A cordless 6½-inch circular saw is compact, lightweight, and incredibly easy to use, making them the best saw for cutting trim. You might know these as trim saws as this is their most common use. Though, the best 6½” circular saws are used for much more than this.
Top Power Tools has selected the top 6½” circular saws from well-known brands for this review. Of the 6 models selected, I believe each has the goods to be rated as one of the best. Typically 6.5” circular saws have around 2” cutting depth, offering the capability to cut 2 X 2 lumber with relative ease.
As is so often the case, my top pick would be the DeWalt DCS565B, mostly because I’m a real fan of the DeWalt 20V XR platform. If you’re already using DeWalt 20V MAX tools, it makes sense to continue buying tools in this range. You save a lot of money using only one type of battery. Similarly, fans of the other cordless tool brands featured in this review will naturally gravitate to the cordless 6½” circular saw that shares a battery platform with their other tools.
What We Look For in a Trim Saw
Whether it’s a 7½” or 6½” circular saw, there are a few important aspects one should take into account before buying a trim saw. This is the criteria I have used to select the amazing models for this review:
- Accuracy: In order to make an accurate cut, you need to have a good line of sight. Gadgets, like a laser guide, can help but ultimately it’s mostly about the handle position in relation to the blade. Most carpenters (being right-handed) prefer a blade to the left of the handle.
- Performance: Power is usually top of the list of priorities for any power tool user. To this end, we’ve selected cordless saws with a reputation for excellent motors. This offers you the best power and speed. They can all handle ¾” plywood with absolute ease. Battery performance is also an important aspect when buying a cordless circular saw. In this regard, a brushless motor is a great advantage, and the built-in electronics can also help improve battery working times.
- Features and Specs: I consider some features to be imperative on a circular saw. A good blade guard, dust port, and easy-to-use bevel adjustments are a must. A well-designed base is another important feature. Accurate depth of cut and bevel angle gauges are very helpful features. Stuff like laser guides and an LED light are great but not essential.
- Blade: We cannot overlook the blade, however, you can use any brand of blade, as long as it matched the arbor and diameter of the saw. You can choose from a variety of blades, depending on the type of cut or material.
- Weight: Lightweight saws are always more pleasurable to use.
- Value for Money: With every Top Power Tools review, I seriously consider the value that you’re getting for your hard-earned dollar. I believe that I’ve developed a knack over the years for balancing the price of a tool with performance, reliability, dealership service, and durability. True value is not exclusively about the price. It’s all about what you’re getting for your money and if the tool is worth its price.
Okay, now that we know how these tools made it into our best 6½-inch circular saw review, let’s take a detailed look at what each model has to offer.
- Ergonomic handle
- 50° bevel angle
- Blade left design for a view of the cutline
- Electronic protection preventing battery or motor overload
- Dust blower keeps cut line free of dust
- Lightweight – tool only: 6.6 LBS
- Durable heavy-duty aluminum foot and upper glade guard
- Electric saw brake
- Anti-snag lower blade guard
- Easy to read depth and bevel gauges
- Robust spindle lock and onboard blade wrench
The Bosch CCS180B has been around for a while and may seem a little outdated when compared to the more recent offerings from both Bosch and other brands. Slightly lacking in power, it can’t compete with the newer brushless motors on many other 6½” circular saws.
With this rather unflattering introduction to the Bosch cordless trim saw, you may be wondering why I’ve decided to include it as one of the best 6.5” circular saws. The answer to this is quite simple, the price. Compared to the newer more sophisticated machines, the Bosch CCS180B is downright cheap. For the incredible quality that this tool has to offer, it’s a great bargain.
Although this is an 18V saw with a brushed electric motor, Bosch has upgraded the CCS180B to use the Bosch Core 18V battery which provides improved working times. The biggest advantage of the new battery design is its ability to stay cool under pressure. When you’re laboring the saw for extended periods, it won’t shut off too easily because of battery overheating.
My general impressions of the Bosch CCS180B are mostly good. I’ve owned a few Bosch circular saws over the years and have found them to be extremely tough and capable of handling more abuse than most. This quality legacy is clearly evident in the 18V cordless model.
The solid aluminum base is truly amazing, as is the upper blade guard which is also made from aluminum. The lower blade guard is not as impressive. It is pretty ordinary which kind of makes it feel a little inferior when compared to the rest of the saw which is really robust. You also have to apply a little extra force to get the saw going as the blade guard catches a bit at first. Though, once you get used to this, it really isn’t a big deal.
As for accuracy, I give the Bosch CCS180B a 9 out of 10. The bevel is incredibly accurate at 45°. I’d say 100% spot on. Ironically, it is not as accurate at 90°, which is the angle we use most of the time. Though I doubt less OCD users will notice the hair-breadth discrepancy at 90°.
Adjustment levers and knobs are about the best I’ve seen. It’s a wonderfully easy saw to use. I’ve read a couple of reviews stating that the safety button for the trigger switch is difficult to use. I’ve seen this complaint about other Bosch saws in the past. I guess Bosch design their saws for people with reasonably large hands. As someone with gorilla hands, I’ve never experienced this problem. However, I can see how people with smaller hands may experience some difficulty.
The bevel markings are large and easy to use. However, a lack of color contrast means you have to look quite carefully to be completely accurate. The only positive stop is at 90° so, when making bevel adjustments, you find yourself double-checking to be sure. Markings are at 5° increments. I’m sure some might prefer a little more accuracy. Strangely, this saw does not have a dust extraction port.
Being an older model cordless circular saw, the Bosch CCS180B isn’t crammed with many advanced features like a laser cutline or LED light. The latter is something I’ve come to really value on any type of saw. It does, however, have a blower to keep sawdust away from the cutline. This feature, combined with an excellent blade-left handle design makes it quite easy to see what you’re doing.
General specifications are pretty much what I’d expect from a 6½” circular saw. The 50° bevel angle is a bit more versatile than the more common 45° setup. Depth of cut at 90° is, a one would expect, 2”. For 45° bevel cuts, it is 1⁹⁄₁₆”. The blade speed is a reasonably respectable 3,900 RPM and it has an electric saw blade brake. The bare tool weight is 6.6 pounds. If you’re using the 18V 6AH battery the saw will weigh 8.37 LBS.
Although a little old-school, the Bosch CCS180B 18V cordless trim saw is quite capable of holding its own in the modern market. It has been around long enough to be a proven and reliable workhorse. When it comes to the bottom line, this saw offers outstanding value for money.
- 20V MAX XR brushless motor provides optimal cutting performance
- Lightweight and compact design
- Bevel capacity from 0 – 50° with the tool-free bevel lever
- Built-in rafter hook
- Electric brake quickly stops the blade after the trigger is released
- Storage hook
- Dust port with optional dust bag
- Bright LED light
Released as an upgrade to the original (brushed) DeWalt 20V Max 6½” circular saw about two years ago, this brushless model boasts an incredible 50% more power than the previous generation DeWalt cordless circular saw. Though technology moves fast these days and the DeWalt DCS565B now plays second fiddle to the DeWalt Power Detect 7¼” cordless circular saw which has even more power when coupled with the new high-power 8AH battery. The DeWalt DCS565B remains my first choice when buying a 6½” trim saw.
The shoe is absolutely magnificent, solid, and super lightweight. I may be wrong, but I think it’s made from magnesium. This is even better than aluminum for its high-strength, low-weight characteristics. It’s also about as durable as it gets. The upper and lower blade guards are just as impressive.
I love the DeWalt 20V MAX brushless motor. It’s super-efficient, giving you fantastic working time from the battery. Power is off the charts, making this a great saw for hardwood and other materials that would prove to be a challenge with previous-generation 20V MAX DeWalt circular saws.
When it comes to performance, this saw has some serious grunt, reaching and maintaining its maximum 4950 RPM (no load) blade speed with uncanny ease. It has 0° to 50° bevel adjustments with very easy-to-use markings and a quick-release lever for fast accurate settings.
Thanks to its clever arbor design, the DeWalt DCS565B has above-average cutting depth for a saw of this size – 2¹⁄₈” at 90°. I think it’s just under 2” at 45°. The saw has a very practical design with a blade-left handle orientation. Both the main and front handles are superbly comfortable. The trigger with a thumb-activated safety switch is about as easy to use as it gets. It weighs only 6.3 pounds (bare tool weight).
The 20V DeWalt circular saw has a bunch of handy features. These include a tough rafter hook that stows beautifully into the molded body of the saw when not in use. The inclusion of a really bright LED light is something I really appreciate. The dust extraction port is also perfectly designed with a dust bag available as an optional extra.
With the DeWalt legacy for reliability, performance, and service, this is simply a magnificent 6½” cordless circular saw. The DeWalt 20V MAX tool range is about the most extensive that there is. This is the main reason why I rate DeWalt 20V cordless tools so highly. You have an excellent selection of tools, work lights, and all sorts of other gizmos that all use the same battery. Wonderfully practical for anyone who uses a lot of cordless tools.
- Powerful Makita-built electronically controlled BL™ Motor delivers 5,000 RPM for faster cutting and ripping
- Automatic Speed Change™ technology adjusts cutting speed and torque during cut for optimum performance
- The BL™ Brushless Motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL™ Motor to run cooler and more efficiently for longer life
- Electronically controlled Brushless motor optimizes battery energy use.
- Die-cast magnesium base, blade guard, and safety cover.
- Compact and ergonomic blade-left design.
- Weighs only 7.3 lbs. with the battery.
- Large 2¼” cutting capacity at 90°.
- Positive stop at 45° with fine adjustment.
- Electric brake for maximum productivity.
- Dual L.E.D. lights illuminate the work area.
- A built-in dust blower keeps the line of cut free of debris.
- The retractable tool hook secures the tool when not in use
- Extreme Protection Technology (XPT™) is engineered for improved dust and water resistance for operation in harsh conditions
- Equipped with Star Protection Computer Controls™ to protect against overloading, over-discharging, and over-heating
I’ve read many Makita XSH03Z reviews rating it as the very best cordless 6½” circular saw. I can certainly see why. If it were not for affinity with the DeWalt 20V MAX tools, I think I would probably also place this model at the top of the list.
I really admire Makita’s engineering. These are possibly the toughest, most dependable tools ever made. Top-level quality and durability are evident in every inch of the Makita XSH03Z. The magnesium base and blade guards are nothing short of magnificent. The soft-grip handles are also of the highest order and wonderfully comfortable. Most will appreciate the blade-left handle design.
All this rugged quality does not come with a weight disadvantage either. Clever design and strong lightweight materials make the Makita 6½” circular saw one of the lightest in its class, only 7.3 pounds including the battery.
Power and performance are also in a league of their own. No-load speed is a mighty 5,000 RPM and the smooth, electronically controlled brushless motor ensures that power remains constant under any type of load. Depth of cut is as good as it gets – 2¼” at 90°. It has a great bevel adjustment up to 50°, with a positive stop at 45°. In true Makita fashion, all knobs and levers feel solid and are perfectly easy to use.
There is no shortage of extra features on this little bombshell. It has a built-in hook, dual LED lights, and a dust blower to keep your cutline free of debris. Saw dust is blown clear from the blade guard but there is no dust extraction port. Probably the only area where the Makita saw can draw some criticism. Naturally, it has a superb blade brake.
Makita XPT dust protection and Star Protection for the batteries have become the stuff of legends. It is virtually impossible to break this machine or damage the battery. It is simply going to keep on chugging, cut after cut, year after year. This is what Makita power tools are known for.
As one of the more expensive options, the Makita XSH03Z lives up to its reputation as an insatiable workhorse. For hardworking contractors, paying a little extra for this kind of quality and precision cutting is worth the investment.
Metabo HPT C18DBALQ4
- Cutting depth: 2¹⁹/₃₂ inches
- No-load speed: 4,100 RPM
- Weight: 6. 8 LBS for easy maneuverability
- BEVEL: -5 degree to 45-degree bevel for back cutting and cutting at an angle
- Soft start and electric brake
- Brushless motor technology
In my opinion, Metabo is somewhat underrated as a top power tool brand. In general, the Metabo HPT 6½ circular saw can match up to any of the more recognized premier brands (like Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch). Though, most of the time, Metabo tools are a little cheaper than the other big-name brands.
Admittedly, the Metabo HPT C18DBALQ4 doesn’t boast any of the fancy extras like a dust blower, LED lights, or a rafter hook. When it comes to the most important stuff, this saw has the goods. This means a superb brushless motor, electronic power management, soft start, and an electric brake.
Metabo proudly boasts that the C18DBALQ4 has the best cutting depth of any 6½” circular saw. With a depth of 2¹⁹/₃₂ at 90°, you have a fraction of an inch more than the best that other brands have to offer in this regard. At 45°, the blade also offers more than average depth of cut: 1¹³⁄₁₆”. This is encroaching on territory reserved for 7¼” models.
Quality materials can compare to any of the best. It has a beautifully machined aluminum base and sturdy blade guards. The ergonomic, sumptuously padded handle is positioned to the left of the blade, offering maximum visibility and excellent accuracy.
I like the inclusion of the -5° bevel angle, making it possible to make back cuts if you need to. It has the regular 45° maximum bevel cut. Making adjustments for the bevel angle is easy enough, with a single knob and pretty clear markings. All the adjustments feel solid and accurate.
The excellent weight of 6.8 pounds, makes this a nimble and easy saw to use. While power is about as good as any cordless saw with a brushless motor, the no-load blade speed is fairly average at 4,100 RPM. It also has a pretty sophisticated automatic mode that reduces the blade speed, making the saw quieter. As more speed is required, the saw automatically increases the speed, operating from 2,500 RPM to 4,100 RPM. I’m not too sure if I would use this function though. It seems unnecessarily complicated.
When all said and done, the Metabo HPT C18DBALQ4 offers extremely good value for money. It’s not down there with the really cheap circular saws but, then again, there’s nothing cheap about this machine. It’s a robust, well-made 6½” circular saw that can compete alongside any of the best (usually more expensive) options.
- Power State brushless motor
- 50° bevel capacity
- Maximum (no-load) blade speed: 5,000 RPM
- Cutting depth: 2³/₁₆ inches at 90°
- Metal rafter hook
- Bright LED light
- Electric blade brake
- Weight: 6.8 LBS
- 5-year warranty
I don’t think the Milwaukee brand needs any introduction. Considered by many professionals to be the utmost in design excellence and durability, this is certainly a brand to be reckoned with. At a price of over $200 for the bare tool, anyone would have high expectations of the Milwaukee 2730-20 6½” circular saw.
Those who are not familiar with Milwaukee trademark Power State motors and Red Link electronic battery management systems won’t fully understand how remarkable these tools are. Power is generally way above those of any other cordless tools and the batteries simply last and last. This is certainly true when we look at the superior performance offered by the Milwaukee 2730-20. The only other saw that can truly compete with this Milwaukee model would be the Makita XSH03Z (reviewed above). Since the Makita saw is a good deal cheaper, I think it might be the better deal. I know die-hard Milwaukee supporters would not agree with this statement. Each to their own.
As always, top quality is evident throughout. It has a fantastic aluminum base, and the blade guards are also expertly crafted from aluminum. Some folks have had a few issues with the blade guard. It hangs up on the left, making it tricky when doing shave cuts. Though, in all fairness, this is probably the complaint anyone can have about this pretty remarkable saw.
I love the bevel adjustments. A clearly marked gauge, with fantastic color contrast and 1° increments, makes for the easiest and most accurate settings. At both 90° and 45°, the Milwaukee saw is 100% spot one. Sort of what I’d expect from the brand (and the price). There are no positive stops, but I think the excellent markings and easy adjustment setup more than make up for this.
Power delivery is sublime with almost limitless power. Even laboring through tough material, the Milwaukee hardly seems to work up a sweat. Maximum blade speed with no load is a mighty impressive 5,000 RPM. The electric brake handles this speed with complete ease, bringing the blade to a stop in an instant.
Naturally, we would expect all the bells and whistles when paying top dollar for any type of power tool. Once again, the Milwaukee 2730-20 delivers on this front too. It has a super-tough hanging hook and LED light. There isn’t a dust blower though. With the blade left design and wonderfully crafted shoe, visibility isn’t really a problem.
Ticking just about every box, the Milwaukee 2730-20 is a magnificent machine. Is it worth the price tag? You’ll have to decide how much you’re prepared to pay for a brand that has earned an impeccable reputation. With both the DeWalt and Makita cordless 6½” cordless circular saws being significantly cheaper, it is a tough call. No one beats Milwaukee when it comes to their warranty. Makita and DeWalt provide pretty impressive 3-year offerings, but they can’t compare to the Milwaukee 5-year warranty.
- Brushless digital motor for improved power and efficiency
- PWR Core battery has extra cooling for extended working times and higher power output
- Power Jump Charger – charges battery in 5-minutes
- LED light 0° – 50° Bevel adjustment
- Electric brake
- Weight: 5.7 LBS
- No-load speed: 5,400 RPM
- Cutting depth: 2¹³⁄₃₂” at 90°; 1¹¹⁄₁₆” at 45°
The Skil CR5406-10 is a departure from the other 6½” circular saws featured in this review. It is not an expensive high-end product. This is very much a DIY-type circular saw, competing with the likes of Craftsman or Black & Decker. In the realm of cheap trims saws, this is (in my opinion) the best. It has many of the featured and specs to compete with the expensive machines, like a brushless motor and magnificent PWR Core battery.
Not all Skil saws are equal. The brand has brought us some of the very best worm drive circular saws like the Skilsaw SPT77WML-22 7¼” circular saw. The CR5413-1A, on the other hand, is a regular sidewinder and is also built a little cheaper than the top Skil models.
The first indication that this is not in the same league as the big boys, is the pressed steel base and plastic lower blade guard. This is pretty normal for as w in this price range, so it’s not really a criticism. The shoe has an adjustment screw so, with only a little effort, you can ensure that it is perfectly square.
The bevel adjustment works well but also displays more DI characteristics. You can obtain a fairly accurate setting between 0° and 50° quite easily. Though this really isn’t a professional-grade heavy-duty circular saw.
While some of the features are quite normal for this caliber of saw, others are really phenomenal. The thing that impressed me most is the wonderful digital brushless motor. Most cordless tools in this class utilize old-fashioned brushed motors and the difference is notable, especially when it comes to longer battery times. The no-load speed of 5,400 RPM is great and the motor has no problem attaining this. In fact, I saw a product test that measured a blade speed of 5,600 RPM – 200 RPM more than the manufacturer rating.
The battery is also more impressive than most cheap offerings. Like many of the high-end tool brands, Skil has made improvements to enhance battery cooling which allows it to supply more power for longer and increase overall battery life.
The general design is good, and it has many high-end features, like an LED light, electric brake, fantastic ergonomic handle, and a dust extraction port. One part of the design could be problematic for some. The sidewinder motor position is a bit lower than I would have liked. This can make things a little complicated when using a speed square to line the saw up.
I don’t think you can find better value for money in the cheap circular saw market. This is a pretty remarkable product for its price and I have quite a lot of respect for the brand. With a power spec that closely matches the most expensive big-brand offerings, a wonderful battery, and loads of great features, the Skil CR5406-10 is a real bargain.