Best Circular Saw – The right tool for the job!
What is a circular saw?
A circular saw, sometimes called a power saw, is a powered device that cuts with a rotating blade. Next to hammers and drills, circular saws are the most commonly used tools in home building and repair. Interchangeable blades on circular saws allow you to cut everything from lumber to concrete which is the same for worm drive saws.
Circular saws have an electric or battery-operated motor that spins the blade. On some circular saws, this motor is mounted perpendicular to the saw blade. These circular saws offer a greater deal of control and reduce the chances of binding or a kickback, which can occur when the circular saw’s blade jams up in tough material. The price for the extra control is reduced cutting power.
For heavy-duty cutting, such as thick pine or hardwoods, a circular saw with a motor mounted parallel to the blade is ideal. These circular saws offer more torque directly to the blade and some models include geared speed settings.
Circular saws are measured by the size of their blades. The most common consumer choices range from 4-inch to 7 1/4-inch circular saws. Smaller 4-inch circular saws are lightweight and easy to maneuver, even if you’re working overhead or high on a wall. These circular saws work best with two-inch board stock, paneling, or plywood and flooring less than 1/2 inch thick.
Larger 6 ½ and 7 1/4-inch circular saws are the best choice for general use. The weight of these circular saws gives you more accurate control; they won’t bind on thicker stock or pressure-treated wood, and they’re far less susceptible to kickback. Unless you’re using only lighter building materials or doing a lot of overhead work, a 71/4-inch circular saw is the best choice.
You’ll need to consider horsepower and weight when choosing a circular saw. More horsepower is always better, as these larger circular saws generate more torque, which is needed for heavier cutting jobs. That extra horsepower will also prevent the circular saw from slowing down when it hits a knot or thicker material, which can cause the circular saw’s blade to burn wood or melt laminates. Look for a circular saw with 1.5 horsepower at a minimum for the greatest flexibility.
The weight of a circular saw is a matter of personal preference. Heavier circular saws will pull themselves through a cut, giving you more control than a lightweight circular saw that you need to push. Remember that you’ll need to lift and control the circular saw, so you want to choose a weight that won’t tire your arms after the first few cuts.
Milwaukee 6391-21 15 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw Review
There’s a reason why hundreds of thousands of customers choose Milwaukee as their circular saw of choice. You can read all about Milwaukee and their rich history on various pages of the Internet.
The bottom line is, Milwaukee Tools has become a stronghold of quality and dependability in construction tools. The Milwaukee 5391-21 15 Amp 7-1/4 Inch Circular Saw with Blade on the Left is one of the best circular saws available on the Internet for purchase.
With a 7 1/4″ blade diameter, you’ll be able to cut through large wood projects like a hot knife through butter. And, with 15 amps of power and a 5,800 RPM motor, even the toughest jobs will seem like child’s play. That’s a total of 3 1/4 horsepower to power you through your work day. It’s nearly as powerful as a worm drive saw, but at a third of the weight. This is a combination of power and lightweight design that’s tough to beat.
The main handle is actually adjustable to give you a higher level of control and comfort. Weighing in at 10.4 lbs, this is a saw that has some extraordinary power behind it.
In the box comes the circular saw, a carbide tipped blade, storage case, and blade wrench. You also get an owners manual to show you how to operate the saw. As far as corded saws go, this is one of the best.
- 7 1/4″ Blade Diameter
- Left Mounted Blade For Better Visibility
- Super Strong Storage Case
- Aircraft Aluminum Shoe With 50 Degree Bevel
- Limited Warranty
- Time Proven Milwaukee Dependability
- You can barely feel the wood as you’re making a cut right out of the box you can feel the power this circular saw commands.
- The handle can be adjusted to 8 different positions, which many people found to be helpful during projects. The big sturdy base is more durable than some other models on the market.
- Customers have also reported great results with plywood and a wide range of other materials. Many people have replaced their old saws with this model and have been able to nearly double the amount of work they get done.
- Made of extensive magnesium construction and can handle being dropped without bending the metal. Also, the combined aircraft aluminum is strong and durable enough for most jobs.
- Accepts a wide variety of blades. You can pick and choose the exact blades for your projects.
- This corded saw can handle lots of jobs. It’s great for cutting vertically away from you. This is arguably the best and most well received circular saw available on the market.
- No blade brakes
- Case seems to be designed for something else
- Milwaukee edge guide is sold separately
Makita XSS01Z18V LXT Cordless Circular Saw Review
When you want quality, you want Makita. Although this is a cordless circular saw, it still packs enough power for many applications. Many construction professionals trust in the Makita name for their outside projects. This saw truly shines above the competition. Together with a 3 year warranty, you can be sure that you won’t ever have to worry about getting financially burdened by a defective product.
Priced $200 at most online stores, this circular saw is as affordable as it gets. The motor spins at 3,700 RPM to deliver truly superior cutting power. The battery is 18 volts (sold separately) and is enough power for almost any job.
Weighing in at 7.1 lbs, this saw is light enough to make even long jobs easy. It also has a dust blower to keep your cutting line free of debris and a LED light to illuminate dim areas. Overall this is a dependable purchase for anyone who demands a quality cutting tool for an affordable price.
- 3,700 RPM Cutting Speed
- Compact Design
- LED Light
- Dust Blower
- Lithium Ion Battery – Energy Star Compliant (Sold Separately)
- 3 Year Warranty – Tool Only
- 6 1/2″ Blade Diameter
Pros: With no cord to get you hung up on your projects, working with this Makita circular saw is a breeze. This cordless circular saw does a great job of effortlessly cutting through thick materials. It’s lightweight, which is helpful to get through long days of cutting without a break. Most people favor this tool over their table saws because it can go anywhere, anytime.
The LED does a good job of lighting the cutting area. You can trim and cut both soft and hard woods with this model. The battery lasts a long time and you can expect the modern technology of this saw to pave the way for all your outside/inside projects. No outlet needed!
First time circular saw owners will love the functionality and ease of use. Makita is making high quality circular saws for a price everyone can afford. High performance and strong durability guaranteed.
Cons: Requires the purchase of the lithium ion battery (sold separately) and you must have a backup battery ready for longer duration jobs.
DEWALT 20V MAX 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw Review
Looking for heavy duty power in a cordless unit? Then you need to be looking into the purchase of a saw like this one by DeWalt. DeWalt has risen above and beyond the competition in the business of circular saws. This saw is lightweight, strong, and powerful. The engine can reach a maximum RPM of 4,800 and the blade has a bevel capacity of 53 degrees, making this one of the most capable saws on the market. Featuring top accessible spindle locking, it makes changing blades incredibly easy.
Also, check out our Dewalt Track Saw Review here.
One of the greatest things about this saw is the limited three year warranty, 90 day money back guarantee with no questions asked, and a one year free service contract. This warranty structure is giving customers the financial assurance they need to make the purchase, and the confidence that comes with it to tackle the toughest jobs at the work site.
While it’s not the lightest choice in circular saws, this model will impress you with its durability. Coupled with a strong magnesium construction, this is sure to become one of your favorite tools. The saw hook is equally impressive, accepting material up to 2 1/2″ wide!
You can trust the name DeWalt, and in case you haven’t heard or are new to the circular saw market, this is one of the highest quality companies for circular saws in the world.
- Worm Drive Saw For More Power Than An In-Line Traditional
- Durable Magnesium Construction
- Wide Saw Hook For Materials Up To 2 1/2″ Wide
- Toughcord Safety Feature
- 13.8 Pounds Total Weight
- Bevel Up To 53 Degrees
- 4,800 RPM Motor Speed
Pros: One thing you’ll notice about this saw is that it’s very durable. You can drop it and have very little chance of having bent metal. Other circular saws in the market, at least older models, have been plagued with design problems. All of these issues have been addressed and fixed with this model. You can put your trust in DeWalt to remedy the problems that plague construction workers on a daily basis.
This DeWalt saw has continually outdone the competition, and even when pitted against other saws in it’s class, this saw clearly proves itself as the winner.
It’s really difficult to cut the cord on this saw. The Toughcord protection does a great job of keeping it like new.
Cons: With a total weight of 13.8 pounds, this is not the lightest choice in circular saws. Lighter operators may feel fatigued with all day use.
The blade wrench isn’t bright yellow. Some people complain of losing the wrench in the field because it’s not brightly colored.
Circular Saw Buying Guide
Circular saws are among the most versatile tools available, and your investment in a circular saw will pay off with just one or two home-improvement projects. ToolTidBits’ Circular Saw Buying Guide will help you find the best circular saw for general home use—a saw that might be a little bigger than you expect—so you can become a do-it-yourselfer in no time.
What are the five key points I need to look at?
Balance size and weight
The best choice for a general-use circular saw is a 7 1/4-inch model with enough weight to give you control but not cause quick fatigue. Choose a smaller circular saw for overhead jobs or light-duty cutting.
A circular saw with more horsepower cuts faster, reducing the risk of the blade burning or melting building material. More power is also needed if the circular saw will be used with heavy materials. For a general-use circular saw, look for at least 1.5 horsepower.
Check the guides
A shorter distance between a circular saw’s blade and its guides makes it easier to cut narrow material and gives you a little more control. Laser guides won’t give you greater control, but they can be easier to see in some conditions. If you’re left-handed, choose a left-handed circular saw or one with a reversible base plate.
Choose reliable adjustments
Select adjustment levers and knobs that designed to work around sawdust or other materials clogs. The best circular saw bevel guides are engraved so they won’t wear off over time.
Plastic or metal?
Choose a circular saw with a durable, noncorrosive housing. Circular saws with steel housings weigh more and can give you more stability. A circular saw with a plastic housing will be easier to grip in wet or cold conditions.
What are the terms and definitions I need to know about?
A piece of flat steel or plastic that the blade of a circular saw projects through. The base plate provides a solid surface for a circular saw to ride on during cutting, and base plates can be adjusted for cutting thickness and angle.
An adjustable gauge on a circular saw that controls the angle of the base plate.Blade wrench. A custom tool supplied with a circular saw that is used to change the saw’s blades. Some newer, high-end circular saws have advanced blade mounting systems that do not require a wrench.
A notch, visible blade, or laser sight that indicates the outside edge of a circular saw’s kerf.
The thickness of a groove or cut made by a circular saw.
Also known as bucking, this is a hazardous event that occurs when a circular saw’s blade jams during cutting, causing the circular saw to fly back out of the material. Heavier circular saws with more speed and torque are much less susceptible to kickback than smaller, lightweight circular saws.
The amount of power that a circular saw’s motor transfers to the blade. Higher voltage or horsepower typically provide more torque. A circular saw with a side or parallel-mounted motor delivers more torque than a top- or perpendicular-mounted motor.
Circular saw guides and safety
Circular saws have bases with notches or blades that you use to sight the position of the circular saw relative to the line you’re cutting. Look for a short distance between the end of a circular saw’s blade and its guide—two inches or less is ideal. If you’re left-handed, look for a left-handed circular saw or one with a reversible base plate.
Several manufacturers have added laser guides to their circular saws. In theory, this makes it easier to know where the circular saw is going. In practice, a laser gives you no more control than a base notch, and the laser in a circular saw may get washed out in bright light. In addition, certain materials, such as fiberboards and laminates, generate clumping sawdust ahead of the circular saw’s blade that can interfere with the laser’s accuracy.
Laser guides also add to the cost of the saw, but if you think you’d like to have the laser guides, choose a circular saw that also has guide notches for times when the laser guide isn’t enough.
Top blade guards and safety switches are essential safety features on any circular saw. The top blade guard should roll back easily during use, then snap immediately back into position when the circular saw is finished cutting. A safety switch is a button that must be depressed before the circular saw’s trigger can be pulled. The best-designed circular saws put this button above the trigger so that you can hold it in place with your thumb while you’re squeezing the trigger.
Adjustments and durability
The base plate of a circular saw supports its weight while you’re cutting. It also adjusts to control the depth and angle of the circular saw’s cut. You can tell a lot about the quality of a circular saw by the base plate adjustments. Look for an engraved bevel guide that won’t wear off as you use the circular saw. When you unpack it from the box, you’ll want the plate adjustments to move easily, even when they’re clogged with sawdust, and firmly hold any position you set.
A circular saw’s housing and base plate materials should be noncorrosive steel or heavy high-impact plastic. Circular saws with plastic housings are lighter than steel circular saws and very durable. Consider a plastic housing if you’ll be using the circular saw in the rain or around plumbing, as these circular saws are easier to grip when wet and less likely to conduct electricity to your hand.
Let u know which of the best circular saws you decided to purchase in the comments below. Or feel free to ask any questions you may have on any of the specific saws above. And be sure to bookmark ToolTidbits.com!