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On The Expensive Side For What It Offers

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Review by knotscott posted 11-29-2009 11:06 PM 3643 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
On The Expensive Side For What It Offers No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Right from the moment I pulled this saw from the box my heart sank a little bit. With a street price in the $120 range, I guess I expected a bit more than the average $50 DIY type circular saws offer. It’s built like a cheap saw, has the features of a cheap saw, and basically sells from the virtues of it’s unique size. It’s also a butt ugly drab gray, which wouldn’t really matter if Skil would up their game a little bit. It does offer an interesting design that fills a niche though. Having the blade on the left side makes cuts very visible, and it’s light enough to easily handle with one hand.

On the downside, the motor is slightly underpowered…you squeeze the trigger and instead of springing to life, the blade slowly ramps up to speed….I didn’t expect it to react like a 15 amp motor, but I hadn’t expected to have the immediate impression that it’s anemic. The stock blade is as cheap as they come….it’s not even carbide. The selection of blade upgrades that will fit this saw is severely limited. I get the impression that this saw hasn’t been updated in over 20 years, yet it still fetches a premium. It’s time that Skil added some DC, slightly more power, a laser guide, edge guide, composite shoe plate, and/or possibly a nice carrying case to make it more competitive with the PC345, PC314, Makita 5005 and 4200, and the Ridgid Fuego.

The HD5510 is a mixed bag for me….it’s nice and light, easy to control, and can make most cuts. I’ve managed to squeeze a 6” Freud Diablo 40T blade in by removing the blade guard….not a move I’d recommend, but it’s what I felt I needed to do to make it function to my satisfaction. 20%-30% more power would be welcome too. I bought this saw sight unseen based on many positive reviews. If I’d had the opportunity to scope this out in person, I think I would have passed and opted for the PC345 or the Ridgid 3400…both more expensive (though not much), but both offer quite a bit more saw than the Skil. It’s not a bad saw, it’s just fairly expensive for what you get, and I’m disapointed about the value.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....




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knotscott

5514 posts in 2063 days



15 comments so far

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knotscott

5514 posts in 2063 days


#1 posted 11-29-2009 11:20 PM

Sussy – They haven’t exactly made a believer out of me either. I should have known better, but the saw had lots of positive reviews and filled a niche for me.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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MarkwithaK

370 posts in 1866 days


#2 posted 11-30-2009 12:35 AM

The only Skil tool I’ve ever liked is their worm drive saws….everything else they make just seems chincy.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

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knotscott

5514 posts in 2063 days


#3 posted 11-30-2009 12:43 AM

Mark – The sad thing is that I ordered a left blade Milwaukee worm drive for $100 shipped…it was a thing of beauty but was just too big for what I wanted to do. I sold it and bought this little Skil turd….kicking myself!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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papadan

1156 posts in 2056 days


#4 posted 11-30-2009 12:53 AM

I go with Mark and the only Skil brand tool ever worth owning is the 77 worm drive saw. I got a left blade 7 1/4” PC a few years ago and have nothing but love for it.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

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Tim_456

159 posts in 2283 days


#5 posted 11-30-2009 06:29 AM

I’ve got the Craftsman version of this and was totally disappointed. I needed it to cut some aluminum siding and it works well for that because the material is thin but when i tried cutting anything mroe than 1/2 thick it really bogged down. Now that I’m done with that project I don’t really see myself using this again. I wish I would’ve put the money into a good cordless saw that has the power and the blade options.

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2041 days


#6 posted 12-01-2009 07:55 AM

Nice candid enlightening review. I have the 345 and I do really like it.

I’m curious about something, why the preference for a composite shoe?

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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knotscott

5514 posts in 2063 days


#7 posted 12-01-2009 08:00 AM

Hi Curt – The steel shoe is more prone to being bent. The PC345 has ~ 50% more power than the HD5510, only weighs a couple pounds more, and only costs ~ $30 more. Plus, there are more blades available for it. I’m thinking the 345 would be a bit more to my liking, but I will definitely handle this one in person before I buy!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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libraryman

39 posts in 2433 days


#8 posted 02-05-2010 01:50 AM

I have to disagree with your negative reviews. I currently own large Milwaukee, Craftsman, and Porter Cable circular saws. I had a bunch of fence pickets needing cutting off at shoulder height and didn’t want to heft a big saw. I bought the small Skill circular saw, installed a Max Life 5 1/2” carbide blade (using a 1/2” arbor adapter) and quickly cut um off. I then purchased some Amana Tool General purpose 5 3/8 carbide blades and over the past four years have sawn hundreds of sheets of 3/4 and 1/2” hardwood plywood with it. It’s not designed for 2x lumber cutting but is perfect for breaking down plywood panels. It has real ball bearings instead of needle bearings. Sure the sole plate isn’t bullet proof but I am careful with it and haven’t yet bent it. I have built a zero clearance edge guide out of 1/4” hardboard and 1/2 plywood and get as good a cut as my table saw on plywood. I wouldn’t trade it.

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a1Jim

112313 posts in 2265 days


#9 posted 02-05-2010 08:35 AM

I like my Pc 6” trim saw

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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knotscott

5514 posts in 2063 days


#10 posted 02-05-2010 07:12 PM

Libraryman – With the 40T Freud blade, the cut quality is good enough, and it’s good to know about the ball bearings, but at 6 amps the motor stills seems very anemic for a $100 saw. Glad you like yours…lots of folks seem to, but for $50-$70 more, there are a couple of other choices I wish I had gone with….PC and Ridgid, which offer 8 & 9 amp motors, and the Ridgid has excellent DC. For now, it looks as though the Skil is going to stay put though, as it doesn’t see enough use to justify selling it and buying another.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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libraryman

39 posts in 2433 days


#11 posted 02-06-2010 01:01 AM

Knotscott – It’s very interesting that before I purchased the Skill trim saw I tried to purchase the PC 6” saw. I can’t remember the exact reasons I couldn’t get one (one dealer said that PC had stopped making them?) but I couldn’t purchase the PC which was my first choice. I then purchase the Ridgid Fuego? 6” circular saw, installed the blade, and began sawing. Within a few minutes I felt the blade wobbling. The arbor screw had backed out significantly – and no matter how it was tightened it would loosen up. I returned it and inspection showed that the threads were defective. Several others opened had same problem. I then ordered the Skill after lots of reading positive reviews on Amazon and finding it for sale for $98. Of course, if I had needed to saw 2X’s I would have insisted on getting an operational Ridgid 6” which has great features. I’m still glad that I got the Skill trim saw – for trim work and plywood it is great. I haven’t used my big one ton Milwaukee for PC saws for several years now as I just build furniture and small boats.

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BDFan1981

96 posts in 1018 days


#12 posted 11-21-2012 08:08 AM

I wonder if the prior, 1983-introduced model 551, which was exactly the same thing as this except for its model number (the saw became model 5510 in December 1985)?

What I want to know is whether or not the 1983-vintage 551 or the 1986 version of the 5510 was any better than this one?

Thank you,

Ben

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knotscott

5514 posts in 2063 days


#13 posted 11-22-2012 12:28 AM

Wish I could tell you Ben, but I don’t know. The 5510 doesn’t look to me like it’s been updated for a while.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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BDFan1981

96 posts in 1018 days


#14 posted 11-22-2012 01:50 AM

How many of you actually have a circa 1983 model 551 or a circa 1986 model 5510 to show us here?

Thank you,

Ben

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knotscott

5514 posts in 2063 days


#15 posted 11-22-2012 01:19 PM

Ben – I think your question would get more exposure if you posted it as a thread instead of in a review that has much less visibility.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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