The Cordless Backhandle Circular Saw Competition Is Getting More Crowded…and That's a Good Thing
What's better than a great cordless circular saw? The BEST Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw! Whether you like the ergonomics of the design or the extra torque for ripping through lumber, having a cordless worm drive circular saw can complement your Sidewinder or stand alone as your go-to saw.
Cordless rear-handle circular saws fill the needs of professionals looking to cut worm-drive cords, a field that's gotten even more crowded this year. We're not disappointed by that, though. These beefy saws take power seriously, and more brands than ever are adding it.
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Flex 24V Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw
Flex makes some bold claims with its cordless rear handle circular saw. Using a 24V max power supply (21.6V nominal) and a blazing fast 6200 RPM, it beats all of our other backhand saws, including the Milwaukee and DeWalt, in terms of cutting speed and power.
From there, the design is thoughtful, ticking all the boxes we were looking for. Even its weight is in line with models from Milwaukee, DeWalt and other top performers.
When the wood chips settled, we didn't have any major complaints. If you needed another reason to take a closer look at the Flex, stackable pouch lithium batteries give the entire line an edge over traditional batteries. Best of all is the Flex's lifetime warranty if you register your purchase before December 31, 2023.
Price: $249.00 bare metal, $399.00 with 10.0Ah stacked lithium battery and fast charger
Best Lightweight Cordless Rear Handle/Worm Drive Circular Saw
Metabo HPT 36V MultiVolt Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw
If having the lightest cordless worm drive circular saw is your priority, the Metabo HPT is the choice. Powered by a single 36V MultiVolt battery, it's in the same cutting performance class as Makita's 18V X2, and joins in as another lightweight option. In fact, it weighs over two pounds less with the battery than the Makita – just 10.6 pounds with the 4.0Ah battery!
Metabo HPT is also specified as the only hybrid option in this group. If you have a lot of production cutting to do and don't want to worry about managing batteries, just switch to the AC adapter and cut until you drop. One last thing – Metabo HPT backs this tool with a lifetime warranty.
Price: $199.00 bare, $299.00 kit with 4.0Ah battery and charger
Best Cordless Rear Handle/Worm Drive Circular Saw for the Money
Skil PWRCore 20 XP Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw
When Skil was relaunched a few years ago, it was aimed at DIY enthusiasts. However, brushless tools have kept pace with professional-grade models, and now we see Skil's first tool designed for the value-conscious professional.
The Skil Cordless Back Handsaw is part of an emerging 2 x 20V system bearing the PWRCore 20 XP name. Using two batteries to reach a higher power level of 40V max (36V nominal), it cuts very similarly to the Makita rear handle saw in our test. Of course, there are trade-offs between the two, but the Skil's overall design and feature set are ready to handle the everyday jobsite environment.
Knowing that it will meet the needs of professional users, the price is very convincing. It's only $249.99 as a kit that includes two 5.0Ah batteries and a dual-port PWRJump fast charger.
Price: $249.99 with two 5.0Ah batteries and dual-port charger.
The Best Cordless Rear Handle / Worm Drive Circular Saw – More Recommendations From Brands We Trust
DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Worm Drive Circular Saw
DeWalt followed Makita in bringing their FlexVolt 60V Max DCS577 to market, a leap in power over the first generation FlexVolt sidewinder. The saw's cutting ability is clearly top-notch, and its front handle is designed for a more comfortable fit than other models we tested. The only downside we encountered was that the shoe had a bit more friction than most, giving it a slightly "sticky" feel when we started cutting.
Price: $299.00 bare metal, $449.00 with 9.0Ah battery and charger
Hilti Nuron 22V Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw
Thanks to a new brushless motor and advanced battery design, Hilti's Nuron Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw gets a big boost in performance. Runtime is expected to double, and the total weight is less than 12 pounds, including a 7.9Ah battery. Thanks to Nuron technology, you also get a whole new level of communication from the tool and battery to help you plan your maintenance.
Price: $369.00 bare metal ($11.00 per month for fleet customers)
Makita 40V max XGT Brushless Rear Handle Circular Saw
Makita is the first 36 volt XSR01 to be marketed as a rear handle model. It performs well, is lighter than most of the competition, and has landed on our best value list more than once. For best performance check out Makita's 40V max XGT system and GSR01.
While the two saws are very similar in design, the speed has been greatly increased, jumping from 5100 RPM to 6400 RPM. Even better, the GSR01 cuts very smoothly compared to other models we've tested. Not only do you get a performance boost, but the XGT model is also more than a pound lighter than the XSR01, at 11.7 pounds including the battery.
As we write this, kits from Acme Tools are available for under $300, which is great considering the quality of Makita and the prices of its competitors.
Price: $264.00 bare metal, $299.00 with 4.0Ah battery and fast charger
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Rear Handle Circular Saw
Debuting in 2019, Milwaukee's 2830 M18 Fuel Rear Handle Circular Saw takes advantage of the power boost from the M18 Series high output batteries. It runs on 18 volts using an advanced M18 fuel brushless motor.
For two years, it topped our list as the best overall cordless rear handle circular saw, until the Flex finally manages to take the lead in 2022. Still, the power and cutting speed of this saw is impressive, and we're not making any changes to the design other than the traditional slim front handle.
Price: $279.00 bare metal, $449.00 with 12.0Ah high output battery and fast charger
Ridgid 18V Cordless Rear Handle Circular Saw
Ridgid fans, your time is up! Ridgid's Cordless Back Handsaw is coming to Home Depot in late 2022, so look forward to it! Cutting speed and power are excellent. In the meantime, this is another nice lightweight option, weighing 10.1 lbs bare and 12.4 lbs operating with the 8.0Ah max output battery.
Value is also part of the story. Naked tools cost $219.00 and kits cost $349.00—a nice break from the $400.00-plus price tags some high-end brands demand.
Price: $219.00 bare metal, $349.00 with 8.0Ah battery and charger
Skilsaw 48V True HVL Cordless Worm Drive
In our testing, the only true cordless worm drive was Skilsaw's 48V TrueHVL worm drive. Interestingly, it is the first cordless tool under the Skilsaw brand.
Although it is heavier than other competitors, the Skilsaw is the best cordless worm drive due to its solid overall design and top cutting capabilities. The downside is that only two tools work with this battery system: this saw and the 10 1/4-inch cordless Sawsquatch.
Technically, the 10 1/4" version is also a rear handle design. If you're looking for the best cutting power, this is the one for you.
7 1/4" Price: $249.00 bare, $399.00 with 5.0Ah battery and charger, $599.00 for two 5.0Ah batteries and charger
Best Cordless Rear Handle / Worm Drive Circular Saw Buying Guide – What We Looked For
We ran a series of cross, miter, bevel, compound and rip cuts to understand saw power, shoe friction and guard action. Cutting power and speed are our first considerations, but we also want the saw to glide smoothly through the cut and avoid snagging on guards no matter what angle we cut at.
We also check how close the 0° and 45° tangent indicators are, but this will vary depending on which blade cut you are using. Whenever you switch to a different blade model, make a few cuts on the scrap to make sure you know where the cuts are happening compared to the blade you were using before.
We stopped runtime testing a while ago. In typical operating scenarios, today's brushless motors extend run time beyond the time required to fully charge a second battery. As long as you have extra suits to work with, you can work undisturbed like changing backpacks.
We mark a straight cut line to see the effect of each saw line. It's not about having a closed arbor – that would be a flaw. We're seeing if the handle design encourages us to push to either side. This is usually not a problem.
Dust and chip removal
Most circular saw cuts are made in an area that does not create a mess. For these applications, we look at how well each saw removes sawdust and debris from the material. What we want most is a clear understanding of our cutting lines.
When you do want to clean up the mess, having a vacuum attached goes a long way. For the included saw, the swivel design is useful so you can remove swarf when you're not using the vacuum and keep it mounted all the time.
We wanted a natural feel that provided great control when we put our hands on the circular saw. We're looking for the proper distance between the handles, how comfortable the grip is, and whether it encourages us to push the saw to the right or left during the cut.
Since most circular saw cuts are done on top of the material you're cutting, weight may not be as much of an issue for some. However, it does make a difference when you're carrying it around the job site, and it increases the amount of shoe friction you experience.
We weigh each bare saw and its battery load and consider its impact over the course of the workday.
price and value
Value is not just price. That's what you get for the price, and how you prioritize performance, design, features, compatible tools, and other factors that vary from person to person on the same battery system. Put the most important things after the things that are most important to you and also fit within your budget.
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