If you’re searching for some good news on the internet then you’ve come to the right place! Why keep scrolling through all the junk in your newsfeed when you can read some tool reviews? Well, I’m happy to report that you’re about to read all about the Metabo 18V Cordless Circular Saw. If you’ve been following these pages for a while, you know that I recently performed an enormous circular saw shootout with 16 saws. The tools went head-to-head (or blade-to-blade) to determine the good and the bad about each saw’s feel and performance. Since publishing the shootout, I’ve begun to break out each saw into spotlight articles. Today, it’s Metabo’s turn.
You may not be as familiar with Metabo as you are with some of the other power tool manufacturers, and you’re not alone. Although the German manufacturer ships tools for metalworking, industrial applications, and construction all over the world, it hasn’t yet become as common as Milwaukee and DeWalt with tradesmen in the US. But the company’s tools are generally well-reviewed here and Clint was impressed with what he saw at last fall’s media event.
Battery and Motor
The shootout consisted of saws with both 6-1/2- and 7-1/4-inch blades as well as those with brushed and brushless motors. This Metabo 18V Cordless Circular Saw featured a 6-1/2-inch blade and a brushed motor. A brushed motor is less expensive than its brushless cousin, but it generally doesn’t last as long and doesn’t allow for “smart” electronics like overload protection. Read more about the differences here. The blade is left-side oriented – a convention we’ve come to call blade-left, which was long the domain of worm drive saws. But over the last decade or so, many sidewinders like the Metabo have migrated the blade from the right side to the left, blurring the distinction between the two saw designs. And as a supermajority of users are right-handed, a blade-left saw makes the cutline easily visible.
The motor and blade are powered by the largest battery available for this saw, a 6.2Ah pack with a 112 Wh rating. But it pushes just 2,700 no-load RPMs which is the lowest by far of all the saws tested. The next highest was a Ryobi at 3,800 RPM.
The Metabo 18V Cordless Circular Saw’s cutting safety features are standard. There’s a blade brake that works in conjunction with a metal blade guard to protect the user and surrounding surfaces from damage once the cut is complete. It’s important to make sure the blade guard works properly and that the blade brake stops the blade in a second or two after the trigger is released before really getting down to business. There’s no riving knife but only one out of the 16 saws in the shootout – a multi-use track saw – had one.
Depth of cut at 90° is a fairly shallow 2-1/16 inches, a tie for second shallowest, but still plenty deep enough to get through 2x material. At 45°, cutting depth is 1-11/16-inch. There are no bevel stops but the capacity is a standard 0-50°.
Other Notable Features
Nearly all power tools have LED worklights now and the Metabo is no different, but it doesn’t have a rafter hook.
A vacuum dust port is a very nice touch – you don’t see this on many circular saws but it certainly will control the mess work makes! But the more weighty matter is that this saw comes in among the top five heaviest of the competition. There’s a tight cluster of four saws in the 10-pound range while the Makita Rear Handle is the heavyweight outlier at over 12 pounds. That’s the tradeoff for a high-capacity battery and more metal in the construction to boost the durability.
I began each saw’s review with “softer” assessments of its feel in the hand before the quantifiable tests began. The Metabo 18V Cordless Circular Saw’s grip and trigger have a very fat handle and a difficult-to-reach safety button that requires hand repositioning hand. There’s also a safety for bevel cuts requires a second hand.
On to the quantifiable stuff. The cutline marker accuracy is dead on at 90° but slightly off at 45° since the kerf falls outside of the notch. Blade visibility is solid for right-hand users with its blade-left orientation and guard staying clear of the line of sight. Like several of the saws, guard action suffers on shave cuts as it hangs up to the left side of the blade.
To the good, the Metabo 18V Cordless Circular Saw tracks very well against a straightedge. As I mentioned, there are no bevel stops but the bevel angle setting has 5° increments with incised markings and good contrast.
Cut Speed and Power
The shootout’s main event was a 4-foot cut across 2-inch deep OSB. The Metabo’s deep cutting ability suffers due to the low RPMs and shallow depth of cut. The saw dips into reserve power but cuts slowly and leaves a ragged edge. There was also a hot motor smell that might not affect performance but neither does it instill confidence in the tool. At 22.19 seconds, the Metabo came in 14th out of 16 in cut speed.
The Bottom Line
When you have such a large group for a head to head test, not everyone has a saw that’s come out in the last year. Several, including Metabo’s, are 5 years old or more – nearly ancient in the cordless world. The Li-HD battery definitely gives it some additional life, but it’s pretty far behind at this stage. It came in 14th place with 26.3 points.
The good news for this older saw is that Metabo has a new model in the works. When will we see it? That’s a great question, but if the European model is any indication, it has a lot of promise.
Metabo 18V Cordless Circular Saw Features
- Integrated LED work light for optimum illumination of the cutting line
- Fast brake stops the saw blade quickly and improves safety
- Large range of applications thanks to the capability of angled cuts up to 50°
- Precise cuts with guide rail and adapter (accessory)
- Battery packs with capacity display for checking the charge status
Metabo 18V Cordless Circular Saw Specifications
- Model: Metabo KSA 18 LTX
- Voltage: 18V
- Kitted Battery: (2) 18V 5.2 Ah
- Tested Battery: 6.2 Ah battery; 112 Wh rating
- Blade Diameter: 6-1/2 inches
- Blade Orientation: Left
- No Load Speed: 2,700 RPM
- Depth of Cut: 2 1/16+ inches at 90°; 1 11/16 inches at 45°
- Bevel Capacity: 0-50°
- Weight with Battery: 10.10 pounds
- Warranty: 3 years limited
- Price: $199.00 (Bare)