A circular saw is probably the most common tool on a job site. In this article, tool tester and industry writer Michael Springer shares what he learned after putting 14 sidewinder saws through several tests to determine relative power, to determine cutline accuracy, and to assess the retraction of blade guards in various cutting scenarios. To eliminate differences in stock blades, he outfitted each saw with a new Irwin Marathon blade. His top performer was the DeWalt DW369CSK, and the best-value model was the Ridgid R32021. In addition to detailed profiles of seven of the saws–profiles of the entire group of 14 are on FineHomebuilding.com–Springer offers a list of features shared by the top saws and how compromises on these features can affect performance: cutline indicators, blade visibility, bevel adjustments, baseplate, guard retraction, saw-to-baseplate connection, and depth adjustments.
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