6 1/2 vs 7 1/4 Circular Saw — Which Gets the Job Done Better?

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

The 6 1/2 vs 7 1/4 Circular Saw, which offers a superior cutting capacity and bevel capacity?

Are you looking to buy a quality circular saw, but you aren’t sure what you’ll be missing out if you go with a smaller 6-1/2-inch model instead of the 7-1/4-inch one?

The easiest way to find out is to put the two to the test. I did that and I found out that the smaller one can cut up to 2-inch thick slabs, while the larger one can cut up to 2-1/2.

The difference in cutting depth is one of the various things that differentiate the two circular saw sizes. Let’s dive into a deeper and more decisive comparison.

Our 6 1/2 circular saw pick is the Dewalt DCS391B. This model delivers the best cordless cutting performance, depth of cut, and portability.
Our 7 1/4 circular saw recommendation is the Dewalt DCS575T2, which is the best in its class as far as cordless power, depth of cut, portability, convenience, and versatility are concerned.

6 1/2 vs 7 1/4 Circular Saw: Some Reviews

ProductDetails
1. Dewalt DCS391B 6 1/2 Inch Circular Saw

  • 6.5-inch carbide blades
  • Battery operated
  • Lightweight magnesium shoe
  • Overmolded comfort grip
  • Large bevel capacity
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2. Makita SP6000J1 6 1/2 Circular Saw

  • Blade diameter of 6-1/2-inch
  • Strong 12-amp motor
  • Soft start feature
  • Electronic speed control
  • Large cutting capacity
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3. Milwaukee 2730-20 M18 6 1/2 Circular Saw

  • Blade diameter of 6-1/2-inch
  • Cast magnesium shoe
  • Powerstate brushless motor
  • Advanced electronic system
  • Integrated LED light
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4. Dewalt DCS575T2 7-1/4 Circular Saw

  • Blade diameter of 7-1/4-inch
  • Brushless motor
  • Electronic brake
  • Large bevel capacity of up to 57 degrees
  • Battery kit included
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5. Makita 5007MG 7 1/4 Circular Saw

  • Blade size of 7-1/4 inches
  • Lightweight magnesium components
  • Powerful 5800 RPM motor
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Superior bevel capacity
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6. SKIL 5280-01 7-1/4 Circular Saw

  • Blade size of 7-1/4 inches
  • Powerful 5300 RPM motor
  • Spindle lock system
  • Large bevel capacity range
  • Integrated dust blower
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1. Dewalt DCS391B 6 1/2 Inch Circular Saw – Overall Best

If you’re on the market for a high performing direct drive 6-1/2-inch circular saw, look no further than the Dewalt DCS391B.

Specs

  • 5-inch carbide blades
  • Battery operated
  • Lightweight magnesium shoe
  • Overmolded comfort grip
  • Large bevel capacity

This saw accommodates a strong 6.5-inch carbide blade, which is great because it can cut two times material at 45 and 90 degrees.

Something I really do like about this model is the safety feature, considering how easy it is to switch off the blade with a push of a trigger.

Two things may seem off about this saw. First, the blade may jam and fail to tighten. Second, it doesn’t come with the battery.

Pros

  • Superior blade cutting capacity
  • Strong motor delivers superior speed
  • Lightweight magnesium shoe boasts accuracy
  • Large bevel capacity allows for optimized cutting
  • Overmolded grip improves balance and control

Cons

  • Blade may jam when tightening
  • Battery not included

Conclusion

The lightweight Dewalt DCS391B is high performing, versatile, and highly durable.

Overall Rating – 4.7

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2. Makita SP6000J1 6 1/2 Circular Saw – Best Plunge Saw

Are you looking for a 6-1/2 circular saw that will deliver precision and accuracy? Then you’re ready for the Makita SP6000J1.

Specs

  • Blade diameter of 6-1/2-inch
  • Strong 12-amp motor
  • Soft start feature
  • Electronic speed control
  • Large cutting capacity

This model has a precision cutting system, which is great because it keeps the saw squared to the material and maintains an exact line of cut.

Another good feature is the bevel cutting capacity of 1 to 48 degrees with positive stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees for precision cutting.

But you might receive a model that has a defective depth of cut adjuster, which you might have to modify to achieve the maximum cutting depth.

Pros

  • Delivers precision straight cuts
  • Dust port helps direct dust away from you
  • Capable of maintaining constant speed
  • Soft start mechanism ensures smooth startups
  • Ideal model for plunge cuts

Cons

  • Possible to get a defective depth of cut adjuster
  • May come with a damaged box

Conclusion

The Makita SP6000J1 comes with great features that exceed industry standard machine specifications.

Overall Rating – 4.6

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3. Milwaukee 2730-20 M18 6 1/2 Circular Saw – Most Efficient Motor

The Milwaukee 2730-20 M18 has got as much power as corded tools for tackling the toughest applications.

Specs

  • Blade diameter of 6-1/2-inch
  • Cast magnesium shoe
  • Powerstate brushless motor
  • Advanced electronic system
  • Integrated LED light

This model has a powerful motor and accommodates a strong 6-1/2-inch blade that can rip through three sheets of plywood at a time.

Another great feature is the redlink plus intelligence, which provides optimized performance as well as protection against overheating and overloading.

But the blade guard may get too close to the cutting deck, which may significantly interfere with your precision and accuracy.

Pros

  • Very efficient brushless motor
  • Has overheating and overloading protection
  • Cast magnesium shoe is highly durable
  • Large cutting capacity adds versatility
  • LED lighting improves visibility

Cons

  • Poor blade guard positioning
  • Blade change needs an Allen key

Conclusion

If you want cordless convenience, efficient motor performance, superior visibility, and added versatility, look no further than the Milwaukee 2730-20 M18.

Overall Rating – 4.5

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4. Dewalt DCS575T2 7-1/4 Circular Saw – Overall Best

The Dewalt DCS575T2 provides impressive cutting performance and versatility with its brushless motor, electric brake, and its rights-sided blade.

Specs

  • Blade diameter of 7-1/4-inch
  • Brushless motor
  • Electronic brake
  • Large bevel capacity of up to 57 degrees
  • Battery kit included

This unique saw has a powerful brushless accompanied by a heavy-duty 7.25-inch blade, and a large depth cut of 2.25-inch for all your cutting applications.

Another excellent feature that any woodworker would want is the electric brake, which is great because it will stop the blade within seconds.

But there’s one significant design flaw, the guide is positioned on the right side of the blade, which can be challenging for right-handed users to make precision cuts.

Pros

  • Motor is efficient and high performing
  • Large cutting capacity for superior cutting
  • Electric brake improves tool safety
  • Large bevel capacity for different applications
  • Battery pack is included

Cons

  • Poor guide positioning
  • May not offer the best battery life

Conclusion

The Dewalt DCS575T2 will always provide you with the power of corded tools with the convenience and portability of cordless.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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5. Makita 5007MG 7 1/4 Circular Saw – Best Magnesium Components

Ideal for carpenters, roofers, and framers, the Makita 5007MG 7 1/4 Circular Saw comes equipped with top quality features for the best cutting performance.

Specs

  • Blade size of 7-1/4 inches
  • Lightweight magnesium components
  • Powerful 5800 RPM motor
  • Large cutting capacity
  • Superior bevel capacity

This model has a lightweight, ergonomic design, which is great because it is well-balanced for jobsite use and provides a better grip.

Another good feature is the 7-1/4-inch framing blade, which has an M shaped tooth structure that maximizes cutting performance.

There’s one significant flaw in the design, though. The guard may get stuck in the workpiece, which could easily interfere with your accuracy.

Pros

  • Large blade size maximizes cutting performance
  • Easy to read settings allow for ease of use
  • Positive stops allow for quick bevel adjustments
  • Magnesium components provide superior balance
  • Built-in dust blower keeps the cut line visible

Cons

  • It’s possible for the guard to get stuck
  • Misaligned baseplate

Conclusion

This 7-1/4-inch saw is simply amazing with its lightweight magnesium components, powerful motor, quick adjustments, and versatility.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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6. SKIL 5280-01 7-1/4 Circular Saw – Best Single Beam Laser Guide

The SKIL 5280-01 is a lightweight 7-1/4 Circular Saw that’s easy to use and removes sawdust better than most conventional saws.

Specs

  • Blade size of 7-1/4 inches
  • Powerful 5300 RPM motor
  • Spindle lock system
  • Large bevel capacity range
  • Integrated dust blower

This saw has a powerful motor that generates up to 5300 revolutions per minute and a laser guide system for making straight cuts every time.

Another great feature is the spindle lock, which is great because it holds the blade shaft in place for easy blade change.

But here is the thing, the lever holding the blade depth in place may break, which is quite disappointing.

Pros

  • Lightweight design reduces user fatigue
  • Laser beam system boasts precision cutting
  • Safety lock minimizes accidental startups
  • Wide footplate improves stability
  • Built-in dust blower improves cut line visibility

Cons

  • Blade depth locking mechanism may fail
  • Motor position is too close to the shoe

Conclusion

The SKIL 5280-01 has the power, cutting performance, laser guide precision, and superior versatility for all you lumber cutting applications.

Overall Rating – 4.6

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How To Pick The Right Tool

There are various things you have to take into account when picking the right circular saw, which include:

Direct Drive Vs Worm Drive

A direct drive saw sometimes referred to as a sidewinder saw, is a type of circular saw that is quite popular on the market. Its motor is on the side (either left or right side), in line with the blade.

A worm drive saw; on the other hand, is a type of circular saw that has its motor in front of the blade. Worm drive saws are larger and heavier than direct drive models.

Worm drive units provide superior power and torque, but they sacrifice rpm. Then again, direct drive saws offer higher rpm, but they don’t perform very well when it comes to torque and performance.

Circular Saw Blades

The size of the blade (either 6-1/2-inch or 7-1/4-inch) isn’t enough to determine the cutting performance of a circular saw. You need to consider the shape and number of teeth around the circumference of the blade to determine the cutting action.

The best choice is carbide-tipped blades, which are used more often than high-speed steel blades. They stay sharper longer and they are the best for cutting materials of different hardness.

6.5 Vs 7.25 Circular Saw – Which Is The Better Option?

6 1/2 vs 7 1/4 Circular Saw, what makes one type better than the other? 

Blade Diameter and Cutting Capacity

From a practical standpoint, what’s more important than power rating is blade diameter. The larger the blade, the greater the cutting capacity.

Circular saws that take blades of 6-1/2-inch are smaller in size. They are lightweight and perfect for cutting sheet wood or 1-1/2-inch to 2-inch lumber, but the optimal cutting capacity is about 1-1/2-inch.

If you want a circular saw that will be suitable for a wider range of woodworking applications, then you need one that takes a 7-1/4-inch blade. This way you can cut through 2x dimensional lumber in a single pass.

Bevel Cutting Capacity

The next distinguishing factor between these two types of circular saws is bevel cutting capacity. Bevel cutting involves cutting the edges or ends of a workpiece with the blade tipped to some angle other than 90 degrees.

6.5-inch saws will provide you with a bevel capacity of 0 to about 50 degrees, which may be sufficient for different applications, but not most applications.

But, if you want maximum versatility, then go for 7-1/4-inch saws, which will give you a bevel capacity of 0 to about 57 degrees.

Final Thoughts

If you want a model that is more portable, lightweight, and suitable for most DIYs and home woodworking applications, then a 6-1/2-inch circular saw is a good choice.

But if you want more versatility, a large depth of cut, and larger bevel cutting capacity, a 7-1/4-inch circular saw is the perfect option.

The Dewalt DCS575T2 wins this battle when you consider blade cutting capacity, bevel cutting capacity, and versatility for a wide range of applications.

However, the lightweight design and portability of the Dewalt DCS391B win in providing you with a portable saw that will not cause user fatigue at the jobsite.

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