Kobalt 24V Max XTR Circular Saw Boosts Blade Size and Performance
The Kobalt 24V Max XTR circular saw features an upgraded motor and battery that give it a significant performance boost over the last 24V Max circular saw. We evaluated it against the landscape of what other cordless circular saws are available, including the highest performing premium 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
- Fence included
- Guard doesn’t slide over the top edge of material as smoothly as we’d like
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 24V Max XTR Circular Saw Testing Results
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.
That’s true, but only slightly. Kobalt managed to pull off an incredible 2 7/16-inch depth of cut on the last saw, matching what many 7 1/4-inch saws have.
Even though the blade size is much larger, the capacity is only up 1/16-inch to 2-1/2 inches. That’s not a knock against XTR, though, it’s a compliment to just how good the previous design was.
Cutting through 2 x 10 PT and stacked 3/4-inch OSB subfloor, we’re not disappointed in the slightest. Testing directly against Ridgid’s Octane, we were able to cut faster in all of our test materials.
As we cut, we noticed that Kobalt’s design does an excellent job of removing dust and chips from the blade area. It spits them out through the port of the rear of the guard, of course.
If you’d rather not clean up all of that, just attach the included vacuum dust port adapter. Even with a moderately powered cordless vacuum, it captures a ton of the mess you’d have to sweep up later.
In testing accuracy, we set up a series of cross and rip cuts to see how well we could follow a pre-marked cutline.
As a blade-right saw, the front handle blocks your sightline to the blade somewhat. 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, we found they were dead on our cutline using a Spyder 24T framing blade.
While I like the ergonomics of having the two handles directly in line with each other, we noticed that it caused us to wander off our cutline just a little bit.
Cutting free-hand, we were pretty much within 1/8-inch to either side on crosscuts and varied a little more on longer rip cuts. We tested other saws that were both a little better and quite a bit worse.
In the end, slow down a touch or use a straightedge when staying right on that cutline is critical.
The first thing we checked on the saw’s movement was how much friction the shoe added as we 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.
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.
Like 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.
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.
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.
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 $399. That set also includes a hammer drill, impact driver, reciprocating saw, and LED light, so it’s a great way to get started with XTR.
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.Shop Lowe's
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
- Price: $149