DeWalt 20v MAX Circular Saw w/ FLEXVOLT™ ADVANTAGE Tool Review
I’m happy to announce that I’ve teamed up with The Home Depot through their ProSpective Program to put some new tools to the test. Each quarter I’ll be putting a few new tools to the test to see how they measure up and see if they can become part of my staple arsenal of everyday use tools!
First up I’ll be taking a look at the DeWalt 20-volt MAX Lithium Ion Brushless 7-1/4″ Cordless Circular Saw with FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE.
Disclosure: This project contains a paid product placement by The Home Depot who generously supplied the tool(s) I’ll be reviewing today. All opinions are my own.
What is FLEXVOLT™ ADVANTAGE?
I’ve seen the FLEXVOLT™ line in stores and have gotten my hands on a few tools here and there at different trade shows over the last couple years but I’ve never previously owned any of the tools and used it myself on any projects at my home or workshop.
What makes FLEXVOLT™ ADVANTAGE unique is that it is the first battery system that changes voltage with the tool you’re using. For example, you can use a FLEXVOLT™ Battery on any of the DeWalt 20V MAX tools with FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE that will allow for up to 4x the runtime vs a traditional 20v DeWalt Battery AND provides the power of a corded tool when used on a 60V MAX Tool.* (according to dewalt.com)
That means you have longer battery life on smaller tools when you need it AND more power on larger tools when you need that and it’s as easy as swapping the battery from one tool to the next. It’s an extremely versatile battery system providing for extreme ease of use which is something I am very interested in.
This 20V Max tool for example can be used with either a standard 20V MAX battery OR a 60V FLEXVOLT Battery which provides for maximum versatility as a battery platform.
Right out of the box there are a few things that immediately stood out to me that I really like about this tool.
1. Tool Weight
The weight of the saw is really comfortable. It feels sturdy and professional but not cumbersome. With the 6.0Ah FLEXVOLT Battery installed, the tool weighs in at over 10 lbs (a full pound heavier than my Milwaukee FUEL Circular Saw with a 9Ah battery installed). While some might view this as an overall detraction, I actually think it gives the tool a more stable feel. The tool feels well balanced and less susceptible to subtle wrist movements that can affect the quality of a straight cut. It feels stable in one hand or extremely secure using both hands with the forward grip.
2. Blade-Right / Right-Handed Saw
This saw is considered a sidewinder saw which means it’s a direct drive saw with the blade sitting directly on the opposite side of the motor. A right-handed / blade-right saw like this puts the main handle in your right hand with the auxiliary grip in your left hand. The blade sits off to the right side of the tool while both grips sit off to the left as you’re holding it. This means that neither hand has to reach over the top of the tool to secure with the auxiliary grip.
As a right-handed person, this is the preferred configuration for any saw for me. You can find saws in both a right or a left configuration so if you’re left-handed or prefer a different configuration, you may want to consider what options are available to you.
3. Built In LED
One of the really cool features of this saw is the built in LED at the front of the saw. This is the first circular saw I’ve ever used to have a light built into it to illuminate your cut line. This is really helpful in low light situations or just to improve overall visibility during your cut. The LED light automatically illuminates when the saw is engaged so there are no added steps involved. I think this is a very cool feature that I can see other manufacturers also adopting in their new saws.
Power & Speed
It’s clear after the first cut that this saw is built for power and speed when using the FLEXVOLT 60v battery. The saw easily slices through a variety of thicknesses from plywood, to dimensional lumber, to dense hardwood. In fact I noticed very little change in the performance of the saw regardless of the thickness or density of the wood I cut. The saw shows no signs of weakness in all the test cuts I ran.
In addition to the power, the saw also seems quieter than its competitors. I don’t have a decibel meter to confirm this, but the saw seems to have a less shrill sound in operation to me than other similar saws I’ve used.
This is perhaps where this saw surpasses all others I’ve used recently. One of the best features of this saw in my opinion is the built-in electronic brake. What this means is that as soon as you remove your finger from the trigger, the saw blade stops spinning. This is an absolute game changer for job site safety and as someone who has had a table saw injury in the past that could have cost me my fingers, I am all for it!
The saw blade reacts in a fraction of a second to stop once your finger is off the trigger. This means that in the event of a kickback, or if the guard were to stick and you set the saw down quickly after use, the blade can not cause harm to you or your materials. If your finger is off the trigger, the blade won’t spin. Plain and simple.
I think this is an absolute game-changer for saw technology and I hope to see it adopted as an industry standard across all circular saws.
Overall Rating – HIGHLY RECOMMEND
I’ve got to say that I am really pleasantly surprised by this tool. Not only does it feel and look good, but its performance is outstanding. The power of the tool allows for incredibly easy cuts without binding or slowing down. The tool has the power to easily cut through materials from 1/2″ plywood to 2″ thick hardwood without losing anything. The battery life in a 6Ah battery provides ample use for most home and workshop projects and easily allows you to swap between tools throughout the project without requiring a charge.
For the price ($199 Tool Only at Home Depot), I think you’re hard pressed to find a better value in a circular saw. When paired with the versatility of the FLEXVOLT line of tools, this is a fantastic addition to your tool arsenal.
Thanks for checking out this review. Thanks to Home Depot for providing the saw I reviewed in this content. If you’re interested in more review content, check out some of the other reviews below.