Ryobi 7 1/4 Circular Saw PBLCS300 Review
Ryobi 7 1/4 Circular Saw PBLCS300 Review
If we had to choose a single cordless item for carpentry and construction, we would be hard-pressed to pick against a 7 ¼” circular saw for basic cutting tasks. We use circular saws on everything from sizing 2×4 rough framing to doing plunge cuts on exterior wall sheathing. So when we recently got the chance to test out the newest Ryobi 7 1/4 Circular Saw PBLCS300, we took it. We tested it out cutting some replacement 2×4 jack studs and framing for a porch rehab before installing windows and sheathing. This gave us a chance to test out design, features, and overall performance.
Ryobi 7 1/4" One+ HP circular saw (Model PBLCS300)
Model number: PBLCS300b
Power source: Lithium Battery
Motor size: 18V
Weight: 6.6 Lbs
Ryobi PBLCS300 Features & Specifications
- Brushless motor delivers up to 40% faster cutting
- 0-56° bevel capacity for cut versatility
- Adjustable depth guard for cutting up to 2-7/16 in. depth of cut at 0° and 1-3/4 in. at 45°
- Die-cast upper guard for increased durability
- Vacuum dust adapter is compatible with 1-7/8 in. and 1-1/4 in. hoses
- On-board LED worklight to illuminate workspace for clear cut line visibility
Ryobi PBLCS300 Brushless Motor
The single biggest improvement included in Ryobi’s PBLCS300 7 ¼” circular saw is the addition of a brushless motor. By incorporating a brushless motor, Ryobi has achieved major advances in overall power, tool longevity, and battery life. A brushless motor eliminates internal brush-based friction by locating the permanent magnets on the outside of the copper coils. It causes motor rotation based solely on the magnetic interaction of the coils and magnets by energizing the coils. This means no brushes to wear out and replace which causes the tool to last longer. It also means there is less wasted energy from the friction of the brushes so more power is delivered by the motor and the battery life is longer. That’s a lot of words to say that the brushless motor in the Ryobi 7-1/4″ One+ Circular Saw PBLCS300 is a big deal.
Power & Performance
We found that the Ryobi 7-1/4″ One+ HP Circular Saw PBLCS300 cut fast, was powerful, and maintained speed/RPMs under load. We were pleased with this saw’s overall cutting performance, especially with a 4Ah +HP or greater battery pack. There were a couple of situations of note. First, we noted that the motor ran smoother with a thin-kerf blade vs a standard kerf blade. This is due to less overall material removal. Ryobi includes a thin-kerf blade with the PBLCS300 circular saw.
We also found that the saw performed noticeably better with a 4Ah +HP battery vs. a 2 Ah battery, even on initial cuts with a fully charged 2Ah battery. This is due to the smart HP+ chip electronics integrated into the PBLCS300 circular saw. The tool recognizes when a +HP battery is loaded and allows the motor to run at a higher RPM (4300 vs. 3700 with the P508). The One+ tools also have chip integration (P508) but the + HP lineup allows for additional battery power to be directed to the motor. We could hear some motor strain with 2Ah battery and the blade seemed to have a minimal amount of slowing. For the bulk of the test, we used the 4Ah +HP battery to cut 2x4s and ½ plywood with zero issues.
Ryobi didn’t publish specific claims on overall runtime or number of cuts in a standard material. At Tool Box Buzz, we feel that most of the major tool brands that are offering a full-size circular saw are using good lithium-ion battery packs along with brushless motors. And the anecdotal testing of this saw was great; we were able to get a typical half-day of intermittent use out of a single 4Ah HP+ battery. Simply put, this saw should run long enough for the average worker to complete his or her work in a standard workday, with a battery change. Possessing two battery packs, and the fast charger ensures that the saw sees no downtime.
The Ryobi 7-1/4″ One+ Circular Saw PBLCS300 bevels to 56 degrees and provides a 2-7/16″ depth of cut at 90° and 1-13/16” at 45° (see table below). Adjusting the cutting depth and bevel angle adjustment is seamless with the tool-free adjustable design for both functions. The overall adjustment action is smooth. The bevel lever is large and easy to firmly grip. The depth adjustment is well placed to allow the operator to use the battery casing as a leverage point for one-handed depth adjustments. The depth adjustment has a depth gauge with a small white marker to make sure the blade adjustment is well matched to the material thickness. It is a bit obscured behind the handle but otherwise very adequate.
- Bevel Capacity – 56°
- Depth of Cut at 45° – 1 13/16” in
- Depth of Cut at 90° – 2 7/16
Ease of Use
As far as ergonomics go, the Ryobi PBLCS300 has a well-designed and very comfortable grip. The main grip is comfortable and there is a push-in, ambidextrous safety button that is well within thumb’s reach and easily pressed. The front handle is offset approx. 20 degrees to relieve wrist strain during prolonged or repetitive cutting. This saw measures 13.5” long and is 7.2” high and 11” wide. The bare PBLCS300 circular saw weighs in at a mere 6.6 lbs. The weight went up to 8.2 lbs with a 4Ah HP+ battery loaded.
There is an LED light, located low on the saw near the baseplate, that lights up the cut line decently when required. The LED is slightly obscured by the bevel adjustment assembly, although the light is semi-angled on the right side to try and offset this design feature. The LED light seemed average in brightness. Most of the cutting done on the jobsite during the test was done either outside on horses or in a lighted area this didn’t have a major negative impact. Some of our favorite circular saws in the past had no LED so this is more of a bonus feature rather than an essential one.
It’s important to note that the Ryobi PBLCS300 is a right-bladed saw. The saw blade is mounted on the right side of the motor from the operator’s perspective. This has a direct impact on line-of-sight as it offers a much better viewing angle for right-handed users. This is one of the two major improvements over the previous Ryobi P508 brushless 18V 7 ¼” circular saw. The other being the already discussed +HP technology and increased power. And for me, makes the extra $10 a no-brainer as a right-handed user.
Circular Saw Line-Of-Sight
The sightline blower design is a great feature. The design channels the air movement from a fan inside the motor housing to 2 spots along the cutline. First, air is directed to the front side of the cutline via the front molded baffle (picture 1 below). There is also a second blower vent located on the bottom of the motor housing directed towards the blade/material contact point (picture 2 below). The dual blower does a fine job of clearing the dust from the sightline.
In addition to the sightline blower feature, one major addition to the PBLCS300 is the dust port inclusion. This is an improvement over the PBLCS’s predecessor, the P508. The molded plastic dust port connection is attached onto the back of the metal blade guard with a single screw. The user can easily remove it if they don’t want it. It did not obscure the line-of-sight in any way or increase the tools overall length (and have an increased risk of getting broken) so we left it mounted during use.
The Ryobi PBLCS300’s biggest drawback is it’s stamped steel shoe (vs cast aluminum or magnesium). It was more malleable than the cast shoes and may be more prone to bending. For the homeowner or DIYer, Ryobi’s target audience, this detail will likely be a non-factor. The shoe was quite square (about 1/32” out of alignment from front and rear corresponding blade teeth to shoe edge) upon initial tool inspection. The saw cut accurately in all tasks we used it for.
PBLCS300 Safety Features
The Ryobi PBLCS300 circular saw has a low guard design with a clear polycarbonate blade guard (standard feature). It provides good visibility to easily spot material hang-ups. The blade guard also provided a zero hang-up day of operations at a variety of bevels and angles. Lastly, it is very easy to pull back the blade guard for blade changes.
There is an ambidextrous safety switch on the tool’s handle just above the trigger. The 2-step operation is an important safety feature. Of note, the ability to release the safety switch and continue cutting made this feature more jobsite friendly. Lastly, the electric brakes stops the saw blade in less than 2 seconds. We make it a point of safety on every job site to grip the tool until positive blade stoppage so we appreciated the time saved and added safety of the electric brake.
- 7-1/4″ (184mm) Circular Saw (PBLCS300)
- 7-1/4″ (184mm) Blade, thin kerf, 24 Tooth
- Blade changing wrench
Ryobi PBLCS300 Cost
The Ryobi 7 1/4 circular saw PBLCS300 only comes for sale as a bare tool (PBLCS300, $129 MSRP). A 2-pack of 18-Volt ONE+ 4.0 Ah Batteries (P145, $79 MSRP) is an easy add on option. If you want the best battery performance check out the 9AH +HP battery (model P194, $159). Check it out online here:
The Ryobi 7 1/4 circular saw PBLCS300 has a great balance of power and performance, especially at its comparatively-low price point. The brushless motor delivers a noticeable increase in power and performance, especially when paired with a Ryobi +HP battery. It is a comfortable and very capable saw overall. There aren’t many features we hope to see improved in future iterations of Ryobi circular saws. Ryobi could upgrade to a cast aluminum or magnesium shoe. They could also look at the LED light design to address the miter angle adjustment assembly to be less obstructive. The PLLCS300 is a very well designed 7 1/4″ circular saw for the DIYer or homeowner as our minimal list of recommendations shows.
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Ben, in your opinion, if you were selecting a CORDLESS CIRCULAR SAW for general around-the-house use or for mobile travel is the PBLCS300B worth the 2.5X price tag of the smaller 5-2/2 18v Royobi P506?