Barrel handle gets your hand(s) closer to the wood being
cut - mo' bettah stabilitiy. BUT - the barrels on some are
a bit to big for folks with smaller hands - like me.
Everyone seems to be going with quick change devices
for blade changes.
Replacable zero clearance inserts are great at reducing or
eliminating tear our on the up cut.
Dust extraction that works makes seeing the line
as opposed to guessing where it is amidst the
dust and chips.
Blade guides that keep it from deflecting - either to the
side or back and twisting make a lot of difference in
Being able to move the foot back to do plunge type
cuts is nice.
Where is the on/off switch and what kind is it?
Triggers are nice - unless you're doing tight radiuses.
Rocker switches are good - especially if it's spring
loaded - push it almost anywhere and it goes off.
Slide switches - ain't so good IMHO. You don't want
to go searching around and futzing to turn the saw
off when you want to.
I've got the Festool barrel grip pendulum saw. Gripes
- barrel a bit large for my hand, the sliding switch
is kind of a pain in the ass. Not real fond of their
shade of green either. But the blade guides, quick
change blade device, dust extraction, selectable
pendulum action (more swing, more aggressive the
cut), variable speed and replaceable zero clearance
inserts sure are nice to have.