Best Cordless Circular Saw: Which Saw Should You Buy?

Circular saws are powerful, versatile, and portable tools that every woodworker should have. Cordless circular saws take portability a step further. Since they don’t have to be plugged in, these saws can go to work anywhere you can think of. Many of them take portability a step further by using compact designs and lightweight materials. Do cordless circular saws give up power or versatility for portability? For more information on circular saw check out our guide Circular Saws.

Ryobi One+ 18V 5 ½ Inch Cordless Circular Saw

Ryobi’s 18 volt, 5 ½ inch One+ cordless circular saw is certainly portable, weighing in at only 5.5 pounds. With a 4,700 RPM motor, it generates plenty of power as well. The 5 ½ inch blade will cut material as thick as two inches straight up, or 1 9/16 inches at a 45 degree angle. That is just enough to handle 2x dimensional lumber.

Things we like:

  • Affordable saw that has the capacity to handle most cutting jobs
  • Laser guide shows where the blade is headed
  • Handy and compact size

Things we don’t like:

  • Uses blades with 10MM arbor, which can be tough to find
  • Battery life is limited, so it’s not an all-day worker
  • Laser guide can be difficult to adjust

Black and Decker 20V Max 5 ½ Inch Cordless Circular Saw

Black and Decker has a reputation for making affordable tools that are great for do-it-yourselfers, and the 20V, 5 ½ inch Max cordless circular saw is no exception. It uses a 5 ½ inch blade that can cut 1 7/8 inches on a 90 degree angle, so 2x dimensional lumber is no problem.

best cordless circular saw

Things we like:

  • Users report excellent battery life
  • Motor puts out enough torque to easily cut pressure treated 2×6 lumber

Things we don’t like:

  • At 7.5 pounds, this saw is as heavy as a corded saw
  • Some users report that the tool isn’t durable

Makita Cordless Circular Saw 18V LXT 6 ½ Inch

The Makita 18V, 6 ½ inch cordless circular saw is a little powerhouse. The motor runs at 3,700 rpm. The blade is big enough to cut 2 ¼ inch material straight up or 2x dimensional lumber with a 45 degree bevel. At 6.5 pounds, portability is good.

best cordless circular saw

Things we like:

  • The shoe is machined, not stamped, for accuracy and durability
  • Solid cutter that can power through 2x lumber

Things we don’t like:

  • Battery life is limited, especially when cutting 2x lumber
  • Not a replacement for corded saws as an all-day cutter

DeWalt 20V Max 7 ¼ Inch Cordless Circular Saw with Brake

The 7 ¼ inch 20V Max DeWalt circular saw is a cordless saw that works like a corded saw. It uses the same 7 ¼ inch blades as most plug-in saws. It can cut material as thick as 2 9/16 inches, and make bevel cuts in material up to 1 5/8 inches thick. The motor operates at a beefy 5,200 RPM. At 7.5 pounds, it is on the heavy side for a cordless saw.

best cordless circular saw

Things we like:

  • Good battery life and good power make this an all-day cutter
  • Full-sized blade means you have the same cutting ability as a corded saw
  • Blade brake for safety lets you move between cuts without waiting for the blade to stop

Things we don’t like:

  • Heavy for a cordless saw

Milwaukee M18 Fuel 6 ½ Inch Brishless, Cordless Circular Saw

The 6 ½ inch brushless circular saw from Milwaukee is a lightweight dynamo. At 6.8 pounds, it is easy to carry. The motor runs at 5,000 RPM, which is plenty for most cutting jobs. It uses a 6 ½ inch blade, which can cut up to 2 1/8 inch material.

best cordless circular saw

Things we like:

  • Portable saw with plug-in power
  • Brushless motor for maximum durability
  • Good battery life

Things we don’t like:

  • Most expensive saw reviewed

Using Your Cordless Circular Saw

Once you bring home your circular saw, chances are you are ready to start cutting. One of the most important accessories you can buy for your circular saw isn’t a power tool….it is the humble speed square. A speed square is a measuring and marking tool that will help you make straight cuts, mark angles accurately, scribe lines for rip cuts, and check your handiwork to make sure it is square.

To scribe cross-cut lines, measure with your tape and mark the correct length on the board. Place your speed square on the piece with one edge aligned with your cut line and the lip of the square pressed up against the edge of the board. Drag your pencil along the edge of the speed square to mark a cut line that is a perfect 90 degrees from the edge of the board. If you’re looking for the best circular saw blades check out, Best Circular Saw Blades – Buyer’s Guide.

Circular Saw Fence

To use a speed square as a fence for your circular saw, mark the cut line as described above. Hold your saw with the blade aligned with the cut line, but don’t cut yet. Press the lip of the speed square against the edge of the board and butt it up against the edge of the saw’s shoe. Presto! You now have a saw fence that guarantees you will cut a straight line.

You can also use the speed square as a guide for cutting 45 degree angles. Just run the saw shoe along the long side of the square instead of the short side. This is useful for framing roofs, making boxes, and other projects that require you to join two boards together to form a corner.

Scribing Rip Cuts

If you are using your circular saw to make a rip cut along the length of a board, the speed square is a great way scribe the line. The interior of a speed square has a ruler that measures the distance from the inside of the lip.

There are small notches along this ruler at common distances. By putting your pencil point into these notches and sliding the square down the length of the board, you can mark a line perfectly at that distance from the edge.

Choosing a Cordless Circular Saw

If you are looking for a cordless circular saw to replace a corded saw, the DeWalt 20V 7 ¼ inch cordless circular saw is the way to go. It uses the same 7 ¼ inch blades as regular saws. The motor runs at 5,200 RPM, which is also comparable to most sidewinder corded circular saws. This is a tool that can run all day and do the same job as any corded saw.

For maximum portability, or if you are on a budget, the Ryobi One+ 5 ½ inch cordless saw is the best choice. It is the lightest and least expensive saw reviewed. At only 5.5 pounds, it won’t weigh you down. If you’re looking for a circular saw at Lowe’s, check out our guide, Lowe’s Circular Saw Buying Guide. If you’re looking for information on brand specific circular saws check out these guides, Makita Circular Saw Review + Buyer’s Guide, Ryobi Circular Saw Review + Buyer’s Guide, DeWalt Circular Saw Overview, and Milwaukee Circular Saw Review: Everything You Need to Know.

About Russ Thompson

Hey I'm Russ and I have been a contractor for over 20 years. I know what the cost of having the right tools and materials for the job. My passion for woodworking and helping others by workshops in my wood shop. I have beginner classes all the way up expert trade classes. Check out my bio for more.

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