Circular saws are the portable option for making cross and rip cuts on your boards. We should also remember that these saws aren’t just made for slicing through soft and hardwoods, but they work extremely well cutting through denser materials such as masonry and ceramic tiles. You can make similar cuts using a table saw, a wet tile saw, and even a miter saw, but if you need a handheld option for slicing through materials on the spot, the circular saw is definitely the tool you’re looking for.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at two highly rated circular saws: the P506 from Ryobi and the 5280-01 from SKIL. Despite both of these tools being circular saws, there are considerable differences between the two that need to be taken into account. We will try and decide as objectively as possible which of the two would be the better overall tool.
The portability of a tool relies heavily on where it draws its power. Cordless tools are great since you can carry it with you wherever you go, and your work time is limited only to full your battery is and how many additional batteries you have on hand. The Ryobi is an example of a portable, cordless tool. A single charge of the 18V battery will offer around 30 minutes of usage.
The SKIL, on the other hand, is a corded-electric model. This means that you can work continuously provided that you are nearby an electrical outlet. Unfortunately, your range of movement is limited to how long the power cord is, but with a reliable extension cord, you can greatly improve your maneuverability.
Conclusion: It’s rather difficult to decide whether cordless or corded-electric is the better choice. It ultimately comes down to whether you personally prefer cordless power tools or not. We feel that the Ryobi’s 30-minute of usage per charge is rather impressive, but you’ll need to invest in additional batteries to reduce downtime.
Motor Power and Speed
The heart of any power tool is its motor. The tool is only as powerful as the motor allows it to be. The Ryobi’s 18V batteries allow the unit to reach speeds of up to 4,700 RPM. This is considerably lower than many corded-electric circular saws out there, but for a cordless tool with its blade size (more on this later), this should let you tear through soft and hardwoods easily.
The SKIL features a 15.0-amp motor that can produce blade-spinning speeds of up to 5,300 RPM. Corded-electric models are more often than not much more powerful than their cordless counterparts, so we weren’t exactly overwhelmed by the beefier motor and quicker cutting speed. That being said, this tool will perform a bit more efficiently when cutting through wood.
Conclusion: In terms of power and speed, it’s clear that the SKIL has a bit more of both to offer. We consider this a fair trade for the tool’s lack of portability. However, we think you should decide whether you need a tool that works faster than 5,000 RPM or not.
Blade Size and Cut Capacity
The size of a circular saw’s blade has a direct relation to how deep it can cut. Essentially, a larger blade can cut deeper through wooden stock than a smaller blade. The Ryobi comes with a 5-1/2-inch carbide-tipped blade. The maximum cutting depth that the tool can reach is 1-9/16 inches.
The SKIL features a bigger 7-1/4-inch 24-tooth carbide-tipped blade. It can reach depths of up to 2-3/8 inches – almost twice that of the Ryobi. The tool’s blade size should suit you just fine for several home-repair or DIY furniture-making projects.
Conclusion: Once again, we see another benefit of having a cordless model. Because it comes with a stronger motor, it’s able to support large 7-plus-inch blades while maintaining more than 5,000 RPMs. A bigger blade means being able to complete cross and rip cuts across thicker boards with a single pass.
The ability to bevel gives you the ability to perform a wider range of cuts without having to employ the use of a table saw, or miter saw. The Ryobi’s blade can bevel up to 50° and cut as deep as ¾ of an inch.
The SKIL’s blade can bevel up to 51° and has a positive stop at 45° to help you make perfect cuts for picture frames every time. When beveled to its maximum capacity, the cutting depth of the blade is around 1-1/8 inches.
Conclusion: It’s hard to decide which is better between Ryobi’s 50° and SKIL’s 51° beveling. With all joking aside, the SKIL is the more superior tool since it has a positive stop at 45°, whereas the Ryobi requires you making careful measurements and clamping the blade down while risking shifting the blade ever-so-slightly.
The amazing thing about the Ryobi is its super-lightweight. With its battery in place, the unit weighs around 3 pounds. To put this into context, there are hammers and single-handed mallets that weigh more than this tool!
The SKIL has a more imaginable weight to it. With the blade mounted, it weighs 8.7 pounds. However, you shouldn’t really feel the weight of the unit in your shoulder or arm. Since most cutting and ripping jobs will be done horizontally, there should be absolutely no risk of fatigue.
Conclusion: Obviously, with any handheld power tool, you don’t want the weight of the tool to be an issue. The good thing is that both of these tools are lightweight, so there’s very little risk of fatigue. However, objectively we would say that the Ryobi is better since it weighs around 3 pounds while still providing more than enough power for tearing through wooden boards.
Between the Ryobi P506 and SKILL 5280-01, we feel inclined to say that you can get more value out of the SKIL than the Ryobi. The Ryobi has several benefits over the SKIL, such as its lighter weight and portability, but size really does matter (sorry, fellas).
The 7-1/4-inch blade in the SKIL can cut significantly deeper than the 5-1/2 inches in the Ryobi, even when the blade is beveled to its maximum capacity. However, the Ryobi would be the better option in certain situations like working in high spaces without a nearby electrical outlet or where extension cords can’t reach. In every other imaginable situation, we feel that the SKIL 5280-01 would be the preferable tool to have on hand.
- Powerful 15-amp motor delivers 5,300-RPM for greater speed and faster cuts
- 7-1/4-in carbide-tipped blade included. Spindle lock for easy blade changes.
- 51 degree bevel capacity for a wide variety of cuts. Arbor size: 5/8 inches, cord length: 6 feet
- Imported from: China
- POWER TOOLS
- Commercial Brand: DEWALT
- Powerful 15.0 AMP motor delivers 5,800 RPM for proven performance and jobsite durability
- Lower guard design improves performance when making bevel and narrow cuts
- Large cutting capacity (2-3/8"" at 90°, 1-3/4"" at 45°)