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In this report

Circular Saws: Ratings of Sources

Total of 21 Sources
1. Tools of the Trade
April 2008
Circ Saws: The Sidewinders: We field-test 16 new saws for features and performance.
by John Spier
Our AssessmentAn experienced builder tests 16 corded sidewinder circular saws that cover a wide price range. All the saws prove fast, so comparisons focus on comfort, construction quality, blade changes and blade guards. The Milwaukee 6394-21 circular saw gets top ranking, followed by the DeWalt DW369CSK and Makita 5007MGA, but the circular saws judged worst are also worth noting. Older reviews on this site test eight lithium-ion circular saws, and nine worm-drive or hypoid saws.
2. Popular Mechanics
Jan. 2007
Cutting Class: The Ultimate Saw Test
by Tom Klenck
Our AssessmentThis review compares eleven sidewinder circular saws, advising that worm-drive and hypoid saws are more powerful but heavier and apt to be unbalanced. Tests here find that all eleven circular saw models cut well, but ratings are more mixed for accuracy and ease of use. Only the Milwaukee 6394 circular saw gets a perfect 5-star rating, and some pro-brand saws get 2-star ratings right along with the budget circular saws. For the best budget choice, editors prefer the Skil 5755-01 to the Ryobi and Black & Decker Firestorm saws, though all three made accuracy difficult.
3. Fine Homebuilding
Nov. 6, 2007
Testing Worm Drive Saws
by Scott Grice
Our AssessmentThis review compares seven 7.25-inch worm-drive and hypoid circular saws using eight testers led by reviewer Scott Grice, whose 13 years of experience using worm-drive saws gives this review excellent perspective. He notes that worm-drive saws have gotten lighter and easier to use recently, while retaining their advantages over sidewinder circular saws. Each saw is rated for five factors, and then given an overall rating. The 16-pound Skil MAG SHD77M is top rated.
4. Taunton's 2008 Tool Guide
Sept. 2007
18v Cordless Combo Kits
by Andy Beasley and Taunton Press Editors
Our AssessmentThis review is basically just a summary of the same information published in Taunton's 2007 Tool Guide, which in turn was based on tests published in the Dec. 2005 issue of Fine Homebuilding. A later in-depth review of the Makita LXT cordless tools in the May, 2006 issue of Fine Homebuilding concludes that the Makita LXT circular saw would have taken first or second place had it been reviewed alongside the other tools, and an August 2005 review praises the Milwaukee V28 lithium-powered circular saw as capable of replacing a corded model. Both are left out of the 2008 Tool Guide.
Aug. 2005, updated Jan. 2008
Circular Saws
by Editors of Consumer Reports
Our AssessmentThis review of 26 circular saws ranks them based on objective tests of cutting speed, power, and (for cordless saws) battery stamina - plus ratings of construction quality and ease of use. Cordless tool combo kits are reviewed separately here, but haven't been tested since December 2004.
6. Journal of Light Construction
Nov. 2004
Tool Test: Sidewinder Circ Saws
by Steve Veroneau
Our AssessmentThis review compares eight pro-level 7.25-inch sidewinder circular saws for cutting framing and trim lumber. Tests show all eight have plenty of power, so the main comparison is for ergonomics, quick braking, and bevel capacity. The top-rated circular saw is the Bosch CS20 (though it lacks a brake), followed by the DeWalt 369CSK (praised for its balance) and the Milwaukee 6394-21 (like the 6394-20 but with a brake). The Ridgid R3200 gets some attention as a budget choice. Earlier roundup reviews at this site test worm-drive saws and cordless saws.
7. Builder News
Nov. 2006
Tool Review: Worm Drive Circular Saws
by Art Wardal
Our AssessmentThis review compares five worm-drive circular saws based on jobsite use by a construction crew. The Bosch cord system comes in for heavy criticism here, since after only two weeks of use, the male end burned up inside the handle. Separate reviews at this site evaluate the Milwaukee V28 lithium and the DeWalt 36-volt cordless combo kits, both of which include circular saws.
8. Wood Magazine
Apr. 2002
7.25" Circular Saws
by Editors of Wood Magazine
Our AssessmentWe'd rank this comparison review higher if it were more recent, since testing is well documented. The editors of Wood Magazine rate eight 7.25-inch sidewinder circular saws. Well documented testing is performed on each, in addition to a month of actual use. The Milwaukee 6390-21 is top rated for straight tracking, power and handling. The DeWalt DW369 is the runner up. It is slightly less powerful, but offers convenient bevel stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees. Porter-Cable gets high marks for dust control.
9. This Old House
Sept. 2007
Best New Tools
by Harry Sawyers
Our AssessmentThis brief review of the Ridgid Fuego circular saw praises its light eight-pound weight and overall efficiency, plus the way the blower keeps the cutting line clear.
10. The Power Tool Geek
Feb. 2006
Buying Advice - Cordless Drills for Women
by Brian Marks
Our AssessmentThis informal comparison review is based on field tests with three female employees at Toolbarn, looking for cordless power tools with good ergonomics for people with smaller hands and less upper-body strength. Although the review focuses on cordless drills, it also recommends a Makita lithium-powered cordless tool kit that includes a circular saw. Another review here praises the Festool TS 55 EQ circular saw for its plunge-cutting ability.
Not Dated
New Products: Makita's 18-volt LXT Lithium-ion Circular Saw
by Mark Clements
Our AssessmentThis review by tool expert Mark Clements covers the 18-volt Makita BSS610 cordless circular saw. A separate review at the same site praises the Ridgid R3210 worm-drive circular saw for minimal twisting at startup, smooth cutting, and good balance. The reviewer also likes the R3210's built-in hook for hanging the tool on rafters, and long pliable cord with lighted plug. Blade-changing requires an Allen key rather than a wrench, but the key is stored onboard.
Not Dated
Circular Saws - Reviews
by Bob Miller
Our AssessmentA professional team of builders reports on its use of nine 7.25-inch saws on job sites for two weeks. The left-bladed Porter-Cable 743K (now the 423MAG) is rated best for sightlines, balance and handling. The right-handed Porter-Cable is testers' second choice only because of reduced visibility. As in another work-crew review, some members prefer the Hitachi C7BD (now the C7SB2) for its lightweight comfort. The DeWalt DW378G hypoid saw is praised for ease of handling.
13. Benchmark
Jan. 2006
Ridgid R922 18v Cordless Combo Pack
by Phil Bumbalough
Our AssessmentPhil Bumbalough reviews the five-piece 18-volt Ridgid R922 cordless combo kit, which includes a circular saw. The circular saw is convenient but lacks the power of a corded saw, running at about half the rpms. The main strength of this set is the outstanding battery and charger system. In a related review, Bumbalough tests the Festool ATF55e saw (now the Festool TS 55 EQ) and guide rail system. On plywood and melamine, it cuts very accurately, with no tear out. He concludes that for a cabinetmaker, this saw can save a lot of finishing operations.
14. Consumers Digest
Nov.-Dec. 2007
Power Tools
Our AssessmentThis review recommends corded sidewinder circular saws in three price ranges, plus one cordless circular saw. Though brief descriptions give reasons for each choice, it's not clear that any comparison testing or even actual use was done. The recommendations are part of a larger article not only reviewing portable power tools, but also summarizing recent developments with cordless batteries, including pros and cons for "dual-platform" tools that can use both lithium-ion and NiCad batteries.
As of Sept. 2008
Circular Saws, Cordless Combo Kits
by Contributors to
Our AssessmentOwners review and rate circular saws and cordless combo kits sold here, ranging over most major brands. Most circular saws get positive reviews, but a few top the list, and a few get noticeably low average ratings -- the Bosch CS20, for example. Fewer cordless combo kits are reviewed here, but Makita LXT and DeWalt kits get the highest ratings.
As of Sept. 2008
Circular Saws and Cordless Combo Kits
by Contributors to Home Depot
Our AssessmentThe Home Depot publishes owner-written reviews and ratings of the circular saws sold here, but so few brands are sold that the ratings aren't of much value for comparisons. Overall, though, cordless circular saws get lower ratings than corded models, and the top-rated circular saws are the worm-drive or hypoid type. A separate section of the site publishes reviews and ratings of cordless combo kits that include circular saws, but only a few kits have accumulated reviews.
As of Sept. 2008
Circular Saws, Cordless Combo Kits
by Contributors to Lowes
Our AssessmentLowes publishes owners' ratings of power tools sold here, including ratings for features, quality, value, ease of use and design -- as well as an overall rating. Model choices are limited, which also limits the value of the comparative ratings, but it's interesting to note that owners rate the Hitachi C7SB2 higher than two more expensive DeWalt circular saws. Not surprisingly, Firestorm and Skil budget saws rank at the bottom. Cordless combo kits are listed separately.
As of Sept. 2008
Circular Saws and Cordless Combo Kits
by Contributors to
Our AssessmentSears publishes owner-written reviews and ratings of the circular saws and cordless tool kits sold here, but only a few models have accumulated enough reviews to make the average ratings significant.
As of Sept. 2008
Circular Saws
by Contributors to Northern Tool & Equipment
Our AssessmentNorthern Tool sells fewer circular saws than some of the other retailers that publish owner-written reviews and ratings, but several models do get enough reviews to make the average ratings credible. Reviewers are also asked whether or not they'd recommend the saw to a friend, and reviews are often written by professionals who give the saws heavy use.
As of Sept. 2008
Power Saws
by Editors of
Our AssessmentConsumer Guide publishes single-product reviews of nearly twenty power saws, with numeric ratings and useful details, but only a handful of these are circular saws, and there aren't enough comparisons of close competitors to make the reviews very useful.
21. New Woodworker
As of Sept. 2008
Tool Reviews: Power Tools -- Circular Saws
by Tom Hintz
Our AssessmentBased on his own informal tests and workshop use, woodworker Tom Hintz offers detailed, well-illustrated reviews of five circular saws, but without any rating or rankings. Most reviews are enthusiastic, noting only minor drawbacks. We'd rank these reviews higher if they were more critical.

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