|Review by pendledad||posted 10-17-2012 02:19 PM||5556 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
So my experience is limited with circular saws. I used my Dad’s 1980’s craftsman a few times and I was always terrified at how loud it was. Anyways, I’m sure I would be very happy with any new circular saw that I purchased because I’ve really only used an old chunky low quality saw with a crappy blade. Anyways, here is my thought process on why I chose this saw and my first impressions from using it.
Off to HD for some hands on…
Regardless of price, I want to be able to use the saw comfortably and be able to navigate the tools features with ease. I picked up ever saw from the inexpensive Skil and Ryobi, to the massive worm drive Makita/Milwaukee. I have to say that the Ridgid actually felt the best in my hands. It had a nice grip and felt well balanced. The DeWalt was a close second feeling a bit more rugged and ready for a long day of construction.
These saws pretty much all have the same features. They all tilt, they all have powerful motors. The DeWalt had easy to read layout lines for knowing exactly where the saw will cut at 0 and 45 degrees. This is really helpful because I needed to make some french cleats (without my table saw or band saw … more about that story here) and was working at 45 degrees. The positive stops when changing the angles were impossible to miss. I didn’t like the Ridgid’s angle changer. It was difficult to read and although it had positive stops, you have to press a little button in order to get it past 45 degrees. Not really that big of a deal, but it might be annoying to some. The depth of cut was easy to adjust on all the saws, however it was difficult to read regardless of brand. I didn’t mind because I will be using my eyes to tell me how low the blade needs to be, then locking it in place.
The DeWalt had a nice perk. The tool to unlock the blade is actually stored in the housing under the power cord. Really nice because if you wanted to change between a 40-tooth plywood blade and a 24-tooth construction lumber blade, you don’t have to worry about where the tool is. I’ve already swapped the blade once, and having that tool located there is nice. It clicks into place and it didn’t feel loose at all.
Ridgid $99. DeWalt $119. Makita ~$119 and $149. No real big differences in my eyes. All the saws are priced around the same, so I literally didn’t let this be a factor. Honestly, if you’re spending $99 and you’re not looking at the $120 saws because they’re too expensive … don’t let the $100 hurdle fool you. Find the saw that feels right and then worry about price. You might actually like the $59 saw better than the $149 before you even see the price tag.
So I bought the DeWalt and went with a 40-tooth diablo blade for a total of $135. Came home and popped in the blade … fired up the saw at 10:00pm in my garage and ripped some french cleats out of the 3/4” plywood I had. My wife said she couldn’t hear anything in the house. I was shocked at how quietly it cut. I know the blade has a lot to do with it, but I am very pleased with the operation of the saw. The dust gets kicked out the right side away from your body. I’ll probably rig up an attachment with my shop vac if cutting plywood again … it gets really messy. The stream of sawdust comes from one area on the back of the saw by design, so it would be real easy to catch. The saw feels great in the hand, especially when holding it with one hand and moving something around with the other. At ~9lbs, it has some weight, but it isn’t obnoxious and I didn’t mind it for the 1 hour I was using it constantly. It rode my fence (clamped 1×4 board) with easy and it produced a square accurate cut. I might put a tiny bit of wax on the sides of the shoe that ride the fence because the metal is a little sticky … but it still works great. It has a two pronged plug at the end of a nice tough duty cord (I stepped on the plug three times already and it hasn’t shown any wear).
The blade that came with the saw is garbage. It doesn’t feel sharp at all, and it was 18-tooth. I didn’t even bother trying the blade because I knew it would be probably 2x as loud as my razor sharp 40-tooth diablo. Do yourself a favor and replace the blade. The diablos are cheap, and they cut extremely well. I’ll use that blade as a backup or for breaking down questionable stock.
My only gripe is that it doesn’t have a case. I really want to put that thing in something and store it … but with how easy it cuts and how enjoyable it is to use it, I’ll be making a home for it.
This is my second DeWalt purchase, and I have to say that I really enjoy their tools. Again, I’ve never really owned a circular saw and my use with them is limited, but I can’t imagine things getting better or easier than this saw. 5-stars all the way.