Reviewers say the 5.5-inch Ryobi P500 circular saw is the best budget cordless saw, but it's only recommended for occasional light use, making fairly rough cuts. It's one of many Ryobi tools that use the same 18-volt NiCad batteries, though you can upgrade it with a Ryobi lithium-ion battery kit. The Ryobi saw bevels only up to 45 degrees, but has a laser guide, onboard blade wrench and comfortable handle. It's often available as part of larger cordless tool kits, and carries a two-year warranty. If you plan to use a circular saw often, reviewers recommend getting a corded circular saw or investing in the lithium-ion-powered cordless Makita BSS610 LXT (*est. $350).
We found the best comparison tests of the Ryobi P500 cordless circular saw at Consumer Reports, where it's ranked and rated along with six other cordless circular saws and 25 corded models. Over a dozen owners review the Ryobi P500 cordless circular saw at HomeDepot.com. In addition, three professional reviews -- at Online Tool Reviews, FineHomebuilding.com and Workbench magazine -- review this circular saw as part of reviews of Ryobi kits that include it. An older comparison review of cordless circular saws at Popular Mechanics tests a similar but earlier Ryobi cordless circular saw.
This review compares and ranks 32 circular saws, including the cordless Ryobi P500, based on objective tests of cutting speed and power -- plus ratings of construction quality and ease of use.
Review: Circular Saws, Editors of Consumer Reports, Jan. 2008
More than a dozen owners give the Ryobi P500 cordless circular saw mostly positive reviews, saying it's a great value for the price, especially with so many other cordless tools available that use the same batteries. One owner complains that it lacks power.
Review: Ryobi 18 Volt 5 1/2 In. Circular Saw With Laser, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
3. OnlineTool Reviews.com
Reviewing the Ryobi One+ system of 18-volt cordless tools, this Australian woodworker finds that the one-hour charger actually takes up to two hours to recharge a battery.
Review: Tool Reviews, Dean Bielanowski and other contributors
4. Fine Homebuilding
Compared with pro-level cordless tool kits, the Ryobi P840 -- which includes the Ryobi P500 circular saw -- gets relatively low ratings for power, endurance, controls and adjustments and batteries and charger. However, it's still judged a good buy for occasional homeowner use.
Review: Editor's Review: A Look into Cordless Combo Kits, Andy Beasley, Dec. 2005
5. Workbench Magazine
Testing and comparing cordless tool kits that include circular saws, editors recommend the Ryobi kit, noting that the both the circular saw and drill "performed well above their bargain price." The 4,200-rpm circular saw makes fast cuts.
Review: Cordless Combo Kits, Editors of Workbench, April 2003
This older review tests an early version of the 18-volt Ryobi cordless circular saw, finding it comfortable, with easy adjustments, but underpowered for cutting even 2x4 lumber.
Review: Testing Cordless Circular Saws, Thomas Klenck, Sept. 2000