Skil 12V Brushless Circular Saw Review Framing Tool Reviews

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Homeowners will find the Skil 12V brushless circular saw perfect for smaller projects and cross-cuts. Pros or serious project builders will want to step up to the company's 20V platform for a bit more power and capacity.

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Skil 12V Brushless Circular Saw Review – CR541802


If you don’t need all the power the Skil 20V Brushless Circular Saw affords for $155.02, their smaller saw might fit the bill. The Skil 12V Brushless Circular Saw presents a great compromise on both power and price for those looking for a compact saw. If you’re not familiar with Skil, they provide some excellent values in cordless power tools. If their 20V brushless saw pits itself against mainstream corded framers, the 12V model tackles consumer expectations. The Skil CR541802 circular saw kit costs less than $140 with 4Ah battery and PWRJump charger. That’s almost $50 less than you’ll pay for their 20V version.

What You Need to Know

The Skil 12V brushless circular saw doesn’t keep up with professional saws, but it doesn’t aim to. This $79.99 bare tool provides a great solution for homeowners looking to cut 2x4s, sheet goods, and other material in lighter-duty applications. Since Skil has an ever-growing line of 12V tools, getting into the platform makes a lot of sense.

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Skil 12V Brushless Circular Saw Features

Unlike the blade-right 20V saw, the Skil 12V brushless circular saw is blade-left. The 5.5-inch circular saw cuts up to 1-5/8 inches at 90-degrees. At a 45-degree bevel, the Skil cuts to 1-3/16 inches deep. We ran several cuts through 2×6 and found it could still cut through it at up to a 30-degree bevel. It’s also worth noting that once we installed the blade, we found it to be perfectly square to the shoe. An adjustment screw lets you adjust the blade bevel if needed.

Skil 12V saw 30 degree bevel

Speaking of the shoe, Skil economizes by using stamped steel. It works fine and matches what we’d expect at a price point of $79.99 for the bare tool. The shoe has a guide for a rip fence but doesn’t include one in the packaging.

Skil 12V circular saw steel shoe

Blade Speed & Changes

We clocked a no-load blade speed of 4190 rpm using our tachometer. That’s right at the rated speed of 4200. Speed does drop a bit when the battery runs lower, making thicker or longer cuts a tad more difficult.

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Most of the saw uses plastic, from the body down to the upper and lower blade guards and lift lever. Skil did simplify blade changes by including onboard storage for the hex key. It sits right next to the battery. I don’t know anyone who uses the depth of cut gauge, but Skil includes one. The adjustment lever for changing the cut depth is long and super-easy to use.

Skil CR541802 onboard tool storage

Battery and Charging

The kit version of the Skil CR541802 includes their PWRJump charger. It charges a Skil 2.0Ah battery to around 25% in just 5 minutes. The kit includes a 4Ah battery. PWRJump lets you take 5-10 minutes to get that battery to where you can finish up a few final cuts. Fully charging the 4.0 Ah battery pack takes about 90 minutes.

Skil 12V PWRJump charger

Skil CR541802 Saw Cutting Performance

The saw cuts smaller materials well, but don’t expect to tackle rips with the blade fully buried. This tool performs like a homeowner tool, not like a full-size saw. The Skil CR541802 definitely needs some finesse and cuts as you’d expect for a consumer-level saw. That’s not to say it doesn’t have some power. We easily made quick work of cross-cutting 2x6s. Even those 30-degree bevel cuts left us feeling like the saw handled confidently.

Skil 12V cordless circular saw

The Skil CR541802 starts easily—just depress the lock-off button and squeeze the trigger. The electric brake stops the blade within a couple of seconds when you let off. I found it simple to lift the lower guard as needed for plunge cuts and getting more difficult cuts started. We didn’t use the vacuum attachment, but the placement and configuration look like it should do a good job at capturing a majority of dust particles.

Final Thoughts

Cut quality, speed, and ergonomics work well on the Skil 12V brushless circular saw. I like using the tool for basic cuts. At 6 pounds, 2 ounces, I also find it easy to grab over some of the heavier saws we have here at the PTR shop. For a homeowner, I think this tool makes for a great product to use on smaller projects and cross-cuts. It will handle 1/2-inch plywood and 2x4s all day long. Any Pros or serious project builders will want to spend the extra money and jump up to the 20V platform.

Skil 12V Cordless Circ Saw Specifications

  • Arbor: 3/8″ (10mm)
  • LED light
  • Weight (w/4Ah battery): 8.0 lbs.
  • No-load speed: 4,200 rpm
  • Blade: 5-1/2 in. (140 mm)
  • Cutting Depth (45 degrees): 1-3/16 in. (30 mm)
  • Cutting Depth (90 degrees): 1-5/8 in. (41 mm)
  • Bevel: 0-50º
  • Weight (w/4Ah battery): 6 lbs. 2 oz.
  • Charger: PWRJump
  • Charging time: 30 mins for 2.0Ah battery; 40 mins for 2.5Ah battery; 50 mins for 4.0Ah battery; 60 mins for 5.0Ah battery
  • Includes: 4 Ah battery, PWRJump charger (CR541302) – $155.02

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