HILTI 22V Metal Circular Saw Review
HILTI 22V Nuron 6 1/2″ Metal Circular Saw (Model SC 5ML-22)
HILTI 22V Nuron 6 1/2" Metal Circular Saw (Model SC 5ML-22)
Model number: SC 5ML-22
Power source: Li-Ion Battery
Motor size: 22V
Weight: 6.6 Lbs
Features and Specifications | HILTI SC 5ML-22
- LED light
- removable metal shavings collection cup
- Tool-less guide rail
- Integrated Allen wrench storage
- Power Input: 22 Volts
- RPMs: 3500/min
- Max. cutting depth: 2 1/4 in.
- Blade diameter: 6 1/2 in.
- Base material: Stamped Steel
- Tool body weight: 6.6 lb.
I was thoroughly impressed with Hilti’s 22V Nuron 6 1/2″ Metal Circular Saw. Fully impressed. It offered consistent power, torque, and battery life, making it my immediate #1 metal cutting circular saw. I’ve had bad experiences in the past with a 6 1/2″ metal cutting circular saw having inconsistent power or torque.
Sometimes the power is too much for thinner or softer metals and underpowered for thicker or tougher metals. This was not the case with the Model SC 5ML-22. Whether 11 GA. or 1/4 inch thick metal, aluminum, or mild steel, the power always seemed very well matched for the current task. In other cases, the torque throughout the same cutting operation can be inconsistent, often higher in the beginning and trailing off towards the end of the job. Again, the Hilti Model SC 5ML-22 performed well in this area.
Hilti’s 22V Nuron 6 1/2″ Metal Circular Saw also provided excellent battery life. I used a smaller (single stripe) and mid-sized (double stripe) battery pack and had the same consistent power with both. Check out our in-depth take on the Hilti Nuron batteries. I’ve always hesitated about using cordless tools for metal cutting as the high resistance tends to be a battery killer. But I could consistently use the mid-sized battery pack for about two hours of regular cutting on various metals. And most importantly, I never felt the Model SC 5ML-22 struggled with anything I threw at it. I typically don’t use a 6 1/2″ metal cutting circular saw for more than 1/4 inch mild steel, and it had excellent performance cutting that all day long.
I also thought it was worth mentioning Hilti’s blade. The search for the best consumables in the steel fabrication industry seems never-ending. I loved the Hilti metal cutting blade. The teeth stayed sharp and unchipped impressively long. It didn’t seem to warp with the heat generated during metal cutting. So if you’re looking to test out a new blade for your 6 1/2 inch circular saw (even if it’s not Hilti), I would strongly recommend trying out this blade.
Key Design & Safety Features
Ergonomics & Adjustability
I was most impressed by the overall ergonomics and straightforward adjustability of the Hilti’s 22V Nuron 6 1/2″ Metal Circular Saw. It had all the essential features I wanted without any unnecessary add-ins. The LED light was bright. The blade edge guide was secure, tool-free, and easy to adjust on the fly. I was a big fan of the V-shaped pinch bracket used to hold it in place. I was curious how secure it would be with the saws vibrations over prolonged use, but it was movement free all day and incredibly easy to adjust. The depth adjustment was also well placed and easy to change mid-task. It was a basic, industry-standard style lever based adjustment.
Blade Edge Guide
Depth Adjustment Lever
The only adjustment that requires a tool, in line with most 6 1/2″ metal cutting circular saws, is loosening the Allen bolt securing the blade. Hilti incorporates an integrated Allen wrench storage space under the motor housing, which was a convenient and low risk of getting knocked loose. This is worth mentioning because while often standard, it isn’t always guaranteed. And having to hunt down the right Allen wrench mid-fabrication is frustrating enough to make me mention this feature.
Another essential factor with circular saws is the line of sight. The SC 5ML-22 has a good line of sight supported by both front and side alignment indications. These allow you to stay on your rough-cut line. It also allows you to stop at the right place. It was a bit awkward to see the side stop line, but it’s something that not all saws offer. It was much appreciated! The cut tracked right on my silver streak line quite accurately. So I had no issues with Hilti’s design here. Just don’t expect to easily see the blade on metal as the blade guard somewhat shrouds it. This is done intentionally to control shavings, though. And with an accurate cut indicator, it’s no issue at all.
Side Cut Line Indicator
Front Cut Line Indicator
Shavings Control & Extraction
As an experienced steel fabricator and project manager (and AWS-certified welder), I have had my share of experience with the dangers of metal shavings on the job site. Specifically, the risk of getting metal shavings in your eye causing severe damage. The SC 5ML-22 controls metal shavings using two key design features; a removable shavings collection cup and a rounded-end blade guard.
The removable metal shavings cup is a simple yet effective design. It clips onto a fixed extraction port that relies on the force generated by the spinning blade to “throw” the shavings into the removable cup. I have found that systems with vacuum extraction are far less effective on metal shavings than wood for the simple fact that the metal shavings are much denser and often have enough force when thrown to pass through the suction field of a traditional hose set-up. It works, but not very effectively. I was quite satisfied with Hilti’s approach.
The rounded end of the extended blade guard also solidly enabled the blade guard to have even contact with a flat metal surface regardless of blade depth. This meant that the shavings that made it past the extraction port (not into the removable cup) had less opportunity to bounce off the work surface and back at me freely! These features help provide increased eye protection from dangerous metal shavings.
Most circular saws these days sport an automatic blade brake. But that doesn’t mean they are all designed equal. The brake on this saw is comparatively fast. It worked fast enough to stand out in my mind consistently. I preach to my crew to wait for the blade to stop spinning before moving the saw. So seconds waiting can add up throughout the workday pretty quickly. The automatic blade brake on Hilti’s 22V Nuron 6 1/2″ Metal Circular Saw will keep you safe without making you wait. Something that I will always appreciate and highlight!
Final Thoughts | HILTI SC 5ML-22
This is a top-of-the-line 6 1/2 inch metal cutting circular saw. And I’ve used more than a few on the job site. It offers consistent and high-powered performance in a compact, comfortable, and easily adjustable package. The battery life is solid, and the features are straightforward and effective. Usually, I walk away from a tool review with a design or functional recommendation or two, but I honestly can’t think of much I would change with the Hilti SC 5ML-22. If you are looking to get into a new cordless lineup and or need a new 6 1/2 inch metal cutting circular saw, look no further.
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