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Best Cordless Circular Saws

By: Amy Livingston on February 14, 2018

Cordless circular saws are lightweight and versatile

When you buy a cordless circular saw, you have two choices. You can buy a "kit," which includes the saw complete with one or more batteries, a charger, and a case, or you can buy the "bare tool," which is the saw and nothing but the saw. Buying the kit is usually cheaper than purchasing the batteries and charger separately, but not always; it depends on which particular battery you want to go with your saw and how good a deal you're able to find on it. To add to the confusion, some cordless circular saws are sold only as bare tools, with no kit available.

For the sake of consistency, we've listed all the prices in this section as bare-tool prices and provided the battery and charger prices separately. But if you intend to buy both, check kit prices first to see if you can get a better deal that way.

We found two cordless circular saws that get excellent reviews from both professional testers and users. The 18-volt, 6.5-inch DeWalt DCS391B (Est. $100) is a winner in two professional tests and has excellent user reviews on three retail sites. We also considered the 6.5-inch Milwaukee M18 2630-20 (Est. $95). It's the top pick in three professional comparison tests, but it has fewer reviews from users, and their overall ratings aren't quite as impressive. We've chosen the DeWalt as our Best Reviewed pick because whenever the two saws go head-to-head, the DeWalt is either the clear winner or a very close second.

Doug Mahoney of Fine Homebuilding says although the 8.5-pound DeWalt wasn't the lightest saw in his tests, it felt lightest because of its "perfect balance." He also praises its "ample power and sports-car handling." In another test at the Journal of Light Construction, this DeWalt saw comes in a close second to the Milwaukee in terms of both power and runtime. Reviewers say the cut-line markers, 50-degree bevel setting, stability, and blade visibility are all very good, but the guard action is only so-so. They like the battery fuel gauge included on the saw, but Mahoney notes that its location requires you to flip the tool over to read it.

We found more than 1,600 reviews for the DeWalt DCS391B on Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowe's, and on every site, it earns an overall rating of around 4.6 stars out of a possible 5. Owners say the saw has plenty of power, yet it's also lightweight and very easy to handle. However, they warn that this saw tends to run down smaller-capacity batteries very quickly, so they recommend either the 4-Ah DeWalt DCB204 (Est. $150 for two) or the 5-Ah DeWalt DCB205 (Est. $180 for two). For either of these, you'll need the DEWALT DCB115 MAX Lithium Ion Battery Charger (Est. $65). Alternatively, you can buy this saw as a kit with a single 5-Ah battery and charger as the DeWalt DSC391P1 (Est. $260).

As noted above, the runner-up 18-volt Milwaukee M18 2630-20 gets strong expert feedback as well, taking top honors in the Journal of Light Construction and two other tests, chewing through wood faster than any other cordless saw. At just over 9 pounds with the battery, it's heavier than most cordless circular saws. However, reviewers say it also comes closest to a corded saw in terms of performance, and it runs longer on a charge than most saws of its size. Pros like its large, stable aluminum base and ergonomic design, with large control levers and over-molded handles. They also appreciate the clear, precise 50-degree bevel scale, with engraved marks for every degree, and the battery fuel gauge that shows how much charge you have left. Aside from the weight, this saw's biggest drawback is that it doesn't control sawdust spillage very well.

If you're not buying the kit, it's important to make sure you get the right battery to go with this saw. Several users at Amazon were miffed to discover, after receiving the tool, that the M18 2630-20 can't take the standard battery that goes with other tools in the M18 line. Instead, it requires M18 Compact REDLITHIUM batteries, which are available in several capacities. When you buy the kit, it comes with the 3-Ah M18 REDLITHIUM XC Extended Capacity Battery (Est. $55), but you can – and, users advise, probably should – upgrade to a 4-Ah or 5-Ah battery for more runtime. You can charge all these batteries with the M18/M12 Multi-Voltage Charger (Est. $35). If you would prefer a kit, the saw is available with two 3-Ah batteries, the charger and a contractors bag as the Milwaukee 2630-22 (Est. $350). However, and especially if you want to opt for upgraded batteries, the better value may be found by buying everything separately.

If you need something larger, DeWalt offers the 7.25-inch DeWalt DCS575B (Est. $180). This newer model hasn't been covered in many professional comparison tests, but it's named as the best cordless circular saw in a 2018 roundup at Family Handyman. This saw takes a unique "Flexvolt" battery that can deliver up to 60 volts of power when needed, which editors say enables it to "perform well on virtually any job." Unlike the Milwaukee and the DeWalt DCS391B, this saw has the blade on the right, which will feel more familiar to those who are used to a corded saw.

Though feedback isn't super extensive, owners at Amazon and Home Depot praise this saw's power, long run time, and easy handling. Some find it a bit heavy, but it's only 7.6 pounds not counting the battery – about half a pound heavier than the DCS391B and nearly a full pound lighter than the Milwaukee. As with the rest of the cordless tools in this section, this is a bare tool only; you'll also need the DeWalt DCB606 20V/60V Max Flexvolt Battery (Est. $100) and the DeWalt DCB118 20V Max Flexvolt Charger (Est. $80). The best value, however, might be to buy the DeWalt DCS575T2 kit (Est. $360), which includes the saw, two batteries, a charger, and a carrying case. The kit draws considerably more feedback than the saw itself, and high user ratings of 4.8 stars at both Amazon and Home Depot based on more than 180 reviews at the two sites.

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