Ryobi 18V Compact Circular Saw Review: #Worthit

November 21, 2022

Almost the same depth of cut, significantly more compact, and a beefier shoe make it a worthwhile basic tool

This is Ryobi's 18-volt 1+ brushless compact six-and-a-half-inch circular saw.

That was a lot to say.
Anyway, should you get your hands on it?
Let's go over it and find out 

A six-and-a-half-inch saw is more compact than a seven-and-a-quarter-inch saw—because of math

When Ryobi originally launched their HP brushless series of tools, they started with compact tools, so this is not an unusual move so if you're thinking, why didn't they go with seven and a quarter, it's because they wanted a compact model—really simple. 

Now, this is compact it's just 5.5 pounds as a bare tool, and when you look at the overall size and shape of it, it's really compact looking from tip to tail. You're looking at 12 and a half inches, and it's just six and a half inches wide, so really easy tool to use left-handed or right-handed.

Pretty much all of the performance that you need

Let's talk about the performance side of some of this, too, because you might be thinking,

“It's a six-and-a-half-inch saw. I want the seven and a quarter.” 

But do you really need it?

This saw has a two-and-a-quarter-inch depth of cut, maximum. That's only a quarter-inch difference from a seven-and-a-quarter-inch saw, give or take a 16th or so. So that's enough to make your two-by-cut with no problem at 90 degrees; it's also enough to make a 45-degree cut all the way through in that two-by-four. So you've still got good cut capacity without having to have a really big saw.

As far as the speed goes, you're looking at 4,900 RPM that's coming from a brushless motor. That's a nice improvement from some saws that might be as low as 4000 RPM now. Yeah, some are higher, but they're also more expensive and all that good stuff.

We also noticed that Ryobi did several different things, partly to keep the saw compact but also partly to improve its overall quality. First of all, as far as the size goes, notice that the battery installation is on the side here. So instead of coming from the bottom or something else, that's where it is, it keeps the overall length of the saw tight.

Features of the saw that are worth featuring

One thing that's really unusual is in the front. I wish that they had done some painting on this, but the depth adjustment works as normal. You've got this lever and a clamp back here that adjusts it, but instead of having markings back at the clamp, they're on the blade guard. They're etched in, and so as you move the shoe, you'll see them lining up with whatever depth you're wanting to cut. 

Really neat; I like the idea of it being where it's easier to see; I just kind of wish that they'd painted them so that they were a little easier to pick up.

On the front is a typical bevel adjustment, and we do have black markings on that—really easy to see.
We'll see once we get more use and wear out of it, but the movement is really nice and smooth, and this actually feels a bit more robust than previous Ryobi Circular saws that were more pure DIY.

Another thing we noticed is on the shoe. The actual shoe material is thicker than it has been in the past. Normally, we're used to a stamped aluminum kind of shoe, and this looks like it's probably about 50 percent thicker than we are used to from this level of saw. 

Overall, it's a higher quality saw, and we notice that it is more confident when it's cutting compared to some of the older Ryobi six-and-a-half-inch cordless saws we've used before.
Really nice upgrade. 

Is it worth it? 

Well, that depends on you, of course.  We think it is worth having as a bare tool. 
This is going to cost about $129. There's also a kit available with a 4 amp-hour high-performance battery and charger for $179 dollars. 


—Kenny Koehler is the Managing Editor of Pro Tool Reviews, a website that (it feels dumb to say this) reviews tools for pros.