How to Change a Circular Saw Blade

Circular saws are a phenomenal tool in the right pair of hands. Their versatility and ease of use are what bring woodworkers back again and again. This versatility comes largely from the wide variety of blade types available. Working on different materials means switching out your blade often.

Another reason to change your blade is that as it begins to dull, you’ll need to switch it out in order to keep working effectively. One of the most crucial skills to learn when working with this type of saw is changing the blade.

For beginners, changing a saw blade can seem an intimidating task. It’s a terrible idea to try changing your circular saw blade without learning the right way first. Injuries happen; the information on this page will help you to avoid them.

This page will tell you everything you need to know changing a circular saw blade. It will answer your frequently asked questions and leave you informed and confident for the task at hand!

How to Change a Circular Saw Blade

Your approach to changing your blade will be determined by the type of saw you’re using. Some models come with a convenient blade release lever, which make switching your blade quick and easy. Older models often require a little more work with other tools to free the old blade and install a new one.

With saws that have a rotation lock, your life will be a lot easier when changing the blade. These locks hold the blade safely in place, meaning you’ll be able to loosen bolts without worrying about the rest of the tool. In tools without a rotation lock, you’ll have to position a bar through the centre of the blade while you work.

Check your user manual and specifications before changing the blade. It’s also important to make sure you’re using the right size blade for your saw. If you’re picking up a new circular saw tool and think you’ll be switching blades often, we highly recommend looking for models with blade release systems and arbor locks. These make things much simpler.

Step 1 – Power down

Unplug your saw if it’s corded or removes the batteries if it’s cordless. Safety comes first: the last thing you want is your blade to start rotating at speed while you’re changing blades.

Step 2 – Secure the blade

Next, it’s time to make sure your blade can’t rotate at all while you work.

Most modern models come with an arbor lock designed to secure the blade while you change it. This is usually operated with a large red button that engages the blade when pressed. Check your user manual to find out about your arbor lock.

If your model doesn’t have a lock like this, then wedge the blade firmly into a wooden surface to hold it steady.

arbor lock

Step 3 – Remove the arbor nut

Locate the arbor nut and turn it in the same direction your blade usually turns. Use a wrench to do this. Most circular saws come with a wrench that is ideally suited for their specific arbor nut. If you still have this wrench, then it’s best to use it.

Step 4 – Remove the old blade

Removing the arbor nut exposes the blade and makes it possible to slide it out of the body of your machine. Carefully remove your old blade and place it down somewhere safe.

Step 5 – Install your new blade

Make sure the teeth of your new blade are facing the right direction as you carefully slide it onto the arbor. They should be angled downwards so as to make contact with their cutting surface. Check your machine’s box if you’re unsure.

Reattach and tighten the nut using the same wrench as before.

Step 6 – Disengage your blade lock

It’s now time to make it possible for your blade to spin again. Press your red arbor lock button if you have one, or remove your wooden implements that were holding your blade steady. Reattach your arbor nut and realign your tool’s safety guard. It’s now possible for your blade to rotate again.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section answers some of the most common questions users ask when changing their saw blade.

When Should I Change My Circular Saw Blade?

Depending on the type of work you’re doing with your circular saw, there’s a huge variety of different blade types that you might need to switch to. You wouldn’t use the same blade to cut concrete that you’d use to cut laminate, for example. For contractors who work with lots of different materials, it’s frequently necessary to switch blades.

What if your work only really uses one type of saw? You’ll still need to change your saw when it starts to go blunt. If you notice your blade has begun to grind less effectively against your cutting material, it’s time to change your blade.
Watch out for tasks that might blunt your blade more quickly. In certain contexts, you may need to switch blades more frequently. Tasks that might quickly blunt your blade include harder woods or wetter materials.

If you inspect your blade and notice that four or more teeth have been damaged, it’s definitely time to get the wrench out!

Where Is The Arbor Lock On My Circular Saw?

Not every saw has arbor lock in the first place, and beginners can struggle to know where to look when locking their blade. The first thing to do is look through your machine’s user manual and see if you can find specific guidance for your model.

Failing that, there are some general rules to follow. The arbor is the mandrel, spindle, or shaft that the blade attaches to. Look at the top of your circular saw’s housing. It’s common to find a large red button here that activates the arbor lock.

As it’s a safety feature, the button used to activate the arbor lock is usually brightly colored and easy to spot.

What Are the Best Circular Saw Brands?

This will largely depend on the type work you’re doing. The perfect blade doesn’t exist, it’s all about your requirements. Having said this, there are some common brands to look out for that consistently deliver on quality and performance.

Both Makita and DEWALT offer blades for circular saws that offer an excellent level of durability, performance and value for money. Always check the size of your saw before buying new blades.

This offering from DEWALT is made from high-density tungsten which makes for a blade that is durable and reliable. The tough anti-stick coating prevents gumming and reduces friction meaning you can keep working efficiently.

What’s the Most Common Circular Saw Size?

The common circular saw size is 7¼ inches. If this size works for your requirements, it might be worth considering a circular saw in this format. The ubiquity of this blade size makes it easier and more affordable to buy new blades.

Another common blade size is 5½ inches. The type of work you want to accomplish with your circular saw will determine the amount of power you’ll need and the size of the blade you’ll be using. Be as clear as possible about what your requirements are before purchasing a new saw or blade.


Circular saws are a powerful, versatile tool in the right pair of hands. Taking advantage of this power means learning how to change your blades safely. The last thing you want is your blade to move while you’re touching it.

Always remember to remove your saw’s power source. If your saw is corded, unplug it. If your saw is battery powered, remove the batteries.

Your arbor lock is your best friend when changing your saw blade. Make sure to engage it before touching your blade. If your saw doesn’t have an arbor lock, make sure you wedge your blade steady into wood before working.

Once you’ve mastered this skill, you’ll be a formidable force on the job site. Good luck!