Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw Review

PTR Review
  • Overall Rating 9.4

Skil designed the 2x20 rear handle circular saw to meet the needs of professional contractors. In our opinion, the performance and build earn a thumbs up from our testing team. Then there's the value—$250 for a kit is awfully attractive when other kits run $100 – $200 more. If you're looking for a way to cut the cord on your worm drive without breaking the bank, give the Skil PWRCore 20 XP rear handle circular saw a shot.

Overall Score 9.4 (out of 10)

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw Brings A Fan Favorite Into The 21st Century

While rear handle saws aren’t new to the market, there have been some fantastic improvements over the years that make cordless models stronger and more efficient. The Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw boasts some of the classic features from the original Skil worm drive saw but is it ready for today’s jobsite professionals?


Pros

  • Easily powers thorugh difficult cuts
  • Low friciton shoe design
  • Impressive 2 9/16-in cutting depth at 90° (cuts 3x in one pass)
  • Efficient dust and chip removal
  • Dust extractor attachment comes standard

Cons

  • Arm positioning can obscure sightline
  • Bevel measurements are difficult to read

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw Performance

Under the Hood

The circular saw’s two batteries run in series to let its brushless motor produce 40V power and 5300 RPMs while still using the same batteries as the broad PWRCore 20 line.

2 x 20V power source

The cut capacity is about as high as we’ve seen at 2-9/16 inches on a 90° cut and 1 7/8 inches on a 45° bevel. While 3x material isn’t widespread in our part of the country, it’s nice to know this saw is capable of making cross-cutting it in one pass.

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw

Making the Cut

As we began to run through a series of standard test cuts (2 x 10 cross cuts, miter cuts, bevel cuts, and compound cuts), the saw cut confidently through even the toughest cuts and tracked well. Shifting over to rip cuts in stacked plywood, it didn’t bog down at all. It is possible to push it hard enough to stall the blade, but not at the speeds you normally cut.

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw

A worm drive/rear handle saw needs to be stable while making long rip cuts but still easily glide across the surface. Skil’s shoe is agreeably low-friction, and the saw balances the stability/easy glide factors nicely.

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw

The more we used the saw, the more we realized how capable it is. Compared to our corded Skil worm drive, the 2×20 rear handle saw is tougher to stall and makes deep cuts with greater speed. Looking at the other cordless rear-handle saws we’ve tested, the cutting power is definitely at a professional level. Where higher-priced saws have an advantage is the overall smoothness of the cut.

Clear the Line

Skil’s top handle is constructed of hard plastic and doubles as the dust and wood chip ejection chute, shifting the ejection opposite the blade. The saw includes a vacuum adapter. With an underpowered saw, having to move the chips that far could present a clogging problem. With or without a vac, the chips made it through with gusto, and we didn’t experience any issues.

Dust Port

In addition to the saw’s excellent clearing, it also has a cutline blower and does a fine job of keeping your line visible. However, the saw’s blade-left design and handle orientation can put your left arm in the way of your sightline. It didn’t bother some of our testing team, but I did have to adjust my cutting style slightly to accommodate.

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw Design Notes

Ergonomics

If you’re coming from a sidewinder-dominated jobsite, one of the first things you’ll notice about this saw is its weight. That’s not too surprising given its design. Rear handle saws tend to weigh more than sidewinders in the first place.

This model weighs 13.81 lbs with both 5.0Ah batteries, and that’s right in the ballpark for a corded rear handle saw. Skil’s design does include some weight-saving features like its aluminum shoe and blade guard. Compared to other cordless rear-handle saws from Milwaukee (13.7 lbs) and DeWalt (13.8 lbs), it’s right where we expect it. Only Makita’s (12.7 lbs) is significantly lower.

The rear handle contours well to my medium-sized hands but is a bit on the larger side compared to something like a drill or impact driver. Personally, I don’t count this as a negative because it feels very controlled and secure while making cuts.

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw Handle

Adjustments

As with most modern circular saws, this circular saw employs tool-free mechanisms for making blade height and bevel adjustments on the fly. Just flip either movement’s adjustment lever, make the shift, and push the lever back to lock it down.

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw

Blade Changes

The aluminum shoe houses a multi-purpose wrench for blade changes and other minor adjustments. Skil makes blade changes as simple as any Pro-grade saw. Press down on the blade lock, rotate the blade until the lock slips into place, and use the wrench to loosen the arbor bolt.

Skil PWRCore 20 XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw

Rafter Hook

Rafter hooks on cordless power tools go together like peanut butter and jelly. Personally, I just don’t like setting my tools on the ground or keeping one hand on it when working at height. The Skil 2×20 rear handle circular saw has a sturdy 3-inch wide foldable hook that will easily hang on 2x material or a sawhorse. It’s also tether-ready for when you’re working above ground level.

Additional Features

  • Electric blade brake
  • LED worklight

Skil 2×20 Rear Handle Circular Saw Price

The Skil 2×20 Rear Handle Circular Saw retails for $249 and comes with two 5.0Ah batteries and a dual-port PWRJump charger. The charger is a nice value-add, getting your batteries from 0 – 25% in 15 minutes, and finishing off the charge cycle in just under an hour.

Skil backs the saw with a 5-year warranty.


The Bottom Line

Skil designed the 2×20 rear handle circular saw to meet the needs of professional contractors. In our opinion, the performance and build earn a thumbs up from our testing team. Then there’s the value—$250 for a kit is awfully attractive when other kits run $100 – $200 more. If you’re looking for a way to cut the cord on your worm drive without breaking the bank, give the Skil PWRCore 20 XP rear handle circular saw a shot.

Skil 2×20 Rear Handle Circular Saw Specifications

  • Model: Skil CR5429B-20
  • Power Source: 2 x Skil PWRCore 20 batteries
  • No-load speed: 5300 RPM
  • Arbor: 5/8 in.
  • Max Bevel: 0-53°
  • Max cutting depth: 2-9/16 in. (90°), 1-7/8 in. (45°)
  • Weight: 10.56 lbs (bare), 13.81 lbs (2 x 5.0Ah batteries)
  • Warranty: 5-year
  • Price: $249 (kit)

To check out the entire Skil PWRCore 20 lineup, click here.

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Spencer Lemm

How does this compare to the Makita?

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