.
DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw Key Features
- Blade brake
- Blade left orientation
- Integrated dust blower
- Brushless motor
- Magnesium shoe
- Rafter hook
- Bevel stops at 22.5° and 45°
- Excellent lower guard design
DeWalt FlexVolt Worm Drive Style Saw Specs
- Model: Dewalt DCS577
- Power Source: DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Battery
- RPM: 5800
- Blade Diameter: 7-1/4″ (diamond knockout required)
- Weight with Diablo Framing Blade and FlexVolt 9.0 Battery: 13 lb 11.8 oz
- Bevel Stops: 22.5°, 45°
- Bevel Capacity: 53°
- Capacity @ 90°: 2-7/16″
- Depth @ 45°: 1-7/8″
- DeWalt DCS577B bare tool $249
- DeWalt DCS577X1 FlexVolt 9.0 kit $399.00