Circular saws are mainly used for precision cutting, particularly in metalwork and woodwork. The quality of the circular saw determines the results that you will be able to achieve. But what is the best circular saw out there? What factors should buyers consider before settling on one saw in particular?
If you’re in the market for a circular saw, you’ve come to the right place.
This page will outline the different types of circular saws, review the best available on the market, and clear up frequently asked questions.[sc name=”best_circular_saw”]
Types of Circular Saws
Here are the different types of circular saws that are commonly available online:
Sidewinder Circular Saws
This name comes from the placement of a motor on one side of the tool. A sidewinder circular saw is used for soft lumber, plywood, rip cuts, vertical cuts and even overhead cuts.
Worm Drive Circular Saws
In a worm drive circular saw, the motor is at the rear end of the tool. A pair of gears oriented at 90-degree angles to the blade transfer power for cuts. These saws are mainly used for longer crosscuts, miter cuts and plunge cuts.
Hypoid Circular Saws
Carpenters mostly use hypoid saws for cutting wet or hard lumber with ease. They use hypoid gears, ensuring maximum efficiency and endurance.
Abrasive Circular Saws
If you have to work on a material that is harder than wood, an abrasive circular saw is what you need.
If you need to bond together pieces of wood without making the holes visible, you should use a biscuit joiner.
When you have a large quantity of lumber that needs to be sized down quickly, a miter saw will prove extremely useful.
Concrete Circular Saws / Grinders
As the name suggests, the concrete saw is used for cutting concrete and for masonry work.
Table saws are the most common type of circular saws for home use. This is because they can rip and create crosscuts in wood pieces of any hardness.
Metal Cutting Circular Saws
Naturally, metal cutting saws are used for cutting all types of metal.
The Best Circular Saws:
We’ve compiled a list of what our research has shown us are the best circular saws on the market right now.
1. DEWALT DCS391B 20-Volt 6.5″ Circular Saw
This Dewalt circular saw consists of a lightweight and high strength magnesium shoe, ensuring long-lasting accuracy with cuts. It also has a 12 amp, 1300 watt motor with a 0-50 degree bevel capacity that results in aggressive, accurate bevel cuts.
The Dewalt DCS391B has a 6.5 inch carbide-tipped blade that rotates at a speed of 5150 rmp, providing cuts that are remarkably smooth and clean.
This is a cordless power tool that uses a lithium-ion battery. This is not included with your purchase, and you’ll have to buy it separately. The good news is that once you’ve bought a battery, it should last you a fairly long time on a single charge.
A word of caution, don’t leave the battery in the unit when you are not working with it. It’s very easy to accidentally start the saw.
This circular saw comes with a couple of features that make it a joy to use. The ergonomic rubber grip is soft and comfortable, and the anti-kickback mechanism prevents the tool from jolting back at you. If you’ve ever experienced kickback before, you’ll know it’s something you want to avoid.
This saw is great for most wooden items including plywood, stringers, and 2x4s.
Other than being a very sharp and smoothly operating circular saw, the Dewalt DCS391B is also very responsive, and brakes immediately when prompted.
With great safety features, and a surprisingly comfortable handle, we think this saw is great value for money.
- A single battery will last a long time on one charge
- Ergonomic design
- Very responsive brake system
- A great set of safety features
- Does not come with battery included
2. Milwaukee 2731-20 M18 Fuel 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Bare
Next on our list is another cordless circular saw. The Milwaukee 2731-20 uses a single lithium-ion battery. Once again, you’ll have to buy this separately. Consider keeping multiple batteries on hand, as this saw can be quite power hungry, and runs through batteries quickly.
The safety features included with this saw make it an excellent option for beginners. The tool won’t operate unless users pull the included safety trigger, ensuring that the blade doesn’t start spinning until you’re ready for it. The Milwaukee 2731-20’s blade cuts more slowly than most corded saws, making it suitable for those unfamiliar with high speed cutting. Finally, the included LED torch improves visibility in dark environments significantly.
The brushless motor on this saw reduces the potential for overheating, allowing it to deliver the same high level of performance for longer.
The 7 ¼ inch steel blade can rotate at speeds of 5000+ rpm and makes smooth, deep cuts. The included rafter hook can be a miracle worker on those hard to reach places. In the right hands, this is an extremely precise tool. This saw should have no problems ripping through plywood, oak or stringers.
It’s worth mentioning that if you’re already experienced with circular saws, you may find some of the features a little frustrating. The safety trigger can snag, and the saw operates at relatively slow speeds.
Overall this saw is great value for money, especially for beginners.
- Great for beginners
- Good safety features
- Handy LED torch
- Slower than corded saws
- Safety features may snag
Related: Milwaukee M18 vs M18 FUEL
3. Makita XSR01PT 18V Circular Saw Kit
The Makita XSR01PT is a heavy-duty worm drive saw. Its 7 ¼ inch blade has a rotation speed of 5100 rpm, allowing it to deliver deep cuts that are smooth and even. This saw requires two LXT batteries. Thanks to its efficient motor system, this powerhouse can produce up to 558 cross cuts on a single charge, making it a compelling option for anyone looking for a circular saw.
The Makita XSR01PT is well equipped to meet the needs of professionals. The brushless motor creates a cooler working environment, and the adjustable saw speed means you don’t have to over work the tool on every little task. This is a very efficient saw.
It’s worth noting that you might have to deal with the blade pinching quickly when cutting very hard materials. It goes without saying that this is a hassle in any work environment. Further irritations include the awkwardly placed safety trigger and lack of LED torch, which can make things inconvenient in some contexts.
In our opinion, the efficient motor system and long battery life make it easy to forgive this tool’s shortcomings. This is another option that is excellent value for money.
- Great for professional use
- Efficient motor system
- Great value for money
- Awkwardly placed safety trigger
- Not great for hard materials
- No led torch
4. Skilsaw SPT77WML Worm Drive Circular Saw
This worm drive saw from Skilsaw offers heavy-duty machinery in a light, easy to carry package. The Skilsaw SPT77WML is ideally suited for intensive workloads that last a long time.
The magnesium construction is what makes this tool so easy to carry. It also has the added benefit of reducing wear and tear on the 7 ¼ inch blade. Along with the 15 amp motor, this blade boasts a powerful ripping force, with a bevel capacity of 53 degrees. This circular saw is brilliant for operation on smaller pieces of wood, thanks to its lower guard which prevents snagging.
If you’re looking for very accurate depth measurements and fine adjustments on small wooden pieces, then this saw is for you.
For best results, we recommend buying a separate lubricant to reduce the chances of overheating, and to make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
This is one of the more expensive options on our list. We consider it a worthwhile investment, as this tool can serve you very well for a very long time.
- Heavy-duty, durable machine
- Light magnesium construction
- Works perfectly on fiddly pieces of wood
- Does not come with lubricant
5. Bosch CSW41 Worm Drive Circular Saw
This next saw shares some similarities with the previous Skilsaw offering. The Bosch CSW1 also comes with a lightweight magnesium construction, and a bevel capacity of 53 degrees. The 15 amp motor and 5300 rpm operating speed makes this another excellent option for those wanting to make smooth cuts very efficiently.
If comfort is a priority, then the Bosch CSW1 might be for you. The soft grip handle supports arms and wrists excellently, and the overall build is very ergonomically designed.
Convenience is another area where this tool stands out. The saw comes with a multi-purpose wrench for adjustments to the brushes, blades and lever. The anti-snag mechanism on this saw’s guard keeps tiresome interruptions to workflow at a minimum.
This is another saw that will benefit from additional lubricant. Oil the blade thoroughly before using it for the first time to avoid overheating or saw-fatigue. If you apply lubricant every time the saw needs it, you’ll be using this tool for years to come.
Our one gripe, is that the casing of the Bosch CSW1 is made from plastic and does not seem very durable. Other than that, we can’t think of a single complaint for this phenomenal tool!
- Very accurate
- Ergonomic design
- Will last a long time with proper care
- The casing could be tougher
6. SKIL 5280-01 7.25″ Circular Saw
Precision is the name of the game here. Laser-guided technology gives you the confidence to make exceptionally accurate and clean cuts. This is another heavy-duty tool, with a 7 ¼ inch, 24 tooth, carbide-tipped blade capable of making 2 3/8 inch cuts. The 15 amp motor provides speeds of 5300 rpm. The bevel capacity comes in at 51 degrees.
The SKIL 5280-01 comes with a number of quality of life considerations. The included dust blower helps keep your work environment clear. The spindle lock and included wrench make changing the blade a breeze.
This is another tool with a less durable plastic casing. We recommend you take extra care to maintain this tool, so that it remains useful for as long as possible.
This saw offers smooth operation with clean, laser-precise cuts. It’s an excellent option for people of all skill levels.
The premium features come at a cost, but if you have the money, it’s well worth it in our opinion.
- Delivers clean, exceptionally accurate cuts
- Includes a dust blower
- The spindle lock is great when changing the blade
- A little expensive
7. PORTER-CABLE PCE300 7.25″ Circular Saw
This is a very powerful, heavy-duty saw. The 15 amp motor and 7¼ inch saw rotate at 5500 rpm. This 9.5lb workhorse glides through metal with ease, leaving the cleanest and smoothest of cuts. The 18 tooth carbide-tipped blade will last longer than its steel tipped counterparts.
The Port-Cable PCE300 takes durability and long term accuracy seriously. The steel shoe and metal blade protector will keep your blade sharp after each use.
We think this is an excellent option for beginners who want a powerful saw that’s easy to handle.
A magnesium shoe version of this saw is available for more experienced workers. If you need to go that extra mile, you might want to pay a little more for this option.
With both models, the included allen wrench makes quick adjustments to the saw easy.
We found that the blade took a little more effort to secure tightly without wobbling, which could frustrate some buyers.
This is a powerful and durable option for metal work. Another great value tool.
- Durable and accurate
- Great for beginners
- Magnesium shoe available
- The blade may wobble a little
8. Dewalt DWE575SB Sidewinder Circular Saw
The Dewalt DWE575SB is an 8.8lb sidewinder circular saw. The design is comparatively lightweight and compact; big results are possible with very little muscle power.
The 15 amp motor and blade deliver smooth, clean cuts with a bevel capacity of 57 degrees. Even a novice could cut any type of plastic or metal with this easy to use tool. This ease of use comes largely from the ergonomic design that significantly reduces any strain on the user. The highly responsive electric brake on this saw operates very quickly, with minimal kickback. The integrated dust blower keeps your work environment clean and clear.
This is another circular saw with a blade that can wobble slightly.
The Dewalt DWE575SB is easy to use for workers of any skill level.
- Lightweight and compact
- Integrated dust blower
- Very responsive electric brake
- Not easy to secure the blade in place
9. Makita 5477NB Hypoid Circular Saw
The Makita 5477NB is a hypoid circular saw. This means it can work more efficiently, with better surface contact than worm drive saws. This tool comes with a 15 amp motor and a 7¼ inch carbide-tipped blade for deep, powerful cuts.
If efficiency is important to you, then we strongly recommend this circular saw. The heat-treated hypoid gears and cooling vents offer long-lasting performance with no fear of overheating or fatigue. The Makita 5477NB’s oil-bath technology means a little bit of lubricant goes a long way. This dramatically reduces the number of tedious maintenance breaks you’ll have to take while working.
If you need to put in long hours of intensive work, no other circular saw can deliver this kind of performance.
This is quite a heavy saw, which might prove cumbersome for some users. However, this added weight makes us confident in the saw’s durability.
If you’re looking for a durable hypoid circular saw, this is your best bet.
- Can keep going for a very long time
- Highly efficient
- May be cumbersome for some users
10. Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2 In. Plunge Circular Saw
The Makita SP6000J1 is a plunge-style circular saw. The 6 ½ inch blade has plenty of room for large cuts, with a bevel capacity ranging from 1 to 48 degrees.
The speed-adjusting mechanism gives you control of your rpm between 2000 and 5000. This gives you the confidence to make excellent, clean cuts with this powerful tool.
This saw is designed for cutting plywood, and is not great for harder materials. It’s best suited for jobs like creating frameworks that don’t require a high level of precision.
- Very large cutting capacity
- Delivers smooth, clean cuts
- Not very precise
- Cannot be used to cut hardwood
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Circular Saw Buying Guide
There’s a lot to consider before buying your first circular saw. Here is a quick buying guide to make it easier for you:
There are many different types of saws out there, each designed to cut through different materials at different intensities. We’ve listed all the different types of circular saws and their uses above. Use that list before finalizing your choice.
Corded vs. Cordless
You can buy a corded circular saw or a battery-operated one. Good battery-operated saws generally cost more than their corded counterparts and in some cases, may not even be as powerful. A cordless circular saw normally uses a lithium-ion battery.
If you have a power outlet or extension near your workstation, a corded saw is probably your best bet. If you need to do a lot of moving around, consider going cordless.
You can get a circular saw with a power rating anywhere between 10-15 amperes. Naturally, a higher power rating will result in a more powerful saw, so pick one that’s appropriate for the intensity of work you’ll be doing.
There are different blade sizes available for different types of saw. The most common size for a blade in a saw is 7 ¼ inches. Sizes of 4 inches, 14 inches, 16 inches, and 6 ½ inches are also available.
Longer blades can achieve deeper cuts, while shorter blades can be used to achieve cuts that are cleaner and smoother.
It is extremely important to get a saw that is comfortable, especially if you’re a beginner. Look for an option with a comfortable grip, a mechanism to limit kickback and other safety features. Work involving saws is often time consuming. Make sure you have a tool that won’t cause unnecessary strain.
Most saws also come with additional features that you can pick out according to your needs. These may include: wrenches, different blades, lubricants, battery modifications, charger options, dust blowers, and even cases to carry your saw with.
Circular saws can come with magnesium, carbide tipped, or even steel blades. The sharpest and cleanest cuts come from magnesium shoed blades, but other varieties serve their own purpose.
Related: How to dry wood
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the best circular saw money can buy?
The perfect tool doesn’t exist; the best circular saw is the one that fits your needs. Refer to our buying guide and reviews above, and pick out a saw that is ergonomic, easy on the pocket and right for you.
Do you need to oil a circular saw?
Most circular saws need lubricant to operate smoothly. Many come with lubricant included, but you often have to buy separately. Make sure you don’t work with a dry saw, as that will damage your equipment and affect the quality of your work.
What are the potential hazards of using a circular saw?
There are many potential hazards associated with using a circular saw. Material can be thrown back at you while working, the blade disc can break or become trapped and cuts can occur. You can also cause undue strain on the body if you use a tool with poor ergonomic design.
For these reasons, we strongly recommend you read through our guide carefully, and choose a saw that is designed to mitigate these hazards.