Milwaukee Tool introduced a new M18 Fuel rear handle 7-1/4″ circular saw at NPS19, model 2830, adding to their lineup of M18 carpentry and remodeling tools.
The newest Milwaukee brushless cordless circular saw is designed for heavy duty cutting applications. Milwaukee says that it “generates 15A corded power,” and that it can even perform “faster than a corded saw.”
There are two major types of circular saws: those with direct motor drives (also known as sidewinder saws), and rear-handle worm drive saws.
Worm drive-style circular saws have the blade on the left, and are usually more powerful, but run at lower RPMs due to the worm drive gearing. The motor, and therefore the weight of the saw, is behind the blade rather than next to it. One style isn’t necessarily better than another, it can be a matter of personal preference, but generally worm drive and worm drive-style circular saws are favored for heavy duty cutting.
The new Milwaukee M18 Fuel rear-handle circular saw is targeted at blade-left, worm drive saw users. While technically a direct-drive saw without worm drive gearing, the new M18 Fuel saw maintains the narrow profile and ergonomics of worm drive saws, not to mention the expectation of heavy duty cutting power.
The new Milwaukee cordless rear handle circular saw accepts 7-1/4″ blades with a diamond arbor. It spins the blade at 5800 RPM and an electronic blade brake stops the blade within moments of releasing trigger.
The saw has a cut capacity of 2-1/2″ at 90° and 1-7/8″ at 45°. Milwaukee claims the saw can make 570 2×4 cuts with a HD12.0 battery.
The base can be adjusted to a bevel angle from 0 to 53°.
The new cordless saw is meant to be used with a M18 HD12.0 High Output battery, but Milwaukee claims it’ll work with any M18 battery. Built with cast magnesium and plastic construction, the saw weighs 13.4 lbs with an HD12.0 battery, and the bare tool weighs 10 lbs without a battery.
Other features include a zero-maintenance gearbox, LED worklight that illuminates the work surface and cut-line, and a large multi-size rafter hook on the right side.
The kit (2830-21HD) comes with the saw, an M18 HD12.0 battery, rapid charger, general purpose framing blade, and contractor bag. The press kit photos show what looks to be a dust port vacuum adapter. A bare tool is also available (2830-20).
ETA: July 2019
Price: $269 bare tool, $449 kit
Below I’ve linked to a presentation of the M18 Fuel rear handle circular saw. We included two short action demos showing how the saw performs under two different cutting situations – cutting through an LVL, and cutting full depth into a stack of OSB sheets. (You can skip to 1:07 if you just want to see the cutting demos.)
A close look at the saw shows a single screw holding a cover plate over the dust port. In the kit photo above you can see a vacuum adapter that appears to fit into the same spot as the cover plate. It’s great that Milwaukee added a way to hook this saw up to dust collection, but how much use will this port get on a saw designed primarily for framing?
This saw was designed to be used with the HD12.0 battery and is probably best paired with one of their High Output battery backs, but it will still supposedly run on a CP 2.0Ah pack. If our experience with the table saw and chainsaw hold true, you’re probably not going to cut into a stack of OSB with one, but maybe it’ll let you finish a few 2×4 cuts while your bigger batteries are charging.
We shot some video of the saws cutting performance, but Joe Canning (@canadiancarpenter) took this to a whole other level in the following video on Instagram where he is purposely trying to stall the saw by cutting a circle.
It takes him a while, but he eventually stalls the saw. This was the only time I saw the saw stall. People were cutting an LVL lengthwise and running it full depth in a stack of OSB, pushing it hard, and the saw handled it all without issue.
What does this mean for jobsite performance? What does it mean to cut faster than a corded saw? This really isn’t my area of expertise, but as I’ve gone to more of these shows, I try to listen to what the guys who work with these tools everyday have to say. Well, they seemed pretty impressed, but they were reserving judgement until they could use it under real world conditions.
Another point the product manager mentioned was that this wasn’t the first version of the saw. They had an earlier version that they let carpenters field-test, and the universal sentiment was that it sucked. I have to give Milwaukee credit – rather than releasing that tool to get a rear handle saw on the market quicker, they waited and worked on the design until they were satisfied it could compete with the other tools in its class.