I'm a framer, and a circular saw is the most important power tool I own. The crew I'm on frames about a dozen houses per year. We're on the West Coast, so of course we use inline saws. Carpenters usually refer to inline saws as wormdrives, though some models are actually equipped with hypoid gears. Whatever you call them, these saws are long, narrow, and geared to run about a thousand rpm slower than the average sidewinder. This makes for higher torque, less vibration, and less noise. It also increases the life expectancy of the tool.

For this article I tested 7 1/4-inch inline saws from Bosch, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, and Skil. Some of these models have been around forever; others are relatively new. Other sizes are available, but we focused on 7 1/4-inch models because they're by far the most common. I tested the saws by taking them to work and sharing them with the other...

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