Kobalt 24V Max XTR Circular Saw Review KXCS 124B-03

KXCS 124B-03 24V circular saw cross-cut
PTR Review
  • Pro Review 8.4
Overall Score 8.4 (out of 10)

Kobalt 24V Max XTR Circular Saw Boosts Blade Size and Performance

The Kobalt 24V Max XTR circular saw features an upgraded motor and battery. This significantly boosts performance over their 6-1/2 inch model. I evaluated this saw against around a dozen other saws, including the highest-performing professional models, to see where it fits.


  • Advanced battery and brushless motor system
  • Clearly improved cutting performance
  • 0º and 45º notches are perfectly accurate
  • Very good handle ergonomics
  • Low shoe friction
  • Vacuum adapter included


  • Guard doesn’t slide over the top edge of the material as smoothly as I’d like
  • This is a very heavy saw for the power

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

Kobalt 24V Max XTR Circular Saw Cutting Performance

On our test track, the Kobalt 24V max saw managed our stacked OSB rip test in 33.55 seconds, which, unfortunately, was dead last. This didn’t seem to affect our handheld manual tests when ripping and cross-cutting, however. What it speaks to is the power-to-weight ratio. This saw is rather heavy compared to the power it puts out. That makes you work just a little harder when using it.

Kobalt 24V circ saw bevel cut

On our full-depth blade test using four sheets of stacked 3/4-inch OSB, the Kobalt stalled out after just 7 inches of cutting. Kobalt may have the protection dialed in a bit strong, but in either case, this is certainly a tough test. No matter how you slice it, the saw lacks a bit of oomph against well-known models like the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2732 and DeWalt FlexVolt DCS578.

Cutting through pressure-treated 2×10 and stacked 3/4-inch OSB subfloor, the KXCS 124 B’s performance wasn’t disappointing in the slightest. In particular, Kobalt does an excellent job removing dust and chips from the blade area.

An included vacuum dust port adapter lets you avoid the mess when connected to a dust extractor. Even with a moderately powered cordless vacuum, it captures a ton of the mess you’d have to sweep up later.

Kobalt 24V Max XTR Circular Saw

Hands-on Testing Results

8.0Ah Ultimate Output
Weight (w/batt)12.11 lbs (12th place)
Sightlines3/5 (11th place)
Blade Guard3.7/5 (10th place tie)
Rip 2 Sheets OSB33.55 sec (14th place)
Full Depth Blade Cut7-inches (11th place)

Cutting Accuracy

To test accuracy, I set up a series of cross- and rip-cuts to test tracking by following a pre-marked cutline.

Kobalt KXCS 124B-03 circular saw bevel cut

As a blade-right saw, the front handle somewhat blocks your sightline to the blade. It’s not too difficult to shift and see around it, though.

If you cut left-handed, your line of sight to the blade is excellent. Assuming you want to track using the indicator notches in the shoe, you can trust them. At both 0º and 45º, I found them dead on my cutline using a CMT Orange Tools Zero Gravity framing blade.

While I like the ergonomics of having the two handles directly in line with each other, it occasionally caused me to wander off my cutline just a little.

Cutting free-hand, I was pretty much within 1/8-inch to either side on crosscuts and varied a little more on longer rip cuts. I’ve tested dozens of other saws have been better…and quite a bit worse.

In the end, slowing down a touch or using a straightedge when staying right on that cutline is critical.

Cutting Capacity and Drift

Right out of the gate, we expect the Kobalt XTR circular saw to have a greater cutting capacity than the standard 24V Max model since it moves from a 6 1/2-inch blade to a 7 1/4-inch.

Kobalt KXCS 124B-03 24V circular saw ripping OSB

That’s true, but only slightly. Kobalt managed to achieve an incredible 2 7/16-inch depth of cut on their 6-1/2-inch saw. With a larger blade size, the capacity only increases by 1/16-inch to 2 1/2 inches. That might be a compliment to just how good the previous design was.

The first thing I checked on the saw’s movement was how much friction the shoe added as I cut. Kobalt’s coating glides beautifully over wood. Makita’s friction is a bit lower, but some of the big names, such as DeWalt and Milwaukee, were noticeably stickier.

Kobalt KXCS 124B-03 speed cutting test

The guard design can use some help, though. Where the inside portion of the guard angles, it flattens out as it becomes parallel with the workpiece and hangs up. You have to give it some extra motivation, either by pushing harder or manually working the guard until it gets over the top edge of the wood.

Ergonomics and Grip

As I mentioned above, we like the ergonomics of the inline handle design on the Kobalt 24V Max XTR circular saw.

The front handle size and shape fill your hand well and give you a secure grip. Likewise, the rear handle’s contours and overmold make for a comfortable cutting experience.

Kobalt 7-1/4 XTR cross-cutting 2x10

The saw’s bare tool weight of 9.4 pounds is more than 2.5 pounds heavier than the previous model. With a 4.0Ah Ultimate Output battery, it weighs 10.9 pounds.

While that’s a significant weight increase, keep in mind that Kobalt is moving from a genuinely compact circular saw to a full-size model.

Using metal for the shoe, blade guard, and blade cover increases the weight along with the larger blade, frame, and updated internals.

That said, the full range of advanced cordless circular saws we tested runs from 9.6 pounds to 16.0 pounds, putting Kobalt on the lighter side of the scale.

Additional Features Overview

The Kobalt 24V Max XTR circular saw has a well-rounded feature set.

  • Brushless motor
  • Electric brake
  • LED light
  • Rafter hook
  • Vacuum adapter

The only thing it lacks is a rail-compatible shoe. That’s not a common feature, though it is becoming more popular.

Kobalt does include a fence, though. It’s a nice accessory to have when you’re making longer cuts and most brands make you buy it separately.

CMT Zero Gravity – Our Preferred Testing Blade

Kobalt 24V circular saw CMT 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.


As a bare tool, you can pick up the Kobalt XTR circular saw for $149 at Lowe’s. It’s also part of the 5-tool kit that you can get for $577. That set also includes a hammer drill, impact driver, reciprocating saw, and LED light.

The Bottom Line

The Kobalt 24V Max XTR circular saw is a fine upgrade from the last model and definitely takes a nice step forward in performance. Buy it if you’re looking for a cordless circular saw that can keep up with professional jobs on a budget.

Kobalt XTR Circular Saw Specs

  • Model: Kobalt KXCS 124B-03
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Saw Blade Diameter: 7-1/4 in.
  • Spindle Lock: Yes
  • Shoe Type: Metal
  • Fence Included: Yes
  • Gear Type: Spur-Gear
  • Max RPM: 5500 RPM
  • Cut Depth: 2.5 in.
  • Max Depth at 45°: 1.75 in.
  • Bevel Stops: 0-56°
  • Weight: 9.4 lbs
  • Warranty: 5 years

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