The familiar red and white Milwaukee branding inevitably conjures an expectation of inordinately high prices. This makes the Milwaukee M18 2630-20 6.5-inch circular saw a delightful surprise. It is a relatively cheap 6½” framing saw considering its pedigree.
Given the pleasant price tag, I expected the Milwaukee 2630-20 to be a little underwhelming. There must be a catch, right? Milwaukee is recognized as one of the premier power tool brands, and a saw like this, from a brand with this type of recognition, should cost close to $200 when, in fact, it is closer to a hundred bucks.
Yet, as the Milwaukee 2630-20 review will reveal, this is a remarkably competent 6½” circular saw. It is, like all Milwaukee tools, well-made and extremely durable. The only reason I can think of for the wonderfully affordable price tag is that this is an older model Milwaukee 18V circular saw, dating back to before 2018 when some significant upgrades were made to the 18V Fuel lineup.
Because the Milwaukee 2630-20 is an older design, it cannot accept the REDLTIHIUM HIGH OUTPUT HD12.0 battery. I also don’t see the distinctive REDLINK and POWERSTATE logos. The absence of this more advanced technology is not, to my mind, a big deal when you consider the price.
I’m quite happy to accept the less advanced technology. When it comes down to it, you’re getting a high-quality, powerful 18V cordless 6½-inch cordless circular saw, from one of the best brands in the business, at a price we can all afford. Who can argue with that?
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Milwaukee 2630-20 | Comprehensive Review
- Compatible with REDLITHIUM 18V batteries, with over 200 tools in the range.
- 3,500 RPM.
- Electronic brake.
- On-tool wrench storage.
- Aircraft-grade aluminum shoe and magnesium blade guards.
- Compact, lightweight, ergonomic design with soft-grip handle.
- Weight: 8.5 LBS.
- Arbor: ⁵⁄₈”
- 5-year warranty.
Before I begin reviewing the Milwaukee 18V 6½” compact circular saw, I want to clear up some confusion over the model numbers for this product. You may have seen reviews for the Milwaukee 2630-20 and 2630-22. You are probably wondering what the difference is. There isn’t really any difference. The Milwaukee 2630-20 is the bare tool with no battery, whereas the Milwaukee 2630-22 includes an M18 XC battery.
Since the Milwaukee 2630-20 is an older model, predating the POWERSTATE brushless motor, I wasn’t expecting much in terms of power. I also thought this might be a rather noisy saw. When it came to using the saw, I was surprised to see how wrong I was.
When tested on 2 X 4 old-growth heart pine, the Milwaukee performed exceptionally well. It cut effortlessly without binding up or burning the wood. It is an ideal 6½” circular saw for framing and common jobsite carpentry jobs.
It reaches the maximum no-load 3,500 RPM with perfect ease, and pretty much maintains it, even when the going gets tough.
Another big surprise was how quiet this saw is. Older model circular saws can be almost deafening. The Milwaukee 2630-20 registers a pretty remarkable 81dBA with no load. Even when cutting, the blade noise only increases the sound level to around 95 to 100dBA.
While it is recommended to use ear protection for this type of noise, it is still very reasonable for a potent 6½” circular saw like this.
The heart pine test not only revealed how wonderfully powerful this saw is, but also how much battery time you have. Without the REDLINK electronic management system, I wasn’t too optimistic about this test.
After 35 cuts, the battery LED indicator only dropped one bar, to three out of four lines. This means that you could complete most projects without having to stop and change the battery.
Lightweight and Tough
At 8½ pounds, the Milwaukee 2630-20 is not at all heavy for such a durable circular saw. This is thanks to the lightweight, yet extremely tough materials used for its construction.
The ¹⁄₈” aircraft-grade aluminum shoe is mighty impressive. Apart from being virtually indestructible, it is perfectly machined with great markings that are easily visible. Accuracy is sublime, the line of sight is about perfect, and the blade guide is spot-on. It also has a guide for 45° cuts.
The magnesium upper and lower blade guards are lightweight and super-tough. Even if you drop the Milwaukee saw from quite a height, it won’t break. Though, I wouldn’t recommend doing this.
Comfortable Ergonomic Design
The soft-grip handles are an absolute pleasure and perfectly positioned. The trigger switch is safely positioned at the top of the front handle. You push downward to start the saw, a very natural and comfortable action.
Vibration isn’t a big issue, and this is one of the more comfortable 6½” circular saws to use.
Using the Milwaukee 2630-20
This is an easy machine to use, albeit fairly basic. There are no quick-release cam-lock adjustments or tool-free blade changes. Things are done the old-fashioned way.
You can adjust the bevel angle up to 50° using a conventional thumb screw. It locks perfectly and the markings are completely accurate. Depth adjustment is quick and easy too.
The ⁵⁄₈” arbor means that you have a massive selection of blades that will fit this saw from Milwaukee and many other brands. The hex wrench for the blade is conveniently stored in the front handle. Always accessible and out of harm’s way.
The Bottom Line
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the Milwaukee 2630-20 6½” circular saw. I know that Milwaukee is one of the top professional-grade power tool brands, but the price seems to suggest that it is probably a second-rate product.
While the technology is a bit outdated, this is still a true-blue (or should I say red) Milwaukee cordless circular saw. Power and noise levels are way better than one would expect from a cordless circular saw designed more than five years ago.
Furthermore, it is about as tough as they come. Made from durable lightweight materials, the power-to-weight ratio is fantastic.
Above all else, this is a Milwaukee tool which means you have the backing of a brand that staked its reputation on being one of the best in the business. The 5-year warranty is one of the great advantages of buying a Milwaukee power tool and their customer service is excellent.
I think it’s fantastic to find a professional-grade Milwaukee 6½” circular saw at a price that is within the budget of regular people.