DeWalt DCS391B 20-Volt Max Li-Ion Circular Saw
If the other DeWalt is the Formula One car or the NASCAR racer of the bunch....this one's the Prius. For some users, specifically home users and occasional/hobbyist users this is fine.
PROS
Even lighter weight than our #1 unit for less arm fatigue during long jobs
Electric brake for safety
Same durable construction as our #1 model for long life on the jobsite
Fine tuning and dialing it in is easy to do
Cordless/battery powered design
CONS
Some reports of the sole/''shoe'' of the saw isn't rigid or beefy enough
Cordless/battery powered design
Higher cost relative to some other tools
9.5

Another DeWalt? Well, for us, yes. We like this model too. For slightly different reasons. Read on and we’ll tell you about ’em. Basically, this DeWalt has a lot of the same pluses that our #1 model has…they’re very similar models of saws made by the same company. The DeWalt DCS391B, like the Skilsaw and the Black & Decker models we compare it to, are part of the top-end of the market when it comes to circular saws meant mainly for cutting plywood. 

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When it comes down to differentiating the best circular saws from the rest, there’s a few characteristics we look for. Specifically, we look at three main things; the weight and overall handling of the unit, the speed and ease of its cutting power, and finally the cost of the tool. As you might think with our top-rated unit, here the DeWalt did well in all three categories. This DeWalt only weighs 2 pounds….much less than the other DeWalt on the list. Why? no cord! It also has an electric brake, which means that after only a second or two the blade stops moving if you take your hand off the trigger. (Google ”circular saw accidents” if you need a sobering reminder on why this is a good thing to have on a tool.) 

It cuts straight and true, and after only a few hours with the unit you can really ”get into” your cuts. The blade adjustment and overall fit and finish are of very high quality. And yes, this tool isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for. The differences between this DeWalt and the other one on our list is that again, one is cordless.  Wait a minute—wouldn’t that make it better? Well, for some, it does. It’s better for sure for a lot of home and occasional users. However, the power of the motor in this device is 20 volts, vs 120 volts in the other DeWalt. So you trade power for portability here. Evidently most people agree here, as this is the #1 selling saw on Amazon.com.

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Brand and Model History

DeWalt is an American company started by a guy with the same name who invented the radial arm saw. If you don’t know what that is, that’s cool; a radial arm saw was basically the precursor to the miter saw. Anyways, that company is owned by Black & Decker now, and most of the B&D ”high end” tools are branded with the DeWalt name. They have something like seven factories in the USA as well as overseas facilities, and make a full range of tools. The DeWalt name is pretty well respected on jobsites as they’re known to make quality gear.

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Product Features

Pros

  • Light weight for less arm fatigue during long jobs. It’s hard to understate the power of this one. When you’re at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, one saw might feel only slightly lighter than another one. But if you use the same tool for an entire day, or every day for a month let’s say…that extra weight really starts to make a difference.  This DeWalt is one of the lightest standard size saws in our test, and it’s light weight combined without sacrificing durability are the biggest plusses of this tool. Extra special points given to this cordless model. It weighs around 2 pounds, whereas the corded model weighs around 8. This however is fairly misleading, as you don’t ”carry” the weight of the cord most of the time while you’re using a saw…it’s on the ground or on your workbench.
  • Electric brake for safety. As mentioned above, this is a feature you don’t really ever want to actually need. If you think you might need some reasons to focus and take your time when working with a circular saw, Google ”circular saw accidents.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you though, some of these are pretty nasty to look at and read about. But back to our point, this DeWalt has a built in electric brake that stops the action of the blade in a few short seconds once the trigger is depressed. It might save you from looking silly when waving hello or goodbye the rest of your life.
  • Durable construction for long life on the jobsite. The housing, engine, and overall construction on this DeWalt is top of the line, and certainly up to pro contractor standards. The unit has a ball bearing lower guard for durability, and a high grade stamped aluminum shoe so the whole device stays level for good cuts. It has a built in ”dust blower” system so that you always have a good sightline for cuts, which is a plus. The cord stays put most of the time due to DeWalt’s patented cord management system. Lots of times this is the undoing of a power tool; the wear or breakage of the cord. Nice that DeWalt handles their business here and keeps things working.
  • Fine tuning and dialing it in is easy to do. It’s easy to adjust the blade and also to keep it at 90 degrees. This again is a big deal. I like how the blade wrench stores inside the saw so you never lose it! Small allen keys aren’t things you usually have on the jobsite, so it’s nice that such a crucial small tool stays in the saw.
  • Battery-powered/cordless design. Obviously, the weight reduction and added mobility add a lot to this tool and distinguish it from our other DeWalt on the list. For many users, this is a positive development. If you’re buying something for the home, or for occasional use, a battery powered unit will probably be better for you. If you run out of juice, you’re probably not on a timetable, so waiting on a charge shouldn’t be a problem. This also might be a good pick for people who have to move around a lot. I know some low-voltage electricians and people installing small trim pieces like chair rails etc. who would really like a tool like this.

Cons

  • Some reports of the sole/”shoe” of the saw isn’t rigid or beefy enough. This comes from people who are used to larger and beefier tools, especially tools made 10-20 years ago. Yes, those types of tools have thicker and beefier ”shoes” compared to this DeWalt…this was a conscious design decision. In this case, DeWalt sacrificed some overall heftiness so that the saw could be as light as possible. If you’re a bigger-sized person and want something with a bit more heft…or if you don’t expect to use this saw all day and want something that exudes durability, you may not pick this saw first. For us, of course, we don’t mind this lightness and honestly prefer it.
  • Higher cost relative to some other tools. Yes, you can buy a Black & Decker or any number of saws for cheaper. We feel that the extra cost needed to purchase this DeWalt is warranted.
  • Battery-powered/Cordless design. So the tradeoff obviously is that the power emitted from the motor is much less than the motor in the other DeWalt. If you’re using a saw all day, you’d rather have a high-power motor that powers through cuts quicker and neater. This machine leave some to be desired in that department. Also, this means you either need to buy multiple battery packs and keep a charger on site so you always have power…or risk periods of inactivity while you recharge.

 

Final Verdict

If the other DeWalt is the Formula One car or the NASCAR racer of the bunch….this one’s the Prius. For some users, specifically home users and occasional/hobbyist users this is fine.

For pros, they’d probably want the power instead of the mobility provided by batteries. The other positives of DeWalt still apply; this machine is light, it’s ergonomic, it makes good cuts, it’s easy to dial in and maintain. High build quality combined with lots of great online reviews and the solid reputation of the DeWalt brand put this saw high on our list. This one is battery powered…so we’ll go through how that changes things, and whether you should grab the AC-powered version or this one. This is a great tool, and if you don’t mind trading power for some mobility and quiet, this could be your saw.