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 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.
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 inch 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.
Chris Marshall puts five 18-volt, 6-1⁄2″ cordless circular saws to the test, cutting strips from 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.
Testers at Popular Mechanics select the heaviest-duty saw offered by each manufacturer, equip it with Irwin's Marathon blade, and pit it against a length of LVL header – a hefty, load-bearing piece of plywood particularly tough to cut. Testers time each saw's performance and also evaluate power, blade adjustment, and handling. Some of the saws in this older test are now discontinued.
Five Family Handyman 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 a 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 evaluated each saw based on power, features, and ease of use.
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."
Amazon.com lists more than 750 items in its "power circular saws" category, including sidewinder, cordless, and worm-drive saws. About one-third of all the models listed have user feedback, and about a dozen receive high overall ratings from 100 users or more. Reviewers here run the gamut from novice DIYers to professional carpenters, so their feedback offers a wide range of perspectives.
There are over 100 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. 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.
The selection of circular saws at Lowes.com includes about 55 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 50 users. The site sums up the most commonly cited pros and cons for each saw and notes what percentage of reviewers would recommend it.
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.