By BUILDER Magazine Staff. How about pulling the plug on your circular saw and going cordless? Although cordless circular saws haven't made the same impact on the cutting world that cordless drills have in the driver arena, they do pack a punch, and they are convenient.
According to Mike Goreman, cordless product manager with Columbia, Md.-based DeWalt, approximately 40 percent of trim and finish carpenters use cordless circular saws. He estimates that only 10 percent of framers work with cordless saws because most need the power of a corded tool for heavy cutting. These numbers are expected to increase as manufacturers offer new products with more power.
The power needed from a cordless circular saw depends on the application. Most professional-grade, 18-volt or 24-volt saws can crosscut at least 125 2x4s on a single charge, and some exceed 150 cuts.
For larger jobs, 24-volt saws offer maximum power. Goreman notes that, "24-volt saws are targeted to framers [because] power is extremely important to them." At 18 volts, you still have a saw that's able to cut framing lumber, he says; however, on a single charge, an 18-volt model may yield fewer cuts than a 24-volt model. What you lose in power, you gain in mobility because 18-volt cordless circular saws are lighter and more compact.
Large and in charge: Weighing 9.5 pounds, the DW007K 24-volt circular saw has a magnesium shoe and an electric brake for greater control. The 6 1/2-inch blade cuts 2x material at a 45-degree bevel. Featuring a no load speed of 4,000 RPM, the circular saw comes with a one-hour charger, XR Pack battery, and a 16-tooth carbide tipped blade and accessories. DeWalt. 800-433-9258. www.dewalt.com.
Running in circles: The 24-volt cordless circular saw, model BSS730SHK, features a 7 1/4-inch blade for cutting 2x material at 45 degrees. The saw cross cuts up to 51 2x10s from a single charge, claims the maker. The saw, which has an electric brake, comes standard with a Ni-MH battery, charger, case, and blade. Makita. 800-462-5482. www.makitatools.com. A cut above the rest: The 18-volt Power-Plus cordless circular saw, model 6310-22, operates on a 2.4 amp-hour NiCad battery. Equipped with a 6 1/2-inch blade, the saw can cut up to 145 2x4s on a single charge, the maker claims. The model also comes standard with an electric brake that stops the blade in seconds. Milwaukee. 800-729-3878. www.mil-electric-tool.com.
Cut it out: With a 7 1/4-inch blade, the C7D 24V cordless circular saw is equipped with a fan-cooled 3,000 RPM motor. The saw--which comes with a 2.0 amp-hour battery and weighs a total of 10 pounds--features a built-in spotlight that increases the visibility of the cutting line, claims the maker. Hitachi. 800-706-7337. www.hitachi.com.