The Craftsman CMCS500B is a good value, relatively cheap cordless 6½” circular saw that could be a great choice for homeowners and DIYers. In the light-duty power tools market, this is certainly one of the leading brands. In our Craftsman 6.5-inch circular saw review, every aspect of this tool will be scrutinized, allowing you to decide if it’s the best saw for you.
Having reviewed some of the best cordless 6½” circular saws, I have to admit I was not filled with enthusiasm about this one. In general, Craftsman power tools don’t have much of a wow factor. The CMCS500B framing saw has not presented any surprises in this regard. It is everything I expected it to be – an affordable, good quality, light-duty circular saw without any bells and whistles.
To be fair, we should never compare the Craftsman V20 circular saw to the likes of DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, or Bosch. This is not an industrial-grade circular saw for professional carpenters and contractors. If we’re going to make a realistic comparison to similar products from competing brands, like Ryobi, Black & Decker, or some of the cheaper Skil saws, the Craftsman CMCS500B holds up quite well.
In this price range, it really comes down to the Craftsman CMCS500B vs Skil CR5406-10, which was featured in the Best 6½-Inch Circular Saw Review. I guess the Black & Decker BDECS300C 20V 7¼” circular saw also deserves a mention. Of the cheap 6½” circular saws mentioned, I have to admit, the Skil model would be my first choice.
However, let’s give the Craftsman V20 saw a fighting chance. The brand is a big favorite amongst homeowners for good reason. If you’re a fan of Craftsman 20V cordless tools, it would make perfect sense to choose the CMCS500B since you already own the batteries.
Craftsman 20V 6½” Circular Saw | Comprehensive Review
- 4,000 RPM no-load blade speed.
- Contoured handle.
- 50° bevel angle.
- Maximum cutting depth: 2¹⁄₈”.
- Weight: 7.4 pounds.
- Warranty: 3 years.
While the Craftsman V20 cordless 6½” circular saw is, for the most part, pretty mediocre, it has a couple of redeeming features that make it stand out from the crowd. Amongst the myriad of cheap trim saws, the Craftsman CMCS500B is most certainly a viable contender.
I love the handle design. It’s chunky, with generous padding, and superbly molded to make working with the Craftsman saw a real pleasure. Weighing in at just under 7½ pounds also adds to the ease of use. The trigger switch is positioned just where you want it. The sight lines are great and perfectly accurate.
Making the necessary adjustments for bevel and depth of cut is simple and fast. The depth adjustment lever is a real pleasure to use, while you have a pretty standard locking knob to secure your bevel angle up to 50°. Markings are clearly visible, even when the sawdust accumulates. The deeply engraved markings are quite necessary since the Craftsman saw does not have a dust port for a shop vac, so sawdust is abundant.
I guess the overall cheapness of this saw is to be expected when you look at the price tag. The shoe, whilst flat and pretty rigid, is nowhere near the standard of the superbly machined aluminum or magnesium plates that you’ll find on the high-end machined. The pressed steel shoe is much like the inexpensive solutions used for your average DIY circular saw.
Throughout, one is aware of the cost over quality design philosophy. The blade guard is not the toughest you’ll find. Not by a long shot. The plastic levers to manually shift the blade guard and set the depth of cut, whilst pretty good quality (for a cheap saw), are not intended for heavy-duty jobsite bashing about.
In terms of performance, the Craftsman 6½” circular saw is, as to be expected, average at best. In this price range, an old-fashioned brushed motor is the norm, making the Craftsman no different from Black & Decker and the other el-cheapos.
It doesn’t have the amazing torque and unhindered RPM of a cordless machine like DeWalt XR power tools, or similar offerings from the other more sophisticated cordless tool brands. The slightly antiquated technology is blatantly evident when looking at battery time. Compared to Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita, and even Black & Decker, the number of cuts you get from a battery is quite dismal. To get around this dilemma, you can always keep a bunch of fully charged batteries on standby, ready to change out as they run out of juice. Since the Craftsman V20 batteries are relatively inexpensive, this isn’t such a big deal.
The Final Word
At the start of this review, I wasn’t expecting great things from the Craftsman 20V cordless framing saw. This meant that I wasn’t setting myself up for disappointment. If anything, I’m rather impressed with this economy circular saw having looked at it in detail.
The battery time is probably the Craftsman’s greatest failing but this is easily rectified if you own enough Craftsman V20 batteries. Since Craftsman has a huge variety of hand and garden tools that utilize this battery platform, investing in several batteries makes perfect sense.
For the most part, I find the Craftsman CMCS500B to be excellent value for money. It’s obviously not as durable as a saw that costs twice as much. Who could expect it to be? For your home DIY projects, this is an inexpensive 6½” circular saw that is great for cutting moldings, floorboards, and the like. Of the low to mid-priced DIY tool brands, Craftsman is one of the best. At this price, the 3-year warranty definitely stands out as exceptional.