Best Circular Saw in 2018 Review

best circular saw

Buying a circular saw for the first time is a lot like having sex; you are excited to make the first cut, but yet at the same time, there’s an uncertain situation. I apologize in advance if the subject of cordless circular saws and adrenaline rush puts you in an uncomfortable position, but do-it-yourselfers know this better. Especially professionals… They have a no-holds barred attitude about woodworking.

These guys settle for none other than the best circular saws in the market. If you are an expert saw owner, and you are reading this article, this post is not for you. It is not for a lack of words because the more we go into details, the more we get to learn all kinds of interesting things about these bad boys.

However, the article portrays a mini comparison review of multiple top rated corded and cordless circular saws in an attempt to help newbies and intermediate level workers. I wanted to play a vital role in helping our readers decide upon their very first model of a circular saw.

Quick Comparison - Best Circular Saw Overall

Product

Type

RPM

Weight

Voltage

Warranty

Check Pricing

dewalt circular saw

DeWalt DCS391B

5250 RPM

 7 lbs.

20 V

3 years

skil circular saw

SKIL 5280-01

5300 RPM

8.7 lbs.

120 V

3 years

ryobi circular saw

Ryobi P506 One+

4700 RPM

5 lbs.

18 V

3 years

porter cable circular saw

Porter Cable PCC660B

4000 RPM

7.75 lbs.

20 V

3 years

makita circular saw

Makita XSS02Z

3700 RPM

7.3 lbs.

18 V

1 year

bosch circular saw

Bosch CSW41

5300 RPM

12.3 lbs.

120 V

1 year

Black & Decker-circular saw

Black & Decker BDECS300C

5300 RPM

7 lbs.

AC 110-120 V

2 years

Milwaukee circular saw

Milwaukee 2630-20

5000 RPM

6.8 lbs.

18 V

5 years

Best Circular Saws 2018 – A Beginner’s Guide to Buying the Right Product

Our Pick: Dewalt DCS 391B (The Saw That Outranks the Competition Easily)

Why?

It is an all rounded power tool with a low scale RPM. Dewalt didn’t focus on speed only. Instead, the company tried to amalgamate precision and speed to help achieve the desired results. A lot of circular saws that I find out there are usually focused on XXX amount of blade RPM. Yeah, it’s cool, but can the saw actually cut anything other than thin sheets of plywood?

RPM won’t matter, if the blade’s not getting enough battery juice – so on and so forth. The Dewalt DCS 391B is not the perfect or the ultimate cordless circular saw for that matter. Professionals are bound to run into other high priced models from the same company, but given a lot of circumstances in the wood working industry, this saw is an ideal match for you.

dewalt circular saw

Features:

This circular saw offers a variety of features, such as but not limited to the following.

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    Optimized hand mold design rubber comfort grip
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    Max RPM of 3700 – 5150
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    High strength magnesium shoe with pristine level resistance to pressure
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    6.5 Inches carbide blade with 16 toothed tips
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    Swapable battery and long term compatibility with other company accessories

We will get into more details as we move along in this review. For now, you should know that Dewalt is our preferred circular saw for a long range of in-house & on-site tasks. By the way, the Milwaukee Bare Tool cordless circular saw had a few close run-ins with Dewalt. If you want to buy a Milwaukee power saw instead of this one, I wouldn’t hold it against you.

Let’s start from all of the top 7 contenders and see how they pile up against one another. We’ll go through Dewalt DCS 391B as well.

SKIL 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Single Beam Laser Guide

skil circular saw

SKIL is a household name among circular saw loyalists who have known the company for several years now. I have repeatedly mentioned this fact in my review series that this company is owned by Bosch. SKIL produces high quality products with just as much dependability as you’d dote on Bosch.

However, there is one major flaw in play. Both Bosch and SKIL release their own versions of circular saws. I get it that the companies wanted to reach a diversified range of audience, but while doing so, they forget to either include key features, or end up blowing investment on power tools that could have been made in a better way.

If SKIL and Bosch go hand-in-hand behind the scenes, we certainly don’t see the similarity in their respective brand of circular saws – or other power tools for that matter. Also, when SKIL releases something, it deliberately misses a few features that are introduced in the upcoming model of Bosch circular saw series. Same concept applies to Bosch too.

Therefore, when you are considering buying SKIL saw or Bosch’s products, do get your priorities straight. If you know what you want, you will end up with a genuinely interesting circular saw. As far as the SKIL 5280-01 model is concerned, this one upsells for a number of reasons. I like to think that the Laser Guide is one of them because it projects a straight-line beam across the entire length of the cut-material.

Finally, we can make straight cuts! Yaayyyy

​​​​Pros

  • Well Priced: The price seems too reasonable for budget conscious buyers. At $60+, SKIL parks you in the neighborhood of accurate cuts, limited warranty and max blade depth of up to 8 inches.
  • Multi Toothed Blade: SKIL 5280-1 comes with a 24 toothed circular saw blade. However, there is a small caveat in there. They are selling it on Amazon as a bundle deal. Either you purchase this corded circular saw with the blade for some additional cash, or without it as a low priced discount deal.
  • Trigger Guard: This one’s a relatively new and rare feature. The saw’s trigger is guarded by an extra protective layering, which is to prevent any accidents from happening. You don't want to start the saw only to make sudden body contact when you’re least expecting it.
  • Laser Beam Focus: As the name suggests, SKIL 5280-01 15-Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw is all about straight line accurate cuts. Bevel cuts are another thing but as long as you are using the laser beam for single line format cuts, you are well cared for.
  • Official SKIL Carrying Bag: The company has included a very dandy looking carrying bag for saw owners who want to keep their product covered and well protected when it’s not in use. I wish they swapped it for a proper hard plastic carrying circular saw case with padded spacing inside, but oh well, the bag will do fine.

Cons

  • Steel Base: SKIL 5280-01 model features a stainless steel base. This tends to add up on the weight factor which might not sound like a big deal at first. But wait until you have to carry the saw during a hot summer afternoon for several hours just because you are closing in on a project deadline.
  • Should have included the blade with the base order.
  • Limited mobility due to cord.
  • Does not include an electric blade. Skil substituted for the lack of the e-brake on this circular saw by adding a trigger safety cover, but that does not settle the score in my book. An electric brake is vital to meeting OSHA labor safety standards.

Ryobi P506 One Lithium Ion 18V 5 1-2 Inch 4,700 RPM Cordless Circular Saw

Ryobi is a regular chip off the old block for DIY enthusiasts who are not looking for extremely expensive cutting machinery. This circular saw boasts of a cordless design, but yet there are a few setbacks that affect the overall ranking factor.

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    Powerful motor with increased 40% performance: This is pretty impressive, but that extra 40 takes a toll on the battery life. The saw does not last beyond a couple of rounds against those wood panels – if you catch my drift here. You will need to recharge it again.
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    Ryobi P506 official model features a limited 3 year warranty.
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    Newer models come with an extra 4.0 Amp battery kit.
ryobi one plus circular saw

One of the plus points of buying a Ryobi circular saw is that they are relatively dependable to some extent. Small to medium scale projects which involve creating book shelves, basic furniture and other upholstery is going to yield satisfactory results. However, this saw is a low priority model on a professional’s radar. Take a look at some of the main pros and cons of Ryobi P506 One Lithium Ion 18V 5 1-2 Inch 4,700 RPM cordless circular saw.

​​​​Pros

  • Highly Affordable. The pricing couldn't get any better at a $40 - $44 range.
  • Fast charging feature ensures there is a minimal rest interval between your projects.
  • At 4700 RPM, the circular saw holds nothing back against 5 ½ inch plywood sheets. Other materials may pose as a threat at different levels, but let’s not go there yet.
  • Nice Ergonomics: The standard rubber grip design ensures a firm hold of the saw, especially during summer season. Sweat buildup can cause accidents, but since Ryobi included a rubber grip with a hand mold design, a slippery slope is the least of your concerns.
  • Instant Blade Release Mechanism: With the push of a button, you can release the blade on a whim. No more twisting wrenches or unwinding screws to clean or replace the blade.

Cons

  •  Home depot has an abundance of Ryobi P506 One Lithium Ion 18V 5 1-2 Inch 4,700 RPM circular saws, but there’s a reason that there are low sales on these units. The older model comes with a weary battery.
  • Lack of magnesium shoe was supposed to be substituted for with an equally tough material, but that is not the case.
  • High blade RPM eats through the battery life in no time. You will probably need to charge the saw twice a day to get through with a project in time.

PORTER-CABLE PCC660B 20V Max Lithium Bare 6-1-2-Inch Circular Saw

porter cable circular saw

I wish I could say, “move along” because Porter Cable PCC660B is not a very good circular saw, but let’s just take a look at what it has to offer. According to the designers, though they don’t like to admit it, the saw is for entry level wood workers.

However, some of the key features are missing entirely. You get an extremely compact design, which made us doubt the power tool’s durability. If Porter Cable cordless circular saw held a competition with the world’s tiniest violin, I would bet Porter Cable would win easily. I get it that they were trying to introduce a small compact look, but it also means that the saw can’t be used on medium to aggressive range projects.

​​​​Pros

  • Lightweight profile boosts maneuverability and torque at 6.5 Lbs. That’s roughly 3 Kg of weight at the end of your wrist which you can use in a more productive manner.
  • Steel base allows room for bevel cuts at 45 and 50 degrees.
  • Maximum cut depth goes to 3 inches, hence making it an ideal match for 2 x 12 pressure treated panels.
  • Portable and easy to carry around.

Cons

  •  PORTER-CABLE PCC660B 20V Max Lithium Bare 6-1-2-Inch Circular Saw is a bare tool product. They do not include a battery with a brand new order. PC wanted to maximize affordability.
  • Not suitable for heavy duty cutting. The blade is susceptible to bending out of shape, and so is the shoe. If you are thinking of applying more pressure to keep the base shoe stable during a bevel cut, you need to be extremely careful.

Makita XSS02Z 18V LXT Lithium Ion Cordless Circular Saw

If I had to choose between Makita and Dewalt, I’d have a tough time. Makita XSS02Z cordless circular saw is just as good as Dewalt, except for a few exceptions. However, this particular model is a legend in its own league. Eventually, it is a matter of preference because some guys prefer Makita over other brands.

Makita XSS02Z 18V circular saw has the blade on the right side. Since the majority of the people like their blades on the left side, as they are right handed, Makita may not be a first priority on their list. Add a staggering 11 Lbs. weight, and this saw may pose a hindrance against those who like lightweight products.

The idea of going cordless is to get rid of power cords, and the extra baggage. Makita could have shaved off a pound or two by using lighter material, but unfortunately, they couldn’t do it. The XSS02Z 18V model demonstrates craftsmanship and satisfaction on a general scale. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of this power tool.

makita circular saw

​​​​Pros

  • High Speed RPM – The max amount of blade revs is 5000 RPM. This much speed helps to supersede the average RMP of Dewalt, SKIL and Bosch easily.,, Especially if we talk about the Bosch CSW40, Makita has more leverage over it.
  • 30 Day Free Repairs Warranty: Unlike conventional companies, Makita likes to take care of its own. Not only the Makita XSS02Z 18V model, but a long range of other power tools are backed up by a 30 day free repairs and maintenance warranty. There is also a limited lifetime warranty on the saw.
  • Durable Stock Blade: This saw comes with a stock blade; the one that factories supply as a “courtesy” to wood workers on their first purchase. The stock blade can withstand a bit of bullying without bending or breaking the tooth in process.
  • Dust Blower: Some revised models of Makita XSS02Z 18V cordless circular saws are rumored to have dust blowers, but it is not entirely confirmed yet.

Cons

  •  Poor Battery Life: It’s a shame that at 5,000 RPM, this saw cannot last any longer than an hour or so. You can try to install a robust battery, but installation is not easy. You also need to take into account that it takes a lot of time for the saw to charge.
  • Features Obsolete Design: A lot of companies have rid their newer models of brushless and ball bearing design. Unfortunately, Makita XSS02Z 18V is still based on a brushless mechanism. They should have introduced new technology, given the fact that this model was released back in Feb 2017.

Bosch CSW41 7-1-4-Inch Worm Drive Circular Saw

bosch circular saw

The biggest, most bad ass and meanest circular saw in this entire lineup is the Bosch CSW41 7 ½ inch worm drive saw. If you heard about “business in the front, and party in the back” analogy, it fits perfectly on this model. How so? To start off, this is a worm drive saw. They are resources hungry, which means you can’t go cordless with these bad boys.

Secondly, worm drive saws were the earliest saws in the industry. They are heavy and are by far the most expensive saws which professionals and DIY use on a variety of projects. People who want quick results with unparalleled cutting capabilities rely on these saws. It also means that the Bosch CSW41 is heavy; it requires both hands to operate, and there is a ball bearing mechanism in it that needs its own maintenance.

​​​​Pros

  • Built for professionals by professionals who understand the importance of making the right cuts. All thanks to the extra weight, Bosch CSW41 don't have to worry about bad tear outs or inaccurate results.
  • New orders are accompanied by a couple of Bosch exclusive accessories, such as, but not limited to an expensive 24 tooth carbide blade, lubricant bottle for ball bearings and a built in saw hook.
  • Diamond arbo blades reinforce long lasting performance and toughness against pressure treated wood planks.
  • Bevel cuts are a piece of cake with the Bosch CSW41 worm drive corded circular saw.
  • There is an onboard multi-purpose wrench tool that can help to disassemble the saw, replace the blades and maintain a few lose hinges every now and then.
  • Frustration free official Amazon packaging.

Cons

  •  Weight Factor: Bosch CSW41 weighs in at around 15 – 17 Lbs. It depends on how you use this saw. If you intend to keep it on a table, instead of going mobile, I don't think you’ll hear any complaints.
  • Bosch should have included a carry box or a bag for that matter. One cannot unplug the saw every damn time and fold the cables to put everything in the original packaging. It is not only frustrating, but bending the cables over and over again tends to damage the wiring.
  • After every 10 hours, you need to lubricate the ball bearings with good quality machine oil. I don't see it as a problem, but some skeptics think that this is a major design flaw. You should realize that ball bearings get hot due to constant friction and the oil runs thin over excessive amount of use.

Black & Decker BDECS300C 13 Amp Circular Saw with Laser

Spick n’ span, Black & Decker is a homemade brand for nannies, proud moms and hearty construction fellas in the industry. The company literally caters to the needs of millions of admirers all over the world. That being said, there is an exception to the popularity of Black & Decker products; they are not very durable from long term perspective.

Now I am not just talking about the Black & Decker BDECS300C 13 Amp Circular Saw, take their other products. Hold them up and feel them in your hands. You will realize that the company uses cheap materials to maintain a low price factor. I am okay with creaky coffee makers as long as they are doing their job, but I cannot depend on a squeaky circular saw for that matter.

black & decker circular saw

Also, a dead power tool is a not a good power tool. You cannot move an inch on a plywood sheet if the circular saw dies on you. Not to mention the fact that low quality power tools are a serious hazard to the human health factor, we are looking at a bit of a gamble here. The Black & Decker BDECS300C 13 Amp Circular Saw is perhaps liked due to the laser beam projector.

The laser beam not only runs the entire length of a plank, but I witnessed the far end of the beam thinning into the other corner of the room. Talk about making a straight line cut with this circular saw over any distance, and you got it. Take a look at some of the positives and negatives of this cordless circular saw below:

​​​​Pros

  • Laser Assisted Cutting: Thanks to the mini LED projector, the laser beam is a precious and rare feature for entry level wood workers. A lot of people are not good with following pencil grid lines, so they rely on the assistance of a laser to pave the way.
  • High Affordability: At a steady $40 - $45 range, B&D circular saws offer easy affordability to entry level do-it-yourselfers.
  • Factory provided hex key for helping to assemble and disassemble the saw easily.
  • Easy release spindle lock mechanism for instant blade replacement.

Cons

  •  Potential Safety Flaw: Black & Decker BDECS300C circular saw lacks a safety guard cover for the blade. A naked blade is a constant threat to limbs, and it is also vulnerable to broken tooth if the saw is accidentally dropped on a hard surface.
  • Although this saw boasts of a high speed 5,300 RPM blade rev, there is no guarantee whether it’ll remain steady or not. The saw will occasionally halt in the middle of an intense cutting sessions. I noticed that dry pressure treated sheets were easy to cut as compared to normal planks.

Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2630-20 Bare-Tool 18-Volt 6 1/2-Inch Circular Saw

milwaukee circular saw

If it had not been for the “bare tool” part, I’d have listed the Milwaukee 2630-20 somewhere at the top of this list. Whether it is a brand new purchase or a refurbished knock off at a shady online retailer website, one thing that frizzles the hopes of many woodcutters is that the company did not include any blade with this model.

However, Milwaukee D18 cordless circular saw catches the attention of many who wish to enjoy the privilege of cutting over 59 plywood panels from the convenience of a backyard. The saw maintains a steady price at $100 and offers standard core features to the user base. Plus, there is a trigger release and electric brake combo safety mechanism which wins over the hearts of many intermediate to expert level saw owners in the market.

​​​​Pros

  • Milwaukee 2630-20 Bare-Tool 18-Volt maintains a lightweight profile at approx 8 Lbs.
  • The latest models of this saw come with an extra factory included battery. Some say that BT Milwaukee did not supply batteries with earlier models. However, if you were to contact the company reps on this issue, I am sure that they’ll give you a battery for free or at a very low cost.
  • The combination of trigger release and electric brake safety features serves to prevent serious body injury to all kinds of users. One can never be too careful with cordless circular saws.
  • Magnesium guards and aluminum shoe sort of play a hybrid relationship. Some people like magnesium guard covers, but abhor aluminum because it is not durable. The choice is yours to make.
  • Always on fuel gauge display offers a retro visual on the leftover battery life.

Cons

  •  At 3500 RPM, the Milwaukee 2630-20 Bare-Tool 18-Volt cordless circular saw churns out average performance. The Dewalt DCS391B also has the same RPM, but it maintains the RPM at a constant rate. Milwaukee, on the other hand, slows down in the middle of a thick dense cut.
  • Not a suitable match for pressure treated logs, or dense planks. The saw will work flawless as long as you are throwing 6 inch thick fir, oak and cedar wood sheets its way.

DEWALT DCS391B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Circular Saw, Tool Only

And so it comes down to where we all started. The one and only Dewalt DCS391B 20-Volt cordless circular saw. I personally tested all of these saws through a series of cross cuts. The dimensions were kept the same – i.e. 2x 12 pressure treated panels. As compared to the rest of the aforementioned circular saws, the Dewalt DCS391B 20-Volt ran effortlessly through 5 successive cross cuts with speed and precision.

On the other hand, Porter Cable slowed down, Bosch overheated after 20 minutes and there were some other factors too that led me to believe that Dewalt DCS391B is better than the rest. The minimum time for all 5 cuts for Dewalt was 20 seconds, while the other models varied over time range. This also demonstrates the saw’s capability of keeping a uniform speed, without deviating off course.

dewalt 20v saw-435x296

​​​​Pros

  • Classic Design - Dewalt DCS391B 20v cordless saw demonstrates a strong tie with the old school look. The saw has a classic visual appeal, with the exception of the latest features in it.
  • Easy Line of Sight: Even though there is no laser beam guide, you can still get a clear view of the cutting direction due to blade positioning.
  • Break blade feature helps to prevent bodily harm in the event of any unforeseen accidents etc.
  • Magnesium Shoe: What better way to maintain sturdiness and a lightweight profile than to add magnesium to the circular saw’s housing. At the base of this model, Dewalt added a magnesium plate with ample room to allow for freedom of making bevel cuts.
  • Ergonomics: Standard hand mold design grip with rubberized coating.
  • Officially compatible with a wide range of Dewalt circular saw accessories.

Cons

  •  Dewalt DCS391B 20-Volt is a tool only product. You need to buy a blade and a battery to get started on your wood working ventures immediately.
  • 4.0 Amp-Hour batteries are compatible with this model, but I don’t recommend them at all. You should buy a 5 Amp battery if you want your cordless circular saw to last for an hour or two at most. Dewalt is no exception in this case.

Conclusion

There are literally tens of thousands of circular saws available in online and in real life marketplace. Likewise, it is not necessary for a specific saw from a particular brand to work the same way as it did with a certain category of cut material. Things change; the slight increase in humidity can cause the planks to swell, which can lead to unexpected results.

However, if you were to test all these saws and the ones that you can find at your job site, you will realize that some models are not worth buying. The concept of “ultimate” power saws narrows down to a few handpicked models in the long run. We tried our best to shed light on some of the most popular industry brands. In the end, whichever model you decide to go for, know this that you need to do prior research to make an informed decision.

A circular saw is more of a one-time purchase. Eventually we all look forward to making a clean first cut. What’s the point of investing a huge wad of cash on something that leads to a bad tear out? That is exactly why professionals spend a lot of time in choosing the “right” and best circular saw. I wish you good luck, and don’t forget to share your experiences through the comments section below.

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