Reviewers recommend the Makita BSS610 LXT as the best cordless circular saw, praising its comfort, safety and convenience. The lithium-ion batteries hold their charge a long time between uses, and also last much longer than NiMH or NiCad batteries. The cordless saw bevels up to 50 degrees, has a laser guide, dual LED lights and built-in edge guide, plus a dust blower to clear the cutting line. The 18-volt Energy Star batteries recharge in 45 minutes, and the 6.5-inch saw can cut 2X lumber even at a 45-degree bevel. The competing Ryobi P500 (*est. $60, $110 with charger and battery) isn't as accurate and doesn't use lithium batteries, but reviewers say it's an acceptable budget circular saw.
We found the best comparison review of lithium-ion cordless circular saws at Tools of the Trade magazine. HGTVPro.com provides a detailed single-product review of the Makita LXT BSS610 circular saw, and FineHomebuilding.com and Popular Woodworking review it as part of larger Makita LXT kits. A brief review by Brian Marks, the "power tool geek," looks for the most comfortable cordless tools for small hands. Two useful short videos at YouTube demonstrate this saw and its blade-changing procedure.
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1. Tools of the Trade
This review compares eight lithium-powered cordless circular saws based on actual tests, and though the saws aren't rated or ranked, the descriptions make it easy to pick out the Makita LXT as the best 18-volt model. It earns praise for its light weight and smooth power, but tests find the blade brake "not as responsive as some."
Review: Industry News: Lithium Ion Hands On, Rick Schwolsky and Michael Springer, Jan. 2007
This single-product review by tool expert Mark Clement gives the Makita BSS610 cordless circular saw (an Editors' Pick) top marks for power, balance, visibility and easy adjustments. The only criticism is that the aluminum base plate bent when the saw was dropped down eight stairs with multiple hits.
Review: New Products: Makita's 18-volt LXT Lithium-ion Circular Saw, Mark Clement
3. Fine Homebuilding
This review of a Makita LXT cordless tool kit rates the batteries and charger "outstanding" and gives props to the BSS610 circular saw's power, with special praise for the saw's light weight, adjustments, dust blower and LED light. The dust chute aims at the user so it's better to hook it to a vacuum, and the horizontal grip isn't as comfortable as a standard vertical grip.
Review: Editor's Review: Cordless Tools Redesigned from the Battery Up, Andy Beasley, May 2006
4. Popular Woodworking
This review doesn't test the new 18-volt lithium-powered Makita LXT circular saw directly, but recommends the four-piece LXT400 combo kit that includes it.
Review: Makita Offer Lithium-ion Tools in a Smart Size; Worx Cordless - the New Kid, Editors of Popular Woodworking, Feb. 2006
5. The Power Tool Geek
This informal comparison review, based on field tests with three female employees at Toolbarn, finds Makita LXT cordless tools to be the most comfortable for people with smaller hands and less upper-body strength.
Review: Buying Advice - Cordless Drills for Women, Brian Mark, Feb. 2006
This video demonstrates the Makita LXT BSS610 circular saw in action. Another video here demonstrates how easy it is to change the blade.
Review: Screwfix: Makita Super Test - 18V Circular Saw, Posted by "ScrewFixVideos"