The new SKIL HD5687 takes the sidewinder Skilsaws to a new level by offering many professional features like a 15 amp all ball bearing motor and a worm drive style handle all without adding any additional weight. To add further functionality, the bevel angle goes up to 51 degrees rather than the normal 45 degrees as found on most saws. To make quick depth and angle adjustments there are clearly visible markings to make easy calibration of where you need to be.
Our saw arrived in a heavy cardboard box with the saw well protected. Along with the saw came a super thin kerf 24-tooth carbide blade, a blade change wrench and the usual paperwork that we always read though to make sure we know the proper use of the saw and other accessories. And of course there is the warranty information, which indicated that this saw comes with a 1 year warranty. If you look around, chances are that you have friends or family that have a Skilsaw and I’ll make a bet that some of them have been around for bit longer than a year. Let’s face it, SKIL has been around a long while with their Skilsaw trademarked brand name and it is for good reason, since they were one of the original circular saws to come on the market over 85 years ago. We should think that SKIL knows what they are doing when they roll a new Skilsaw product into the market.
Build Quality & Use
The SKIL HD5687 has a sturdy stamped steel footplate which should help keep it flat and will really help this saw take job site abuse. The upper and patented anti-snag lower guards are made out of die cast aluminum and the rest of the body is made of tough, gray ABS plastic. The cord is an adequate 8 feet long, though a few more extra feet would have been nice. It’s just long enough that almost does not need an extension cord to make that quick cut in the garage but requires you to grab one to make up those few extra feet you need. The bevel angle adjustment level is easy to loosen and tighten and there is a positive stop at the 45 degree mark. To get the saw to 51 degrees you must slide over the bevel angle adjustment screw in the groove to follow the offset track. The depth adjustment lever is also easy to manipulate and there is 0″ to almost 2-1/2″ of depth adjustment. One really nice feature of this saw is the patented anti-snag lower guard which is design to prevent small cut-offs from being caught in the guard. Just to try the anti-snag guard feature, we took several piece of wood that ranged from really thin to thick. We then went on to a make a number of thin cuts and every time the guard was consistently pushed back out of the way so that the cut could be made with ease and nothing ever got caught in the lower guard. Of course the guard snaps right back into position once the cut is completed so as to protect the user from the blade.
Another interesting feature of this saw is the handle design that mimics the handles on SKILs worm drive saws. Many pros prefer this style handle because it provides better comfort and control. Just to show how much the handle design is like a worm drive style saw, we took a SKIL Mag 77 (the SKIL flagship circular saw, by the way) and did a side by side comparison. The photos show how the HD5687 handle design and trigger switch are just like its big brother. The on-off switch is a professional quality AC/DC, 20-amp switch and what we liked about this is that there is no secondary safety buttons that need to be pushed or held in order to operate the saw.
Our test saw weighed in at 11 lbs 8 oz with the included blade installed. This is about 4 pounds lighter then the Mag 77 and within a pound or so of most other sidewinder type saws on the market. According to our noise level test, the saw ran at 104 dB SPL at a full free spin of 5100 RPM. This is pretty loud and as we cut various materials this noise level fluctuated both up and down. We recommend using ear protection (and eye too) when using any circular saw since extensive loud noise can be bad for your hearing.
Given the specs and the price, the SKIL HD5687 Skilsaw is a great choice for almost any user in the market for a good sidewinder circular saw. Our understanding is that design team at SKIL really did a lot of homework on this new saw and it was their goal to really attract professional contractors. We think that this Skilsaw really does a good job of getting the job done without giving up any power or performance, all at an extremely competitive price. For our value rating, we gave the saw a 8/10 considering that most pro grade saws sell for well over 100 dollars and this one offers many great features for much less. For our Performance rating we gave the saw an 8/10 because it really does offer real world performance that a professional contractor would need but we do wish it came with a storage case and a rip fence. Bottom line is that for the money, almost anyone looking for a quality circular saw should get this Skilsaw.