DeWALT 364 Circular Saw Review

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The DW 364 was my sole panel-cutting circular saw for about seven years. I purchased the DW 364 after I destroyed my Craftsman/Skil circular saw--I was willing to buy the best non-worm drive saw on the market. After much research, I decided on the DeWALT 364. The saw is typical of DeWALT quality, which means median-to-high. I replaced the standard blade with an aftermarket blade and worked very well with our shop-made guides and panel-cutting table.

Later, I purchased the Porter Cable 743 and fell in love with it, primarily because of its light weight and blade position. It is no more accurate than the DeWalt, but was a little easier to use.

Finally, a few years ago the Festool ATF 55E became our primary panel cutting circular saw, due to its better dust collection, cleaner cut, and integrated guide rail system.

We stil use the DeWalt and for the price, the DW 364 is pretty hard to beat. Especially for a jobsite saw, construction saw, or any application where the saw will end getting thrown around or abused.

Cost: $135.00
Manufacturer DeWALT
1-800-4-DeWALT (1-800-433-9258)

What I Like About the DeWALT 364 Circular Saw

  • Once setup and fitted with a good blade, it cuts perfectly well. Until lately, we used it almost daily for panel cutting and I can finish-cut large sheet goods without a problem.

  • Electric brake. Not a big deal, but prefer having it than not.

  • The height and angle scales are easy to read, they're accurate, and offer excellent granularity.

  • The shoe pivot is designed to keep the hand low and to the rear regardless of the height of the blade.

  • The shoe release knob is huge and is placed in the front/upper part of the saw.

  • Excellent general purpose blade. I replaced it with a CMT fine-cut which gives great results. I replaced the CMT (moved it to the PC743) with a Forrest WWII, which surprisingly performs worse than the CMT on crosscuts in hardwood veneer plywoods.

  • Great power. The latest model even has more.

  • It's built like the proverbial brick...... It has never let me down and I doubt it will.

  • Easy to adjust for heel and squareness blade to shoe.

What I Dont't Like About the DeWALT 364 Circular Saw

  • Shoe pivot seems to work opposite of what I expect. I have never gotten used to it. The Festool ATF 55E depth adjustment is much easier to use.

  • It's considerably heavier than the PC743 and Festool ATF saws.

  • No dust collection. In fact the angled dust port shoots it right at you if you're using the saw from the right side.

  • I paid $30.00 more for the DeWALT 364 than the PC 743.

  • No onboard storage for arbor wrench.

Comparison: Porter-Cable 743 vs DeWALT 364

Characteristic PC 743 DW 364 Comments
Feel X   The PC 743 is lighter, better balanced, and the left-mounted blade is great for right-handers. The DW364 is heavy and is not balanced particularly well. However, the design of the DW364 pivot keeps the handle in the same location (low and to the rear) through out the height adjustment. The PC743 handle moves up and forward as the blade is raised.
Power X X Both machines have more than adequate power, though I believe the DeWALT has slightly more. Interesting, the PC743 is rated at 15 amps and my early model DW364 is rated at 13 amps. The current DW364 is rated at 15 amps.
Value X   The PC 743 is considerably less expensive for similar or better performance in several key areas.
Reliability X X Both saws are well manufactured. Brushes are easily accessible. Parts readily available.
Electric Brake   X The DW364 has a brake, the PC734 does not.
Blade X X Both come with good blades.
Blade Lock X X Both come with blade locks, though the DeWALT is easier to access. The PC743 lock is an odd lever nestled down in the recesses of the saw. The DeWalt uses a "push-button" near the top of the blade guard.
On board storage for arbor wrench X   DW364 arbor wrench is rattling around in the truck somewhere. PC743 wrench is in its handle.
Shoe X   PC743 shoe is light yet strong and is designed so that its edges are spaced 1-1/2" and 5" from the blade. DW364 shoe is huge and made from aluminum. The distance between the edges of the DW364 shoe and the blade don't fall on an even measurement. However, the DW364 shoe bracket/pivot is a trick ball joint mechanism that is stronger and has less flex than its PC743 counterpart.
Dust Collection X   PC743 dust collection works pretty well. DW364 has none.
Height Scale   X The DW364 scale is easy to read and has fine increments. The PC743 scale is difficult to read and the increments are too large to be totally useful. For instance, no 3/4" mark.
Angle Scale   X Again, the DW364 scale is easy to read and has fine increments. It is a cast item that is made very well. The stamped PC743 scale is easy enough to read, but does not have the range nor granularity of the DeWALT.

The Bottom Line

I own or have owned a number of circular saws including a Craftsman, a Skil 5170, a DeWALT 364, the PC 743, and more recently, the Festool ATF. The DeWALT 364 is no slouch, but for my money, the PC 743 is the saw I would recommend without hesitation as a framing and general purpose saw. It's lighter and the left-mounted blade is easier to use than standard right-mounted blade saws (for a right hander). No more bending over, looking over the blade guard to see the cut line.

With that said, the DW364 is constructed very well. Compared to the PC743, it has a better constructed pivot mechanism and bracket, better height/angle scales, and a larger shoe. Until the Festool ATF came along, the DW364 was our primary cabinetmaking circular saw. Partically because of its slightly larger more stable base and its adjustability. With my panel guides, I cut from the right side so the left/right orientation is not a big deal. However, the Festool ATF beats both saws with its dust collection, guide system, ergonomics, light weight and balance, and finer cut.

As a general purpose or framing saw, you can't go wrong with either the DeWALT 364 or the PC743. On the basis that it is lighter and has the left-mounted blade, I do better free-hand work with the PC743. But don't get me wrong, the DW364 is a great circular saw, and most anyone would be more than happy with it, especially left-handers. If you're looking for the best circular saw for cabinetmaking, finish carpentry, cabinet / floor installation, the Festool ATF is my choice.

Rating: out of 5!

One More Picture

Build Your Own Panel / Sheet Goods Cutting Table

My version of the Panel Cutting Table described in an article from Fine WoodWorking, Issue #143, titled "A Circular Saw in the Furniture Shop?" Panel Cutting Table.

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