Skil 20V Cordless Circular Saw Review CR5440B

Skil 20V brushless saw 45 bevel miter cut

Skil PWRCore 20 7 1/4-inch Cordless Circular Saw Gets Our Value Pick

Skil has been a hallmark in the world of circular saws for many years and even introduced the concept of the circular saw to the market. Most recently, we got our hand on their 20V XP Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw that proved you can achieve pro-level results without breaking the bank. Today, we’re taking a look at Skil’s latest 20V 7 1/4-Inch Cordless Circular Saw that features improved ergonomics over traditional sidewinders and some very impressive performance specs, to boot.

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent value
  • Solid performance for the price
  • Lightweight design
  • Rail compatible
  • Vac port adapter

Consider Another Model if You…

  • Want a saw to cut full-depth into LVL or triple-stacked OSB

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

Skil Cordless Circular Saw Performance

  • Blade Size: 7-1/4 in.
  • No-Load Speed: 5300 RPM
  • Cut Capacity at 90°: 2-5/8 in.
  • Cut Capacity at 45°: 1-13/16 in.
  • Arbour: 5/8 in.
  • Motor Type: Brushless
  • Max Bevel: 56°

Skil’s PWRCore 20 XP brushless motor powers its 7 1/4-inch blade up to 5,300 RPM. This allows it to tackle cuts in 3x lumber in a single pass. While 3x material isn’t a common type of lumber these days, this large cut capacity lets you rip up to three sheets of stacked 3/4-inch plywood.

For some real-world testing, I ran our standard two performance tests for circular saws. The first is a power-to-weight ratio test as it doesn’t push the saws to their limits but rather sees how well they perform under a realistic load with respect to their weight and battery power.

Setting up two sheets of 3/4-inch stacked OSB, I use a Kreg track plate and pulley system to pull the saw across the boards using a 10-pound weight. Saws with adequate power—and not too much weight—tend to perform the best in this test. The Skil PWRCore 20V CR5440B ripped through our boards in just 21.66 seconds. That put it in 6th place out of 14—including Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita, Flex, Metabo HPT, and others. “Impressive” isn’t a strong enough word.

In the second test, I extended the saw blade to its full 2-5/8 in. depth and buried the blade in 4 sheets of 3/4-inch OSB. 20 pounds pulled the saw this time, resulting in it moving a mere 6.5 inches before overload protection kicked in and shut it down. Out of our 14 saw configurations tested, only 8 were able to cut the full length.

Crosscuts, Beveling, and Compound Miter Cuts

As far as cut quality goes, Skil definitely struggles to make both cross and bevel cuts quickly. There was even a moment where I could smell smoke during the bevel cut. As for sightlines, the crosscut was slightly obscured by the upper blade guard, but a viewing window on the side and markings on the shoe helped.

cross-cutting Skil circ saw

The bevel cut offered a bit more visibility, but the saw tended to drift to the left if you didn’t pay close attention. The blade guard didn’t hang up at all during crosscuts and only slightly during the bevel cut. I do like the bevel adjustment mechanism as it gives you a lot of tick marks, making it clear where you’re setting your bevel. The depth adjustment is also really nice with very clear markings that make it easy and quick to set an accurate depth.

Skil 20V brushless saw 45 bevel miter cut

As expected, the Skil circular saw had a difficult time powering through compound miter cuts. It was able to do it, but there were several moments when I was sure the blade would stall. It’s a very usable tool, but I hesitate to put it at the same level as professional saws.

Hands-on Testing Results

4.0Ah PWRCore Battery
Weight (w/batt)8.84 lbs (3rd place)
Sightlines4.7/5 (3rd place)
Blade Guard4.3/5 (2nd place)
Rip 2 Sheets OSB21.66 sec (6th place)
Full Depth Blade Cut6.5 in. (12th place)

CMT Zero Gravity – Our Preferred Testing Blade

Skil CR5440B circular saw CMT 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.

Cutting Depth and Adjustments

Skil Cordless Circular Saw

Its max cutting depth of 2-5/8 inches is rivaled only by that of the Skil PWRCore 20 7 1/4-inch Rear Handle Circular Saw. In fact, that even puts it ahead of some of Skil’s corded and cordless worm drive circular saws.

Skil 20V circular saw crosscut

As you would expect, the bevel and cut depth adjustments are tool-free. The saw blade has a max bevel of 56°, but Skil included a folding positive stop at 45° for quick adjustments on the fly.

Skil Cordless Circular Saw

Skil Cordless Circular Saw Design Notes

  • Model: Skil CR5440B-10
  • Power Source: Skil PWRCore 20 battery
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs. (bare), 8.8 lbs. (with 4.0Ah battery)
  • Aluminum Shoe and Blade Guard
  • Dust Port: 1-1/4 in.

This saw features an aluminum shoe and blade guard rather than steel to help keep its weight in check. This helps with weight management, and the shoe glides smoothly across the cutting surface.

Skil 20V circular saw cross-cut

The ergonomics are also fairly comfortable since Skil utilizes an offset front pommel grip rather than an inline design. This gives your arms a little more breathing room while making cuts. The CR5440 circular saw’s blade-right design provides an excellent sightline while making cuts with either hand. In addition, the bright white guide marks on the front of the shoe help you ensure the cut stays true.

Additional Features

  • Folding rafter hook
  • Onboard tool storage
  • Electric brake
  • Integrated dust blower
  • LED work light
  • Compatible with track guide

Skil Cordless Circular Saw Price

The Skil PWRCore 20 Cordless Circular Saw kit retails for $169.99. This kit includes a 4.0Ah PWRCore 20 battery, a PWRJump charger, and a 1 1/4-inch dust port attachment. Skil backs this saw with a 5-year warranty.

The Bottom Line

The Skil PWRCore 20 lineup is primarily designed with the Prosumer in mind, but I believe the sights are set a little higher for the Skil CR5440B-10. Its performance didn’t waver during challenging cuts, and its overall look and feel earned it some high marks from our team. Additionally, it’s my #1 pick for value due to the performance you get for the money. If you’re in the market for a competitive replacement for your old corded circular saw that’s also easy on the wallet, this should be the first tool you look at.

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