last updated 22 July 2022

Contents: Reviews | Milwaukee M18 review| Features | 2015Review

In 2015 Popular Mechanics gave Milwaukee the best score (see below).
I've talked to several professional builders who also prefer Milwaukee, but Makita, Bosch, DeWALT and SKill ranked higher in different 2022 reviews.
There was no clear winner.
Most of the reviews compared the high end Milwaukee 2830-20
ProToolReviews 2022 said, MilwaukeeÕs 2732 was our overall best cordless circular saw in 2021

Some of the reviews mixed corded and battery power saws.
I only looked at battery models below.

In 2022 Popular Mechanics liked Bosch GKS18v-25GCB14 best.
They said the Milwaukee 2830-20 had power and durability and was safer because of the electric brake. At 12 lbs. it was a little heavy.

Best Circular Saws of 2022 | Family Handyman
Liked Makita best. Milwaukee scored in the middle.

ThisOldHouse liked
DeWALT 20V MAX 7-1/4-Inch

Milwaukee M18 Review All have brushless motor, blade brake (2630?) and 50° bevel.
Model 2830-20 2732-20 2732-21 2730-20 2630-20 2631-20
Size 7 ¼ 7 ¼ 7 ¼ 6 ½ 6 ½ 7 ¼
Handle Rear Top Top Top TopTop
Blade Left Right Right Left leftRight
Price (saw only) $279 $189 $248 $178 $96 $200
Weight * 13 11 11 9 7 9
Drive Worm-drive like
RPM 5,800 5,800 5,800 5,000 3,500 5,000
Cut depth 2 ½ 2 ½ 2 ½ 2-3/16 in 2 ½
Width 8 8 8 6.5
Height 8 11.5 11.5 9.75
Length 19 13.75 13.75 13 13
* Weight is with a battery.
† The 2830 says it cuts faster than a 15 amp corded saw.
The 2380 requires a worm-drive blade with a diamond opening which may be harder to find.

Milwaukee Factory M18 batteries
8Ah  2.1 lbs $155
12Ah 3.4 lbs $238
2 - 6Ah batteries 2.0 lbs each $172
One comment says the battery life with the 6Ah High Output battery is good.

There are 3rd party batteries for less, which got mixed reviews. In comments on one with a 4.0 score, Most said they worked fine as long as you charged them for 24 hrs out of the box. 1 said they lasted half as long; another said the larger ones didn't fit in smaller tools, drills etc. Read the comments.

Features Cordless Circular Saw - what to look for|

Sidewinder or Rear-Handle?
Rear handle keeps the shoe on the wood better.
The spread between sidewinder and rear-handle cordless circular saw styles are largely regional. The West Coast tends to prefer rear-handle while the East Coast generally goes sidewinder.
I think it depends where your work is. If it is closer to shoulder level a rear handle would be better; If it is closer to waist level a Sidewinder would be better, but I am just a handyman.
A grip on the front helps stabilize the saw.

ThereÕs some confusion between 18V and 20V cordless circular saws. Many folks believe that 20V is more powerful, but theyÕre actually the same voltage.

More brands are using 6-cell sets instead of the 5-cell sets we see on 18V/20V max tools. Those actually run at a higher voltage. Marked 24V Max or 22V, they run at 21.6V nominal. With 20% more cells, they really do have the potential to produce more power or runtime.

Blade Left or Blade Right? Very few Pros and DIYers we come across donÕt care what side the blade is on. Nearly everyone has a preference and wonÕt buy a saw with a blade that sits on the ÒwrongÓ side. Your best bet is to try both and see which one is easier for you to track your cutline.
As a right-handed user, pro-tools prefers a blade-left design. Then again, PTRÕs Editor-in-Chief, Clint DeBoer, is also a righty and prefers blade-right.
Blade left for Righty:

RPM: Higher RPM minimizes chip-out.
Features to consider when buying a circular saw | familyhandyman

Gear-driven (Worm-drive) or direct drive:
The worm-drive circular saw was the first one invented. It develops more cutting torque than a sidewinder, i.e. a saw with a blade mounted next to the motor and connected directly to the drive shaft. Worm-drive saws are preferred for heavy construction, though the blade spins more slowly and makes rough cuts. Hypoid saws are a variation of the worm-drive model.
The blade that comes with the Milwaukee 2830 says worm-drive, but it doesn't say that on the saw. WorkshopAddict called it a worm-like drive. i.e. it's more powerful.

Brushed vs Brushless:
In a brushed motor the part that rotates (armature) is coils of wire. The wire gets alternating current thru 2 brushes which rubb against a commutator on the shaft. It generates an alternating positive/negative magnetic fiels which are attracted to permanent magnets around the armature.

In a brushless motor the part that rotates is permanent magnets which are attracted to a stator on the outside.

Brushed motors require more maintenance. brushes wear out etc.

Brushless motors have up to 30% more power, are more compact and lighter. Less friction results in lower heat. The electronic module that converts direct current in a battery drill can regulate current to the motor so it operates at maximum efficiency, improving overall performance. See: Brushless Vs Brushed Motor: Why You Should Know The Difference

Bevel capacity: The base or shoe tilts for making bevel cuts, but not all models tilt the same amount. The best circular saw bevels more than 45 degrees with positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees, saving time when making adjustments.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Rear Handle Circular Saw 2830-21 Vs M18 Blade Right 2732-20 Review With 12.0 Ah | WorkshopAddict

I already had an investment in Milwaukee M18 FUEL batteries, so compared their options below:
2015 review

Cordless Electric Circular Saws
Model price PM rating * diam v ah batteries included Comments
Milwaukee 2630-20 $350 5 6.5 18 3 2 Best at Popular Mechanics
Milwaukee 2730 M18 Fuel $399 6.5 18 4 Best at
Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2630-22 $199 7.25 18 4 best at A concord carpenter
Hitachi C18DSL $140 4.5 6.5 18 1.5 0
Makita BSS610 $350 4.5 6.5 18 3 2
Ridgid R8651 $100 4 6.5 18 3 0 (thermal-overload shuts down after a small number of rips)
Robi P506 $60 4 5.5 18 3 0 (w/o battery or charger)
Craftsman 911585 $110 4 7.25 19.2 1.5 0
DeWalt DC390 $200 4 6.5 18 2.4 1 Ni-Cad 2nd best at
* Cordless Circular Saw Comparison Test: Who's Got the Most Cutting Cred? | Popular Mechanics, 2012

2 Battery pack for Milwaukee M18 $129, Charger $59
4 ah battery pack for Ridgid $99
Most saws with blade capacities of 6 inches or more can cut through 2 inch dimensional lumber at a 45 degree angle in a single pass.
See also:
18 Volt Cordless Circular Saw Head to Head - A Concord Carpenter
Best Cordless Circular Saws, 2015 Edition

Cordless Electric Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Cordless saws are not quite as powerful as corded versions, but more convenient.
Model price PM rating v ah batteries included
DeWalt DCS380 $250 5 20 3 1
Hitachi CR18DSL $140 4.5 18 3 0
Porter-Cable PC1800RS $50 4.5 0
Makita 181 $350 4 2
Milwaukee Sawzall M18 2620-20 $250 4 18 3 1
Milwaukee Hackzall M18 2625-20 $179 18 3 1
Bosch CRS180K $300 4 1
Craftsman CRS1000 $60 4 0
* Reciprocating Saw Showdown: 12 Tools Go Head to Head | Popular Mechanics

Milwaukee has a compact version you can hold in one hand called the Hackzall.

The M18 Hackzall has a 3/4 inch throw vs 1 1/4 inch for the sawzall.
In one test the sawzall was about 35% faster.

See Battery Powered Chain Saws on the Chain Saw page

Cordless Screwdrivers