Corded vs Cordless Circular Saw — Which Is More Reliable?

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

This has been a matter of discussion for a long time among woodworkers: Corded vs Cordless Circular Saw — which one is the better investment?

But in more recent times, cordless circular saws have been taking the lead on the market. With considerably longer runtime, faster battery charges, more efficient brushless motor, and other impressive upgrades.

Cordless circular saws are much better now than when they first came out.

My objective today is to help you see through each type of circular saw. And decide whether you will be better off with a corded or cordless model for your professional or DIY application. 

Our top corded circular saw pick is the Makita 5007MG. It offers you the best features you will need at a jobsite, including a 7-1/4-inch blade size, proven cutting performance, and large cutting capacity.
Our top cordless circular saw pick is the Makita XSS02Z. With this model, you get cordless convenience, superior runtime, fast charge time, smoother cutting performance, and great portability.

Corded vs Cordless Circular Saw: Some Reviews

ProductDetails
1. Makita 5007MG Magnesium Circular Saw

  • Magnesium components
  • 15-amp motor
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Built-in LED light
  • Built-in dust blower
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2. Skilsaw Southpaw Circular Saw

  • All magnesium construction
  • 10-foot power cord
  • Dual-field motor
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Worm drive styled guards
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3. Dewalt DWE575SB Circular Saw

  • Patented 15-amp motor
  • Best electric brake
  • Large beveling capacity
  • Superior no load speed
  • Integrated dust blower
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4. Makita XSS02Z Circular Saw

  • Powered by 18-volt LXT Li-ion battery
  • High torque motor
  • Precision machined base
  • Rubberized soft grip handle
  • Maximum bevel capacity of 50 degrees
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5. Dewalt DCS391B Circular Saw

  • Powered by a 20-volt max battery
  • High performance 5250 rpm motor
  • High strength magnesium shoe
  • Large bevel capacity of 0 to 50 degrees
  • Rubber over-molded comfort grip
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6. Porter-Cable PCC660B Cordless Circular Saw

  • Powered by a 20-volt max battery
  • High-performance motor
  • Wide beveling shoe pivots
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Contoured over-molded handle
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1. Makita 5007MG Magnesium Circular Saw — Overall Best

The Makita 5007MG is a refined circular saw that features a powerful industrial motor and highly durable magnesium components.

Specs

  • Magnesium components
  • 15-amp motor
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Built-in LED light
  • Built-in dust blower

The saw has a 15-amp motor with a max output of 2300 watts, which is great because it delivers proven performance.

It has an impressive bevel capacity that reaches 56 degrees with bevel adjustment and positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees.

But the thing is, the guard can easily get stuck in the workpiece, and if you don’t notice this it might ruin your cut.

Pros

  • Lightweight magnesium components
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Multiple positive stops for added versatility
  • Dust blower clears the line of cut
  • Built-in LED illuminates the workpiece

Cons

  • Blade guard may get stuck
  • Baseplate may be misaligned

Conclusion

The Makita 5007MG is a great corded circular saw for framing, plunge cutting, and bevel cutting.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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2. Skilsaw Southpaw Circular Saw — Best Direct Drive Design

The Skilsaw Southpaw features lightweight magnesium components and superior cord length for professionals as well as every day jobsite use.

Specs

  • All magnesium construction
  • 10-foot power cord
  • Dual-field motor
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Worm drive styled guards

This corded saw features a rugged, lightweight, and durable all magnesium construction, including the foot, upper and lower guards, and motor housing.

It is powered by a 15-amp dual-field motor, which is great because it provides the ideal balance of power and cooling to make the toughest cuts.

But there is one significant challenge with the sidewinder design, weight distribution is poor. It tends to sit on the workpiece.

Pros

  • Increased cut line visibility and accuracy
  • Dual-field motor has superior cooling
  • All magnesium design is lightweight and durable
  • Long 10-foot power cord improves maneuverability
  • Cut ready depth of cut adds versatility

Cons

  • Poor weight distribution
  • Some models may come with an uneven base

Conclusion

If you want a lightweight direct drive circular saw that offers you the visibility of a worm drive saw, then look no further than the Skilsaw Southpaw.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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3. Dewalt DWE575SB Circular Saw — Best Electric Brake

The Dewalt DWE575SB is a compact and high performing model, redesigned to be one of the lightest corded circular saws in its class.

Specs

  • Patented 15-amp motor
  • Best electric brake
  • Large beveling capacity
  • Superior no load speed
  • Integrated dust blower

At only 8.8 pounds, the Dewalt DWE575SB is lightweight, designed for control on the jobsite and to help reduce user fatigue.

This saw has a 15-amp motor, which is great because it provides plenty of power in a compact size and very smooth cutting performance.

But the thing is, you don’t get the advertised contractor bag, which is quite disappointing.

Pros

  • Lightweight construction reduces user fatigue
  • Electric brake prevents the guard from falling back
  • Delivers plenty of power for a compact design
  • Heavy-duty power cord is resistance to pull out
  • Ergonomic handle is well-balanced and comfort

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with the advertised contractor bag
  • Blade tends to wear out faster than usual

Conclusion

The Dewalt DWE575SB comes with exceptional features, which provide superior performance and long life in dusty environments.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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4. Makita XSS02Z Circular Saw — Overall Best

The Makita XSS02Z is a cordless circular saw that is engineered to work all day with the 18-volt LXT Li-ion battery.

Specs

  • Powered by 18-volt LXT Li-ion battery
  • High torque motor
  • Precision machined base
  • Rubberized soft grip handle
  • Maximum bevel capacity of 50 degrees

This saw is built with automatic speed change technology, which is great because it is engineered to adjust speed and torque for optimum performance.

It has an efficient brushless motor, which is electronically controlled to optimize battery life, increase power, and prolong tool life.

It is possible to receive a model that doesn’t come with a dust nozzle attachment, and you might not find a part number for ordering the attachment.

Pros

  • Automatic speed change allows for optimum performance
  • Brushless motor optimizes battery life
  • Large cutting capacity reduces cutting time
  • Superior dust and water resistance
  • Overload, over-discharge, and overheat protection

Cons

  • May not come with a dust nozzle
  • Charger and battery are not included

Conclusion

The Makita XSS02Z heavy-duty brushless motor and 18-volt Li-ion battery will deliver the cordless convenience you need for faster ripping and cutting.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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5. Dewalt DCS391B Circular Saw — Best Portable Design

If you don’t want the hassle of running into tangling extension cords, then you should consider buying the Dewalt DCS391B Circular Saw.

Specs

  • Powered by a 20-volt max battery
  • High performance 5250 rpm motor
  • High strength magnesium shoe
  • Large bevel capacity of 0 to 50 degrees
  • Rubber over-molded comfort grip

This unique tool has a high strength magnesium shoe, which is great because it provides high strength and jobsite durability.

Another great feature is the large bevel capacity of 0 to 50 degrees, which is exactly what you need when making those aggressive bevel cuts.

My only disappointment is the poor position of the safety switch, which needs to be pushed in order to pull the trigger.

Pros

  • Lightweight magnesium shoe is highly durable
  • Large bevel capacity for superior cutting
  • Overmolded grip allows for consistent hand placement
  • 20-volt battery offers a decent runtime
  • Provides superior cut line and blade visibility

Cons

  • Safety switch is poorly positioned
  • Doesn’t come with a blade lock

Conclusion

The Dewalt DCS391B isn’t just lightweight, but also extremely portable, making it ideal for jobsite use.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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6. Porter-Cable PCC660B Cordless Circular Saw — Most Lightweight Design

Introducing the Porter-Cable PCC660B, a lightweight and high performing tool. This amazing little saw is highly versatile and durable.

Specs

  • Powered by a 20-volt max battery
  • High-performance motor
  • Wide beveling shoe pivots
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Contoured over-molded handle

This tool has a six and a half-inch carbide blade, which is a great feature because it delivers a superior cutting capacity for all your 2-1/8-inch sheeting materials.

Another good feature is the high-performance motor, which delivers 4000 revolutions per minute for smooth, fast cuts.

But the thing is, you can receive a defective model with guidelines that don’t line up properly with the saw blade.

Pros

  • Motor generates superior cutting performance
  • Large cutting capacity adds versatility
  • Beveling shoe offers multiple angles for non-traditional cutting
  • Compact, lightweight design minimizes jobsite fatigue
  • 20-volt max battery offers reliable runtime

Cons

  • Possible to receive a model with design flaws
  • Battery and charger sold separately

Conclusion

The Porter-Cable PCC660B combines compact size, performance, easy adjustments, visibility, ease of use, and value demanded on the jobsite.

Overall Rating – 4.5

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How To Pick The Right Tool

Whether corded or cordless, there are specific features you have to look for in order to pick the right tool for the job.

Style Of Circular Saw

A circular saw can either be a worm drive or a direct drive (sidewinder). A worm drive saw is equipped with a worm gear that transmits power to the blade. The gear sits behind the blade. So, you have a lot of torque and control.

If you aren’t a big fan of worm drives, you can always choose a sidewinder circular saw. It has a blade that’s direct drive, which can be on the right- or left-hand side of the motor. This type is lighter in weight and gives more speed. 

Blade Size Or Diameter

The one thing that can help you determine the performance of a circular saw is the blade size or diameter. The most popular sizes are 7-1/4-inch, 6-1/2-inch, 12-inch, and 10-inch.

The smaller blade diameters are suitable for easy and quick jobs, especially when cutting thinner lumber at higher revolutions per minute.

But thicker lumber would require you to use a large size circular saw, preferably 7-1/4-inch or higher. This will give you the cutting power and capacity you need to cut thick wood with ease.

Safety Features

Circular saws, whether corded or cordless, can be intimidating and extremely dangerous. You can limit the risks associated with these tools by choosing one with superior safety features.

The first feature to take into account is the blade guard, which will protect you from the blade when it is spinning.

The second safety feature to look for is an electric brake, which will stop the blade almost instantaneously. 

Cordless Vs Corded Circular Saw — Which Is The Better Option?

The corded vs cordless circular saw clash is fierce, and it all comes down to the following factors:

Power

With a corded model, you get consistent and uninterrupted supply of power not unless you experience an unexpected blackout.

But the power of a cordless model depends on the capacity of the battery pack, while the runtime depends on the usage. Therefore, a corded circular is more suitable for demanding jobsite applications.

Cost of Replacement Parts

If there is one thing you can’t avoid when using a cordless circular saw is having to get replacement battery packs.

At some point, the battery pack will give in and you will need a replacement. But a corded circular saw will rarely need any replacement parts in the short run. 

Portability

It goes without saying that a corded circular saw isn’t the most portable choice because you’re tethered to a power cord.

This certainly limits your maneuverability. But a cordless model is free of any cables and extremely maneuverable. 

Final Thoughts

You will want a corded circular saw’s full power for cutting hardwoods. Not to mention that you will avoid the hassle of running out of juice in the middle of a cut.

Portability and ease of use make cordless circular saws ideal for framing or carpentry. But they’re not generally the most powerful choice.

The Makita 5007MG wins hands down in terms of consistent and uninterrupted power runtime, superior blade size and cutting capacity, and great torque.

However, the cordless convenience and superior safety features of the Makita XSS02Z win in ensuring you have a portable and safe tool to use at the jobsite.

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