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The Best Cordless Circular Saws of 2021 – Top Picks and Buying Guide

Here’s our review of the best cordless circular saws in 2021.

My personal experience tells me that getting the appropriate circular saw in the first place is essential to avoid difficulties and make sure you’ll get the job done.

A good cordless circular saw has to be a powerful one that offers good portability to help you achieve your projects easily and quickly. If the saw has a few useful features, that’s even better. You’ll find these criteria in the two saws we picked as being the best, namely the Makita XSH03Z and the Milwaukee 2830-20, but also in many of our other picks.

But, not all of you will be looking for such high-quality cordless circular saws. You might simply be looking for an inexpensive model that will be good enough for occasional use. You might also be in the opposite situation. A situation in which you need a very powerful saw for heavy-duty jobs and that allows for higher spending.

Every situation is different. And that’s why, as you’ll see, we’ve chosen to categorize our reviews so that you can easily find the cordless circular saw you need.

Let’s get to it.

Best Cordless Circular Saws – Our Picks

Because we want to give you the most actionable information, we’ve divided our review into sections and subsections that will help you pick the cordless circular saw that matches your needs.

First, which cordless circular saw type do you want? Are you looking for a sidewinder saw or a rear-handle saw? 

To check out our sidewinder cordless circular saw picks, keep reading.

For rear-handle cordless circular saws, click here.

In case you need some advice first, or more details on the differences between sidewinder and rear-handle saws, check out our tips for choosing a cordless circular saw

Best Sidewinder Cordless Circular Saws

Here is our selection of the best sidewinder cordless circular saws. This section is divided into five subsections and designed to anticipate the different needs and budgets you might have. 

Top Pick: Makita XSH03Z 18V LXT 6-1/2 in. Circular Saw

Saw Drive Type: Direct drive
Motor: Brushless
Blade Size / Location: 6-1/2 in. / Left
Max Cut Depth (90°/45°): 2-1/4 in. / 1-5/8 in.
Max Bevel: 50°
Arbor Size: 5/8 in.
Max Speed: 5,000 RPM
Battery System: 18V LXT
Cuts per charge: /
Weight: 7.3 lbs
Electric Brake: Yes 
Gear Oiling: Not required
Dust Port: No
Dust Blower: Yes
Additional Features: Automatic Speed Change, Star Protection Computer Controls

Our gold medalist for best cordless circular saw is the Makita XSH03Z!

This saw uses the Makita BL brushless motor. This type of electronically-controlled motor is supposed to match torque and speed to the application through the Automatic Speed Change technology. And it seems to actually be doing that very well. The speed and power it produces are pretty impressive and allow for easy and quickly made cuts. The other additional feature the saw uses is the Star Protection Computer Controls system, which protects the saw against overloading, over-discharging, and over-heating.

The saw’s electric brake stops the blade quickly. This is an excellent safety feature that also allows the user to work faster.

The quality of its ergonomics also needs to be highlighted. Thanks to its magnesium shoe, blade guard, and safety cover, this saw is pretty light. It is compact, comfortable to use, and easy to control. Its dust blower is also very useful to keep the cutline always visible. 

The Makita XSH03Z is a very good saw that had to be on top of our list. There are better saws with more features on the market, of course. But within this price range, which may well be that of most DIYers and contractors, this is definitely the best cordless circular saw, in our opinion. And, according to these customer reviews, it seems that it has already given satisfaction to many others.


Runner-Up: Dewalt DCS570B 20V Max 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw

Saw Drive Type: Direct drive
Motor: Brushless
Blade Size / Location: 7-1/4 in. / Right
Max Cut Depth (90°/45°): 2-9/16 in. / 2 in.
Max Bevel: 57°
Arbor Size: 5/8 in.
Max Speed: 5,500 RPM
Battery System: 20V Max
Cuts per charge: 330 crosscuts in 2×4
Weight: 7.5 lbs
Electric Brake: Yes 
Gear Oiling: Not required
Dust Port: No
Dust Blower: No
Additional Features: /

On the second step of the podium is the Dewalt DCS570B!

Just like the Makita XSH03Z, this cordless circular saw uses a brushless motor that is used to limit friction, thus increasing durability. And its max speed of 5,500 RPM allows for performing very effective cuts. 

The saw’s 7-1/4 in. blade allows for cuts up to 2-9/16 in. deep at 90° angles. And thanks to its battery, it can make 330 of those cuts per charge on 2×4 boards.

Like the Makita XSH03Z, this saw uses an effective electric brake. It also has an aluminum shoe that makes it lighter and helps to provide very good portability to the user.

The DCS570B is a very good cordless circular saw as it provides good cutting power, battery time, and portability. Many customer reviews confirm this, by the way. But, as it hasn’t got many other additional features, that’s not the saw that wins the award. 


Upgrade Pick: Metabo HPT C3607DAQ4 36V MultiVolt 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw

Saw Drive Type: Direct drive
Motor: Brushless
Blade Size / Location: 7-1/4 in. / Right
Max Cut Depth (90°/45°): 2-7/16 in. / 1-7/8 in.
Max Bevel: 55°
Arbor Size: 5/8 in.
Max Speed: 4,300 RPM
Battery System: 36V MultiVolt
Cuts per charge: 220 crosscuts in 2×8 
Weight: 9.7 lbs
Electric Brake: Yes 
Gear Oiling: Not required
Dust Port: No
Dust Blower: Yes
Additional Features: Soft Start, AC Adapter

If you’re not satisfied with our top pick and you’re looking for a more powerful cordless circular that also has more features, you should take a close look at the Metabo HPT C3607DAQ4.

It has all the features the Makita XSH03Z has, starting with a brushless motor. This type of motor gives the saw better efficiency, runtime, and durability. The saw also uses an electric brake that stops the blade quickly for increased safety and faster work as well as a dust blower that keeps the cutline clean at all times. 

This cordless saw is strong. It delivers very good power. That’s no surprise it comes with a soft start feature to help tame the beast at start-up.

The following feature is rather unusual. If you need to, you may also plug the C3607DAQ4 into an outlet. Yes, for real! All you need is to purchase the AC adapter that you can buy separately, and you’ll be able to power the saw directly from the outlet and save the battery.

The Metabo HPT C3607DAQ4 has numerous qualities. It is a premium choice if you’re looking for a tool with great power and many features. As the manufacturer puts it, “you have the ideal saw to get the job done”. We don’t know if it’s the ideal saw, but it’s certainly a great saw! And we’re pretty sure that if you decide to buy it, just like these customers, you won’t regret it. 


Best Budget: Porter-Cable PCC660B 20V Max 6-1/2 in. Circular Saw

Saw Drive Type: Direct drive
Motor: Brushed
Blade Size / Location: 6-1/2 in. / Left
Max Cut Depth (90°): 2-1/8 in. 
Max Bevel: 50°
Arbor Size: 5/8 in.
Max Speed: 4,000 RPM
Battery System: 20V Max
Cuts per charge: /
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Electric Brake: No 
Gear Oiling: Not required
Dust Port: No
Dust Blower: No
Additional Features: /

If you need a circular saw for occasional around-the-house projects and don’t want to spend too much money on it, you may want to consider the Porter-Cable PCC660B.

To be clear, this is not a very powerful saw and it has no fancy features. However, it’ll tackle most light-duty tasks that an occasional DIYer might want to achieve.

In other words, this circular saw is the type you want if you don’t habitually do a lot of cutting but still want to have a tool at your disposal that will do the job when needed, without having spent too much money.

This Porter-Cable saw is light and has a pretty well-thought ergonomic design. It offers good comfort of use.

You can check the customer reviews here.

The PCC660B is definitely not the cordless circular saw you want for building a deck or for achieving any similar project. It is, however the type of affordable saw that will please occasional DIYers who are essentially looking for portability and who don’t mind getting additional features.


Best Large-Cut-Capacity: Makita XSH10Z 36V (18V X2) LXT 9-1/4 in. Circular Saw

Saw Drive Type: Direct drive
Motor: Brushless
Blade Size / Location: 9-1/4 in. / Right
Max Cut Depth (90°/45°): 3-3/8 in. / 2-3/8 in.
Max Bevel: 60°
Arbor Size: 5/8 in.
Max Speed: 4,500 RPM
Battery System: 36V (2X 18V) LXT
Cuts per charge: 110 crosscuts in 3×12
Weight: 13.2 lbs
Electric Brake: Yes 
Gear Oiling: Not required
Dust Port: Yes
Dust Blower: Yes
Additional Features: Soft Start, Automatic Speed Change

If you need to tackle larger projects, you might need a cordless circular saw with a larger cut capacity. In our opinion, the best sidewinder saw for that is the Makita XSH10Z.

Thanks to a 3-3/8 in. cut capacity at 90° and a strong brushless motor, it powers through most thick materials without difficulty. The saw also comes with Makita’s Automatic Speed Change Technology, which regulates and matches speed and torque to the application, a soft start, and an electric brake.

The XSH10Z is, of course, heavier with its 13.2 lbs. But, despite the weight, it’s pretty comfortable to use and easy to manoeuver. Note that the saw could even have been heavier if Makita had not used a magnesium shoe, blade guard, and blade cover.

Lastly, the saw has both a dust port and a dust blower, thus allowing for connecting it to a dust collector and for keeping the cutline clearly visible at all times.

The Makita XSH10Z has a large cut capacity, power, most features you may dream of, and has already pleased many customers. It is a great saw, that’s for sure. But size and quality come with a cost. So you’ll have to be willing to spend a bit more on this one.


Best Rear-Handle Circular Saw

Now, here is our selection of the best rear-handle cordless circular saws. This section is divided in the same way as the previous one. But here, our runner-up is also our budget pick.

Top Pick: Milwaukee 2830-20 M18 FUEL 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw

Saw Drive Type: Direct drive
Motor: Brushless
Blade Size / Location: 7-1/4 in. / Left
Max Cut Depth (90°/45°): 2-1/2 in. / 1-7/8 in.
Max Bevel: 53°
Arbor: 5/8 in. diamond arbor
Max Speed: 5,800 RPM
Battery System: 18V M18 FUEL
Cuts per charge: 570 cuts per charge
Weight: 10 lbs
Electric Brake: Yes 
Gear Oiling: Not required
Dust Port: Yes
Dust Blower: Yes
Additional Features: Redlink Plus Intelligence

For our top pick, we wanted a very powerful saw that has good portability and good features and whose price might be affordable enough to fit the budget of both contractors and the most advanced DIYers.

And the cordless circular saw that stood out from the rest is the Milwaukee 2830-20. 

This saw uses the Milwaukee Powerstate brushless motor that is supposed to generate the power and performance of a 15 amp corded circular saw. And it does! It truly produces great power that allows for easy and very quick cuts. The electric brake does its part in taming that brutal power by stopping the blade quickly and effectively.

The saw uses Milwaukee’s Redlink Plus Intelligence. This technology ensures optimal performance and provides overload protection to prevent damage to the saw and battery during heavy-duty operation.

This cordless circular saw is not the lightest but is quite easy to manoeuver, though it starts to get pretty heavy when you use a larger battery. But overall, it has good portability. 

The saw has a dust port that you can connect to a vacuum. The dust blower is effective. It allows you to keep an eye on the cutline the whole time.

If you’re looking for a rear-handle cordless circular saw that has great power and won’t cost you too much money, then the Milwaukee 2830-20 is very likely to be the one you need. If you want more feedback on this tool, you can check out these customer reviews.


Runner-Up + Best Budget: Makita XSR01Z 36V (18V X2) LXT 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw 

Saw Drive Type: Direct drive
Motor: Brushless
Blade Size / Location: 7-1/4 in. / Left
Max Cut Depth (90°/45°): 2-9/16 in. / 1-3/4 in.
Max Bevel: 53°
Arbor Size: 5/8 in.
Max Speed: 5,100 RPM
Battery System: 36V (2X 18V) LXT
Cuts per charge: 558 crosscuts in 2×4
Weight: 12.4 lbs
Electric Brake: Yes 
Gear Oiling: Not required
Dust Port: No
Dust Blower: Yes
Additional Features: Automatic Speed Change, Star Protection Computer Controls

Yes, here comes yet another Makita saw. Makita guys are known for making great brushless tools. And they’ve shown that once again with the XSR01Z. What a bunch of braggers!

Seriously, this saw produces great power and has many interesting features, though not as many as the Milwaukee 2830-20. If the Milwaukee 2830-20 is too expensive for you, the Makita XSR03Z is a great pick that will save you a few bucks.

To be more specific, the only feature this saw hasn’t got is a dust port. That’s it. It is also a bit heavier than the Milwaukee saw, despite its magnesium shoe and blade guard, and aluminum blade cover. But overall, it has pretty good portability. 

To check out the customer reviews, click here.


Upgrade Pick: Skilsaw SPTH77M 48V TRUEHVL 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw

Saw Drive Type: Worm drive
Motor: Brushless
Blade Size / Location: 7-1/4 in. / Left
Max Cut Depth (90°/45°): 2-3/8 in. / 1-15/16 in.
Max Bevel: 53°
Arbor Size: 5/8 in.
Max Speed: 5,800 RPM
Battery System: 48V TRUEHVL
Cuts per charge: 425 cuts per charge
Weight: 11.09 lbs
Electric Brake: Yes 
Gear Oiling: Required
Dust Port: Yes
Dust Blower: No
Additional Features: TRUEHVL with Stay Cool Technology

The previous circular saws are high-quality saws that use direct drives, which gives them limited power compared to worm drive saws. If you’re the type of DIYer who wants to add the most powerful tools to his arsenal, you certainly need a worm drive saw, the Skilsaw SPTH77M.

Those having already used the legendary corded worm drive saw in the past may have an idea about the amount of power and torque it generates. And frankly, the reality is not far from what you’d imagine. Boy, this cordless saw has power!

Thanks to its brushless motor rotating the blade up to 5,800 RPM and its high-torque producing worm drive, this cordless circular saw slices wood as if it’s a piece of butter. 

The SPTH77M is powered by a TRUEHVL battery. The TRUEHVL battery system uses the Stay Cool technology, which is designed to boost the saw’s performance by monitoring and optimizing each battery cell. 

The saw’s additional features include a dust extraction system, as well as an electric brake that helps stop the blade faster. We would’ve loved a dust blower as well, but there is none.

Overall, this circular saw offers good portability and control. This is partly due to its magnesium construction, and above all, to its legendary optimum design. 

If you’re looking for is the strongest, most powerful 7-¼ in. cordless circular saw with good runtime and portability, the Skilsaw SPTH77M is the one. Check out these customer reviews. They almost unanimously share the same high opinion on this saw.


Best Large-Cut-Capacity: Skilsaw SPTH70M TRUEHVL 10-1/4 in. Circular Saw

Saw Drive Type: Worm drive
Motor: Brushless
Blade Size / Location: 10-1/4 in. / Left
Max Cut Depth (90°/45°): 3-11/16 in. / 2-3/4 in.
Max Bevel: 51°
Arbor Size: 5/8 in.
Max Speed: 4,300 RPM
Battery System: 48V TRUEHVL
Cuts per charge: /
Weight: 13.54 lbs
Electric Brake: Yes 
Gear Oiling: Required
Dust Port: Yes
Dust Blower: No
Additional Features: TRUEHVL with Stay Cool Technology

Seduced by the power of the previous cordless circular saw but need one that can cut through larger pieces?

Wait then. Skilsaw has a bigger saw that performs just as effectively. This saw is the SPTH70M.  

It has the same type of brutal power and the same features the SPTH77M has, the difference being it can cut 4×4 in one pass. 

Let’s just quickly enumerate the saw’s features, as you can find them detailed in the previous review. These include a brushless motor, the TRUEHVL battery system, an electric brake, and a dust port.

Just like the SPTH77M, Skil has done a terrific job with this cordless circular saw by creating the feeling of actually using the exact same saw as the original corded model. We could even say this cordless saw is better than the original since it gives you added portability thanks to its lighter weight and the absence of a cord while still offering very good battery time.

If you’re used to corded worm drives and getting rid of the cord sounds appealing to you, we strongly advise you to try this saw out if your budget allows it. 

Check out these customer reviews that basically say the same thing.


Choosing the Best Cordless Circular Saw – Factors to Consider

To find the best cordless circular saw, the one you need, you have to pay attention to its features. Understanding how those features translate in practice and assessing your needs will help you sort between all available cordless circular saw models and ultimately select the one that’s made for you. 

So, to make sure that you’ll get the best out of your cordless circular saw and that it will best match your needs, consider the following points.

Sidewinder or Rear-Handle Cordless Circular Saw?

Generally speaking, there are two different types of circular saw designs you can choose from: sidewinder saws and worm drive saws. So why is this section’s title not “sidewinder vs worm drive saws”? Why do we use the term rear-handle saw instead? 

The explanation simply lies in the fact that cordless worm drive saws aren’t true worm drives, except for the Skilsaw 48V cordless circular saw. And therefore, as they have the same external look, we’ll call them rear-handle saws instead.

Now, what’s the difference between sidewinder saws and rear-handle saws? And what is a worm drive saw?

  • Sidewinder cordless circular saws use a direct drive. What that means is the motor is mounted in line with the blade. This setup allows this type of saw to reach higher speeds than worm drive saws. It also allows for making more compact circular saws that are generally lighter and more portable than rear-handle cordless saws.
  • Except for the 48V Skilsaw, rear-handle cordless circular saws use a direct drive, just like sidewinder saws. They are therefore able to reach similar speeds but their worm drive-like profile makes them heavier than sidewinders. That being said, this narrow design may be useful in situations where you need extended reach capacity or accessing tighter spaces.
  • As we already said, real worm drive circular saws are only represented by the 48V Skilsaw within the cordless power tools space. Unlike sidewinder saws, worm drive saws have their motor placed at the back and they use right-angle gears. The gears add weight to the saw and don’t allow for reaching very high speeds. It is thanks to this setup, however, that this type of saw develops the brutal torque or force it is known for (1).

After reading this, the questions you want to ask yourself are pretty straightforward. Do you want a worm drive cordless circular saw? If yes, then your only option is to buy the Skilsaw model. But, if you’re not necessarily looking for such a strong saw, the type you choose is simply a matter of personal preference. 

For more on the different types of circular saws, you may want to check out the following link: different types of circular saws

Blade Size

Cordless circular saws come in different blade sizes. This point is crucial as it is going to determine the cut depth you’ll be able to reach with your circular saw. 

  • The most widely used cordless circular saws are those coming with a 6-1/2 in. or 7-1/4 in. blade. They are by far the most popular among DIYers and contractors as they allow them to achieve most woodworking projects thanks to the good cutting depth and portability they provide.
    Most of the cordless circular saws we picked for this review fall within this size range.
  • If you have larger projects to tackle, you may want to consider investing in a 9-1/4 in. or a 10-1/4 in. cordless circular saw to be able to make deeper cuts. But, despite the great power they usually deliver, be aware that those are usually heavier and a bit more difficult to manoeuver than smaller standard ones.

So, what size cordless circular saw do you need?

Blade Location – Left or Right?

Circular saws either have a blade-left or a blade-right design. 

Some people like to have the blade on the left, others on the right. If you already know your preference, you better stick with it. 

Otherwise, you might want to try out both to make sure which setup is best for you.

Brushed or Brushless Motor?

When you’re looking for the best cordless circular saw, you have a choice between two types of motor, brushed motor or brushless motor.

Unlike in brushed motors, there is very little or no friction within brushless motors. This results in brushless motors wearing out more slowly and losing less power and speed than brushed motors. 

But, they are also more expensive.

Durability or price? That’s the big question. What will you choose?

If you want to read more about this, check out our article about the differences between brushed and brushless tools.

Power

Next in the decision process is assessing the power of a particular cordless circular saw. To do that, check the speed and torque the saw is able to deliver as well as the battery voltage it runs on. You may also want to read some customer reviews to check whether the saw is actually giving satisfaction to users who bought the tool before you. 

Speed and Torque

Generally speaking, the higher the RPM the better the cutting power. But, if you can find additional information on the amount of torque the saw is able to deliver, it will give you a better picture regarding the actual power of the saw.

Most cordless circular saws have maximum speeds between 4,000 RPM and 6,000 RPM. 

Worm drive cordless circular saws usually run at lower speeds, but they are the ones that produce the highest amount of torque.

Battery Voltage

Although manufacturers are able to make very powerful saws that run on 18/20V batteries, the power delivered by a cordless circular saw may also depend on its battery voltage (volts/V), to some extent (2). 

That’s not a very significant consideration compared to other factors, and there are great cordless circular saws that run on 18/20V batteries. But you may want to note that basically, the higher the battery voltage, the more power-hungry the saw. 

Runtime

Manufacturers usually indicate the saw’s runtime in cuts per charge.

Electric Brake

Cordless circular saws generate high speeds. When you release the trigger on a basic saw, the blade doesn’t stop right away. That’s why nowadays, more and more circular saws come with an electric brake that stops the blade much faster.  This safety feature greatly reduces the chances of injury and allows the user to work faster as he doesn’t need to wait long for the blade to come to a complete stop.

Additional Features

Some cordless circular saws come with additional features and technologies intended to enhance safety, user’s comfort, or to bring about improvement. Here are some of those features:

Dust Port

This feature allows for connecting a vacuum cleaner to collect the dust produced by the cutting process.

Dust Blower

This one drives the exhaust airflow to push sawdust away from your cutline. 

Magnesium/Aluminum Components

Magnesium and aluminum components are used on some cordless circular saws to reduce weight (3). This has no impact on the saw’s performance.

Durability

One other important factor to consider is the saw’s durability.

This factor is not so easy to assess beforehand. But when searching for information, you might learn about some brands or models that have been proven to be stronger than others. Once again, you can also look at the customer reviews to try to find more hints. You’ll probably come across reviews from people saying that they’ve been using such and such circular saw for a long time without encountering any problems. Such reviews might be pretty good and accurate signs of the saw’s durability.

Price

Finally, let’s talk about cordless circular saw prices.
Most cordless circular saws range from about $50 to $500 (battery not included), with models costing as much as $800.
The cost depends on all the factors we’ve mentioned above. The more the factors and the better they are, the more expensive the saw. Simple as that.


Note that when buying a cordless circular saw, you often need to buy your battery separately. This is an additional cost.

FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions people usually have about cordless circular saws. Check them out if you need general basic information.

What is a Cordless Circular Saw?

A cordless circular saw is a handheld power tool that is used for cutting different materials, especially wood. Its motor is powered by a battery and generates the rotation of an arbor, to which is attached a cutting blade. The fast-spinning blade is then put into contact with the material and slowly pushed forward to make a cut. 

How to Use a Cordless Circular Saw?

We have a full article on this. To learn more, check out our article on how to use a circular saw.

How to Change the Blade on a Cordless Circular Saw?

When you want to replace your cordless circular saw blade, first remove the battery. 

Then, loosen and remove the nut that’s holding the blade in place. Some saws have a spindle lock button that you have to press in to block the spindle before being able to loosen the nut. 

You can now pull the saw’s lower blade guard out of the way and remove the blade. Pick up a brand new blade and put it in place. Pay attention to the arrows on the blade and those on the blade guard. They must face the same direction.

Tighten the nut.

You’re done!

Our Verdict

Again, to make sure you’ll get what you need out of a cordless circular saw, we advise you to carefully assess your needs first. Then, decide which of the saws we selected for you best matches your needs. That’s how you’ll pick the best cordless circular saw for you.

If you need the best mid-priced saw, then our two top picks might be the way to go, depending on whether you need a sidewinder or a worm drive saw.

As a reminder, our top pick for sidewinder saws is the Makita XSX03Z. And, the worm drive saw that we preferred is the Milwaukee 2830-20

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