Tool Test: 18v Cordless Circular Saws
Modern cordless saws cut fast and run for a long time.
Synopsis: Builders, remodelers, and DIYers can be overwhelmed when faced with purchasing a cordless circular saw. There are many models available and numerous features to consider. Longtime remodeler Doug Mahoney tested all the current 18v 6-1/2-in. cordless circular saws from major manufacturers in preparation for writing this article. He looked at their ergonomics, cutting performance, and any unusual or notable features they had. He tested each saw’s cutting speed and how many cuts the saw could make before its battery was spent. After testing all the models, Doug had a clear winner. He also chose the saw that represents the best value. Photo: Patrick McCombe
When I first started as a carpenter 15 years ago, cordless circular saws had weak cutting ability and short run-times. Now with the rise of lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology, 4.0-amp-hour (Ah) batteries, and brushless motors, the newest saws are superior to their predecessors.
I recently tested eight 6 1⁄2-in. 18v models from all the major manufacturers. I looked only at saws that could cut through 2x stock at a 45° bevel, and I focused exclusively on 18v saws because they are the most popular. When possible, I ordered saw kits, which include at least one battery (sometimes two) and a case. Many of these saws are also sold as bare tools, and these are identified in the individual specs. This is important because most builders and many DIYers already have multiple 18v batteries for their other cordless tools, so a nice cordless saw doesn’t have to be a huge investment.
The primary strengths of a cordless saw are fast setup and total mobility. When the saw isn’t tethered to an outlet, climbing staging to trim a rafter tail becomes a quick task — and with one less extension cord kicking around, it’s also a safer one.…