DeWalt DW368 Heavy Duty 7-1/4″ Lightweight Circular Saw Review
It might sound like a misnomer to say both heavy-duty and lightweight in the same sentence, but this is exactly what DeWalt calls its DeWalt DW368 Heavy Duty 7-1/4″ Lightweight Circular Saw. This saw has been a mainstay on job sites for many years and for good reason. With a decent set of features, a reasonable selling price, and plenty of power, many construction workers have chosen this as their sidewinder of choice. While we normally like to review the latest and greatest products that come to market, sometimes it’s fun to step back and see what the average Joe is using and why.
Our test saw is a newly purchased tool, but it is not a new tool on the market. Its initial introduction was about 7 or 8 years ago and it has remained pretty much unchanged since day one. Our test saw came in a sturdy black molded case that has just enough room for the saw and a few spare blades. Once the saw is properly sitting in the case, it is easy to wrap its 8ft long cord around the body and handle of the saw for storage.
The motor housing, handles and body of the saw are made of yellow ABS plastic with molded in texture on the surfaces that you need to keep a grip on. Sorry, no overmolded rubber grips like what seems to be the trend on just about every tool coming to market nowadays. There is no safety on the trigger; just hold the handle and pull the trigger with your finger. The trigger does offer a nice crisp on-off feedback that takes a little bit of extra pressure to initiate than some other saws we have tested. This seems like DeWalt’s way of making sure that you don’t accidentally engage the saw. The motor of the saw draws up to 15 amps and has an output of 2,200 watts which should mean plenty of power is available for most cutting applications that carpenters run into. Just a word of caution: this model saw does not come with an electric brake. If this is an issue, plan on getting the next model up, the DW369, for a few more bucks.
One of the nicest features of the DeWalt DW368 Heavy Duty 7-1/4-Inch Lightweight Circular Saw is the magnesium shoe. We like this for several reasons: One, it makes for a very rigid, light weight base. Two, it’s also very durable. Often on other saws that have stamped steel or aluminum shoes, it is just a matter of time before they get dropped or bumped and the shoe is no longer square to the blade or gets bent. The other great feature of this saw is the design of the lower blade guard that all but eliminates the guard getting caught on your material. This is true even if you are cutting crazy angles, bevels or even shims. Also included with the saw is a blade change wrench and an 18 tooth carbide tipped blade. We are not huge fans of the DeWalt blades because of the tough coating they put on them. This coating is so tough in fact that you have to make a good number of cuts before you even wear through it. Only then are you able to see the sharp edges of the carbide. We prefer a blade that does not have thick coatings over the carbide so that you can get nice smooth cuts right away.
Testing and Use
From the start, the DeWalt DW368 Heavy Duty 7-1/4″ Lightweight Circular Saw has one of the best lines of sight that we have seen in a while. The view of the blade is clear and unobstructed which made it especially easy to follow when we were trying to do precise cuts. We used this saw on a project where we had to stick frame a roofing system for an addition on a house. In our particular situation, we had to match up to some existing roof’s pitches, so we had plenty of opportunities to cut regular and compound angles. Many of these compound angle cuts were long and involved cutting from both the long and short points of the framing members. What quickly became evident was how the lower guard did not get bound up when starting these crazy cuts. There was no need to hold the guard open; we were just able to hold the saw normally and let the guard function in the way it was designed to work. While we did not mention it earlier, the bevel system of this saw had preset detents for 22.5 degree and 45 degree settings and it offered a maximum of 56 degrees of bevel. Our test saw also did an effective job of removing the sawdust out the rear outlet and it also kept enough air moving to keep the sight line of the blade easily visible during long cuts. The saw had plenty of power to do the cuts needed and it never seemed to get bogged down.
The DeWalt DW368 Heavy Duty 7-1/4″ Lightweight Circular Saw might seem like an old timer to some since it has been on the market for a relatively long time, but we found that even against current newer offerings from other manufacturers, this saw still holds it own pretty well. With plenty of power, a sturdy magnesium shoe, and a straightforward no-nonsense design, this saw is and will probably continue to be a job site workhorse. For our Performance rating we gave it 7/10 because it is a great example that newer is not always better. For our Value rating we gave this saw a 5/10 since it is a pretty basic saw and price-wise it comes in at just a little more than other similar saws on the market. Aside from not having some overmold rubber grip areas and not including a rip fence, DeWalt’s DW368 saw is a pretty good choice.
About DEWALT Tools
DEWALT is the leading manufacturer of industrial power tools including cordless power tools, woodworking tools and many other quality power tools. DEWALT tools can be found wherever tools are sold, nationally and internationally. With over 1,000 factory owned and authorized locations, DEWALT has one of the most extensive service and repair networks in North America.