Cordless Circular Saw Buying Guide

Circular Saw Guide
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Which saw is right for you?

Tools with brushless motors and lithium batteries with monster amp hours have more power and longer runtimes. This increase in performance has led to more and more construction pros choosing cordless tools over their traditionally more powerful corded counterparts. But once the decision to cut the cord has been made, the next decision is which brand and model to choose. If you are in the market for a new cordless circular saw, you have come to the right place.

As with any tool, we always recommend you actually pick it up and see how it feels in your hand. Better yet, try out a buddy’s or a coworker’s saw to see how it works in action. Everyone has different preferences, and there‘s no better way to make a decision than taking one for a test drive. But that's not always possible, so we've compared the many different features and the pros and cons of a handful of different models from top tool brands to help you decide.

Note the blade side
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Note the blade side

Left or right? The blade on most corded saws is on the right as you push the saw forward; on many cordless saws, it’s on the left. Either way is OK with us on a cordless saw—you just adapt.

Bare tool or kit
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Bare tool or kit?

Saws sold as “bare tools” don’t come with a battery or charger. If you already have a cordless tool, you may find a bare saw that uses the same battery. That cost savings alone might determine which brand you should buy. Some brands offer more than one model that can take the same battery, so look at all the features before you decide which saw to buy.

Work Lights are Handy
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Work lights are handy

We thought it was a gimmick but soon came to love “headlights” on saws. They make it easier to follow the cutting line in low-light conditions.

20 volt or 18 volt
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20V = 18V

Some saws carry a 20-volt label, which might lead you to believe that they’re more powerful than 18-volt saws. They’re not. The 20-volt rating is for their “initial battery voltage,” measured without a workload. Their actual rating is 18 volts.

Circ Saw Performance
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The bottom line on performance

While there’s still a performance gap between corded and cordless saws, most cordless models now have the cutting power to handle just about any job. We even found one (Makita’s XSR01) whose power rivals that of a corded saw. Next, we'll give you more information on the cordless circular saws we got our hands on including price, blade size and what we liked or did not like about each model.

Milwaukee Circ Saw
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Milwaukee 2731-20

Blade size: 7-1/4"

Price: $229.00 (Bare Tool)

This saw has all the features we like plus the extra capacity of a 7-1/4-inch blade. And if you’re used to a corded saw, the blade is on the usual side—the right.

Ryobi Circ Saw
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Ryobi P507

Blade size: 6-1/2"

Price: $64.00 (Bare Tool)

This is one of the lightest saws we tried, weighing in at only 6.5 pounds. It was easy to control with either hand and easy to handle on a vertical surface. Its shoe is not very large, but that is what you’d expect from such a super-compact saw.

Dewalt Dcs
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DeWalt DCS575B

Blade size: 7-1/4"

Price: $166.57 (Bare Tool)

This circular saw has plenty of power. Equipped with a 60V battery (won't work with 20V max batteries), it also has a long run-time—which you may need, because this saw will perform well on virtually any job. The blade is on the right, the same side as on most corded saws, so you’ll feel right at home when you use it.

Makita R01
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Makita XSR01

Blade size: 7-1/4"

Price: $249.00 (Kit)

This saw differs from the others in several ways. It takes two 18V batteries and delivers awesome power and exceptional run-time. Of all the saws we tried, it performed most like a corded saw. It’s also large and heavy, making it a great tool for big, tough jobs, but maybe not the best choice for standard duty.

Dewalt Circ Saw
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DeWalt DC390B

Blade size: 6-1/2"

Price: $110.96 (Tool Only)

This circular saw is light in weight, so it’s easy to maneuver, and it has a relatively large shoe. The battery we used has a short run-time, though, and the motor is on the slow side.

Bosch Circular Saw
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Bosch CCS180B

Blade size: 6-1/2"

Price: $119.00 (Bare Tool)

Featuring a heavy-duty aluminum shoe and a dust blower, this saw performs well in cutting 3/4-inch plywood and miters. You have to remove the battery to check its charge, however.

Milwaukee Circ Saw
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Milwaukee 2630-20

Blade size: 6-1/2"

Price: $120.00 (Bare Tool)

Costing just under $100, this saw has a larger shoe than you’ll find on less-expensive models, which is great for better balance. Its motor spins relatively slowly, however.

Ridgid Circ Saw
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Ridgid R8652, R8653

Blade size: 7-1/4"

Price: $139.00 (Bare Tool)

The 52 has a brush motor and weighs 1-1/2 pounds more than the brushless 53. These are the least expensive 7-1/4-inch saws that have a fuel gauge, a work light and an easy-to-read depth scale. Both models have plenty of power. Their two handles are offset, which can feel awkward if you’re a lefty.

Milwaukee Circ Saw
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Milwaukee 2730-20

Blade size: 6-1/2"

Price: $199.00 (Tool Only)

This saw is 1 lb. lighter than 7-1/4-inch saws with the same power and features—brushless motor, fuel gauge, work light and nice depth scale. It’s the best 6-1/2-inch model we tested. The blade is on the left side, like on all the other 6-1/2-inch saws.

Dewalt Circ Saw
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DeWalt DCS391B

Blade size: 6-1/2"

Price: $99.00 (Bare Tool)

Equipped with a fast motor and an extra-large 20V battery, this saw cruised through our 3/4-inch plywood and 45-degree miter tests. The battery has an extra-long run-time, but the larger size makes the tool heavier than most other 6-1/2-inch saws