Circular Saws: Ratings of Sources
A carpenter with 15 years of experience tests eight 6 ½-inch, 18-volt cordless circular saws from Bosch, DeWalt, Hitachi, Makita, Milwaukee, Porter-Cable, and Ridgid. Doug Mahoney times how long they take to make ten crosscuts through a 2x12 and measures how many linear feet they can cut from a from a sheet of 3⁄4-inch plywood before running out of juice. He also uses them around the shop to evaluate their features and ease of use. However, this article is only available to site subscribers.
Reviewers at Popular Mechanics test the five lightest circular saws on the market, including models from Craftsman, Rigid, Skilsaw, Makita, and DeWalt. They put each saw through its paces – ripping, crosscutting, beveling, and cutting compound miters – and rate it on a five-star scale. They also provide a brief summary of their likes and dislikes, though there's little detail and no direct comparison between saws.
Michael Springer tests eight cordless circular saws from Bosch, DeWalt, Hilti, Hitachi, and Milwaukee -- all equipped with Irwin Marathon blades -- for power, runtime, and accuracy. He times how long each blade takes to get through a 4-foot "test blank" 1-3/8 inches thick at top speed, counts the number of cuts it takes to wear out each saw's battery, and checks the accuracy of their cut-line markers with a framing square. You must register with the site to read the article, but that's free.
Chris Marshall puts five 18-volt, 6-1⁄2″ cordless circular saws to the test, cutting sheets of plywood to strips and making repeated crosscuts on hard, resinous pine 2×12s. Tested saws include "professional quality" models from Bosch, DeWalt, Hitachi, Makita, and Milwaukee. Each saw gets a write-up a few paragraphs long covering performance, charging time, rundown time, and features.
Five FamilyHandyman.com staffers with about 80 years of combined carpentry experience test 13 7-1/4-in. sidewinder saws from popular brands, ripping and crosscutting boards and making 45-degree by 45-degree compound angle cuts in a 2x10. Testers also evaluate comfort, balance, and features before naming their two Editors' Choice picks: Best Overall and Best Mid-Priced Saw. The article also provides useful advice on what to look for in a saw.
Roy Berendsohn describes cordless circular saws as "smaller, quieter, and less intimidating than their corded counterparts," making them ideal for home repairs and smaller building jobs. In this review, testers run a dozen 18-volt cordless circular saws through 3/4-inch plywood to see how many linear feet they can rip on a single charge. Each saw gets a 1- to 5-star rating and a brief write-up summarizing likes and dislikes.
Tim Uhler recommends inline circular saws (worm drive or hypoid) as "more durable and less likely to bog down" than sidewinders. For this review, he tests six 7.25-inch saws from different manufacturers -- Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Ridgid, and Skil -- by using them in his framing business. Then he evaluates each saw based on power, features, and ease of use. Once again, registration (free) is required to read the article.
In this review, Michael Springer tests 14 sidewinder circular saws, including models from DeWalt, Hitachi, Makita, Milwaukee, Porter-Cable, Ridgid, and Skil. After giving them all identical blades, he puts them through a series of tests to evaluate power, cutline accuracy, and the effectiveness of the blade guards. He also sizes up build quality, features, and ease of use. He then names his top pick and his best value pick, along with five others "worth considering." The article is only available to paid subscribers.
Amazon.com lists more than 400 items in its "power circular saws" category, including sidewinder, cordless, and worm-drive saws. More than half the models listed have user feedback, and about a dozen receive high overall ratings from 100 users or more. A few of the top-rated models here are compact saws with blades less than 5 inches in diameter, which we don't cover in this report.
There are over 150 corded and cordless circular saws available at HomeDepot.com, spanning major brands such as DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, Ridgid, and Skil. However, only about half a dozen receive strong feedback -- at least 4.5 stars out of 5 overall -- from more than 50 users. The site provides separate ratings for quality and value for each saw, as well as the percentage of owners that would recommend it.
The selection of circular saws at Lowes.com includes about 50 different models from brands such as Hitachi, Rockwell, DeWalt, and Skil. About half of these saws receive at least one or two reviews from users, but only a handful have overall ratings of 4.5 stars or better from at least 40 users. Individual reviews are fairly short and can be sorted by date, rating, or relevance.
Sears.com divides its listings for power saws into two separate pages, one for corded saws and one for cordless models. Although the two pages have more than 600 listings between them, most of these have no user reviews, and hardly any have accumulated enough reviews to make the average ratings significant. Still, this is the best site to find reviews of Craftsman circular saws.