Craftsman has recently come out with a new V20 (20V Max) brushless circular saw with 7-1/4″ blade size.
The new Craftsman brushless circular saw, CMCS550B, is said to provide up to 75% more power compared to their 6-1/2″ circular saw (CMCS500M1) when paired with a 4Ah battery.
It features an upper metal guard, aluminum shoe, and LED worklight.
Craftsman CMCS550 Circular Saw Specs
- 7-1/4″ blade, 5/8″ arbor
- 5000 RPM
- Cuts up to 2-9/16″ at 90°
- 0-56° bevel angle
- Positive stops at 45° and 22.5°
- LED worklight
- Stamped metal shoe
- Electronic brake
- Bundled with a 24T blade
Price: $129 for the bare tool
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now via Lowes
Compare: Craftsman Brushed Saw via Amazon
Let’s compare the Craftsman V20 brushless circular saw to Ryobi’s.
Just based on appearances, the Craftsman looks a little more robust, with larger control knobs.
Look at the bevel scale, for example, or the lower blade guard.
At the time of this posting, the Craftsman saw is priced at $129, and the Ryobi at $119. However, Home Depot has a promo on Ryobi’s saw right now, where you get a free starter kit that includes (2) HP 3.0Ah batteries, a charger, and a kit bag.
What this means is that you essentially get a Ryobi brushless circular saw kit for $119. There’s the possibility Lowe’s might have a promo lined up for the new Craftsman brushless circular saw.
Visually, the Craftsman saw looks more premium-built. While Craftsman’s brushless cordless power tools are reasonably matched against Ryobi’s 18V One+ offerings, I’m having a hard time seeing this as an even matching.
Consider the motor speeds. The Craftsman operates at 5000 RPM (no-load presumably), while the Ryobi has a max speed of 3700 RPM.
Both saws have an electric blade brake, to quickly stop the blade from spinning after power is disengaged from the motor.
The Craftsman also has an LED worklight.
Another difference is that the Craftsman has a side-facing dust chute. Circular saws rarely have built-in dust collection, but a dust chute helps to redirect that dust away from the user.
The Craftsman is a right-side-facing saw, while the Ryobi is left-facing. Typically, sidewinder saws are right-facing, rear-handle and smaller cordless saws are left-facing.
Craftsman’s V20 brushless drill and impact driver are considerably higher performing than the brand’s lower-priced brushed motor cordless drills and drivers, and it’s fair to say the situation is the same here. Craftsman says their new brushless circular saw delivers up to 75% more power than their brushed motor saw, and that sounds about right.
The saw is sold as a bare tool, which means you’ll need a battery and charger. There are two new batteries timed with this launch – 6Ah ($129) and 9Ah ($149), and also a dual-port charger ($99).
For Craftsman V20 users, it’s good to see a new higher-powered and larger-bladed brushless circular saw option, which would mean greater cutting capacity and better performance.
For users juggling which DIY-level cordless power tool system to get into, Craftsman’s brushless circular saw costs more than Ryobi’s, but you get more for your money in terms of features and specs. We can’t judge durability based on specs, but it seems that Ryobi’s was designed to be more affordable. Craftsman’s saw has some compromises compared to higher-priced pro grade saws, but it appears that more user-friendly features won out over cost-cutting.
Just based on what I can see and tell from a chair, the Ryobi looks like a lower-priced saw for occasional use, and the Craftsman is higher-priced but looks to be the better pick for more frequent use.
If you want something more entry-level-priced, don’t forget that Craftsman does have brushed-motor tools at lower pricing. Lowes no longer lists the brushed motor kit, but Amazon currently has it for $149. The bare tool is $59, compared to $129 for this brushless model.
Buy Now via Amazon
Buy Now via Lowes
Compare: Craftsman Brushed Saw via Amazon
Compare: Ryobi via Home Depot
Compare: Skil 6-1/2″ via Amazon
It is a slightly watered down version of DeWalt’s DCS570. A lot of the new upcoming V20 brushless tools are “de-tuned” versions of DeWalt’s offerings. So I expect them to be pretty decent.
1/2-in. V20 Brushless Mid Torque Impact Wrench (CMCF920B) = DCF894
4-1/2-in. V20 Brushless Small Angle Grinder (CMCG450B) = DCG413
SDS+ V20 Brushless Rotary Hammer (CMCH233B) = DCH133
The reciprocating saw (CMCS350) seems to be different than any DeWalt offering.
Interesting. Could be a sign that Craftsman is aimed at a broader range of users than Ryobi (which lines up with that marketing chart you posted at one time right?). Ryobi is consistently marketed as DIY/Homeowner stuff. Maybe the Craftsman is mean to cover that market and also more advanced, but budget-minded, users (or even pros).
There’s advantages to that as many DIYers’ introduction to a tool line will likely start with the lower-end combo kits (e.g. drills, impact drivers or multiple tool packages) and this would give them more premium tools to spend their money on without switching platforms.
As I typed it occurred to me that Porter Cable used to be marketed that way – e.g. pro-grade tools with less frills for the pro on a budget. Good for Craftsman but sad for Porter Cable – seems like SBD is making sure there’s no room for it in the market.
Customers made sure of that by not purchasing more Porter Cable tools. They didn’t sell very well.
That’s because they were positioned in no man’s land. Not good enough for pros, too expensive for homeowners or anyone on a budget. PC sold well when they were pro grade.
exactly. WHen they were good tools, they sold. SBD turned them to junk, and people stopped buying them.
Will happen with Craftsman too
Agreed with this for general tools.
But SBD (or someone else who buys the PC name) should reintroduce the name with a focus on woodworking specialty and bench tools. That seems to be the only area in which SBD didn’t completely dilute the PC brand equity.
Looking at the reviews for the Ryobi, completely under powered. weak.
I actually built a 6×6 timber retaining wall last week and used the Ryobi with a Bosch blade. It cut through the 6×6 PT(cross cut) with out a single bog-down and the 4.0ah batteries. Used 2 full batteries on the 30′ wall. Was pleasantly surprised.
Using it with HP batteries makes a world of difference. I stalled it pretty easily during 2X rips with the older rAh battery. It was much harder to stall with the 6Ah and 9Ah.
It says stamped metal shoe but it looks like a aluminum shoe not stamped metal big difference
If you look at the images on the Lowes website carefully, from the side it appears the shoe is rounded a little bit at the front – I presume this is so it slides over small deviations in the cutting surface. I presume this bend was “stamped” into the metal.
What’s the big difference though?
I would think maybe the aluminium shoe would be a little lighter, but maybe not much since the steel shoe on the Ryobi looks much thinner. I think I would prefer the aluminium shoe because it looks nicer and the Ryobi design (with edges all around) might retain more dust. I don’t think it would make a significant difference to me though.
Anything else I’m missing? Is one noticeably stronger than the other? Is the steel susceptible to rust?
Lowes website description says stamped aluminum shoe. So it’s both?
I believe it is still a stamped aluminum or magnesium plate.
It’s also a thicker piece of material vs folding a thinner metal plate for rigidity’s sake.
Much cheaper than a milled or CNC’d plate.
But also better than the cheaper stamped steel plates from years past.
As a former machinist, now retired, it appears that both shoes are stamped. The difference being the Craftsman is simply flat. The Ryobi is stamped to have short sides. The design intent (also a former design and manufacturing engineer the second half of my career, ) is to provide a short wall to ride against a straight edge. Two problems exist. One the wall on the Ryobi works great against a 2 x 4, but due to the required radius, can ride over a thin straight edge. Also on the stamped wall style shoe the wall may not be square to the base. Two, the flat shoe can have a sharp edge because of the stamping process. This can be resolved with proper use of a file. How ever the flat shoe can ride under the radius edge of a 2 x 4.
So basically choose the correct straight edge for your saw. I’ve esed both types of saws and encountered both problems.
Has there been any news on a Craftsman 12v system? Didn’t one of their new chargers reference “v12”?
I think you meant:
What this means is that you essentially get a Ryobi brushless circular saw kit for $199.
No, Stuart typed $119 correctly. Buy the saw for that price and get free batteries and a charger right now.
Sorry, I meant $119, not $199. The second instance was correct, first was wrong.
I prefer a left facing circular saw and I’m right handed because I can more easily see my cutline. I have yet to meet someone who is right handed and tried a left facing saw and would prefer the right facing saw afterwards given the saws are otherwise equal.
I’m right handed and I want the blade on the right for a variety of reasons.
The first is cut stability, especially when ripping. Holding the saw with my right hand that means the material is to the left of the blade. With the left blade saw that gives you maybe half an inch of shoe riding on material as it drops. With a right blade saw you’ve got a lot more shoe on the material not being removed so it’s more stable and easier to cut straight.
The second is if I’m standing to the left of my cut I’m less likely to have sawdust flying back at my face.
tried a blade left saw (milwaukee sidewinder). Found both of these points sadly true
That makes no sense whatsoever.
1) it’s very easy to make a straight cut from either side of the shoe.
2) you can always support your material on the right side of your cut thereby supporting your saw with the wide portion of the shoe.
3) I haven’t noticed any difference in the amount of dust in my face since when using a blade right saw I mostly cut left handed. My cut accuracy suffers however due to my being right handed.
“At the time of this posting, the Craftsman saw is priced at $129, and the Ryobi at $199.”
I show the ryobi brushless saw bare for $119, with the 3Ah starter kit for $129…
Sorry, I fixed the typo/brain hiccup.
Right now it’s $119 for the bare tool with the free starter kit as a promo/bonus.
I’m still gonna pick the blade left saw.
Why? If you are right handed the visibility is better on left-hand blades. But the weight of the saw is on the piece of material that is getting cut away. This can lead to usability and stability issues and possibly be more likely to bind the blade if you aren’t careful. Also, as a right-hand user, the dust will blow all over you. I’m really just curious why you’d still go for the left-hand blade not trying to say you are wrong.
Ha I posted this same comment on Joe’s before I saw yours.
It’s a preference/experience thing. A lot of green trades people need to look directly at the blade hitting their line for the entire cut, rather than mastering their technique. Part of it is also stubbornness I suppose, the whole East Coast vs West Coast thing. I agree with you on the stability issue though, blade right tends to be better for that.
Personally I’m right handed and I use both and switch back and forth between the two often, 6 1/2″ blade left with a 24T for rough cuts and a 7 1/4″ blade right with a 60T for fine cuts.
Why would you use a left side blade saw the way you describe – so it over the piece falling away, when you can just cut starting at the other side, so it’s over the piece staying on the table/horse. This as criticism makes no sense.
When you finally get one of these craftsman tools (if you haven’t already), please take some of it apart along side an equivalent dewalt and compare/contrast the differences.
I’m curious how much of a difference there really is at this point…
Control boards the same?
Motor winding’s the same?
Is there any reason to pick one over the other, other than price or brand loyalty for the average joe?
The quality of the components on the control boards are almost certainly different. Power levels and durability will drive the Dewalt components to be better. I’m certain of it. The motor windings are also likely to be different as well. The switch might be the same.
Possibly but I doubt it. There was a tear down of the brushless USA version of the Craftsman impact driver and it was identical to it’s Dewalt counterpart. I suspect it’s no different here. If there was a big difference in power or durability I would have skipped buying it altogether. The good Craftsman tools are hardly any cheaper than the Dewalts. A couple were actually more expensive when I bought them. The red tools show a slight power reduction in the ratings I believe due to programming. Having used both I really couldn’t tell much of a difference if any in real world use.
Did they actually tear it down and compare the FETs on the board? I highly suspect they are different. I think the cells in the batteries are different too. This probably accounts for the power difference.
I did break down a 1/2” Craftsman impact, and most all the components were labeled Dewalt
What does that mean? I’ve torn open a lot of Dewalt tools and none of the components are every labeled “Dewalt”. They usually just have a part number on them. You mean the gears were stamped with Dewalt labeling? The MOSFETs were branded Dewalt? The motor winding said Dewalt? I’m confused by your comment.
I learned on worm drive (my first real tool purchase 20 years ago – mag 77 still works like a champ) and can’t ever get used to the sight lines on a blade right saw and refuse to relearn.
For quality comparisons between Ryobi and Craftsman I keep coming back to research from a year ago. Battery teardowns showed Ryobi using a better cell and craftsman using a lesser one. so for any ryobi vs craftsman comparison I expect to see the craftsman have the better tool at any given price point, but the Ryobi batteries holding up better for occasional use over more years.
For non-pro use I think the Ryobi strategy is the right one, and for semi-pro use there is still a lot of overlap between mid level craftsman and the bottom end of Dewalt’s V20 line and I’d tend to move up into that.
I’ve had excellent luck with Ryobi tools. I’ve used them for years and I’ve used them hard and so far I’ve only burnt out one compressor and one inflator, (one drill too, but I bought that used for $5).
My Milwaukee tools haven’t held up as well, (drill, impact driver, shop vac and two batteries have bit the dust).
I’ve never managed to kill a DeWalt tool, but I had a bad Nicad charger that ruined two batteries and two flex volt batteries that stopped charging.
“Looks better than Ryobi”…. well sure, it’s not lime green. Hehe
In my area lowes dominates and alot of contractors are using craftsman. The only tools they really dislike are the sawzall and the cheap drill but the rest of the cordless lineup is doing good enough service for them.
I’ve been wondering if like the other craftman tools the upper tier line would become the previous Dewalt tool without the “power detect” feature set. since craftsman right now also doesn’t have a higher capacity V20 battery.
Would make sense. The tooling exists might as well use it.
I just got this saw. I also have the old C3 blade left (just like the Ryobi but 6 1/2 and not brushless). I haven’t used this new one yet but will be using it to put up a garage/shop and probably a deck over the next couple of months here. I prefer blade right saws so I’m happy they offer it now. I grew up on corded blade right saws so I guess that’s why I prefer them. The new Craftsman saw is a far better saw. You can feel the high build quality just picking it up. It’s very DeWalt like and that’s what I prefer. I wasn’t a fan of the V20 6 1/2 brushed saw at all… I actually liked the C3 better. This new V20 though is on a whole new level. Very happy with my purchase.
I’ll also add I got the 6ah battery and they have the 9ah coming. We trimmed hedges and ran the weedwacker most all of yesterday with the 6ah and it didn’t drain completely. It’s a far better battery than the 4ah (for my purposes) and the same size. I imagine it will be a great circular/miter saw battery. Craftsman is finally getting on the right track it seems.
Get the Craftsman… As an owner of the Ryobi… The deflection is horrible. The speed is just enough for 2x . Doesn’t work well with 1x as the guard gets caught. The stamped base is kinda wonky. The speed is slow. Slow enough that the cut using a straight edge on 5/8″ ply gets thrown off to the side.
It works for roughing out framing and 2x work.. but it’s ok at best.
Years ago PC made a saw with a magnesium shoe with 50 deg. Tilt and a dust Port that could be turned. They also made a right and a left blade model. Not sure why they discontinued it.
I have and love the Flexvolt circular saw. I saw right handed and I live the blade right for seeing where I am cutting safely.
I also have the Ryobi in question. I got into Ryobi batteries for many of the more gimmicky tools and I live them all. I got the brushless circular saw in a combo with a brushless drill, brushless impact driver, amazing shop vac, and 2ah, 3ah HP, and 2x4ah batteries for $229. Absurd deal.
I love having a brushless lightweight 7.25″ blade left circular saw. Is it as nice as the Flexvolt? No way. You want to get upset about the shoe, try focusing on the plastic guard… That said, the few times I need it, it is great to have, and I plan to keep it and happily use it.
I have this Ryobi saw and its been great for me, no problems at all. Especially when paired with the HP batteries. I regularly cut 1/2″ ply, 2x4s, 2x6s, etc and its never let me down.
I’m also a leftie and the left side blade has never been an issue.
I think there’s no question between Ryobi and craftsman. Ryobi is a much better tool lineup across the board.
While I wouldn’t buy either one myself, I’ll borrow one of my guys Ryobi things. I’d just laugh if they brought Craftsman battery stuff on the job
Except th Ryobi stuff largely isn’t better the only real argument is they have a more extensive lineup (but that’s largely because of duplication), SBD Craftsman is very much designed as a Ryobi killer.
I had that Ryobi saw in a backup set of tools I had for loaning out. It was ok but underpowered and not something I’d want to use more than occasionally. I ended up giving the whole set to my father-in-law last year and he says it’s perfect for his occasional use/needs.
Just picked this up from Lowe’s for $99 as a bare tool. I have the brushless drill and brad nailer with spare batteries so it made more sense than buying into yellow or big red batteries for one tool.
Hopefully it works out it’s only going to be used for breaking down sheet goods vs pulling out my big Makita 10″ corded saw.
Keep the blade sharp (and buy high quality blades) and you should be happy – but the blades could cost more than the saw eventually!