Buying a circular saw
Looking for a new circular saw? I am. I have a cheap old one that I bought at Home Depot about 10 years ago and has almost had it with my torture. So now I am looking at my options for buying a new circular saw. Am I going wireless? How much will I use it? What do I need it for? How Much Power Do I Really Need On My Circular Saw?
I spoke to my brother Joe about it. He is a contractor in Buffalo, New York and a huge fan of DeWalt tools. He always looks for the best quality in his tools. Joe said cordless circular saws are good for when working on a roof or in places where access to power is limited or no power. When it comes to strength, Joey says that the newer cordless tools have almost the power of corded tools. Almost, but not quite, and certainly not if you use them to cut framing pieces all day. Joe has a worm gear and a regular circular saw. Take out your Skil HD77M worm drive circular saw when you need to get through the big stuff. But when he’s going to mow 2×4 all day, he uses the lighter DeWalt 368K. And for ceiling cutting, use your DeWalt Wireless DC300K with a NANO battery. Joe said he got into NANO technology because it’s very cold in Buffalo and he wants the reliability of lithium-ion batteries, which will perform just as well in cold temperatures. And the best thing about them is that DeWalt NANO batteries are compatible with all of your DeWalt cordless tools.
Hmm. But what kind of circular saw do I want? While I am not a contractor, I am an avid DIY hobbyist who has a good job as a tool blog editor. Yes, I get a huge discount on the high-quality tools sold on the Toolking Superstore and of course I’ve been taking advantage of that! (cheeky plug; 0) Seriously though, even if I didn’t get the discount, ToolKing has the lowest prices, especially if you go for the refurbished versions (trust me, I’ve checked). The ToolKing secret (for all ecommerce wannabes) is that they buy in very large amounts from companies like DeWalt and Makita and that leverage gives them a better price, which they then pass on to your customer, aka: you.
Anyhoo ~ back to buying my circular saw.
Wired versus wireless
I am debating whether to go for a corded or cordless circular saw. My husband and I bought the smallest and most horrible house in our neighborhood, so we are in the middle of remodeling almost our entire house. Because we both work full time, we remodel in streaks. Our circular saw just screwed us up on the last project. We were framing an outdoor patio with 6×6 for laying pavers. Poop, it was our circular saw, he had had enough. Like I said before, it was old, cheap, and from Home Depot. Okay, maybe we were pushing a bit on the 6x6s, but who doesn’t push their tools to the limit of what they’re supposed to be used for? Especially homeowners, who typically don’t have the large selection of tools that a contractor would have, or don’t always have the ‘right tool’ for the job (the right tool for this job would have been a circular saw with a Prazi cutter attachment. beams).
After a bit of discussion, we decided to go for a corded circular saw or a lithium-ion battery powered circular saw because we often spend several weeks or months between projects. When we need to use the circular saw, we want to use it now. Lithium-ion batteries have a long life, which means that they will remain charged even if they sit on your garage shelf (in the cold) for several weeks. They are also extremely light. So if we go wireless, we will go for the lithium-ion cordless circular saw. Makita makes a nice LiIon circular saw and you can get one with the purchase of their LXT700 18v LiIon combo kit. However, the LiIon circular saw included in the LXT700 kit has a 6-1 / 2-inch saw blade, not a 7-1 / 4, which is what we are looking for.
I walked into the Toolking store. The ToolKing store has a great setup, Doug and the guys have redesigned the whole layout so now you can tap and hold all the tools. I love that! You can really get an idea which one you like best because when it comes to options, there are plenty of high-quality tools available, but which one feels best in You hands? Most contractor grade circular saws have a powerful 15 amp motor, magnesium casing (for lightness and strength), a bevel capacity of at least 45 degrees, and excellent safety features. Personally, I need to take each one as if I am using it, and check the position of the handles for comfort and how good my line of sight will be with the blade.
These are the circular saws that I compared:
1. I took the DeWalt DW368K. Lightweight at 9.5 pounds, it’s tough enough to withstand a 1-story drop. The DeWalt DW368K also has a 56 degree bevel capability.
2. The Makita 5007FAK is a bit heavier at 11.1 pounds, but it does have this LED light on board and a ruler on the footrest. How many times do you work in a room with the light on your back?
3. I am a huge fan of the Bosch company for everything I have learned about their power tool recycling program and other proactive environmental projects. The most interesting feature of the Bosch CS20 (10.3 lb) saw is its direct connect cable management system. The Bosch CS20 has no cable, you plug in the power cable. So you never have to deal with replacing the cord or throwing your tool away because the cord has broken. The Bosch CS20 also has a blower at the front that blows sawdust out of your way as you cut so you can see where you are cutting. The Bosch CS20 also bevels at 56 degrees.
4. Then there was the Porter-Cable 324MAG. Super lightweight, the 324MAG weighs 9.6 pounds. Of the circular saws I looked at, only the Porter Cable brand had an exhaust port for a vacuum attachment, a nice feature for working in the garage or around the house.
5. Milwaukee manufactures the Tilt-lok 6394-21. It’s the most expensive of the bunch at $ 175, but it features a unique Tilt-Lok handle that’s probably more adjustable than I am. The Tilt-Lok on the Milwaukee 6294-21 adjusts to 8 different lock positions, making it easy to work at angles and overhead. The Milwaukee circular saw also has a 10 foot Quik-Lok cord for easy cord replacement and with a 3 horsepower motor it works just as hard as my Polish carpenter dad.
A good circular saw should have enough power to cut wet wood without slowing down or dangerous kickback. A good circular saw should also be lightweight and durable because you will inadvertently drop it to the ground. You should choose a circular saw based on balance, maneuverability, and how you feel when you hold it. Good luck!