Milwaukee Circular Saw Review: Everything You Need to Know

Milwaukee circular saws are for people who say, “my last saw couldn’t ____________.” If you are looking at a Milwaukee circular saw, chances are you already have a saw that wore out, bogged down, weighed you down, or just couldn’t handle what you need. These are high-quality, heavy-duty saws built to take on tough cutting jobs day after day.

If you know your way around a circular saw already, but want to step up in power, portability, or durability, read on.

At a Glance Our Top Picks for Milwaukee Circular Saw:

Milwaukee Circular Saw Tilt Lock 7 ¼ Inch 

The 7 ¼ inch tilt lock circular saw is Milwaukee’s most basic model. It uses a 7 ¼ inch blade and a standard power cord. This saw will perform all the tasks you can ask of a circular saw.

Things we like:

  • Tilt-lock feature allows users to adjust handle position to get the most convenient cutting position
  • 15 amp motor and 7 ¼ inch blades handle most cutting tasks with ease
  • Cuts lumber up to 2 ½ inches thick in one pass
  • Steel gears in the drivetrain for durability
  • If you don’t already have Milwaukee battery packs, this is the most affordable option

Things we don’t like:

  • Anything this saw can do, another model can do better

Milwaukee Circular Saw M12 Fuel 5 3/8 Inch 

Milwaukee’s cordless 5 3/8 inch circular saw is made to move. At 5.35 pounds, this little powerhouse is the lightest circular saw makes.

milwaukee circular saw

Things we like:

  • Did we mention it’s lightweight? This saw is an excellent choice for jobs that require users to move around a lot.
  • 5 3/8 inch blade can cut lumber up to 1 5/8 inch thick. This includes 2x dimensional lumber (which serious woodworkers know is actually 1 ½ inches thick).
  • Good battery life.
  • Brushless motor for longer tool life.

Things we don’t like:

  • Lacks the size and power for the biggest cutting jobs.
  • If you have to buy battery packs and chargers, this saw becomes an expensive proposition.

Milwaukee Circular Saw 6 ½ Inch M18 Brushless 

The Milwaukee 6 ½ inch 18 volt circular saw is a step up in weight and power from the 5 3/8 inch model. This is an all-around saw designed to compete with the standard 7 ¼ inch saws.

Milwaukee Circular Saw

Things we like:

  • 5000 RPM motor has enough power to cut 2x lumber without bogging down
  • Much lighter than the standard 7 ¼ inch saw
  • Users report good battery life

Things we don’t like:

  • Many users report that the allen key used to change blades doesn’t stay in the housing.
  • As with other cordless tools, buying the full range of accessories is expensive.

Milwaukee Circular Saw 7 ¼ Inch Worm Drive 

When a standard sidewinder saw just won’t cut it, contractors step up to a worm drive saw. These saws use a gear arrangement called a worm gear that transmits more torque to the blade.

Milwaukee Circular Saw

Things we like:

  • Worm drive and a plug mean this saw has cutting power to spare.
  • Excellent choice for cutting hardwoods or ripping 2x material.
  • Heavy duty composite shoe for durability.

Things we don’t like:

  • At over 15 pounds, much heavier than other 7 ¼ inch saws.
  • Costs nearly twice as much as the standard 7 ¼ inch Milwaukee circular saw.

Milwaukee Circular Saw 10 ¼ Inch 

The 10 ¼ inch circular is the biggest and most powerful circular saw from Milwaukee. It is also the most expensive.

Milwaukee Circular Saw

Things we like:

  • 10 ¼ inch blade can cut 4x material in one pass.
  • 15 amp, 5200 RPM motor provides enough cutting power to keep the big blade spinning.
  • A great choice if you are cutting timbers on a regular basis.
  • Electric brake stops the blade quickly to cut down on waiting between cuts.

Things we don’t like:

  • Milwaukee’s heaviest saw, it tips the scales at 17.8 pounds.
  • A lot more saw than most users really need.

Tricks and Tips for Using a Circular Saw

To get the most out of your circular saw, there are some important tricks to know.

  • If you wan to learn the basics of how to use a circular saw, check out How to Use a Circular Saw
  • Use a square to check the angle of the blade relative to the shoe frequently. It is tough to get projects to come together correctly if the blade angle is off. Milwaukee circular saws all have bevel adjustments. Use these adjustments to guarantee that you saw is cutting 90 degree angles.
  • Experienced users will know how to set up a straight edge to guide circular saw cuts. But did you know that you can build a track guide for your circular saw? Track guides can be clamped to the lumber you are cutting flush with the cut line. A good track guide lets you cut straight lines with minimal layout work.
  • Circular saws can be a poor choice for some fine woodwork because they leave rough tear-out splinters along the top side of the cut. However, there are some simple tricks you can use to get a smoother cut. Cutting the lumber with the side to be finished facing down, covering the cut line with masking tape, and cutting a shallow groove in the cut line prior to making the final cut will all reduce tear-out.
  • For the best circular saw rail guide system, check out this guide.

Our Choice

Milwaukee circular saws are available for a wide range of uses, and they make saws that are fantastic for special uses. If you just need a basic circular saw, the best choice is the least expensive. The Milwaukee 7 ¼ inch tilt lock saw is an all-around great choice. It is powerful and big enough to cut almost everything. If you only have one circular saw, this is the one to have.

If you need a portable saw that can go anywhere, look at the Milwaukee M18 6 ½ inch circular saw. It cordless and lightweight, but cuts 2x lumber with ease.

If you need to cut lots of 4x timbers, check out the Milwaukee 10 ¼ inch circular saw. This saw will cut timbers in a single pass with no need to cut and flip and cut again. This saw isn’t right for everyone, but it excels at cutting the big stuff. Do you need a compact circular saw? If so, check out Best Compact Circular Saw 2019

About Brandon Potters

Hi, I’m Brandon and I can’t express how excited I am that you chose The Saw Guy as your resource for project ideas, tool reviews, and all-around guide to the world of DIY. I spent years in the construction industry refining my knowledge of various trades and even spent a few years working at a major hardware store. ​If there is anyone who can help you make a well-informed, unbiased, budget-conscious decision, it’s me and my team.

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