As mentioned earlier, Skilsaw is the originator, the company and brand that invented the circular saw. The difference between this one Skil 5180-01 circular saw and the one that’s rated higher in our guide is this: This one isn’t as powerful, doesn’t have the laser sight, and it’s a little cheaper.
Everything else is basically the same. All that being said, it’s still a great tool. Here we’ll walk you through it’s positives and negatives. 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 a quality brand like Skil, their products did well in all three categories. This Skil saw is kind of the archetype, the Platonic form of the circular saw. As fitting from the company that invented the genre, this is a no-nonsense device that’s built to work well and last a long time. For another plus, this model of Skilsaw is lighter than most in the test as well. It’s actually one of the lightest saws in the tests with a cord. It cuts straight and true, and after only a few hours with the unit you can really ”get into” your cuts. Just like the DeWalts, 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. Really, as with the other Skilsaw in the tests, the main thing that keeps this product out of the top spots is it’s lack of an electric brake/safety feature. If this isn’t something you care about, this saw might be a good choice for you.
Brand and Model History
As mentioned above, Skil is the originator of the circular saw. Yes, they are owned by Bosch presently, but the power and durability of their tools is said to be as good or better now than at any other point in their life as a company. They are middle-to high end at most home improvement stores, and have stellar ratings online both from writers and consumer users.
- Even lighter weight than our #1 unit for less arm fatigue during long jobs. As mentioned earlier, when you’re framing homes or chopping trim peces all day, every ounce or gram counts. This unit has a powerful motor and has a high build quality, but it’s much lighter than many of the units sold 10-20 years ago. Definite plus.
- Laser sight for accurate cuts. An almost brand-specific feature, the Skilsaws have these laser guidance lights not unlike the laser sights in guns used by James Bond villains. What’s good about these is that they seem to be universally regarded as accurate! Score another one for Skil.
- Skil build quality is strong. Like with DeWalt, Skil is known as a high-level brand used by pros. This isn’t just an image, as again, their satisfaction and durability rankings are high. Plus if you buy a Skilsaw, you’re ensured of legit customer service and repair service if it’s ever needed.
- Fine tuning and dialing it in is easy to do. Just like with the DeWalt units, the Skilsaw has an onboard wrench and adjustments are easy.
- Torque clutch to reduce risk of ”kickback.” This is one of those strange features that doesn’t seem to make sense at first, but when using the device it becomes pretty apparent. Basically, the motor speeds up gradually at first until you settle into your cut groove. This is good because a lot of accidents happen when ”kickback” or ”recoil” causes someone to put the blade in places other than where they want it to go.
- No safety trigger features. Sadly, this is a big negative, and for us this is why the Skilsaw isn’t in our top spot. Yes, there is a sort of ”safety” on the trigger, but it works like the safety on a gun. Basically, you have to push a secondary pin before pushing the ain trigger, or the Skilsaw won’t cut. Good, but as mentioned before, most accidents come when someone slips with the saw and puts the blade somewhere it isn’t supposed to go. Other units shut off if you’re not on the trigger, which stops work sometimes if you’re fatigued, but it saves fingers.
- Steel base plate instead of magnesium. Basically magnesium is stronger than steel…and a warped shoe is really hard to set flat on a board and make straight cuts with. Not a big negative, but still, it should be mentioned.
- Not as powerful and full featured as the other Skilsaw in our guide. Though whether you need that little bit of extra power or the laser sight is sort of up to you.
- There are complaints by users that the base plate is too thin, and warps/bends easily. There aren’t complaints about the higher-end Skilsaw on our list, so there may be different materials used here.
Finally, how does that all relate to the price of the tool? Is it worth it? It depends. There are machines with more features that cost more money. There are specialized devices that do specialized stuff better than this saw does them. But for basic tasks? For 99% of what you want a circular saw to do…this thing gets the job done.
Skil is the originator, the inventor of what most people simply call the ”Skilsaw.” It’s well built, light, tough, and commands a price that’s actually cheaper than the units at the top of the list. But like the other Skilsaw, what simply lets it down is a lack of a trigger-stop safety feature. We are convinced this feature saves fingers, and it’s worth buying a unit that has it. If you are OK with this lack of features, this may still be a great buy. Obviously, people are still driving cars from the 1950s or 80s or 90s that don’t have airbags. But we wouldn’t advise buying a new car without one, and this is sort of what we’re advising here. This one is the sort of mainstream, barebones model, and to its credit it’s cheaper than the higher-end model. Test them both out in your local home-improvement store or hardware shop, and you can decide for yourself if the higher-end one is worth the cash.