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If you are a DIYer like me, you probably love doing household stuff like siding, weatherproofing, and remodeling. That means you know the importance of having a good circular saw, since it makes cutting materials super easy, but you also know that buying the wrong saw for your needs can be a wasted expense and, at worst, can spell disaster.
Before, I used to do the cutting at the local mill or hardware store for $8 per sheet. That is, until I discovered it was way cheaper to buy my own circular saw and cut the sheet myself.
And depending on the projects they tackle, most DIYers and professionals prefer cordless circular saws. When I’m working on my own house, a corded model does not allow me the flexibility I need, so I researched and found the best cordless circular saws for the money. Now I’m sharing what I found with you.
In this cordless circular saw review, I will list the top five best selling saws on the market, complete with a comprehensive buying guide that details the features to look for when shopping for the best battery powered circular saw.
My Top Choice
The DEWALT DCS391B 20V Li-Ion Cordless Circular Saw tops the list regarding performance, handling, ergonomic design, and blade speed. This cordless circular saw delivers fine cuts and depth, similar to what you have on some corded circular saws.
Last update on 2020-04-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Table of Contents
- The Best Cordless Circular Saws
- DEWALT DCS391B 20V Li-Ion Cordless Circular Saw
- DeWalt DCS391P1 20V Circular Saw Kit
- Black & Decker BDCCS20B 20V Cordless Circular Saw
- Milwaukee 2630-20 18V Circular Saw
- Porter-Cable PCC660B 20V Cordless Circular Saw
- Best Product Overall
- Best Value Product
- Buying Guide
- Why You Need A Cordless Circular Saw
- Maintenance Tips
- Safety Tips
- Final Thoughts
The Best Cordless Circular Saws
The DCS391B delivers a powerful torque to handle most tasks effortlessly. It comes with a durable magnesium shoe and bevel capacity.
- Powerful 460 MWO, 5150 RPM motor for the best cuts
- Strong and lightweight magnesium shoe provides durability and long-term cut accuracy
- 0-50° bevel capacity allows for fine bevel cuts on different applications
- Optimized rubber over-molded grip delivers balance and control
- 6½” carbide-tipped blade for cutting two-inch material at 90° and 45°
- Battery and charger sold separately
The DeWalt DCS391B circular saw is famous for a good reason. It does household and outdoor jobs quickly thanks to its 5150 RPM motor. It offers versatility and power by featuring a 6 ½” blade and cutting depth of 2¼”. Also, you have the opportunity to explore different varieties of blades as it features a 5/8″ arbor.
You can work all day without wearing out as it weighs a mere 7lbs. Plus, it makes perfect bevel cuts of up to 50°, and its blade is carbide-tipped and includes a blade brake.
- Performs super accurate cuts
- Comes with an interchangeable battery pack which can be used with other DeWalt tools
- Convenient and lightweight for all-day sawing
- Includes a blade brake
- High battery consumption
Being on the market now for over five years and earning a spot on many top lists, complaints about this saw are primarily due to operator errors. Although it is expensive, it delivers the value for every penny spent.
Overall rating: 5/5
This circular saw is powered by a 20V DeWalt battery for longer, consistent cutting.
- Full kit includes battery pack and charger
- Powerful 5250 RPM motor provides power and speed to make clean cuts with ease
- Powerful, lightweight magnesium shoe provides durability for long-lasting cut accuracy
- Convenient rubber over-molded grip
- 20V MAX Lithium-Ion, 5.0 AH battery
- 0-50° bevel capacity allows for impeccable bevel cuts for different applications
This saw upstages the DeWalt DCS391B by being a complete circular saw kit as opposed to being a basic tool. Many professionals rate this model as their favorite cordless circular saw, because the manufacturer ships it with a battery pack and battery charger.
This high-performing cordless circular saw includes a plastic carry case. It is quite pricey but durable, heavy-duty, and longer-lasting, and the kit makes it an excellent value.
- Reliable and powerful
- Flexible in making angle cuts between 0-50°
- Full set including a battery pack and charger
- Comes with a carry case
- Not easily affordable
The DeWalt DCS391P1 is a perfect tool for professionals and semi-professionals, and for individuals who do not want to go in search of an extra charger and suitable batteries.
Overall rating: 5/5
Black & Decker continues to lead in innovative power tool solutions. Its BDCCS20B saw does not disappoint. It is the best saw on my list for those on a tight budget.
- High torque and powerful motor, 5½” cutting blade for different cuts
- Simple depth adjustments
- 45-90° bevel adjustment
- Compact and lightweight design
- Works with all Black & Decker 20V MAX System batteries
The Black & Decker BDCCS20B is a basic cordless circular saw with an attractive price. Despite being so affordable, it delivers almost the same functionality compared to pricier alternatives.
This circular saw works with the standard Black & Decker Max System batteries which make it interchangeable with other Black & Decker power tools. Also, a front handle that produces an ergonomic form prevents hand, body, and shoulder fatigue over time and adds extra convenience.
You can easily move the blade up or down by utilizing its convenient depth adjustment which does not require an extra tool. It also has a large aluminum shoe which gives the circular saw a stable foundation.
Bevel cuts are simple and swift on this circular saw, and its range is decent, from 45 to 90°. This is not the most versatile saw but will provide enough functionality for regular angle cuts.
- Affordable and offers good value for the money
- Portable and compact design
- Large motor powered by a powerful 20V lithium-ion battery
- Protected from dust, accidents, and debris with a blade guard
- Quick depth adjustments
- Not too versatile on bevel cuts
- Does not come with blade or battery
This Black & Decker saw is perfect for people looking for compactness and portability while working with less than 5½” thick materials.
Overall rating: 4.9/5
As one of the foremost power tools makers in the world, Milwaukee does not disappoint. The company wows its users with this superb cordless circular saw with an amazing battery.
- Electronic brakes
- Soft grip handle
- Bevel and depth adjustment
- Magnesium guards protect the saw’s blade
- Works with Milwaukee M18 18-volt lithium ion batteries
The Milwaukee 2630-20 battery-operated, cordless circular saw is the last on my list. This model is said to be the best battery circular saw available on the market.
Its 18V lithium-ion battery is not the most powerful, but thanks to electronic controls, it has a more efficient motor that enables it to perform with less power. The high-functioning motor spins at 3500 RPM which handles raw lumber and hardwood perfectly.
It has a solid magnesium shoe with miter marks which enable you to measure your cuts without an extra measuring tape. It has a convenient and ergonomic handle, enabling you to work for longer without fatigue.
Lastly, it has a 6½” large blade which can be easily fixed onto the saw without an extra tool and handles larger projects better.
- Features a 6 ½” large blade with a blade guard
- The motor does not stall or choke
- Convenient and ergonomic handle for better handling and positioning
- Magnesium shoe with miter gauge for quick measurement
- Low speed of 3500 RPM only ideal for hard materials
The Milwaukee 2630-20 is recommended for those who work mostly with thick materials like hardwood.
Overall rating: 4.8/5
This Porter-Cable saw delivers an astonishing amount of RPM to tackle small and heavy-duty tasks. It can also make bevel cuts thanks to its shoe.
- High performance 4000 RPM motor speed for aggressive cutting
- 6 1/2″ carbide tooth blade produces 2⅛” cutting capacity
- Beveling shoe reaches 50°
- Optimized contoured over-molded handle
This is another budget-friendly cordless circular saw that is popular amongst beginners and DIY enthusiasts. It includes a decent motor which runs on a 20V battery, and its motor spins at a speed of 4000 RPM. This speed is perfect for professional cuts on virtually any material.
The PCC660B has a large 6 ½” carbide-tipped blade and 2 ⅛” cutting capacity which is adequate for most people, although not the deepest. Another feature I admire in this cordless circular saw is its lightweight of 6 1/2 lbs which makes it one of the lightest circular saws available and allows it to maneuver easily. Also, its weight to performance ratio is excellent.
Decent bevel cuts can be made with this tool with its 50° beveling shoe. This is a powerful and versatile saw at an affordable price.
- Lightweight and has an excellent weight to performance ratio
- Does bevel cuts of up to 50° easily
- Features a 6½” large blade with 2⅛” cutting depth
- Convenient and ergonomic handle
- You have to purchase the compatible battery separately
- Does not handle heavy-duty jobs well
This product is recommended for beginners and DIYers who want a battery-powered circular saw that offers good value for the money.
Overall rating: 4.7/5
Best Product Overall
The DEWALT DCS391B 20V Li-Ion Cordless Circular Saw tops the list regarding performance, and has impressive handling, ergonomic design, and blade speed. This cordless circular saw delivers fine cuts and depth similar to what you see with some corded circular saws.
Best Value Product
The DeWalt DCS391P1 20V Circular Saw Kit delivers the most value considering its excellent performance and inclusion of a battery pack and charger.
Before buying a cordless circular saw, you want to be sure of the essential features you need for your projects. These features include:
If you do small jobs around the house, or if your primary need for a saw is simple tasks such as plywood and 2x4s, find a cordless saw that does the job perfectly. But if you see yourself performing heavy duty cuts, then a cordless circular may not be for you. Cordless saws just don’t have the same power that corded circular saws can give you.
Cordless circular saws are limited in cutting depth due to their small blades and overall smaller size.
Getting a large cordless circular saw is almost impossible. If you need larger blades, cordless is not the way to go. However, the smaller blades in a cordless circular saw will do well with most standard tasks.
The specifications of most blades are written on them by manufacturers, making it easy for you to know their size, etc. Blades used for cutting wood have clearly defined teeth, which usually range from 24 to 100 teeth per blade depending on the size.
Larger models are best suited for rough cuts that are less pretty or neat such as with framing, while a majority of the smaller blades are used for more precise and smooth jobs like cabinetry cuts or for plywood. Because wood is the major type of material cut with circular saws, you’ll find more blade varieties for wood. The type of cut it will be used for is also a way to identify the blade you need.
In addition to these categories, you can find blades specially made for rip cuts or cross cuts. Crosscut blades have more teeth than a rip blade. If you have a complex job and can’t deal with the process of switching out blades every few minutes, you can get a blade combination that can handle both.
Blades for cutting stone and similar masonry do not have teeth and are designed with an abrasive material similar to sandpaper. A coarse abrasion blade or marble can be used to cut through concrete or brick, while a fine abrasion blade will cut through tile.
Whichever you choose to cut, the lifespan of your blade can be extended by wet cutting, and this can be as easy as having a hose held over your workspace.
Blades for cutting metal are also without teeth but channels are sliced into the edges for heat to escape. There are varieties of blades for cutting metal, and with the right blades, you can cut varieties of metal including aluminum, bronze, and copper. A wood blade with many teeth can cut through plastic, but you have to go slowly to prevent kickbacks.
Blades are typically made of steel, but the carbide-tipped ones are more durable and expensive. Also, for a longer lifespan, get diamond-tipped blades (although they cost more).
The width of the cut, also known as “kerf”, is an important blade consideration. A blade with thinner kerf results in fewer cuts and is better suited for weaker saws. Hence, they are suitable cordless circular saws.
Thin kerf blades last longer, although they are less durable than thicker ones.
Your circular saw can also use the same blade as your miter saw or table saw, helping you to reduce cost of buying new blades.
If you plan to be cutting the same material regularly, you only need to spend money buying one good blade for the job. But if you see yourself switching blades often, make sure you go for a saw that easily accommodates that. For instance, some models include an onboard fixed wrench for changing blades. This feature saves you time and effort.
You can function with a corded saw all day due to its reliable power. On the other hand, you can only work with a cordless saw for as long as the battery can last. The initial strength and charge of the battery, as well as the degree of work the saw is being used for, will determine the battery life.
A job site that has not been wired for power will hinder the operation of a high-functioning corded saw. This is where a cordless saw has a great advantage. It offers more mobility and portability.
Cordless saws are often heavier. The battery pack adds more weight, and the more your battery capacity, the more weight you have to deal with.
Questions to consider about the weight and maneuverability of your saw: Is the majority of your cutting in front of you or over your head? Do you only saw, or do you also take on other tasks that use different muscles? For contortionist-style sawing, a cordless saw is your best option—even if it’s a bit heavier—because it gives you more control. But if your regular sawing is on a sawhorse, the ability to hold the saw over your head for minutes doesn’t apply, so any saw will work.
Safety is an important aspect of using a saw because of the inherent dangers in their operation and design. Especially if you have to work as a group in a small space, tripping over or cutting through each other’s cord could be a concern. Cordless saws are best suited for crowded workspaces.
Cords are no fun to deal with. They tangle, get dirty, warped, and you still have to somehow gather and store them all at the end of the day. Obviously, cordless units are easier to store. Most of us would rather dispose of all batteries in a box after the day’s job than endure packing cords.
Flexibility And Brand Loyalty
Manufacturers of major saws make available a series of battery packs that work with all their cordless saws. If you stay loyal to a particular brand, you’ll surely end up with an arsenal of tools that can work with the same batteries. This will save you stress and money.
Cordless saws are available at a variety of competitive prices. However, make sure the product you finally settle with includes a battery, as some don’t.
If you already have a few interchangeable battery packs from other cordless saws from the same manufacturer, you can worry less about that, but otherwise, factor in the purchase of a battery pack.
Putting your tasks on hold to charge your battery is one of the most frustrating experiences with a cordless saw. I recommend that you have a backup battery pack, so one can charge while the other is at work.
Charging time varies widely, but you’ll get reasonably quick ones that charge fully between 30-90 minutes.
Brushed Or Brushless?
Is a “brushless” tool more efficient, or is it another trendy feature? Honestly, the answer to both questions is yes. Brushless motors are more efficient, because they are designed to reduce the friction produced by brushes. This, in turn, produces more power and extends the battery run time.
Is this difference in power easily noticeable? Not quite. The drawback with brushless motors is that they are more expensive but a better option.
Bevel Capacity And Bevel Adjustment
A bevel cut is one that isn’t perpendicular to the workpiece. Examples of these cuts are simple miter cuts on trim and compound angle cuts on rafters.
The best circular saws reach a bit beyond 45 degrees (°), and some are far-reaching, up to 53°. A fair amount of power and torque is needed if you have to cut a 45° bevel through a two-inch material, because the blade cuts through the equivalent of a much thicker board.
Worm drive saws are far better in this category with torque enough to upstage sidewinders, many of which barely achieve these cuts. Each of these types of saws is explained in detail below.
Most saws have a locking lever and a kind of sliding system to modify bevel angles. A nice feature included in some saws is a positive stop at common angles. But an easily readable scale is mandatory on the best cordless circular saw.
Electric Brake And Blade Guard
An electric brake stops the blade once a trigger is released in the event of an emergency by reversing the current in the saw. This safety mechanism is standard for many circular saw brands, as opposed to allowing the blade to spin freely till it stops by itself.
A retractable blade guard, which covers the blade when the saw is not in contact with a workpiece, can be found on all circular saws. This way, you can set the saw to rest after performing a cut before the blade comes to a complete halt.
Laser guides are the latest gimmicky feature on circular saws. A red line is projected by a hi-tech laser beam onto your workpiece to help you better aim the saw. With this, you only need to place your focus on the blade and at the saw base shoe notch while making a cut. An improvement needs to be made to this because the laser beam guides do not adjust to deal with varieties of blade thickness.
Why You Need A Cordless Circular Saw
Cordless circular saws are versatile, easy to use, and portable. This makes them essential for DIYers and professional woodworkers.
There are two circular saw types: A worm drive, which has spiral gears that convey power to the blade for maximum power and torque. Worm drive saws have their blades on the left which provides a right-hand use with a clear view of the cut line.
And sidewinders, which include a spur gear and the motor at the side of the blade. They are smaller and more lightweight than worm drives. Most sidewinders are great for left-handed individuals, as their blades are on the right side.
As battery technology advances, the cordless circular saws produced by most manufacturers are sidewinders featuring different levels of power and performance.
In a perfect world, worm drives will be designated for framing and tougher jobs, while sidewinders will handle lighter jobs like fence board trimming and the like.
Check Power Source
For cordless circular saws, ensure that there is no visible damage to the battery. Also, ensure that the battery pack fits into the tool perfectly, otherwise don’t run the saw until you have resolved the issue.
Inspect Moving Parts
Observe gears and other parts in motion to ensure there is no obstruction. A lot of debris is created while working with a circular saw, so perform a quick external check prior to every cut. This is to make sure the blade moves smoothly without getting thrown or being stalled by potential projectiles.
Damaged parts may also obstruct moving parts. This is most likely the case if you can’t visibly spot anything blocking the blade, but the movement of the saw is disturbed. In this situation, stop working with the tool until the cause is identified and resolved.
Examine The Housing
Check for cracks and loose screws in the housing. The housing shields the internal area from external impact. These parts are more delicate that’s why they are protected. Also, keep in mind that injury can be caused if the user is snagged by a moving part below the tool’s housing.
A rough movement created by loose screws on the circular saw can be extremely dangerous to the user. Ensure that all screws are tight before working with your cordless circular saw.
The operation of your saw will be also affected if the housing is loose, and you are at more risk of dropping the tool when this happens. The blades in circular saws don’t stop immediately the trigger is released. Hence, a dropped tool is obviously very dangerous.
Assess The Handle
The auxiliary handle or handle for your supporting hand is the main issue here. They are screwed into the saw and act as a guide to better and more precise cuts. Another purpose for this handle is keeping your free hand away from the saw blade.
The constant vibration from rough tasks causes this handle to loosen over time. To deal with this, check if the handle is tight by giving it a forceful shake. If it isn’t, tighten the screws and repeat. You will know the handle needs a repair if you can’t get it to stay firmly in its position.
Test The Lower Guard
Ensure the lower guard moves properly before every operation. The guard is your last line of defense from the saw. To test, lift the lower guard. Ensure that there is no contact between the guard and the blade. If there is an obstruction in movement, the guard cannot protect the operator. Carry out this guard test at all angles and cut depths.
Remember The Blade Washer And Bolt
Do not overlook these little pieces, as they are important. They keep the blade in its position and prevent the blade from accidentally flying off while in use. A reckless blade spinning at a speed of 120 mph will more than ruin your day, needless to say.
Check and replace if you discover any damage or defects. Only use blade washer and bolts recommended by the manufacturer. This will ensure the proper functioning of the tool and the safety of workers.
The air vent on your circular saw is like a vacuum. The motor is kept cool by the fan inside the housing, but this process also draws dust inside. This cause debris buildup inside the area that houses the delicate parts. Electrical components can be damaged by the accumulated dust, and this can lead to malfunctioning or electrical hazard.
Don’t attempt to clean the vent by poking it from outside. This is dangerous. A compressed dry air is the simplest and most effective method. Using an air hose with air pressure set at under 30 psi, blow inside the vent. This is the recommended air pressure for cleaning tools. When using an air compressor, you will also need proper guarding and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the safety of everyone in the area.
Switch Levers And Guards
Nothing should be in the way of switch levers or guards. Clean off debris in these areas regularly before it can accumulate. Minor, regular cleanings—although time-consuming—are safer than sporadic, major cleanings.
You don’t clean your saw for the aesthetics. Slick materials used in cleaning can cause your tool to slip from your hand. Dirt can also move from a seemingly harmless spot to a delicate and critical area. These can be avoided by wiping down your tool.
Liquid should never be allowed around your circular saw. Water and other liquids will damage the saw’s electrical components. Use a damp cloth and mild soap to wipe the entire tool, excluding the blade. The tool’s plastic can be damaged by chemicals such as gasoline, carbon tetrachloride, ammonia, and chlorinated cleaning solvents. Note that many household detergents contain ammonia.
Cut Down On Blade Wear
Saw blades should be treated differently from the rest of the tool. They are made differently and are sharp, so they need different treatments than the tools that use them. Wear cut-resistant gloves when engaging with blades, as even blunt blades can cause injuries.
Keep saw blades clean for peak performance. Built-up sap and other material can dull the blade. If the blade becomes soiled somewhere other than near the cutting area, it can still damage the blade.
Rust and corrosive substances can cause a blade to lose strength over time. If a blade has any deficiencies, it should not be used until cleaned, repaired, or replaced.
Clean saw blades with a nylon or brass brush. Never use a wire brush, as it will damage the blade. If you need a cleaner, Formula 409 works well.
Dull blades utilize more force which results in more friction and heat, and sharpening dull blades is cheaper than purchasing new ones. Here are some helpful tips when sharpening a circular saw blade:
- Stop the tool’s operation, and detach the blade from the circular saw.
- To avoid double sharpening, make a mark on the blade you start with.
- Make use of a diamond-tipped table saw blade or a file.
- Grind downwards from the top until the tips are sharp.
- Clean off residue and reinstall blade when complete.
Benefits Of A Cordless Circular Saw
These saws are most beneficial for their high level of convenience. They can easily be carried and used anywhere, especially in areas without electricity. You are guaranteed to work productively in any given condition if you have a fully charged battery and/or a backup battery.
A cordless circular saw is a safer option to a corded saw. With the absence of tangled cords on the floor, a safer and more convenient work environment is created, and you do not have to worry about tripping on a cord and falling.
Another benefit of having a cordless circular saw is the ability to purchase a full set of multiple tools for less cost. Most cordless saws come packed with dozens of tools and kits which may even include extra batteries.
Cordless saws save you time by eradicating the tasks of finding a place with power supply and caring for long extension cords.
Disadvantages Of Using A Cordless Circular Saw
Despite being convenient, cordless circular saws have limitations. The biggest disadvantage being that it requires batteries to run, batteries which you have to take your time to charge fully. Also, make provisions for replacement in the future as these batteries will eventually get old and stop working.
Also, cordless circular saws are more expensive than corded ones. If you use the saw extensively, then you ideally will want to get a backup battery which will cost you more.
Most cordless circular saws don’t have equal power and torque as the corded ones. What’s more, they are even less powerful if the battery is charged halfway. In such cases, regular tasks may take longer to complete.
Wear Safety Gear Before Handling The Saw
This is a general rule when using power tools. This includes hearing protection, safety goggles, cut-resistant gloves, and a good dust mask or respirator to prevent inhaling harmful substances into your lungs.
Do A Saw Check
Check every part of your circular saw to ensure proper functioning. Ensure that the saw is not plugged in before doing a check.
Check if the retracting lower guards retract and recover properly. The retracting lower guard is the most important safety feature on the circular saw. So if the lower guard is defective, quit working with that saw.
Hold The Saw Properly
Worm drive saws and sidewinders are the two types of circular saws (which I discussed above). Under each type, there are left-handed and right-handed versions..
This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but if a right-handed person holds a right-hand circular saw properly, both hands stay completely clear from each other.
On the other hand, if a right-handed person holds a left-hand circular saw, it will be a struggle to keep their hands clear of each other, making the job difficult.
Use A Safe Depth Of Cut Settings
Prior to cutting with a circular saw, the cut depth must be set to match the board’s thickness. Setting the depth of cut reduces blade exposure beneath the material you are cutting.
Set the lowest tooth of the blade to not extend beyond ⅛” beneath the board. This proper depth cut setting ensures a safe and accurate cut.
Only Use Sharp Blades
The aim when using a circular saw is to direct the saw through the cut gently, not force a cut through the material. If you find yourself trying too hard on a piece, the saw is either not ideal for the piece of wood you’re cutting, or you have dull blades. If the latter is the case, sharpen the blades before continuing with that saw.
Power Off The Saw When Not In Use
If you are done using your saw, turn it off. Never leave a saw running when it is not in use, because this is potentially dangerous to you or an unsuspecting person who walks by.
You can go as far as detaching the battery pack from your cordless saw when you are done with it to be even safer.
Never Use A Defective Saw
Do not make an attempt to cut with the circular saw if you find it to be defective. An unusual vibration when you switch it on is a good call to switch it back off and get it fixed.
How long does a cordless circular saw last?
The average cordless circular saw is durable and will last for many years if maintained and cleaned regularly.
However, the longevity of your saw will depend on what you use the saw for on a regular basis. If you use your saw for heavy-duty jobs regularly, expect that it will not last as long.
How well do cordless circular saws work?
Cordless circular saws are best suited for small and thinner pieces like plywood and drywall.
Are cordless circular saws worth it?
If you plan to use your saw for light jobs, yes, they are absolutely worth the investment. You should invest in a larger version if you plan to use them for larger jobs regularly.
Cordless circular saws are excellent for DIYers, because they are powerful enough and can easily be used anywhere. Also, they are used by professionals for smaller jobs, as they are more convenient.
You do not necessarily have to sacrifice performance to get a cordless circular saw. Battery technology has come a long way and offers versatility while still being highly functional. Now that you’ve read through this review, when you decide to add a cordless circular saw to your collection, you are sure of making a smart decision.
In my opinion, the DEWALT DCS391B 20V Li-Ion Cordless Circular Saw delivers on all the vital parameters in a cordless circular saw, making it the best in this review.