The ability to fabricate and construct has been one of the most important abilities of man, since the beginning of time. Our ability to innovate has enabled us to come up with complex structures built in a series of intricate steps; all to improve our lives.
Very important to fabrication and crafting is the cutting process. For millennia, cutting technologies remained primitive and very inefficient, requiring much muscle effort until the invention of the circular saw between the late 1700s and the early 1800s. The idea of the portable circular, however, is accredited to Art Emmons in 1929.
Thanks to rapid technological advancements in fabrication and the dawn of powered motors, modern circular saws are now much lighter, more powerful, and far more efficient; making the cutting process just another light task to do.
As a professional craftsman or DIY hobbyist, choosing the right circular saw to add to your toolbox is not so straightforward. As there are just so many brands out there, you can get lost in the myriad of adverts.
So how do you pick the right saw that will be reliable and provide real value for your money? Well, worry not.
Best Circular Saws for 2020 – Quick Look
(Click on the name of any circular saw to read it’s in-depth review)
|DEWALT DCS391B |
|6-1/2 Inch||5,150 RPM|
|7-1/4 Inch||5,300 RPM|
|WORX WX29L||4-1/2 Inch||3,500 RPM|
|Rockwell RK3441K||4-1/2 Inch||3,500 RPM|
|TACKLIFE TCS115A||4-1/2 Inch||3,500 RPM|
|Makita 5007Mg||7-1/4-Inch||5,800 RPM|
|BLACK+DECKER BDECS300C||7-1/4-Inch||5,300 RPM|
|Milwaukee M18||6-1/2 Inch||3,500 RPM|
|PORTER-CABLE PCE300||7-1/4-Inch||5,500 RPM|
|Ryobi One P505||5-1/2 Inch||4,700 RPM|
1.Dewalt DCS391B – Best Overall Circular Saw
First on our list is the Dewalt DCS391B. Dewalt just simply makes great tools, and this circular saw embodies their expertise.
It comes with a wealth of features that enable you to make quick work of whatever cutting operations you have, do so with ease and convenience, and continue with your work even when there is a power outage.
It boasts of impressive functionality, an ergonomic design, and an off-the-grid power supply.
This saw is also versatile, thanks to an extra degree of freedom that allows you to make bevel cuts with ease.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Dewalt DCS391B is a powerful cutting tool for a host of DIY projects. It features cordless battery power that gives you great versatility and portability. It is one of the products in their 20V max series, meaning any batteries on another device will fit right in.
The powerful Li-ion battery combines low weight with high charge density. Power outages won’t be your problem. Dewalt boasts of a 73% increase in cutting time with this device when compared to other products on the market.
A single charge will give you the ability to work for extended periods, uninterrupted, and get your project done quickly. The battery power also means high portability. Once you have an extra battery and a charger, you are good to go, wherever. No need for extra extension cables as in corded brands.
Kicking this tool into action is as easy as it gets, thanks to an easy to squeeze trigger switch. Located just ahead of the handle, it enables quick access and convenience. The trigger switch also comes with a lock that keeps it in the ‘ON’ position for as long as you need, without effort from the hands.
At the heart of the Dewalt DCS391B is a powerful 460 MWO motor. Built with superb technology, it is capable of driving the blade at speeds over 5000 rpm. It is lightweight and compact, aiding in mobility and maneuverability. As the motor takes most of the weight, its design is important.
This motor provides all the torque needed to drive the teeth into the material and makes cuts aggressively. A major advantage that this motor brings to the table is its low operating voltage. Backed by the battery, they make a combination of impressive power without conventional risks of shock hazards.
Housing all the internal components of the DCS391B is a lightweight, high-strength magnesium casing. This ensures portability, maneuverability, and impact-resistance. An extra degree of freedom is granted with this tool, thanks to an adjustable orientation shoe, enabling for bevels cuts to be made easily and quickly. A scale gives you precise control over the angle of each bevel cut, enabling accuracy.
- Quick cutting action.
- It is easy and convenient to use.
- It is very handy.
- Well-balanced with double grip points for maneuverability.
- Lesser power output than corded brands of the same size.
- It cannot be used out of the box.
The Dewalt DCS391B is an amazing circular saw that boasts the right combination of power and ease of use. It is a great investment to make if you want a cordless, handy device for a range of DIY fabrication projects and are willing to spend quite some money.
2. Skil 5280-01 – With Adjustable Shoe
The Skil 5280-01 is the second circular saw on our list and for good reason at that.
When it comes to impressive power and sheer cutting force, this saw is truly a beast. An outstanding product of Skil, it comes with a host of features that are specifically tailored to take all the effort from you as the user.
An ergonomic design and innovative dust handling system allows for minimal down-time, maneuverability, and ultimately accuracy. The amazing degrees freedom on this tool allows for even the most complex cuts to be made with ease.
Our In-Depth Review:
All the cutting action of the Skil 5280-01 is powered by a 15 Amp motor. This compact unit provides all the torque needed to show the material who’s boss and make light work of cutting operations. It is corded powered and can drive the blade at up to 5,300 revolutions per minute. This high rotation speed makes for quick, efficient cuts and saves you time to do things you love with whom you love.
The saw stands on top of the ergonomic scale and embodies an outstanding man-machine interface. The fabrication process is usually time-consuming and requires extended work times. This saw is designed to make your work as convenient as possible.
Another feature on 5280-01 is its laser guidance system. It comes with a front-facing laser beam that creates a cut path for straight lines. This helps ensure accuracy and precision, and ultimately dimensional consistency to bring out your design to life, just as you want it.
Down-time is minimized with this device, thanks to an easy to use blade spindle lock. Replacing worn-out blades is as easy and quick as it gets, and work can move on quickly.
Portability and rigidity are some of the qualities this circular saw brings to the table. Thanks to a lightweight, tough metal casing, carrying this device around is easy. Also, the toughness of the casing ensures a long service life before creep and deformation begin to set in. It also comes with an adjustable-orientation shoe that enables bevel cuts to be made at anywhere between 0 and 51 degrees, and with the utmost precision.
What’s more? 5280-01 comes with a dust blower that helps clear the dislodged debris out of the line of cut to enable sustained visibility and ultimately, cut accuracy. It can also be used out of the box, thanks to a free 24 tooth carbide blade. It also comes with a carrying case for storage and improved portability.
- Impressive cutting power.
- It is easy to use and portable.
- It can be used out of the box, thanks to accessories.
- Its guidance system is great for beginner hobbyists.
- Clean-up is more hectic.
- High cutting power requires some strength to control.
The SKIL 5280-01 is a very powerful tool that will get your cuts done quickly. It is a great buy if you want a highly functional, corded device without breaking the bank.
3. Worx WX29L – With Excellent Design
The WX429L is a powerful circular saw that comes with a wealth of features that emphasize functionality and portability.
It boasts of impressive power with easy maneuverability for tight cuts. It is built to efficiently make the same cuts more efficiently and with lower power demand as compared to other brands.
Its ergonomic design ensures ease of use and convenience for you. An extra degree of freedom is granted with this tool, enabling bevel cuts to be made.
It also emphasizes out of the box use, thanks to included accessories.
Our In-Depth Review:
At the heart of the WX429L is a powerful motor that drives all the action. As motors in circular saws take the bulk of the whole product’s weight, their design is important. Built with the latest tech, it has a high power to weight ratio and is significantly lighter than many saws in the same categories.
It provides all the torque needed for smooth cutting and drives the blade at up to 3600 revolutions per minute. It drives a thinner blade too, meaning cuts are easier, requiring lesser power input.
It can be operated with just one hand and does not demand muscle power. It comes with a rubber-coated streamlined handle made to fit right into your hands and ensure a good grip for accurate cuts. Making cuts accurately and precisely come easy with this tool. Thanks to the combination of its maneuverability and guidance systems, you can make cuts quickly, while staying within your required dimensions.
The overall low weight of the WX429L comes partially from the casing. The saw front is protected and guided in a high-strength, lightweight metal housing that provides the support needed for steady operation.
This makes for portability and impact or creeps deformation resistance. Not all cuts are straight or vertical, and this tool still makes a name for itself there. It comes with a bevel cut function, thanks to an adjustable-orientation control of the shoe. It provides the balance needed to keep the saw at a predetermined angle, for accurate cuts.
The WX429L emphasizes out of the box use. It is the ideal starter kit for even the absolute beginner, and you won’t have to go buy anything extra, thanks to the included accessories. It comes with a saw blade, a parallel cut guide, and a vacuum adapter.
With the saw blade, you can use this tool quickly until it wears out. A parallel cut guide allows you to make cuts exactly parallel to previous ones for square and rectangular sections. And the vacuum adapter saves you the trouble of clean-up after work.
- It is very maneuverable and portable.
- It can be used out of the box.
- It enables quick clean-up after work.
- It is very easy and convenient to use and does not require much effort.
- It comes with less power and speed than bigger models.
- It is less stable and requires practice to minimize errors.
The Worx WX429L comes with a host of great features that emphasize functionality and high maneuverability. It is a powerful tool for its size and a great buy if you want a very handy, compact saw for light to medium duty cutting operations.
4. Rockwell RK3441K – With Trigger Switch Lock
The Rockwell RK3441K compact circular saw makes its way up the scoreboard, thanks to its amazing features.
It is built to combine high maneuverability and portability for cutting out complex shapes that would be a herculean task with bigger models.
Its ergonomic design is made with your comfort and convenience in mind, allowing you to work for extended periods without stain or fatigue on your muscles. This item stands as the ideal starter kit for the DIY hobbyist but is easily adaptable to even veteran craftsmen.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Rockwell RK3441K stands out with its small size. Weighing in at 5 lbs. it is very light and easily maneuverable. It can be used in one hand and makes for accurate, precise cuts of even complex geometries. While bigger models boast of greater power, they suffer in maneuverability; a strong point made by this tool. Its low weight also means less fatigue from extended periods of operation.
The front-end if the saw sits inside a lightweight compact casing that provides the protection needed when cutting. So even if say the blade fails during operation and flies off, the guard is there for your protection. An extra degree of freedom is granted to this tool, thanks to the adjustable orientation of the bevel shoe, enabling for bevel cuts to be made with ease.
The powerhouse of this little buddy is a 5 Amp main motor. While this is significantly lower than bigger models, don’t confuse this value as an indicator of lower functionality. The RK3441K uses a smaller, thinner blade, ultimately leading to lesser power demand and the same functionality as the bigger models. The motor has the ability to drive the blade at up to 3500 rpm, meaning quicker cuts.
Ergonomic is one word for this circular saw. It comes with a host of features that are designed to take all the effort from you. The handle is coated with soft rubber, to improve grip and comfort when working. It also comes with a soft trigger switch that locks into position for extended work periods and is easily disengaged with the littlest of efforts.
Clean-up after work is made easy, thanks to the vacuum support this device comes with. Just hook it to your vacuum cleaner and you’ll have most of the dislodged debris sucked up. This helps maintain a clean workplace and prevent obstruction of the cut line.
Talk about value for money, the Rockwell RK3441K emphasizes out of the box use, thanks to its included accessories. It comes with a 24-tooth carbide-tipped blade that will cut through almost any material. It also comes with a parallel guide to help you make precise cuts. An included vacuum adapter brings the dust-collection system to life. And, an Allen key for maintenance and repair purposes.
- It is light and easy to maneuver.
- It is easy and convenient to use.
- It can be used out of the box.
- It features dust collection support.
- It is restricted to light and medium-duty tasks.
The Rockwell RK3441K is a very handy tool for a host of cutting operations. If you need a small, powerful tool for light to medium cutting tasks to add to your toolbox, then this might just be for you.
5. Tacklife TCS115A – With Vaccum Cleaning Support
The Tacklife TCS115A is a highly functional circular saw that features easy handleability and impressive power.
It combines the maneuverability of light, one-handed circular saws with the sturdiness and stability of bigger models. Making accurate cuts of even complex geometries has never been easier, and a featured guidance system is there to aid novice hobbyists.
Its ergonomic features take user convenience to the next level and ensure comfort for extended work periods. The TCS115A brings real value for money, thanks to included accessories.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Tacklife TCS115A is powered by a 5.8 Amp main motor that is both lightweight and compact. As motors take the bulk of the saw weights, they are designed to be as light as possible. The motor is made of a pure copper coil for high efficiency and can drive the blade at up to 3500 revolutions per minute.
This high speed makes for quick cuts and provides all the torque needed to rip through plastic, wood, and even metal. It drives a smaller blade than in bigger models, and hence performs on par with them, with the added advantage of improved accuracy.
User convenience is another exemplified quality in the TCS115A. It comes with a metal handle that is rubber coated for comfort, while still ensuring rigidity and long service life. One of the most important features of this tool is that it comes with an extra detachable handle for extra support. One for forwarding movements, and the other for rotational motions.
An extra feature on this saw is a vacuum cleaning adapter. When attached to a conventional cleaner, it will sweep up most of the dislodged dirt, before it has a chance to fly off and litter the workplace, making clean-up as easy as it gets.
Housing all the internal components of the TCS115A is a lightweight, tough metal casing that enables for high portability and impact-resistance. Cutting is a high-speed process and sometimes blades fail, and pieces can break and fly off at extremely high speeds, posing a serious threat to the user.
At the front end of the saw is an aluminum alloy guard that protects against such occurrence. The alloy is lightweight, but extremely tough, giving you the protection you need while making cuts on even hard materials. Making bevel cuts is as easy as it gets, thanks to the adjustable orientation of the shoe. From 0 to 45-degree cuts, and everything in between.
The accessories that come with this circular saw emphasize out of the box use, and you won’t need to make trips to your local tool store, anytime soon. It comes with 6 cutting blades for plastics, ceramics, wood, and metal. It also comes with a vacuum adaptor, a parallel guide, and an Allen key for replacing the cutting blades.
- It is easy and convenient to use.
- It is very stable thanks to its extra handle.
- It comes with valuable accessories that emphasize out of the box use.
- It is ideal for novice hobbyists.
- It is less powerful than bigger models.
The Tacklife TCS115A is a handy mini circular saw for the DIY hobbyist. While it is not as powerful as bigger brands, it is sure well placed when compared to other similar mini saws. If you need a mini saw that combines awesome stability with impressive power, then this saw is just for you.
6. Makita 5007Mg – With Powerful Motor
The Makita 5007Mg is an excellent circular saw for the DIY hobbyist and veteran craftsman. Its unique design, raw power, and functionality are what make it stand out from other similar saws.
It comes with a host of revolutionary features that emphasize user convenience and portability; special materials innovatively combined make it lighter than most saws of the same power.
With this tool by your side, you will make quick work of all your cutting needs, and bring your DIY projects to a close as quickly as possible. It also emphasizes out of the box use, thanks to its included accessories.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Makita 5007Mg is a true beast, thanks to a powerful 15 Amp motor at its core. This motor provides all the torque and speed needed to slice through even the toughest materials with ease. Built with the latest technology, it is compact and lightweight, contributing to the over handleability and portability of the tool.
The motor drives the cutting blade at a blazing top speed of 5800 revolutions per minute. This high speed allows for quick cuts and shorter work times.
One of the most important features of the 5007Mg is its ergonomic design. The features it comes with are especially streamlined to take all the effort from you and minimize strain and fatigue. A rubber-coated main handle enables you to maneuver the device while maintaining a firm grip for accuracy and comfort.
The main handle is backed by a rear handle that allows two-handed operation for improved steadiness. Just ahead of the main handle is a trigger switch that brings this device to life with a little squeeze. The trigger switch comes with a lock mechanism that allows you to keep the device running for extended periods.
Out of the box use and real value for money could not be emphasized better. The Makita 5007Mg comes with valuable accessories for quick use; a saw blade, an Allen wrench for blade replacement, and a carrying case for quick storage and easy transport. Another cool feature on this tool is a dust blower that helps clear the line of cut of debris, ensuring accuracy.
- Impressive power enables quicker cuts.
- It is lighter than many other similar saws.
- It comes with accessories that emphasize out of the box use.
- It is easy and convenient to use.
- Dust blower system makes clean-up after work more hectic.
- It is limited in its reach as a result of its corded power.
The Makita 5007Mg is a great tool for the DIY hobbyist and craftsman who wants a powerful, highly functional circular saw to add to their toolbox. For its power output, it is very portable and is totally worth it.
7. Black + Decker BDECS300C – With Double Hand Functions
Great features and then some, are what the this circular saw offers. Built for power, accuracy, and user convenience, this product makes its way to the top of the scoreboard for good reason.
It boasts of all the power to make quick work of cutting a wide variety of materials.
Its ergonomic features are made with just you in mind and make for an efficient man-machine interface.
It stands as the ideal starter circular saw for those who don’t want to break the bank but still have impressive functionality on their hands.
Our In-Depth Review:
The BDECS300C does pack a punch for its size, thanks to its 13 Amp main motor that provides all the torque need to make light work of cutting operations. The motor is powerful enough to drive the blade at up to 5000 rpm. This ensures quick cuts, giving you time to do other important things.
Backing the main motor is an electric cord that channels electric current from your mains supply. This tool also supports both plunge and bevel cuts, thanks to the extra degrees of freedom from the adjustable orientation of the shoe.
It also comes with the main handle and an auxiliary handle that work in synergy to maintain superb stability when making cuts. The BDECS300C comes with a laser guidance system that creates a virtual cut path to ensure accuracy and precision; great for beginner hobbyists.
Housing all the internal components of the BDECS300C is a lightweight high-strength metal alloy casing that ensures portability and impact resistance. So this tool is sure to stay in optimum working condition even if it falls from a height or under the impact. Safety personified, the blade guard gives you valuable protection from accidental damage to the cutting disc at high speed that can cause serious injury if pieces fly towards you.
The circular saw comes with a number of accessories that allow you to get to work quickly. An included cutting disc allows for out of the box use. It also comes with an Allen wrench for easy cutting blade replacement.
- Impressive power for quick cuts.
- It is handy and convenient to use.
- It is lightweight, portable, and maneuverable.
- It is very affordable.
- Does not come with many accessories.
- It may not the standards of experienced craftsmen.
The Black + Decker BDECS300C is a handy cutting tool that is designed to provide assistance when fabricating. If you want a cheap, functional circular saw, then this tool is just for you.
8. Milwaukee M18 2630-20 – Cordless Circular Saw
Milwaukee continues its impressive trend of innovative tools designed to make convenient and quick work of DIY projects with the Milwaukee M18 2630-20. This circular saw is designed to give you off the grid, reliable power even when the electric odds seem against you.
It comes with a host of features that emphasize minimal downtime and user convenience. Quickly adapt to the material requirement and size. Safety while working cannot be overemphasized and this tool embodies this ideal.
Also, if you have been a faithful customer of Milwaukee, you will enjoy its high compatibility with components of their other products in your toolbox. What exactly does this gadget stand to offer? Let’s have a look.
Our In-Depth Review:
- It provides reliable power.
- It is very easy and convenient to use.
- It is lightweight and portable.
- It enables for efficient cuts, minimal downtime, and ultimately quick fabrication.
- It is not as powerful as corded models.
- It does not come with complete accessories and cannot be used out of the box.
9. Porter-Cable PCE300 – With Bevel Cut Support
The PCE300 is yet another great product from Porter-Cable. This circular saw boasts of raw power and a host of features that emphasize superb functionality. Ergonomic, it sports innovative design to make all the effort from you and make your work as convenient as possible.
It is corded powered, giving you all the power you need to rip through the softest to the hardest materials.
Adapting to material sizes has never been easier, and downtime is minimized. Its low weight emphasizes portability and maneuverability to ensure accuracy when cutting. Let’s see why this tool is a great sell.
Our In-Depth Review:
Ruggedly built, the powerhouse of the Porter-cable PCE300 is a 15 Amp main motor that backs the cutting blade to rip through the work material at blazing speed and under high tip pressure. The pure copper motor is highly efficient and lightweight to contribute to the easy maneuverability of the whole tool.
The motor is powerful enough to drive the cutting blade at a high speed of up to 5500 rpm. This powerful combination of torque and high cutting speed means you work through even the hardest materials with little effort and bring your project to life quickly.
Working with the PCE300 device is as easy as it gets, thanks to a set of ergonomic features that have been tailored with you in mind. It features two handling modes; one-handed and double-handed. The main handle provides the bulk of the control and mechanical maneuverability. This is ideal for quick, rough cuts. When you want to make more detailed, accurate cuts, the auxiliary handle comes into play.
Housing the internal components of the PCE300 is a lightweight, high-strength stainless steel casing that provides the needed support and protection. This contributes to the overall portability and impact-resistance of the tool. The cutting process is done at extremely high rotation speeds, and faulty blades can vibrate and eventually break off during operation.
A blade guard ensures your protection should this occur, keeping potentially dislodged pieces within the internal diameter of the casing. Multiple degrees of freedom is granted to the shoe, enabling for bevel and plunge cuts to be made with ease, quickly. A control knob also gives you control over the cut depth, enabling you to quickly adapt to the material size.
The PCE300 comes with a set of accessories that emphasize out of the box use; an included cutting blade and an Allen wrench for quick blade replacement and maintenance procedures.
- Impressive power.
- It is very stable and maneuverable.
- It is user-friendly and convenient to use.
- It is very affordable for its power output.
- Corded electric power makes it susceptible to power failures.
- It does not come with a laser guidance system.
The Porter-cable PCE300 combines the features of the big models, impressive power, and smaller models, affordability. It is a good buy if you want a functional circular saw without breaking the bank.
10. Ryobi One P505 – With Transparent Blade Gaurd
Last on our list, but surely not the least, the Ryobi One P505 stands as the ideal cordless power cutter.
It makes a name for itself among other cordless brands with its impressive power and cutting speed. It embodies Ryobi’s efforts to make things as easy It comes with a wealth of features designed to enable superb handling, maneuverability, and portability.
In combination with evolutionary material, it makes for a lightweight, compact tool that you can trust to go on even when other corded saws are left handicapped from a power outage.
The housing is designed to support cut accuracy and variety. Stability when working makes this tool the perfect saw for the beginner DIY hobbyist.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Ryobi One P505 is designed with your convenience in mind. Its features enable you to work for extended periods without fatigue or sore muscles. It comes with double handle support; a main and auxiliary handles that give the needed control leverage for dimensionally accurate cuts. It stands as the ideal representation of an efficient man-machine interface and takes all the effort from you during operation.
The selling point of the P505 is its cordless battery power support. This ensures power reliability and independence, even in the case of power outages. The long-lasting battery that is supported by this device gives you plenty of work time without interruption on a single charge.
Powered by the battery is a powerful Direct Current main motor. It drives the cutting blade at high speed to make efficient cuts and get your project done quickly. The low operating voltage of this motor and the tool as a whole makes for electrical safety as against conventional models where the risks of electrical shocks are ever-present.
Ryobi really stressed user convenience with this tool, thanks to an all-plastic casing that houses all the internal components. The blade guard is made of a lightweight, high-strength metal that gives you the required safety from the potential hazards of a high-speed rotating blade.
These two units contribute to the overall low weight of the device, making for impressive maneuverability and portability. Thanks to an extra degree of freedom granted the shoe, making cuts at angles are as easy as it gets.
The Ryobi One P505 comes with accessories that emphasize value for money; an included cutting blade to launch your device and start making cuts as quickly as possible, an Allen wrench for quick blade replacement, and a measuring to enable cuts with dimensional accuracy.
- It is very portable and maneuverable.
- It features off the grid power, improving work reliability.
- It is cheaper than many other cordless models in its category.
- It is easy and convenient to use.
- It is not as powerful as corded models.
- It does not come with the needed accessories for out of the box use.
The Ryobi One P505 is a nice handy tool for the DIY hobbyist. If you want a portable, cordless circular saw without breaking the bank, and are willing to spend on a less known brand, then this saw is just for you.
Circular Saw – Buyer’s Guide
What are circular saws?
If you are big on woodworking or cutting in general, then you should know there are several power tools out there designed to cater to your cutting needs. However, few of these tools come close to the circular saw in terms of all-round performance.
A circular saw is a powerful cutting tool designed to split different materials such as wood, metal, concrete, plastic, and glass with a high degree of precision and accuracy. Since they made their first appearance on the cutting scene, circular saws have proven to be quite reliable machines capable of handling almost anything thrown at them.
Parts and Features of a circular saw
Before choosing a circular saw to buy, you must gain some degree of familiarity with its essential components and features. A typical chainsaw comprises:
This part of a circular saw is used to adjust how deep your blade will cut. Most times, the depth adjustment can be found at the back of the saw. Depth adjustments also have indicators that tell the user how deep a cut is going to be.
Most circular saw models employ a cutting depth of 2.5 inches.
Circular saws are suitable for making bevel cuts, and they usually include an adjustment feature that enables you to set the blade angle within a range of 0 to 45 degrees. Most times, you can locate this feature at the front of your saw, towards the side.
The plate is a thin strip of metal that runs around the cutting saw and provides a base for it to sit on the workpiece while cutting. Saw plates are typically made of metals such as steel, aluminum, or in some cases, durable thermoset plastic.
A circular saw’s plate helps keep your hands steady while cutting, and also serves as a form of a guide when moving the saw along a workpiece.
The blade cover is a strip of metal which fits entirely over and under the cutting blade. This cover serves to protect users from accidental contact with the blade while cutting. And it is typically designed with an opening in front, which ensures the cutting process is not impeded.
Also, check the saw to ensure there is a bit of gap between the blade cover and the blade itself, so it doesn’t get caught repeatedly in the blade while in use. The cover also acts as a sort of dirt collector by preventing debris from flying around while working.
Blade lock mechanism
Just like its name, the blade lock mechanism is a simple feature that enables users to fix their blade in place while installing or removing one. It also helps you keep the saw blade steady while cutting is in progress.
Most circular saws come with this blade lock feature, but if they don’t, then you’ll have to do all the hard work yourself and stop the blade from spinning while trying to loosen it.
I think we all know what a handle is and the function it serves on any piece of equipment. Circular saw handles provide a surface for users to grip and maneuver their tools while working. Some circular saws come with two handles, which enable you to operate the device with both hands, consequently providing a firmer grip and better stability while working.
Most circular saws these days feature an ergonomic handle design, which makes handling the tool a user-friendly experience.
This one is self-explanatory. If a circular saw works with electricity, there usually is a cable that you connect to a power outlet whenever you want to work. Most times, this cable is detachable; thereby, making storage of the saw quite easy.
The work of a bolt clamp is quite simple, but it is of utmost importance. The bolt clamp is used to fasten the blade to the saw securely. This ensures the blade doesn’t fall off while cutting and guarantees a higher degree of user safety.
Power and trigger switch
The power switch turns the saw on or off, while the trigger simply controls the saw blade. A trigger proves quite useful when you turn on the saw, but for one reason or the other, you are not ready to work.
How does a circular saw work?
After familiarising yourself with the parts of a circular saw, let’s get down to how these parts work in tandem to create cuts in materials.
For corded circular saws, the first thing you need to do is plug your equipment into a dedicated power outlet. Cordless saws do not require a power cord, and most designs feature a simple start button that you push to get the tool working.
However, before you begin cutting at all, you need to set the depth at which you’d like to cut using the depth adjustments. Also, if you’d like to make bevel cuts, now would be a great time to adjust the saw’s cut angle. For a smoother cutting experience, mark your workpiece so you’ll have guidelines for your blade to follow while cutting. This ensures greater accuracy while cutting.
Once you connect the saw to a power source or you engage the start button, the saw blades begin spinning in a clockwise direction with great force. This rotary action enables the edge to cut through the material while generating a lot of debris at the same time. Keep moving the saw in a forward direction until your cut is complete. Once you’re done cutting, switch off the trigger and wait for the blade to stop moving before you remove the saw.
Who needs a circular saw?
A circular saw is a piece of versatile equipment used in a vast range of cutting operations. It can comfortably cut materials across the wood grain, along the wood grain, and is equally adept at making plunge cuts from above. What’s more, circular saws can be used to make cuts in several other materials including plastics, metals, concrete, etc.
Even better, circular saws have bevel adjustments that enable users to make bevel cuts at angles ranging from 0 to 45 degrees.
Circular saws are also generally portable, and you won’t have an issue moving one from place to place – you can even climb up to your rooftop with it!
If you are operating on a tight budget, you might want to consider buying a circular saw, as they cost relatively less compared to other cutting equipment out there.
Cordless vs. corded circular saws
The decision on whether a cordless or corded saw is the best for users will remain an age long debate, but the final choice rests ultimately on your taste and preferences.
Corded circular saws are those that require a power cable connected to a dedicated power outlet to work. The range within which you can work with these saws is limited to the length of the power cords. And most times, you will need to work close to a power source. As a result, corded circular saws are not fit for use out in the field, and are suited better for workbench usage.
That said, corded circular saws are more powerful than their cordless counterparts, and are suitable for heavy-duty cutting.
Cordless circular saws, on the other hand, do not require an external power outlet, and they work with a battery. The absence of power cords means a broader range of use; hence, they are useful for field cutting. Also, cordless circular saws tend to be lighter in weight than those with cords as a result of the absence of motor engines. Consequently, saws without cables are easier to work with, and users can go on cutting materials for long stretches without feeling fatigued.
Although cordless saws are generally less potent than their corded brothers, they are no slouchers either and will carry out most tasks comfortably. A significant downside of using them, however, is that you’ll have to pause your work at regular intervals to recharge the battery.
As stated earlier, your choice of either a corded or cordless circular saw boils down to personal preferences. If you like a saw that will allow you to carry out basic cutting operations with no movement restrictions, go for a cordless saw. However, if you are a professional who needs higher cut power, greater cut depths, and overall superb build quality, a corded saw is your best bet.
Blade left vs. blade right
Circular saw blades can either be left-sided or right-sided, depending on the side of the blade cover that is exposed to reveal the edge.
For blade left saws, the saw blade is exposed on the left side of the equipment. As a result of the positioning, blade left saws are more suitable for use by right-handed people. Not only will you find it easier to maneuver a blade left saw as a right-handed person, but you will also be able to know what you are cutting.
However, if you, as a right-handed fellow, decide to work with a blade right saw, be prepared for a more stressful cutting experience. You are more prone to getting hit by the debris that flies away while you cut, and there’s a higher injury risk attached. You will also most likely have to handle the saw with your left hand, and this is nothing but a recipe for discomfort and haphazard cutting.
The above scenario applies to a left-handed individual operating a blade left saw.
However, the first set of circular saws were all blade right, and both lefties and righties used them successfully without complications. The whole issue of blade left, and right blade saws boil down to the comfort of the user, and you should go for whichever one you find more natural to use.
Circular saws blade size
The size of your circular saw blade ties in directly to the amount of satisfaction you are going to derive using the saw. Typically, saw blades come in two primary forms: rip and crosscut blades. Rip blades cut materials along the grain of the wood while crosscut cut across the grain of the workpiece.
However, when it comes to blade size in terms of diameter, you have four standard options to choose from. Blade sizes that dominate the market are the 4.5, 5, 7.25, and 10-inch blades.
The 4.5-inch blades are dwindling in popularity these days, but they are still quite capable of handling basic cutting tasks.
Most of the circular saws you’ll find in the market today come fitted with a standard 5-inch blade. The versatility of these 5-inches makes them a good fit for both cheap power saws, as well as high-end equipment. However, in most cases, 5-inch blades do not have more than 24 cutting teeth; hence, they are more suited to cutting thick materials.
As common as the 5-inch blade saws, if not more popular, are the 7.25-inch saws. Full-sized circular saws come equipped with a 7.25-inch blade, and they are widely employed in woodworking. 7.25” blades have a high cutting depth and will comfortably cut through plywood that is between 2/3 to 8 inches thick. 7.25-inch blades that have a lot of teeth can as well be used to cut through tile and aluminum – provided the cutting edges are coated with diamond.
10-inch blades are not as universal as the other blade sizes, but they can handle a wide variety of cutting projects reasonably well. This blade size is particularly suited to heavy-duty projects and is also able to cut through unique materials such as ceramics.
When choosing a saw to buy, have it at the back of your mind that 7.25-inch blades are generally cheaper than other blade sizes, and you will find it more convenient cutting with them. Also, when making bevel cuts, larger blades allow you to make deeper cuts at angles in one cutting motion. With small blades, you are likely going to make several cuts before you get the desired shape.
How to use a circular saw without a table?
When working in a workshop, the ideal equipment for firmly securing your workpiece to ensure accuracy and precision is a work table. However, there may be situations where you just have to work without a table. In times like this, the next best thing you can do to secure the workpiece is to make use of a suitable clamp. This will help press the work material down and ensure stability while cutting, leading to more accurate cuts.
Whatever you do, do not attempt to hold down a workpiece with your hand while operating a circular saw. Not only is this highly dangerous, but you might also end up losing your hand if things go south.
Features that matter when choosing a circular saw
Apart from the main parts of a circular saw, there are several features you should look out for when choosing a circular saw to buy. These features enhance your overall cutting experience and are most times, the difference between an average saw, and a world-class cutting machine.
Some of these qualities that will elevate the performance of your saw include:
When choosing a circular saw to buy, you must go for one which has extra features to improve the precision of cuts in place. Some of these desirable qualities include the presence of accurate cutline markers, seamless blade cover retraction as well as plates set entirely parallel to the cutting blade.
Once you are done cutting, and you turn off the circular saw, you have to wait a couple of seconds for the blade to stop rolling before setting the equipment down. This wait is essential as you might get involved in a freak accident and injure yourself severely even after switching off the saw. However, if you are in a hurry to do something else, waiting for the blade to stop moving can prove to be very time-wasting. Hence, the introduction of electric brakes.
Electric brakes work by reversing the flow of electrical current in the saw’s motor to slow down the spinning rate of the blade after the saw is turned off. These brakes are capable of stopping a blade in as little as two seconds, compared to the average twenty seconds obtainable when you just let the blade roll on its own.
This here is a feature for the amateur cutters. Laser guides are small LED flashlights on the saw that, once engaged, provide a form of direction that enables users to make accurate cuts with the saw – think of it as the electronic form of the carpenter’s pencil. My major grouse with laser guides is the fact that they are often inaccurate. Also, once I get deeply engrossed in my work, I tend to pay more attention to the saw’s plate for accuracy rather than depend on the laser guide.
The LED light provides a source of illumination when working indoors or in dimly lit areas. The LED light is typically a small flashlight bulb that comes on when the saw’s trigger is engaged, even if you’re working in broad daylight. Some circular saws, however, feature a dedicated switch with which you can control when the LED light comes on.
Another feature that can considerably make the cutting process a whole lot easier for you is the type of grip on the handle of the circular saw. Handles covered with a soft rubber material will be much more comfortable for you to hold and maneuver. High-end circular saw models feature ergonomic designs that make handles more comfortable to hold while sawing and better overall stability.
As insignificant as it might sound, where the trigger is placed on your circular saw and the ease with which your thumb reaches it has a telling effect on your cutting experience. It can prove to be quite awkward, having to constantly reposition your hands each time you want to lessen the cutting speed. And moving your hands anyhow while the saw is running is not a good idea at all.
Therefore, when shopping for a circular saw, pay extra attention to the ease with which you can comfortably press the trigger switch while working.
Yes, circular saws have a blade cover designed to keep particles from flying around while working, but it would be of added advantage for you to buy a saw with an extra dust blower feature. The dust blower clears particles that tend to gather on the workpiece, making it easier for you to see what you’re cutting.
Another thing you need to take into consideration when buying a circular saw is the design of the saw’s shoe. Most modern circular saws leave a considerable amount of space in the middle of the shoe to create a little bearing surface, which keeps the saw steady while in use.
Irregularities in plate flatness can cause it to tilt and shake while cutting, leading to inaccurate lines and shapes. Also, the edges of the shoe must be set parallel to the blade so it can serve as a form of cutting guide while in use.
Sidewinder circular saws vs. worm drive circular saws
Circular saws are classified into two main groups based on the position of the motor on the body of the saw. According to this grouping, circular saws can either be Side Winders or Worm Drives.
A sidewinder circular saw (also known as an in-line saw) has its motor mounted at the side of the saw, giving it a more compact design. Sidewinders are the most common types of circular saws out there, with six out of every ten saws you encounter likely to feature that design. Worm drive circular saws, on the other hand, have their engines located towards the back of the saw.
Sidewinders are more comfortable to use because the motor rests on the workpiece while in use, boosting stability. Most sidewinders are cordless, and they require little or no maintenance. They also weigh less than other types of saws; hence, you can comfortably cut tree branches with them.
Worm drive saws are the bad boys built to handle the big cutting projects. The saw’s cutting power translates to the blade via two gears placed at angle 90, consequently providing a better rotational effect. However, you have to carry out regular maintenance on worm drives, and this includes changing out the oil now and then.
Popular circular saw brands
A circular saw market is a vast place, and there are tons of products from which you can make a choice. As a first time saw owner, it might get confusing having to sift through endless saw choices, and you might end up picking inferior equipment.
For better quality assurance, there are several brands you should consider ahead of others when choosing a circular saw to buy. These brands have proven to be reliable manufacturers over the years, and you are guaranteed a certain degree of effectiveness and efficiency while using their products.
That said, some of the brands that produce the best circular saws on the market include:
If you’re big on power tools and equipment, chances are you’ve, at one point or another, used a DeWalt product. The DeWalt brand is one of the most famous names in the manufacturing industry, with a wide range of professionals using their products in various capacities.
DeWalt circular saws possess lots of innovative features, and they cater to a wide range of users, from the professional cutters to the complete greenhorns.
Another dominant name on the circular saw scene is the Japan-based power tool company, Makita. Makita specializes in creating different kinds of saws, and their products are renowned for their versatility and affordability.
Porter-cable saws are massive favorites among professionals, and this is all for a good reason. Apart from their strong links with industry giants, DeWalt, Porter-cable produces high-quality circular saws that are user-friendly and continuously deliver excellent work.
The company can also boast of inventing the most widely used circular saw design in use today – a lightweight helical-drive circular saw introduced in 1929.
Ryobi is yet another prominent Japanese saw manufacturing company, and they have been around for the past fifty-two years. The company produces affordable saws designed for less professional work, but impressively, their products manage to deliver excellent work.
Circular saw maintenance tips
To get the most of your circular saws, there are practices you need to carry out frequently. Circular saws are quite easy to maintain; with the bulk of maintenance practices, you will carry out focused on the blades.
Things you need should do to keep your saw in top shape and continue making perfect cuts include:
- Regular disassembling and cleaning of the machine to remove bits of debris that might clog up the engine, or impede blade movement.
- Wipe the saw blade clean immediately after use and spread it out to dry.
- Regularly take out and replace lubricating oil for saws that need it.
- Cover up your saw when not in use, while paying particular attention to the blade. Leaving the saw exposed to air leads to rusting of the metallic parts.
Safety tips to follow when using circular saws
Circular saws, like every other power tool, are quite useful, but they can also prove to be equally dangerous if not handled properly. There are some safe habits you should adopt to ensure you are always on the safe side whenever you are operating a circular saw.
Some of these safe practices include:
This is one precautionary measure that I cannot stress enough. The majority of the machine-related accidents that happen would have been prevented if only the operators dressed adequately.
Before you begin cutting at all, deck yourself in thick rubber overalls, complete with thick gloves, rubber boots, and a helmet – if you have one. Also:
- Avoid loose clothing at all costs, while operating a circular saw. The cloth material might get caught in the saw’s blade, and this might have dire consequences.
- Put on safety goggles whenever you are operating a circular saw to protect your eyes from flying particles.
Carry out thorough checks on the saw before use
- Before cutting at all, test the saw blade to ensure it is sharp enough to work with. Sharper blades are safer to work with and even better, they produce more accurate works.
- Also, check the lower blade cover to ensure it retracts smoothly.
- You can also roll the saw blade manually to check if the movement is natural and devoid of hitches.
- Gauge the machine’s oil level to determine if it is at an acceptable level.
Behavior while operating a circular saw
- Never try to cut beyond where your hands can reach naturally. Overstretching to cut a tree branch might cause you to lose balance, and boy, you don’t even want to imagine what happens afterward.
- Do not try to change the direction of your saw while cutting forcefully. If you seem to be going the wrong way while cutting, switch off the saw totally and realign the blade before you resume.
- Resist the temptation to put your hands under the saw plate while in use.
- Do not force the lower blade cover open. You might damage it, and even injure yourself in the process.
- Operate the saw with both hands for a firmer grip and better control in case of any eventualities.
- Ensure the workpiece is firmly fixed in place before cutting.
FAQs related to circular saws
Is a skill saw the same as a circular saw?
There is no difference between a skill saw and a circular saw. A skill saw is a brand of circular saws produced by SKIL – hope you can see where the term skill comes from now.
How dangerous are circular saws?
Circular saws, like all other power tools, are quite dangerous and can cause severe bodily damage, even leading to death if not handled properly. To ensure your safety while operating this equipment, put on appropriate clothing – boots, overalls, goggles, and the likes. Also, make sure to completely turn off the saw when not in use or if you have to change something on it.
Can I use a circular saw to cut tree branches?
Circular saws can be used to cut tree branches, but they are not the ideal equipment for that. For one, circular saw blades do not have sufficient cutting depth to make clean cuts through branches. Also, you will most likely experience a lot of kickback while attempting to cut a branch with a circular saw. And this can be quite dangerous to inexperienced users.
How do you mount a circular saw to the table?
Converting a handheld circular saw to a table saw is not difficult and is something that can be done within minutes. However, as with other processes involving the saw, you need to exercise caution while handling it to prevent injuries. To mount a circular saw on a table: Prepare a sturdy table with a hole at the center for you to place the saw. Create a removable panel on which you can mount the saw. Create a flat edge at the hole, using a slightly thick piece of wood and some glue. This flat edge serves as a platform for the fence, which is a piece of wood that acts as a cutting guide. Cut an appropriately sized hole in the panel, and using screws, fasten the saw to the board in a way that the majority of your hardware lies below the tabletop. Once the above is done, adjust the fence until it aligns with the saw blade. BOOM! Congratulations, you have successfully converted your circular saw into a table saw.
Can I cut steel with a circular saw?
It might not seem like it, but circular saws are capable of holding their own when it comes to cutting steel or metals in general. To successfully cut steel with a circular saw, make sure you fit it with a suitably durable blade. Also, ensure the cutting speed is not set too high.
Why does my circular saw burn wood?
If you experience scorch marks on your workpiece while cutting, it is likely due to one or both of the following reasons: a dull saw blade or plodding cutting speed. Both situations generate excessive friction while cutting, subsequently leading to higher heat production and visible burn marks on the wood. To prevent this from happening, ensure your saw blade is sharp enough to cut through wood with no stress. Also, refrain from cutting wood at abnormally low speeds.
What kind of metal is the circular saw blade made of?
Circular saw blades are typically made of steel, with the type of steel material used depends on the purpose for which the saw is intended.
How do I stop kickbacks when using my circular saw?
One thing you can do to stop getting kickbacks while operating a circular saw is to ensure you work the machine with your two hands firmly gripping the handle. Also, maintain a firm stance while cutting. Ensure the workpiece is firmly held down and carry out all cutting operations on a flat surface. Carry out regular checks on your saw blade to ensure none of the teeth is broken or distorted in some way. Do all this, and you can be sure the rate at which you experience kickbacks while working will reduce considerably.
What do you use a compact circular saw for?
Compact circular saws are lightweight equipment that you can use to make standard and bevel cuts in a wide range of materials, which include plastics, wood, and metal.
Can I make cuts in concrete with a circular saw?
Yes, you can make cuts in concrete using a circular saw. To do this, you need to use a saw blade with diamond-coated cutting edges. However, prolonged use of a circular saw to cut concrete will cause damage to its mechanical parts by the concrete dust produced.