By Ken Collister in Product Review

BigBlue Blades with Cordless Circular Saw

DeWalt’s FlexVolt® 60V MAX 7-1/4″ Cordless Circular Saw with BigBlue 5T Heavy-Duty Demolition Blade cutting through shingles, nails, ice shield, and 1″ x 6″ pine roof deck.

Do BigBlue blades work in cordless circular saws? This is a question we have been asked over and over. Until recently, the answer has been “not yet”. The challenge is BigBlue’s wide kerf (nearly 1/4 inch) which requires a lot of power to cut through harsh and gummy materials like three layers of roofing (including tar and gravel for flat roofs) and wood decking.

Why cordless circular saws?

DeWalt FlexVolt® 60V and BigBlue 5T
BigBlue 5T with the FlexVolt® 60V

The benefits of cordless saws are clear. Neither cords and gas are required to use the saw. The operator only needs the saw to cut through harsh and gummy materials. The problem with cordless saws has been that they have just not had enough power. That is until DeWalt came out with the FlexVolt® 60V MAX 7-1/4″ Cordless Circular Saw. When we saw it, we couldn’t wait to try it out with BigBlue 5T Heavy-Duty Demolition Blade.

Is a cordless circular saw strong enough for heavy duty demo saw blades?

We tested BigBlue 5T and the FlexVolt® 60V on a shingle roof tear-off. The tear-off was comprised of 1″ x 6″ pine board decking, ice shield, and shingles. The shingles were stuck to the ice shield with no chance of coming off (which is a common occurrence with ice shield). The only solution to the problem was to rip out the first three feet of material along the gutter line and replace with a new roof deck. This was the perfect job to test and here is what we found.

DeWalt FlexVolt® 60V and BigBlue 5T cutting through shingles, nails, and pine board roof deck.

There is a lot to like about FlexVolt® 60V MAX 7-1/4″ Cordless Circular Saw. The saw is compact, lightweight, and easy to maneuver on the roof. This is especially noticeable when comparing to a large gas fire saws that are used in similar scenarios. Gas fire saws can weigh more than twice as much as the FlexVolt® 60V (20 lbs vs 8 lbs). Cordless tools are a wonderful thing. We did not have to worry about running a power cord to the saw or about the power getting in the way as we were cutting.

Best of all the FlexVolt® 60V had plenty of power for heavy-duty demo saw blade to cut through all of the roofing materials. We were so impressed with the performance that we began to wonder what else we could cut. So we decided to run another test.

How powerful are FlexVolt® 60V and BigBlue 5T together?

DeWalt FlexVolt® 60V and BigBlue 5T cutting through circular saw blade, shingles, nails, and pine board roof deck.
DeWalt FlexVolt® 60V and BigBlue 5T cutting through a circular saw blade, shingles, nails, and pine board roof deck.

After making several passes down the roof with the FlexVolt® 60V and BigBlue 5T we started to wonder what this combination could handle. So, we screwed a framing saw blade on top of the shingles, ice shield, and wood roof deck. The results were very impressive. BigBlue 5T kept all of its’ teeth and continued cutting strong long after the test. And the FlexVolt® 60V powered through all of those harsh materials never losing any significant power. 

Batteries don’t like the cold

The weather did effect our test. The temperature was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit that morning and that caused the saw to glitch a bit. However, later in the day when the temperature warmed the glitch completely disappeared. We called DeWalt and ask them about the issue. They told us that when the temperature gets down around 15 degrees Fahrenheit, the chemical make-up of the battery is affected which can hurt performance. But, despite the cold temperature that morning, the FlexVolt® 60V and BigBlue 5T held up to the rigors of cutting through the roofing materials and nails.

The Perfect Combination for Firemen

Use cases for this powerful combination of products are endless. However, we are particularly interested in how the the FlexVolt® 60V and BigBlue 5T could help firemen. Many fire departments have limited budgets and the FlexVolt® 60V is much more cost effective than a fire saw with many of the same benefits.

Ken Collister

Ken has spent more than 30 years as a residential roofing contractor. He has always been looking for ways to get work done faster and reduce strain on his body.