Having a cordless circular saw is like having the keys to your parents’ sports car and a full tank of gas when you’re 16… You can do just about anything… within reason. With the Milwaukee 2630-22 Circular Saw, you get the same excitable feeling—from a 6-1/2″ cordless saw—plus it’s even got that sporty red color. This was also the first 6-1/2″ cordless circular saw we had tested that was based on a lithium-ion 18V platform, and it both worked well and lasted a long time.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best cordless circular saw article and our review of the full-size Milwaukee FUEL circular saw.
The trigger mechanism requires that you push down on the trigger lock with your thumb. As far as safety systems go, this one is pretty easy to use and intuitive. In fact, we tended to keep it down during cuts rather than let it go once we started. This is a much better system than others we’ve seen where you must press in sideways in a very unnatural manner.
Milwaukee 2630-22 Circular Saw Power
The circular saw gets up to speed quickly and we noticed a couple of stand-out features right away. The shoe is made out of 1/8″ thick aluminum and is deeply etched so that the embedded ruler markings will remain easy to read, even when they become powdered with sawdust. The site lines were spot-on and there was even a secondary line for lining up 45-degree bevel cuts. The top and bottom blade guards are made of Magnesium, making the tool a tad lighter than normal.
We found the depth adjustment level to be extremely easy to use (the bevel was more difficult, but that didn’t present any real problems). We measured the rotational speed as 3220 rpm (about 92% of the rated spec) and the noise output was an amazingly quiet 81 dB at 3 feet away. Don’t worry, when you cut into the wood we’re still going to recommend hearing protection as it will jump, on average, over 15-20 dB as soon as the blade makes contact with the work material.
Using the Milwaukee 2630 Saw
Using the tool was a comfortable experience and we especially liked how easy it was to swap out blades. Milwaukee included a hex wrench that stores neatly (and securely, I might add) in the front handle and makes it simple to remove and change the blade. Not having to hunt down a wrench, and the presence of a spindle lock button eases this process considerably. The 5/8″ arbor means that this tool can accept blades from an almost endless number of third parties in addition to Milwaukee blades.
One of our tests included using it on a 2×4 test piece of old-growth “heart” pine. Primarily, we were just curious as to just how long it would last. After 35 cuts through this rather dense hardwood, the battery still registered 3 bars (out of 4) – and we quickly realized the tool was going to outlast our patience.
If it can make that many cuts through even this tough wood, then it’s perfectly suited to go the distance on your typical framing, flooring, or project application. The saw was also excellent at failing to bind up, even when we took off the Swanson Speed Square and allowed the tool to twist a bit during cuts. Using the tool on a piece of 3/4-inch plywood, we found that it sliced through the wood like butter and the near full-sized blade made this type of work almost enjoyable.
For those remote jobs, this can really save a lot of hassle when moving from place to place within a jobsite. Forget cords, the Milwaukee M18 cordless circular saw really is that perfect ratio of power-to-weight that gives it pro-level performance in a very portable package. For this reason, we gave it a Performance rating of 8/10. In terms of Value, the M18 2630-22 Circular Saw has a lot of stiff competition, but as it is still an above-average product we gave it a 7/10 rating. We definitely recommend any serious contractor check out this tool.