Skil - HD5510 5-1/2" Trim Saw (Rating: 3)

Right from the moment I pulled this saw from the box my heart sank a little bit. With a street price in the $120 range, I guess I expected a bit more than the average $50 DIY type circular saws offer. It's built like a cheap saw, has the features of a cheap saw, and basically sells from the virtues of it's unique size. It's also a butt ugly drab gray, which wouldn't really matter if Skil would up their game a little bit. It does offer an interesting design that fills a niche though. Having the blade on the left side makes cuts very visible, and it's light enough to easily handle with one hand.

On the downside, the motor is slightly underpowered…you squeeze the trigger and instead of springing to life, the blade slowly ramps up to speed….I didn't expect it to react like a 15 amp motor, but I hadn't expected to have the immediate impression that it's anemic. The stock blade is as cheap as they come….it's not even carbide. The selection of blade upgrades that will fit this saw is severely limited. I get the impression that this saw hasn't been updated in over 20 years, yet it still fetches a premium. It's time that Skil added some DC, slightly more power, a laser guide, edge guide, composite shoe plate, and/or possibly a nice carrying case to make it more competitive with the PC345, PC314, Makita 5005 and 4200, and the Ridgid Fuego.

The HD5510 is a mixed bag for me….it's nice and light, easy to control, and can make most cuts. I've managed to squeeze a 6" Freud Diablo 40T blade in by removing the blade guard….not a move I'd recommend, but it's what I felt I needed to do to make it function to my satisfaction. 20%-30% more power would be welcome too. I bought this saw sight unseen based on many positive reviews. If I'd had the opportunity to scope this out in person, I think I would have passed and opted for the PC345 or the Ridgid 3400…both more expensive (though not much), but both offer quite a bit more saw than the Skil. It's not a bad saw, it's just fairly expensive for what you get, and I'm disapointed about the value.