This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. For anyone starting a collection of tools, one of the first purchases is often a circular saw. A staple item at any construction site, it’s also one of the most useful tools for any homeowner or DIYer. Until recently, the obvious choice when buying a circular saw was a corded model. Cordless models tended to be underpowered, and often came with smaller blades, which limited their usefulness. Improvements in brushless motor and Lithium-Ion battery technology have changed all that, and all the major tool brands now offer cordless saws intended to serve as a substitute for a corded saw. Ryobi has recently joined in the fun, and sent us their new Ryobi P508 18V 7-1/4” Brushless Circular Saw to check out.
Confession time: When I first learned we were getting a Ryobi cordless saw to test, my expectations were pretty low. My only previous experience with one of their cordless circular saws was with a small model that came as part of a combo kit someone gave me years ago. The saw was clearly intended for light-duty homeowner use, and struggled to cut…well, almost everything. After trying it once or twice, it was banished to a dark corner so remote, I couldn’t even find it for a comparison photo.
When I found out the saw had a full-sized 7-1/4” blade and a brushless motor, my outlook brightened. As you probably know, brushless motors are the new standard in cordless tools. They’re more efficient and powerful, and tend to be much more durable than their brushed counterparts. Ryobi is starting to use brushless technology in more of their tools, including a brand-new drywall screw gun we recently tried and liked.
My old cordless Ryobi saw took a 5-1/2” blade. In addition to providing pretty meager cut capacity, there’s generally not a great assortment of replacement blades in stock when it’s time for a fresh one. The 7-1/4” blade used by the new Ryobi P508 brushless circular saw provides much better cut capacity; it can get through material up to 2-7/16” at 90°, and 1-13/16” at a 45° bevel. Additionally, 7-1/4” blades are much more common, and any home center or hardware store generally carries a good assortment. Here’s the lowdown on the saw’s features and specs, followed by a short video from Ryobi:
• 26% increased cut capacity
• Brushless motor provides longer runtime, more power and longer motor life
• LED light illuminates cut line, eliminating shadows for a precise cut line view
• Full-size 7-1/4 in. blade for maximum cut capacity and blade variety
• Maximum Cut Depth: 2-7/16” @ 90°, 1-13/16” @ 45°
• Spindle lock for quick and easy blade changes
• 24T ultra thin kerf carbide-tipped blade for fast, clean cuts
• Compatible with lithium+ HP batteries for even better performance
• Gripzone over mold with micro-texture for optimum grip and user comfort
• 0-56° bevel cut capacity allows user the ability to cut the most common and complex angles
• Left-mount blade for maximum cut line visibility
• Dust blower keeps cut line clear and visible
• On-board wrench storage for fast, convenient blade changes
• Front pommel handle with over mold for 2-handed operation
• Ergonomic design increases user comfort during prolonged use
• Weighs 6.6 lbs.
• Includes: P508 brushless circular saw, 7-1/4 in. 24-teeth ultra thin kerf carbide-tipped blade and blade wrench
Move Over, Rover, And Let The Ryobi P508 Take Over
The Ryobi P508 brushless circular saw is the latest top-of-the-line version of their cordless circular saw line. The previous king of the hill, the Ryobi P507, looks fairly similar, and retails for around $69. Suggested retail for the Ryobi P508 is $119. So what do you get for the extra fifty bucks?
The most obvious difference is the bigger blade. The Ryobi P507 comes with a 6-1/2” blade, and the maximum cut depth is 2.06” at 90°, vs. 2-7/16” on the P508. The more crucial difference is the depth of cut at 45°: the 1.44” on the older saw (vs. 1-13/16” on the Ryobi P508) is just shy of what you need to make a clean cut through a 2X4. The ability to cut a smooth bevel cut in dimensional lumber makes the saw much more useful.
A good bit of the price bump is due to the brushless motor. The Ryobi P508 needs more power to spin the larger blade, and the larger, more efficient brushless motor provides it. This is money well spent; in addition to being more powerful, the saw will run longer on a battery charge.
To help keep the cut line clear, the Ryobi P508 has a dust blower, which actually does a pretty good job. Another welcome feature is the electric brake on the Ryobi P508; the blade stops within about two seconds of releasing the trigger. The saw also has an LED to help make sure your blade is going to cut where you want it to, which is generally a good thing. This feature is also standard on the P507. Although no edge guide is included, there are slots on the shoe that look like they’ll accept a standard edge guide, to help keep you on the straight and narrow.
Getting The Ryobi P508 Brushless Circular Saw Ready To Go
To get the Ryobi P508 into action, all you have to do is install the blade and pop in a battery. This is a pretty fast and easy process. The blade wrench is stowed under the rear end of the handle. Slide it out, fit it into the spindle bolt, depress the spindle lock (behind the blade guard), and loosen and remove the spindle bolt. Slide the blade into place, slide the spacer over it, and tighten the bolt.
A couple of things to note: since the Ryobi P508 has the blade on the left, turn the bolt clockwise to loosen it, counter-clockwise to tighten. Also, if you’re putting on a different blade, you probably need to put the label facing inward. Just make sure that when the blade is mounted, the teeth on the bottom are pointed toward the front of the saw.
Making bevel cuts with the Ryobi P508 is simple. The blade can be locked into place in any position from 0 – 56°, and there’s a mark at 22.5° and a positive stop at 45°. To make adjustments, just loosen the knob at the front of the saw, tilt the saw body until the arrow on the outside of the scale marker points to your desired angle, and tighten the knob. To bypass the 45° stop, just loosen the knob a bit more. The angle adjusts very smoothly, and stays locked in very well. The only change I’d like to see is more contrast on the numbers and scale, maybe highlighted in black so they’re easier to read. Not a huge deal, but easier on crappy old eyes.
Adjusting the depth of cut is equally straightforward. Pull up the black lever between the rear of the blade guard and the handle, adjust the shoe up or down, and push the lever back down. Like the bevel adjustment, the depth stays solidly locked in once it’s set. There’s no depth scale, so you’ll have to eyeball it to get the depth you want.
The handle on the Ryobi P508 is a decent size, even for my large hands. It’s covered with a thin rubber overmold, which makes it more comfortable, and a bit less “slippy”, as they say here in da ‘Burgh. An ambidextrous push-through safety switch just forward of and above the trigger is a necessary evil on a tool that’s always “live” when there’s a battery in it. It’s not that hard to operate, and it’s definitely easier to press the little button than it is to change your underwear several times a day…There’s a pommel in the front of the saw, also covered with overmold, which makes the saw easier to guide.
The Ryobi P508 Sinks Its Teeth Into Some Lumber
Over the past month, the Ryobi 18V Brushless Circular Saw got a workout on a variety of projects. I first used it to make all the cuts while building a bulkhead on a kitchen remodel. The thin kerf 24-tooth blade worked fine, and the saw never bogged down while making the cuts. The saw was easy to control and keep on the cut line, even though I’m more used to right-bladed circular saws.
The saw got a little fresh air when we used it while installing some porch handrails. We used the Ryobi P508 to trim pressure-treated 4X4’s to length. The saw had no problem making the cuts, even with the blade buried to its full depth. We also used it to make angled cuts while trimming the handrails and a couple of spindles.
To see how the Ryobi P508 would do on longer cuts, I made several cross cuts, including a couple at a 45° angle, in a piece of 2X12. I also made a couple of rip cuts along the length of the 2X12. The saw was able to complete all the cuts, but it struggled and stalled a couple of times during the angle cuts and the long rip cuts. When I eased up, and made the cuts more slowly, it was fine. I also made some cuts in 3/4” plywood, and the Ryobi P508 sailed right through.
Is The Ryobi P508 7-1/4” Brushless Circular Saw Right (Or Left) For You?
I think the Ryobi P508 could easily serve as the primary circular saw for most homeowners and DIYers. It has decent features and power, and the fact that it’s cordless is a sweet bonus for anyone who sometimes works on projects with limited access to power, or who does punch list work or lots of smaller projects. It’s a big time saver not having to schlep extension cords to the work area, figure out where to plug them in, and try to refrain from tripping over them while you’re working.
While the Ryobi P508 has much better power and cutting capability than its predecessors, it’s not yet a contractor-grade tool. Circular saws on construction sites get pushed hard, and most contractors won’t put up with a saw that bogs down during longer or tougher cuts. For DIYers, or anyone who’s not doing production work, having to slow down occasionally is easily offset by the convenience of not having to deal with a cord.
The Ryobi P508 Brushless circular saw is sold as a bare tool, and in some combo kits. It will work with any Ryobi ONE+ battery, but will be at its best with Ryobi’s largest (for the moment) Li-Ion battery, the 4.0 Ah P108. If you have other Ryobi ONE+ tools and batteries, you’re good to go. If not, Ryobi offers several combinations of batteries and chargers. Your best bet may be to check out the various Ryobi combo kits, like the Ryobi P1953N kit, which includes three brushless tools, two batteries and a charger. Ryobi backs the P508 with a three-year limited warranty. It’s also returnable for 90 days, so you can see for yourself if it has what it takes to earn a spot in YOUR tool collection.
Buy the Ryobi P508 7-1/4” Brushless Circular Saw from the Home Depot for around $119:
Buy the Ryobi P508 in the three brushless tool combo kit from the Home Depot for around $279:
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.