Circular saws are extremely powerful and versatile. Depending on the blade type, these saws can be used to cut different materials such as wood, metal and even concrete.
If you’re a handyman or tradesman, having a circular saw is a must. Don’t have one yet? You’re missing out! Whether you’re building a new fence, furniture, laying down floors or framing a house, a circular saw is essential.
Finding the best circular saw for you is crucial to ensure it suits your type of work. Join us as we take you through everything there is to know about circular saws, as well as the current best circular saws on the market.
- Electrical brake
- Durable & compact
- Built-in blower
- Powerful saw
- Electrical brake
- Comfortable handle
- Powerful motor
- Large blade
- Additional features
- Small, but still mighty
- Adjustable bevel
- Cuts four material types
- Lightweight saw
- Powerful motor
- Safe saw
- Wet and dry
- Dust management system
- Precise cuts
- High-torque motor
- Easy to use
- Strong battery
What Is a Circular Saw?
A circular saw is an electrical-powered round blade designed to cut either wood, plastic, metal or concrete, depending on the blade.
They’re operated just like most electrical saws — easy-grip handles with the on/off trigger ergonomically placed nearby. They also have an arbor nut that keeps the blade in place and a guard that keeps you safe while operating.
With most circular saws, you can adjust height and depth to suit you and your project. For more specific details, you can refer to the manual of your chosen circular saw.
What Is a Circular Saw Used For?
Circular saws are commonly used to cut large pieces of wood for home projects, such as building a fence or deck. However, there are many uses for circular saws, thanks to the wide range of circular saw blades available. For example, cutting concrete, tiles, bricks and asphalt.
One of the many advantages of circular saws is that they’re portable and can easily be brought to construction sites. Additionally, circular saws can cut curvilinear as well as straight.
Cordless vs. Corded Circular Saws
Whenever there’s machinery, there’s the old question of cordless vs. corded — what should you choose?
Well, the answer to this question always depends on your needs. Nonetheless, here are a few comparisons between corded and cordless circular saws.
One major plus for cordless circular saws is that you aren’t limited by a cord or power outlet.
You can easily carry your saw around to get exactly where you need to go, rather than worrying about an extension cord. Plus, if you’re working on a project in the early stages, there might not be any power outlets available.
Corded saws fall a little flat when it comes to mobility.
Depending on the project, you might not be able to use circular saws at the site. As a result, you’ll need to bring the required pieces back to your place to cut.
Also, with corded saws you’re restricted by the length of the included cord or the extension cable you use. This is not always ideal, but not necessarily a problem on a home DIY project.
With a corded circular saw, you’ll have endless power ready at your fingertips. You won’t have to worry about the battery dying on you or the frustration when the saw slows down.
Cordless saws, on the other hand, rely on a battery for power. As you use the saw, the battery will begin to drain, and you’ll notice a significant change in effectiveness. Having multiple battery packs helps, but may be an expensive and frustrating solution for some.
Blade-Left vs. Blade-Right
Generally, left and right saws were designed to suit righties and lefties to ensure safety and ease of use. So the choice should be obvious, right? Actually, there are a few things to know before immediately grabbing a left or right saw.
First of all, the saw must be comfortable to use so you can saw with confidence. If you aren’t comfortable while holding the saw, you could run the risk of losing either a pointer or a flipper. Here’s a closer look at the different saws:
Right-handed circular saws enable you to grab the main handle using your right hand while the left holds the auxiliary handle. Because the blade is on the right side as well, you won’t have to cross your arms during operation. Additionally, the base will sit over the piece you’re cutting on the left side, while cut-offs will fall to the right.
If you’re a righty and you’re using a left-bladed saw, you’ll face some issues due to everything being the other way around.
For starters, your left arm has to cross over the right to grab the auxiliary handle. Consequently, the blade is likely to be directly underneath your crossed arms. This clearly presents a dangerous scenario and a lack of control — a less ideal situation.
Still, if you feel more comfortable using a left-bladed saw, there are some advantages. Since the blade is on the other side, you’ll have a much better view of the cut line. Additionally, the majority of cordless saws are actually left-bladed.
How to Choose the Best Circular Saw
Factor in the features below when deciding on the best circular saw. True, we all have different needs and requirements on our saw-hunt. However, these should help you wade through the products on offer.
With a full-sized saw, you’re going to get a larger blade that gives you more cutting depth. As a result, you’re able to cut through nearly any material without much effort.
Not all projects require a 7-inch blade, though. It is, therefore, essential to consider what type of work you’ll be doing. For instance, if you’re going to be working with thick materials, choose a large blade. If you need a light saw to cut smaller pieces, a small blade is beneficial.
Because the majority of materials you’ll be cutting are hard, you’ll need a blade that can keep up. Breakage is a possibility whenever you’re working with tough materials, such as concrete or tiles.
Choose The Right Blade
When cutting different materials, being able to adjust the blade’s height and depth can give you a much better result. When choosing a saw, consider how easily it can be adjusted.
Size and Weight
Circular saws are generally portable and handheld, which makes the weight an important consideration. We usually saw for many hours at a time during large projects, so having to carry a heavy saw will quickly take its toll on the wrists.
A common material used is magnesium due to it being lightweight. However, consider the saw’s weight before making your decision.
With a circular saw, ergonomics are crucial — it has to feel well-balanced when in hand, to ensure clean cuts and lines. Therefore, the weight of the saw’s components should be united to create a center of gravity that eases the handling.
Where the handle is located is also a vital point to consider. Some saws will have the handle at the top while others have it on the bottom. It’s up to you to decide what you might be more comfortable with.
If you’ve already tried a variety of circular saws, you have a good idea of what works for you. However, if you’re new to circular saws, consider going to your local home improvement store or hardware store to try a few different saws. This can give you a good idea of how it feels to hold and which handle placement suits you best.
The Best Circular Saws of 2022
As we hunted down the best circular saws, blade material, weight and durability were priority features we looked for. It took us days to combine these with advice from the manufacturers, user reviews and industry expert comments.
The result is worth it, though. Here are the best circular saws:
1. Dewalt 7-¼-Inch Circular Saw with Electrical Brake
Best Circular Saw for Woodworking
When working with wood, you need a saw that can cut fine, clean lines without too many splinters. This saw from DEWALT is an excellent choice for woodworking — it’s fitted with a 7 ¼-inch carbide-tipped blade that’s ideal for cutting wood.
It enables you to cut at different angles with a maximum depth of 2.55 inches at a 90-degree angle. The saw is equipped with an electrical brake that stops the blade within three seconds of releasing the trigger. Additionally, the saw comes with a built-in dust blower, which can cause a bit of a mess, depending on where you’re working.
With circular saws, the blade will usually slowly come to a stop after the trigger is released. However, this saw is equipped with an electrical brake that stops the blade immediately after releasing the trigger. This enables you to work quickly in between cuts since you won’t have to wait for the blade to stop.
DEWALT has incorporated multiple smart features into the design to increase its durability.
For one, the cord is protected by a ToughCord system that provides more resistance, protecting it from cord pull-out. Furthermore, the saw itself features ergonomic handles and trigger actuation.
Despite the power of this saw, it has a compact, lightweight design that’s easy to carry and transport. In addition to the compact design, you also get a handy case to carry the saw in when transporting or storing.
When you’re working fast, it can be tricky to see the line you’ve drawn due to excessive sawdust. Fortunately, this saw comes with a built-in dust blower that keeps the line visible and clear at all times.
Although the integrated dust blower is a major plus, it really depends on where you’re working. It’s very powerful; therefore, beware if you’re working in a small shop. Users have advised that you may be cleaning the entire area from sawdust once you’ve finished.
|Motor Power||15 amps|
|Maximum Cutting Depth||2.55 inches|
|Blade Size||7 ¼ inches|
2. Makita 7-¼-Inch Magnesium Circular Saw
Best Circular Saw for Beginners
This Makita saw is an excellent choice for beginners, thanks to all of its additional features. For example, it comes with an integrated electrical brake that ensures the blade comes to a full halt after only three seconds.
In addition to the brake, the saw also comes with a built-in blower, lights, and an easy-to-read ruler and numbers.
We really like that the handle is comfortable to hold and ensures a secure grip. The rubberized levers also enable you to make quick, one-handed adjustments when needed.
Having a powerful saw is important whether you’re a beginner or a professional, and this saw doesn’t disappoint. It’s equipped with a 15-amp motor that delivers 5,800 RPM to give you clean, quick cuts.
If you’re new to circular saws, it can be intimidating to be standing with a blade that doesn’t stop immediately. Fortunately, this saw is fitted with an electrical brake that stops the blade within a few seconds. Also, the brake allows you to quickly recover before making the next cut.
As you’re sawing, sawdust can quickly build up on the ruler, making the numbers impossible to read. Luckily, you won’t have to squint, thanks to the easy-to-read ruler markings. This will help you to saw with more confidence as you can see where you’re going.
When sawing, it’s important to have a secure grip. This won’t only make the task easier, but it’ll also give you more confidence. Consequently, the large rubberized levers are easy to grab and enable one-handed adjustments.
Heavier Than Expected
One major plus with a magnesium construction is a light design. However, this saw falls a bit flat in an area that should be an advantage. It weighs a little over 10 pounds, which might not sound like much, but it’s one of the heaviest models on our list. Unsurprisingly, users report tiring out rather quickly when working with the saw.
|Motor Power||15 amps|
|Maximum Cutting Depth||2 ½ inches|
|Blade Size||7 ¼ inches|
3. Skil 7-¼-Inch Circular Saw With Laser Guide
Best Corded Circular Saw
If you’re looking for a strong circular saw with unlimited power, this Skil saw could be the one. It’s straightforward to use, and you can quickly set your desired bevel adjustments to suit the task you’re facing.
It features a powerful 15-amp motor and 7 ¼-inch carbide-tipped blade. Despite this power, it weighs only a little under 7 pounds, making it easy to work with for hours at a time. Additionally, it comes with a 6-foot long power cord that gives you ample room to move around.
With this Skil saw, we don’t expect anything less than perfection, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to power. The 15-amp motor delivers 5,300 RPM, allowing you to cut quickly and precisely.
This circular saw has a 7 ¼-inch carbide-tipped blade, which is excellent for cutting both wood and steel. Due to the size of the blade, it provides an excellent depth adjustment to suit the material you’re cutting.
This saw is also fitted with a few smart features to help make even a tough task a little easier.
First is the built-in blower to help keep sawdust away from the line you’re cutting. This will help you to see everything much clearer.
It’s also fitted with a single-beam laser guide to further help you achieve clean cuts. Lastly, the saw is equipped with an anti-snag lower guard that helps you prevent snags when doing narrow cut-offs.
Laser Can Be Off
Although the laser guide is very helpful, it might not be aligned when you first use your saw. A few customers found this to be rather frustrating as it caused uneven cuts. However, you can manually correct the laser using an adjuster at the back.
|Motor Power||15 amps|
|Maximum Cutting Depth||2 ⅜ inches|
|Blade Size||7 ¼ inches|
4. Worx Worxsaw Compact Circular Saw
Best Compact Circular Saw for Construction
Sometimes a compact power tool is just what you need. If you don’t have the energy or space to accommodate a larger circular saw, this nice little compact guy might be just the thing for you. Although it’s small, it’s still great for quick and efficient cuts where and when you need them.
It’s powerful enough to cut up to two inches at once in a single pass. You can use this horizontally, but it also works vertically. So not only is this small and convenient, but it’s also versatile.
Small, But Still Mighty
Often when you choose a compact tool of any kind, you’re sacrificing power. But with this tool, you’re still getting great specs for a variety of jobs. This comes with a 4.5-inch blade, which is smaller than traditional tools, but it allows the motor to spin twice as fast at up to 3500 revs per minute. The blade is also thinner, which increases the lifespan of the saw since it doesn’t experience as much strain.
With this tool, you can cut at an angle. The bevel is adjustable from 0-45 degrees which is super handy. We also love the lever that allows you to quickly and easily make adjustments.
Cuts Four Material Types
This tool is specifically made for lumber, but as we mentioned — it’s a versatile tool. Put this to the test on metal, plastic, and tile, as well as wood. It can cut 2x4s in a single stroke, making this a handy compact tool to keep nearby.
Slow and Steady
If you’re looking to fly through tasks or use this for professional purposes, this probably isn’t the right tool for you. Slow and steady wins the race with this one. You must pass the tool slowly through materials; otherwise, it gets stuck, jitters, or will rip up what you’re trying to cut.
Lacking Adequate Safety Features
Unfortunately, this circular saw doesn’t really meet our adequate safety feature expectations. While it does have a safety trigger, it’s on the handle next to the release trigger, so it’s far too easy to mix the two up accidentally.
|Motor Power||4 amps|
|Maximum Cutting Depth||2 inches|
|Blade Size||4 ½ inches|
5. Genesis GCS445SE 4-½ Inches Compact Circular Saw
Best Budget Circular Saw
If you’re looking for a budget saw for a small DIY project, this is an excellent choice. The Genesis compact circular saw is lightweight but very powerful. It comes equipped with a 4 ½-inch 24T blade that’s ideal for cutting wood, drywall, or even thin aluminum.
The handle is comfortable to hold. Additionally, it can cut different angles at 45 degrees.
Weighing only 5.99 pounds, this saw is easy to carry and work with for hours at a time. We love that it has a barrel grip for one-handed operation to help you get a secure grip. This also prevents your hand from getting crampy when working.
Despite being a budget choice, this saw doesn’t compromise on power. It’s fitted with a 4-amp motor that delivers 3,500 RPM. Consequently, it enables you to perform clean and quick cuts.
As a safety precaution, the saw has a spindle lock for quick and safe blade changes.
Best for Smaller Jobs
Although this saw is highly effective, you have to be careful not to overuse it in one go. User comments indicate that it’s best suited for smaller projects since it is sort of underpowered compared to other bigger tools.
|Motor Power||4 amps|
|Maximum Cutting Depth||Not specified|
|Blade Size||4 ¼ inches|
6. Skilsaw 15-Amp Worm Drive Saw
Best Circular Saw for Concrete
Cutting concrete might seem like a major job that requires more than a saw. However, Skilsaw created this saw specifically for cutting tough materials like concrete, stone, granite and asphalt. It’s also equipped with features that reduce dust, such as vacuum and water attachments.
We like that the 15-amp dual-field motor keeps it cool and helps to extend the saw’s life. Furthermore, it features multiple guides and gliders to help you achieve clean lines in no time.
Wet and Dry
When cutting materials like concrete or stone, the saw tends to overheat rather quickly — not to mention all of the fine dust that’s emitted into the air. To fix this issue, this saw is equipped with a water valve that you can control while cutting. All you have to do is connect a standard hose to the water feed attachment.
You don’t have to worry about electrocution thanks to the GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) built into the cord. This ensures water and electricity are separated at all times.
Dust Management System
Luckily, this saw is fitted with an integrated dust management system that keeps the dust out of your way. It has a dual-size vacuum attachment where you can attach your standard job-site vacuum.
To help you achieve clean cuts, the saw features Skilsaw’s legendary worm drive powertrain that keeps you on track. It’s also fitted with an adjustable plunge lock and a retractable front pointer that further guides you but retracts in small spaces.
Despite being very effective, this saw will only cut a depth of 2 inches. Saw owners report that this can be a problem if you’re looking to cut very thick material quickly.
|Motor Power||15 amps|
|Maximum Cutting Depth||2 inches|
|Blade Size||7 inches|
7. Black+Decker 5½-Inch Cordless Circular Saw
Best Cordless Circular Saw
For a lightweight, compact, cordless circular saw, we highly recommend the Black+Decker V20 saw.
It’s equipped with a 20V lithium-ion battery and an included charger to keep it going. Its 5½-inch blade is also easy to adjust to different angles and depths.
The high-torque motor ensures a clean, quick cut on a variety of wooden materials. It’s mostly suited for smaller projects due to limited battery life, but it’s excellent for home DIY’ers looking to make quick cuts.
Additionally, the circular saw is covered by a two-year warranty, which we take as a sign of excellent craftsmanship.
The high-torque motor gives you the freedom to do a variety of cuts. Additionally, the high power also creates much more accurate cuts, so it’s an excellent saw for beginners, as well as the more experienced among you.
Easy to Use
No matter what project you’re facing, the Black+Decker circular saw can be used. It’s simple to get it started and doesn’t have any complicated settings. Cutting an angle is also made easy, thanks to the bevel adjustment — you can set it to 45 and 90 degrees to suit the cut.
Size plays an important role when it comes to cordless saws since the battery will take up a sizable space. The compact design of this saw makes it the perfect choice for small projects where a cord can’t follow. In addition to being easily transported, it’s also easy to store whenever needed.
This circular saw is fitted with a lithium-ion battery that uses 20V, which is a decent amount.
A smart thing Black+Decker has done is to create a universal system between all of its battery-powered products. You can quickly take the battery from one tool to the other if needed. This means you’ll have endless use of your Black+Decker power tools. If you already have some cordless Black+Decker products, this is a really handy feature.
Only Suited for Small Jobs
Unfortunately, despite being well-made and of high-quality materials, users comment that this saw simply won’t cut it for larger projects. Although the lithium-ion battery is powerful, it won’t last you through long hours of work.
|Motor Power||Not specified|
|Maximum Cutting Depth||Not specified|
|Blade Size||5½ inches|
|Product||Best||Motor Power||RPM||Maximum Cutting Depth||Blade Size||Weight|
|Dewalt 7-¼-Inch Circular Saw||Woodworking||15 amps||5,200||2.55″||7 ¼”||8.8 lbs|
|Makita 7-¼-Inch Magnesium Saw||Beginners||15 amps||5,800||2 ½”||7 ¼”||10.6 lbs|
|Skil 7-¼-Inch Circular Saw||Corded Saw||15 amps||5,300||2 ⅜”||7 ¼”||8.7 lbs|
|Worx Worxsaw Compact||Compact Saw||4 amps||3,500||2″||4 ½”||5.6 lbs|
|Genesis 4-½” Compact Circular Saw||Budget Saw||4 amps||3,500||N/A||4 ¼”||5.99 lbs|
|Skilsaw 15-Amp Worm Drive Saw||Concrete||15 amps||N/A||2″||7″||16.9 lbs|
|Black+Decker 5½-Inch Circular Saw||Cordless Saw||N/A||N/A||N/A||5½”||7.55 lbs|
How to Use a Circular Saw
If you’re new to using circular saws, don’t worry, it’s relatively easy once you know a few techniques to get clean lines.
Before starting, make sure you have the right gear to protect yourself:
- Goggles: A must-have to prevent fine dust causing significant damage to your eyes.
- Ear guards: Protect your ears from the high decibels that circular saws emit.
- Mask: Consider wearing a mask to cover your nose and mouth. Wood dust, in particular, has been linked to health issues, including cancer (1).
- Gloves: Protect your hands from debris flying off the cut material.
Keep In Mind
Mark the Material
Before cutting, it’s essential to mark your lines and cuts accurately and clearly.
Use a tape measure and a pencil to make your lines. With the pencil, create two lines leading to the main line, forming a V. This will help you stay on track and create an even sharper cut.
The scrap side of the board can be marked with an X to indicate that you should cut on that side of the line. Cutting on the wrong side of the line can result in a ⅛-inch difference — this may or may not be a huge deal.
Watch the Blade
Although every circular saw is fitted with a guide that shows where the blade is going to cut, these aren’t always accurate.
As you’re cutting, the guide can get covered in sawdust or the shoe might get bent, throwing the guide off track. So, try to keep your eyes on the blade and the line as you go. Keep sawdust out of the way by using a built-in blower or your mouth.
Secure the Board
Before cutting angles, make sure you clamp the board securely to have both hands on the saw. Keep your left thumb on the guard’s retracting lever, and retract the guard if the saw begins to hesitate.
Circular Saw Tips
Good Side Down
Circular saws tend to splinter the side that’s facing up and leave the downside clean. If clean cuts are important, like when you’re cutting thin metals or veneered plywood, place the good side down. This will leave splinters and unattractive edges out of sight.
When cutting stone, opt for a diamond blade as these are stronger and less abrasive.
Diamond blades used to be quite expensive, but they’ve become more affordable in recent years.
To keep the blade cool, find a helper who can run a slow garden hose directly at the cut. Additionally, this will eliminate dust and speed up the cut.
Circular saws can be used to cut any type of pipe, except for cast iron. When cutting ABS, PVC or copper pipes, use a fine-tooth carbide blade. Use a metal-cutting blade for steel pipes.
Circular Saw FAQs
What Is the Difference Between a Skill Saw and a Circular Saw?
Skill saws and circular saws are the same types of saw; the terms are synonymous. They’re both portable and can be used for the same projects.
Skill saws actually gained their name from the brand Skilsaw because this was the leading manufacturer for decades.
Can You Sharpen a Circular Saw Blade?
Yes, sharpening your saw blade is important to complete the job correctly and efficiently. A dull blade will give a rougher finish as well as make the motor work harder, which can cause it to burn out.
How to sharpen the blades depends on the blade type. Certain blades, such as carbide-tipped ones, have to be taken to a professional sharpener. Regular blades, like steel-toothed saws, can be filed at home (3).
There are three types of blade sharpeners you can use at home:
- Hand file.
- Crank sharpener.
- Automatic sharpener.
How Many Amps Do I Need for a Circular Saw?
In general, most circular saws require 15 amps. However, this will differ between brands and saws. Check each product before you buy.
How Deep Can You Cut With a Circular Saw?
How deep you can cut with a circular saw depends on the size of the blade. The most common blade size is 7 ¼ inches — this size can cut a depth of about 2 ½ inches.
How to Cut a 45-Degree Angle With a Circular Saw?
Cutting a 45-degree angle using a circular saw is relatively straightforward. All you have to do is set the saw to the chosen bevel — in this case, 45. Draw your line and make your cut — ensure the blade is parallel to the line you’re cutting from the start.
Can I Use My Circular Saw to Cut Metal, Stone, or Laminate?
Yes, you can use your circular saw to cut metal, stone or laminate. One of the many advantages of circular saws is that you can use it to cut a variety of materials. However, it’s important to use the appropriate blade.
When cutting laminate, keep the up-side down to ensure the cut is clean and without splinters. This will create much smoother planks for the flooring (4).
The Circle of Saws
Circular saws are some of the most popular power tools among DIY’ers, tradesmen and handymen. This type of saw is generally lightweight, portable and easy to take with you to jobs away from your shop or home.
When searching for the best circular saw, it’s important to consider your preferences, especially whether it should be left or right-bladed, cordless or corded. Blade material, adjustability and durability are also crucial considerations to ensure you get the best bang for your buck.