Cordless power has come a long way since the advent of lithium-ion power. Circular saws initially struggled with adequate performance (even with 7 1/4 inch blades), and now they outperform 15 amp corded models. We decided to test the waters and pulled together our team of experts to find out who makes the best cordless circular saws from the elite top premium models.
In this article, we mainly focus on the rattlesnake model. If a rear handle or worm drive design is more your style, check out our recommendations for the best cordless rear handle circular saws.
Table of contents
- The best cordless circular saw overall
- Best Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw
- The best cordless compact circular saw
- The best cordless mini circular saw
- The best cordless circular saw for metal cutting
- The best cordless circular saw for the money
- Best Cordless Circular Saw Blades
- More testimonials from brands we trust
- Cordless circular saw buying guide: what we look for
- Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
Considering wired and wireless? Check Out Our Best Circular Saws Home Page!
Metabo HPT MultiVolt Circular Saw C3607DA
When analyzing the final results, Metabo HPT's MultiVolt Circular Saw beat out the Milwaukee M18 Fuel as the best cordless circular saw overall. It earned perfect marks in our cutting performance and precision sections, and high marks in most other sections. It's also the most powerful Sidewinder we've tested, and the only option in this group that offers unlimited runtime with the AC adapter. Even better, Metabo HPT backs this tool with a lifetime warranty.
Best Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw
Flex 24V Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw FX2141R
After testing the Flex's rear handle saw against top competitors, we're convinced it's the best cordless rear handle circular saw out there. Its design is solid and functional. What sets it apart is that it's stronger and faster than any other model we've tested, and it has the advantage of stackable pouch lithium batteries. Plus, if you register your purchase before December 31, 2023, you get a lifetime warranty.
Price: $249.00 bare, $399.00 kit with 10.0Ah stacked lithium battery and charger
The best compact cordless circular saw
Flex 24V 6 1/2" Inline Circular Saw FX2131A-1C
Flex's Cordless Tilt Circular Saw has been voted the best cordless compact circular saw in the performance class by us. It weighs 7.1 lbs bare, and only 9.1 lbs with the 5.0Ah battery. Not only is it the lightest, but the belt drive design gives this 6 1/2" saw the same cutting power as other 7 1/4" saws. Plus, its cutting ability is excellent.
Flextronics is offering a lifetime warranty on this saw if you register your purchase by December 31, 2023.
Price: $249.00 with 5.0Ah battery and charger
The best cordless mini circular saw
Milwaukee M12 Fuel 5 3/8" Circular Saw 2530
When it comes to the best cordless mini circular saw, there are two options. One is the resurgent trend of inline 4 1/2-inch models from brands like DeWalt and Skil. We still prefer the ergonomics and controls of a traditional design, and the M12 Fuel 5 3/8-Inch Circular Saw from Milwaukee is our top choice.
Its brushless motor takes full advantage of 12V battery power and is capable of cutting 2x more material at a time. Its small size also makes for a lighter tool, weighing just over 6 pounds, including the 4.0Ah battery.
Price: $159.00 bare, $249.00 kit with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Milwaukee M18 Fuel 8 Inch Metal Cutting Circular Saw 2982
There's plenty of temptation to simply change the blade and make a standard circular saw cut metal. However, there are cordless circular saws on the market that are specifically designed with the torque and power to cut metal well. Our favorite is the M18 Fuel 8-Inch Metal Cutting Circular Saw from Milwaukee. Successfully transitioned from its excellent corded model to a cordless model capable of cutting 1 inch thick steel! Add in a family of chips with an M18 high-output battery as a power source, and we don't think there's a better wireless option.
Price: $429.00 bare metal, $549.00 with 8.0Ah high output battery and charger
The best cordless circular saw for the money
Skil PWRCore 20 XP 7 1/4" Circular Saw CR5440B-10
Keeping the price low without disappointing performance or build is at the heart of finding the best cordless circular saw value. Both Ryobi and Skil excel in this category, and Skil's PWRCore 20 XP 7 1/4-Inch Circular Saw gives you great bang for your buck.
It has a brushless motor for excellent mid-level cutting performance and is loaded with many pro-style features. The shoe is even compatible with Skil's rails. Solidifying its value win, the kit is well under $200.
Price: $169.00 Kit with 4.0Ah battery and charger (coming March 2023)
Best Cordless Circular Saw Blades
Crescent NailSlicer Framing Blades
There are a lot of good quality blades on the market these days, you can get a good framing blade for $10 to $15, or a demo blade for $15 to $20. Of course, there are also discounts for bulk purchases. Of the blades we use, the Crescent Nail Slicer is our top choice. It's a durable blade that can withstand multiple nail strikes without forcing you to buy a more expensive demo blade. We even managed to cut the #5 rebar several times during the torture test.
Best cordless circular saw: More options from brands we trust
Best Bosch Cordless Circular Saw: 18V ProFactor Strong Arm GKS18V-25CN
Bosch took a big step forward in its cordless circular saw performance with the introduction of the ProFactor model a few years ago. The latest generation maintains the high level of performance and quality build while making some changes. Most notably, it changes the orientation of the blade to the left (my personal preference) and adds an LED cut line indicator. It also saves over 1/2 pound in weight. Plus, this model is hookup-ready and has a choice of track-friendly shoes.
Price: $229.00 bare metal, $389.00 with 8.0Ah battery and charger
Best DeWalt Cordless Circular Saw: 20V Max FlexVolt Advantage DCS573
DeWalt's FlexVolt Series is the brand's way to achieve the brand's best wireless performance. However, the one we recommend to most people is the FlexVolt Advantage Circular Saw. You can get really good performance with a 20V Max battery and it takes it to a whole new level when you use a FlexVolt battery. When you use a FlexVolt battery pack, you get the benefit of being able to use either type of battery. While the FlexVolt is still king of the yellow castle, we like the versatility the FlexVolt Advantage offers.
Best Flex Cordless Circular Saw: 24V Brushless 7 1/4-Inch FX-2141
Although we've discussed several Flex circular saws, there's still the 7 1/4" Sidewinder style to discuss. The performance and construction of the saw is solid. Looking at the competition, it definitely belongs to the top teams with DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee et al.
Talking to the best is one thing, but Flex ups the ante with a very compelling value proposition. For $299.00, you get the chainsaw, an 8.0Ah battery, a charger, and a lifetime warranty if you register by December 31, 2023.
Price: $199.00 bare, $299.00 8.0Ah battery and charger, $399.00 10.0Ah stacked lithium battery and charger
Best Greenworks Cordless Circular Saw: 24V Brushless 7 1/4" 1501202AZ
Greenworks' circular saw uses a brushless motor to drive its full-size 7 1/4-inch blade using a 24V battery that is also compatible with 24V and 48V lawn care equipment. One of the good things is the weight – the bare tool is only 7.39 lbs, and the compact 2.0Ah or 4.0Ah battery keeps the whole package under 10.0 lbs. On its own, it's a great choice for the DIY enthusiast. The deal is even sweeter for folks using Greenworks' 24V/48V outdoor power supplies.
Price: $119.99 bare metal
Best Hart Cordless Circular Saw: 20V Brushless 7 1/4" HPCS25
If you're a DIY enthusiast looking to take your cutting game up to the brushless level, Hart's HPCS25 is a compelling choice. You get the increased performance, runtime and longevity that a brushless motor offers, and it's also one of the lightest full-size saws you can get your hands on. Barely, it weighs 6.56 pounds, and when you add the 4.0Ah battery, it's still under 8.0 pounds! If you're a beginner, this is a great option to take your projects with you and learn.
Price: $128.00 bare metal
Best Hilti Cordless Circular Saw: Nuron 22V SC 30WR-22
When Hilti developed the Nuron cordless power tool system, we knew we needed more performance, but we didn't know how high its cordless circular saw could fly. Thanks to a new brushless motor, the Hilti SC 30WR-22 now runs twice as long on a charge and cuts about three times as fast as its previous cordless model. Plus, it's still operating off a 22V battery!
Price: Starting at $329.00 ($10.00 per month for fleet customers)
Best Kobalt Cordless Circular Saw: 24V XTR XKCS 124B-03
Kobalt has decided to open some doors by introducing its advanced XTR series of 24V cordless tools. It shows a huge improvement in the cutting performance of the circular saw in the production line. Cutting at 5500 RPM with a brushless motor and powered by an Ultimate Output battery, this is a great upgrade for Kobalt fans who have been using a 6 1/2" saw that has been out of production for a while.
The best Makita cordless circular saw: 40V max XGT
Makita's circular saw game runs deep. Even more so with the 40V XGT Series cordless tools. For most people, the GSH01 7 1/4" model is the best choice. Others may want to use the GSH02, which is essentially the same saw with a rail compatible shoe. But for those with high capacity needs, the GSH04 is the best fit.
It's a 10 1/4-inch rattlesnake-style saw with a massive 3 13/16-inch cutting capacity—enough to cut 4 times as much wood in one cut. This is also an AWS ready model so you can add a chip to automatically activate the tool when using the AWS vac or utilize the AWS wireless adapter for a wired vac. Just in case that wasn't enough, here's another model with a rail-compatible shoe.
Best Metabo Cordless Circular Saw: 18V KS 18 LTX 66 BL
There's a lot to love about Metabo's 6 1/2-Inch KS 18 LTX 66 BL Circular Saw. It's lightweight—just 7.7 pounds bare-bones and 9.9 pounds with batteries. Then it adds a track-compatible shoe. With Metabo or other FS style rails, you can get excellent cross, slitting and miter cut accuracy without using a larger saw. Plus, Metabo tools and batteries are cross-compatible with over two dozen other brands in the Cordless Alliance System (CAS)! There's more, so be sure to click on the titles above to check out our articles.
Price: $354.99 bare metal
Metabo also has an excellent cordless metal cutting circular saw worth considering!
Best Milwaukee Cordless Circular Saw: M18 Fuel 2732
The Milwaukee 2732 is our overall best cordless circular saw for 2021, and for good reason. It combines a brushless motor with an M18 high output battery to set a new standard for performance. Around this point, the design team didn't waver at all, nor did they miss any element of the design. While this saw is already pretty close to #2 overall, it's still one of the best performing and best designed cordless circular saws out there.
Price: $249.00 bare, $449.00 with 12.0Ah high output battery and charger
Best Ridgid Cordless Circular Saw: 18V Brushless R8657
Ridgid's post-Octane brushless line continues, this time using a circular saw that cuts 35% faster and has the same power as a 15 amp wire saw. While the performance boost is important, it also hits the high points well with pro-grade features like electronic brakes, vacuum ports, and a 2 9/16-inch cutting depth. For best performance, be sure to pair this circular saw with a Ridgid Max output battery. As always, the saw comes with a lifetime service agreement when you register your purchase.
Price: $199.00 bare metal
Best Ryobi Cordless Circular Saw: 18V One+ HP Brushless 7 1/4" PBLCS300
The PBLCS300 isn't Ryobi's first brushless circular saw, but the HP brushless upgrade and high-performance battery certainly make it the best yet. In addition to stronger, faster cutting performance, it is more durable than some value-conscious options thanks to the die-cast upper guard. It's one of the lighter options for a 7 1/4" saw, weighing just 7.0 lbs bare and 8.6 lbs when equipped with a 4.0Ah high-performance battery. It's also a very compelling value, at under $200 for the kit.
Price: $139.00 bare metal, $199.00 with 4.0Ah high-performance battery and charger
Best cordless circular saw buying guide – what we looked for
Not too long ago, we had to feather cut with cordless circular saws compared to the way we cut with corded models. Today's battery powered options are far better, with many brands' flagship brushless models easily outperforming 15 amp wire saws.
If cutting power is your number one priority, you'll pay for a more expensive saw. But if you don't mind spending a little time, there are some excellent high-value cordless options that can help you get the job done for less.
Tracking isn't about having a closed arbor – that would be a defect and you should return the saw if that's the problem. Sometimes the handle design encourages you to push to one side or the other, especially with saws where the front and rear handles are close together. Most of the time, you can quickly adapt to the handle design.
In some cases, the edges of the circular saw guard can get stuck. Even when smooth on typical cuts, thin, beveled, beveled or compound cuts can reveal problems. Make a series of test cuts on the scrap to see if your guard catches a particular type of cut so you know when to manually lift it without dragging off the cut line.
Dust and chip removal
Many of the best cordless circular saws have vacuum ports, and these circular saws do a better job of removing chips and dust than those without. However, most of our team never hook up the vacuum for normal cutting. We prefer a detachable or rotatable vacuum adapter to guide the chip where we want it.
In general, most circular saws do a good job of removing dust and swarf. Cleanup suffers due to lower RPM due to lower top end speed or bogging down. Look for models with at least 4500 RPM (5000 is better) and a brushless motor to keep clearing efficiently.
Grip comfort is largely a matter of personal choice, and the size of your hand determines a lot of what feels best. While rear handles are rarely an issue, our crew is drawn to front handle designs that aren't too thin, too close to the rear handle, or angled in an uncomfortable direction. See if you can get your hands on a shop saw before you bring it home. If you hate the grip in the shop, it's unlikely to get any better once you make the cut.
Because you're almost always cutting on top of the material, weight comes into play primarily when you're carrying your circular saw from one place to another. However, a heavy-duty saw can cause a "sticky" cut if the friction of the shoe is not low enough. However, there's no reason to carry more weight than you have to, and you can get a Pro-level saw for under 10 pounds on batteries.
price and value
We're very value conscious and love figuring out what's best for our budget. Start with what you know you're willing to spend money on, and build your priorities from there. Here's what we considered in our value calculations:
- Design and Features
- Depth of compatible tools on the same battery system
- After-sales and warranty service
Sidewinder or Rear Handle?
The differences between rattlesnake and rear handle cordless circular saw styles are largely regional. The west coast tends to favor rear handles, while the east coast generally uses side handles.
Most cordless backhand saws are not true worm drives. The exception is Skilsaw's 48V cordless worm drives. The rest use a direct drive gear system and have a rear handlebar design to suit the preference for that style.
Like corded saws, cordless backhand saws are heavier than the more compact rattlesaw.
Both styles use brushless motors and direct drive (except Skilsaw's worm drive), so the handlebar style doesn't necessarily have the same higher torque as the corded model.
When it comes to these high-end cordless circular saws, it's more of a matter of preference.
There is some confusion between 18V and 20V cordless circular saws. Many people think that 20V is more powerful, but they are actually the same voltage.
More brands are using 6 cell battery packs than the 5 cell packs we see on 18V/20V max tools. Those actually run at a higher voltage. Labeled 24V Max or 22V, they run at 21.6V nominal. With 20% more batteries, they do have the potential to generate more power or run time.
The 36V/40V Max battery is one way to get more power. Both the Makita and Skil have 2 battery systems that take 18V/20V max batteries and combine them in series on the tool to achieve higher voltages. Makita also has a 40V max XGT series, while Metabo HPT has a 36V MultiVolt system.
Skilsaw's 48V TrueHVL system has several options, while DeWalt's FlexVolt system runs on platforms with a maximum voltage of 60V (54V).
However, the advent of advanced batteries using 21700 Li-ion cells and more recently pouch cells has made it possible to supply more power to low voltage systems without the need for larger high voltage battery packs.
Left or right edge?
There are very few professionals and DIYers we meet who don't care which side the blade is on. Almost everyone has their preferences and won't buy a saw with the blade on the "wrong" side. Your best bet is to try both methods and see which makes it easier to keep track of the cutting line.
As a right-handed user, I prefer the left blade design. Then again, Clint DeBoer, editor-in-chief of PTR, is also a right-winger and prefers the right. Read more about considerations here.
features to look for
- Brushless motors: provide better performance, runtime and longer life
- Electronic Brake: Quickly stops the blade as a safety feature
- Rafter Hook: Ideal for hanging from various objects instead of placing the saw on the ground
- Trigger Safety Design: Some prefer push-in, others push-down
- Dust Port: Provides connection to vacuum for better cleaning
- Rail Compatibility: Enables the saw to attach to a rail for high-precision cutting
- LED Light: Adds light to the visible blade area to help you see the cutting line
- Cutting Wire Blower: Uses an exhaust stream to push sawdust away from the cutting wire
- Magnesium composition: reduces weight without sacrificing strength
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