admin on August 5th, 2008
One of the first power tools I purchased was a cheap circular saw. This seemed a reasonable thing to do at the time, as I had little spare change and a small apartment that didn’t present much opportunity for sawing. I’m pretty sure I never made a straight or satisfactory cut with that saw. The base was spongy, the plastic depth adjustment lever broke the first time I used the saw, and there was some sort of plastic aiming device that was effective only for scratching everything it touched.
When I decided to build a deck last year, I realized that the project budget could be stretched just slightly to include a new circular saw. And a new jig saw. And a reciprocating saw. Well, you get the idea. As you might guess after the description of my old circular saw, one of my priorities was eliminating as many cheap plastic parts as possible. I went to stores, removed blades, adjusted depths, told “helpful” employees I’d find them if I needed help, held the saws over my head to test the weight, adjusted the angle of the base, told more employees to go away, etc. In the end, my favorite saw was the Dewalt DW368 light-weight circular saw.
The difference between my old piece of crap and the Dewalt DW368 is nothing short of spectacular. The base is one big magnesium casting that is wonderfully rigid, and all of the adjustments are rock solid. A couple of other favorite items are the bevel adjustment with detents at 22.5° and 45° and the sawdust deflector built into the blade guard. The detents make cutting accurate bevels possible, if still not exactly a breeze, and the sawdust deflector is so sneaky I didn’t even know it was there until I was sawing and a beam of sawdust shot off to the right side and out of the way.
I feel obliged to say something about the motor being strong enough or something like that, but to be honest I never really noticed, which just might be the highest praise there is. I sawed lots of stuff, from nasty wet pressure-treated 2×12’s to composite decking to furniture-grade plywood, and the saw never bogged down or let out so much as a hiccup.
Reflecting on all of the thought I put into the purchase of this saw, it is clear to me now that any of the higher-end circular saws on the market would have probably met my needs. I’m happy with this saw because it’s precise, light weight, and extremely well built. It’s also pretty affordable, at around $100.