The latest lithium-ion battery technology transforms 18-volt circular saws from timid trim toys to full-bore 6.5-inch multitaskers. These go-anywhere saws pack the power of their corded cousins—just not the daylong stamina. Limited run-times rule out big rip-cut projects. Here's what you should be looking for:
A comfy front handle helps to steady cuts.
Side-to-side safety switches, unlike this paddle type, allow for the most natural grip.
A magnesium shoe, lighter and stiffer than steel, won't bend—but it can break. Aluminum strikes a balance.
Relief markings should clearly label cut lines (0 degrees and 45 degrees) and depth settings.
Metal blade guards, unlike plastic ones, are built to last.
And, here are five 18-volt circular saws that make the grade, along with what you need to know about upgrading your blade, cutting techniques, and battery life.