Tool innovation makes me smile. When I first picked up the Kobalt Tools 24V brushless circular saw I knew the company had done something different. The tool even looks different. The thinner, wider brushless motor belied some kind of engineering voodoo of which I was not yet aware. As it turns out, voodoo had nothing to do with it, but we’ll address more of the technical details later in this review.
Kobalt took the traditional design of a circular saw and reduced the overall width. They did this by changing the motor from a traditional brushed motor to an outer rotor brushless motor design. An outer rotor brushless motor positions the rotor outside the stator instead of placing it on the inside. This makes the Kobalt 24V brushless circular saw quite a bit thinner overall. Increased sight lines show up as the immediate benefit. It also gives you greater flexibility of how close you can cut with the saw on a piece of material with a left boundary. Additionally, the new brushless motor gives the Kobalt 24V brushless circular saw more cutting power.
It’s this increased power that most users will appreciate.
Editor’s Note: This is the original review, but the ratings have been updated to reflect the results of our Cordless Circular Saw Shootout.
The blade on the Kobalt Tools 24V brushless 6-1/2″ circular saw rotates at 5400 RPMs. For comparison, the Milwaukee Fuel 7-1/4″ circular saw and the Makita brushless 6-1/2″ circular saw both spin at 5000 RPMs (no load). The Kobalt 24V circular saw can easily make 10 cuts all the way through 8 foot long sheet goods on a single 4Ah battery pack. Kobalt Tools says the 24V brushless saw is the only 6-1/2″ model that cuts through three 3/4-inch sheets of plywood in a single pass. That’s the same depth of cut you’d get from a full size 7-1/4 inch circular saw. To get the smaller blade to cut almost up to the arbor, Kobalt positioned the shoe with a cutout and designed the spindle and blade mechanism to maximize depth.
The profile of the body makes this a tight little saw—one users can easily manipulate and use. The blade guard isn’t as confident as some I’ve used, but this saw is also one of the lighter cordless saws on the market (more like a DeWalt or Makita than a Metabo or Bosch).
When we tested the Kobalt Tools 24V brushless circular saw multiple times on three stacked sheets of 23/32 plywood, the saw cut through the material quickly. The saw gave very little indication that any of the cuts bogged it down in the slightest. The blade cleared away wood quickly and ejected it from the rear of the tool. The included Kobalt 24T general purpose framing blade made all of the cuts in our testing. When you unpack this saw and try it out for yourself, you should get similar results. On a single sheet of plywood the Kobalt KCS 6524B-03 makes very quick cuts, and you’re going to find that it confidently leads many tools currently on the market for longer ripping tasks.
The cut alignment notch on the top of the shoe aligns perfectly with the cut, and it matched the width of the included 24T blade. We noticed a ton of sawdust along the cutting path—one drawback to a simplified design. Adding a small blow port could help by automatically blowing off the cutting line. We found that we needed to do this every few inches on thicker cuts. This was a bummer as the integrated LED light made for a great feature (it comes on when you pull the trigger).
Check out the Kobalt Tools 24V brushless circular saw making a cut through three layers of 3/4-inch plywood and notice the electric blade brake which stops the blade more quickly than most models on the market. OSHA will love this feature:
Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless Circular Saw Specs
- Blade: 6-1/2 in. 24T
- Motor: 24V brushless (outer rotor)
- Cut depth: 2-7/16 in. (90º) and 1-11/16 in. (45º)
- Speed: 5,400 RPM (no load)
- LED light
- Electric blade brake
- Aluminum blade guard and shoe
- Max bevel: 50 degrees
- Weight: 6.73 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 years
Using the Kobalt Tools 24V Brushless Circular Saw
As mentioned above, we did a bunch of test cuts with the Kobalt Tools 24V brushless circular saw. Where it came in very handy was making a series of cuts through the 3/4-inch plywood which forms the layers for our 18V impact driver round-up and heavy duty 18V cordless drill shootout testing material. For these tests we cut layers of plywood and join them together for speed and endurance tests. We cut through them with hole saws and drive lag bolts into them to see which tools perform best under difficult loads. All of those layers are cut from single sheets of 4×8 plywood, however, and that takes time.
The Kobalt Tools 24V brushless circular saw cuts quickly, so it took a lot of minutes off our prep, ripping through our sheet goods like they were made from balsa. The motor has an almost violent sound to it, with a higher pitched tone that lets you know it means business. I typically don’t force my cuts—letting the blade do the work. With this 24V circular, however, it didn’t feel like it bogged down easily. Provided the blade stayed sharp, I could run the saw about as quickly as I wanted and really go to town. The fast electric brake also served to help me work faster since I could move the saw around more quickly. I didn’t have to wait for the blade to settle down before making my next cut.
The Kobalt Tools 24V brushless circular saw holds up well against the competition for performance. In some materials it even cuts faster and with more power than several big name 18V cordless competitors. Perception presents the biggest difficulty. Kobalt moved to a new battery platform with their 24V system, and this tool finds itself priced in line with its performance. Case in point, the DeWalt 20V Max 6-1/2″ cordless circular saw comes in $10 less than the Kobalt KCS 6524B-03.
If you get the chance, pick up this tool and use it. It’s worth your time and you’re likely to come away impressed. Lowe’s and Kobalt Tools have the tough job of convincing Pro and serious DIY consumers of the strengths and advantages of their new 24V platform. If they can, then perhaps consumers will opt for it over the more familiar brands.