Circular saws aren’t necessarily a tool that everyone can use, but it is one of the tools that will become a woodworker’s best friend. A circular saw is one of the most popular tools in existence, being a power saw that spins in a circle and cuts through the wood using a toothed blade.
When used safely, the best circular saws can provide clean, accurate cuts on a number of different boards — though not all at once. They can cut through dense boards, wet boards, and even pressure-treated wood with ease.
At the same time, these saws can also handle some of the finish work you may need to do. However, there are many saws on the market, so to get a top pick, you need to do some research.
As such, circular saws are truly one of the most versatile tools currently available on the market and the ideal friend for any woodworker with his or her salt. However, finding the best circular saw can be difficult, especially since manufacturers make so many different products.
Luckily, we’ve done plenty of research and believe we have picked out the top options that would work for novice, amateur, journeyman, and even master woodworkers alike! Just read this buying guide to not only determine the style of circular saw you might want, but also the make and model itself. After all, not all saws are made the same, and it’s important to get a good model that will do what you need without posing unnecessary danger to yourself.
- The Best Circular Saws Are:
- 1. DeWalt DWE575SB 15-Amp — Best Corded Circular Saw
- 2. Skil 5280-01 15-Amp Laser Guided — Best Budget Circular Saw
- 3. PORTER-CABLE PCE310 15 Amp Circular Saw
- 4. Makita XSS02Z 18V Cordless Circular Saw
- 5. DEWALT DCS575B FLEXVOLT 60V Circular Saw
- 6. BLACK+DECKER Circular Saw with Laser – BDECS300C
- 7. Makita SP6000J 12-Amp Plunge Circular Saw
- 8. Bosch CS5 120V 15-Amp Circular Saw
- 9. TACKLIFE TCS115A Circular Saw
- Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying a Circular Saw
- How to Find the Best Baseplate for Your New Circular Saw
- What Will it Cost Me to Buy a Good Circular Saw?
- Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Circular Saws?
- Final Thoughts
The Best Circular Saws Are:
|1. DeWalt DWE575SB|| |
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|2. SKIL 5280-01 Laser Guided — Best Budget Circular Saw|| |
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|3. PORTER-CABLE PCE310 15 Amp Circular Saw|| |
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|4. Makita XSS02Z 18V Cordless Circular Saw|| |
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|5. DEWALT DCS575B FLEXVOLT 60V Circular Saw|| |
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|6. BLACK+DECKER Circular Saw with Laser – BDECS300C|| |
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|7. Makita SP6000J Plunge Circular Saw|| |
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|8. Bosch CS5 120V Circular Saw|| |
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|9. TACKLIFE TCS115A Circular Saw|| |
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The best tools will come with added safety features, user controls, and an overall design that protects people when the saw is engaged. Naturally, the best circular saw must also meet these requirements, especially since the saw itself is essentially a sharp, toothed blade of doom when mishandled. Far too many people make mistakes and cut themselves or lose digits, so it’s important that our circular saws be safe, easy for a user to control, and protective of the user.
There may be different weights and sizes, but all of these top-rated tools have the same key ingredients for consistent user experience. In particular, they feature adjustable power, revolutions per minute or RPM, a carbide-tipped blade, a brake, and other elements to improve job safety.
1. DeWalt DWE575SB 15-Amp — Best Corded Circular Saw
This model is handles like a dream. You’ll feel really comfortable using it, and it works efficiently and cuts smoothly.
You have three options when looking at the Dewalt DWE575SB. You can purchase the saw on its own, have it come with a rip fence option, or have it come with the best circular saw blade. If you choose the former, then be aware that this tool takes the standard 7.25-inch blades. It features a 15-amp motor to provide consistent cutting power. This allows it to produce a no-load speed of up to 5,200 RPM.
We really liked the design of the Dewalt DWE575SB saw when it comes to making bevel cuts. It gives you depth adjustment, with the lower guard being designed to work with the integrated dust blower so that you always have a clear sight of the cut line while performing a cut. Most Dewalt products are corded, so remember this when deciding whether or not this circular saw will work for your woodworking lifestyle.
- 5,200 RPM
- 7.25 inch saw blade size, carbide-tipped
- 10 pounds
- Lightweight at 8.8 pounds
- Ergonomic design
- Electric safety brake
- Dust blower
- Tough and durable
- Adjustable cutting depth
- Beware of lemons
2. Skil 5280-01 15-Amp Laser Guided — Best Budget Circular Saw
This unit offers the perfect combination of maneuverability, high-power, and affordability. One of the most outstanding features of this tool is its compatibility with arbor-sized blades and standards. This means you can use this circular saw to cut through raw tree woods as well as 2×4 woods.
The Skil 5280-01 is also a lightweight option, as it weighs only 8.7 pounds. The weight of this machine minimizes the effect of fatigue that users often experience while working with traditional circular saws. It comes with a powerful 14-Amp motor that offers a running power of up to 5,300 rotations per minute. With this machine, you will get to enjoy faster cuts at high speed.
Another reason why this tool made it to our list is its integrated dust blower feature. With this feature, the line of cut will always be clear and free from sawdust. This tool allows for a variety of cuts, thanks to its bevel capacity of 51 degrees with a positive stop of 45 degrees.
Another fascinating thing about the Skil 5280-01 is that it comes with a laser guide, which helps to make the direction you want to cut visible. But we found that if we relied on the laser guide alone and didn’t take the curf into account, however, the actual cut was nearly a full quarter-inch off from what we wanted.
This machine comes with a 7.15-inch blade that is carbide-tipped. It also comes with a spindle lock feature that allows for easy and quick changing of the blade.
The base plate on this SKIL model is made from steel, although the thickness of the base plate might be a little questionable. Normally stamped steel base plates tend to be quite thick, but this one felt suspiciously light, indicating SKIL either cut back on materials or mixed steel with more metals like magnesium or aluminum. But though it has a steel and not a magnesium shoe, it is still quite sturdy and works flawlessly.
We didn’t have any cutting issues with the Skil 5280-01 that involved the performance of the base plate and it remained in excellent condition throughout our time with this particular saw.
We talk about this more in our Skil 5280-01 review.
- 5,300 RPM
- 7 1/4-inch saw blade diameter, carbide-tipped
- 8.7 pounds
- 51-degree bevel capacity
- Sawdust blower helps you see the cut line
- Safety button
- Ergonomic handle for comfort
- It lacks electronic brake
The PORTER-CABLE PCE310 Circular Saw is one of the heaviest duty circular saws in our list. This circular saw is ideal for skilled professionals, amateurs, and even DIYers. It comes with a 15-amp motor that delivers a running power of up to 5,500 rotations per minute. This powerful motor cuts through even the hardest material with ease. Despite its high performance, this unit weighs only 9 pounds, which is considerably lighter than its rivals are.
The design is also well-balanced, so you won’t feel over-tired when using this tool despite its added weight. This allowed us to create a smooth, clean cut every single time over a wide variety of different woods. It performed slightly better on softwoods than hardwoods, but with a little extra patience, the end result was always the same.
Thanks to the stamped steel shoe on this unit, you’re given an optimal line of sight that gives you an accurate cut every single time. It also features a metal upper and lower blade guard so that you don’t have to worry about cracking or fracturing when you’re in the middle of a cut.
Learn more about this Porter Cable model here.
This machine comes with a 7 1/4-inch blade that provides you with clean and accurate cuts. The PORTER-CABLE PCE310 circular saw delivers 2.5-inch cuts at 90 degrees angle and up to 1-7/8 inches at a 45-degree angle. The blade offers superior cuts whether you are using the 55 degrees max bevel, the presets, or any other settings. Another fascinating feature of this unit is its spindle lock, which allows you to change the blade with ease.
It also features depth adjustments, which can be done on the fly. This unit is not battery operated, it is corded, and it is one of the best corded saws in the market. This machine comes with metal lower and upper guards for durability. It also comes with an auxiliary handle that provides comfort and a clear line of sight. For added durability, this unit comes with a lightweight magnesium shoe.
- 5,500 RPM
- 7.25 inch blade
- 9 pounds
- 15 amp
- Lightweight magnesium shoe
- 55-degree max bevel
- Powerful motor
- Safety feature
- Depth adjustment
- Heavy-duty performance
- Not bulky, lets you maintain clear view of cut line
- It lacks a rip guide
The Makita XSS02Z is one of the best cordless circular saw in the market. One great feature of this tool is that it is cordless. This is the cordless circular saw that might make you want to put your corded unit aside. This powerful circular saw runs on Makita’s 18v battery platform; this means you can use this battery with other Makita tools that you have. It offers excellent power and it can last for about one hour when in use. With this option, you can bid farewell to the hassle of an extension cable.
When it comes to design, the model has a lot to offer. This tool comes with an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to hold and work with.
The compact size of this machine is another feature that many users love. Many circular saws out there are bulky and difficult to hold, but the case of this model is different. The motor of this unit delivers up to 3,700 rotations per minute for faster cutting and ripping through wood.
Furthermore, this tool comes with a precision machined base and a heavy gauge for accurate, smooth cutting. It also offers 50 degrees maximum bevel cutting capacity. The tool was designed to reduce operator fatigue, as it weighs only 7.3 pounds. This machine offers 50 percent more run time, up to three times faster charging, and efficient power management, thanks to the LXT advantage. The battery also has over-discharge, overheat, and overload protection.
- 3,700 RPM
- 6.5 inches, TCT saw blade
- 7 pounds
- Compact and portable
- Ergonomic handle
- Longer battery life
- Can replace a worm drive for medium jobs
- It lacks an electric brake
- Wishing it had a magnesium shoe
The Dewalt DCS575B is another great circular saw in the market. Circular saws have one simple task, and that is to cut things. A saw that cannot cut through woods with ease can hardly get the job done. It is easy to replace the blade of a circular saw, but if the motor is not up to the task, then it’s not of much use.
Fortunately, this circular saw from Dewalt is built with this kind of toughness in mind. This tool is durable and powerful. It also comes with a very powerful motor that offers up to 5,800 rotations per minute. This powerful motor along with a high-speed steel blade, this circular saw will continually provide you with high-quality, quick cuts.
This circular saw comes with a 7 1/4-inch blade that can cut through wood with 2 inches thickness or more with ease. When it comes to beveled and angled cuts, you can adjust the blade of this unit up to 57 degrees. It also comes with a 60v battery that is compatible with other Dewalt tools. Hence, if you have other power tools from Dewalt, this circular saw is a great choice.
The battery is also designed to detect and change the necessary voltage automatically. If you want to carry out tougher and longer jobs, you can use this circular saw with an extension cord. This tool also comes with electric brake, which is a feature many circular saws lack. The electronic brake stops the blade after you release the trigger.
- 5,800 RPM
- 7 1/4-inch blade
- 10 pounds
- Powerful and durable motor
- Automatic voltage changing battery
- Electronic brake
- Depth adjustment
- It is a bit pricey
The BLACK+DECKER BDECS300C is another great circular saw for the money. This is one of the most affordable, if not the most affordable, circular saw on our list. Despite its affordability, this tool comes with almost all the features you would need in a circular saw. This machine comes with a powerful 13-Amp motor that offers a running power of up to 5,500 rotations per minute. It also comes with a spindle lock feature. This feature lets you change the blade with ease.
This tool does a great job and performs better at quick short cuts. When it comes to cutting larger materials, you might want to consider another option. This circular saw features a 45-degree bevel capacity, which makes it compete with other top, expensive circular saws in the market. However, it lacks a positive bevel stop.
This circular saw from BLACK+DECKER comes with an on-board tool storage facility and rip fence. The rip fence is there to help you get super-straight and precise cuts. The stool storage is there for you store tools that you use frequently; especially those you need to change the blade. This unit also comes with a 7.25-inch blade. The complete package comes with one circular saw, one 7.25 inches saw blade, and one Hex key.
This is a corded tool, but Black and Decker has a great cordless option that’s great too. Check out our review of the Black + Decker Lithium Ion Circular Saw here.
- 5,500 RPM
- 7.25 inches
- 7 pounds
- 13 amp
- 45-degree bevel max
- Onboard tool storage
- Laser provides cut line
- Rip fence
- Powerful motor
- It does not deliver straight cuts for large materials
- Lacks positive bevel
If you are a serious worker and you have more room in your budget for a circular saw, then we recommend you go for this option. This tool is designed for professionals and avid amateurs and it is the most expensive circular saw on our list. It comes with a 12-Amp motor with a variable speed control dial of 2000 rotations per minute to 5,200 rotations per minute. With this feature, you can match the speed of the machine to the application. The motor also has an inbuilt current limiter that helps to prevent motor burn out.
It also comes with a soft start to provide you with smooth start-ups. Many professionals love this tool because it has the ability to deliver a splinter-free mirror finish via precision cutting. The bevel capacity of the machine is 48 degrees with positive stops at 45 degrees and 22.5 degrees. This tool has a large cutting capacity of 1-9/16 inches at 45 degrees and 2-3/16 inches at 90 degrees.
Another great feature of this model is its electronic speed control that delivers a smooth cutting experience by maintaining the speed under load. Furthermore, it comes with a 1.5 inches OD dust port that directs materials away from the operator and connects to a vacuum system. This tool also has an onboard hex wrench for easy and fast blade changes.
- 2,000 to 5,200 RPM
- 6.5 inches, 48T Carbide-tipped blade
- 9.7 pounds
- 45-degree bevel
- Electronic speed control
- Variable speed control
- Suitable for the hardest and toughest projects
- Dust collection system
- Soft start
- It is expensive
The last on our list is the Bosch CS5 Circular Saw and it has one of the best and most powerful motors. This unit is powered by a 15-amp motor that delivers a running power of up to 6,500 rotations per minute. It is the machine with the highest blade speed on our list. It is also the only circular saw with left-hand blade design that we have reviewed. The high-speed functionality of this machine allows you to cut through hard materials easily and quickly.
It also comes with a dust blower that helps to clear the path of cutting. However, it does not blow the dust away from the operator. It sprays the dust onto the operator, which is one of the major downsides of this tool. This circular saw also comes with an anti-snag guard that allows for trickier cuts without moving the blade or guard.
It comes with a 7.25-inch blade and it can cut depths of 2.44 inches at 90 degrees and 1.875 inches at 45 degrees. This tool features a bevel capacity of up to 56 degrees, which allows you to make cuts in a wide range of angles.
Bosch is known for great power tools, and this is a great example of Bosch quality. Check out the CS10 model too, here’s our review of this particular unit from Bosch.
- 6,500 RPM
- 7.25-inch blade
- 9.3 pounds
- 15-amp motor
- Extremely high-speed cutting
- Spindle lock
- Anti-snag lower guard
- Powerful motor
- It does not blow dust away from the operator
The TACKLIFE TCS115A Circular Saw is one of the best circular saws in the market. This tool is flexible and unique, and it comes with many great features. One thing that many users like about this tool is that it allows for single-hand use. This machine also delivers strong and reliable cuts. With just a single move of the hand, you can disassemble this tool or make depth adjustments. It comes with a laser guide that offers a lot of support with even difficult cuts.
The tool also comes with a 5.8 amp motor with a running power of up to 3,500 rotations per minute. This is not the best running power you can get in the market, but it does a great job of cutting through wood, plastic, pipe and more. This tool also comes with six different blades that range from 4.5 inches to 4.75 inches. It comes with one blade for wood, one for tile, another for soft metal, and more.
With the different blades, you can also set depths and bevels that offer one 11/16 inches at 90 degrees and 1 3/8 at 45 degrees. It features an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to work with. This unit is also lightweight as it weighs around 8 pounds. It also with an integrated safety button. The double protection switch prevents the machine from opening accidentally, providing you with a safer cutting experience. It also comes with many valuable accessories that you will find very useful.
- 3,500 RPM
- 6 blades (4.75 inches & 4.5 inches)
- 8.27 pounds
- 5.8 amps
- On the fly depth adjustment
- Metal handle and laser design
- Powerful motor
- Six blades
- Flexible bevel cutting
- Ergonomic and safety design
- Not suitable for all tasks
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying a Circular Saw
If you have gone through our reviews and you are still not sure which model to choose, do not worry. This section, which is our buyer’s guide, is designed to provide you with all the information you will need.
To choose a circular saw that will best suit your needs, there are certain factors you need to consider. You need to make sure that the tool has some of the basic features you are looking for in a circular saw.
As such, we have listed out some of the vital things you need to put into consideration when buying a circular saw.
Corded or Cordless Circular Saw
You can also decide whether you want a corded circular saw or one that runs on heavy-duty batteries. The majority of the models on the market, as well as the products listed here, are corded circular saws. This is because the connection to an outlet provides a more stable power supply and can increase a device’s RPM and general efficiency.
However, if you don’t have an ideal place for woodworking and find outlets to be in short supply, you can always consider going cordless. And if you would be using the tool in a place where it would be difficult or impossible to get an electrical outlet, then your best bet is a cordless circular saw.
A cordless unit would also be great in a situation where an extension cord would be hard to work with. Even when you do have access to an electrical outlet, it is often nice to be able to move your tool around without the inconvenience of a cord.
Nevertheless, cordless circular saws usually come with blades that are one or two inches smaller (in diameter) than corded units. With this, you will have smaller cut depths than corded models, but it would still be more than enough for most tasks.
For those that would be embarking on very large projects and making industrial woodcutting, you would probably need that extra depth, and you will not get it with a cordless model.
Cordless circular saws are much lighter than corded models. This means you can work with the tool for a long time and not get tired. On the other hand, if you are looking for the most power in a circular saw, then your best option is a corded model. Corded models are also more durable than cordless models. However, this does not mean you cannot find a cordless unit with great power and durability.
Corded units often come with less-efficient but powerful motors. Portability is one of the major selling points of cordless circular saws. As such, manufacturers sometimes use lesser materials just to make the product lightweight. As a result of this, you are more likely to find the very best lightweight magnesium shoes on corded units.
However, the model you choose boils down to personal preference. They all have their strong points and usefulness. If you are looking for convenience and portability, and you do not want to deal with cables, then your best bet is a cordless model. If you value more power, durability, and greater cut depth, then you should go for a corded model.
The Best Circular Saw Styles
Circular saws come in either a sidewinder or a worm-drive style.
Sidewinder or Inline
Circular saw shopping can be tricky since there are a couple of different types of motors and orientations to look for. Here, we start with motors, since these control just how the tool is operated by a woodworker. When you’re shopping for the best circular saw, you’ll usually find recommendations to purchase either a “sidewinder” or the best worm drive saw. These are two different types of motors that can be used to turn the blade.
Sidewinders are direct drive saws. They work by having the blade connected directly to the motor. This means the tool keeps the saw perpendicular to the motor. It’s the standard design that most people use on a regular basis, including woodworkers. For those who don’t know, this perpendicular angle is one where the table is horizontal and the blade itself is vertical, so the saw cuts down on a piece of wood supported by the table.
Circular saws with a sidewinder design have their blades on the left or right side of the machine, and the rest of the weight is always on the opposite side of the blade. This means that a right-sided circular saw would have its weight on the left side and a left-handed circular saw would have its weight on the right side. The sidewinder style means that the saw’s weight is sitting on the side of the board that is not hanging into the open space.
The downside to this style is that it can be difficult to see the line of cut. To counter this, many use a series of guides, including laser guides. The upside of this style is that your hands would be far away from the blade. This significantly reduces the chances of incurring injuries during cuts. As such, circular saws with a sidewinder style are often considered to be safer, versatile, and lighter.
Worm drive saws, which are sometimes referred to as hypoid saws, are geared down and more independent of the motor. This causes the blade speeds to be reduced, but the saw is able to generate more torque to create a clean cutting experience. Almost all worm drive saws also operate in a perpendicular fashion but are not as close to the motor as the blade in a sidewinder.
Worm drive circular saws have their blade on the left side of the motor. This means that the weight of the saw is on the right. This style provides the operator with a clear line of sight to the cutting area. It allows you to see the whole cut as you are making it. However, the downside to this design is that it takes time to get used to it. It also requires a lot of adjustment to use it safely.
Nonetheless, the worm drive option allows you to make more accurate cuts faster. They are more powerful and they allow for great accuracy. Maybe add an external circular saw guide for increasing accuracy.
In general, neither the sidewinder nor the worm drive circular is better than the other. Instead, the decision will come down to what you are more comfortable handling. If you are brand new to woodworking, we highly recommend experimenting with a worm drive saw because it moves more slowly and can help you become accustomed to fine-tuning your work. If this isn’t your first wood rodeo, then we recommend investing in a traditional sidewinder.
The Size of the Blade
The size of the blade is one thing that separates full-sized circular saws from compact models and battery-powered models. Most full-sized circular saws come with 7.25-inch blades, and not all tasks are going to need that. Blades with 7.25 inches in diameter often provide cutting depths between 2.375 inches to 3 inches. That is more than enough cutting depth to cut through any plywood. With such cutting depth, you can also cut through stacked 2 x 4s.
However, if you want to use the tool at home, a smaller blade size can do the job perfectly. For home use, we recommend you go for a cordless unit. Cordless units often come with 6.25-inch blades. Blades of such size provide maximum cut depths that are smaller than what 7.25-inch blades offer. A 6.5-inch blade is also more than enough to cut through 2 by 4s and plywood.
Nevertheless, one thing you should know is that 7.25-inch blades are a bit cheaper and more common than circular saws with a 6.5-inch blade. The major difference between both blade sizes is the depth they offer when cutting bevels. A larger blade tends to offer deeper cuts than a smaller blade. They also help you to complete projects faster than smaller blades. With smaller blades, you might have to do double cuts when cutting bevels.
- Large blades tend to be great for general cutting and shaping and tend to have an easier time slicing through bigger pieces of wood.
- A small blade, on the other hand, is lightweight and easy to use and has some benefits when it comes to the shaping of more intricate work. Small blades also tend to be easier to handle for beginners.
However, if you’re dealing with bulky pieces of wood that are bigger than your blade, then you should be looking at another type of tool.
The Material of the Blade
Almost all the blades used for cutting wood are tungsten carbide-tipped blades. Blades that are mostly exposed to high temperatures during use are made of high-speed steel. However, if you want to use the tool for smaller functions or just for home use, we recommend you go for blades with carbide tips, as they are of great quality.
The best circular saws for woodworkers tend to have a bevel capacity that exceeds 45 degrees. This gives you added flexibility for certain cuts that you may need, especially if you’re cutting miters or creating roof framing. For those that don’t know, the bevel capacity determines how large of an angle the circular saw is able to cut at. So, a saw that only has a 45-degree bevel capacity can at best create a cut at an angle of 45 degrees.
Naturally, most professionals desire a tool that can do more than a 45-degree bevel.
Another vital feature that the best circular saws have is the electric brake. You need to lock in this feature while considering your options. On releasing the trigger, the electric brake feature stops the rotation of the blade by reversing the current in the saw.
This is a very important safety feature, as it is necessary for the safe handling of the tool. Without this feature, the blade is going to take some time to finally stop rotating. This feature helps to make the process very fast.
A safety brake for a saw resembles those that you find on other power tools or in cars — it’s a convenient mechanism that you can push, pull, or handle without obstruction. While some are electric, the majority are also manual. The idea is that the brake will trigger a mechanism that shuts off the power. Once the power is gone, the blade will stop spinning and you can get your hands and materials away from the saw.
You should also put the material used to make the circular saw into consideration, especially the footplate or shoe. The shoe is the base of the tool that rests on the material you cut. Shoes are made from three different materials, Magnesium, Aluminum, and steel.
Magnesium shoes are the most expensive, but they are the lightest and strongest option. The second on the line is aluminum. Aluminum shoes are more durable and thicker than steel shoes, but they are not as rugged as magnesium shoes. The last on the list are steel shoes. These are the cheapest options; they are also durable, but not as the other options.
This feature is also very important, and it is more common in the latest models of the best circular saws. This feature comes in very handy for amateurs and DIYers.
The laser guide helps to provide a path that ensures a desired or straight style of cutting. You may have a chalk or pencil line to follow, but the laser guide helps you make sure that you remain straight throughout the cut.
The laser guide also has the added bonus of not being drawn by you or another human, so it is more likely to be completely even and straight. This is a feature we highly recommend investing in if you want to get the best deal for your money.
After figuring out if you are more comfortable with the sidewinder or worm drive, you will also want to look at the expected RPM of the blade. RPM is controlled by how much power runs through the tool and determines just how fast the blade in the circular saw will rotate. Faster rotations tend to create smoother, finer cuts but might be difficult for amateurs to handle.
When you have lower RPM, you increase your likelihood of some slight tearing along the grains of a piece of wood, but these motors use less power and typically allow more control of the blade. Both sidewinder and worm drives can have variable RPM, so be sure to check each product carefully to find a speed you can handle.
You’ll also need to consider the orientation of the saw. Most models today have a right-sided orientation, which means the blade is set on the right-hand side of the tool’s handle. This is done because when you cut on a bench or saw horses, the weight of the tool can be supported.
Right-side orientation also prevents many of the kickbacks that can occur when the blade binds up during a cut. Yet for some left-handed individuals, a blade-left orientation may be more comfortable to use. Blade-left units are not routinely made by today’s manufacturers, so if this is your preference, we recommend the Bosch CS5 as a great option to meet your needs.
How to Find the Best Baseplate for Your New Circular Saw
All circular saws come with a base plate. This is the flat component that the saw rotates through when you’re making a cut. You set the baseplate on top of your working piece and then run the saw through the cut line.
Most models tend to come with a base plate that is made of either magnesium or aluminum. Either option will work for woodworkers because it increases the durability of the tool. You can save some money by using a base plate that is made from stamped steel, but this style tend to have curled edges that can make it difficult to obtain a straight-edge cut.
The curl will stop the blade from going fully through the material and can also reduce the power in the cut because it provides a noticeable obstruction. For those familiar with the use of table saws, you might recognize that the curled edge of metal can produce dangerous sparks. However, this situation tends to vary case by case, and there are numerous reasons why a novice or amateur might be interested in a stamped steel base plate.
However, besides expense, there are a couple of reasons why you might want to choose a stamped steel base plate, especially if you’re a beginner. In general, a stamped steel base plate is heavier than other materials, meaning it is more durable. The steel is also easier to fix than magnesium or aluminum, which require more care and specialty equipment. Unfortunately, there are some downsides. While the steel is easier to fix, it is also far more likely to bend when dropped. There is also the aforementioned issue of sparking.
Almost every time someone enters woodworking, carpentry, or a similar field where a circular needs to be used, we hear the same thing: “I just won’t drop the saw.” After all, everyone assumes that dropping a saw is a rare occurrence. However, dropping a circular saw happens a lot, and is actually one of the most common ways woodworkers injure themselves.
So, you need to consider whether or not you want a base plate that bends easily but can be fixed, or one that is likely to crack – such as aluminum or magnesium — but is more difficult to repair. Some people try to avoid this problem by investing solely in table saws, but these do not have the flexibility and maneuverability of a traditional circular saw.
Between magnesium and aluminum, there is not a lot of difference. Magnesium base plates tend to be lighter than aluminum base plates, but their durability is about equal. Magnesium only has a slightly smaller chance of cracking when dropped, so it really comes down to whether you anticipate genuinely needing repairs or not.
As you look at your base plate options, you will also want to consider how the lower guard works with it. If the lower guard is slightly oversized or undersized, then it can sometimes snag on you.
That creates a jumping action during a cut, which can then cause you to burn the edge. Look for an anti-snag lower guard in the saw reviews to ensure you avoid this issue with your work. Anti-snag lower guards tend to be about the right size, helping eliminate the snagging problem.
What Will it Cost Me to Buy a Good Circular Saw?
Most circular saws are available for less than $150 right now. This includes cordless models where the rechargeable battery is included in the final price. The cheaper models tend to use stamped steel and may have blade guards that are difficult to use, but can still create a solid straight cut when called upon. Higher-priced models create more consistency while requiring less long-term maintenance.
For the average woodworker, expect to pay about $100 for a good saw with the specific features that your creativity may need. If you’re an individual who really does a lot of work and wants something more durable and reliable than the average, inexpensive circular saw, then you can expect to pay between $200 and $500.
And aside from the cost of the tool, you also have to consider maintenance costs. Unlike chainsaws that you can easily sharpen yourself, we recommend that you take your circular saw to be sharpened by a professional.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know About Circular Saws?
Depending on where you are buying your circular saw, you might see a lot of extra or special features, like laser guides or LED lights. If you are just trying to buy a basic product, you don’t need to consider investing in these features since they won’t help you develop your skills.
So, you probably don’t need to buy a circular saw with LED lights, an integrated dust blower, lightweight magnesium shoes, and a carbide-tipped blade. You also don’t need to experiment too much with different powers, RPM, or extreme bevel adjustments. However, some of these are important to know.One of the first things you’re going to encounter is the presence of a spindle lock.
A spindle lock is actually a necessary feature because it stops the blade of the saw from rotating when you’re trying to remove it to replace the blade. You definitely want a model with a spindle lock because it might just save your fingers.
However, if you do invest in this type of a circular saw, you might need an efficient screwdriver to loosen blades during replacements. A dust blower of a dust collector can also be a useful addition but isn’t necessarily something you need.
A blower and collector are used to maintain the sheer amount of sawdust produced by woodworking. The blower will shift the dust away from you so you don’t wind up smothered with fine splinters, while the collector will gather the sawdust is an easy to remove bin so it can be disposed of. Both are useful, but neither is perfectly necessary.
If you see the term “magnesium shoe,” don’t get confused. It’s just another way to refer to the base plate since it sits at the bottom of the circular saw.
Finally, you might hear of carbide tipped blades and extreme bevel adjustments. The majority of the blades used in the best circular saws are going to be made of carbide or tipped with the substance because it provides a smooth cutting surface that is easy to sharpen.
Again, don’t be confused when you see this time. Extreme bevel adjustments, meanwhile, refer to the angles you can set the blade of the circular saw to. In general, you do not need a product capable of extreme angles because such cuts are rare and require experience. If you are just starting out, don’t invest money in such a feature.
This buying guide can help you find the circular saw with the right features and durability to make short work of your woodworking chores. We’ve done the work for you in identifying reliable, efficient, and effective circular saws, so now all you have to do is consider your options, what you would like, and what you think would work best considering your needs.
If you’re having trouble choosing a model, we recommend the DeWalt DWE575SB Lightweight Circular Saw as a pretty safe bet for your first circular saw, as it can wield more than enough power for must cutting jobs but is quite lightweight and portable, which gives you a lot of versatility. View our full review of this Dewalt model here.